My Game Plan for Starting in the Lead Gen for Offline Client Market - Critiques & Comments Welcome!

21 replies
Alright then, so it’s game plan time. But first a bit of a preamble, feel free to skip this bit and go straight to the game plan – I certainly need the pointers! As I mentioned in another thread I used to be in IM doing copy writing for clients and moved on to having a micro niche site network that got a bit of a Google slap down (or smashed to smithereens by the Google Hammer would be a more apt description). I don’t blame Google, they were definitely MFA sites.

After 18 months back in the Recruitment game (I did a few years prior to quitting for IM) I’ve decided that I want to start my own recruitment company. But with rent (and hopefully a mortgage in the next 6 months if we can afford London prices) and a baby (7 months) saving the capital will be difficult, and having an additional stream as I set up would be a good idea.

To that end I have set myself a bit of a challenge. In the next 18 months I need to get £12k in the bank, and have an income of no less than £1k/month. With that I can step into setting my own recruitment company up.
Given I have SOME knowledge of SEO, etc, I thought getting back into IM would be a good idea. After a LOT of reading around the various IM forums, especially here, I decided on Lead Gen.

I’ve laid out the game plan below. This is to be achieved with very minimal budget as whilst I earn pretty well (and my wife even better), the money is going completely to getting us a London mortgage, which ain’t cheap! Any money I spend I will need to have earned doing some basic domain/site flipping or cheap and cheerful writing.

Game Plan

So the idea is fairly simple as I see it, though obviously the key is in the execution. Below I focus on SEO as I can do my time, to a degree (a couple of hours a day), the cost of PPC is prohibitive given my budget and my lack of experience. That will be tested when I have an income.

1. Select a niche with decent ticket price, achievable keywords and plausible lead buyers
2. Buy a domain and put together a website
3. SEO for rankings on selected keywords
4. Set up a call forwarding system with “whisper” for lead passing – put the number front and centre on the website
5. Contact companies who may be interested, give them leads for free initially but when I feel I have enough to pass on for money I start charging that client or find someone willing to pay
6. Charge a monthly fee

OK, that’s all bare bones, I know. But right now I feel I have rasped some of the “over view” but maybe not the nitty gritty. However I also think it is too easy to over think things, it took me a few years to properly go at micro niche sites, and if I spend ages looking into details it may end up taking me another 6 months before I dive in. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take an’ all.
Where I am

So I’ve chosen a niche. Maybe I should have done some proper market research (I did Keyword research including competition, and checked out that there are a lot of suitable firms in the area – this would be UK wide but there are firms that offer).

It’s in the construction niche (not getting more specific than that), I have an EMD and thanks to Kmalo on this forum I have found what seems to be a suitable call forwarding company.

Next step is to put the site together and start on the SEO.

Anyone have any tips as I go – based on business plan or general thoughts? I’m happy to take advice from all comers, especially those that have “been there and done that”. The only things I am sure about is

1) I’m trying to do this on a very limited budget
2) I can only commit to 3 hours / day on average

I'll try and update this thread as I go, both with what I have done and questions - but I would really appreciate any comments on my bare bones plan so far!
#client #comments #critiques #game #gen #lead #lead gen #lead genearation #market #offline #offline affiliate #plan #starting
  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    If you do start generating leads, charge for them. Don't give them away for free.

    People just won't value them if they're free. We've seen this over and over in threads like this. The leadgen guy (you) gets frustrated and quits.

    So spend your energy on people who value what you bring to the table. If they won't pay for it, you don't spend any energy on them.

    ESPECIALLY since you can "only spend 3 hours a day" on it. Value your time.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jefferyvar
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  • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
    I've always been against just selling the leads. My recommendation is instead of selling it on a per lead basis, rent out the website for a flat monthly fee. You have a slight advantage when you do that, you're giving the business an exact amount they expect to pay, regardless of lead volume, and you can also budget better knowing the exact amount you're going to receive.

