Sometimes, when I think about what I am doing on the internet at the moment, i.e. getting going in internet marketing, I think that somehow I am not adding anything; just grabbing business off other affiliates – or trying to. I was starting to think how I was not adding anything to the world, just diverting business from other people to me.
I was making the mistake of thinking that the online world is different to entering self employment in the offline world in this respect. But, let’s face it, there are 12 estate agents down the road from me, and two of them are new. Well, these new ones – are they not the equivalent of my online scenario? I mean, they too are not bringing a new product or service to the market, and they too are diverting sales from the existing estate agents rather than creating “new” sales out of nowehere.
After all, for the small businessman starting out, it’s surely a lower risk to enter an existing market with a twist on an existing service or product than to try to convince people to buy something totally new that they don’t understand, unless you have really deep pockets. I mean, look at Edison’s light bulb – how long did he take to get that right and earn some cash? And what about Dyson and his plethora of prototypes before he got that vortex vacuum cleaner working right.
No, I can see this now – for those with little capital, the initial route to self employment on- or off-line is like diverting a stream so you get a little of the water. A stream of business. One that’s flowing already. Diverting some of what’s there to you, not finding a way to make a new kind of water, and not mining for a new spring in the desert. I’m convinced that for most people who go it alone, in the early days it’s just about going where the business is and diverting a little of it to your enterprise – where of course, you will try to add a little USP, a little something that makes you something more than just another estate agent, internet marketer or whatever.
For me, this realisation helped me to stop devaluing what I am doing online. I am fighting for business just as valiantly and just as respectably as any estate agent, solicitor or baker in the high street.
As I write this I’m coming out of a couple of bad days during which I have felt that I have made little progress and taken a pessimistic view of what I have achieved in recent months and where I am taking it all.
I was trying to understand why I felt that way during these last couple of days so I can try to avoid it, because it is basically negativity that is getting in the way of my progress when it happens.
I have to say that for me a lot of the problem is the home working. Being alone for most of the day is not for me and never will be. I hate it with a passion. I’m never good alone – I need people; I love people. I knew when I embarked on this journey into self employment, when I jumped, that it would be like this for some time. What I didn’t realise is that occasionally even I would not be able to shake off the demons that sometimes creep up and surround you when you are alone. Worry about money. A lack of confidence in what you are doing. No longer knowing your place in the world. I have noticed that, when I am working alone at home, these demons tend, if you are not careful, to grow; to surround and envelop you, to paralyse you so that you cannot move forward. They torture your soul so that it is impossible to see any aspect of your fledgling business in a positive or optmistic light. They are the voices that say:
NO – I just typed in a load of negative stuff and then back-spaced over it because I don’t want you to read all that rubbish, which, at the end of the day, is the best way to describe all that negative speak from those pesky demons – it really is RUBBISH.
So, I now realise that sometimes when I work alone I become vulnerable to an attack from the demons, and that when it happens, it can blow all the worry out of proportion – now that I understand this, I am on my guard – ready with a counter-attack of POSITIVITY that will kill those demons dead!
I am, to be honest, a bit ashamed of having to admit to this, but early this morning, I was struck by a sudden bout of self-pity, wondering how I can ever make this self employment work. The Internet Marketing, granted, has had some early successes, but they are of course small, and I think it was this that started me off was thinking, as I lay in bed in the early hours, just how far I have to get to reach the stage when I am able to pay the bills from the business income. Basically, my income for September was just under 1% of what I need to live.
I say I am ashamed because, well, I have come a long way since the beginning of August and I always knew it was going to take a lot longer than a couple of months. My partner is supportive, and thanks to the income from that quarter, we are almost, but not quite, paying our way. So the shame I feel at my self-pity this morning was really because I know that I am in a better position than many. I have a chance to do something about my lot, to make a success of things in a way that I decide, unlike many people in the world who, for one reason or another, can do nothing but grin and bear their situation.
