This blog post is simultaneously being created as a Squidoo lens - and will also shortly be submitted as an article to various and sundry article directories.
As I make time to expand on the below, this will be added to my blook - and within 6 months or so, I'll have something to put up on Lulu and then to Amazon.
Your job in the meanwhile is to help me write it with your many comments and experiences you've had with your own Online Millionaire Plan. It will be your help which will speed or expand on my research into this area and the publication of that blook.
How to get started
I've covered other places/articles how people pay money for things and why. We've also gone over how you aren't really in it for the money, but to provide better service to people so that they can improve their lives. That's a perfect fit - they want to spend money to improve their lives and you are more than happy to accept money to enable them to do so - with your product and services.
Money is really just an indicator of how much you provide real service to others - and how valuable they think that service is. We've gone over how you can increase your income by giving it away, as well.
Now, down to the brass tacks of what to do when and why.
Before we start -
Don't quit your day job. Rome wasn't built in a day, God took seven to create this world - so don't figure you are going to become a millionaire overnight. I've heard some talented people got rich in 90 days, but we'll take the conservative approach here.
Until your Internet activities start bringing income to you, that day job will be providing the seed money for your online business.
Consider all your online activites a second job. This is much better than going to get a second job at some company. Then you are spending 60 hours a week just working for a fixed wage - away from your family and giving a large proportion of it to the government and insurance companies with very little return.
So your online business is your second job. Set it up with a specific workplace and a schedule. Treat it like a business, not a hobby. Show up on time and ready to work - not late and hung over or taking constant breaks for food - or having the TV running so you can "catch the game". Arrange for your spouse and kids to keep the noise down - or set up your garage so it is comfortable all year round and you can easily work there with no distractions. (Remember, setting this up as an actual business means you can deduct these expenses from your "day job" income tax.)
Work out your finances. See if you can get by on only 80% of what you currently earn in income from your day job. Means you are going to have to set up a budget and find out what you are spending your money on. Or - you could simply have your check deposited directly, 80% going into your checking account and 20% going into your savings account (preferably) or another account.
What you do with that 20% is to set half away for savings - never touch this for anything except, perhaps, a real emergency. The other half (10% of your income after taxes) goes to investment. This is what you are allowed to spend on your online business. But the idea again is that you are investing in your own business - not just blowing it on nice stuff for your home office.
Now as we go, I'm figuring that we don't really have a lot to start with. So I'll be pointing out some very frugal ways to get things up and running.
Make sure, darn sure that this is what you really want to do with your life. You are going to shortly become a millionaire. Most people who have earnestly dedicated themselves to getting rich have done so on the Internet in a year or less. Some have done it in ninety days.
There are two books and one tape you need to read/listen to and take to heart:
- Napoleon Hill's "Think and Grow Rich"
- Wallace Wattle's "Science of Getting Rich"
- Earl Nightingale's "The Strangest Secret".
You have to apply the second chapter of Hill's book and the summary of Wattle's on a daily basis. You have to listen and re-listen to Nightingale's recording regularly.
Only then - if you honestly apply these and are honest with yourself - will you be ready to succeed with this plan.
Now that you're ready, let's go:
Get yourself access to the Internet and a way to be found. Similar to Archimedes, "Give me a place to stand and a long enough lever and I can move the world."
You want some true broadband - which is pricey, but a lot better than tying up your telephone with downloads (or uploads) that take all night. Get DSL if you can, some wireless or satellite connection if not. This is going to run you a bit each month and is your first investment. If you only can afford a dedicated telephone line and a dial-up connection, do that. You can set up your uploads to go as long as they want overnight while you sleep. But get some decent broadband as fast as you can. (To take this expense out in taxes, it has to be separate from any other use - don't let your kids surf on it while you are at work - unless they are helping you with your business and are on the payroll, another deduction.)
Next to get is a domain name - this is what you are going to start doing your business under - how people are going to find you. Don't worry, most of the really good short ones have been taken. So get a name that makes sense to you, describes what you are doing, and is easy to remember. Online Millionaire Plan (http://onlinemillionaireplan.com) is just that - and not hard to remember (but spelling might be tricky for some...) On the otherhand, I also have gothunkyourself.com - Go Thunk Yourself is just an easy phrase, but is going to take a bit of marketing to get people to even know it exists as a self-help book outlet, much less make the book of the same name a best seller.
You get a domain name from GoDaddy.com or other domain name providers. Competition is keeping these fairly cheap these days.
People will tell you to grab keywords and make them your domain name. That strategy works - as keywords are those phrases people commonly search for. But really, would "google" or "yahoo" or "MSN" be top keywords if they weren't search engines? So pick out a name you and your friends (and potential customers) can remember - and describes what you are doing or offering as a service/product.
