When you first poke your sweaty toe into the murky puddle of internet marketing you get a LOT of advice.
Some of it of offered by genuine experts, and some is offered by by people you wouldn’t leave alone with your pet hamster.
The problem is that at the time you have no idea which is which.
I’m speaking from personal experience here. It’s only been in the past few years I’ve come to realise what is what in IM, and as a result I’ve been able to tell what was valuable advice and what was pure, unadulterated crap.
But to confuse the matter even more, it seems advice isn’t either ‘right or wrong’
It’s ‘right or wrong FOR YOU’
So all I want to do today is to tell you about a certain piece of advice that was very WRONG for me, and which I wished I’d spotted earlier…..because I’d have made more money.
Please not I’m not saying the advice was wrong in general, it was just very wrong for me.
So was I.
So I was told I needed to ‘brand myself’ to be succesful in internet marketing.
Various examples were given. The gurus of the time had self-appointed titles such as
‘The Adsense King’
‘The Traffic Guy’
‘The Product Creation Gal’
or something similar.
Now I thought these were horribly cheesy at the time but being a relative newcomer I started to dig around for a title for myself.
‘The guy who put the ‘cont’ in continuity’ resulted in some horrible emails after an unfortunate typo so I gave that one up….
…and trying to give some ‘Soul’ to PLR products didn’t work, not did my ex-domain name ‘PLRsoul.com’
(you have to say it aloud to get the faux pas and being English helps)
I’m kidding (although sadly not entirely), but the idea of branding is to become number one in your field – the ‘go to guy’ if you will.
And I’m sure this works. At least for the top guy anyway.
It’s probably not so cool being the ‘go to when the previous 14 methods didn’t work guy’
And it didn’t suit me at all. If you read my Affordable Mentoring Newsletter you’ll know that I love dipping in and out of markets, experimenting with various methods and techniques and not being branded in one particular field.
I’m not saying this is the right way to do business online, just that I like it and it works for me.
So my advice is that you at least TRY different advice and methods until you find something that suits you.
There’s nothing WRONG with being a bit of a butterfly.
Did you marry the first guy or girl you dated?
You’ve got to try stuff on for size.
Here’s an example. On saturday I was actually doing some offline marketing and what a refreshing change it was!
I don’t mean trying to sell blogs or SEO services to local businesses, I mean I was helping to set up an exhibition stand for one of the ‘real’ businesses we’re involved with at home.
So I found myself wresting with lighting, display equipment and losing in a wrestling match to a pile of velcro at a national trade fair.
Above is a pic of me at the trade show looking relaxed if slightly bewildered without a laptop to hide behind.
(Quick photography tip – never have your hands too far in front of your body when taking a pic – it makes you look like you pick watermelons for a living)
Anyway – doing something DIFFERENT business wise – it’s such a business booster you wouldn’t believe.Simply coming from a different angle gives you all sorts of new perspectives on your online stuff.
And it’s even better when it works out…
So far 2 months worth of business has been generated, and we expect to at least double (possibly more) before the expo has ended.
And still I can’t believe how wide the gap between online and offline business is. The number of offline business people who collect daft information such as whether your title is ‘Miss’. ‘Mr’ or whatever but don’t bother to gather email addresses just astounds me.
Likewise, when you mainly sell from a computer you forget the power of face to face meetings when it comes to making sales or building relationships.;
So what’s my point?
It’s simply this. Branding yourself as an expert is great. It works.
But it’s by no means the ONLY way to build a business. Sure, it’s a great thing to brand yourself as THE authority in your field, but is it also a way of putting all your eggs into one basket?
I honestly don’t know. And it’s not something I really spend much time thinking about.
Personally I like to have my finger in many pies. It keeps me interested, spreads my income streams and gives me some VERY valuable insights into methods that can be implemented across various different businesses.
And after a few days messing around in the real world, it was quite a relief to get back to the world of dweebery and nerdism that is internet marketing 🙂
If you’re feeling a bit flat and directionless then my advice would be to re-inject yourself with some of the enthusiasm and passion you had when you first got into online business – remember that?
And the best way to do this is to add another string to your bow, another income stream, another project.
I’m sure loads of gurus would disagree with me.
But who cares 🙂
Try it once – see how you feel. Start a shark farm, sell handmade greetings cards that border on being pornographic (beats those bloody horrible twee things you see everywhere) or open a juice bar in your town
It doesn’t have to be as grand as the above actually – maybe look into something small and virtually risk-free such as finding good website designers for offline businesses and acting as the go between and taking a cut, or doing that thing – that hobby – that you’ve always fancied having a go at but never dared…
It’ll give your online business a huge boost.