    Low budget, is not a problem, 3 hours a day is not a problem. Developing the site, and doing SEO assuming it is relatively low competition, will be a breese. Your biggest issue, and most time consuming will be to find a buyer.

    When it comes to renting out a site, I'd recommend not starting under the $300/mo point.
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    • Profile picture of the author Recruitment Nick
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      If you do start generating leads, charge for them. Don't give them away for free.

      People just won't value them if they're free. We've seen this over and over in threads like this. The leadgen guy (you) gets frustrated and quits.

      So spend your energy on people who value what you bring to the table. If they won't pay for it, you don't spend any energy on them.

      ESPECIALLY since you can "only spend 3 hours a day" on it. Value your time.
      Good points. My thought process was that I would be renting the site out (sending all leads for a flat fee), and until I get enough traction (more than say 10 leads a month) I wouldn't be able to rent it out. Not sure how else to go about it, apart from selling those leads on an individual basis (time intensive and doesnt sound like it would give a good RoI).

      What would you suggest?

      Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

      I've always been against just selling the leads. My recommendation is instead of selling it on a per lead basis, rent out the website for a flat monthly fee. You have a slight advantage when you do that, you're giving the business an exact amount they expect to pay, regardless of lead volume, and you can also budget better knowing the exact amount you're going to receive.

      Low budget, is not a problem, 3 hours a day is not a problem. Developing the site, and doing SEO assuming it is relatively low competition, will be a breese. Your biggest issue, and most time consuming will be to find a buyer.

      When it comes to renting out a site, I'd recommend not starting under the $300/mo point.
      That's pretty much what I meant, was rather a long post and rushed during lunch at work so maybe didn't come across well enough. My target price for the first one, if I get it ranking and calling, etc, is probably around £300 (so $500) a month.
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      • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
        Originally Posted by Recruitment Nick View Post

        Good points. My thought process was that I would be renting the site out (sending all leads for a flat fee), and until I get enough traction (more than say 10 leads a month) I wouldn't be able to rent it out. Not sure how else to go about it, apart from selling those leads on an individual basis (time intensive and doesnt sound like it would give a good RoI).

        What would you suggest?



        That's pretty much what I meant, was rather a long post and rushed during lunch at work so maybe didn't come across well enough. My target price for the first one, if I get it ranking and calling, etc, is probably around £300 (so $500) a month.
        In some industries 10 leads for that amount is an exceptional deal. I would say go for it anyway, when you're getting at least 5/mo, it's time.

        The rent a site model is one that you can easily scale up.

        My recommendation is to get started.. time asking us could be better spent in getting everything started.
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        • Profile picture of the author Recruitment Nick
          Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

          In some industries 10 leads for that amount is an exceptional deal. I would say go for it anyway, when you're getting at least 5/mo, it's time.

          The rent a site model is one that you can easily scale up.

          My recommendation is to get started.. time asking us could be better spent in getting everything started.
          Very true! However sneaking on to the forum in between calls/when on hold is easy in work, typing up articles or backlinking, less so. So occasional forum time during work hours, working on my own stuff outside of them.

          This evening shall be spent creating first content and website.
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    • Profile picture of the author Neison
      Recruitment Nick, you'll do best going after markets that understand the concept of buying leads. Otherwise you're selling the concept plus the work, which is harder.

      Doing the whisper thing on the phone is fine, but you could take the leads yourself for a while at first to understand what's going on.

      Don't rush to the passive income from day 1 unless/until you're familiar with the market. The information gained from incoming calls will help you during the expansion phase.

      Originally Posted by iAmNameLess View Post

      I've always been against just selling the leads. My recommendation is instead of selling it on a per lead basis, rent out the website for a flat monthly fee. You have a slight advantage when you do that, you're giving the business an exact amount they expect to pay, regardless of lead volume, and you can also budget better knowing the exact amount you're going to receive...

      When it comes to renting out a site, I'd recommend not starting under the $300/mo point.
      In my experience, this 'slight advantage' only occurs when there is low volume of leads and/or the leads aren't worth that much.

