I have been busy lazy… Just back to my blog after almost two years without posting anything (actually, I wrote some posts on the Youzign blog and YMB blogs).. I changed the theme and everything (using good old 2015 theme right now) but for real I am going to get back into that bertranddo.com blog and get some content rolling for you real soon… (touching wood)
First of all, thank YOU for taking the time to read this piece.
As I’m writing these lines, I am 13,000 miles high on my way back to Europe, flying home ..
This marks the end of a 6 months long trip that took me from the operas of Vienna to Times Square and Miami beach, via the beaches of Bali and the high-rise skyscrapers on Hong Kong.
And I come back with a good news:
ANYONE CAN DO IT.
You see my story is not exceptional.
I am not exceptional at all myself, I am just your average neighbourhood guy that’s chilling downstairs.
I don’t drive fancy cars.. I am not a multimillionaire.. nor do I care to be.
But I live a GOOD life.
A life where I am free to:
spend as much time as I want with my family
live anywhere in the world
have FULL control over my own destiny
And to be honest, I wouldn’t trade this for all the riches in the world.
This said, it wasn’t always that way.
Before being where I am at now, I did all kind of jobs that I mostly hated.
Cleaning toilets in English pubs (hugh!), stuffing envelope full-time (yes, there is such a job), being a receptionist for drug addicts, selling phone subscriptions to random people in shopping malls, answering to angry customers in call centres..
The list is long.
But 3 years ago I made a choice to take control over my life and make it happen. 3 years on, I can safely say that I am a fullfilled human being.
What my experience tells me is that ANYONE can do it. And in a series of articles that I hope to one day combine into an eBook (time will tell), I am going to show you exactly how.
So without further ado here is part 1, Love Money.
The foundation of a good business is build on two pillars in my opinion: you need the right mindset, and a basic understanding of how personal and business finance works. This post discusses how I stumbled across both.
My relationship with money has always been one of indifference.
I liked having some money, but I was pretty indifferent if I didn’t, as long as I had enough to have a shelter and food.
I always understood money to be a social construct which had no particular interest in the bigger scheme of things: after all it only represents worthless paper notes at best, or abstract digits in a virtual bank account with little footing in the real world.
In fact, at the time when I was starting up online with my first website, the WorldOfJah.com I was a Rasta, in other words my relationship with money was similar to that of a hippie. I hanged out with anarchist friends.
I wore long dreadlocks, became a freemasonry/antisystem expert and spent my days blazing and drawing hallucinogenic paintings while trying to make money online in my downtime.
Needless to say, I was constantly broke and never managed to save a penny at the time.
To me, money was pretty much useless: I didnt need it to live my life and always thought that making lots of money was for corrupt and greedy people.
I wasn’t greedy for a cent: I believed that I was going to change the world by working voluntarily for charitable organizations and the likes.
To me money was for the Madoff, the Rockfeller and the Al Capone of this world. I was toopure to need it, and therefore I was totally broke!
And I soon found out that I was not the only one with that mindset: I later learned that a lot of people in our societies seem to feel the same way about money.
Money is the root of all evil
Take some of the most common proverbs we can hear daily about money in the news, our educational system and virtually everywhere:
“Money is the root of all evil”
“A good name is better than riches”
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be”
“The best things in life are free”
These beliefs about money are deeply engrained in most of us, thanks to popular culture and our education. From cradle to grave we are constantly bombarded with the idea that money is intricately evil (and we should feel guilty about it), at least in Western (and Westernized) societies.
Now there is some wisdom in these sayings and I am not here to tell you that it’s better to have a bad name and be rich than poor with a good name.
But what if we could have the bread and the butter? Be rich and have a good name?
I can definitely attribute my relative success in business to the day where my understanding of money radically shifted along these lines.
In fact as a broke hippie, money for me was evil, useless, and not even remotely needed in my future.
But then something happened that led to the realisation that I should stop keeping money at arm’s length and should start accepting it more.
First of all, life kicked in. I realized that not having money was having several adverse effects on my life:
since I had no money I had to work in crap jobs that I hated and take orders from people I despised
since I had no money I was a slave to my employers and could hardly spend any time with my family
since I had no money some months were tough and I was always worried about money, which was draining me emotionally and therefore physically
since I had no money when I wanted to help someone I wasnt able to: I felt powerless at times
These simple, very common experiences forced me to understand that even though I didn’t “like” money, it could actually help make my life and the life of others around me a little easier.