Comments absolutely welcome as usual…Let’s hear from you guys. Am I right or wrong? Click on the comments link at the top of the post to have your say
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Good to see your getting your hands dirty and getting on with some “real” work lol.
It can take a while to find your correct path in life and it’s the same in Internet Marketing. We know that it’s supposed to be easier than getting a real job but it doesn’t work out for most people.
Personally I’ve been given a new lease of life since I moved into the offline marketing aspect (although still not sure what to call it – online marketing for offline businesses?) and I am really enjoying building a big business so we each find our own paths.
Thanks for the post again. Really enjoyed it.
Hopefully speak to you soon!
What a refreshing article. I think your article deserves
to be posted on every single blog regarding IM.
I left the IM world for almost 2 years, because I simply felt I wasn’t sharp enough to be an authority. I simply couldn’t write convincing articles or emails, presenting myself as an EXPERT.
I was told ” Fake it till you make it”,but I hated what I did.
I came back this January and decided to be ME, not covering up anything, NOT pretending to be Miss Superstar, or Miss know it all.
The funny thing is that I now get great comments about MY STYLE in my articles. And even more funny I don’t have any probelms anymore about writing articles, because I don’t have to be any other than just little me!
So a big salute for you my great hippy 🙂
Thanks Andy – we’ll chat soon mate.
Tina – nice to hear from you. Haven’t seen you since Bob Puddy’s London seminar a couple of years back.
You’re absolutely right – I think the best way to compete in Internet Marketing is to be unique.
And what’s more unique than your own writing style and presentation?
A good, thought provoking article. Thank you.
When we have enough money coming in to keep our family then it is possible to follow other ideas. As we go through life there are many opportunities that present themselves – if we are looking. If we follow our interests then life becomes much more fun.
For some ideas it is just a case of dabbling and yet other ideas take off into a full blown business.Throughout life I think it is important to follow ideas and dreams to see where they lead. Don’t always be chasing them in order to make pots of money. Some things are great to do and make nothing financially and others develop into viable businesses.
I think that your brand is YOU. Be honest and straighforward and people will trust you whatever venture you are pursuing.
It’s not often I post replies to Blogs. I know I should to improve my back links but so often it’s like wading through treacle to summon up an interesting response.
Your piece achieved two great things for me:
1) It made me stop and think
2) It made me laugh out loud (yes, I’m old enough to write the words out in full).
The point you make about having you fingers in lots of pies is an enormously valid one as the unexpected cross fertilisation that you get can be quite surprising. Although Mrs P insists that If I carry the pie/finger analogy into the kitchen I must wash my hands as custard and rabbit do not mix well – but that’s another story!
I agree with Tina’s comment that we’re all pressed to be an EXPERT in IM but quite frankly the only thing I’m an expert in is being me! The conclusion I’ve reached is that the business successes we’ve all had in life are generally due to the talents we have. So take those talents and apply them to IM. It’s taken me a while (too long) to grasp this.
What can I do well – for me it’s been selling. So why not apply that to IM? I stand back in admiration of the guys who can create the software and plugins and so on but I know that’s not going to be me. But John Logie Baird never made a fortune out of inventing television. Many other people did and continue to.
So learn what you can from others but best of all do it your way.
In addition to a bit of IM we also run a couple of offline businesses with the difference being our offline businesses make money (how do you make a small fortune in IM? Start with a big fortune.)
Joking aside the refreshment you get from doing offline work and meeting real people is like taking a mental shower. You go back to your PC/laptop with added zest and possibly a few new ideas.
Keep up these posts, Tony. It dumps a dose of reality into this virtual world.
Ey Up Mate,
I actually think your ‘HippyMarketing’ is a great brand – as it could cover so many aspects of anything you wanted it to 🙂
(Wish I could think of something similar… but short hair ugly git marketing doesn’t have the same ring to it…lol)
Loved the PLRSoul.com domain….haha
I can also concur that doing fun stuff and making money from it is far eaiser than being too serious!
After a couple of weeks of having to do the serious stuff and examine all aspects of a funnel etc. – I got bored to death and totally frustrated… I’ll be glad when it’s finished and I don’t have to look at it again!!!
Thankfully – in between I’ve managed to do stuff I enjoy… Like chatting to folks. And strangely enough that has made me a few dollars too – Even those few dollars might not be as high as the potential from the serious stuff … It’s so much more enjoyable 🙂
As for bringing things from other niches and offline…
I wonder if most people in IM actually know that a lot of what we do originated in the po*rn niche…haha
(That’s two mentions of po*rn (oops 3) on this page now… You’ll be blacklisted before long Tony…let’s add a *)
And to Tina..
I think it was George Orwell (not sure) who said
“BE Yourself – Everybody Else Is Taken!”