Now, right at this point, you could get into business selling stuff - and I'll go into this in another post. But this has some drawbacks. You'll need to understand some additional basics, so stay with me here...
Next is to get a web host. Someone/company to host your files. Don't get a free one - people have no confidence in these, and as well, they have all sorts of limits to shut you down at a moment's notice - used too much bandwidth, someone objected to a post you made, etc. The reason for a free site is to sell advertising or products to you or someone else. Very few free sites don't have some sort of catch.
My preference is for a site with CPanel, which is a graphic interface which enables you to do all sorts of things as a webmaster. Now, you can always pay someone for this, but that raises your initial investment quickly.
You want something simple and inexpensive, since this is a monthly fee. I've found some sites which offer decent services cheaply if you buy for an annual fee - which is just over $100 a year. If you budget your bandwidth demands and what files you actually have on the site, you can make it with such an intro package. Just make sure that provider is able to upgrade your package when you grow...
When you get your web host, go back and assign your domain name to that webhost. Both GoDaddy and your webhost should give you enough data so you can figure it out. If not, Google it - someone knows how and will tell you, having been there and done that themselves.
Now, you have to have your product ready. While most of this post (and blook) are aligned to providing information products for sale, this same data can be used to market and sell brick-and-mortar products. The difference is that you are shipping (or having shipped) real-world products, not digital equivalents. So there are shipping times, expenses, returns, and so on.
Digital products are able to be nearly instantly delivered over the Internet. While there might be refunds, the customer simply deletes (or not) the product he purchased.
In getting a product, you are providing service to potential customers. Here you can either make the product yourself, or sell someone else's product.
The key point is to have a good quality product and to let people know about it, to get people to come to the point where you are offering something for sale or exchange.
This is called "Market-ing" - meaning you are in the action and business of getting customers to your market, to see and hear and find out all about your product so they can exchange a commodity valuable (money) for it and improve their lives.
The following steps are all marketing. This step is to ensure that you have a product and it is able to be uploaded to the web (or otherwise in final form and ready to be shipped). I'll go over creating a product in another post/article. At this point, let's assume you have something or have found something which you can offer for exchange.
Along with your product, you have to be able to accept money for it. You need a PayPal account and use this to get a ClickBank account.
PayPal enables you to accept credit cards directly without any hassle (just a small fee from each transaction).
Clickbank allows you to sell your product directly as well as allow others to sell your product for you. They again take a small fee.
While you could accept PayPal payments yourself, there is a certain amount of keeping the accounts straight - which some people are left-brained enough to do, but I would rather give a very small percentage of my incoming millions to these guys to keep the whole thing straight. Now you can also set up an ecommerce store on your webhost (CPanel has several free ones which are each very good) and use your PayPal account to handle these transactions. Again, the reason to use ClickBank is to enable others to help you with your sales.
Set up your autoresponder so you can collect and send emails out to potential customers, educating them about your product. Again, here we have an expense you have to consider. By this time, you have enough invested that you should seriously ensure that there is no turning back.
An autoresponder enables you to almost automatically respond to people emailing you for information about your product. It will also originate emails for you which you have written in advance. And allow you to communicate to thousands of ready customers with a single email.
While spammers also do this, the difference is that these people have requested you send them data. In fact, they had to confirm that they really wanted to be on your list. Spammers just send out millions of messages to anyone they can find. All the people on your list really want to be there.
While there are several autoresponder programs/services (and more being launched every day), and many that you can install on your own machine at home, I'd suggest you pick one of the top two. Just figure out how to budget this investment, swallow that lump in your throat and take the plunge. Reason being is that the CAN-SPAM laws can quickly put you out of business in a single complaint - and even result in your home computers being seized and a hefty fine. Besides that, these guys really know their stuff about helping you with your email messages and getting your business on the road.
Once you get that autoresponder (A/R) service going, there are ample instructions and videos and FAQs and forums to help you on your way. And you can always research on Google or pick an article directory like ezinearticles.com to search for help.
The main thing is to get it set up and ready to recieve email addresses for you.
At this point you are going to create two pages:
- Landing/Squeeze page - this gives the person arriving all the key reasons to opt-in.
- Thank you page - this acknowledges the person getting through the double opt-in system of your autoresponder and frequently contains a bonus for arriving.
Later, we are going to upload your product and get it set for sales, but right now we are just getting a lot of people into the buying mood.
Now the fun begins. This is also where all the work is in earning your millions.
All we are doing at this point is figuring out how to get people to give you their email addresses in exchange for valuable data and products which you deliver to them.
There are about seven or eight ways you can inexpensively and effectively market your good(s) to a buying public - or several.
