Building an Online Business Empire, Part 1 of 10 — Choosing a Business Method

In Part 0, we laid the foundation for building an online business empire; basically, we talked about what we're going to talk about. Now, onto the “real work.”

The first thing you have to decide on is “What is my business going to be?”

Some things to consider:

  • What am I good at?
  • Do I have any special talents?
  • What do I like to do?
  • Can I learn what I don't know already?
  • Can I work without a boss?
  • Can I really work from home, in my pajamas? I mean, really work hard?
  • Is there enough material in me to make my own products?
  • Do I have industry connections that will ease my transition into whatever market I wish to enter?
  • Can I get help?
  • How much in liquid assets can I avail myself of? Meaning, how long can I go without making any money before I have to get a “real job?”
  • Do I have the support of my spouse or significant other?

Many of these “issues” can be alleviated simply by starting out “part time.” Keep your day job and build your business every other waking, non-family hour.

Let's get to the real meat of this, then. What type of business should I start? There are a few excellent choices to start with.

  • Sell other people's products. Known as “affiliate marketing,” this is one of the easiest businesses to get into. And it can be very lucrative. Many affiliate programs pay 50, 75, or even 100 percent commissions (they hope to sell the buyer on “back-end” products after you sell them the first product). It's not hard to imagine how selling a $100 product with a 75 percent commission can add up! Sell 3 a day, $225! Or, over $6000 a month. All of these sales, too, by the way, are done fairly passively, meaning you don't have to call anybody or continually sell. Once you set up a sales process, you're on auto-pilot?
  • Create your own products. You have specialized knowledge that other people don't have yet they seek it. You might be the parent of a “special needs” child, or you may have run the marketing operation of a small advertising agency. You might know how to train animals or have a special talent for baking cakes. Explore your experiences over the course of your lifetime and you'll come up with dozens of product ideas for which you can create your own products. Then, you can build your own affiliate army and have other people sell your wares.
  • This one is a hybrid of the two above, of sorts. Private Label Rights (PLR) materials are materials that you get (either free or you pay for them), modify to suit your tastes and —  more importantly — the tastes of your potential customers, and sell. In effect, you're selling other people's products (as in affiliate marketing), but you're changing them up (sort of like creating your own product), but after the initial outlay of labor and/or money, you keep all of the profits. I have a really good course on starting and running your own PLR business called Internet Millions.
  • On the flipside of buying or acquiring PLR materials, why not create them? You sell your PLR to people who need well-written material. You don't have to worry much about marketing, setting up niche websites, the sales process, and the like. You sell to the dozens of very good PLR membership sites that exist; they're always looking for good material (and trust me, there is a lot more crap writing out there than good).
  • Membership sites. This is where you serve up content but for a price. It's a great business model IF you have a lot of content because you receive regular monthly payments, rather than a one-time payment for a product you sell. However, I think a membership site is something you work into your business plan after you've established a profitable business.
  • There's always eBay and Amazon. If you have physical products like books, gadgets, or other “hard goods,” these two sites are ripe for building a business.
  • Advertising. There are a lot of notable blogs that make a considerable 5 or even 6 figure monthly income based on serving up ads on your own site for other people. Google's AdSense is the big player on campus, but there are others, most notably yahoo and Microsoft.

Of course, you can (and I encourage you to) marry more than one of these methods into your business plan. I would suggest that you start with no more than 2, however. My choices would be PLR and/or affiliate marketing PLUS AdSense. I would spend very little time on AdSense, and my thinking goes like this. AdSense will serve your visitors with ads that could actually help them, but they can also hinder your sales. For example, let's say you're promoting (“affiliate marketing”) a product that promises to solve a particular snoring problem. On your website, you write a post or page that talks about the negative health effects of snoring and you conclude with a link to the product you're promoting (or “pre-selling”).

If you have an AdSense ad on that page, it is very likely that the ad will be about snoring and how to stop it (in fact, this is exactly how the ads are supposed to work — they aren't called “contextual” for nothing). So instead of leading your reader to the sales page of the product you want to sell, you have sent them to a competitor.

Not good. Use sparingly. I suggest you place contextual ads only on pages your are not selling from. Seriously.

So there you have it — a few very good methods to get your online business empire going. Next up, in Part 2, we'll brainstorm ideas, keywords, site concepts, and other things.

Building an Online Business Empire, Part 0 of 10

Okay, you're here because you want to learn how to build a profitable business. But what kind of business? We'll get into that in Part 1.

BACKGROUND

I'm not sure whether this will be 2 parts, 10 parts, or 100 parts, or something else. I could write an entire book, maybe even a series of books on how to start and run an online business (hey, there's an idea!); obviously, there are a lot of folks around who have already done so. And, of course, many more books will be written to address the challenge.

For now, I'll stick with 10 parts. It's a nice round number and I can probably both divide all I know into ten solid parts and fully flesh each one out.

I will try to lay out a system whereby you can build a business from the ground up into a thriving, cash-pulling empire. That's the goal. Much of what you will read here will be what I've done in the past and what I will continue to do in the future to build my own online empire. I am certainly not there yet. But the goal is to build a publishing juggernaut that pulls in profits hand over fist with very little day-to-day labor by me (I'm light years away from that stage!).

And there will be a lot of “let's try this” type stuff, too — things I haven't tried but have on good advice that they work, or things I haven't tried but I got a hair-brained scheme to try it out.

That's the background.

