December 4, 2012
It’s been a long time since I have written on Can I Make Big Money Online. It will probably be a long time before I do again, because I am getting ready to start writing quite a bit on our web design/SEO blog.
However, I wanted to quickly tell you the most important thing I learned this year and it’s the best business tip I can give you in 2012:
The people you surround yourself with have a HUGE impact on your success.
I know it’s a simple concept, but it’s true. Surround yourself with people who support you and your goals. People who are abundance minded and believe the things you either believe or the way you want to believe. Who have the success you want to have. Because you become like and think like the people you surround yourself with.
That’s all for now. Here’s to a prosperous New Year!
January 16, 2011
Hey everybody, just a quick note to let you know that I’m being interviewed on Women in Business Radio tomorrow. Tune in and follow by Twitter to ask questions. Then stop back by here and leave comments with your thoughts— and accolades 🙂
November 1, 2010
In a comment on our article about starting a new website, Trevor Harris wrote:
I myself would not hire a whole company to build my websites. I would outsource from the Phillipines, from a quality outsourcing site. But if you do decide to outsource you could pay them monthly, to also do all that other stuff you don’t like to do; like getting backlinks. And people from the Phillipines are very reliable and efficient, and make sure they finish the job. But you could also just hire them for the one job, and be done. It would also be much cheaper as well.
That got me to thinking. Offshore outsourcing for small businesses (especially internet marketing related ones) has been a growing area. Personally, we don’t participate in offshore outsourcing, although we do outsource within the United States. But as I was looking for information to reply to Trevor, I found it difficult to find unbiased information on outsourcing to another country, such as India or the Philipines. So, I decided to gather some links on the sites that I found that offered some of the pros and cons, so that if you are considering this path, you’ll have some resources to read.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Outsource2India.com— a good list of advantages and disadvantages. One advantage listed: Outsourcing can help your organization to free up its cash flow. One disadvantage listed: In outsourcing, you may lose your control over the process that is outsourced.
Lovetoknow.com—a lot of the same information as the above list but expanded a bit with more examples.
Outsourcingprosandcons.net— over 70 articles on the topic, including ones about specific industries or process. Some of my favorites: Pros and Cons of Help Desk Outsourcing, Outsourcing Human Resources – Pros and Cons, and Outsourcing Help: Pros And Cons Of Outsourcing. Please note that while many of the articles are listed under pros and cons, they neglect to mention the cons. Also, many are written by people who own, operate or promote outsourcing services.
Entrepreneur.com— a slightly older article, it still contains good information about what, when and why to outsource.
WebProWorld.com— a good forum discussion on the topic.
I’m sure there are other articles and websites that do a good job of addressing the question of offshore outsourcing from a neutral perspective. If you know of any, please be sure to post them in the comments.
October 31, 2010
Just found this video where actor/singer/song writer, Will Smith, shares his secrets of business success. The only thing I would add that Will left out is to ask for guidance from the Almighty. Otherwise, it’s excellent advice.
October 8, 2010
Have you seen the video for the Kajabi marketing software that came out earlier this week?
I have been waiting for months to see what Kajabi was and so far it looks pretty cool to me. After watching the video, I decided to join their affiliate program so the links in this post are my affiliate links.
Anyway, they just put out a really good ebook about some of the roadblocks many of us face when trying to make money online. You can click here to download the free report.
When you finish reading it let me know which of the roadblocks have prevented you from making money online.
October 7, 2010
Many readers of Can I Make Big Money Online have the technical chops to create their own website. But what if you don’t? What if you have to hire, gulp, a web designer? Here are a few things you’ll want to consider. You’ll need to make some choices about your domain, hosting and hiring a website designer.
When you’re choosing a domain, there are a few directions you can go. You can choose a domain to brand your business, to appeal to the search engines or sometimes you can combine the two. George wrote a pretty extensive article on choosing a domain some time ago, and there’s not much I can add to what he already said.
