I've been making my living online for the last three years and it has been sooooo hard. I've really, really struggled and if I started again this is what I'd do differently knowing what I've learned recently.
Firstly I would be much, much more organised from the start. The biggest drain on my time has been trying to find files on my computer. A decent filing hierarchy is a must. I'll add to this and clarify what I mean later.
I would have installed a help-desk from the start - answering support emails gets messy very quickly.
I would have outsourced more. I now have two part-time members of staff (one of whom is my absolute saviour and my business couldn't run without him). Technical problems used to cost me HOURS every day. Not any more. Want to get ahead? Get a techie!! :-)
I would have concentrated my time on three main areas - List building/traffic, List management/relationship-building & product creation. INstead, what I spent the majority of my time on was research (also known as being distracted by every single offer out there), checking emails every five minutes (also known as a total waste of time) and product creation. Time MUST go into the three main areas - particularly traffic generation.
I would have a plan for generating traffic and I would apply time to it consistently every day. My traffic has grown dramatically since I started doing this. (Obvious I know yet it took me two and a half years to realise it!!).
I would concentrate on recruiting affiliates as my main source of traffic.
Once recruited, I would then focus on giving them resources, checklists and tools to make sure they got the most from my products.
If you give affiliates a step-by step plan (Send this broadcast today, send this free report out tomorrow, send this ezine article out three days later, send this offer out 2 days later... etc.), together with the right tools - articles, graphics, adverts, keywords, emails etc. there is much more chance they will get results.
I would concentrate on the following products - a decent free report or Camtasia video to offer at the squeeze page, an opening offer of a recurring subscription product with a free or $1 trial and an upsell to a coaching program.
There. That's what I'd do. As it happens, I've managed that now but it has taken me AGES and several buckets of blood, sweat and tears to get there.
If I'd focused on the fundamentals from the start my progess would have been swifter so I encourage anyopne who is starting out to avoid the many distractions out there which suck your time and your life.
Concentrate on the three main essential areas (traffic, product/offer creation & list management and put time in on each of them every day.
With regard to traffic, concentrate on a few key strategies - be it ezine articles, press releases, twitter, forums, blog hopping, whatever. By focusing you get better at the strategies you've chosen and you find you get more done than if you try to use every available strategy.
Phew. Sorry for the soap box. I'm recovering from an accident and so have lots of time on my hands at home. :-)