      The other side of the coin: you create a site and choose to rent it rather than taking leads and it's worth $500,000/yr+ to the business owner. You've just shot yourself in the foot.

      Regarding site rental prices; it's perceived value of the ranking, not just lead value. I've had clients rent #1 ranking sites just to appear as industry authority. It acts like a billboard and they think of it the same way.

      It's also possible to rent sites at 2k/mo+ in the right niches. For those prices the client will usually be tracking performance. But site rental is only a backup plan if you ask me; it's just proof that you're going after small/low-value markets or the search traffic is bad.
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  • Profile picture of the author sweetcrabhoney18
    You didn't mention anywhere in your game plan how you plan on getting those leads for your customer. You need to plan that out as well. Don't give away free leads; makes it seem pointless. With only 3 hours a day / you want to outsource tasks that are cookie cutter.

    Best of luck with your endeavors .
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  • Profile picture of the author Recruitment Nick
    As far as I can see, the tactic generally used is to simply to push any organic visitors into making a call, and using call forwarding to send that on to the client (with a whisper saying where it came from).

    The question I have for anyone experienced is - surely x amount of these are sales calls? Have you ever had a client get annoyed by the sales calls coming through your system and, if so, how did you get around it?
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Yes, a good number are sales calls. It's annoying if the others aren't good leads.
      Or if not enough of them are good leads.

      What's enough changes from person to person, and how many of the good leads they can actually convert (and how many leads from other sources they convert).

      Also, consider that business owner's own marketing/advertising gets seen by sales people who decide to call... If yours isn't worse, percentage wise, do you have an issue?

      Originally Posted by Recruitment Nick View Post

      As far as I can see, the tactic generally used is to simply to push any organic visitors into making a call, and using call forwarding to send that on to the client (with a whisper saying where it came from).

      The question I have for anyone experienced is - surely x amount of these are sales calls? Have you ever had a client get annoyed by the sales calls coming through your system and, if so, how did you get around it?
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      • Profile picture of the author Recruitment Nick
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        Yes, a good number are sales calls. It's annoying if the others aren't good leads.
        Or if not enough of them are good leads.

        What's enough changes from person to person, and how many of the good leads they can actually convert (and how many leads from other sources they convert).

        Also, consider that business owner's own marketing/advertising gets seen by sales people who decide to call... If yours isn't worse, percentage wise, do you have an issue?
        That's what I figured but thought it worth an ask. Cheers
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  • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
    And now for a question out of left field:

    Creating quality leads is the bread and butter of any business. If you find you are exceptionally skilled at generating leads, would you consider moving into that industry yourself?

    When you sell leads, you have to do two types of sales and marketing. First, you have to market to get the leads, then you have to market to sell them.

    As you scale up, these costs increase.

    I'm not telling you what you SHOULD do or advocating for a specific course of action...but...

    What if you pick an industry that you could see yourself enjoying...and begin working on generating the leads...and selling them to get started. But your long-term goal is to move into that space and totally crush the existing providers.

    If you can really generate high-quality leads in an industry, you will be able to outperform most of the people in that space.

    EDIT: I just read your post more closely. I think you are making a classic mistake in your current plan. You have been in recruitment in the past, and plan to get back into it in the future. Why are you messing around with construction leads?

    In the future, if you are going to be successful with your own company, generating business will be a KEY part of your success.

    So...you are going to build this system to learn how to generate construction leads...learn the lingo...get really good at it...then walk away and go to another industry?

    You have spent all this time getting good at recruitment...learning the lingo...and you are going to walk away and market for construction?

    Personally, I think you should start exactly where you are. You understand recruiting. Start generating the type of leads you will need in the future, and sell them to existing companies.

    Then, when you are REALLY GOOD at getting leads, you stop the flow of leads to the other firms, and start taking them yourself. Double whammy.

