Jonathan Beebe recently contacted me asking to submit a guest article. Normally I say no because it is tough to find good writers with good content, but Jonathan did a few things right that convinced me to give him a shot. His email was short, to the point and he came across as a nice guy. He explained how he knew me as a long time blog reader, and here’s the most important bit – stated that he makes a living online, enough to support himself and his family of four.
Whenever I hear someone makes a living from the Internet and it’s enough to support an entire family, I immediately get curious. Jonathan showed me samples of his writing, which demonstrated he can put words together in an interesting way, so I asked if he would consider telling us his full story about how he became another one of the few who live the Internet lifestyle. This is his story…
Is It Just Plain Luck?
As you read the impressive case studies and online success stories out there, it’s easy to get the idea that these select few people are the one’s who simply got lucky. It seems as though they are the “lottery winners”, so to speak, whom you often read about but find it nearly impossible to replicate their success. If you’re currently struggling to see positive results from your online efforts, you may be wondering… Are these people just lucky, or is there some kind of secret to the whole thing?
As a guy who has personally went from being a physical laborer at a local warehouse to working full-time on the internet in a relatively short period of time, I can tell you that becoming an online entrepreneur has little to do with luck, and A LOT to do with persistence and consistent effort.
Today, I’m going to share with you my personal story in hopes that telling you HOW I got started, and WHAT I did will inspire you to find YOUR personal strategy that you can follow day-in and day-out until you finally reach your goal. You’ll soon find out that no luck is required when it comes to becoming a full-time internet entrepreneur, just a decent supply of willpower.
In the Beginning…
My interest in making money online started while in high school when I came across the term, affiliate marketing. Whatever I read got me very excited to learn how to make money online, so I decided to give it a shot. After an admittedly short period of time, I became discouraged when I failed to see sales coming in right away. I can’t remember what it was I read, but it was most-likely filled with a lot of hype that caused me to go into the whole thing with the wrong mindset.
Although I got nowhere with internet marketing at that point, I consider the experience to be a very important part of my journey because it opened my mind up to the possibility of starting an online business. It would be a long time before that seed would have a chance to grow, however, because after high school I ended up joining the U.S. Military on a 4-year contract. I left home only a month after graduation.
Fast forward two years…
I decided to re-visit the internet marketing world after I got married about mid-way through my enlistment. I didn’t like being in the military and thought it would be great if I could be working at home when I separated so I could spend as much time as possible with my wife. This time I was determined to make money online and so my official journey began.
What DIDN’T Work For Me
Remembering my previous try at affiliate marketing, I decided to go at it again, only this time I’d try my hand at pay-per-click (PPC) advertising (Google Adwords to be exact) and quickly found out that getting the hang of it was costing me way more than I wanted to risk. I did manage to make a few sales, but unfortunately, my advertising costs were way higher than what I earned, so it was time for me to start searching for something else.
A little vulnerable at this point, I started searching for online “business opportunities” and came across what seemed to be a perfect match for me (poor, gullible me). It was a network marketing company that I later found out to be a scam, AFTER I had already poured quite a bit of time and money into it. Needless to say, I got pretty much nowhere and was feeling pretty discouraged. PPC or anything to do with network marketing/multi-level-marketing (MLM) was completely out of the question for me at this point.
That’s not to say you can’t make money promoting affiliate products via PPC or getting involved with a legitimate network marketing company, because many people do, but those business models definitely aren’t for me.
At this point I was probably at my weakest state of my online money-making journey (or lack thereof), but I was determined to get somewhere so I didn’t give up. I didn’t really know what to do though, so I just spent some time taking in the free information on blogs, free reports, and I also invested in some eBooks to further my education before diving into something else and possibly getting burned again.
The Online Grunt Work
I finally made my first significant online dollars using “bum marketing” techniques to promote affiliate products. This was basically taking advantage of the free web resources to drive traffic to sales pages. My main strategy was to use article marketing in hopes of converting a certain percentage of that traffic into sales.
Although I was very happy to finally be making some money, I felt like the workload was way too much for the few sales that were trickling in here and there. It felt like online grunt work, and that’s NOT how I imagined running an online business would be. I guess it wouldn’t have been that bad, except I had no personal interest in most of the niches I was writing articles for. This left me feeling extremely burned out after a few short months.
But since I was finally making money, I stuck with it but kept my options open to anything else that might be a little more enjoyable for me. During this time I experimented with a lot of little strategies, one being a blog in the personal development field that I began posting to regularly. I also decided to start building my email list in that same niche as well.
