Money Making Mind

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Know what makes money for you!

I mean precisely. If you deal with it in a scratchy way, your product - or service, or the blog/site you publish - is what is making you money, but it will be very difficult to get to any consequences from that. And anyway, is it definitely true? I guess it is worth a moment of thinking.

Let's have a look at the two things: one is the way of keeping your product up and going. And the other is the way of money from outside of your pocket, through your pocket, and in an ideal world into your pocket.

What makes your product go round?
Let's assume, you have some kind of information product. A site, a blog, an e-book, whatever. If this product is really yours, meaning you personally have created it, than your product is only a tool in a long process of monetizing your knowledge.

In fact, it all began with something you know. Something you know better than other people, so these guys will read your site or blog in order to learn what you already know. Your knowledge may come from different sources: through studying, through expertise, through invention, it doesn't really make a difference. But you have to identify your ultimate source as your knowledge. You would have nothing without it.

Than there is a skill of making a product from your knowledge. This is as important as the knowledge itself. Your knowledge and profession only makes money if you turn it to a product. Actually a very good one. Of course you can have someone do it for you - as you can have someone have the knowledge for you, it's only a matter of money and time investment -, but you have to see that this is a totally separate step from the knowledge itself.

And the last is that you have to have people meeting with your product. Yes, we are at the great fountain of Internet Marketing, SEO and stuff like that. I won't go into details here - you will find zillion sources in a matter of seconds, if you want - but marketing your product is necessary to make it successful. And to have it make money for you.

What makes money within your product?
The way of money within your product and on the market you enter is a completely different and more complicated matter. What is the key to have your product make money for you?

  • Is it the content?
  • Is it the reader?
  • Is it the advertiser?

If you continue this line logically, you will discover something really surprising. It is none of them. I mean all of them. I mean it depends.

It is the guy, who buys your advertiser's product.
Ideally this could be your reader, and talking about an affiliate product this guy definitely must be your reader. So when your income is focused on affiliate sales, your product's most valuable part is the reader.

It is the guy, who pays you when your readers click on his ads
This is nearly the same as the previous one: actually the one who is paying is the same. The difference is on your side: now the advertiser himself gets more important. In this case the advertiser is your product's most valuable participant.

It is the guy, who will actually buy your product
You don't have to be advertiser dependent. You can have your own product on sale (and have someone else bothering with affiliate marketing for you). In this case, your product's most valuable part is definitely content. Unless it is of high quality content, nobody will ever buy it.

I'm not sure I've made every possibility clear, but the bottom line is this: you have to know which part of your product is the most valuable for you, and it has to be defined from the aspect of its money-making capabilities. The way you want your product to make money, the way you have to develop it further. You don't have to bother with content a lot, if you are depending mostly on your readers, and advertisers get secondary, when your product's main value is content.

My suggestion is that you analyze your product as deeply as you can, and I'm sure you will find surprising things.

And come back tomorrow!

This post is closely connected to a previous post: Know your subject!

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Know your subject

The title may not be strong enough, since knowing is not enough for making money: you have to master your subject! Having a full time internet access with all the search capabilities provided by Google - it's only an excuse. And you don't need excuses. You need power, and only knowledge and expertise will give you that.

The subject, of course, doesn't necessarily have to be a topic you write about. It is, when your online business is publishing: publishing an AdSense site, publishing a blog, or simply publishing articles for marketing your business. In this case, the subject of your business is naturally the subject you write about.

Following other scenarios, you can have products online you can have services online, or you can even have different kinds of business models on the internet. In this case your subject changes to the thing you want to make money from - your product, your service, etc. The matter won't change: you have to be a professional, you have to know the stuff you want to make money from.

This might be surprising, but the thought above is far from being evident. Or even widely known.

Most internet enterpreneurs are not mastering their subject - they are not even professional. They are some guys searching for a subject in Google, and re-writing a few articles they find. They don't know any more of their subject than the reader they provide the information with. You don't want to be one of them. Why? Because they will never be successful.

In an offline world you would never open a wine shop unless you could tell red wine from white, even blindfolded. You wouldn't think of opening a garage unless you could tell an Opel from a Volkswagen from the backside. You wouldn't start an advertising agency unless you knew what a copywriter does.

On the internet however, there is a major difference. and it's the cost.

Entering any online business is so cheap - compared to the "real" offline enterprises -, that anyone can start any kind of business in a matter of hours.  Maybe even faster. Opening an online department store could cost you a few thousand dollars - and what is that compared to a very small shop in a shopping mall, it's peanuts!  - but there are businesses with the same capabilities and possibilities for much lower prices.

  • You can start a business blog in a few minutes for free.
  • You can have an own domain name for well under $20 and you can build an AdSense site on it with a free software.
  • You can have a pretty good content management system for a few hundred dollars - that will allow you to run a portal on any topic.

But be warned! This low entering cost has nothing to do with the success or the failure of these enterprises. Making money on the internet is a world with a very simple rules: if you are competent - you will win. In any other case - you'll lose. Definitely.