I am redoubling my efforts now, and calling upon deep reserves of drive and positivity to get me through this, because I know that most beginners in business, especially Internet Marketing, wake up one day and find themselves at the end of the honeymoon period and facing many months of slog to get to their goals. This is the point, I suspect, that tips most would-be Internet Marketers over the edge and causes them to give up. Not me.
After about two months in this game, following the Thirty Day Challenge internet marketing formula, and learning an absolute SHED load of information, I have come to settle on a niche to develop, one that I am happy with, and one that has lots of possibilities. I am going to tackle the travel industry. Now let me tell you how I reached this point:
At first, for my “challenge” test site, I was advised in the training to examine my “interests” and subjects “I know about” – but these yielded no immediate ideas, so to keep up with the challenge deadlines I decided to do something based on a physical product where I had identified a hopeful keyword. Hence PushchairStroller.net was born. This was a failure in terms of the challenge, because there was a quirk with the keyword, half of it being used only in the UK and the other half only being used in the USA. So I got to number 1 and no traffic. Of course, I have no interest in pushchairs, and to be honest the next site was a little more interesting to me – in the field of fitness. I like to keep fit myself and I was OK about writing articles on this subject. However, the “digital product” that I am referring people to – well, you really can get the same information anywhere on the internet if you can be bothered to look – and I can’t honestly say I believe in it. However, I stuck with it as a learning exercise – and I am still pushing it because it seems that it is more competitive than the research suggested and I cannot get it near the top of the search engines just yet. The traffic of 15-20 visitors a day have not bought anything. Today I added an email subscription box – subscribe and get a free guide.
Oh dear, this was meant to be a quick post. Anyway, on to the next site, for an electronic product. This has been up for about six weeks and is now at no 5 for its main keyword with about 15-20 visitors a day. Three sales so far, which is not bad for the number of visitors. I am pushing this like crazy – no – that’s a lie – I would LIKE to push it but things get in the way..
Then I directed by search towards travel, because actually I am interested in it and like writing about it – like so many writers, of course! I did some keyword research and quickly found that most of the niches are mega-competitive – but at least it is a wide area to look at. The monetisation side is excellent too – if only I could get a sale or two. My first two test sites went well – well weird that is. One has yet to rank anywhere interesting, and the other, after about four weeks, is at number 8 for the theme keyword. The problem is that the 1200 forecast visitors for the number 1 slot should dilute into something more than the two-a-day I am getting at number 8. So what is wrong? Who knows. There is some seasonal stuff coming into the mix, but I allowed a lot for that and even so..
The point of this post, which I have digressed from, is that last night I hit a sort of epiphany – I realised just how “right” the travel niche feels for me, and that I am indeed ending up following the advice and marketing something I actually like – why on earth could I not see this in August when I was looking at my interests and trying to relate them to Internet Marketing? I am not stupid, but in this case I was hopeless – couldn’t even see what was right in front of my face!
Oh well, not much time lost and at least one of my pre-travel test sites has made some sales! Now, I have been either brave or stupid and registered a rather generic travel brand-rich domain name and intend to build content on this for a long time. Alongside this I intend to develop a lot of (hopefully) quick-win micro-niche sites with keyword-rich domains. And I am trying not to think about the £1800 gross that I am not earning each month, which is what I need to pay the bills.
Well, as it is the start of October, I have just done a quick review of what I have managed to do in the past two months, since the start of the Thirty Day Challenge.
I now have several websites up and running. There is the 30DC one, which I have abandoned, because it failed its 30DC test, as although it has been at or near to the top of Google for some time, there were virtually no visitors. Ironically, it did attract a sale – my first sale – via Amazon, and commission, the amount of which will be etched on my mind forever – £1.57. It was a shame that the sale was so small. Pushchairstroller.net, the site in question, had products that averaged about £150 which would have given me more commission than this. Since that website was deemed a “fail” about mid-August, I started on another one, this time selling a so-called “digital product” (which basically means a load of pdfs, video clips and audio podcasts) in the fitness field. The website looks great and I have continued to add posts and build links to it, because, unlike the pushchair site, this one did not go straight in at the top and it was clear from the early days that it had a lot of competition. Until yesterday, having been live for about six weeks, a search on the main keyword for the site would find my site lower that number 100 in the list – but yesterday it suddenly hit 100. The site is listed higher for another keyword that has less traffic, and this ranking has been improving gradually and I am in the top 10 with that one. Traffic is gradually increasing, and is usually about 20 a day – not enough. However, I am continuing to work on this website to see if I can get it higher up the list and more traffic – so I can see if the product sells.
