I wrote a free report on how to avoid bankruptcy. It was a hot topic at the time...and still is with the economic crapstorm raging around us.
I used this report to build a list, but being new to this business, I had no sales funnel, no back-end product, and I really did not do much marketing of affiliate products to this list, at least not at first. I did start to come up with other ideas, but they were in niches that were unrelated and my domain name was very specific. After a year or so, I gave up on this domain and moved on.
My next idea was a personal finance product which I had been working on for over a year. I had read an article somewhere about using a generic domain name and then setting up sub-domains for specific products, so I tried it. As I put the final touches on my investing system, created spreadsheets, and resource lists for my new product, I wrote articles for my blog, as well as the major article directories. I also wrote a free report to encourage folks to subscribe to my list.
Apparently this was another hot niche because it wasn't long before I had a list of over 1200 people. I sent them an email about my new product and encouraged them to subscribe to a special announcement list so that they could get their copy as soon as it was ready. That list quickly grew to over 1000 subscribers. I got excited and worked to finish up as quickly as I could.
Now I need to explain that because I didn't have any money, I was using a free autoresponder service. The first list continued to grow and I continued to add articles to the autoresponder. The announcement list just sat there accumulating names as I rushed to finish my new product.
Well, the day finally arrived and I prepared an announcement to go out to my list complete with a special web site where they could grab their copy of my new product.
I went to log in and my list was gone. Apparently, after a period of no activity they delete your list. I was devastated, but I still had my first list and I sent emails to that list advertising my new investment product. The result...no sales. Not a single one.
I continued writing posts to my blog, writing articles, and even participating in give aways in an effort to build my lists. I tried a brief test with co-registration and built a list of over 500 in a single month. These lists I built using a script on my web site. I did not want to lose all of those new subscribers due to a glitch with a free service.
As I always do, I included a couple of my email addresses in every list so that I can make sure everything is working as it should. One day I sent a broadcast message to one of my lists and did not get an email to my personal email account.
A quick email to my hosting service revealed that they only allow 100 emails per hour to go out. You know, to prevent spam complaints. That meant that most of my emails were not getting to my list. I bit the bullet and signed up for a three month trial to GetResponse. I figured 3 months would give me time to get a couple of sales and raise the funds necessary to continue my subscription.
The 3 month trial also coincided with the end of my domain registration and the end of my hosting account contract. After two years of trying everything I could to make a sale, I decided that these last 3 months were now or never for me.
The result of three months of intensive writing, emailing, and marketing? Nada, zilch. I let my domain name expire in frustration.
Along about December of 2008, I decided to try again. New ideas, new products and I was excited to make it work again. This time, I read a very good post right here on the Warrior Forum about setting up a membership site using Word Press and a couple of free plug-ins.
I had a domain name that I had never used so I signed up for hosting and plunged head first into the fray. I wrote more articles, moved my blogs from free sites to my new domain. I actually created two membership sites. One concentrating on Internet marketing and the other on personal investing.
I received a $250 coupon in the mail for Adwords and so I set up a couple of adwords campaigns. I joined more give aways as well.
I tried a $1, 30-day trial offer followed by $19 per month membership dues and a $37 life-time membership fee. The results, one person tried the $1 trial offer and then didn't renew.
My domain name registration expired on September 5th. I decided that I just couldn't keep going.
I did learn a lot though. I learned how to set up a web site, how to design pages using Kompozer and Front Page, how to install scripts for autoresponders and split testing. How to set up Word Press blogs, how to move blogs to new domains. I learned how to set up an autoresponder series including how to use tracking links. I learned how to create an e-book cover using Gimp, how to set up a squeeze page, a one-time offer page, the $7 dollar script, and much more.
What I was never able to master, was how to convince people to purchase my products or anyone else's products for that matter.
I made lot's of mistakes as most of you have noticed if you have suffered through this long article, but we all make mistakes. What is important is learning from those mistakes and moving forward. My later sites were much more professional than my earliest sites.
I've often wondered about all of the mentoring programs that are offered all of the time. One on one coaching that doesn't end until you have a profitable product. I have my doubts, but I am not in a position to spend any more money to find out. If it works it would have been well worth the money.
In closing, I wanted to thank everyone here who gives so freely. I have learned a lot from all of you. I certainly don't blame anyone for my failure but myself.
For those of your just starting out, I wish you luck and offer one piece of advice: Don't try this business on the cheap. Pay the money and get professional help. It will shorten your learning curve and diminish the frustration...and just maybe make you lots of money. Oh, and don't just let your domains expire. Sell them before they go away. They may not be worth much to you, but someone else might want them bad enough to pay you for them.