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I want an Internet business. Where do I start?

I’ve been helping my readers and students launch successful online and Internet based businesses for nearly a decade. Even though I’ve been part of helping thousands of people achieve significant online incomes, I’m aware that much if not most of my audience is still stuck at square one for one reason or the other. This is a visual map to help you pick an idea to start with, or if you’ve had some success and want a new income stream you’ll find my favorites here.

Welcome to my “Opportunity Landscape” or “Opportunity Map”. A lot of thought went into this – I hope you like it.

This video explains the map:

At the bottom of this article you’ll see an older version of my map. Here’s the latest version:

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Did I leave anything out? Do you want more detail on any of these opportunities? Do you disagree with where I placed any of the opportunities? Let’s talk about it… (also – for additional reading check out this $5 book. It’s helped launch hundreds of successful businesses (if not more) online.

 

 

Scroll down for the old version of the map…

 

 

 

The Old Map:

Old Opportunity Map

 

Using eBay and Amazon to generate leads & grow your audience

If you’ve read much of my material at all you know how often I tout the benefits of “Growing Your Online Audience“, “Adding targeted prospects to your email lists” and “EXPANDING your online influence“. Efforts along these lines are crucial to building and maintaining long term success – and that’s not just my opinion. Virtually all established experts in the Internet Marketing arena would echo my sentiments.

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Perhaps you’ve heard marketing expert Dan Kennedy call your “list” your most valuable asset as a biz owner.  I agree, but I word my message slightly differently. I tell my students and clients that, “There’s no more valuable asset you can have than a large and ever growing list of people who both want to hear from you and who are also eager to do business with you.”

Obviously, the easier it is to connect with such a list of partners/prospects the stronger the asset. This is why I love email as a tool of mass-communication and customer relationship building.

…but this isn’t an article about email marketing.

This is an article about using eBay and Amazon to expand your online audience.

Also note,  there are countless strategies for expanding your influence & growing your “list” using creative online marketing tactics, and there are numerous articles on my blog on that very topic. In this article I’m going to focus on two of the most commonly used platforms for gaining the attention of potential prospects. Those platforms are:

eBay and Amazon.com

Here are my ground rules for any discussion regarding using eBay and Amazon as a marketing tool for list growth and prospect generation:

1. The rules are ALWAYS changing and out of our control – we all have to stay up to date (let me know if/when you find new relevant info and I’ll update this blog post!)
2. I’ll never intentionally encourage you to do anything outside of the established eBay/Amazon policies (nor have I ever done so)
3. In many cases the rules will be slightly confusing so proceed with caution no matter what the policies are
4. You owe it to yourself to squeeze every penny of marketing exposure out of your activities on Amazon and eBay WITHOUT breaking the rules

One of the best ways to do just that is to sell just about anything that is widely appealing to your target audience, and then while you have the attention of your prospects and customers you have an opportunity to invite those people to a mailing list. When they join your list it’s a chance to begin building a relationship with them over the long term.

This is exactly how I’ve built much of my online success in fact. Many of my most loyal partners and successful students were those who first found me on eBay so many years ago and elected to join my email mailing list. It’s put literally millions of dollars in sales through my biz as a result.

For nearly 10 years now I’ve done my best to stay on the cutting edge of what IS and ISN’T allowed in the arena of “pulling leads” from eBay and more recently on Amazon as well.

Here’s a summary of where we are now with both with additional details on each point in the video below:

On eBay

  • The eBay ‘about me’ page is going away (but it’s not a big loss in my opinion)
  • Profile pages are replacing ‘about me’ pages
  • Profile pages can include a link to your social media sites (Facebook for example)
  • This leaves you an opportunity to launch a FB group around your products. From there you can grow an email list etc. while you build a community!
  • You can automate the process of adding BUYERS to your email list on eBay

On Amazon

  • Amazon is FAR more restrictive than eBay when it comes to connecting with your customers
  • The only 100% legit opportunity there is to sell information (i.e. inexpensive kindle books) to help grow your niche audience

A video walk through of all of this:

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MORE IDEAS:

EBAY: Here’s a video I made that shows you how to give every eBay buyer the chance to join a niche specific mailing list post-purchase.  You can grow multiple niche lists this way on auto-pilot. The full instructional video with full detail on integrating eBay with your email list building efforts (using a service called Zapier) can be seen using this link.

EBAY: You ARE allowed to link from one eBay listing to another! This means you can sell a “high attention grabbing” product and link to a second listing such as an information product or big ticket item from within your popular listing. For example, if you are trying to sell a weight loss book, you might advertise a popular piece of exercise equipment on eBay and put a link to your book inside the eBay listing for the equipment. There are countless possible uses for this strategy.

My first live event. The results are in. We hit a home run.