My next website, number three, is in the field of electronic goods. This had its first round of content and satellite articles etc. finished by about the end of the first week in September. Since then I have had three sales from this site, and commission of about £16, again from Amazon. The conversion rate is excellent so far, so this site has passed its 30DC test with flying colours and I am working on getting it ranked higher than 8th or 9th where it now sits, with traffic at about 20 a day.
In about mid-September I began two concurrent travel sites. I love holidays and everything that goes with it, and thought I could easily write content for a travel site or two – which has proved to be the case. Unlike the electronic site, which bores me to tears when I write for it, the travel sites are a dream to write for. So far, these two sites have been live for about three weeks, and the worrying thing is that despite one of them ranking at no. 8, it is getting between three and zero hits per day – the estimated traffic at number 1 is 1200 per day – so there is clearly something wrong. These site are a bit of an experiment, because although they both meet the 30Dc criteria, the keyword of one is a subset of the keyword of the other. The longer one gets half of the traffic of the shorter one. I was hoping to capture both lots of traffic – but to date the 2nd site of the two has not ranked anywhere.
I also decided last month to develop a long-term website in travel – I have a set of domain names for this, and I have started putting content on this main site – rewritten from articles on the other test travel sites. I am desperately waiting for some traffic and the first sale on one of the test travel sites to see if I can make it and to see if developing this big travel site is going to be worth the work – it’s a very lucrative sector in internet marketing – but also a very competitive one. It’s just an industry that appeals to me so much – it’s close to my heart, and my partner has worked in the industry and feels the same way as I do about it. So having a nice big authority site in the travel industry does sound “right” for me. What I am planning is to find good keywords and develop test sites on each one, re-writing the content and putting each post onto the main travel site too. This give me an incentive to find travel industry keywords, because we almost get two posts for one. The main site is more of a generic travel site, so the home page is unlikely to rank, but the categories and posts will be optimised for keywords that basically pass the 30DC criteria, so should have a chance of ranking – the thing that they will not have is the keyword in the domain name – rather it will be in the category and/or post URL. Anyway, we shall see how all this goes. As I say, as of now I am desperately awaiting some traffic at my first travel test sites.
Sort of “on the side” I have also put together a site on a keyword relates to sexuality. it’s not an adult theme, but more to do with lifestyle. I can identify with this minority, being a part of it, and this made it very easy to develop the website. I have not really followed the 30DC process with this one, because from the very start it went in at number one, has stayed there ever since, and has attracted about 50 hits a day. I joined a dating affiliate scheme and put an ad on the site about a week ago – and the day before yesterday to my amazement, £1.22 landed in my account, being payment for a lead – which I didn’t even know was part of the deal! Now, I need to find time to attract some more traffic to some related category keywords, as this is clearly going to be a site with potential.
So, in nine short weeks I have developed six test sites, one fail, two passes, and three still under test. I have had commission for four sales, and one lead. I have also started the longer-term wannabe-authority web site in the travel industry.
Of course, total gross earnings of £17.69 in September is not all that near to the £1800 gross per month that we need to break even in our household – but hey – all I need to do is 100 times the same – and I am there! Seriously, I am pleased with the start I have made here, from nothing, but there is quite obviously a heck of a long way to go! One of my main fears is that I will slide backwards and not go forwards, in terms of traffic to the sites and sales. It will be hard, and I have to be ready for this, if during October I actually earn less than this month, or get less traffic. I have to be ready to face that and bloody well carry on regardless!