    Instead of taking the small money which others can afford to pay you for the leads, you will get to keep the full amount on each lead you generate, AND you will actually END UP WHERE YOU WANT TO BE.
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  • Profile picture of the author wmrwl
    I can use some good leads. Send me a PM so we can chat more about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Recruitment Nick
    @Dan McCoy

    I'm working in recruitment at the moment. So first I wouldn't feel comfortable generating business for another company in the same niche as the company I am getting a salary from.

    As for would I do this full time? Possible, I'd never rule anything out - and if I can generate a full time income on part time hours then I would be VERY tempted, if only because it gives me more time with my son. But it would be a tough call; recruitment is very lucrative, especially to the business owners. I was on a stag do last weekend (Marbella in Spain, something of a stag/hen do hot spot it seems) with a chap who set up his company 10 years ago, the money he makes now is eye watering.

    Now it could be that construction leads aren't quite right. This actually came as a bit of a coincidence. I was considering some EMDs that were for relatively simple keywords, and one was for the construction industry, and thought this made sense.

    EDIT: Dan, I've been thinking more about what you have said, and it makes a lot of sense. I still plan on moving into recruitment but my target market when I do move is mechanical design recruitment (I'm in environmental niche now, but again would feel uncomfortable dealing with companies I deal with now when still at my current firm). So your logic (which makes perfect sense to me) would have me move into the industrial manufacturing niche, which I would eventually move into from a recruitment point ofview, allowing me to learn the lingo, how they do business, make relationships ahead of time, etc.

    Seems a perfect bit of "synergy" with my current and future plans, cheers for that
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    • Profile picture of the author DaniMc
      Originally Posted by Recruitment Nick View Post

      @Dan McCoy

      I'm working in recruitment at the moment. So first I wouldn't feel comfortable generating business for another company in the same niche as the company I am getting a salary from.
      I've become a HUGE believer in operating in the "immediate possible" to increase income.

      People have a dream of leaving it all and starting in something completely new, but new things take time to master.

      Personally, if I were you, I'd start where I am today and see what is immediately possible. If you want to do lead gen, there has to be a way you can work it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Recruitment Nick
        Originally Posted by Dan McCoy View Post

        I've become a HUGE believer in operating in the "immediate possible" to increase income.

        People have a dream of leaving it all and starting in something completely new, but new things take time to master.

        Personally, if I were you, I'd start where I am today and see what is immediately possible. If you want to do lead gen, there has to be a way you can work it.
        Not sure if you saw my edit or not. The thing about recruitment is that, like leads sales, you sell BOTH ends, candidates and clients. I am very good at lead gen in recruitment on the phone and email shots, I have no issues there (and now my clients come to me so lead gen isnt such an issue). But the plan is to move myself across to recruit into a different market (one I worked years and years ago) than the one I currently work in.

        Taking on jobs in recruitment is not hard; I would never need to buy leads and tbh, any company that did is probably too skint to afford them. BUT getting leads, understanding businesses and building relationships into my target market? That could be worth it's weight in gold...
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  • Profile picture of the author Recruitment Nick
    OK, so as stated my next site is going to be in the industrial manufacturing industry, I'm hunting keywords at the moment. But as I had the domain and the first 2 articles written for this one I'll plow ahead for now as something of a test case with a new site targeted to be done by early next week.

    Right now I have Wordpress and various plug ins added, and 2 articles posted targeting keywords. The next step is a few more articles and then some SEO.

    Quick question - how "deep" do many people do these sites? Thinking about 10 pages should avoid the paper thin problem of micro niche sites, but it may be more? My SEO knowledge, on and offpage, is a couple of years old now...
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  • Profile picture of the author CageyVet
    Nick, the first thing I wanted to mention is the fact that you are starting one business that is new to you in order to start another business that you are experienced in. That sounds odd to me, especially since starting up the second business will pretty much take over all of the time from the first business to render it dead. I know there is a conflict of interests in going into the recruitment market that your current company works in, but there has got to be some market sectors that your company does not currently work in that you could do recruitment consulting in. Since this industry is where your current expertise resides AND it is where you want to be in terms of running a business, it only makes sense to move into this sector in some fashion to fund your new business venture.