Last weekend was the first conference I’ve ever hosted.  Never did I imagine that my little online business which started well over a decade ago would eventually grow into this.

Because we chose the location for the event months in advance, we had to guess about the expected crowd size. I secured a room that would comfortably hold 50-100 people with adequate table space for all.

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Little did I know that we’d be turning away people at a sold out event as we capped attendance at 300+ well before the event date.

If we do it again we could easily get 500-600 people or more there (wait until you hear the success stories!)


We asked attendees what they liked about the event – here’s what they said in an anonymous “post-event” survey:
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The relationships I have established with this great community.

It provided actionable next steps. There was enough lead time.

inspiring!

1. No pressure 2. Excellent content 3. Honesty 4. Willingness to help on all levels 5. New friendships/contacts made 6. Community I could go on and on!

The audience size made it great for getting better one on one with the speakers. I loved the real people that were represented on stage. I appreciated the fact that everything was kept down to earth and not flashy. I would be delighted to attend again.

Seeing all the channels people were using to generate income. And of course the contacts I made.

Practical aspects of the business

I liked hearing the success stories and how they did it. I got a lot of value out of their stories of what they did, the problems they encountered, how they solved those issues etc.

Lots of useful information. Awesome networking with people in all walks of online income.

The tips and strategies from the experts and how simply they broke each step down.

The agenda was perfect! The information that was presented was exactly what I was expecting and grateful to have gotten.

1- Content of speakers 2- Networking

All the wonderful speakers and the knowledge they shared.

Ability to connect with people in person

Real people making real money – humble; like-minded people who were believers.

I liked having the opportunity to meet and talk to people that are being successful using various techniques that Jim Teaches. I made some very good contacts that I know will be willing to help me be successful. I also liked the fact that Christ was given a proper position at the event. I am a Christian and like working with Christians.

Meeting face to face with highly successful people and being able to connect on a deeper level. And equally really enjoyed the presentations. For it being a first time event, I have to say overall a fabulous job was done by all involved!! It rolled very smoothly! Great job!!

The variety of information presented and the heart of the people sharing.

What I liked most about the CES 2013 conference was the variety of speakers and success stories.

The uplifting and inspirational success stories shared by all those that presented and participated

I LOVED getting to meet and talk with all of the people I have admired and followed through the years! Jim & Andrea… you are an amazing couple! Your faith shines through in everything you do. This is why I think you attracted so many honest, ethical, and brilliant marketers to the first ever CES conference. Just to be able to go up to someone who could be a business contact or a JV partner in the future, meet them, shake hands, and even take them out for a meal opens the door for true friendships that can last a lifetime. I came away with so many ideas that my head is spinning! There are many things we now know need to changed and implemented. Most of all, we made lifelong friends! Thank you so much Jim for holding this conference – I know how draining it must have been for you and your family! Love to you all! Nancy I will definitely be attending the next one!!! 

The success stories from people who started from nothing and worked hard to get to where they are.

The most humbling experience to meet you and many of the others. So giving.

The opportunity to learn from and meet like-minded individuals.

It was local to me. There was a variety of speakers on a variety of subjects.

The speakers and the closeness of the group

I LOVED the speakers and the content. I LOVED the connections I made with others. It was a conference full of classy business people.

It’s a good thing to gather with so many like minded people. The conversations, reflection on shared ideas, mutual encouragement, brainstorming – have I left anything out?

It was not all about sales pitches and I got to meet Danni, I have been in her group for over a year and she finally made it to Florida

Presentation, format, importance of faith in our lives & business’. Getting acquainted prior to the conference thru FB. The wonderful, sharing and giving people who attended and that same spirit from the fantastic presenters!

The sharing spirit displayed by all in attendance. That speaks volumes of Jim’s character.

I was able to network with the people that I communicate with online

I liked the breadth of strategies and tactics that were covered.

The inspiring real people real stories

Having the extreme honor of meeting Jim Cockrum, and establishing new friendships with the others at the event!

No pitch seminar . Very Christian based

Excellent topics to help all levels of Sellers

Meeting people who share my vision and know how to get there. I also appreciate the fact that they have no other agendas but to help.

The excellent information and success stories shared.

The quality of the people attending and speaking. I belong to the ASM group also. They have only one goal to make a ton of money, this group is about making a ton of money also after you take care of God and Your family 1st and 2nd

The genuine feeling of an entire helpful community.

Everything:). The panels answering audience questions. Real life stories of people’s journeys

Being able to meet and interact with like-minded people. I also enjoyed the content related to product sourcing.

The presenters. Each one of them was amazing. I took away so much from the event. Really a top notch conference.

The energy in the room. The opportunities to meet people I know only online. The presentations .

Connecting directly with others, the info on outsourcing and on offline businesses.

Jim and team, the camaraderie was so explosive. Heartwarming, supportive and caring people. Everyone was there to share and help the other in any way possible.

