New member with existing "mini empire" but it's a mess...need some boots in the right direction!

6 replies
Hi all
My name is Ken. I'm a semi retired 53 year old guy from Maine. I just retired from lawn care business after 28 years, am 10 years into real estate investing, and 18 years into owning a small web hosting and design company (one man show). I have also written a couple of books focusing on my experience in the lawn care and real estate industries. I'm selling the books alone or as part of an educational / resources package with leases, forms, estimating tools, etc. But I lack any real marketing know how. I've got a mess of websites with adsense code, affiliate links, etc. I'm just starting to get serious and wish to get organized and focused. Below is a list of my websites and their purpose and what I've done so far...I hope it's not too much all at once but here goes...

My efforts so far:

Web design, hosting & SEO business: centralmaineweb.com
-Only want to sell "template based" sites that I can duplicate fairly quickly. All hand coded, some responsive some not. Most of my income comes from hosting though it's hard to grow that because the way I get hosting clients is when a business owner comes to me for new site, or is dissatisfied with current.


startalawnmowingbusiness.com
Informational site with articles about starting a lawncare or landscpape business. Bought 5 years ago for $900, revamped it using my own hand-coded html5 template, and now it makes $200 per month adsense income. Though we have adsense on every site, 95% of our adsense revenue comes from this website. It also has links to MY OWN business information package on starting a lawn care business as well as links to 1-2 other similar packages. So I make money by selling my own $37 program, and $20 ish whenever I sell someone elses (the others are linked via clickbank). I also have an ad for my real estate book and package.

startalawnbusiness.com
This is just the raw site for selling my lawncare business book and forms package. I also sell the book via Lulu (paperback) and I use sellfly.com for handling the sale of the ebook and forms package. I sell on average 2 per month. Not enough! I also have adsense code and infolinks.com code. (I spent 28 years owning and managing my lawn care business)

re-rebel.com
This is a website dedicated to selling a book I wrote on real estate investing, and also has a forms package option. The product is handled exactly the same was as the lawncare program. This site is fairly new and I was just approved for adsense a day or so ago, so no data yet. (I've spent 10 years buying, renovating, managing and selling rental real estate, owning 52 units at one time)

realestateme.com
This is a website I built for the purpose of selling our real estate portfolio. We also have adsense code here but it doesn't amount to much. The domain name is more than 20 years old and might sell for quite a bit one day to a Maine based real estate dealer. I also have ads for both my books and packages on here.

melobster.com
Also a very well-aged website. Been around since late 90s and is just an informational website about Maine lobster. Where to buy, FAQ's, how to cook, eat, etc. Used primarily for adsense code but also using ShareaSale affiliate code for a seafood company I found there. I have actually gotten a couple of $50 checks from people ordering $300 worth of lobster tails. But it's been hit or miss and even in summer, the adsense income isn't even close to the lawn website. I think there's some serious potential here.

kenlavoie.com
Personal website with links to my FB page, blog, poetry and other writing, etc. I also advertise my guitar playing (for hire for gigs or studio. Been playing guitar for 43 years). I do have adsense code but nothing remarkable. I think I should probably rebuild this site with mobile friendly template and update the adsense code.

On each site, (almost all) I have a list of "resources" using Amazon affiliate links.

I paid a person to format both my books in Kindle (mobi), and ePub so they're very high quality. I also have PDF version of course, so when someone buys the book or package they get all 3 versions.

My plans at this time:

Find some more affiliate links for specific products I believe in and use but might not find on CJ or ClickBank (like the Chase credit cards, certain personal finance companies etc.)

Start collecting email addresses using an email campaign (constant contact?). My thought is to send signees one abbreviated chapter each day for 5-10 days from my book with a "buy now" type call to action at the bottom

Find someone affordable to everything I've mentioned so far! Our RE business covers our wages 100% and my web design business gives me my "play money" so our whole affiliate "empire" is extra. I don't mind spending all the profits for a year if that would mean it would make more money over my managing it. I'm not sure how to go about finding the right person (i.e. questions to ask, etc.) but might start on upwork or fivver?

Using the material in the books, create a "course" via Teachable.com for each. This may be a daunting task, I don't know as I haven't dived in yet! Any thoughts of creating a course vs. just selling the information products?

Slowly and strategically add affiliate links here and there. If I'm on facebook and someone asks for a recommendation, I might as well copy and paste an affiliate link, for example.

Go through my older sites, mentioned above, and create new responsive & in article adsense codes for them. I think it's outdated.

