My biggest mistake with my business

29 replies
I was going to post this on my personal Facebook, but I think the warrior forum is better suited. I'm only posting this to maybe help you out with something that took me a lot of trial and error to discover. Out of all the internet marketers I've ever learned from, this was never taught.

We're all trying to live the dream. To be able to work from anywhere and make a lot of money is the goal any internet marketer is after.

This is no different for me; however, here's where I messed up...

The #1 biggest mistake I made was trying to make my business on autopilot. I still believe that having some automation in your business is important and necessary, BUT when first starting out, less is more. Grow your biz and interact with your clients on an intimate level. Get them talking with you. Tell them to reply to your emails and reply back to all of them. People want interaction, and once they get interaction, they see that you care. Once they see that you care, they buy.

Most internet marketers tell us that automation is the key to success, and in my experience, it hasn't been. Maybe down the road, when you get bigger, you can include more automation. But the best advice I can give you today, from my own experience, is be involved as much as you possibly can.
#biggest #business #mistake
  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Jared,

    I know what you're saying because I have always believed in nurturing my customers. The main reason why I want as much automation as possible is so that I can spend time with prospects and clients.

    I don't think you have to look at the automation vs. personalization dilemma as being one versus the other. You can have both if you set up your business correctly. Granted, the more prospects and customers you have, the more you have to work at this . . . but it is still possible with lots of clients if you work smart. One of the keys is to segment your customer list in such a way that you can address personal concerns with help and answers that seem to be very customized when, in fact, that same help is going to multiple people. Mail merge does wonders for your appearance.

    Good luck to all,

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    Thank You For Sharing!
    I can see why this would happen, if you look around the affiliate world there are tons of automation scripts and services, while I do agree that in some cases they can be beneficial, i also believe in some cases they can actually hurt.

    My biggest mistake when I first started was treating this as a hobby opposed to a business, and also not diversifying enough.
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  • Profile picture of the author BethHewitt
    It's about finding that balance. Some automation is great, but it always requires that human element to really make the difference.

    Beth
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    My biggest mistake was trying to start an online business. Oh well... it's been 10 years since i first started, so i think i'm deep in the Matrix right now.

    Good insight by the way though. I know someone will benefit from your advice.
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  • Profile picture of the author operationoffers
    I think that business runs in cycles, obviously. but what I mean is business goes through evolutions where people want more or less interaction and it also has to do what what niche or medium you are using. I do think we are getting back to a more personal approach to customers. People are seeking out something that doesn't seem so superficial.
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  • Profile picture of the author cyberzolo
    You can never really fully automate your online business, especially when you first start out.
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  • Profile picture of the author luane
    I agree....the internet is such a "virtual" world of anonymous people and tasks that we crave to really CONNECT with those we admire and learn from!
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  • Profile picture of the author jessiewriter
    I hear you completely. Outsourced quite a bit of core competencies in other things, but my writing...that's just not the business model for me. I believe in delivering the relationship and the content to client myself.

    Thanks for sharing.
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  • Profile picture of the author RockStar87
    Thanks for sharing and maybe someone here at wf can learn from your mistakes.
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  • Profile picture of the author dewayneboyd
    Originally Posted by JaredRhodenizer View Post

    I was going to post this on my personal Facebook, but I think the warrior forum is better suited. I'm only posting this to maybe help you out with something that took me a lot of trial and error to discover. Out of all the internet marketers I've ever learned from, this was never taught.

    We're all trying to live the dream. To be able to work from anywhere and make a lot of money is the goal any internet marketer is after.

    This is no different for me; however, here's where I messed up...

    The #1 biggest mistake I made was trying to make my business on autopilot. I still believe that having some automation in your business is important and necessary, BUT when first starting out, less is more. Grow your biz and interact with your clients on an intimate level. Get them talking with you. Tell them to reply to your emails and reply back to all of them. People want interaction, and once they get interaction, they see that you care. Once they see that you care, they buy.