As usual you had me laughing out loud, you’re a funny Guy! I think Tina pretty much nailed it in her post, people want to deal with genuine folk when buying online! This is why the corporate .coms collapsed a few years back, they didn’t realise using a personal computer is, well, personal! The point you put across in your blog is branding can be restrictive, you’d be better off to be known as an IM leader than an SEO, or article writing guy etc. Great post!
Great advice, Tony!
Moving out of our comfort zones and taking on new challenges and projects is a great way to reinvigorate ourselves.
The most successful and fulfilled people always seem to be working on a new product or idea and you are a great example of this!
Keep on doing what you do!
You’re hitting the nail on the heads guys – it IS all about strengths and weaknesses. It comes down to knowin yourself above all.
I’m always wittering on about the fact tha tlife isn’t NEAT. There is NO right answer.
Just individual solutions, workarounds and, let’s be honest plain old luck.
Mike – I like your point about branding being restrictive. Couldn’t agree more.
IM ‘solutions’ are really just opinions and should be taken as such.
Doug – your quote made me smile ‘how do you make a small fortune in IM? Start with a big fortune’. heh heh
Randy – Totally agree you are a master of chat. Don’t know anyone else who can keep me wittering on Skype for an hour while I’m supposed to be doing something constructive!
And I like the honesty too. It’s absolutely true that some IM stuff is gonad-witheringly BORING. And it’s usually stuff that can’t be outsourced…..:)
You really made me think with this post… PLRsoul.com What the…? After saying it several times outloud, then finally saying it like you would, I got it. [chuckle]
I like your sense of humor, and I admire your hippy-style and how you run your businesses, but I can’t copy you. As much as I liked this post, I can’t go to my blog and write like I’m you and pass on your jokes.
I get to be me and write about what I know and allow my own personality to shine through. And as others have mentioned above, it’s much easier and a lot more fun.
As an aside, I don’t think trying different things is bad either. How else will you know what works and what doesn’t? I know from my constant dabbling that I now have a wealth of experience that helps me write my PLR from a position of knowing what I speak of.
So… is it hard to have “a finger in many pies” with those watermelon hands?
Hey Peggy – And you’re dead right – why WOULD you want to be anybody else?
You’ve got a head start on anyone who wants to copy you too 🙂
Love your style Tony. This post was just so enjoyable to read.
Yes to dabble your toes in many fields can be refreshing and great to be just You.
I may not make much money online but boy the things I have learned over the years and people I have met are my wealth. I just love when my children and now my grandchildren ring me to ask how to do something on the computer, feels good to be a senior nerd.
You just stay yourself Tony and I will keep jumping into one thing after another, but by using it I wont lose it, I hope.
I enjoyed this latest post from you, so thank’s for sharing. I’m new at this game, and as you say, geez, there is this way and that way to go, and ‘guru’s’ are telling you this and wait, no, that is the way to go. I’m learning not to stress, (well, i’m using free methods for now, except for hosting which is a laughingly small outlay for the unlimited domains, hence possibilities i get)and just do my humble research and put a site up. My attitude at present is to not be overwhelmed by all the info, and just DO. I’m always learning of course. After a few months of research, for me, the journey has now begun.
Best wishes, Greg.
Tony, very good blog and some comic relief, much appreciated. And I do agree with you, the path well traveled may not always be the best one for a particular individual. IM is not a “one size fits all”, there is no hard and fast rule as to what works for everyone. The basics are the same, no substitute for hard work, but sometimes the unorthodox works better than the orthodox. As a friend of mine says, “don’t keep all your eggs in one basket”. Good advice, Tony.
Great post and one which I can really relate to. I have to say I like dipping my toes into many different projects (must be the entrepreneur surfacing again!)
and plrsoul.com – that had me in stitches mate! I’ve not laughed so hard at a blog post in ages…. 🙂
Hi Tony, it’s your long lost Shepherd cousin from the US here (well, probably not, but you never know!) I think a lot of smart marketers are doing as you describe – digging back into the old “finding your passion/rediscovering your authentic voice” style of thing. I spent a year or more fiddling about with different things while taking a break from publishing in the IM arena – discovered a talent for digital artwork and photography, of all things, learned to stop and smell the flowers more, all of it good stuff and highly recommended!
Dunno Jennifer – from what you describe about taking time to stop and smell the flowers, I reckon there might be a blood tie there!
I’m told I had a great grandad who used to call strikes when he was a union rep. He wasnt all that political, just fancied a day walking in the hills instead!
Thanks for posting!
Glad you found my post funny 🙂
Unfortunately part of it is true!
It does wonders for the eyes – getting away from the computer screen and doing something offline
I had a great time recently selling my illustrations in art markets (with a paper email capture form naturally 😉
Hopefully catch up soon