Q: Tim, I have spent the past few months trying so hard to start an ecommerce business. I have read virtually everything you have written. I have listened in on more than one of your teleconferences.
I have clicked and spent and clicked and spent and clicked and spent. I filled the laundry basket and sold on eBay. I became a Clickbank affiliate (I think I am an affiliate of almost the entire Internet).
I know that it's ironic that I want to make money on the Internet considering I have not one drop of technical skill in my body, but I am a single mom: bottom line is my kids NEED me... and I really and truly am relentless when it comes to getting what I want (in other words, what I lack in technical skills I make up for in persistence.)
Please, please, please...just give me one word or sign or anything...that this CAN be done by the little people (such as myself). Otherwise, I will return to my 5am job that exhausts me so much I can't even tell my children apart anymore (which isn't flattering to a daughter and son that are almost 5 years apart in age!).
This Internet thing is kicking my butt and from what I have studied, you are the "Dr. Phil" of the ecommerce wannabe's, successes and everything in between. (Please don't be offended by the comparison with Dr. Phil....I merely use this in the most pop-culture way possible).
I swear, I am ready to sacrifice my PC in the backyard firepit and return to my old typewriter: that is how frustrated I am.
Thanks for letting me vent (must be an estrogen thing).
-- Mary (real name withheld)
A: Hi Mary, The first thing you need to do is close your eyes, take a deep breath and let it out slowly.
(repeat as necessary :o).
First, let me say that I understand your frustration, but it has been my experience that most people in your situation (including yours truly when I was first starting out) create much of their own frustration because they put themselves under too much pressure to succeed quickly. Their situation is not a happy one and they want to change it TODAY. When that doesn't happen, frustration and anger can set in.
Everyone wants to hit home runs the first time at bat. They want big money and they want it fast. When results don't come as quickly as they think they should they say, "This Internet thing doesn't work and those who claim to make money are scammers!"
I have been an Internet marketer for 3 years now. The first year I did miserably. I lost about $5,000 trying to figure it all out on my own. One day it occurred to me that succeeding would be much easier if I knew what the heck I was doing.
You see, I, like so many others, didn't take the time to educate myself on Internet marketing. I saw others making money online and figured if they could do it, I could, too.
I just found the crowded pool and dove in head first. As you expect, I almost drowned because I had not taken the time to learn how to swim. Heck, I couldn't even float...
So I stopped what I was doing and became a student instead of practitioner. I discovered that I was making every mistake in the book because I had not taken the time to learn what to do, and more importantly, what not to do.
After losing a ton of cash, time, and sleep, it finally started to make sense.
I remember finally making $100 profit from eBay in one week for sales of my own ebook (CD Money Machine).
I had made hundreds of thousands of dollars in other ventures, but that $100 was the hardest money I had ever made. That's why it meant so much to me. It told me that FINALLY I was doing something right.
I took that $100 and plowed it into more auction listings and just kept repeating the process.
Then I moved beyond eBay to my own website.
Then I started to concentrate on developing more products, creating my own affiliate program, pursuing more joint ventures, expanding my marketing campaigns.
Success came to me, BUT ONLY AFTER I stopped doing everything wrong and learned to do a few things right.
Like so many people before me and like so many of you now reading these words, I wasted a year of my life and thousands of dollars because I did not take the time to learn first, then do.
I had unrealistic expectaions of myself and the business. I expected big bucks and fast results and when they did not come I looked for someone other than myself to blame.
It took me taking a step back and reassessing my entire thinking to finally learn how to succeed.
And I succeeded in baby steps, not giant leaps.
There were no home runs.
There were a lot of foul balls and finally base hits.
That's how you succeed.
Here's the bottomline:
There is no such thing as a real get rich quick opportunity. If someone tells you that you can start with no money and no experience and make hundreds of thousands of dollars overnight they are lying to you and you are a fool for believing them. Yes, you can make lots of money in a short period of time as an Internet marketer, but you're not going to get rich this week unless you hit the lottery or your rich uncle dies. And you have a better chance of getting hit by lightning than either of those things happening. Be realistic, be smart, be logical. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
An Internet business is no different from a brick and mortar business: both take hard work, dedication, perseverance, and an investment of time and money. Just because your business is "virtual" that does not mean that you don't have to put some time and effort into launching, building, and running it. Yes, there are many things you can do to automate the process, but you have to build the business before expecting it to run on autopilot.
