| Lessons Learned Over 11 Years In Internet Marketing
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Lessons Learned Over 11 Years In Internet Marketing

06 Jul Lessons Learned Over 11 Years In Internet Marketing

Todays’ guest post comes from Rod Cortez who specialises in marketing “outside” of the Internet Marketing genre. It’s a wonderful expose of lessons learned through over 10 years of online business. Rod and I started at almost the same time online… these lessons are well learned. If I’d come up with my own list I would have had many the same – but why write it twice hey!


If you’re new to internet marketing or a grizzled veteran who hasn’t really attained the success you want yet, I want to humbly share with you my 11 years of experience because I really think it can help you. You see, I have made and lost fortunes. I have had so many ups and downs in my life my close friends have advised me to write a book about it. Uhm, maybe someday, but not now. 🙂

No matter how rough things get, here are some tough lessons that I’ve learned after so many failures and successes, all those nights that I stayed up wide awake, not knowing what tomorrow would bring. Despite all those failures, successes eventually came because of the things that I’m about to share with you…..

………my most recent success was landing a client who was a billionaire who needed to learn how to get online exposure for his offline business. Yes, they are out there and if you read this entire message you will find that good things will and can happen to you.

Though I’ve never gone without a meal or a roof over my head, I’ve been out of work before, I depleted my 401k to start a business and failed, I’ve had JV partners take all the profits and change their corporate names so they wouldn’t have to pay me, and too many other obstacles to list here.

After a lot of hard work, focus, and mentoring I cracked the IM puzzle for myself. So this is the list I wish I had when I first got started……

1. You have a lot more power than you think. And don’t let anyone tell you differently. Power simply means “the ability to act” and all of you possess this. You just have to decide to use it. Power is like the muscle, the more action you take, the easier it gets. Science has already proven this to be true as the neural strands in your brain get thicker the more you do certain things.

2. When I first got started I wish someone would have held a gun to my head and advised me “look, you’re going to focus on ONE thing at a time and master it before you move onto the next“. Focus isn’t just a word, it’s the ability to keep your eye on what you want to accomplish so any obstacles you see will be ignored.

3. The first thing anyone should do is get clarity on what they really want. Making 10k per month is not a real goal. It’s good to have, but if you don’t become CRYSTAL clear on the WHY behind that goal, you’re going to let obstacles kick your butt. Wanting money never got me anywhere. Now spending time with my loved ones and telling my boss to go pound sand…….PRICELESS!!!!

4. Trust no one, at first. Yes, there are some FANTASTIC people out there that are willing to help you, but there are also a lot of charlatans. I paid a lot of money to consultant a few years ago to help me increase my conversions, after the hour long phone call I realized he didn’t know what he was talking about. But boy could he talk a good game. Yes, he was able to sucker someone with 20 years of business experience. Look at what Bernie Madoff was able to accomplish…

So be careful and don’t be afraid to ask for references. I didn’t in the beginning and I learned this lesson the hard way.

5. Automation and software are key to running a business, but there is no such thing as a push button solution that will make you rich. Anyone who says so is selling you snake oil.

6. Hard work and persistence are great, but always take a step back so you can make sure you’re going in the right direction. No sense in ending up in the south pole if your intention was to go to New York.

7. Mediocrity rules the marketplace. I don’t care if it’s improving your golf swing, finding the mate of your dreams, curing sweaty palms, or saving for retirement…….you will almost always win if you truly EXCEED your customer’s expectations.

In the words of the late Cory Rudl, “Take care of your customers and the competition will take care of themselves.”

8. Ranting and complaining never made anyone rich.

9. You can’t please everybody and to try is folly. Stay true to yourself, throw your heart into your business, and stand firm in your beliefs and good things will happen to you (as long as your heart is in the right place).

10. Always take income claims with a grain of salt. Remember, they are not YOU and… are NOT them.

11. Embrace fear and don’t let it rule your actions. Even the late Johnny Carson, the master public speaker and entertainer, got nervous before each show.

12. Adopt the “student” frame and always keep it. Nobody knows everything. I promise you, if you have this mindset you will never stop learning and growing and life will bring you good things.

Even masters at something have mentors (and so do their mentors).

13. Learn to help others anonymously once you make it, it WILL come back to you ten times over. And if it doesn’t, you still made this world a better place.

(EDIT: People have been asking me about this one. What I mean by this is that my philosophy is that one should help themselves and their families first. This way they’ll be in a better position to help more people).

14. Making money is simple, but it’s not easy. Yes, it’s simple, almost ridiculously so, but it takes W-O-R-K in the beginning. A lot of it. Are there exceptions to this rule? Very, very few.

15. If you don’t write down your goals, you’re running a hobby, not a business. Just remind yourself daily that virtually all profitable corporations plan out their year(s) ahead of time. IN Japan they plan out 25 to 50 years ahead of time……

16. If you don’t write a deadline by your goal, by definition it’s not a goal.

17. Internet marketing techniques will always change and evolve, but business principles will remain constant.

(EDIT: people have been asking me about this one too. This topic alone would take up another thread. A few examples would be the ability to create effective sales copy, basic market research, knowing how to price a product / service, how to deliver value to your customers as efficiently as possible, investing in oneself, giving back to your community, solving a specific problem, providing great service, promoting your business, etc.).