When I saw people I loved around me who suffered, and I wasn’t able to help them financially I felt powerless and frustrated about it.
My real epiphany regarding money came from a motivational video I watched in mid 2011, which made me understand how my environment had conditioned me to hate (and unconsciously reject) money.
I call this my “deprogramming phase”; in short this is what I learnt in this very influential motivational video:
money is heavily associated in popular culture with negative figures (dictators, gangster, corrupt businessmen and politicians)
this negative association causes a lot of us to unconsciouly reject money and sabotage our own financial freedom
if we want to attract money we needed to get rid of these negative associations
and in fact, money is neither good or evil: it is simply a magnifier of our own strength and weaknesses.
Andy Stanley puts it better than me:
“Money is a magnifier: it only magnifies the quality or defaults that we inherently have;”
So if you are inclined to abuse drugs and love getting wasted, having tons of money will likely cause you to do more of that.
If you are good, generous person who only cares about helping others, more money will only allow you to share more of your goodness with others.
In other words, money doesn’t change people: it only magnifies what you already are.
Time to make that money
I can say that from the minute I understood that money wouldn’t turn me into an evil person and will help me help more people, everything changed for me.
It was literally a paradigm shift: the old me kept on unconsciously sabotaging all my efforts at making money, because of my deep-rooted beliefs that money is corrupt.
The new me broke all these barriers and starting accepting money for what it is.
This might sound like some Law of Attraction *BS* (I actually attended a Bob Proctor – The Secret event at the time too) but to me that mindset was really key in unlocking my business potential.
So now that I wholeheartedly accepted money in my life did I get rich right away?
No way José.
Actually, I got even more broke.
I thought to myself: “What the hell I’m doing wrong? I mean I got this positive mindset, I love money and I am trying to attract it in my life, so what’s up?”
Well a look at my balance sheet would have solved this in one line: I was “financially dumb”.
But that I didn’t know at the time.
Enter Robert Kiyosaki and the basics of business and personal finance, arguably the most important business books I read at the time.
Becoming financially smart
So there I was, constantly broke and pennyless and not having a clue why..
I mean I was ‘saving’ up some money like the system had taught me (couple $100 here and there, that I would blow up the next month), I had a decently paid full-time job at Google at the time, and I wanted that money..
So why was I always broke?
I could have spent a LIFETIME trying to answer that question..
And I am really thankful I didn’t have to wait that long.. There is a great video of Will Smith on Youtube where he explains that whatever problem you are faced with, somebody somewhere already went through it and probably has a solution for it.
So all you have to do to solution your problems is read books; I couldn’t agree more with this vision. $5 books on Amazon and borrowed business books from the library made my entire business eduction.
The $5 book that got me to understand the reason WHY I was constantly broke was a book by Robert Kiyosaki called the Cashflow Quadrant (similar to his bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad, but more practical).
That book pretty much changed my life, and set me on a path to start making some real money until I was able to quit my job and start a business later that year.
In this book, Robert Kiyosaki argues that most people are broke because they don’t have the financial know-how that rich people have.
So he sets to break down the financial strategies used by successful businessmen in a very simple and easy to understand way.
While there are tons of great tips in the book about wealth accumulation what really struck me is what Robert calls The Cashflow Quadrant.
The Cashflow Quadrant is a representation of a individual personal cashflow, and to me it was a picture-perfect representation how my relationship with money.
How a poor man’s cash-flow looks
Here is a cashflow quadrant of someone in poor financial health looks;
Here is how to read it. This diagram represents the flow of money in and out your bank account.
So in this case, the entirety of the person’s income (wages) goes into expenses (bills, gas, kids, etc) and out of the bank account.
There is no investment in assets. We could have added an arrow from the liabilities column (example: a mortgage) going into expenses (that’s how a home-ownling middle-call diagram would look).
This is the cash-flow model that 90% of the population is in. Living paycheck to paycheck and not getting anywhere from being financially free.