However, here’s one thing that wasn’t included in his original article. When choosing an extension, opt for a top level domain versus a .info domain name, if it is available. While most people search for domain names typing in a .com extension, you can also be quite successful with a .net or a .org extension. It’s not uncommon for website owners to buy several versions of their domain name with different extensions. If multiple extensions are available, consider buying them to keep competitors from buying them later and benefiting from your success.
No matter what domain you choose, always have it hosted by your own hosting server. This bears repeating. Use your own hosting. Preferably paid hosting, not on a friend’s server in his Mom’s basement. You think you’re saving money by going this route, but in the long run the potential headaches are not worth the less than $100 per year you’re going to save.
Some people try another “cheap” route for hosting. “Free” website builders that offer free hosting. Usually this means you will not have your own domain name. For example, if you were with Freewebs.com, it would be freewebs.com/andyourname here. This domain name does not look professional and it is too hard for your potential customers to remember (plus you’re advertising someone else’s company every time you advertise your website). If you’re looking to save money, take advantage of the free domain name registration that some web hosting packages offer.
If you’re looking for great, reliable hosting at a reasonable rate, we always recommend Hostgator. Yes, that’s an affiliate link. Throughout the years, we’ve had our sites hosted through several different companies. Hostgator is far and away our favorite.
One more note about domains— make sure your domain is registered in YOUR name, not in your website designer’s name, not in your hosting company’s name. Even if your hosting company offers to register your domain for you, make sure that you will be listed as the technical contact. You may want to register it yourself if you have any doubts about how the registration will be handled, even if it means passing up on a “free” offer. If you ever want to change hosts or designers, you’ll be glad you spent the ten minutes and $20, vs. the hassle and potential expense of trying to reclaim a domain if it wasn’t registered in your name.
Finally, if you’re not comfortable designing the site yourself, you’ll need to find a website designer. Of course, we’re partial to MantyWeb Designs, but no matter who you choose, make sure that you ask to see some examples of the designer’s work. You may want to even find some websites you like and see who the designer of that site is.
Talk to the company before hiring someone. In fact, talk to them a couple of times. Make sure they explain things in a way you understand, that you feel comfortable talking to them and that they return messages in a timely manner. If you have an idea of the technical requirements of your website (like you know you want a blog), make sure that the company has experience with that type of site. Different designers have different areas of expertise. Just because a company makes really pretty sites doesn’t mean you want them designing your ecommerce site.
While you may be tempted to immediately go with the cheapest designer, don’t. Make sure to choose someone who can complete the project in a timely manner and who will not disappear before the project is complete. This happens ALL the time! Having to start over with a new designer just wastes your time and money.
So, those are the basics. Choose a good domain, pick hosting that fits your website’s needs and find a website designer you enjoy working with. Now, I’d like to hear from you below. Have you gone through the web design process? How was your experience? Any additional tips?
January 6, 2010
My good friend Daniel Scocco of Daily Blog Tips has just released a new free ebook in preparation for the re-opening of his Online Profits course. Last year, I had the pleasure of interviewing Daniel about his program and you can read that interview by clicking here.
Mistakes number 2 and 8 in his book are the biggest mistakes I have made in the past that really held back my business. Go read the ebook and let me know your biggest mistakes.
PS. Yes, Daniel is a friend, and yes most of the links in this post are my affiliate links that will pay me money if you sign up for his course.
December 6, 2009
In 2009, my wife Jill and I launched a business that is, so far, surpassing our expectations. Here are three of the main factors that contributed to our success in 2009…
Early this year (May) I was laid off from my 9-5 job. I had two choices at that point; go look for a job or start a business to make enough money to support my family. After much prayer and discussion with my wife, we decided to start our own business. Prior to being laid off I had been creating websites and marketing them in my spare time, but I never COMMITTED to making my business a success. I always had my 9-5 job to fall back on for money, which kept me from ever totally committing to the business.
All of the people I have known who have had a successful business online have committed to it. Many of them even quit their jobs before starting their business because they understood the importance of commitment. While I don’t recommend you leave your job, I do recommend that you commit yourself to making your business successful. Without commitment it will likely fail. Set some hard deadlines and stick to them.