Create new clickbanks account for the realestate book and program. Question: Clickbank doesn't allow zip files but my books and programs have a bunch of files. I don't know how to rectify this. For the lawncare course, I have a "thank you page" where they just click and download but it's not secure. Anyone can trip over it and get themselves a free $37 program. Is there a solution whereby someone can pay on clickbank then be directed to a self hosted or other-hosted place to download a zip file with everything?

Just increase everything! Book and package sales, adsense and affiliate income, without spending 40 hours a week at my desk. I'm a bull of a worker but also semi retired so want to balance things. I anticipate a lot of work "up front" here to get better organized.

Thanks so much for any hints in the right direction. This is a lot so don't feel compelled to address it all. Even a hint or tip on one thing is very appreciated.
#boots #direction #existing #member #messneed #mini empire
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  • Profile picture of the author msulcs
    Have you been building backlinks to your sites?

    Backlinks are the backbone of SEO and the key to high SERP's.

    Build backlinks from high-authority sites. Start with profile links, web 2.0's, article submissions, etc. Guest posts are also a good idea. Don't bother writing guest posts for sites that have DA under 40.

    It takes time to see the effect of backlinks, but they're so worth it in the long-term.
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    • Profile picture of the author hotwired99
      Unfortunately I'm a bit behind on my lingo. A couple of questions if you don't mind? I want to do something here, and do it well, but my education is sorely sorely behind!


      2. What do you mean by all of the terms in 3rd pp.
      a. profile links
      b. web 2.0's
      c. I do know what an article submission is, but don't understand the DA under 40 part. What is meant by a "DA" and how might I discover a website's DA?

      2. Are there any services that can get GOOD (non penalizing) back links for me, not to REPLACE my own efforts (article submissions, etc.) but augment it?
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  • Profile picture of the author IGotMine
    I would say step #1 is to get all your sites responsive and secure. Do you test affiliate ads against Adsense? If not I certainly would. As for building simple websites for clients use WordPress. I can't imagine coding a site by hand. The last time I did that was like "07." Wordpress is dead simple.
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  • Profile picture of the author hotwired99
    I did notice that when I simply moved the content from startalawnbusiness.com from a n html 4.0 to html 5 responsive template I'd coded, the rank suddenly jumped in less than a week, especially on Yahoo and Bing. I was #3-#5 on them for most of my phrases. (starting a lawn care business, lawn care business, etc.).

    I actually spend LESS time coding by hand vs. wordpress. I love WP and actually have 12 or sites I've coded but I'm very familiar with HTML and it's almost always easier coding by hand (at least basic design, if I was going to get super fortune 500 looking, that's another thing! WP has some F500 style sites right out of the box)

    I will work on back links. I assume I should have some code both posted on the site and ready go by email (to send people...if I want them to link back to me, I should probably supply them with the html to do so?)

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to help me here...it's overwhelming...to say "its' a business in itself" is an understatement!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Ken:

    What you need is a strategy. Right now as you've noticed you have a bunch of stuff in your arms. What do you do with it?

    Every business needs two things: TRAFFIC and CONVERSION.

    Traffic = eyeballs, visitors.

    Conversion = turning some of those visitors into buyers.

    Can you see the problem of where you are right now?

    No traffic.

    You've got a bunch of websites and some products. Those are conversion and fulfillment (giving the solution to the customer) tools.

    In the information marketing business, what is typically used is an ascension funnel. This is also known as laddering.

    The question for you to begin with is: WHO are you trying to help?

    What serious problem do they have, that they admit to having and have told you they are willing to pay money to solve?

    This is the basis of your business. You'll see this kind of person called your avatar, or your target market, or your ideal customer.

    It is the job of your marketing to identify and filter IN this kind of person. All others should be rejected, because they are not a fit for your offer. As a lawncare business-in-a-box product seller, for example, you are not interested in some computer guy coming to your site or signing up for your email list, because he's never, ever going to buy. He's not a fit.

    I have run strategy calls for business owners for many, many years, and the most common problem I uncover is this: they have nowhere near enough traffic to ever be successful. I'm talking 10 to 100X less traffic than they actually need to make their basic expenses, say $2000 a month. They're beaten before they start, and they don't even know it.

    So from somewhere you are going to have to start finding suitable people to bring into your funnel. Where are they? That's the secret. That's your moat, your job security, when you find it. Joint ventures with people who sell to similar kinds of people are a great start, because the qualification job has already been done by them. If you don't do it that way, you'll have to pay.

    Forget paid ads for now. If you can't do it by organic methods, then you won't ever be able to tell the ads program what to filter for.