ONLINE BUSINESS METHODS

There are countless business types on which to build your empire. You can use one or more, of course. By types, I am referring to monetization methods like AdSense and other advertising, Private Label Rights creation and/or publishing, creating your own products to sell, membership sites, and affiliate marketing (selling other people's products and services).

Throughout this series, I'll point out the various business types: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. That's the MBA-speak version. What that really means is this: The pros and cons or benefits and drawbacks. Used in the right circumstances, any business method can work wonders. In other words, all methods can play an integral role on bringing you the cash and profits you seek. But, again, more on that in Part 2.

OVERVIEW OF WHAT'S TO COME

There are many things you need to think about and consider when setting up your business, no matter what type of business you finally embrace (and HINT: You will want to employ more than one, eventually, but I suggest you start out with one and only one). All that said, here's a grab bag of the ingredients you'll need to bake your online empire cake.

  1. Business method. Pick and choose: PLR, product creation, affiliate marketing, or advertising. There are more, but these are the big ones.
  2. Do your research. Pick a niche or market, brainstorm keywords and topics. Think about how you'll make money doing whatever it is you decide to do.
  3. Choose a domain and web host. There are many domain registrars and hosts. I'll make recommendations on whom to choose, but we'll first describe what all this means.
  4. Website. Choose what kind of website, be it a “standard” HTML website or a blog. I suggest you start out with a WordPress blog because you can find many themes and plugins for free that you can use in your site that will either enhance the user experience, make Search Engine Optimization a no-brainer (relatively speaking), or make content management super-simple.
  5. Add content. The best content is the content that you contribute, but you can also get guest writers and syndicated content. This can be beneficial in the beginning because you can load up your site with a lot of content before you go live.
  6. Generate traffic. All other things equal, a website with 500 daily visitors will be more profitable than one with only 50 visitors. It's a numbers game, just like dating. Of course, all other things are NEVER equal, so take this one with a grain of salt. However, you still need to drive potential customers to your offering by way of your website. We'll talk about how to do that here. There are dozens of ways to drive traffic to your site, most of which will require their own sub-parts to explain in full.
  7. Convert visitors to buyers. There are TONS of ways to do this. We'll most likely have to split some of the conversion tactics into separate sub-pieces because each one needs some explanation.
  8. Convert one-time buyers into multiple-time buyers. It's easier than you think.
  9. Convert buyers into affiliates. Get other people to drive business to your website. In short, start an affiliate program. Your business could scale bigger and faster than you ever imagined. I'll show you how here.
  10. Rinse, repeat, and build it out. Some folks build a product, set up a website, and then move to another product. Or they do all that and then sell it (in Internet parlance, they “flip it”). Yet others go on to build “authority sites.” Still others keep on cranking out the products and add to their online portfolio. They all work. We'll talk here about the pros, cons, and how to do it.

That's it for this introduction to building an online business empire. Stay tuned for the next installment where we discuss the different online business models to consider usning in your own enterprise.

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Ten Ways to $10k

I've got a special treat for you today — get “Ten Ways to $10k” absolutely FREE just by signing up to my list. I normally sell this report for $15, but by becoming a subscriber, you can get it free.

“Do not delay.”
“While supplies last.”
“These are flying off the virtual shelves.”

I'm full of baloney.

Sign up. Get the report. Act on it.

Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time and potentially miss out on a lot of really important stuff and other “freebies.” It's your choice.

The Beginner’s Guide to Overnight Traffic

While a lot of us “internet marketing” types like the “bum” method (basically, using free traffic-building tools like article marketing and directory submissions), there's a lot to be said for paid advertising like Pay Per Click (PPC).

Basically, you get traffic 3 ways:

  1. You pay for traffic with money
  2. You pay for traffic with time
  3. You pay for traffic with a combination of #1 and #2

If you want need traffic right away (bills are piling up, your mortgage is due and you just had to spend it on your car that just broke down, etc.), PPC is the ONLY way to go. You set up small advertisements (a lot like newspaper classifieds) and they run on other websites. You pay by the search term and any time somebody clicks on your ad, you pay a “click charge.”

It's simple in concept.

But it's hard in practice. And it can be COSTLY.

I'm getting ready to produce a small report that will give you the ins and outs of PPC marketing. It's tentatively entitled, “7 Steps to Getting Massive Traffic Using AdWords.”

Subscribe to my list to get updated on when the report goes LIVE. Otherwise, just come back here and I'll make an announcement after I let my subscribers know.

How to Set Up an Autoresponder

One of the first things you'll want to do if you're serious about successfully running (i.e., earning a ton of money online) an online business is to begin using an autoresponder service or program. They come in two basic flavors: Hosted and Install-yourself.

A hosted solution, like from AWeber, has all of the functionality built-in on their own systems. They install, configure, upgrade, and maintain the software and databases that you use when you create an account.

An “install yourself” solution is just what it sounds like: YOU install, configure, upgrade, and maintain software and databases on your own system. It's cheaper in the short-run because you can do all this, but in the long-run, it can become an onerous burden.

I wholeheartedly endorse AWeber, but there are a ton of other services out there that are similar (just break open a google search and find dozens).

For a really quick primer on how to set up an autoresponder that is serviced by somebody else (a hosted solution), pick up a copy of this report, called How to Set Up Your Autoresponder.

In future posts, I'll show you how it's done. You'll just get the information a little at a time, not all at once. The choice is yours.

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