18. Run a principled-based, purpose-driven business and you will radically increase your chances at long-term success. (EDIT: it could be as simple as under-promising and over-delivering for your customers and having that as your core purpose).

19. Follow results, not sales copy. Here’s one example of following someone who GETS results: Tony Robbins “gets it“. He’s a good mentor to have because he can help you understand HOW your brain works and once you learn that there is nothing that you will not be able to achieve. His paperback books or digital books are very affordable.

From a personal stand point: no single mentor or guru has had more influence on me than Tony Robbins. Why? Because he has the amazing ability to take the best of the best and put it into a concise format that anyone can use. And it makes sense because this has been his life’s focus.

He helped me lose unhealthy weight, to understand the social matrix, how to build wealth, lower my blood pressure, and make my doctor grab me and exclaim, “how did you do all this without prescription drugs?” (I used to have super high blood pressure, high fat content in my blood, and high cholesterol and I lowered it all naturally without using any drugs. I did it all by permanently changing the way I eat).

20. Don’t be afraid to create your own products, there ARE people out there that want to buy from you, over and over again….and again. At least 20 to 33% of them from your existing customer base.

(EDIT: you don’t have to create your own products, people do really well with affiliate, CPA, and adsense marketing. I have a bias toward product creation because I like having more control over the products I promote, the sales process, the follow up, etc. But if you want to create your own products, then I say go for it).

21. Feeling overwhelmed is a very common feeling, but don’t let it rule you. The best way to deal with it is to have your goals WRITTEN down and then focusing on one of them at a time. Remember, Rome was not built in one day. And it took 30 years for the Taco Bell triple stack to come to market…… 🙂

22. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Whether you believe it or not, you have some AMAZING things about you. Find out what those things are and use those things to find the Unique Selling Proposition for your business. And remember, mediocrity abounds on the internet, you can usually compete on value and service.

23. Never, ever compromise your CHARACTER. Integrity, honesty, and wanting to give value will ALWAYS make your business stand head and shoulders above everyone else. This isn’t my opinion, it’s the basic law of the attraction universe.

(EDIT: when you’re a person of integrity your customers will see it come through in the way you run your business. In the long run it will increase your customer base dramatically).

24. Talent recognizes talent, and you have much more of it than you think.

25. If you have 2 or more solid info products on how to make money online in your hard drive then you probably have enough information already to make 6 figures by next year. No, I’m NOT kidding.

The list of online enterpreneurs who have proven this theory would be longer than the Twilight Trilogy.

26. Education is key. Invest in yourself, always.

27. After submitting thousands of pieces of content in the form of articles, videos, podcasts, original blog comments, etc. I’ve come to learn that CONTENT marketing not only works, but it will be around for decades to come. Applications might rule the next decade, but after that something else will rule…….but people will always demand quality content, regardless if the format it comes in.

28. Remember, to make money you have to SELL something. Whether it’s a click, a product, a link, a service, etc. and everything else is just mental masturbation.

(EDIT: what inspired me to write this one was watching clients spend endless hours on things that did not make them money. If you’re not selling with some consistency then you either need more traffic, better conversions, more products, or you’re not promoting your business enough).

29. It is very difficult to build a multi-million dollar organization on your own. You should out source as soon as you can afford it (and it might be sooner than you think). Yes, I advised to trust “no one” in the beginning, but once someone earns your trust you better hold onto them.

30. Once someone earns your trust, don’t be afraid to make them part of your mastermind / group/ or business.

31. One-product launches are a recipe for disaster. Start off with at least 3 and you’ll more than triple your chances for success. This is based on pure mathematics.

(EDIT: I got a lot of questions on this one. All I mean by this is that you should have an effective product launch strategy. What’s going to be your first product? What are you going to up-sell or cross-sell? What mix of products or services are you going to market to them AFTER you’ve made the sale? This goes hand-in-hand with building a list).

32. Build your own network of people who “get it” and you will NEVER be poor. Whether it’s building a list, a Facebook fan page, or a forum like this one or a membership site, focus on building your own network of people that KNOW and TRUST you and you will have wealth for as long as they are with you.

I have a neighbor that lives on my block who stills makes a very nice living marketing with post cards. When I asked him why he uses post cards to get his marketing message out, his reply was simple:

The mail doesn’t have spam filters“.

(EDIT: one of my mentors has a customer list of 300 people that earns him over $100k per year, every year. They stay with him because they’ve “latched” onto him. They like the value he brings and they trust him and his advice. It took him about 3 years to build his first list. It took him 2 months to build his 2nd six figure list).

33. You can build massive wealth in one year, though it will most likely take you 3 to 5 years.

34. Reinvest your profits, don’t buy things, initially, and if you don’t believe me, read the book by Andrew Tobias called THE ONLY INVESTMENT GUIDE YOU’LL EVER NEED, it costs less than a large pizza and it’s entertaining too.