How a rich man’s cash-flow looks
Now here is a diagram representing someone who has a good cash flow:
Here you can notice that there is a few more arrows and a different dynamic to this cash-flow diagram.
In this case the expenses box is used to build assets. In turn the assets generate revenues that pay for the owner’s income.
This is the path that I decided to follow about 3 years ago. I went from having a poor man’s cash-flow to a rich man’s cash-flow literally overnight.
In fact these diagrams say nothing about the size of your bank account. What matters is how you manage it.
Let’s take a practical example.
Let’s say you decide that 50% of your monthly income (or savings) will go towards building your asset, systematically.
In my case I started to cut all my expenses and pour half of my salary into my asset, in this case my business.
By focusing on financing this asset (instead of wasting my money in mindless expenses), I was able to go from zero business to a thriving business in less than 12 months.
Once my business (my asset) starting to pay off, it started to actually pay me. So pouring all that money came back to me like a boomerang, now that my business was starting to pay for itself.
From then on, I’ve always had this cash-flow diagram in the back of my mind. I strive to minimize my expenses and maximize my investments into assets.
Money is an emotionally-loaded topic, and whether we like it or not we all have positive or negative associations with money.
In my case it was overwhelmingly negative so it took me a while to deprogram myself and start accepting money for what it is, a kind of magnifier that magnifies the qualities or defaults we already have.
Finally, as someone with no formal business background, understanding the very basics of personal finance and how my cash-flow was at the time helped me tremendously in making the right choices in the way I manage my money.
Let me know in the comments what you think about this post, I’d love to hear from you…
Do you think money is evil and not necessary, or is it simply a tool that can help us achieve greater goals?
Wow it’s been a while since I posted something new on the blog : )
Good news though: our company has just spent the month of January 2014 going through several major changes, and I wanted to share the details with you.
I hope that what we do at YMB Properties can inspire you in the way you organize your business. The purpose of this blog post is to give you a sneak-peek into what works for us, right now.
So without further ado here is what’s new.
New YMB Properties Website
We always start with Balsamiq wireframes for all our sites and softwares
The new YMB Properties website has a clearer focus on our graphic products, and even (soon) an option to buy a bundle of all our products.
The idea behind this redesign is to put the company at the forefront of our marketing, instead of me (Bertrand) taking all the glory from our collective works.
In fact I have always been wary of running a company that only depends on me.
That’s the kind of issues a lot of self-employed businesses are faced with: they build a personality cult around their founder to the extent where the founder becomes the company.
The problem with this approach is that it’s very hard to build a durable company that relies totally on you. I am a big believer in systems (check out the Emyth by Michael Gerber) and for our systems and processes to be efficient I had to slowly remove myself from the equation.
New sales pages
One of the most time consuming activities we have been working on last month was redesigning all our sales pages. You can see the results by going to Instant FB Presence for example and clicking on the top menu links to navigate through our graphic products.
The objectives of this redesign were twofold:
1) Make it easier for users to discover and access all our products
The new design has several notable features which I will articulate below:
– a global navigation bar at the top to switch between all our products, practical for existing and potential customers
– a convenient Sign in button for returning users
– a clear and concise pricing page: no more “hidden” upsells like in the heyday of the Warriorforum
– a simple sales copy with no psychological trickery: just the features, benefits and a demo video
2) Make it easier for us to update our sales pages
In fact if you have been using HTML sales pages before, there are notably difficult to edit. By moving all our sales page to OptimizePress V2 (OP2) we have cut entirely our HTML development costs, since our in-house designer has been trained in using OP2.
All in all this redesign probably took us 3 good weeks, but was worth it. Starting anew is a great way to start the year.
Talking about starting anew, one of the major projects we worked on in January was to get rid of all the clutter: we deleted dozens of old domains (some were still active), closed lots of threads on the WarriorForum, discontinued some old products, etc. You might call it some kind of major “spring cleaning”. I personally severed several partnerships etc.
We really decided we should focus on graphic softwares for 2014, and graphic softwares will be all we do. All the rest was distraction and has been promptly eliminated.
Customer support is a big deal for us: in any given month we get over 1,000 support request (everything from people asking generic advice to technical assistance) and have 8 agents on the desk. Consequently we have always been looking for the best platform to help our customers.
