Archive for February 2010

Just What Is Internet Marketing? II

An Internet Marketing Primer: Part II

In the first part of “An Internet Marketing Primer” we looked at the one of the traditional ways of putting products into the hands of hungry consumers; the retail store. The cost of doing business is high—rent, utilities, insurance, advertising and help add up to a big fat “nut” that needs to be cracked each month before Mr. Entrepreneur can begin paying his own rent, utilities, insurance, etc.

The personal cost is high, too. The retail store will be open 60+ hours per week and the owner will likely be there the vast majority of time the store is open. And when he’s physically free, his mind will remain incarcerated as he worries about his store. Now, let’s look at how I make money on the Internet selling a similar product.

Here’s my storefront, and in it you will find the guitar instruction books that I sell: http://electric-guitarlessons.com.

“Rent” for my store currently runs about $28/month. That’s its share of what I pay for hosting the site and my Internet access fee; that cost will drop as those two fixed expenses are spread over more sites as I build them.

I wrote all the articles and reviews on the site, and it took me about 20 hours to do that. While I acknowledge that my time is valuable, I spent $0 cash constructing my storefront.

I market my site using my knowledge of the best free Internet marketing techniques; keyword research, search engine optimization, link building, article marketing, directory listing, etc. Notice I said “free”; my monthly marketing expense runs $0. (Yes, you can spend money, and lots of it, marketing your site and one day I will explore that option. But for now I use the best free Internet marketing techniques.)

My hours are what I want them to be. I can build a site, choose a niche to market to and appropriate products, write product reviews/reports and articles (content) whenever and wherever I feel like doing it. My goal is to launch (build and market) one site per week; I’ve never actually counted hours because I love what I do and who punches an “I’m having fun playing golf with my buddies” time clock?

Once my storefront is running efficiently I can pretty much leave it alone and it will continue to earn money for me for months, or even years, to come. If I want to spend two weeks, or two months, in Aruba the groundwork I laid will continue to draw a hungry customer with credit card in hand to my site. If I am sitting on the beach or lying asleep in my bed and an aspiring guitar god in Istanbul decides to purchase “Jamorama”** from my site, I get paid.

So how much is one of these sites worth? Of course that’s impossible to say; build 10 sites and eight of them may be duds. But let’s use Jamorama for an example. The course costs $49.95 and pays a 75% commission; that’s about $37 to me. Let’s say that I sell a product 4 times a week; over a 30-day month that averages out to about $20 per day. I’m now making $600/month, or $7200/year; hardly a living but remember, I have 10 sites! So if I average $20/day on 10 sites I’m now making $72,000/year.

Remember, it takes me a week to build and market a site. So that means that every site I build earns me a $7200/ year raise. If I build one site a month for the next 12 months I will have given myself an $86,000 raise which when added to the $72,000 I’m currently earning from my sites will give me a total income of nearly $160,000—now we’re getting somewhere!

No, I am not doing this kind of business—yet. But now that I know how to do it I assure you I will. It has been a long and arduous task coming up with the tools, techniques and business model that has put me in a position to begin living the lifestyle of an Internet entrepreneur. The path to enlightenment is fraught with wrong turns, dead ends and charlatans. In coming articles I hope to share with you what I’ve learned in hopes of providing you with the freedom and independence that we all so desire in our lives—stay tuned, or better yet, subscribe.

**The link to that site contains a code that tells my affiliate that it was me who sent you to his site. That way, if you buy his product he knows to pay me. Go ahead, click on it; I don’t mind!

Make Money From Home: An Internet Marketing Primer

work at home mom

“So Old Dog, what are you doing these days?”

“Since I lost my job I’ve been learning the intricacies of Internet marketing.”

“Oh yeah; I have a friend who does that.”

I believe people when then tell me that; but I do not believe that they have any idea of what I do.

Selling books and guitars and baby clothes over the Internet is a slight shift on a paradigm that’s existed since Eve sold Adam on the apple idea. But there’s a whole new world of Internet marketing out there, and if you’re interested in making some extra money, or looking for a way to while away the time during your retirement, I encourage you to read on.