The relaxed, casual way the speakers were willing and able to interact with the attendees. No pitches, just content and real stories about success and what it looked like.

1- Jim and his heart to serve. 2- The speakers and their willingness to give. 3- The fact that it was not a pitch fest. 4- ORLANDO!

The group sessions – the professionals were on stage in groups of three

out sourcing, Strip Business,

I enjoyed all of the presentations but obviously some were more applicable to me than others. I had my eyes opened by the Virtual Assistant Program and I particularly enjoyed the “real” tales told by the successful entrepreuners.

Hearing some of the success stories and good info about sourcing.

All the info that was there.

The wide variety of speakers and the different streams of income that we learnt about. The humility of the group was also awesome.

Everything… New relationships, out-pouring of gratitude, educational value, live case studies, high ethic and personal values, meeting big hitters AND little hitters.

The warm and inviting atmosphere

The ability to answer the question I came to get the answer to: What do I do next? Now I know EXACTLY what to do next. Thank you Jim

The stories behind every successful individual combined with the all star panel of questions.

The authenticity of everyone there, especially those who shared the stage

The awesome free giving of everyone in the room, plus of course the staff..I have been in Networking for a while and NEVER saw so much help giving so freely as it was at the conference.

Meeting people face-to-face, networking, and hearing from such a variety of people with so many great success stories!

Fast moving, very little selling, and the Christian atmosphere.

There wasn’t any one thing that I like the most. There was so much wonderful information and people at the conference.

Impossible to pick just one: 1) Jim Cockrum’s obvious ethical attitude; 2) topics and speakers that showed a breadth of ways to make a profit; 3) the general energy, creativity, entreprenerial and supportive atmosphere in the room

Speakers

The amount of information that was given in such a short amount of time was awesome. I also loved the fact that there were so many people that were willing to help each other. Loved the stories of everyone and how they overcame and succeeded with the help of Jim Cockrum, and I felt so privileged to have been able to meet and see that he is as genuine as I thought he was.

The balance of panels, success stories and vendor presentations was a great mix. I also enjoyed meeting face to face many like minded people.

Presenters and, of course, Jim.

Panels were great. Enabled us to get diverse perspectives all at one time. Diversity of topics was good. I learned things I didn’t expect to learn.

I liked the diversity of the group with the CES model.

Everything

The discussions were practical and on topic. Also everyone was given the chance to ask questions.

friendly people, willing to share and help, variety of business models

All the great people presenting their strategies and finding out that there were Christian homeschoolers like my wife and myself.

I liked the fact that the presenters spoke from experience on their topics. Additionally I liked the combination of education and inspiration.

Openness of the attendees AND presenters. Lack of sales pitches and abundance of content. Success stories. Wide variety of topics for diverse business models (FBA, ebay, offline, etc.). Panels with Q&A.

EVERYTHING! Hearing about multiple streams. The successes. Meeting people.

SMALL SIZE, being able to meet people easily (like JIM!) The panel discussions.

Meeting everyone I work with and meeting people who I had helped on the forums. Learning new things and the steps I need to take next.

Hearing the success stories and the LIT information

Jim’s heart and vision. Big picture perspectives. Sourcing and outsourcing tips.

Lots of great information – brain melting. I liked the success stories.

Got inspired… Learning about sourcing and networking.

There was a spirit of Selflessness that was evident all weekend

The speakers, the fellowship and the energy of those relationships built there.

Talking with successful Amazon/internet entrepreneurs. Lots of opportunities to ask those people questions. John Jonas’s presentation very good.

Enthusiasm.

The quality of information.

The honesty and openest of everyone. The love I felt in the room and the willingness to help anyone that needed anything.. I loved the belt story. I loved all the presenters and their stories. I think I cried four times Saturday.

The ease with which people were able to communicate and relate to each other – genuine friendly advise handed over leading to building & smoothing new relationships. Loved that it was n ot too large an event with the feel of it being more ‘personal’.

I thought it was very emotionally touching, and learned how others grew their business.

Regular every day people sharing their ideas and experience and their willingness to help others.

The diverse topics and the real people presenting them.

 

If you want the recordings of the event (they will be released asap), or if you want to keep up to date on future live event announcements please use this link to get on the email notification mailing list

Here’s a link to the event info page which will be updated with info about the video recording of the event very soon. On that same page you can join the Facebook group for the event & see the list of speakers we had along with some resources from the event.

