If you're absolutely fresh to the IM scene, I have some bad news for you. We're not all millionaires. We don't all work 15 minutes a day to pull in thousands (although a select few do), and chances are you aren't going to be making a full time income in your underwear tomorrow.
You did kind of ask for it, wearing a suit to read this thread.
That's not even the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of myths that need to be dispelled before you can really focus on your business. Most of us had to figure these things out the hard way, through trial and error and a f***ton of frustration.
You though? You can avoid that if you are willing to listen. Through a completely random Facebook conversation, I realized that the entire newbie education process is played out (and therefore available for you to watch and learn from) in just fifteen minutes. The teacher may surprise you though.
It's Spongebob Squarepants.
The key to the beginning of your internet education.
Now, I've said some out of left field stuff to get a laugh on this forum, and perhaps referencing a Spongebob episode seems like one of those things. It's not, so stop being so freaking skeptical and listen to me. The episode is called Chocolate with Nuts, and it highlights the entire newbie process. Go watch the episode now on Netflix or Nick.com, and read these notes alongside it. If you're too lazy to watch a cartoon, you can still take everything you need from here...
I'm not kidding, damn it. I'm seriously going to teach you some basics with a Spongebob Squarepants episode.
The Intro and Fancy Living Digest: For those who haven't seen the episode in awhile (or if you live under a rock and never saw the episode), things start out when Spongebob accidentally receives the "Fancy Living" magazine and immediately has dreams of living the rich lifestyle depicted.
Sound familiar? That's you when you stumble upon that first email promising internet riches or Google search "make money online/work from home." It's like they're TALKING TO YOU.
Hey Patrick, We Can Sell Candy Bars!: Going with a product choice completely out of left field, Spongebob and Patrick decide that they will make their fortune selling candy bars. It makes no sense when you think of the logic behind the choice, so selling candy bars was just meant for comedic affect right?
Wrong. It was to illustrate the common newbie mistake of picking something they have no business selling without even performing a lick of market research beforehand. If you were thinking of doing this (and many of you newbies do by going straight into the IM/MMO niche) you are dead in the water.
Don't be that newbie.
Did You Say...CHOCOLATE?!: This is personally my favorite part of the episode. Spongebob and Patrick's first customer is one of the seemingly normal towns-fish; but goes completely insane at the mere mention of chocolate. In a panic, they run away.
There's a couple of lessons we can pull from this (one in particular I will save for later, to prevent spoilers). What we can talk about is the duo's complete inability to handle a seemingly angry customer. How you treat your readers/subscribers/customers will be vital when it comes to (hopefully) getting your business off the ground.
You need to do right by them in every way that you can, and if things go completely off the wire, you get out of the situation calmly.
The "Guru"...Er "Con Man": (Before jumping into this one we are not bashing all gurus here. There are plenty of good people out there who have that title). The Con Man is the next major character that the episode introduces us to. Through some fancy wording, The Con Man convinces Spongebob and Patrick that they need candy bar holding bags, and then right after larger bags to hold those candy bar holding bags holding the candy bars. It's a lot to keep up with, right?
The analogy here should be pretty simple. There are people out there who don't have your best interests at heart. They're going to do whatever they can to sell you products or tools that will not help your business. It is up to you to wise up, turn on the BS meter, and smoke them out.
If You Fall for the Con Man's Tricks, You Will Figure it Out Pretty Fast: Finally, Spongebob's luck turns around when he closes the sale for his first candy bar. The problem is, the candy bar is buried in a seemingly endless array of bags. Meanwhile, Patrick stands with one bag doing what Patrick does best (nothing), and eventually the woman leaves without purchasing.
The personification of all bad JV partners. No, they don't have any of his endearing traits. They just suck.
Sounds like a pretty familiar newbie IM mistake to me. What we see all too often is that newbies will pick a product at random (without knowing it's quality) and throw countless bonuses on top of the offer to try to make it's perceived value higher.
What ends up happening more often than not is a lost sale. Customers (and people in general) are a lot smarter than we give them credit for, and they tend to see through this kind of trick. If you're throwing everything but the kitchen sink at them (and that stuff you are throwing is cheap and unhelpful), you'll quickly lose credibility and be done for.
Patrick also signifies what will happen if you aren't careful with the people you associate with. If you don't do your due diligence beforehand, you can end up with an unhelpful nut. In a tight spot or with a tough sell, that can really suck.
"Let's Get Naked": Dejected from their lack of success, Spongebob and Patrick retreat to a local diner to think of a new plan. Patrick creatively suggests getting naked; but the two eventually settle on just being extra nice to their prospects. With Patrick involved, this goes about as well as you would expect:
I still never know whether or not I should be amused or uncomfortable.
This illustrates a point that in my opinion has to come up FAR too often on the forum: YOU. ARE. NOT. THE. MARKET. Spongebob and Patrick just pulled whatever technique they thought would work out of their butt, instead of going to the market and asking.
Just because you think something will work, doesn't mean that it will. Always test, and always communicate with your niche as much as possible.
"Stretching the Truth", it Will ALWAYS Come Back to Get You: Feeling completely defeated now, Spongebob and Patrick happen upon a billboard that sells barnacle chips with a complete lie. They figure that if one guy/company was successful with it, then they can be successful with the technique too.
Things work out for them, for awhile. Plenty of money is made, and the boys think they are finally on the way to "fancy living".
That is, until the con man returns and robs them of all of their money.
If you resort to lies and deceit, the same outcome will befall you sooner or later. Either a better liar will come along and rob you of your money (remember YOU'RE the newbie, there are plenty of con-men out there with more tricks/experience), or your customers will wise up and report you.
It seems like common sense, but bending or breaking the rules just isn't worth it.
Tom the "CHOCOOLLLAAAATTTEEE" Guy: As the episode is about to end, Spongebob and Patrick are finally cornered by the crazy fish that has been chasing them all episode. When it seems that he is about to murder/kidnap them, he offers to BUY ALL OF THEIR CHOCOLATE.
Holy crap, twist ending. It works out perfectly when describing IM though, because it shows you EXACTLY how to get out of the "newbie rut."
It turns out that this guy was their target audience all along, and that he was the exact type of rabid customer that us IMers all dream of. The duo could have found him too, if they had just DONE THEIR RESEARCH AND DONE RIGHT BY THEIR CUSTOMERS to begin with. As long as you put in the leg work that comes with finding a viable market, and give that market exactly what they need, you can't go wrong. Everyone's happy.
OK, so sometimes it is a creepy happy. It still counts.
Well, that's the end of the episode and the end of this lesson. Heed the advice that is given to you, and in no time you will be on your way to creating a business and making some great money. Heck, you might even be able to land a hot date.
Not my idea of a good time;
but who am I to judge?