Making money online seems to be the brass ring that so many are striving to grab. Sadly, most never earn enough online to make a living because they don’t know who to believe. The main reason, though, is there are plenty of con artists willing to tell them how easy it is to get rich and famous. Plain and simple: they are lying and all those who believe them are going to be taken down the garden path to the poor house.
THE AMERICAN DREAM
We’ve all seen the photos of the smiling couple leaning on a luxury automobile in front of a massive house used to sell the latest MLM opportunity. They’re selling you a dream that is totally unrealistic for the average or even the exceptional person. It just does NOT happen. I’m sorry to burst your bubble and I know that you do not want to hear this. Many will tune out now and go back to dreaming. If you’re serious about making money keep reading.
WHY IT WON’T WORK FOR YOU
Before you will listen to reason you need to understand why it won’t work for you, so pay careful attention to these very important points:
1) CONNECTIONS – The people who do make money in MLMs or online or traditional businesses generally move in circles where there is money already. It is fairly easy to sell to those who have disposable incomes and can afford what you are offering. If the people you know are in debt up to their eyeballs and have no extra money to spend what are the odds they will buy from you?
People buy from those they know and trust.
Do you know anyone who has money to spend?
2) MLM SYSTEMS – I know a married couple who both had college degrees. They were white, attractive, firmly middle class, well-educated, pleasant to be around, knew a ton of people and worked really hard at making money with AmWay and Quixtar.
They rubbed elbows with their uplines and I met some of them. Only those that already had money were making money. My friends could never consistently stay at a level where they could even really supplement their incomes much less replace them even though they bought every tape, went to every meeting, spent every night giving talks and did everything they were supposed to do. Yes, some months they made Silver or Platinum but they never managed to consistently stay at those levels even after years of effort.
“Based on available company data, approximately 99.7% of MLM participants lose money – spending more on company purchases and minimal operating expenses than they receive in commissions from the company.” ~ From Summary of Research Findings conducted by MLM-TheTruth.com
3) MAKING MONEY ONLINE – Most of the gurus sell how-to-get-rich info products and teach newbies to sell the same get-rich-quick info products to others. Most of these are worthless because they are long on what you need to do, but never actually share HOW to get it done. So their followers continually buy the next make money ebook or join a membership site where they continually get more WHAT you need to do and never HOW to actually do it. That ensures that they keep buying from the guru and rarely if ever make money.
4) WHAT THE GURUS DON’T TELL YOU – They brag about how much they make. Some actually do make money because they were in the game early and have been famous for so long they keep finding new buyers which they often actually call marks or suckers or sheep. One famous get rich expert even used a photo of a sheep as the default Avatar on his site.
Some got famous – and got caught – photo-shopping phony earnings “proof”. They tell you how their latest launch made thousands (pick a number), but they never tell you that the reason they make money is because they already have huge mailing lists of previous buyers and they collaborate with many others who also have huge mailing lists. A ready supply of willing repeat buyers is the reason for their success.
Do YOU have access to any huge lists of willing buyers?
If not, what they teach is not going to work for you!
Worse still is they teach people brand new to making money online to create their own infoproducts about how to make money online. Talk about the blind leading the blind! The #1 reason most people will never make money is that there are so many who do not know how hawking their ideas about how to make money. That will NEVER work.
EASY MONEY AND RESIDUAL INCOME
What MLM and making money online gurus have in common is they are both selling the “easy money” and “residual income” dreams. There is no such thing as easy money and we’ll talk more about why residual isn’t a perpetual income machine shortly. Just in case you have not gotten ideas about getting rich easily out of your head, read this quote:
“Once an avid MLM enthusiast, I rose to the top 1% of distributors for Nu Skin. But after a challenge from my wife, I took a closer look and discovered I was losing over $1,200 a month. This was the beginning of 18 years of research, which has been used by law enforcement, attorneys, the media, universities, and consumers worldwide.” – Jon M. Taylor, MBA, Ph.D.
If someone in the top 1% with a PhD loses money you need to seriously reconsider any MLM. Use the research, insights and MLM evaluations on his site BEFORE you jump in. There may be an opportunity somewhere, but most are just another way to get you to work like a slave for a promise that will never come true.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE
That brings us to the idea that it is easy to make money online. It isn’t. Yes, it can be done, but it is VERY complicated. You can NOT just throw up a Web site or an ecommerce store and start making sales. Bear with me as I explain what is involved so you have a realistic picture of the process.
1) TECHNICAL SKILLS – First you have to build a site and even though half the people online seem to think they are “web designers” there are actually very few people who can create a site that CONVERTS visitors into buyers – and conversions are the important part. It will not matter how much traffic you can drive to a site if it does not get any of that traffic to buy.
2) WHAT MAKES A SITE CONVERT?