Let’s start with a quiz; how many of these terms can you define?

Search engine optimization, both on-page and off-page. Google AdWords. Google AdSense. Pay-per-click. Pay-per-view. Pay-per-action. Affiliate marketing. Affiliate network. Clickbank. FTP. Domain name. Website (I thought I’d throw you a bone!). Have you heard of ‘GoDaddy’? Do you have any idea what they do?

As you can see there is a whole new lingo that represents a whole new way of doing business.

And while I’m somewhat familiar with most variations on Internet marketing I’m going to focus on the one with which I’m most familiar, “affiliate marketing”. Let’s look first at the old way of marketing and then we’ll have a look at the way I do business on the Internet.

I’m a guitar player and I’ve built a website (http://electric-guitarlessons.com) to sell guitar instruction courses under this new paradigm we’re discussing. Here’s how to do the same thing the “old way”.

First you need to find a product or two; shouldn’t be tough, there are plenty of publishers and book wholesalers to help you find a few good-selling titles. Now you need a place where customers can come and buy your books. So you rent a storefront for, let’s just say, $1000/month.

You’ll be open from 9-6 Monday through Saturday and 12-5 on Sunday, but you can’t be there every minute of every day so you’ll need to hire some help. Let’s bring in a part-timer, say 20 hours/week @ $10/hour. That’s $800/month, and don’t forget that you’ll need to contribute 7.5%, or $60 of your money to her Social Security .

Then there’s the light bill, heat and AC, and don’t forget insurance; I’ll be conservative and estimate $500/month. You’ll need to bring customers through the door (that’s called ‘marketing’!); again, I’ll estimate advertising and marketing expenses conservatively at $500/month. So it looks like you’ll need $2410 just to open the door. With a typical wholesale>retail markup of 40% you’ll have to sell about $6000 worth of $20 mguitar instruction books to break even; at $20/book that’s 300 books, or 12 each day.

You will need some start-up cash, of course. There’s inventory to purchase, fixtures to buy and everyone who provides service to you is going to want a deposit in the unlikely event your business doesn’t fly. I don’t think $7500 is far-fetched at all.

All this expense is worth it to you, of course, because you know you’ll be one of the fortunate “two-thirds of new employer establishments [that] survive two years, and 44 percent [that] survive four years” (from the US SBA).

And no more punching the clock; no more answering to “the man”; no more “yes boss”, “no boss”.

Also no more time to play guitar or golf, no time for vacations, no time to play with the kids…you have a business to run, after all! I’ve worn the shoes of “business owner” and trust me; even in the best of times its like wearing a very large stone around your neck.

In Part II of “An Internet Marketing Primer” I’ll show you how I sell guitar instruction courses. I guarantee that you will be awakened to a whole new way of thinking about and doing business. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to click on that orange “Subscribe” button on the upper right of this page.

First Race of the Year: the 2010 “Polar Bear”

Walking For Fitness and Weight Loss

walking-for-fitness (Not me!)

I began walking for fitness and weight loss in the autumn of 2008 as a means of preparing for the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon the following May. For the last few years my brother Kerry and some friends had set aside time each summer for an “adventure”. While discussion options for the following year’s challenge around a campfire on the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia Kerry, a former Hoosier, suggested they attempt to complete the country’s largest half-marathon.

When he told me about the upcoming challenge I immediately invited myself to join them and said invitation was enthusiastically accepted. I was 57 years old and had grown sedentary; I was looking for an excuse to get off my butt and back onto the street (I had been a runner for many years). I had also fantasized about completing the Mini, 13.1 miles through the streets of Indianapolis, including a lap around the fabled 2.5 mile oval known as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

I’m proud to say that Kerry, 6 years my senior, and I completed the daunting task. And in the process I increase my level of fitness and lost a few pounds to boot. But more important than those results was the fact that I’d developed a new, good habit—walking for fitness and weight loss. The benefits of exercise as well as the process of exercising itself become almost addictive. Someone once said that you can never be too rich or too skinny; I don’t know about the first but I do know from experience that looking at a pile of jeans that are just too big to wear anymore is intoxicating!

