I'm guessing most who are getting started in IM now come into the field because they have heard there is a lot of money and a lot of freedom in being internet marketer.
Of course, most of you have probably discovered there's a lot more to it than you first thought. For me, there was a lot less to it than you would have probably imagined.
When I first got online back in 1997 I found so many things that fascinated me that I wasn't satisfied just using the internet, I wanted to be a contributor to this amazing medium.
Rather than looking for what was in it for me, I came into it wondering what I could do for others. I got started by making free web graphics and building a small site for them.
People liked them, and asked for custom graphics. I made them for fun.
Then some people wanted to pay me, so I let them pay me whatever the graphics I made were worth to them. Some paid pretty well.
Soon I was contacted by Ziff-Davis (ZDNet.com now). They wanted to put my graphics on a CD-rom book insert. Then a game maker wanted to use some of my backgrounds for a new game in the works; and a software company wanted to include my backgrounds with an HTML editor.
In the meantime, my site kept growing in popularity. It was serving about 750,000 page views on a good month. I was making thousands a month just from the advertisers. Life was good!
I kept getting questions about web design. The emails were impossible to keep up with. To free up some time spent answering emails, I put up HTML tutorials for the most frequently asked questions.
And, at the urging of my visitors I started Almost a Newsletter. I called it that because I didn't think of myself as a writer and what I had to write about didn't seem like news to me.
A book publisher saw the tutorials and checked out my newsletter. He called me one day and asked me to write a book for his company. I've written three books for them now.
To me, the key to my success wasn't because I was smart, or special in any way ... the key was that I went into it trying find a way I could serve others first.
Here's what I think I did right, maybe it will help you along your path.
1. I looked for a way to serve others that I could enjoy. In doing that, the money found me. One of my favorite quotes is from Zig Ziglar:
"You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."That's all I was doing, Zig was right.
2. I took action. I didn't wait for perfect knowledge. I learned as I went. Heck, I made stuff up as I went, and most of it worked out great. Don't underestimate what you already know, and especially don't underestimate your own creativity.
3. I was original. I didn't copycat anyone. I brought forth new graphics and writing that was uniquely mine. I didn't even market like everyone else. I started a "Wack Attack" club and had people linking to my site like mad. It was nothing but a reciprocal link exchange program with a fun title and goofy graphics for the members. I gave graphics to other graphics sites to get links from them in the credits. I even had a link from Microsoft because I had the b*lls to ask for one. The point is, be YOU. Don't try to be like some guru, that's his or her job. Your job is to be YOU, and being YOU is plenty good enough.
4. I devoted some time and money to learning on an ongoing basis. In my experience, an investment in your mind always pays off. If I gain even just one useful nugget from each book, ebook, or magazine I read, I consider it a good investment.
You never know what will happen when you decide to serve others first. I didn't expect or plan for a lot of the good things that have happened, like the book deal, for example. They just happened.
That's it folks. No great secrets. Find a way to serve others, take action, and keep learning. Do that, keep at it, and success will follow.