I have talked about the importance of focus before (see this post). Until I focused on making money with one business (our web marketing and design business), success was elusive.
Now that my wife and I are running a successful business I don’t want to lose focus on that business or it might stop growing. Focus is one of the biggest factors in our success this year and it will continue to be one of the biggest factors in our ongoing success.
3. Time Management
Changing the way I managed my time has made a huge difference in my productivity. Now that I only check my email after I have completed 2 hours worth of important work, my productivity has greatly increased. I learned this and other techniques from various sources, including a very good book on the topic. If you are looking for great time management tips without spending a ton of money, I highly recommend the book, “Getting Things Done”, by David Allen. You can buy a copy at most bookstores or check it out for free at your local library.
One of the other things I did to improve my time management is to create a daily and weekly todo list. I manage the todo list with a very simple free online tool called Voo2Do. At the beginning of each week I create a new todo list with the highest priority items being done earliest in the week to make sure that they get done. In my case, that means that marketing tasks for our clients are done at the beginning of the week. You can also organize your days that way, with the highest priority items being done first and your less high priority items (like checking email) coming later in the day. I also leave some space towards the end of the week for those tasks that get bumped down the priority list by things that required immediate attention, like proposals for clients. Making good use of your time makes a big difference in your business success.
Now, there was a fourth factor that both Jill and I consider to be a bigger factor than any other factor… our belief in God. While everyone may not embrace this view, I do believe that prayer played an important role in our success.
Those were the three things that I did to have a successful 2009, what were the things you did to improve your business?
PS. This post was part of a my friend Daniel’s writing project (Daniel is one of those people I knew who quit his job before starting an online business). You can read all about his project by clicking here.
October 29, 2009
Before you can start an online business, your mind has to change.
I don’t mean “change your mind”. I mean your mind has to change. Online business as a freelance entrepreneur is an example of thinking outside the box. Your personal “box” may take the form of…
- “I can’t make money in any way except a job.”
- “I’ve never tried anything like this before.”
- “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
- “This is a dumb idea.”
Maybe one or more of these apply to you, and these sorts of thoughts have to go. But before I repeat the cliche’ of “thinking outside the box”, how about a real-life example?
For a few months now, I’d been sick of turning on my television set with nothing ever being on, especially given what I paid for cable. Several hundred channels of programming, and it was all miserable. So, I did something that most people wouldn’t even consider: I canceled cable without replacing it. I no longer receive television of any sort.
Now, television tends to be a household staple even if it’s pointless. So this would be my own personal example of “thinking outside the box”. I’m saving a boatload of money, and it’s not as though I’m without distraction or entertainment with cable gone. In other words, net gain for me.
It was a benefit to me to do something most people would not consider, or at least not consider seriously. Online business is the same way. It’s a world of opportunity waiting that most would not even give thought, but it could wind up benefiting you greatly. This is what I mean when I say “First, your mind has to change”. If you don’t seriously believe you can make money online, you’re not going to get anywhere attempting it.
August 31, 2009
Here’s a deep, dark secret of online business: There’s no silver bullet to getting one up and going.
Yes, some things work much better than others. But there’s no magic out-of-the-box anything that you can buy and suddenly, you have a successful and lucrative business. Yes, I know a lot of products bill themselves that way. It’s an annoying bit of background noise you’ll have to tolerate if you’re trying to learn how to make money online.
Throwing money at a business without a plan won’t help you either. You can spend a lot of money and not get anything for it. It works the same way for time and effort if you’re not doing anything but expending time and effort.
But there is something simple you can do. In fact, anyone can do it. It works like this:
- First, you find a business model that works for you.
- Then, you work it steadily until you get where you want to go.
Slow and steady builds the business. A successful technique applied regularly over a period of time will make your income grow. This could be list building, making sales, your approach to earning affiliate commissions, or whatever. Not a single burst of time, effort, and money, but a steady, continuous effort. Spend enough time each day for you to actually accomplish something with your chosen technique, and keep going.