35. Once your WRITE down your goals they are not set in stone. You can always change them as needed.

36. Your friends, family, and even your significant other might not understand what you are doing. That’s okay, as long as they don’t inhibit your progress. Tell them to give you 2 years as that should be enough time to prove them wrong.

(EDIT: When I first started IM I had been with my girlfriend at the time for 5 years. She became very “jealous” of my new business, despite the fact that I still spent a lot of time with her away from my computer. It got to the point where she was actually holding my dreams back.

I had to end it with her and even though it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, it was one of the smartest things I ever did. I also stopped spending time with friends who were energy vampires. When you hang around people that are negative or unsupportive, they really have an effect on you. Sometimes you have to ask yourself what’s more important……..and only you can decide that for yourself.).

37. Your 5 predominant habits will predict what your future will be like. So take some time and write them down. If any of them have anything to do with habitual complaining, blaming others, drugs, too much partying, spending too much money, or being negative in any way, then you already know what you need to change.

38. Change is a lot easier than you think, you simply need to DECIDE that it is so.

(EDIT: this is why it’s so important to write down your goals and review them daily. It will help you stay focused so you can make the changes that you need to make).

39. “There is no such thing as a ‘normal life’, there’s only life Wyatt.” – Doc Holiday.

(EDIT: what inspired me to write this was a friend of mine who spends a lot of time worrying about living a “normal” life because his IM business is taking a lot of time investment and opportunity cost. And I told him that quote from the movie Tombstone. There’s no such thing as a normal life. There’s just life).

40. Check your ego at the door. Nobody likes a know-it-all. If you stay teachable your rewards in this business will be monolithic despite what some people will tell you.

41. Get a third opinion, really – it can’t hurt in most cases. The worse thing that can happen is that you now have 3 opinions to work with.

42. There should be an opt-in form of some kind on every single web page that you own. Yes, even “your contact us page.”

(EDIT: I’ve been experimenting with this for years now. I get a lot of free leads this way. Yes, it does leave a “foot print” that people can find, but personally, it’s never been an issue for me).

43. A proven viral marketing secret is this: give more value consistently than just ONE of your top competitors and you’ll be raking it in. With the internet having more and more people share things with people they know, word-of-mouth advertising will never go out of style.

44. Seth Godin is one smart cookie; read everything he publishes, your marketing efforts will be better for it.

(EDIT: we all have our favorite authors. I like authors that make me THINK, even if I don’t agree with them on some things. Seth makes me think and my business has been better for it).

45. If you want traffic to your website realize that the following will never go out of style:

a. Providing REAL value to your prospects and customers.
b. “Original, valuable, but INCOMPLETE content will always get visitors to your website.
-Jimmy D. Brown.
c. Marketplaces and devices are growing every year, whether it’s Amazon, Nook, a Kindle device, the iPad, iTunes, Lulu, Clickbank, Digiresults, etc. – if you continue your presence in more of them you are increasing your chances of more exposure which will get you more leads, which will lead to more sales.
d. PLR content does not get the job done, in the long run.
e. EDIT: Advertising: you can always buy traffic. Start small and scale up with your profits.
f. EDIT: Free publicity: press releases, appearing as a guest on TV, radio, or online radio will continue to work as long as we have media. Study and learn about publicity and how it works. Millionaires have been created in a very short time frame by utilizing the power of the media.

46. Press releases will continue to work as long as we have a media such as the news, TMZ, radio, television, entertainment, talk shows, etc. I suggest submitting at least one per month per website / business.

47. Learn to PROTECT your wealth.

(EDIT: Ask your financial professional about Living Trusts, Corporations, and other ways of protecting your assets. Remember Rick James @#$%!!. ). 🙂

48. Warren Buffett didn’t get rich because he’s so smart. He got rich because he stuck to a proven system.

49. Test, track, and tweak because 99.8% of your competitors are too lazy to do this.

50. Niche research is a lot easier than you think, do these TWO things and you’ll never run out of profitable niche ideas. Niche research is something people over complicate:

a. Ask people (known or strangers) what’s important to them. I found my most profitable markets by doing this (this is my favorite way to get new niche ideas).

b. Follow the money. Where are advertisers spending their money? Where are people spending their money? There are ads everywhere, pay close attention to them.

51. Screenshots are pretty worthless. And not because they can be faked. It’s primarily because what they earned has very little to do with what you’ll earn.

52. Don’t kid yourself. A blog is just a website with a different name. Should you have one though? Probably. 🙂

53. Social networking is just the beginning. Collaboration is going to increase in the coming years and beyond. And it’s only going to get better from there.

54. After millions of transactions I’ve learned one essential truth: honor your refund policy, in the long run it can only bring you good will.

(EDIT: there are some definite exceptions to this as some products or services, by their very nature, are not refundable. But if you have a refund policy, you should honor it).

55. One tequila shot once in a while won’t kill ya…..

(EDIT: by this I mean make sure you go out and do something fun at least once a week, no matter what that is for you. I just happen to love fine tequila and enjoy it from time to time).

56. It’s OKAY to do your own thing. No, really. 🙂

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