We first started with Hesk two years ago when I launched the company. Hesk was a good solution at the beginning, since it was free : )
We then moved to Uservoice which did a decent job at the beginning. As the organization grew I felt that Uservoice was lacking in some of the social media integration feature and mobile applications for agents.
So in January 2014 we moved all our support to Zendesk which is arguably the best support platform I have ever used. One of the advantage of Zendesk is the way it offers multiple channels for customers to get in touch. Here are 7 ways to contact the YMB Properties support via our Zendesk account.
Live chat: contact us on live chat during business hours (blue button on the right of any of our sites)
All in all we are very happy with Zendesk, and our customers seem to be too.
Sometimes I do feel a bit guilty not sharing back enough of what I am learning through my journey in business.
In fact the only reason I got where I am today in a position where I can live anywhere and run a company with 13 employees (at the last count) is thanks to other people who inspired me via books, seminars, blog posts and the likes.
So I made it a mission to release a free eBook that details the exact strategies and tools I used to get where I am at. I am a big believer in lifestyle design so this book will have lots of practical tips on how you can design a business that actually supports your life (rather than taking away from it).
Here is the (current) outline of this book:
13,000 Miles In The Sky
Don’t Buy My Stuff
Ignore Your Friends
Launch Bad Products
Never “Plan” Anything
Be Like Everyone Else
Kiss Your Boss’ Ass
Ditch Business Books
Burn Your Business Plan
Ban the Internet
Stop Working Hard
Think New York
Live In Bali
Be Smarter Than Your Phone
Paypal Your Travels
Live Your Life
That’s a rough outline of the book, let me know what you think about it in the comments. The plan is to have it released in the next 12 weeks (I might try to release one chapter a week on the blog to keep it consistent).
We had a fantastic month of January and I am incredibly excited about what’s coming next. We are of course planning to keep on updating and bettering our softwares, we are planning to push at least one major update per month.
For February we will complete the redesign of our platforms by tackling the members area (the sites where you access our softwares). The plan is to make those members area a lot more modern looking, and easier to navigate. We also plan to add mobile support, so that you can preview your designs from any mobile.
Secondly we will start posting more marketing resources for our customers, starting this week with an excellent article about Infographics by our own content writer, Rose Ann. Stay tuned for her email sometimes between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Finally we have already started development on a MAJOR project which is set to change the way people create graphics online (at least that’s what I like to believe : ) ..
But seriously this is BIG: if you are interested in taking part in the beta email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to send you a beta invite in a couple weeks.
It’s is sometimes good (if not necessary) to get rid of all your old projects and partnerships which might prevent you focusing on what you have to do. In our case it meant getting rid of a lot of clutter but in the end we achieved a renewed focus which should take us farther in 2014. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself and take your business to new heights.
Make it a great day,
P.S. Leave your comments in the box below and let me know what think about the redesign or anything else really : )
In January of this year (2013), I attended Ryan Deiss’ Traffic and Conversions Summit in San Francisco.
One of the major takeaway for me was that most of the times we don’t need to drive additional traffic to our websites..
.. In fact focusing our conversions only can allow us to double our business.
This may sound like a simple concept, but it actually took me a lot of time to internalize this simple concept.
Here is a practical example
For instance, let’s say that you run a blog called “How to become a better gardener”.
Now on this blog you have a popup optin form where visitors can subscribe to download a free report.
So at this point you’ll need to monitor how many visitors become subscribers, this will be your optin conversions.
After they have subscribed you may them send an email with a related offer.
Here you’ll need to keep track of your Click-Through-Rate (CTR), e.g. how many people click on your email links.
Finally on your sales page you will need to monitor your Conversion Rates, e.g. how many visitors out of 100 buy your product.
I’m sure you got the big picture by now.. So without further ado..
Let’s get technical (but not too much)
OK so in this case-scenario let’s say your numbers are the following:
– Optin conversions: 15% (15% of your website visitors subscribe to your list)
– Email CTR: 20% (20% of those visitors eventually click on an email link going to your offer)
– Conversion rates: 5% (5% of your subscribers actually purchase your offer)
Now let’s say we sell our product for $50 and every month your site receives 1000 visitors a month.