A few pics:

Some random observations and lessons:

  • It is quite possible to host an event in the Internet Marketing arena WITHOUT having a “pitch fest”. We had NOTHING for sale at the back of the room. No pressure to “jump up and act now” was allowed – all of my presenters agreed to this rule. It was 100% informational, and it was unlike anything I’ve seen done before in this industry.
  • Attendees were gracious, kind and gave GREAT feedback. Most telling statistic? With nearly 100 anonymous online survey results submitted so far from the attendees we’ve had NO ONE say they wouldn’t return if/when we do it again. Exactly 97 “YES” votes, and only 1 “not sure”.
  • It’s impossible to replace the power of face to face conversations with any other technology
  • The Silent Sales Machine book was mentioned as the core starting point for dozens of incredible success stories. I’m proud of the success of that book.

Thanks for supporting CES 2013!

Did you attend? What did you think? Have a question? Leave a comment.

 

I’m ready for a real online business. Where do I start?

I’ve been helping great people answer that question for over a decade now. Is it working? As evidence we have over a thousand positive comments and success stories to show for our efforts.

Part of my recent approach to teaching online success is to start out telling people what NOT to do because the odds are they’ve already gotten a bunch of bad advice by the time they discover my ideas.

My students are often surprised to hear me say that they definitely should NOT start their online business efforts by:

  • learning new technical, design or programming skills
  • building a website (or even worse, a bunch of them)
  • affiliate marketing to strangers
  • buying a brilliantly marketed “big launch” course from a guru
  • attending an Internet business seminar (flight + hotel followed by pitch fest)
  • subscribing to a bunch of online “experts” to soak up all the “free stuff”

So, where should you start?

I run three distinct and successful online businesses and have been doing so for years. The success rate is high when I teach the models to others. I suggest you start with the model below that best suits you. If you aren’t quite sure, then I suggest you start with number one from the below list.

Here are the three strategies of online success that my coaches and I teach:

1. Sell high profit physical goods through Amazon.com, eBay.com and possibly (eventually) your own website. Optionally, you are continually finding creative ways to automate and grow a huge customer following for future sales and connections. (The membership site MySilentTeam.com supports this concept)

2. Find a profitable niche market, be a leader in that niche and give your followers fantastic content while also selling them related products, services, training, or information that is of interest to them. (MySilentTeam.com also supports this concept). NOTE: This IS NOT the same thing as setting up a bunch of tiny niche websites! That model is DEAD & I’ve not liked it for nearly 5 years.

3. Get paid to help other businesses, experts, authors and organizations apply marketing that works to their business. (OfflineBiz.com supports this concept)

Read more about each of these strategies plus more about where NOT to start in the $5 SilentSalesMachine.com book.

Any questions or comments? Let’s talk about it! I’d love your feedback.

How to drive traffic to your eBay and Amazon listings

One of the questions I get asked occasionally by new eBay and Amazon sellers is this,

“Jim, how do I drive traffic to my eBay and Amazon listings?”

That’s the wrong question.

There’s an inherent problem in that question that I’d like to expose in this blog post. This post is aimed primarily at “newbies” with stars in their eyes and big hopes for fast success.

If that’s you, the next paragraph is important for you to understand and take to heart and could save you a TON of wasted time, energy, effort and cash:

The beauty of Amazon and eBay is that the massive customer base is BUILT IN and all of those people are in a SHOPPING MOOD. There’s no need to ‘drive customers’ to your listings if you’ve picked the right products to sell.

If you picked the WRONG product or are trying to sell your own original unknown product and are left trying to “drive traffic” to it you are playing an entirely different and more difficult game.

While you may hear stories of people promoting their eBay and Amazon listings using SEO tactics, you won’t find me spending (wasting) much time on that type of strategy for newbies b/c it’s such wasted effort for nearly all people who try to do it.

The fact is, even if you start driving traffic to your products on Amazon or eBay from an external source (i.e. your blog for example), the number of competing products that Amazon and eBay display next to your offer will offset any advantage you may have had. You’d have likely been better off just selling the items on your own blog -something I also don’t recommend trying.

If profit is part of your goal, you are better off putting your energy into creating and finding products that have built in demand vs. wasting time trying to drive traffic to your listings.

My best guess is that the concept of “driving traffic to your listings” is something you read on a shiny object sales page somewhere. I can assure you that there’s absolutely NO strategy that exists to make this happen more often than every once in awhile. When it does work, it works for only the rarest of lucky sellers who are also tenacious risk takers and who are also willing to see it all vanish overnight on the whim of a Google algorithm change. (If you don’t understand that last sentence you should DEFINITELY stay away from any “driving traffic” strategies.)

I spend a great deal of time on my blog talking about SEO. My views used to be considered crazy, but now more and more experts are acknowledging that I was ahead of my time on this topic…and that I’m right! Read through the SEO section of this site or my blog for more detail. I promise you’ll never look at “driving traffic” the same way!

And I’ll repeat my foundational advice for this post:

If profit is part of your goal, you are better off putting your energy into creating and finding products that have built in demand vs. wasting time trying to drive traffic to your listings.

Please leave a comment – let’s talk about it…

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