- Article Marketing - this is writing articles, submitting them to the hundreds of article directories out there. Each article has a link back to your autoresponder.
- Blogs - this is one of the easier way to write articles, but unlike what you submit to directories, each of these is able to link directly to your squeeze page and to other relevant sites (like places people can buy your books, for instance).
- Squidoo lenses - these have higher page ranks than many blogs, and so can potentially get you a lot of opt-ins. And you can build them simply - especially if you use your blog content to do so. Like blogs, they link directly and also give you credibility. (See Squidoo Queen for an example of how to use Squidoo Lenses to drive business to your squeeze page - it's free, after all).
- Press Releases - similar to articles, although with a different, specific format and much fewer places to distribute them to.
- Podcasts/Radio Interviews - These drive people directly to your product sales, like books or CD's you are already offering on Amazon or similar (like Lulu.com). This involves mailing or emailing media packs to various radio stations across the US which would love to fill their air time with your expert knowledge. But you talk to them on your telephone (or Skype - or similar) instead of travelling anywhere.
- Affiliate program(s) - where you give other people a "piece of the action" to send people your way. Hopefully, this is set up such that you capture their email as part of the sales. This is where you use Clickbank's (or others') facilities to take these sales and divvy out the commissions.
- Viral marketing - essentially giving away ebooks or special reports which can be used by others, but link right back to your own squeeze page, blog, lens or sales page. These are so valuable that people want to pass them around to others.
- ?? - I'm sure there are others, but the above seven are the key ones that you can get started with right now, inexpensively - except for the time you spend on it (but you budget that, too - don't you?)
And they often cross.
- If you give away a viral ebook or special report in order to get them to opt-in, they have something they can give away.
- Affiliates can give these away as well, in order to entice them to buy.
- When you do a radio interview, you can tell people to fill out a special form at your site and recieve a free download version - or other bonuses when they email you a reciept for buying your book or product online.
- Every single blog page, lens, or other page on your website has a link to your squeeze page. And you can have several squeeze pages for different opt-in bonuses, all linked to a central landing page - but this gets beyond what we are at this point. I'm sure your imagination can fill in a lot more details...
I don't tell you to get into advertising to begin with as you have to be very exacting about it in order to make it work for you - and your budget to begin with might be so small you can barely pay for your monthly ISP, webhost and autoresponder bills. And we do stick to our budget and don't commit to services we can't afford, don't we?
Consider your radio interviews advertising, if you want. It certainly is promotion and marketing of your goods. If you want to invest in advertising, spend a larger amount of time in getting and doing radio interviews. But skip PPC, banner ads, ezine ads and all the rest - just for now, anyway. When you pick up a couple hundred other books on advertising and how this works on the Internet, then you can start to use this in your marketing.
But the research I've done says that if you do the above seven marketing actions - you'll be rolling in so much dough that you can hire someone (on a budget) to invest in advertising for you. And if that person can't bring back at least a ten percent increase in what you invest (and prove that it's from their ads) - then you've got a bad investment.
Now, figure out more products and more higher-priced products which you can offer to your customers. This is known as a "sales funnel" where you both cross-sell (would you like fries with that?) and up-sell (would you like to super-size that order?) your potential customers with more products.
The trick is to build real relationships with your customers and then offer them solutions to the common problems you share - for a price, or for free.
There are lots of variations on this.
A quick start-up is as follows: You can sell other's products by having a domain name which points to their sales page and includes your affiliate link. You then article market (or otherwise promote to people to go) directly to that domain name. Means you don't have autoresponder or webhost expenses. And you can get going fast that way. But this is limited. It does get you money quick - if your their product and sales page are good.
Then you can reinvest that money into your own product line, webhost, autoresponder, etc.
Another version, recommended by Robert G. Allen (Online Millionaire several times over) is to rent a list, send them to an affiliate product as above - and then get them to opt-in to your list so you can then sell them other products.
- - - -
And so now you see the rough Plan of how to become an Online Millionaire.
I'm going to be hard at work over the next few months fleshing this out, including the various ebooks I've found and telling you where these make sense and where they don't.
You see, we are both starting out at the same spot. I'm working a day job on weekends and farming half-days during the week. The rest of the time is spent in figuring out how to make my online activities make me some real income. Those first two just keep my bills at bay and my room-and-board covered.
It's fully my intention to be well on my way (if not fully arrived) at Online Millionaire status by this time next year.
And the story of my journey is going to be documented by blog/book (blook) at http://onlinemillionaireplan.blogspot.com - and you can sign up for the newsletter based on this blog (but filled with a lot more complimentary bonuses) at http://onlinemillionaireplan.com
Here's to both of our continuing good luck success!