Why being a simpleton works for me.

I’ve tried complex and complicated businesses. They just confuse the Hell out of me. I had a 6 month ‘thing’ about buying turnkey sites and trying to monetize them. That was probably the hardest work I’ve ever done in my internet marketing career. If you’re not sure what a turnkey site is (and I’m not too sure still) it’s a ready made website – a business in a box – that you just need to promote. Some are good, some are worse than awful. Guess which ones I chose?

 If you’ve started off with turnkey sites and have made a profit with them then I’m now bowing and taking off my hat to you because you’re a better marketer than I am.

More likely if you’ve started off with turnkey sites is that you’ve had a few weeks of frustration, are now in debt and at some point you’ve thrown your computer across the room and embedded it a couple of inches into the wall. I speak from experience.

I say too often that something is ‘one of my greatest internet marketing discoveries’ but possibly in the genuine top three is this one – I’m not very intelligent.

Oh I’ve been to University and won a few bottles of Vodka in pub quizzes but when it comes to internet marketing I find it’s really easy for me to lose money. REALLY easy. Unless I do one thing:


The very first day I worked this out I made more money than I’d earned in the WHOLE of the previous YEAR. I’m not joking – we’re talking blinding flash of light, rapturous music and me floating six inches off the floor in stunning realisation that I was never going to work for anyone else again.

(Incidentally that involved a national newspaper ad, a couple of very surprised marketers, a comb-binding machine and 48 hours without sleep fulfilling orders).

One of the turnkey sites I built had dozens of pages, dozens of product links and pictures and …….. it actually makes my butt clench with anxiety thinking about the damn thing even now. It took me longer to upload than it did to grow facial hair when I was 12, and once it was up and running it brought me nothing but….. actually just nothing.

Which is why today I’ m master of keeping it simple.

Why over-complicate things when they don’t need to be? One or two comments on the video two posts below this ruffled my feathers a little. Write about your experience of internet marketing, make it personal, stick on opt-in box, some freebies and a couple of affiliate links on your blog and  you’ll make money.

I made ten grand in 3-4 months doing this.

Then I found myself apologising because some silly sod thought it was too simple.

Honestly what do people want? If somebody offered you a diamond, and you could either receive it in a brown paper envelope one wet afternoon, or you had to follow clues halfway across Afghanistan, dodging bullets, nutters (from both sides) wild animals and disease to collect it from the bottom of a 60 foot well full of camel dung, which would you choose?

Exactly. Why complicate matters?

Sales page, sales button, downloadable product – you don’t even need a download page if you use something like e-junkie.

Minisites, small websites, simple SIMPLE processes where not much can go wrong and you can build them in an hour.

If this was my first day as an internet marketer I’d spend an hour on the forums checking out what people were whinging about, struggling with and asking for answers about. Then I’d pay a ghostwriter $200 to write me an ebook that gave the solution to a particular problem. I’d build a site, stick a Paypal button on it and advertise it by forum posting, article writing and pay per click if I felt brave.

Make sure the text of the page includes some long tail keywords (phrases that people type into search engines rather than just keywords) and wait a while.

It works – google ‘paypal button tutorial’

Then look at result number 5 or 6 on the first page.


I’m using an opt-in box here to build my list but it could easily have been a paid product.

Simple, straightforward marketing.

I make it a rule always to listen when someone explains something and ends with ‘and that’s it…’ because it usually means I’ve just been given access to a simple, extremely effective method.

And that’s it……..

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6 responses to “Why being a simpleton works for me.

  1. Pat

    I want to say that I enjoyed your video! I am now just learning about WordPress and trying to figure out exactly how you got that video embedded! A new tutorial perhaps…? LOL
    Anyway…I’ve learned alot from you and Sara’s materials and am working hard at putting everything into action!

  2. “One of the turnkey sites I built had dozens of pages, dozens of product links and pictures and …….. it actually makes my butt clench with anxiety thinking about the damn thing even now.”

    Arrghh, you just sent a shivver down my spine — I had a couple of those too – cringe!

    I have to say, though, even though mine also didn’t make me any money , I did learn a lot of techy stuff `building’ them. I have to look on the bright side, else I’d top meself thinking about the hours I spent on them 😉

    Great post, Tony, thank you.

    Best wishes

    Paula Brett

  3. Tony Shepherd

    Pat – watch this space – the video tutorial is on the list!

    Paula – Nice to hear from you!
    You make a good point. ‘Tinkering’ with turnkey sites IS a great way to learn about HTML.

  4. Jim

    Hi Tony,

    Turnkey sites did make me laugh. Like you say if they were that great everyone and their dog would be making vast quantities of cash with their sites.

    By the way, yours is the first blog I’ve signed up to for a very long time, and I’ve been writing my own for about 4-5 years.


  5. Hi Tony

    I enjoyed your post. I recently wrote an ebook on the exact subject of making money through keeping things simple. My readers seem to think it’s groundbreaking advice – but then again that’s not really suprising since most marketers say the exact opposite. Thank you for giving such sensible advice. There’s at least two of us giving it 🙂


  6. Think being simple and being a simpleton is different =)

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