I’m now preparing to meet Kerry again in May for our second Mini. I’ve begun adding some jogging to my routine; another intoxication to competitive walking is to improve your times and pace. When I started my walking program I set a goal of completing any race I participated in at a 15 minute/mile pace and was proud to have completed the Mini in 3 hours and 8 minutes or 14:35/mile. But now I want better.

runinsnowIndianapolis has many opportunities to test your progress while walking/running with others. The first such competition is the Polar Bear 3 mile/5mile which takes place on the third Saturday in February. In my first run/walk competition of any kind I completed 2009’s 3 mile in 43:35, a pace of 14.06; I was pretty happy with that. This year’s race was cold (duh!) and my upper body layers (tech tee-shirt, heavy cotton hoodie covered by a Gore-Tex shell) immediately felt like chain mail armor. But I did my best and finished at a markedly improved pace over the prior year. Here is my evaluation:

Weather: cloudy and cold, 28 degrees at start. Nominal wind, some puddles and snowpack in places on the streets but not enough to affect the outcome of the race.

My general condition/well being:

Before the event: I felt great, excited to be with like minded people, confident of my ability to show improvement, no injuries.

During the event: A sense of doom at the outset. I’d planned on jogging the first 10 minutes but as soon as I began my upper body felt like I was wearing lead. I probably jogger for 2-3 minutes before I had to begin walking in order to catch my breath. For the remainder of the race I felt burdened and strained.

After the race: Jubilant! Despite the apparent burden of my low-tech upper body clothing I finished far better than I thought I would. About 200 yards from the finish line I saw the timer turn to 38 minutes; I’d set a goal of 40, and quickly calculated that I had 1 minute to finish at a sub-13 minute pace. I turned on the afterburners and looked up to see the timer tick off 38:47 as I crossed the finish line—I let out an audible “Yes!”

My conditioning, 1-5: I’ll give me a 3. I’ve come a long way the last few months but I’ve got a long way to go. By the end of the season I want to be able to complete a 5K in 31 minutes, a 10 minute pace.

My effort, 1-5: 5 I’m proud to say. I pushed myself hard, particularly at the end

Miscellaneous notes:

I finished in the 33 percentile; 2/3s of the participants were faster than me. But there’s something wonderful about being in the bottom third. I am surrounded by non-athletes; brave souls who are no longer young, overweight, out of shape or a combination thereof. Their likes all over the country are still in bed on this Saturday morning or sitting at McDonalds eating pancakes and sausage. For every one of these non-athletes doing this athletic thing in the cold there are thousands of people just like them who have waved the white flag and surrendered to the onset of their oldness, fatness and out-of-shape-ness. But not us; each of us is driven to be more, be better, be happier with ourselves. I don’t know your reasons for being out here on this gloriously miserable morning and you don’t know mine. But as I pass you, or watch you pass me, I feel the unacknowledged camaraderie we share and I silently cheer you on to the finish line and your own personal victory. See ya’ at the next race!

**There are lots of weight loss programs out there and it’s easy to get ripped off. “Fat Burning Furnace” has been the best selling program available on the Internet for months now, and that typically indicates a quality product. If you’re interested in learning more about the Fat Burning Furnace click here.

"You can’t teach an old dog new tricks" Part II

Internet Marketing For Dummies

During the November prior to my emancipation I’d begun building a website based on a book I’d written called “Conversations with Katherine.” It is the story of …

“…a middle-aged man’s struggle to overcome the debilitating lack of self esteem bequeathed him by an abusive step-mother. It is a vicarious account of the author’s own journey back to sanity and the lessons he learned along the way.”

bigcover More than any other thing in my life I felt compelled to build this site; indeed I’d been enlisted by a Higher Power to share my experiences in order to bring comfort, hope and reconstructive methodologies to others whose lives had been derailed be child abuse. During the writing of the second half of the book I’d learned an important lesson; I didn’t need to know how anything was going to turn out. I only needed to take the next step (which was always apparent) and have faith that I’d ultimately be led to a destination that was right for me.