If people would realize the strength of this rule, I'm sure that about 80% of the online businesses would immediately stop operating. Why bother? And I'm pretty concerned about that.

Just think about how many "make money" kind of blogs do you know. A dozen? Fifty? Even more? How many of these bloggers /enterpreneurs, internet marketers etc./ do you think actually makes any money? My guess is no more than 10.

How do I know that? Well, it's only a guess. But there are quite a few signs that support this theory.

  • There are dozens of blogs and websites that are actually dead. Why would anyone stop a blog that makes him/her money? (Yes, because he wasn't competent, and the blog or site actually didn't make him a dime).
  • There are loads of blogs and sites with crap, outdated or duplicate texts on them. (Will you return to these websites? Will they have traffic? Will they make money? Not unless their owner becomes a master of the subject providing his readers with genuine information - or becomes a master of marketing his site, which is a completely different story - in this case I find that marketing is the subject of his business).
  • There are quite a few sites that are using monetizing tools - such as AdSense ads or affiliate links - in a very shitty, amateurish way. Will these pages make money? Not likely.

Yes, I know: your question is evident: how can you trust me? do I make money? do I master my subject? Who is in the position of decision?

Well, my good looking reader, you are. If you like my blog, my ideas, my attitude, my style, than yes, I do master my subject. And yes, I will make money (actually I'm making money from different blogs right now, but since this is Money Making Mind's fourth post, you cannot expect too much from this particular blog can you?).

Although I won't give it as easily as that. These are a few facts that I have on my side, supporting my self-confidence (and I give it to you as a check list, that you should ask yourself before entering any online business of this kind - a blog, specifically)

  • I have spent 2 weeks exploring the subject. I have found a new approach for a widely discussed subject, which can be described as follows: "the offline, mental parameters of running a successful business on the internet" within the subject of online business or internet marketing. Having a niche like this is crucial to enter the market without huge launching and marketing costs.
  • I have got a written business plan with exact details on marketing and expectations on traffic, income and revenue. If you don't have a business plan, go back to post #1., Have a business plan! and start it over again.
  • I have written down over 100 topics for blog posts, which means that - according to my business plan, that says I will post once every weekday - I already know what I will write for the next, at least 5 months. I might be flexible, and change this here and there, but I can tell you I won't improvise too much. Why should I?
  • I have built two offline and and one online business up from zero. I have experience about the difference of the two. That precisely is what I'm giving away for you here. Free.

Well, that might not be enough. I may still fail. But I think it is more than nothing. If you have a backup of at least this amount, I think you are ready to start. You can be self-confident and launch your business.

If not - work on your competency before working on your business. If you don't you'll learn the above in the hard way. Success is not for free.

See you tomorrow!

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Focus on your online business!

Just like in real life, when you are building your online business life from basics, focusing and concentrating is key to your long term success. It seems to be just the same as in the offline world, however the reality is, that permanent focusing is much more difficult to achieve online. There are quite a few reasons for this, and I can show you a few methods that can make your life easier, while building your business at home career.

The reason why focusing on your business is really hard to do

I don't have to show you the main features of the internet do I - you know them by yourself by now. However I'm not sure that you are aware of the fact, that most of these features are perfect time-killers. How many times have you found yourself facing a problem in your work at a moment and then browsing happily in the next, reading pages that doesn't have any relevant connection with your original problem. Or how many hours have you spent chatting with friends, reading and forwarding funny emails, cool videos or simply websites that are worth a look. You don't have to tell me that all these things happened before or after business hours - luckily I'm not your boss. Or if you already run your home based business, you don't even have one. Although it won't change the fact that you are wasting your time. You are not focusing.

Relax, it's not your fault. Everybody - with a full time internet connection - will face the same problems. Internet is huge, communication (with friends or on forums) is time consuming, and you will always find more interesting stuff than replying those boring business emails that have just dropped in your inbox.

The sad thing is that if you don't make a change, you will never be successful in your online business. You will never make money online.

But why, when everybody is doing the same and still the system seems to be working?

No I haven't said that everybody is doing this. I've only said that everybody is facing these exact same problems. The bad news is that the lucky ones who can solve these problems are the ones who will have a successful business. No one else. The good news is that there are tried and true, fail-safe solutions.

You have to understand that this is a crucial issue. When your job partly involves computer or internet, then you can allow yourself a little more: some time-killing passions like minesweeper or solitaire won't harm your whole workday. But when your job is 100% devoted to a computer and the internet - and that is exactly what happens when you start an internet marketing business, an online enterprise, or you start blogging (or publishing) for money -, than you can't take the risk of this. Even more so, because when you have started to loosen your rules, than there will be no way back.

Yes, you need a solution for that

And I have already told you a hint about what the solution would be: these are your rules. You have started - or you plan to start - your own business, but that doesn't mean that you don't have a boss any more. It means that you are your own boss. /It is a very important distinction, and I will write a specific post on this subject later/. The point is that you have to form your rules and you have to obey them. This latter is the more difficult part.

