I started my journey as a six figure marketer here in this forum, so I want to give back with some insight I hope will help you. After all, a fellow marketer once helped me when I was lost and confused.
This might be a little long, but I want to help those who need it.
The first thing I want to say is, this is not a career for anyone in desperation. If you have a service skill like writing or graphics, then great - you're in good shape to make money fast because other established marketers need your help.
But if you're simply seeking a business of your own in a niche as a leader, this isn't a quickie career - you'd be better off getting the stress off your mind with an offline job first as you build your business on the side at nights or on the weekends.
One thing I saw today as I was revisiting the forum are a lot of people who don't have an established, solid business asking about one specific element of marketing - and it's because they see another post about the issue and how successful it was for someone.
So for instance, someone who hasn't done anything is asking about a specific free traffic method he heard might be lucrative. But the person has no blog, no products, no niche - just knowledge that a traffic method works (for someone).
I see this a lot and it kind of reminds me of building a house. So you want a house (aka: an Internet income). You are enthusiastic about building it and soaking up information and someone says how AMAZING skylights are - how it's incredible lying there under the stars in bed at night.
So immediately, you run off to find out everything you can about skylights because man, you can't WAIT for that! Only hold on... there's not even a foundation laid yet. There are no walls, no drywall, no roof - you've gotten ahead of yourself. (This is shiny new object syndrome).
That's a big problem I think many newbies have - they're excited, they're hopeful, and they want success fast. And who wants to take their foot off the pedal and slow down to do the mundane work? Not many of us!
This is where the road splits. Usually, people who start off like that take one of three paths - they reel themselves in and realize this isn't going to work unless it's done right (and end up succeeding), or they end up quitting on their dream or staying frustrated and broke because they can never grasp what it takes.
An Internet marketing career consists of:
- Being in a niche that's good for you
- Having some sort of media format skills (video, text whatever)
- Being able to communicate effectively (personality, branding, point of view)
- Learning the technical side of an online business (blogging, etc.)
- Mastering strategy for your business (which traffic works best, what your list likes, etc.)
These things all take time, so the first thing you have to embrace is slowing down to LEARN. Everyone hates that word. I love it. Every time I learn something, it's like I just added a weapon to my arsenal. I'm empowered. I'm armed. I'm more formidable than I was before.
I make time EVERY day of the week for learning. I buy courses. And yes, some courses suck but I've never bought a single course where I didn't learn at least ONE thing, and that's because I shop smart. I buy what I need, I buy from reputable good people and I actually download it to my desktop and open it right then and there and tackle it a little bit each day until it's complete.
You need to take time picking a niche - it has to be something both lucrative AND enjoyable. Can you write about it or make videos consistently or will you get bored? DO you like the audience members in that niche? Consider combo niches, too - stuff like stress and sleep or stress and weight loss or whatever. Merge two niches to stand out and narrow it down a bit.
Do you have a preference for media formats? I love writing. It took me two years to make my first video and now I love that. I just started a podcast after 18 years of hating audio. But whatever I tackle media-wise, I spend time learning how to master it or get better at it - even a little tip per day is better than staying stagnant and ignorant.
On communicating effectively, people (especially newbies) are SO scared about putting their voice out there. It might get attacked or ridiculed or ignored. Oh well. Do it anyway. You're going to have people who LOVE you and people who can't stand you. Both are okay. You're not supposed to appeal to everyone.
Be opinionated - the best people always are. Be passionate and transparent and be willing to share your personal self in some instances. Listen to your audience. Be a nurturer regardless of what niche you're in. Be available to your people. That builds an incredible reputation.
Spend time learning and implementing technical stuff that intimidates you. There's so much free stuff online to learn from, if you can't afford courses - but learn things like how every element of a WordPress blog works, or your email autoresponder, or a traffic tool - whatever. Spend 10-20 minutes a day on technical mundane mastery.
Work on strategy a lot. Watch other people to see what they're doing and what engages their audience. If you do hear about a skylight (aka: traffic tactic or whatever), it's okay to spend a fraction of your day investigating, but don't go overboard until that foundation of a business is built and you can adequately apply your efforts there.
What does a foundation in Internet Marketing consist of?
1. A niche blog - your home base where people can contact you (or a store, etc. depending on what business model you want to pursue).
2. The ability to conduct and understand keyword research - I personally ignore all numbers. I simply go by logic. What keyword phrases do I feel work best for a topic that day? I'm not into SEO at all. I focus on people.
3. Frequent communication in your niche - take time for some good value providing efforts for your audience. If you're only yanking content from free sites to splatter up there, then you're probably not very attractive to an audience if you want rabid, loyal followers.
4. The knowledge of how to profit from all these efforts. There are so many ways - affiliate income, info product sales, ads, you name it - implement each one, and know that each one has many methods of how to do them. For an info product, I could do an eBook, a membership site, a video course, etc. I could list it on JVZ, WF, W+, Udemy, and so on.
If you get overwhelmed, that's normal. This is a LOT to take in and while you might think it sucks that there's no one size fits all blueprint for success, that's also what makes this business so amazing - everyone's path is totally unique and you get to be in charge.
Probably the BEST piece of advice I can give you is this:
Every day that you work on this business, ask yourself, "If I were a CEO of a corporation and I had to judge this employee's (you) efforts today, would I retain or fire him?"
If you flittered around on Facebook all day or didn't work on what you knew would make your business profitable, you wouldn't keep yourself onboard. Prove yourself TO YOU every day - that you're serious about this business and are approaching it as a major business and not just some hit or miss roll of the dice.
Here's my basic journey as an FYI:
I started as a ghostwriter on Elance writing for some of the top marketers online. I got the jobs because my bids stood out as unique to each buyer and weren't copy/pasted like my competition.
I then wrote my first book, about Squidoo, and sold many copies and got interviewed by several "gurus" and built my list sharing what I knew about Squidoo. I started writing info products about how to create an info product, how to write affiliate reviews, and so on.
I got traffic from forum participation/sig files and from interacting on social networking sites and befriending people.
I later added affiliate marketing to my list of profiting abilities and I routinely am able to dominate a leaderboard (with a smallish 10-11k list). I do this through personal relationship-building with my subscribers and by creating good bonuses and making sure I review the content, course or tools I promote. I align myself with reputable people and distance myself if I find out someone's not.
I've had many different affiliate tangible sites and I often get bored and delete them if I don't want to be in the topic anymore. I love tangible affiliate sites about survival, toys and a couple other topics I don't share (nothing dirty, lol).
I also wrote fiction on Kindle when I learned about that. I launched a pen name Trinity Ford and wrote 2 short stories and two 40k books and I knew nothing about fiction really, I think I suck at it - but I earned enough to pay my mortgage. Then I got bored w/the genre. I'm working on stuff I love in fiction now, and plan to publish again in a month or so under a new pen name.
I've been running my own PLR store since 2006 - and I continually publish to it. It's become an enormous source of income for me and a lovely resource for bonuses when and if I need them for a promo.
I love having diversity in my earnings. When Squidoo tanked and I lost that income, I didn't bat an eye because I had other stuff supporting me.
But I didn't try to do it all in one night. I built it all over the last 18 years. And I've consistently made six figures for years without fail.
I'm here to help if I can answer any questions.