    In terms of doing a lead gen business that is there to get you seed money for your new business venture. I would just go about it in the simplest way possible so that it can be easy to either sell or maintain after you start your new venture.

    To do this the site leasing method will be your best bet since there is no worry about conversions, traffic, lead numbers or quality. All you have to do is to find the lowest of low hanging fruit for keywords and niches, get a property ranked (website OR video) at the top of Google and start your funnel to get someone to lease it from you for a monthly fee.

    You do not even need to worry about setting up virtual numbers. Just rank the site/video, find someone to lease it and then place their number directly on the site in a image or annotation/title/description if a video.

    Since you are not looking to grow a long term business with this internet property leasing venture, do not worry at all about finding clients that will pay $2k a month for a site.

    Just find a niche/industry that wants leads, internet exposure, etc. It has at least 3-4 pages of results in Google that are legitimate businesses for that niches main, highest search volume keyword. Then find a secondary keyword that revolves around a single service, concept, etc in that niche that gets at least 10 searches a month in Google and has at least 3 Ads in Google. Figure out a clever domain name that would appeal to the businesses you are targeting. So if it was roofing in London, www. LondonRoofsDoneRight .com as semi weak an example. Put up a simple 1 page wordpress business landing page that looks professional with simple content and calls to action, with a place to put the client phone number as an image in a few spots(header, sidebar, content). Rank it in Google for some low hanging but appealing keywords, which should be fairly simple if you have some SEO knowledge.

    Then find someone to lease the page at a nominal rate of £125/month. The reason why I state such a low price point is because you are not in this venture to build a business, you are in it to get money for little time/effort. There effort in the creation/ranking of the sites but there is also an effort in getting a client to lease the site. If you build simple sites for a simple price, the effort in both creation/ranking and finding clients is much less. If you were going to build a business out of leasing site, then I would do what iamnameless said and not lease for under $300 since you would be in it for the long haul.

    So what ever traffic, leads, emails(if you set up form), etc that the site generates all go to the client. Do not worry about getting leads coming in, just sell the business on the fact that you have website or video #1 in Google for this keyword (and maybe a handful other longtail or easy ones). This property will get traffic and calls organically, do they want to lease it for the nominal fee of only £125/month, which is extremely cheap for any internet marketing. This can be an easy sale for a business that is on page 2-5 of Google for the main keyword or a business that does not even have a website yet.

    You can easily bang out 5+ of these sites a week with very little effort and set-up a nice little sales funnel to connect with businesses that would be interested in this service that is semi automated. If you were to get 10 ranked a month for these easy keywords and convert 5 of them to paying clients a month. At the end of 6 months you would have 30 paying clients for a total of £3750 a month. All from simple 1 page sites that bring in traffic and possible calls.

    The reason why I say, not to worry about the calls is because the actual lead gen portion opens up a ton more cans of worms that will only bog you down with more tasks and cause you to spend more time/money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Recruitment Nick
    Thanks for the advice guys. Cagey, that's pretty close the plan. I intend to get a few more than 10 or so leads - London searches for my keyword is about 1k, with a lot of related, and sell at a bit higher price point (around the £300-£400 mark, so about $500 or so).

    As for leads in the recruitment sector. Frankly if a recruitment consultant has to buy leads on jobs in this market then they probably don't have the money to buy them. Recruitment companies do sort of buy leads, specifically they buy job advertising and cv databases. A long term project of mine is to build out an authority site in my target niche that I can post to and use, and charge other companies to do the same. But the competition in the job advertising market is pretty large so it is a LONG term plan.

    The plan for the next site is to more target towards my future plans by selling leads to companies that will be my clients, so I can start adding value and building relationships to those companies.

    But I have decided to pursue this one in the construction field for now as I had done keyword research, domain, etc.

    UPDATE

    So far I have added 6 articles, put in and edited a Wordpress theme, ordered a logo and as of just now, sorted out a company for answering the phone. Initially I am not doing call whispering but am paying a company on a per call basis to answer the phone, take down the name, number and address of the caller and ask a couple of basic questions.