So the actual number would be:
– Optin conversions: 150 subscribers (15% of 1,000 = number of new subscribers per month)
– Email CTR: 30 clicks (20% of 140= number of people that click to see your offer)
– Sales conversions: 1.5 sales (5% of 140 = number of people who buy your product on your sales page)
So we’re roughly looking at $75/month (1.5 product sale) from this revenue stream.
The current thinking here is generally: “I need more traffic to generate more revenues”.
Or “I need to split-test my sales page and improve conversions”.
But actually there is another way to double your conversions without generating more traffic and without even remotely touching your sales page.
Split testing at the source makes sense
Now let’s say that instead of split testing our sales page, we run some optin conversions tests.
For instance we can try different call-to-actions on our optin form.
After a couple of weeks, let’s say our test allow us to increase our optin conversions from 15% to 20%.
Secondly we run some CTR test: companies like aweber allow you to send different versions of the same email in order to find out which ones performs best.
After a few weeks, our CTR test allow us to increase our CTR to 30%.
We leave the sales page as it is (no split test performed here: that’s the point of this strategy, to split test at the source).
Now let’s see what our results will look like after improving our optin conversions and our CTR only:
– Optin conversions = 200 subscribers (20% of 1000)
– CTR = 60 clicks (30% of 200)
– Sales conversions = 3 sales (5% of 60)
So with 3 sales at $50 we are now looking at $150 month from this one revenue stream. All this without driving any new traffic to our site.
So what can we take away from this experiment?
What to take away from this post
By tweaking our option form and improving our CTR, you can double your number of sales without:
– driving additional traffic
– and split testing your sales page
In fact it often is way easier to test your optin forms (I use Pippity for my popup optins) than to testing a sales page, simply because there are a lot less variables to split test.
Bonus case study
In March last month I was able to double my optin rates on a GIS site (very odd niche) by split testing our popup plugin:
– one variant said “Do You Like GIS? Download Our Free Arc GIS Video Training!”
– the second said “100% Free Download For LinkedIn Users!”
Given that the majority of our audience comes from Linkedin, the second variant almost got a whopping 15% conversions rates VS 8% for the regular non-targeted variant.. This mean we are now getting double the amount of subscribers with the exact same amount of traffic.
Easier than doubling your traffic right?
Let me know what you think in the comments, if you had any successful results with split testing and what do you think of this approach.
All the best,
P.S. If you feel like learning more about split testing and conversions, I highly recommend the ContentVerve and Neilpatel blog for a start!
Unless you have been living under a (virtual) rock you must have noticed the growing popularity of Google Hangout On Air lately. Like most people I am pretty pleased by the fact that Google is encouraging anyone to broadcast live on Youtube, for free.
And as a matter of fact, in the past two weeks I have myself experimented with my first two hangouts on air. In this post we will explore what are hangouts, why you should run your own Hangouts On Air (HOA for short), how to run those and we will conclude with 10 powerful tips for next Hangouts.
So what are Hangouts on Air?
Hangout On Air is a new cross-over feature between Google Plus and Youtube that allows anyone to broadcast a video feed (camera, screencast or simple audio) live on Youtube. HOA can host an unlimited number of attendees (viewers) and up to ten participants (you can think of participants as co-presenters).
Live hangouts can also be enhanced by what Google calls Hangouts Apps, which are add-ons with extra features (similar to Firefox extensions)
Here are some of the possible extra features that can be added with Hangout apps:
– mindmap in real time with others
– play video games with other participants
– add facebook comments to your hangouts
Note: If you are planning to run a hangout check out Hangout Apps for a list of the latest (and wackiest) HOA add-ons.
Ok I got it… But why should I run a Google Hangout On Air?
Simply put, Hangouts On Air are one of the best ways to connect with your audience, whether you are a business consultant selling to small businesses or a panic-attack expert selling infoproducts online.
Besides the connection to your audience, HOA is a also a good selling medium, using the traditional webinar formula (95% content, 5% pitch).
Finally if you are camera shy but would love to get yourself out there, it’s a brilliant way to force yourself to beat your shyness.
In case you are still wondering why you should run your own HOA here are some sample uses of Hangouts:
That sounds reasonably cool… Now how can I broadcast live on Youtube?
