I don't throw that around to brag. Instead, I hope to part some wisdom to those who are looking for it and are willing to listen.
1. Probably the most important: Be prepared to fail.
This last year I suffered a HORRIBLE failure that cost over 10,000 dollars in refunds, the closing of a paypal account, the laying off of 18 people, and a damaged reputation among affiliates and customers.
While there were certain things outside of my control that hurt, the ultimate responsibility lay on me.
Poor planning, a poor business model, combined with inexperience caused catastrophe.
I took a risk. And yet 6 months later I'm back on my feet and making more than before.
The ability to take a risk, fail and survive is what drives success, ultimately.
I know that a lot of people fear failure. It's that fear that prevents us from making decisions - Lack of decisions = lack of action. Lack of action = no money.
So instead, recognize that failure is part of the game. You WILL fail. Bad things WILL happen. A site will churn and burn. You'll waste money on ads or outsourcers. Your paypal account will get shut down. Someone will steal from you. You'll have an off day and create a bad product.
Accept it. And start making calculated risks (not just dumb risks but calculate) and then go for it.
2a. Learn the Difference between "easy and simple".
Simple can still mean hard hard work. Simple can mean long hours. However, simple can also mean doable, repeatable, actionable.
2b. Leverage Simple as much as possible.
The path of least resistance to success is usually the simplest.
Take Kindle for instance. It's simple: You provide a good quality product, Amazon does the heavy lifting.
It's still hard work. You have to write. You have to write well. You have to know how to provide value. And you have to know what sells.
But, once you do - you can be off to the races. Amazon keeps it simple. They take care of everything. Traffic, sales process, refunds. You just write the books and upload them.
See? Simple. But not necessarily easy.
3. The higher in the "food chain" the more potential to make money.
You can be an affiliate and make a ton of money. But there is also more people competing.
You can produce products. You have affiliates promote YOU. (Higher in the food chain), but you still have quite a bit of competition.
You can be the middle man (affiliate networks like WSO Pro, JVZoo, RAPBank, or other places like Fiverr, the Warrior Forum, etc.), and collect money from affiliates, vendors, and possibly customers. Or clients and your outsource labor.
Each step is slightly harder to get into, but usually yields higher results. Almost anyone can set up an Amazon site in a few hours. Most people take months to prep and program a system like fiverr. Then there is the promotion there of. Of course, once it takes off...well then...money rolls in!
4. Have multiple points of monetization available.
Upsells/crossells come to mind. But more than that...
- If a product/site/project fails, perhaps you could sell it and recoup costs?
- Offer info products with physical products (like guides for products people purchase)
- Supplement income by adding paid ads on your site.
You don't have to do any of these - but it's important to keep in mind - if you have more ways to earn, you reduce financial risk and increase chances of success.
5. And finally - don't replace your JOB with another JOB.
Being an owner/operator is fine. But realize your time is valuable. YOUR job is to be the financing your operations and planning out future operations, ultimately growing your business and your income.
To be free to make those decisions requires you automate a lot of your business. This may require outsourcing. It may require more tools.
A lot of people replace working for their boss with another boss. Their business.
If you get your business working for you - you'll have a lot less stress.
This is one thing I'm still working on. And if you don't want to automate, outsource, or desire a nice income, more power to you.
But I learned that when I treated this as a business and lifestyle change, it meant hiring, investing, and growing. That helped free me.
Oh, one other thing.
In business there is no such thing as "spending money". It's "investing money".
If you never see a return on any of your investments, then you are not investing properly.
When faced with a buying decision - ask yourself: "Will this tool/course/object bring me a ROI and will it help me on my business path/model I have laid before myself."
If the answer is "no" - don't buy it.
If it is yes - invest and make it work for ya.
Hope this helps!