    An ascension funnel looks like:

    STEP FIVE: $6997 - $14997 or more 1:1 coaching program or small group mastermind. Could be 6 months, a year in duration. As little as quarterly meetings; as much as weekly Q&A calls. Could be a multi-day retreat. Purpose: work with those clients who are most fired up about you, who will get the most benefit from working with you. But you do not need to be the star: if it is a mastermind, the other members can give advice (they'll be A players too) and take the load off you. Your role is to host, in that situation. This is where you make your real profit. 10 of these clients a year changes coaches' lives.

    ^^


    STEP FOUR: $997 - $4997 group coaching program. Could be 30-60-90 days. Purpose: Work with people who are really bought in with you, your ideal target customer. Here's where you make a profit.

    ^^

    STEP THREE: $97 - $297 video course. Purpose: liquidate marketing costs or cost of customer acquisition.

    ^^

    STEP TWO: $7 ebook. Purpose: separate buyers from non-buyers. Help offset advertising costs.

    ^^
    STEP ONE: Free email series, webinar, report, video series (could be one or even all of these). Purpose: get them onto your list.


    ---


    This is pretty basic and the numbers I've given are arbitrary but give you the idea.

    "Hey, I've got some stuff to sell on some websites," is not a business.

    As the founder, at this early point, your job is to get 5 people a day into your email list.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Ken:

      What you need is a strategy. Right now as you've noticed you have a bunch of stuff in your arms. What do you do with it?

      Every business needs two things: TRAFFIC and CONVERSION.

      Traffic = eyeballs, visitors.

      Conversion = turning some of those visitors into buyers.

      Can you see the problem of where you are right now?

      No traffic.

      You've got a bunch of websites and some products. Those are conversion and fulfillment (giving the solution to the customer) tools.

      In the information marketing business, what is typically used is an ascension funnel. This is also known as laddering.

      The question for you to begin with is: WHO are you trying to help?

      What serious problem do they have, that they admit to having and have told you they are willing to pay money to solve?

      This is the basis of your business. You'll see this kind of person called your avatar, or your target market, or your ideal customer.

      It is the job of your marketing to identify and filter IN this kind of person. All others should be rejected, because they are not a fit for your offer. As a lawncare business-in-a-box product seller, for example, you are not interested in some computer guy coming to your site or signing up for your email list, because he's never, ever going to buy. He's not a fit.

      I have run strategy calls for business owners for many, many years, and the most common problem I uncover is this: they have nowhere near enough traffic to ever be successful. I'm talking 10 to 100X less traffic than they actually need to make their basic expenses, say $2000 a month. They're beaten before they start, and they don't even know it.

      So from somewhere you are going to have to start finding suitable people to bring into your funnel. Where are they? That's the secret. That's your moat, your job security, when you find it. Joint ventures with people who sell to similar kinds of people are a great start, because the qualification job has already been done by them. If you don't do it that way, you'll have to pay.

      Forget paid ads for now. If you can't do it by organic methods, then you won't ever be able to tell the ads program what to filter for.

      An ascension funnel looks like:

      STEP FIVE: $6997 - $14997 or more 1:1 coaching program or small group mastermind. Could be 6 months, a year in duration. As little as quarterly meetings; as much as weekly Q&A calls. Could be a multi-day retreat. Purpose: work with those clients who are most fired up about you, who will get the most benefit from working with you. But you do not need to be the star: if it is a mastermind, the other members can give advice (they'll be A players too) and take the load off you. Your role is to host, in that situation. This is where you make your real profit. 10 of these clients a year changes coaches' lives.

      ^^


      STEP FOUR: $997 - $4997 group coaching program. Could be 30-60-90 days. Purpose: Work with people who are really bought in with you, your ideal target customer. Here's where you make a profit.

      ^^

      STEP THREE: $97 - $297 video course. Purpose: liquidate marketing costs or cost of customer acquisition.

      ^^

      STEP TWO: $7 ebook. Purpose: separate buyers from non-buyers. Help offset advertising costs.

      ^^
      STEP ONE: Free email series, webinar, report, video series (could be one or even all of these). Purpose: get them onto your list.

      ---

      This is pretty basic and the numbers I've given are arbitrary but give you the idea.

      "Hey, I've got some stuff to sell on some websites," is not a business.

      As the founder, at this early point, your job is to get 5 people a day into your email list.
      ^ Golden Nuggets ^
      Thank you Jason.
      Signature
      In the minute it took me to write this post.. someone died of Covid 19. RIP.
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