A popular question posed to many business experts is, "What would you do differently if you had to start all over again now?"
What beginning business owners hope to get from the answer to this question is an idea of how they may best start their own business.
Several years ago, a college kid by the name of Joe Kumar posed a similar question to many Internet Marketing experts. His question was,
"If you suddenly lost everything -- your business, your money, your reputation, your products, your mailing list, your JV partners -- and had to start from zero and be profitable in 30 days, what would you do?"
The answers he collected to his question became a 2-volume product called, "30 Days to Internet Marketing Success".
In today's post, I'm going to reveal what I would do in such a situation.
As several experts featured in Joe Kumar's books, I would take the first day and collect my thoughts. Whatever the problems that may have led to my starting over again, I would not be able to do my best work unless I can free myself from their shadow. I would take an hour or two to meditate, connect with my Divine Self, and ask the question, "How can I be profitable again in 30 days?"
I've learned there is a source of guidance within me that is never wrong, and as long as I can clear my mind, relax, and trust what I get from that deeper wisdom, I'll do okay.
But I'll go further than this. Also on the first day of this 30-day journey, I would also focus my mind on the idea of prosperity, wealth, and abundance, knowing that the more I can center myself into this space, the more I will be led to do the right things at the right time to produce my desired results.
Day 2 would be spent on research. What problems are people complaining about? What's popular right now? What expertise do I have that may serve the needs and desires of folks searching for a solution?
In the theoretical situation proposed by Joe Kumar, I would still have my expertise — my knowledge of manifestation, business, and marketing. These are the areas I would focus on, rather than wasting time learning something new just to meet a popular demand. Besides, these are "evergreen" topics, for which there will always be a demand.
On day 2, I'm just looking to find the specific questions people are asking about RIGHT NOW, and what conditions they're struggling to overcome RIGHT NOW. I find this information by reading blogs, forums, and browsing large product catalogs like ClickBank's marketplace, in which products may be listed in order of current popularity.
Going to the Spirituality, New Age & Alternative Beliefs category in the ClickBank marketplace, I see numerology is a popular topic. I have some knowledge of this, but it's not my specialty, so I move on to find something else.
A product called "15 Minute Manifestation" is near the top of the list. Yes, it seems everyone wants to know how to manifest quickly, so I make note of this. More profitable to promote a quick solution with sketchy results rather than a long, drawn out development process that actually works. I guess I can package my expertise to give the core process up front (which can take as little as 2 minutes, which might be the advantage in the quick-results market), and provide tips and processes for improving results over time, much like I did in my Harmonic Prayer material.
I also see a product called "Total Money Magnetism", which I remember from years back. Still popular, so that's definitely something to pay attention to.
One option here is to start my business as an affiliate to these products and others like them. I can always start here and create my own products later when I have more time. Probably the best way to go right now. So, while I'm at the ClickBank marketplace, I'll go ahead and create an affiliate account, and bookmark the pages where I can get pre-written marketing materials for the products most like the one I plan to create.
When I'm ready to develop my own product, I'll take this basic information and look for a way to help people manifest money quickly. Maybe give it a name of "5 Minute Money Manifesting" or something like that. The important points here would be to keep it simple, and make sure most folks will actually see some results when using the information I produce.
Also on day 2, I'd take time to read through the websites selling the popular products and take note of the main leverage points they use, or "hot buttons" as some people call them, to elicit strong emotions in the folks considering a purchase. If I NEED to be profitable in 30 days, I need to focus on what works rather than trying to do better.
And this will also help me better promote the affiliate products, and become more profitable sooner.
On day 3, I'll map out a plan of action.
At this point, I have a target to shoot for, but not a full plan of action. I still need to know how I'm going to attract folks to my website, and how I can get them onto a mailing list where I can nurture a relationship for future sales. Once I have them on a mailing list, I can use the pre-written materials to promote the affiliate products I've chosen to represent while I develop my own product to sell later.
The core of a successful online business is focused on building a list of prospects who may potentially be interested in the products you represent or sell directly. This requires ads or free content that may be placed on other websites, with links back to your website, where you can describe a free gift offer available if they subscribe to your list.
You need 3 main pages to start. A page describing the free gift with a form to subscribe, a page telling them to confirm their subscription by clicking a link in an automatically-generated email, and finally a page to deliver the free gift.