Once my time in the military was up (summer of 2008), unfortunately my online income wasn’t at a point where I could support my family with it full-time, so I moved back to my hometown in California and got a job at a local warehouse working 12-hour shifts from 5pm to 5am. This only inspired me to work harder on my “make money online work” as my wife and I liked to call it (hence the current name of my website).
Finding My Place
As time went on, my bum marketing practices became less and less, and the focus I was putting towards my blog and mailing list became more and more. After sticking to a fairly consistent work schedule, I realized that my income had become pretty steady, and it was actually growing as I continued to build up my mailing list. I was amazed at this realization because as long as I kept doing what I was doing, my income would continue to grow to unlimited heights as long as I kept growing my list!
Since I knew I didn’t want to stay in the personal development niche forever (I just wasn’t passionate about it), I decided to create a free report and start building my list in the “internet marketing” niche, which is where I wanted to eventually migrate to. Long story short, I continued on with my strategy and applied my little “formula” (as I like to call it) to my blog and BOTH of my lists and was able to grow my income high enough to quit my job at the warehouse after working there for only a year!
My Winning Strategy
This is the exact strategy that I used to quit my job, and that I currently use to maintain and grow my online business:
- Start a blog (preferably in a niche you’re passionate about, so you don’t feel compelled to change in the future like I did) and start posting to it regularly.
- Sign up for an autoresponder service and start building your list (I personally use MailChimp and Yaro uses AWeber). The easiest way to build your list is to offer a free report in exchange for their email address. Be sure to advertise your free report on your blog.
- Every six days, send an email to your list (aka “newsletters”).
- Two out of three emails, send a link to a high quality article recently posted to your blog, or give them another freebie (such as another free report).
- Every third email, recommend a product or do a review. This is where most of the money is made, but make sure you’re ONLY promoting high quality products.
- Continue posting new articles to the blog and sticking to the six-day mailing schedule as you drive traffic to your blog and free report. I recommend article marketing, guest blogging, and discussion forum participation.
How and Why it Works
As you can see, the strategy I described above is fairly easy to implement, and isn’t at all overwhelming. Since you’re only sending an email to your list every six days, that leaves you with a lot of days in-between to optimize your strategy, focus on creating high quality content, or even work on your own products and services. Also, six days will keep you in the minds of your subscribers, but it won’t be so often that you’ll get on their nerves.
The reason why I refrain from promoting anything two out of every three emails is to make sure that I’m giving my list more than what I ask from them. They appreciate the fact that I’m willing to give so much to them for free, and look forward to receiving my emails and clicking the links inside. Promoting something every third email conditions the list to be buyers, or to at least expect the occasional promotion. Even for those who don’t buy anything, it’s well worth it for them to stay subscribed because of all the free value that is provided on a regular basis.
In other words, the strategy I described keeps your open rates and conversion rates high, and your unsubscribe rates and spam complaints low. It also earns you TRUST with your list, and that’s as good as gold in the online world. Another advantage to the strategy is that with the non-promotional mailers, you are simply directing them to posts on your blog, which means you’ll never be scraping for content to send to your list; you’re already posting new, high quality content to your blog on a regular basis.
As you can see, your blog and mailing list work hand-in-hand to form an income-generating machine that takes a reasonable—but not overwhelming—amount of work to maintain and even grow at a steady rate. This is the way I make money online and so far it has been working GREAT for me. I attribute a lot of it’s effectiveness to the fact that I enjoy this particular strategy very much.
Time to Find YOUR Strategy
Now, just because I enjoy the strategy I described to you, it doesn’t mean that you will to. The point of me telling you my story wasn’t to get you to “convert” to my way of doing things, but to get you to see that LUCK had nothing to do with my success. It was all about finding what worked for me personally, and then sticking with it until my desired results were achieved.
There are only two things that will cause you to fail as an online entrepreneur, and that’s (1) not sticking to something long enough (lack of persistence; opportunity hopping), and (2) just giving up altogether. If you find something that you can enjoy doing and doesn’t leave you feeling burned out, you will GREATLY decrease the chances of those two things happening… but ultimately, it’s up to you.
If you take some time to find your strategy and stick with it, achieving your goals might just be a lot closer than you think.
If you want to learn more about the exact strategy Jonathan used to quit his day job for good, grab a copy of his free report called Online Income Formula.