    Most internet marketers tell us that automation is the key to success, and in my experience, it hasn't been. Maybe down the road, when you get bigger, you can include more automation. But the best advice I can give you today, from my own experience, is be involved as much as you possibly can.
    This depends on the niche and price point. For example, with low-dollar IM products, I would not waste my time responding to vague emails. These people rarely buy from you, anyway. It's not worth the time. But with a $500 product, sure you need to answer emails except for the stupid ones asking for free advice, begging, etc.
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    • Profile picture of the author agmccall
      Originally Posted by dewayneboyd View Post

      This depends on the niche and price point. For example, with low-dollar IM products, I would not waste my time responding to vague emails. These people rarely buy from you, anyway. It's not worth the time. But with a $500 product, sure you need to answer emails except for the stupid ones asking for free advice, begging, etc.
      This advice is foolish at best. You need to treat every customer, whether they are spending $4.99 or $499.00, the same. Just because someone is interested in a low dollar product does not mean they will not be buying a high dollar product in the future.

      By the way, if you do not want to deal with low dollar customers then why are you promoting the product?

      al
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarevok
    I hear that.

    I used to be big into autoresponders... And actually had my blog set up to blog automatically for months into the future.

    But I deleted my massive autoresponder series, and now blog manually.

    For a multitude of reasons really.

    I just like to be more "agile" than predetermined automation.

    I'm not saying automation can't work by the way.

    But I actually find interacting with my list & blog readers to be somewhat addicting.

    I feel like if I neglect it and don't interact?

    Then I won't get the therapy that publishing provides.



    PS: Excessive automation is boring.
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  • Profile picture of the author paul nicholls
    Interaction is very important

    I speak to more of my customers and subscribers now than I ever have

    As much as automation is important you just have to look where you are making most money. If you are making very good money by simply talking to people and consulting them then keep doing it

    When I tell people to automate things I mainly mean your sales funnel from the squeeze page, front end products, upsells and follow up emails. This will make you some money but the big money is made on the back end or further into your business.

    As much as I love to automate my business I still have no problem talking for a few hours a day as I know this makes me good money :-)

    Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author alexnob
    Well, I own a small business about graphic design and can confirm what you're saying is true. Interacting and always give top priority to your customers are keys to success and getting more sales at small scale.
    However, I'm facing problems trying to outsource and automation when expanding my business, sth like:
    - Where can you hire reliable people
    - What extend should you outsouce? Email management included or not?
    - How much should you pay (or % of revenue sharing)
    - Sth relates to technical stuffs since you don't want other people get access to your hosting account, payment account or email.
    Many issues will appear when you trying to expand your business and I think it requires entirely different skills & experiences to operate a bigger business, rather than just focus on interacting with customers, it's just a part of the game.
    PS: I hope everyone who has exp can help me deal with problems I mentioned above.
    Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author RogueOne
    It depends on your business model and niches. I mostly promote affiliate products in non-IM niches. These people not only don't want to hear from me, they don't even care who I am. All they care is if my funnel will lead them to their fix.

    I set up completely automated funnels, got them performing, and started on another.

    I provided ad design services for many years. While I had some awesome customers, the whiney, tire-kicking, nothing is ever right, bored wanting conversation types finally drove me out of it.

    One of my main goals when I started IM was to build a business where I didn't have to deal with anyone unless I wanted to. I'm pretty happy with the way things are.
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    • Profile picture of the author ajbarnes777
      I agree. Automation of course is a good thing to an extent as it helps grow your business, but having at least a little bit of human connection can go a long way online... for reasons already mentioned above.

      My biggest mistake (which was corrected a couple of years of ago) was focusing heavily on $$$ instead of providing value to my customer's. Ironically, NOT focusing on $$$, and instead focusing on giving my customer's more value (and respect) lead to more $$$!
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Jared,

    SUPER smart share. Interacting is key in this game. Automate a bit but being human is the critical factor in gaining the trust of your audience. Trust = sales. Full or Heavy Automation = few if any sales.....people do not trust bots. They need interaction, to prove, in fact, that you are human and willing to help them with their problems.