You must have patience, realistic expectations, and the ability to keep plugging along even if you are not getting the results you expected at first. The problem with we humans is that we are an impatient species. We expect our grand ideas to play out quickly and effortlessly. We expect things to happen at lightspeed. We are a microwave society: nothing happens fast enough for us. In business, nothing happens quickly. Until you understand that, you will drive yourself to failure every time. You will start ventures and quickly abandon them. You will grow frustrated and you will fail.
This is the biggest lesson you can learn here, so read this several times and ask yourself: Is he talking to me? When someone is unhappy with their current situation they are prone to desperation, which leads to unrealistic expectations, which leads to failure, which leads to anger, which leads to a dead end.
I know because I hear from them all the time. I receive emails like:
"Tim I'm broke and in debt and if I don't make $1,000 by Friday they will take my house! Tell me what to do! You are my last hope..."
"Tim, if you don't tell me how to make $500 today my wife is going to leave me. You have to save my marriage..."
These are not made up statements. I am not trying to be funny.
These are actual quotes from emails I've received.And I receive hundreds like this every month.
There is nothing I can say to these people (other than "I'll mail you a check") that will make them feel better about themselves and their situation.
When I reply with the truth, that I am not their salvation and they need to study and work a plan of action, often these same people reply with hate mail.
If I don't tell them what they expect to hear or offer to solve their problems I am the villain. I become the target of their venting. And that's fine. They have to blame someone if they aren't willing to take responsibility for their own lives.
The difference between you and these people, Mary, is you are really trying.
You're learning and practicing and testing and TAKING ACTION.
That puts you in the 1% of people who actually have a chance to make it.
You tell me the things you've done, but you don't tell me anything about your results.
Have any of your efforts paid off, even in small ways?
Large success is built upon a foundation of many small successes.
Have you taken the time to actually learn about Internet marketing, affiliate programs, pay per click, etc.?
It's one thing to signup with a bunch of affiliate programs. It is another thing entirely to know what you should do after you sign up.
Other than listening to me and other so called gurus, what have you done to educate yourself on the Internet marketing business?
What books have you read? What websites have you visited? What forums have you been to?
Education is the first step.
I'll say it again: you must learn to swim before diving in the big pond or you will drown.
No one is going to throw you a life jacket.
No one is even going to notice that you're drowning.
It's sad, but it is entirely true; you are on your own.
Here is my best advice for you: Stop trying to make money until you learn all you can about the Internet marketing industry.
Read books, study the successful marketers, do a Google search for 'Internet marketing forums' and spend time reading what others have posted. You will find people in those forums who have been there, done that. Post questions, ask for advice, join the community. You will find kindred spirits and people more than happy to help you learn and grow.
Finally, if technical ability was a prerequisite for Internet success 99% of the so called big dogs (this pup included) would be back working day jobs.
The key to Internet success is not technical, it is mental.
You can hire someone to write an ebook or hack together programming code for you, but you can't hire someone to do your thinking for you.
Success is about having a plan of action and working it through to the end.
It is about learning to effectively market your products.
Remember, you can have the greatest product in the world, but if you lack the ability to market it, no one will ever know.
On the other hand, you can have a horrible product, but if you are a master marketer you will sell a ton.
Ever heard of Microsoft?
It's easy to find products to sell. The key lies in having the ability to market them, and that is a skill that must be learned before you do anything else.
Don't give up on your dreams, just slow down.
Stop putting so much pressure on yourself.
If you don't make a million dollars by Friday guess what: life goes on. Your kids will still love you, even if you can't tell them apart.
Set goals in baby steps, not giant leaps.
Think long term success, not short term efforts.
Instead of getting frustrated with yourself, pat yourself on the back and say "Dang girl, you are taking action... You are doing things to give your kids a better life!"
Did that sound like Dr. Phil?
I have more hair, he has more money. :o)
Keep the faith and don't give up.
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Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker
Tim Knox is a nationally-known small business expert who writes and speaks frequently on the topic.
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