Ok so fhe first thing you need is a Google + account: this will allow you to sign in to Google+ and then stream to Youtube. If you don’t have one yet sign up here (note that participants – not viewers- should also have a G+ account to join your event).
Second thing you need is a date, time and schedule for your event; it goes without saying that your audience should be able to attend. You can use the built-in events feature in G+ to schedule your event or do it the old-school way (send emails/call attendees).
Once you have an account and a schedule, here is the step-by-step to run your own event:
1. Go to https://plus.google.com/hangouts and click on “Start Hangout”
2. On the next page invite your participants (leave blank if you are presenting on your own), name your hangout and make sure to tick the “Enable Hangouts On Air” checkbox. Then click “Hang out”
3. Share the Youtube link with attendees (or embed on your blog), choose which apps you will use and start your broadcast
And that’s it!
There are myriad of other options there, but rather than bore you with a list of feature set I recommend you start a “test hangout” now and find out which features you will need for yourself.
In my case the only feature I care about so far is sharing my webcam and sharing my screen. I haven’t used most of the other features so far.
Now to conclude this post is are 10 Power Hangouts on Air Tips:
1# Expect EVERYTHING to go wrong the day you go live for the first time: your mic might stop working, your attendees may complain that they see none of your presentation but a black screen instead, etc. In other words, random things will happen, deal with it.
2# Test, test and test before you go live! See #1 above: you can never be too prepared. Run test hangouts with at least one of your friends or partners before you broadcast yourself live on Youtube.
3# Time your presentation in advance: you should always know how long your Hangout On Air is going to last, as you may need to communicate this information to your audience.
#4 Build an attendee list: I may be an email marketing maniac, but I like to build relevant email lists. For my first two hangouts I ran an email and website campaign and asked people to register: this allowed me to segment my list and only contact people who signed up for the webinar prior to the event. It serves as a good reminder too as I am not sure how well does the Google+ Event function performs when it comes to reminding people to attend.
#5 Be flexible: Hangouts On Air is not GoToWebinar but has that sweet “100%free” price-tag: there are many limitations to HOA but unless you can afford other pricier webinar options you will need to work with those while Google brushes things out. Hence the important of #2.
#6 Use your own commenting platform. Right now HOA do not allow you to effectively monitor comments on your live Youtube feed. It also does not allow you to take questions from the public. It’s kind of a massive limitation if you want to run a webinar style presentation. This said with a little DIY you can embed your live hangout on your blog, and add your own comment system to it. I have personally used ChatRoll as a way to embed comments and Q&A on my blog during a hangout.
#7 Make the most of your recorded Hangouts. You can either recycle your content for the future, add your recorded Hangouts to a private members area or decide not to share the recorded session (if your intent is to have people turn up at the live event only). Whatever you do as soon as your hangout is over, head over to the Youtube>Video Manager page to edit your Hangout title, description, tags for SEO or discovery purposes if you choose to keep it public.
#8 Try it for yourself! Hangouts On Air are a a great way to market your skill, sell more products but more importantly connect with your customers and get to dialogue with them. It’s 100% free and you don’t need to market it to all your customers at once (you can start with a sample of 10 attendees only for instance) so it’s pretty much risk-free for your business. And finally, they are pretty fun to run too!
Here is to your future Hangouts,
P.S. Are you planning to run a hangout in the near future? Do you have any questions about Hangouts on Air I can help out with?
Effectively pushing projects to completion is in my opinion one of the most valuable skills of an Internet Marketer.
In fact, as online workers and business owners, we are often guilty of easily getting distracted and not following through our dreams. I know that being unable to finish the sites I was working on was one of the main causes of my failure in my first few years online.
I hope that the following special report will help others who might be in the same situation I was in a few years back to reach their goals and finally leave their dreams. And if you are already reaching your goals, this might help you take them to the next level.
So without further ado, feel free to click on the link below to download the Trello Marketing System.
(pdf – 12 pages)
And here is the companion video (18 minutes). I recommend you start with the PDF, then watch the video.
I spent quite a bit of time putting this together, and I really hope it will help you in your business,
All the best,
P.S. What do you to manage your projects? Feel free to leave your comments below to join the discussion.