- Usability – Make sure it is OBVIOUS what your site has to offer. If people can not tell IMMEDIATELY why they landed there and why they should buy from you they will not stay. Make sure your site is easy to navigate. Upgrade your search and make sure you know how to get every product to show up for every related search. If people can not find what they want they will simply leave.
- Product Descriptions and Photos – Marsha Collier recommended something on her eBay for Dummies PBS special I never forgot: your photos should be so clear that a description isn’t really needed and your descriptions so good a buyer would not really need to see a photo. Most ecommerce stores are seriously lacking in photos and details. If I can’t tell what size something is – especially if I know that item comes in multiple sizes – I am sure not going to buy it.
- Checkout options that work. It is hard enough to make sales without having a checkout process that rejects valid buyers. Never, ever, ever let someone write a shopping cart for you unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt they are brilliant. There is no reason to do that. If you want to build an ecommerce store use Volusion or Yahoo! Stores. For smaller needs use a shopping cart plugin for WordPress or do affiliate marketing. (More on that shortly.) TEST the entire checkout process and MAKE SURE it works.
- Quantity. The fewer products you have the less chance each individual visitor will buy something. Ideally you want to offer many related products and have three price points for each item (cheap, median, upscale) so that whatever someone wants they are more likely to find it. This is especially true if you buy traffic. If you are a blogger and want to sell affiliate products, you need to find someone who knows feeds and have them put 1000s of related products into a store in your blog immediately using DataFeedR, DataFeedFile or PopShops. Then write pillar content that links to each product category in your store and build links to that content.
- Trust, Reviews, Testimonials, About page – your site has to look trustworthy. That is why most ecommerce sites show badges from major companies such as BBBonline, SecureShopping, and various sites that show reviews including Yahoo! Stores, Bizrate, and many others. These sites qualify who can join. You need testimonials – real ones. People want to know whether you will actually send them what they order. The more you have, the more they feel you can be trusted. Your about page is very important. Photos of a building, you, employees – anything that makes your business more “real” to the buyer will increase your conversions.
- Shipping information, free shipping – the #1 thing online shoppers hate is shipping costs so if you can find a way to eliminate them or at least offer free shipping for sales over a specific level make sure you make that information VERY PROMINENT.
- Guarantees – sites that offer money back guarantees make more sales than those that don’t. Whatever you policy on returns and guarantees is you need to make sure it is clear and easy to find.
3) HOW TO GET TRAFFIC – this is the one that has many people pulling their hair out over Google’s continual updates. It won’t matter how beautiful and functional your site or how great your prices or how many products you offer if no one ever sees it. You need a LOT of traffic to make money. The average conversion rate for a decent site is only 1-2% – and if you are serious you need to have expert assistance to greatly increase conversion rates. The harder Google makes it to get traffic, the more important increasing sales becomes.
SO HOW DO YOU MAKE MONEY?
I hope by now I have painted a very clear picture of how complicated making money online actually is. Yes it can be done. No, most people aren’t doing well. Many ecommerce stores and affiliate marketers I know were thriving until the economic downturn and Google combined to take away 30, 50, 70 and now even 90% of their sales.
Many who were making money still have not figured out how to cope
with buyers having less money to spend, tighter credit, and Google.
And they have years of experience and skills!
Very few people are going to just get lucky and make money and even those that do will find out that it doesn’t last. What works today may not work next year or even next month. It takes too long to learn all this stuff yourself and every day you spend learning costs you money instead of making you money.
What you MUST DO is get a mentor.
Find a training process that works for you or get a coach who actually makes money and knows how to teach others to make money. And then be realistic. You are NOT going to get rich quick and you ARE going to have to work at it. Building a business – any business – takes time and effort.
INTERVIEW WITH BRAD CAMPBELL
I recently came across Brad Campbell, an affiliate marketer I believe is the real deal based on the answers I got from questioning him. He makes a six figure income as an Internet marketing coach, but he also makes a significant income from selling products. With his permission I want to share some of his answers with you.
- Gail Gardner: What is a realistic financial goal for someone who is pretty sharp and can follow instructions?
- Brad Campbell: I generally say $2-$3k per month in about 2-3 months. Sure, more is possible, but history shows not likely…
- Gail Gardner: No I want realistic – not lucky. What are the odds a site won’t work? Assuming they picked well, but just didn’t hit that time.
- Brad Campbell: Well, as long as the person doesn’t give up, technically zero. What I teach my students now is YES, to optimize and plan for SEO, but also to build a site with multiple traffic sources supplying the traffic — and to figure out these traffic sources BEFORE making the site… which eliminates most of the possibility of failure. So, we find paid traffic sources that we know we can get that will supplement or even replace organic traffic if need be.
- Gail Gardner: Do you recommend they focus on getting one site making money and then add others?