You don’t have to be a business prodigy. You just have to be like the tortoise in his race with the rabbit. Find something that works, and then just keep going.
May 22, 2009
I have a little gadget called an oil filter wrench. For those of you have never seen this particular type of tool, it looks like a loop of steel hinged to a handle. Mine has grip padding on the inside, though most I’ve seen don’t. Anyway, to make this wrench work, you bend the handle in the right direction, which tightens the loop around the oil filter and helps you to remove it.
I’ve never used mine for that reason. I use mine to remove the larger stuck twist-on lids from containers like pickle jars. As it turns out, it’s just as handy for that as it would be for an oil filter. So basically, I’m a smart wimp that reincarnated a gadget to a new purpose.
I thought outside the box, which is also a good idea in your online business. You might have old work just sitting on your hard drive. You might have a problem which, at first glance, you can’t afford to fix. You have goals you supposedly can’t meet. Any of these call for a little original thinking.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started on that whole ‘box’ thing:
- Can you be doing something else with your old stuff? You did work to make it, so if you’re not using it for its intended purpose, could you be using it for a purpose you haven’t thought of yet? Freebies, traffic, and promotional uses all come to mind as good ways to reincarnate old stuff.
- Is there a cheaper way to solve a problem if you come at it from a different direction? So what if you can’t get a custom web site or blog design, for instance. There are plenty of ways around that.
- If the obvious solutions to problems are out of reach for you, try and make your own solutions. If you succeed, it might make a good topic for your next tutorial product!
If the normal things can’t help you, remember the lesson of my oil filter wrench. You can do more than the obvious when you think outside the box.
May 14, 2009
The other day I read a post by Cris Garrett called “Just like Breathing”. In the post, Chris talks about a short conversation he had with Terry Starbucker, who also posted about their conversation here. In the conversation, Terry asked an AWESOME question that prompted Chris to ask the same question of his readers in a slightly different way. Here is Chris’ question:
What is so natural to you that it is like breathing? What aspect of yourself, which behavior, skill, activity, talent, is so part of you that you could not imagine yourself without it?
That prompted me to brainstorm a list of answers to the question. Here is the list I came up with:
Playing with my kids
Playing video games
Playing tennis, basketball and football (when I was younger)
Coming up with funny kids stories
Making kids laugh
talking with people one on one
I talked with my wife Jill about the list and one of the things that I realized is that there were two common skills I used in all of the things that are “like breathing” to me:
1. Problem solving
I love problem solving and I love being creative. You might even say I love creative problem solving.
There were quite a few things that almost made my list because they involved creativity or problem solving but the reason they didn’t get on my list is because they also involved doing things I hate. For instance, writing almost made my list. I love writing creatively, and I love writing about solutions to problems. However, I DON’T LOVE GRAMMAR RULES! I don’t love writing about just anything. So writing couldn’t make my list.
The things that did make my list were things that when I do them I ONLY did them in a way that allowed me to be me. For instance, when I played basketball. The thing I loved doing was being creative. When I was kid growing up some of my African American friend’s might have called me “Bird”, but that is about where the comparison ended. I worked hard at emulating Dr. J’s moves and then adding my own twist. I loved to play a very unorthodox style of basketball, driving to the basket and finding the most creative way possible to score. It was fun. I would never have enjoyed basketball if I had stayed on the perimeter and just shot the ball from long range. I wanted to be creative and solve the problem of getting past all the shot blockers and scoring over people I should never have been able to score against. That was fun.
So, getting back to the list. It’s kind of funny because after I made the list I thought to myself,
“I should write children’s books.” Now where have I heard that before… hmmmm….
If you know of anyone that breathes drawing comic illustrations that would work well with children’s stories then you might want to send them my way… who knows maybe we will both breathe a bunch of awesome books to life.
For now, I am going to take some time to think about this some more, but it was a very interesting answer to a very AWESOME question. I suggest you try answering the question as well. You might be surprised what you find. I was.