    The more social and transparent I become the more money I make online. The process is stunningly simple although not easy at first because most of us forget that the fortune is made in the relationships we build and value we bring to the table.

    Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author RogueOne
    This advice is foolish at best.
    From the perspective of the inexperienced, it may seem so.

    By the way, if you do not want to deal with low dollar customers then why are you promoting the product?
    You don't have to deal with them, that's the point. It's easy money, being as it's on autopilot. Also, there are people who promote very low-end products to meet Amazon pay levels.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel J
    This is absolutely right! When I started, I did EVERYTHING myself. I now automate and outsource MOST of the work, but I PERSONALLY answer every email that comes in. I believe this is what keeps my business personal and keeps it growing. You are right that people want connection. They want to know that somebody is there and cares. Outsourcing the NON-personal tasks is great (for me that is inventory sourcing, order processing, packing, shipping, pricing, web development, marketing), but maintaining the PERSONAL aspect of the business is priority #1!
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  • Profile picture of the author Teravel
    Saying you cannot automate your business, and that you have to interact with your customers is something you don't see a lot from the "Big Players".

    I'm sure the creator of Amazon doesn't talk with everyone that shops there. They have employees working to keep the machine running smoothly.

    Do you think Mark Zuckerberg (of Facebook) communicates and helps all his Facebook users?

    Automation DOES in fact depend on your business model. Remember, Automation is anything that allows YOU more time away from your business... Employees/Freelancers included.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Teravel View Post

      Saying you cannot automate your business, and that you have to interact with your customers is something you don't see a lot from the "Big Players".

      I'm sure the creator of Amazon doesn't talk with everyone that shops there. They have employees working to keep the machine running smoothly.

      Do you think Mark Zuckerberg (of Facebook) communicates and helps all his Facebook users?

      Automation DOES in fact depend on your business model. Remember, Automation is anything that allows YOU more time away from your business... Employees/Freelancers included.
      Got a reality check for you...

      You ain't Bezos or Zuckerberg. Neither were they when they started out. Neither am I, for that matter.

      If you want money away from your business, buy savings bonds or stocks that pay dependable dividends. It's passive, and it gets preferential tax treatment.

      Read the OP's post again.

      He didn't say "never automate anything". He said:

      The #1 biggest mistake I made was trying to make my business on autopilot. I still believe that having some automation in your business is important and necessary, BUT when first starting out, less is more. Grow your biz and interact with your clients on an intimate level. Get them talking with you. Tell them to reply to your emails and reply back to all of them. People want interaction, and once they get interaction, they see that you care. Once they see that you care, they buy.
      And you can bet dollars to doughnuts that even the Bezoses and Zuckerbergs are still paying attention to their users, even if they aren't answering individual emails. I'll tell you what - when you get half a billion users, I'll cut you all the automated slack you want. Deal?
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      • Profile picture of the author Teravel
        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        Got a reality check for you...

        You ain't Bezos or Zuckerberg. Neither were they when they started out. Neither am I, for that matter.

        If you want money away from your business, buy savings bonds or stocks that pay dependable dividends. It's passive, and it gets preferential tax treatment.

        And you can bet dollars to doughnuts that even the Bezoses and Zuckerbergs are still paying attention to their users, even if they aren't answering individual emails. I'll tell you what - when you get half a billion users, I'll cut you all the automated slack you want. Deal?
        I'm sorry, I didn't realize I had to have your slack in order to succeed online. You may want to go back a few years and let the old me know that I need your approval.

        There's a real difference between you and I, John. I don't work for my business, I manage it. My business WORKS FOR ME.

        I spend less than 4 hours each week managing my online assets. To me, that is Automation. I pay people to do the grunt work, just like the big boys do.

        Lets name a few of the big boys, then you can tell me when the last time the CEO got down and dirty with all their customers directly.

        Google
        Yahoo
        Bing
        Amazon
        Clickbank

        Hell, lets go into real businesses and toss in Walmart and McDonalds.