This is a truth that I carry with me everywhere, and anytime I get agitated or worried about how a seeming challenge will be resolved I remember to simply take the next step with faith that by doing so the next one will be revealed and in due time, the successful resolution to the problem will come about. Then one day during an infrequent Internet surfing session (LMAO!) I stumbled into the world of Internet marketing. (Come on! I don’t care how good you are at putting one foot in front of the other; eventually you’re going to stumble!)

If I had to write a small classified ad for a class to teach Internet marketing it would read something like this:

“Work from home. Earn Ferrari money in 10 hours a week. For more info call toll free, 1 800-BULLSHIT.”

It’s like never seeing a fish and then getting thrown into a school of herring; fish are suddenly everywhere. Google “Internet marketing” or “work at home” and you’ll find tens of thousands of pages promising you to show you the way to make your fortune while working in your pajamas. There are blogs and forums to help you, courses for sale and experts to teach you, guide you and take your money every step of the way as you get ever closer to living the life of a rock star. The problem becomes this: among all these thousands of herring which are worthy of packing in cream sauce?

Amidst all the ballyhoo one thing became apparent; Internet marketing was viable and do-able. I knew that if I could learn what to do and how to it I would never again have to answer to a superior, I could repair the financial damage that years of frustrated and misguided career efforts had caused and I could win the one prize I coveted most—freedom. So I set about learning the intricacies of Internet marketing.

In the posts that follow I’ll try and help my readers find the pony that lies amidst the pile of manure* that comprises the bulk of Internet marketing information. It’s a jungle of misinformation and outright chicanery out there; add to that the fact that the mechanics of getting a site up are like reading Arabic to most old guys like me. But stick with me and soon you’ll be confounding your friends with tech-speak terms like “search engine optimization”, “keyword research” and “HTML tags”. And if you hang around long enough you may even learn how to make some money while sitting at the kitchen table.


boyandpony *Worried that their son was too optimistic, the parents of a little boy took him to a psychiatrist. Trying to dampen the boy’s spirits, the psychiatrist showed him into a room piled high with nothing but horse manure. Yet instead of displaying distaste, the little boy clambered to the top of the pile, dropped to all fours, and began digging.

“What do you think you’re doing?” the psychiatrist asked.

“With all this manure,” the little boy replied, beaming, “there must be a pony in here somewhere.”

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”

old-dog-tricksThe necessity for me to prove that hackneyed old adage wrong came about on February 9, 2009. It began with a page at the Honda dealership where I’d been selling Hondas for the last 13 years;

“Old Dog to the business office, please. Old Dog, please come to the business office.”

It was my sales manager, and I had a pretty good idea of what was coming. He’d warned me a few months earlier that my weekly draw was outpacing my commissions and that if I didn’t begin to lessen the gap quickly I was likely to become the first man in history to lose his job as a car salesman for something less egregious than aggravated assault on the owner.

I wasn’t sure why I’d been paged to an office other than his but I suspected that he didn’t have the guts to fire me all by himself. Dean was reputed to have a rather impressive male appendage but I’d come to observe during his tenure as sales manager that his balls were the size of bee pollen.

He just couldn’t handle conflict. During one dramatic episode I watched a terribly distraught general manager make a cathartic apology to the sales force he’d been abusing for the past 20 years. The GM and Dean were good friends; in fact, he’d given Dean his position of sales manager. Watching his friend’s anguish was more than Dean could bear; he walked to and stood facing the door while hanging his head and staring at the floor. He looked like a little boy being made to stay in a room while his father beat his mom; I thought he’d pee his pants before it was over.

So there I was; 58 years old and unemployed and in a sense, relieved. I had, after decades of trying to make a living as a car salesman, finally failed in my attempt to do so. I had proven to myself and the entire world that I was not very good at something I really disliked doing.

For that reason, as well as the fact that the auto industry (and the entire US, for that matter) was in the throes of the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression, finding gainful employment as a seller of automobiles was out of the question. But the rent still needed to be paid so if I was going to continue living with a roof over my head I was going to need to learn a new way of making a living—some new tricks.