    Not yet in Google for anything but just getting started and done no SEO.
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  • Profile picture of the author Recruitment Nick
    Just thought I'd add an update on this game plan.

    1. I have a list of keywords to target for my next target industry (synching it up with my longer term plan of recruitment into manufacturing).

    2. My site is now at #20 in uk for it's target keyword and one other keyword, and between 30 and 60 for a few other targets. Only link building has been one hubpage (pointing to an inner page) and one "PBN" style affair, purchased an expired domain with good backlinks, and created a mini site which links to my "money site" amongst others.

    Just sorting out a number now (have a company but hadn't set up as of yet), which I'll get on the website in a day or so. Some SEO and article writing to be doing to try crack the top 10, plus the main part - finding buyers for the leads.

    Not sure if I should update this thread or not, but figured people would be interested in knowing if this technique works. Will update on finding buyers/when leads start coming in.
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    • Profile picture of the author PDLaughlin
      Hey Nick,

      There is a lot of great advice in this thread. Some of it may be conflicting to you because you're trying to figure things out and everyone does it differently.

      I've been doing lead-gen and selling pre-made lead-gen sites for several years. And believe me EVERYONE does it differently. In my experience the consultants that sell leads individually make the most money. But it is also the most work - by far! Personally, I prefer to rent the site or sell it outright. Recently I'm finding that creating a 5-10 page site, selling it outright ($497 - $4,997+ depending on niche) and then offering lead-gen services on the backend is working pretty well. But of course everyone's market is different.

      Ultimately the key is how you generate the leads. Organic, PPC, etc. And yes there will be sales calls. But don't let that scare you. They're getting tons of sales calls every day anyway! Make a traffic plan and then stick to it and test it.

      No idea if this helps you or confuses you more but I hope the former.

      - Drew
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      • Profile picture of the author Recruitment Nick
        Originally Posted by PDLaughlin View Post

        Hey Nick,

        There is a lot of great advice in this thread. Some of it may be conflicting to you because you're trying to figure things out and everyone does it differently.

        I've been doing lead-gen and selling pre-made lead-gen sites for several years. And believe me EVERYONE does it differently. In my experience the consultants that sell leads individually make the most money. But it is also the most work - by far! Personally, I prefer to rent the site or sell it outright. Recently I'm finding that creating a 5-10 page site, selling it outright ($497 - $4,997+ depending on niche) and then offering lead-gen services on the backend is working pretty well. But of course everyone's market is different.

        Ultimately the key is how you generate the leads. Organic, PPC, etc. And yes there will be sales calls. But don't let that scare you. They're getting tons of sales calls every day anyway! Make a traffic plan and then stick to it and test it.

        No idea if this helps you or confuses you more but I hope the former.

        - Drew
        Drew,

        Thanks for that mate. Been doing a LOT of reading in off times and have seen everyone has their own spin, which is good, lots of things to learn from.

        I'm actually glad I did a test case not in my target sector, and may add one or two more before I move into the manufacturing/heavy engineering sector so that I can learn what I am doing before speaking to people who would not just be my clients now, but in the future for my recruitment business too. In all honesty I'm having doubts about that sector at the moment, as I'm not sure how much sales are driven by online work. As it happens I know someone that works in sales in that industry....I go on holiday for a fortnight this weekend, but intend to tap him up when I get back.

        As for this test case, I'm going to be led by clients a bit. I'm happy to work on a site rental or a pay per lead basis. There are also a few firms very local to me, if they're interested and I feel I can trust them I may work on a per sale basis. My site targets a product these people sell at their mid range point, £20k (well between £15k and £30k, but £20k seems average), which is neither high or low end for them. If I can get a good percentage and, importantly, trust them, then a % may be lucrative.

        All rather guess work stuff at the moment. First thing is to get those calls in.

        Well, 2nd thing. First is to jet off to the south of France for 2 weeks!
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