You also need 2 email messages. One to get the confirmation so you don't accidentally get spam complaints, and another email with a link to the gift delivery page. Although these are the minimum required, I'll go ahead and add a few more. I'll start with a few emails to introduce my way of thinking, some helpful tips, and the pre-written materials posted on the pages I bookmarked earlier to promote my chosen affiliate products.
These first few emails can be scheduled quickly. In fact, the first 7 to 14 days are going to be the most important, and it's perfectly okay to send daily emails in this introductory period. As long as the emails are informative and beneficial, no one is going to complain if they also happen to promote a product or two. While I could use the pre-written materials as provided, I've found it useful to write my own using them as a guide and template. The best emails are those which are exciting, educational, and use a soft-sell approach to introduce the featured product.
Okay, so by the end of day 3, I've drawn out a plan of action, consisting of a sequence of webpages and emails, marketing messages to educate folks on why they should consider the products I represent, and a possible product to develop later.
Only 3 days into this process, and I already know what I'm going to sell and how.
On day 4, it's time to create a free gift offer (short video, audio, or written report) to entice folks to join my mailing list. This needs to set me apart from everyone else, and inspire folks to stay on my mailing list and actually read the emails I send them. It also needs to address the main questions being asked right now, as uncovered by my earlier research.
The free gift can be pure information, such as a written report or educational video or audio. Or it could be an experiential product, like a guided meditation. It could be a spreadsheet template if this is something that will help folks in your chosen market. The point is to create something useful that addresses a significant concern in the market, and leaves room for a paid product to provide additional benefit.
I recall a phrase that says, "It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be done."
So, one way or another, by the end of day 4, I'll have something I can offer as a free gift. If nothing else, I could do a search for "resale rights" products related to manifesting and purchase a license to a product I could sell or give away. Quickest way possible to start a viable business.
In fact, I could skip the whole affiliate marketing idea and just focus on resale rights products. I wouldn't feel comfortable charging much for them, as they tend to be of lower quality, but even so, they can be a great way to get started. The only downside is that I'd have to set up my own sales system to process orders. If I had to earn money fast, I'd stick with the affiliate products for now, and maybe use a resale rights product as a free gift.
Day 5, and it's time to set up the mechanics of building my list. I need an opt-in page describing the gift, a subscription form to add folks to a mailing list, a confirmation page telling folks to click a link in an email to get the free gift, and finally a page where they can get the gift itself. In the case of a video, this page is where they can watch the video. If I were offering an audio or report, I might give them a download link so they can take it with them.
This final gift delivery page is also where I'll start to introduce folks to my affiliate offers. I can place banner ads here, or just add some text describing why I think my new subscriber may want to check them out. Most critical here is that I use my special affiliate link to send folks to the affiliate sales pages. If they don't click my link, I don't get paid.
Eventually, the final gift page will introduce folks to my own product, but since it isn't ready yet, I'll come back and edit it later.
Setting this up won't take a full day, especially since I already know that MailChimp is a great way to start, as they offer free accounts for those with small lists. By the time I grow my list beyond the limits of the free account, I'll be making enough money to cover the list hosting fees.
And speaking of hosting fees, I'll need a domain and web hosting too for the website itself. Lots of options to choose from, including BlueHost, HostGator, GoDaddy, and a variety of others who offer web hosting for as little as $5/month. They will usually help you register a domain name too, which tends to be less than $10 per year. So, my total investment so far is just $15.
To be honest, it really doesn't matter what domain name you choose. Using your name, as in YourName.com (AlanTutt.com, in my case), is a good way to go, especially if you plan to create a string of products in the future, and your expertise and personality will eventually be what attracts folks to you. Product-specific domains are also good, so in this example, with the product I think I might create in the future, the domain 5MinuteMoneyManifesting.com would be the first one I'd check on. (Good news, it's available!)
Once I have a working system in place to get folks onto my mailing list, the next step is to add a few emails to an autoresponder series. This will be a set of emails introducing people to my ideas, my personality, and the affiliate products I've chosen to represent.
The next step is to find places to advertise my free gift offer. This will be the focus of Day 6, and an ongoing process until the end of time.
WOW! I just noticed how long this post has become. Let's continue this tomorrow.