        It may be worth your time to sit at the computer and make every customer you have happy, but it isn't enough for me. My work consisted of laying the foundation and training my workers. Everything beyond that is micromanagement.
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by Teravel View Post

          I'm sorry, I didn't realize I had to have your slack in order to succeed online. You may want to go back a few years and let the old me know that I need your approval.

          There's a real difference between you and I, John. I don't work for my business, I manage it. My business WORKS FOR ME.

          I spend less than 4 hours each week managing my online assets. To me, that is Automation. I pay people to do the grunt work, just like the big boys do.

          Lets name a few of the big boys, then you can tell me when the last time the CEO got down and dirty with all their customers directly.

          Google
          Yahoo
          Bing
          Amazon
          Clickbank

          Hell, lets go into real businesses and toss in Walmart and McDonalds.

          It may be worth your time to sit at the computer and make every customer you have happy, but it isn't enough for me. My work consisted of laying the foundation and training my workers. Everything beyond that is micromanagement.
          And when you were "laying that foundation", did you ever listen to your customers? Interact with any of them? Or did you just get lucky?

          We aren't talking about mature businesses here. At least we weren't when the thread started.

          I'm not anti-automation, really, I'm not. I'm just saying that in the beginning, when someone is indeed "laying the foundation", listening to their customers will get them further than trying to automate too soon.

          I used to build web pages by hand, using Notepad. As tools became available to automate the process, I embraced them. Now I use WP for web sites and other tools for other things. As for hiring people to manage for me, I have my own reasons for keeping the reins on parts of the business which I won't explain here.

          But if I didn't spend time listening to my customers, especially in the beginning, I wouldn't be where I am today.

          I'm all in favor of automating or outsourcing when the time is right. I just agree with the OP that that time isn't when you first start a new business, particularly if you're also in a new market and/or doing it for the first time.

          Oh, yeah, I took your suggestion. Your old self wasn't any more concerned about my approval than you are...
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  • Profile picture of the author Teravel
    John, we obviously run our businesses differently. I respect you as a marketer, as I have read many of your informative posts. So lets agree to disagree on this one.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Teravel View Post

      John, we obviously run our businesses differently. I respect you as a marketer, as I have read many of your informative posts. So lets agree to disagree on this one.
      Deal.

      Happy Holidays!
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  • Profile picture of the author jfbmarketing
    I think l am going to have to agree with Jared, l rather engage with my clients then have some useless email, that could be the correct, or incorrect take away an opportunity for me to actually exchange words with a client who replied to my ad, article or what ever he is replying too.

    He deserves my full attention.... How l feel, and what l been doing....
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    • Profile picture of the author Antonios
      We need to automate and outsource as much as possible, but with that automation not affecting our business,

      In reality, the setup one time and forget business model doesn't exist,

      You have to constantly keep an eye on your automation, outsourcing, and other set and forget stuff, that is, you can't forget,

      And, at the beginning, you have to personally answer client or subscriber questions, even pre-sell inquiries,

      I don't buy from marketers don't answer my questions, worst if it is before I have bought the product,

      If they don't answer my inquiries, how do I know that I will receive any support after buying the product?

      Or, if I have bought a low-priced product and I don't receive answers, how do I know if I will receive any support if I buy a high-priced product?

      Even with non IM products?

      Always respond all inquiries, if you can get it, then outsource that part to outside people or to employees, unless the inquirer wants a direct contact with you, the owner,

      And, outside answering inquiries, automation is not to set it and forget it, constant change is the most constant online, and if you are not updating to those changes, you will be left behind and probably end without a business,,,

      Your friend,

      Antonios
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      • Profile picture of the author Antonios
        Just a goodwill contact:

        In the western hemisphere we have been and are going through several holidays,,, ThanksGiving (last Thursday of November), Christmas (December 25), New Year (January 1), and some latin countries: Three Wise Men (Dia de Reyes: January 6) holiday,

        May you have given thanks for your receivings, have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and receive many presents on the Three Wise Men day!

        Your friend,

        Antonios
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  • Profile picture of the author dmarseller
    Good reflexion.

    Until you learn all from your business (a bit hard) you should not try to change to "autopilot mode" and much more less hire a VA.
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