I met Carol at the Lake Chapala tennis courts this week. She's absolutely gorgeous and I can't tell if she's 65 or just 50. There's a new breed of healthy, active people retiring to Mexico these days.This is not your grandmother's retirement community by a long shot.
Carol was curious about how I work online. Apparently she has a few ideas she'd like to take to the Web. She's a retired educator. So she asked me if it's really possible to make money online.
To some people, it looks like I'm living the dream: I play tennis everyday, live in a paradise community with perfect weather year-round, and have a gorgeous lake-side home.
I come home, write a few words on my blogs, and then check my bank account for online sales. I sell information, so it looks easy… just turn words into dollars (or in my case, pesos!) No overhead costs, no staff to manage, just me and my trusty computer.
Pass the lemonade and salsa while I grab another nacho. I'm telling you this story for a good reason, not to brag or seem like a smarty-pants.
Here's where the story gets interesting for those of you who want to create the same thing for yourselves: a mere four years ago I was struggling. My online results were frustratingly poor. Worse, I was miserable because I knew my ideas were good, if only I could reach the people who needed my services.
And, if only I knew what the heck I was supposed to be doing online! It was all so techie and confusing…
If this sounds familiar to you, bear with me, I'm coming to the point, I promise.
Yesterday I wrote a post called Why Your Website Is Not Enough…and why it never will be. I told you that research shows that business blogs are growing. I showed you a graph that projects the future use of business blogs.
Then I shared with you a poll that Lee Odden ran on his Online Marketing Blog. The top 3 marketing tools of smart professionals are
- Search engine optimization
Not only that, but 6 out of 10 preferred marketing tools are social media marketing sites.
A website isn't enough because you must create substantial content on the Web in order to get found and get business. You must blog. You must use Twitter. You must continually seed the Internet with keywords, driving traffic back to you.
So the big problem for most people who have a big idea is the same as it was for me four years ago: How do you get going fast? How do you have time to do all your online marketing?
When a website isn't enough, when you need to be blogging, and tweeting, and aware of search engine keywords and content marketing… YIKES! If it took me four years, well, in another couple of years everything will be changed on the 'Net anyway and there will be new things to learn.
How I Changed My Tune
I used to tell clients on teleseminars, "Hey, don't worry. Take it one step at a time. They make the software so easy now, anyone can learn to set up a blog in no time."
"You can do it all yourself," I sang. (Of course, even I had a partner at the time!)
Yes, all these user-friendly tools like KickStartCart and Typepad and Facebook and Twitter make it easy to go online and have a strong Internet presence all by yourself. No tech skills required. Sure, it helps to download a few ebooks and learn how to do online marketing.
But unless you've got a budget you still have to do it all yourself. And that takes years. Or maybe you could hire someone…
The Outsourcing Myth
Along came a few popular books that told you to outsource everything. But guess what? That costs money and you often get mediocre results.
Here's my new tune. I've been humming this ever since I discovered this free report online by Jon Morrow and Brian Clark of Copyblogger: The Outsourcing Conspiracy. Don't you love it when there's a conspiracy revealed?
Seriously, folks, you need to download this report. You don't have to even give them your name or email, it's free and ungated. No strings.
Besides the good ideas in this report, it is so well written. You need to read this and study the writing techniques. It's content marketing at it's finest. What else would you expect from Brian Clark and his team?
Okay, I've been a bit long-winded here, just to tell you to go get somebody else's free report. But after you read it, you'll discover something else equally important.
If you take that next step in the free report you will learn some big important pieces to the "take an idea online and make money" puzzle.
What about Carol?
I encourage Carol to start by learning what the experts already know and are willing to teach. Find someone who knows what they're doing, and has the time to teach you. And find others to partner with. But don't waste your time trying to do it all yourself. You don't have time for that. Start smart. But hurry…