I was faced with having to pay a mortgage and had no money left, not even for a single wso, lord knows I had purchased enough wso's that I finally had to put my mouth were my knowledge was and swallow my pride and gulp actually apply what I had learned from the warriorforum.
I then wanted to give back to the forum that had allowed me to work from home and start my offline marketing career by posting the exact process I had used to accumulate almost 21k in less than 19 weeks.
I explained how I had read David Cavanagh's free thread where he spoke about just putting our online knowledge to work by actually going out and talking to local businesses.
So I did just that, 3 years ago, with no money I took the biggest gamble of my life and with no prospects of a job in sight I put my 2 kids in to daycare (my 3rd was in 4th grade at the time, so didn't need to worry about that) where I had no money to pay for my mortgage let alone the daycare but I knew I had 2 weeks to pay the daycare bill.
So the first week I identified businesses who were advertising in the local newspaper. I then called up the newspaper and asked how much their smallest size ad that wasn't a classified ad would cost and they told me their smallest ad was a business card size ad that would cost $579 and would run for 10 days.
Well I thought if these businesses were paying at least $579 for 10 days they could pay me $579 for a year of helping them on the internet.
So I needed a way in the door so I started contacting the businesses who were advertising and asked if I would be able to interview them because I wa starting a new local website that would highlight local companies.
Bingo, I had close to an 80% success rate of talking to these businesses and I would go so far as to send them the questions ahead of time so they had time to prepare for my interview- these businesses loved talking about themselves especially having the interview questions in their hands ahead of time.
Now a number of them said that they weren't going to buy anything and I said that's fine I just want to get their story and part of the interviewing was asking them what they do to market their business and boy did that open up pandora's box, they let me know how their marketing was working and some of these companies didn't have a website etc.
So I then proceeded for free to educate them on how to claim their google local business listing, how to claim their yahoo listing etc and they were blown away and I continued to give away a lot of information that you and I already know such as optimizing their title tags and h1 tags etc all the time never asking for a dime.
And at the end they would say well can you do that for me and if so how much-cha ching.
This is a win/win since you already know that they are paying for advertising you know that they will pay for your services, the very first week I closed 3 clients at $579 so I did $1737 my very first week!!!
Now the thing is I didn't over analyze this and wonder how this wasn't going to work or that I didn't have a bank account or that I didn't have every duck in a row and t and i crossed and dotted I just took ACTION.
No big secret there but actually picking up the phone on a Saturday early afternoon (big secret - that is a great time to call local businesses because the owner is usually there and no secretary since it's the weekend and the owner will be the person usually picking up the phone) and calling local companies that had ads in the local newspaper asking them if I can interview them for a local website that I was building to highlight local businesses.
I set up something like 6 or 7 interviews and closed 3 and continued into the next week and the week after, and I was able to pay my mortgage and daycare and have some scratch left over as well.
Here it is 3 years later and I have been truly blessed, there are a number of great offline wso's and folks offering their different slants on this area saying how they've had success after 3 months or 6months etc, well having been doing this full time now for what will be my 4th year I can share some additional insights that if I were to start over again this is what I would do know what I know now versus then.
The number one thing I would have done differently from the start was to setup a monthly recurring payment.
I honestly didn't think someone would pay me $300 a month but I did have the confidence that they would pay me $579 a year since they were already doing that with the newspaper.
Knowing what I know now, that was just a confidence issue on my part since I had never done offline consulting before and I didn't have enough confidence to ask for a monthly fee - now I don't take anything less than $550/mo plus a min of a $500 setup fee or more so I walk out with at least $1k plus per sale and I have the residual monthly income coming in so I don't have to keep looking over my shoulder wondering where my next dollar is going to come from-huge nugget there.
I realized about 6 months into the offline market that if I didn't change to a recurring billing model I was going to be out of work soon and I wasn't going to be helping anyone and I'd have to go back to looking for a job.
So I again swallowed my pride and I started off by charging at the time $197/mo with no start up fee and then I kept raising that price to where I am now plus a startup fee.
A useful website that I learned from the kid who mowed our lawns was a site called freshbooks because before freshbooks I am ashamed to say but I had basically hand written invoices and freshbooks came along and created very professional invoices and could also setup residual payments which was huge!!!
I wish I would've known about freshbooks earlier in the game but that website is the site I still use to this very day for all of my invoices and monthly billing.
Plus at tax time the site makes getting all of your info for your accountant super easy at least for me I thought so, which is another area that not to many people talk about and that is your expenses.
I kept track of everything and freshbooks gives you an area to store all of that information for you, now I am not an accountant or anything I am just sharing with you what I found to be helpful.
Another area I find really going to explode because this has for me and that is creating facebook fan pages. I keep upselling my existing clients which you should be to and that is stay in contact with your clients and let them know of other services that you offer because they will want to continue to buy from you if you deliver.
Now I don't want to say I make 8 billion dollars in offline marketing but my wife and I along with our kids are very blessed and we can't imagine having our lives any other way because I am still a stay at home dad and I get to be at home when the kids come home from school or like Friday I took the day to go to Hersheypark which is a local amusement park and had a great time with them because they are only young for so long.
You see all these ads for the latest wso and the newest technique but really it all boils down to action, these business owners don't care how much you know until they know how much you care, if you are honestly looking out for their best interests first the money will follow.
You can't look at a chimney and say give me heat- you first have to put in the wood and then light the fire.
These businesses are hurting right now and many of them still don't have a website, you can really help them, one of my clients before I "interviewed" him and he swore by the way that he wasn't going to buy anything from me, ended up having me develop a website for him which here 3 years later, he did over $25k online, which is a big part of his income because now he doesn't have to rely solely on the local economy.
He opened his business up to the world, so going from no website to doing over $25k gross last month is HUGE!!!
Now would he have eventually developed a website, I don't know, probably, but nothing happens until you do, so hopefully this will motivate you to pick up the phone and start talking to businesses.
They won't bite and guess what all those wso's that say you don't have to cold call or you don't have to meet in person etc do they work yes and yes I have tried them and I have been successful but to me, nothing beats getting on the phone and setting up an in person interview because I can setup an interview for tomorrow and walk out with a check in hand.
With this economy May was my best month ever and June beat May and I just hired my first office manager and will be hiring 2 sales people to help me but the point is since the economy isn't so great, these local companies are looking for alternative ways to advertise and online marketing is right up there at the top of the list.
The internet isn't going away and all these google updates and farmer and panda whatever help aid me into helping these businesses understand that they need someone monthly to help their business since google is constantly changing you can help them weather the storm.
You can do this business and you don't need another wso or phone script or anything else for that matter, just pick up the phone and ask them if you could set up an interview with them because you were looking to do an interest story on local businesses and how they are dealing with this economy.
You will get interviews and then just ask them about their business, how did you get started, why should someone go to you over your competition, how do you market your business what have you found to be the least successful way of advertising, what have you found to be the most successful way etc.
Just have a conversation with them and they will warm up to you and then help them by giving them information that yes, you normally would charge for but since they won't know how to apply 99% of it, the knowledge you share with them will help build confidence in them that you will be able to help them market their business online.
Hopefully this has helped because I do go on the wf, maybe not as much as I used to because I am busy with my clients but I wanted to take some time to share some random thoughts from someone who is actually in the trenches so to speak an actually working with offline businesses every day.
To your success,