- Brad Campbell: Yes definitely, one of the biggest reasons people fail is they try to dive head first into too many projects. One authority site is all it takes to crush it.
- Gail Gardner: Average time needed to get the site making money by 3 months and then average time to maintain it? (I know this can vary – just ballpark.)
- Brad Campbell: I like to see people devote at least an hour a day to their website and promotion of that site. The more the better though… I can usually have them making money within the first 2 weeks by leveraging paid traffic and /or other authority sites like YouTube or press releases (which are much easier to get ranked currently) Then funnel the traffic from those properties to your site which houses opt-in forms, affiliate offers, etc.
- Gail Gardner: How much money do they need to have to do this? It sounds like they might have to buy traffic to make money or do you buy traffic after you have money coming in and know what is converting?
- Brad Campbell: I’d say around $100-$150 a month to start with. It can be done for much less by doing more manual work – i.e., guest blog posting on high traffic sites, blog commenting, forum posting, etc… but the average person is too lazy to grind it out and manually drive their traffic.
- Gail Gardner: Paid traffic from where?
- Brad Campbell: Plenty of Fish, Facebook
- Gail Gardner: How did you learn how to make money? What is working for you?
- Brad Campbell: I create small affiliate marketing sites around products I believe in. Just started a new one for a product called Google Sniper by George Brown. The url is: http://www.GoogleSniperMojo.com/ and I’ll be adding lots of great content to it, case studies, review, etc…
- Gail Gardner: What is Google Sniper 2.0?
- Brad Campbell: The product? Teaches you how to create small review sites and get ’em ranked in Google.
- Gail Gardner: Black hat or legit?
- Brad Campbell: White hat – basically exactly what I’m doing here – creating the best review out there, then promoting ethically via guest blog posting, commenting on quality related blogs, press releases, YouTube vids, etc.
- Gal Gardner: Do you use a plugin that adds PayPal buttons easily?
- Brad Campbell: I just add buttons I like and then use the paypal email code and hyperlink the image
- Gail Gardner: I have another business idea you might consider. You could partner with blogs to help them monetize for a percentage – assuming that what you do would apply to a blog like GrowMap or a mom blog or whatever.
- Brad Campbell: I like that idea.
- Gail Gardner: Most bloggers like to write – they don’t know anything about setting up autoresponders or email lists or doing email marketing. They don’t know anything about selling advertising either. Someone should be selling those services OR someone who actually will do it could partner for a high % for getting blogs monetized. It took me a long time to know what size ads belong where, find CrankyAds (which I REALLY like), know what to charge, etc. Many blogs have high traffic but make no money and don’t have any idea how to monetize anything. First priority is list building.
- Brad Campbell: Yes, i agree – I see it all the time… bloggers working their ass off with no payoff. It’s sad really. Then you have lazy affiliates who’re too much about money… and a select few of ’em are making a killing by littering the Internet without any legit work or quality whatsoever…
- Gail Gardner: Yes.
- Brad Campbell: Gotta find that balance between being a hard working ethical blogger, but also being a savvy marketer with systems in place to monetize your efforts.
- Gail Gardner: It will take them too long to do that on their own – they must have help. I wonder if a typical blog could sell enough for you to make it worth your while to help them?
- Brad Campbell: That’s the big question. A lot of these blogs, even though they have good traffic, are not bringing in BUYERS… So no matter what they tweak, they aren’t likely to make much more.
- Gail Gardner: Have you ever monetized a regular blog with existing readers instead of building new sites from scratch? You would want to know which could make you money and which wouldn’t in advance.
- Brad Campbell: I honestly think it’s almost easier to start new, from scratch, and do things right with your funnels in place from day one. BUT, having said that, if a blog is authoritative enough, I do think a shift in the way things are being done could really turn things around — i.e., doing new posts on buyer keywords, then using your authority to rank for those buyer phrases is the best place to start.
Many believe that small niche sites no longer work. Brad says they do for him and I believe him. The fastest way to make money online is to hire a coach like Brad who actually creates sites that make money over and over. They can make sure you are focused on what matters and do not get distracted by what will not add to your income.You can find out more about Brad’s Internet Marketing Coaching here.
If you can not afford to hire someone like Brad, the next best thing is to learn how to do it the same way he did. Buy what he used – Google Sniper 2.0 – and teach yourself. You can find reviews of other money making methods on that same site.
One final thought. There is no such thing as a perpetual residual income machine. Yes, I strongly recommend that you create something that makes money even when you are not doing it. But recognize that when you stop focusing on it – adding more quality content, driving traffic to it, building links, sharing it on social media – that traffic and sales will start declining.
Yes, you CAN make money when you aren’t actively working.
No, you CAN not just build something and then permanently retire.
Sorry. It doesn’t work like that.