Internet marketers (IMers) are an odd group of people. Outside the IM world nobody truly gets what we are doing (did you ever try to explain IM to your friends?). Some of us are millionaires while others are just starting out, but one common trait to all IMers remain: we BELIEVE in the dream that Internet Marketing can bring us true financial freedom.
Entrepreneurs at heart
It came to me that IMers are entrepreneurs at heart, we just don’t understand entrepreneurship (I’ll explain that point in a bit). We start with literally nothing but the belief that it is possible to make money from home, work when we want, and provide for all our friends and family. And thinking that we can start with little input is the problem, or should I say, the challenge.
The odd thing with IMers is that we believe (or are led to believe) that we can get untold and instant riches, without any considerable time or financial investment. I too believed it at first, but the more I reflect on this business the more I realize that this is a major misunderstanding: nothing is neither easy nor free in life.
That is if you intend to build a real business which will provide for you in the long run of course.
Time, money and the right information
Listen to the companion podcast (pardon me for the background noise, I was attending a De La Soul concert when recording this)
The first two determining factors in making a business work are time AND money.
Time because a great deal of your time should be spent on strategizing. Do you know what your exact objectives for this new quarter are? Do you know wher your business will be in 2 years time?
Coming up with satisfactory answers to these questions and following up takes a lot of time. You also need to dedicate some of your time to honing your business skills and networking with peers in your industry.
Consulting with financial advisors, incorporating and analyzing your sales volumes are also tasks that only you can tackle.
All this strategic part of your business can not be outsourced or purchased. You are the CEO and it’s your job to make sure that your business has a true purpose, and if you are ambitious enough, outlives you.
The second factor that comes into place is money. You will need some to pay yourself a decent salary, cover your marketing costs and pay your employees, or at first outsourcers.
There are different ways to manage cash flow in your business. You can start with what is commonly called cash from operations (the money your business makes) or with start up capital. Either way you will need to make some sacrifices in the early years in order to get running.
And third, having the right information is what will make or break your business. Actually I would even go as far as to say that the right information is more important than how much time and money you have.
Now having the right information has a cost in our knowledge-based society. You might need to take managerial classes from a local college, or to hire a personal coach to give you directions.
Or if you are lucky, you might know someone in your entourage who has a lot of business acumen. You might want to consult with that person, since the information he or she holds may be incredibly beneficial for your business.
We just don’t understand entrepreneurship
The problem with IMers in my opinion is that we just don’t understand (nor take the time to understand) what business truly is.
We often have wild dreams about making lets say $2k per month. But do we ever reflect on what does this figure represent for our business and at which point it will be profitable enough to really enjoy this evasive IM dream?
Let’s think about what making $2k a month really means for a second:
Other business apps 50
Outsourcing (articles/graphics/etc.) 200
Total expenses 1,380
And these are very conservative figures, we didn’t even take taxes, hiring an accountant, or other costs like renting offices, buying PCs and software licenses etc. into account.
So as you can see just to run that first month of operations it took us $1,380 with a very low salary of $1k/month.
And we usually have to spend money on traffic, outsourcing and our salary upfront to get our revenues to the $2k level. That means we do have to shell out some money and leave on $1k a month for a while… which is not enough to leave the IM lifestyle unfortunately.
And to add to this the proceeds from the first month do not even finance the next month! This means that we are now face to face with a business and we need to start planning out to avoid future disappointments.
A word from Bill (gates)
Bill Gates used to say that he wouldn’t sleep peacefully at night until there is enough cash in his business to finance one full year of operations.
So at this rate we would need about $24k to get this business off the ground and to plan for one year worth of expenses, unless we focus on extremely high yielding activities.
And even if you are financing your biz with cash from operations, and you make let’s say $10k a month, it will stay take a bit of work (and a great deal of planning) to make your business work in the long run.
So yea, my point is that anyone who loves IM for what it is, the freedom and great lifestyle should take some time off to think about this more like a business and less like a sidekick pocket-money activity.
Treat your business right and it will reward you and your loved ones many time over and for years to come,
To your IM success,
P.S. I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Do you think internet marketing should be treated as a business? Or do you think of it as a simple additional stream of income and that we don’t need to think that far?