I suggest you deal with the internet as a business tool. During business hours, as a business tool only. But even after business hours you should minimize wasting time on the net. It is just like when you have your office in your living room. It simply isn't healthy. You have to make a distinction between your work space and free time space. Physically and mentally as well. And if you decide that the internet will be your office, you can't have it as your living room as well, no matter have huge it is. This simply won't work.

Consciousness is a key feature here. You have to be conscious all the time, watching yourself, whether you are doing the right thing, using the right tools, or just wasting time under the alibi of "searching for information" or "just checking the news" or whatever. Remember, just checking the news usually ends up in 2 hours of browsing interesting websites. Because Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are the news. Because Hurricanes are the news. Because new iPod accessories are the news. Don't lie to yourself, or, at least be aware that you are doing that.

Okay, I think you've already got the point. Wasting time is wasting time, no matter if you use the internet - which is supposed to be your business tool - for achieving it. And you can't afford wasting time. Not in the online business.

See you tomorrow!

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Think of it as a business!

Actually the first thought - having a business plan, remember? - assumes this one, but still I find, that this is a very common misconception. You have to consider your online business - blog, adsense site, internet marketing trick, whatever - as a business. I mean, a real one.

I find that people still tend to believe, that business is what takes place offline, and things on the internet - although allegedly they have the ability of making money - are something completely different. A trick, some geeky stuff, or simply a miracle. I have to tell you, that it's not.

Business on the internet is simply business. Only run by different techniques than that you are familiar with in the offline world.

Tools are different, but the rules are the same.

Don't let the "magic spells" misguide you. Most internet marketers love to use words like AdSense, SEO, conversion or ROI. But considering the bigger pictur,e these don't make any difference. The rules are as usual as a business can be.

Here are some of the basic rules that make online business not more, than a business:

  • You have to sell to make money. Money won't grow on trees, even if you consider virtual trees. You have to have somebody spend money if you want to make some. Of course tools may differ, and selling doesn't only mean selling products. But it won't change the rules at all.

  • You have to work hard to succeed. This is the most common misconception in connection with the internet. When talking about online business, most people think about lazy geeks, who are filthy rich and spend their whole day in front of a monitor, mostly killing zombies with their PlayStation 2. However in reality no one will succeed without hard work.

  • The harder you work, the more you will earn. Now this one is tricky. Mostly because it is false in the offline world as well. To be precise, it can be true and it can be false as well. Because working hard is not the point. Or not the only point.  Your hard work has to meet several other parameters. Think about the quality of your work, your idea, your skills. And your attitude. It's your mind that really counts.

And that's why you have to come back next week and read more of Money Making Mind.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Have a plan!

I can't promise you that the money making thoughts on this blog will be in order of importance, but this first one is undoubtedly number one, the one to rule them all:

Have a business plan!

This may sound very obvious and evident, but believe me, it isn't. I have seen lots of companies - real, off-line companies with full time employees, management and all the stuff - without business plans.

Now, it's not very difficult to imagine, how many business-bloggers, internet marketers and online enterpreneurs are out there without business plans.

Nearly most of them, I bet. Let's calculate with a nice 95%, which assumes that 5% of them have business plans (I guess it's a bit of an over-estimation, though). And let's compare it to the fact - okay, estimation - that about 95-99% of these internet-marketers, online enterpreneurs and business bloggers will never make money from their efforts. Not a dollar, ever. No matter which affiliate program they are in, or which advertising network they use, they will never reach the limit where they get paid. Rings any bells?

Of course I don't say that it is an unambiguous connection, but it is hard to ignore.

And, of course It doesn't mean that having a proper business plan will guarantee your success. But it is satisfying to know, that having a business plan is more than 95% of your competitors are doing for their success.

Okay, so why do you need a business plan?

Because otherwise everything you do or don't do will be incidental, incalculable and random. Because if you don't know what you want, you will never know what you should do to get it. If you don't know where you want to go, you'll never know which way to get there.

And what is this business plan, anyway?

Of course you have plans. But what makes a business plan different - or proper, as previously mentioned? It may sound cloudy and theoretical, but in fact it is rather specific and easy:

  • A business plan is something that is written down. Surprisingly, this is the most important part. Without writing it down, a plan is only a dream, or if is more specific than a dream, it is still only a vision. It becomes a business plan the moment you write it down. You want to make money from it, so, for God's sake (and for your own), take the time, and write it down!

  • A business plan states what you want to reach. The more specific it is, the better for you, but you have to know as precisely as possible: what you want from your business. And - remember - write it down! It will be very instructive to read next year.

  • And a business plan describes what you have to do to reach your aim. Of course, I know... If you knew that, you wouldn't need any of these, but still, this is the part, that makes it really a plan. You have to have some thoughts on this (or, simply don't start a thing).
That's it for a startup. Naturally, the more sophisticated your business plan is, the more helpful it will be on the long run - and the more complicated it will be in the beginning. I will give you much more help on creating your business plan in details in my other posts later. But this is enough for today. Just think about it: think about your own business plan.

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