I started looking into online business models around 20 years ago. Initially I started out with eBay the auction giant. I bought and sold from the site and made a bit of extra money in between jobs.
After a while I decided there had to be a better way to earn money using the internet. I bought an eBook and decided this was probably the best model for selling online. It was a sale which didn’t require anyone to personally be there. It was completely automated and because of the digital product it could be sold internationally, with no postage costs.
Although I knew nothing of how to operate a business like this successfully, I had stumbled on the best possible model for selling online. Nothing could stop me learning and despite many failures, I persevered until I found a business model which works.
It’s called affiliate marketing and allows anyone to sell someone else’s products over the internet. By linking to another product and recommending it, anyone can earn a commission if their link takes a customer to a product and makes a purchase.
Affiliate marketing is a bit like recommending a friend to a nice restaurant. Only, with affiliate marketing, you get to earn a commission if your friend goes to the restaurant which you recommended.
Despite finding this business model shortly after moving on from eBay, it was a while before I found any lasting success with it. I think that’s partly because, at the time, there was very little help available on the internet for affiliate marketers. There were many “how to” courses which I bought, and some were more useful than others. Despite all my “failures”, I persevered and found a good community to learn from.
This, I believe, is a major key to the success of many online entrepreneurs. They don’t do it alone, they have help. I struggled for years because I didn’t know who to turn to for help. It is possible to have success with an online business quite quickly, if you know the best possible route to take, and of course if you have the courage to go through on all the action steps.
The ultimate goal of course, with an online business, is financial freedom. Initially though this wasn’t my goal. My goal was to be earning enough to survive from the internet without a job. I also wanted to earn in a way which was conducive to my happiness. Many of the jobs I had done had been stressful and lowly paid. The internet offered a means to earn from the comfort of my own home. At the time, just having a purpose and a direction was enough, even if it didn’t make money immediately.
As time wore on though, I did wonder whether all this effort was really worth my time. I had made some progress, but there were many times when I thought about throwing it all in. I’m sure this is the same for many others who are out there working away at their various online pursuits.
What kept me going was the simple idea of the eBook I had bought. Someone, somewhere had made a commission from me buying that eBook and downloading it. I was going to do the same thing over and over.
One of my early successes was selling an affiliate marketing “how to” course which I sold using AdWords adverts and a landing page. The automation involved is one of the best things about an online business. It allows you to build a scalable business from anywhere in the world! I ran an advert which sent people straight to a landing page. From there I collected the emails with a piece of software known as an auto-responder.
Emails were automatically delivered to the subscribers and I started selling a few courses. I was just at the point where I could start increasing my budget to make more sales and my advertising platform got shut down. I was inconsolable! It hit me hard and I went through a long period of just having given up. I couldn’t reinstate my account whatever I tried!
The internet is very forgiving though. Before long I was purchasing another course and learning something new. I did get stuck in learning mode for a long time. But, I still use the skills I learned years ago even now.
I got onto another course. This one taught a different approach. It was called The Keyword Academy and the course taught how to target specific keywords with articles and rank them on Google. It’s a long time ago now and I’m sure the techniques are outdated. Things change quickly on the internet. After a good 6 months to a year I got almost nothing for all my work. I had built several websites but most of them were utterly useless!
I really don’t know why I kept going and most (sensible) people would have given up. What kept me going was the idea of a business which ran itself, selling digital products over and over again.
I eventually found the aforementioned community and that’s where I am now. If I had only had access to other people back then! A mentor is definitely what you need with an internet business. It’s far too hard to go it alone. Get access to a community and learn by watching and modelling people who are already being successful.