If you’re going to succeed in making money online, the first order of business is to stare The Statistic straight in the eye. What statistic am I referring to? The statistic that tells you the overwhelming majority of internet entrepreneurs fail.
Be under no illusions, making money online is great. You get to be your own boss, set your own hours, and if you’re able to invest into industries that produce passive income, you get to make money while traveling, spending time with family and friends, as well as pursuing your own passions and hobbies.
But when starting out, you have to pay your dues, and if you want to know one of the principle reasons so many people fail, it’s because their mentality of making money online was infected with The Cinderella Psychology – a psychology that The Statistic unmercifully slices and dices like a honey-baked ham once they’re finally exposed to reality.
The overnight, rags-to-riches marketing pitch that so many internet “gurus” sell to people is usually a pot of fool’s gold, and it’s a marketing ploy that people are even more tempted to buy into because starting up an online business is so easy and often costs little to no startup capital. But once these newly-christened internet entrepreneurs quickly discover that running on online business is just like running any other business, they almost immediately bailout and run for the hills (after many of them have also spent a small fortune buying into marketing scams).
If you want to avoid both The Statistic and The Cinderella Psychology, then here are five habits of highly successful internet entrepreneurs that you should incorporate into the core of your business plan.
I) Your customers are not marks or targets; they’re valued clients that you’re cultivating an intimate, long-term relationship with that’s mutually beneficial to both of you. The sheer vastness of the internet causes many online entrepreneurs to become seduced by the anonymity that it can provide, and there is no better example of this mentality than entrepreneurs who adhere to a “churn and burn” strategy towards customers when it comes to selling dubious products and services (ClickBank scam products are an excellent example).
These entrepreneurs fail to recognize that not only is word-of-mouth advertising the most effective form of advertising, the internet has drastically amplified its potency. Beyond simply reaching a customer’s immediate family and friends, the sheer volume of blogs, chat rooms, and social media outlets can either help you build a solid and reliable customer base, or it can make sure that unethical behavior quickly catches up with you.
Adopting this habit also leads to a second benefit that many new internet entrepreneurs don’t really consider.
II) Profitability by itself is great; profitability coupled with long-term stability is even better. You have two companies that are profitable, but for one, their site analytics look like a roller coaster ride that’s defined by amazing peaks and depressing troughs.
Yeah, at the end of the fiscal year that company can look back and say that they were profitable, but that profitability came with a constant sense of fear and uncertainty that wildly fluctuated from week to week along with their sales figures.
The other business owner looks back at his fiscal year and happily sees stable escalation. There’s no fear-based roller coaster, just sales slowly yet ever so surely inching up further and further in regards to his company’s profitability.
Which business owner do you want to be?
If you want to be the latter, then you should understand that loyal, repeat customers are what create that trajectory. Once a client has rewarded you with trust by purchasing something from your site, the next immediate step is to convert that initial trust into long-term loyalty.
The lynchpin to earning that loyalty is that with every purchase they make, their happiness with the product is punctuated by the memorable and outstanding customer service they receive. Not only will they continue to return to your site, they’ll also bring new clients through word-of-mouth advertising.
III) Synergize everything that you do. The internet plays by different rules than traditional employment, and one of the rules that you’ll quickly learn is that some of the most successful internet entrepreneurs don’t have a job, they have an Online Employment Portfolio, i.e. they pull in five or six different paychecks from five or six different industries and companies.
Cultivate a comprehensive brand for your OEP through references, referrals, and links that collectively stress honesty, punctuality, quality, and profitability.
Remember, you’re selling your personal reputation as much as you are a product or service, and while honesty and punctuality are how you keep customers, quality and profitability are how you initially hook them. So how do you set the hook? How do you ensure that your reputation as a brand is synonymous with quality and profitability?
IV) Research, research, research…and then research some more for good measure. Research is important for three reasons. First, one of the key attributes that you’ll discover about successful internet entrepreneurs is that they’re “junkies” when it comes to staying on top of the nuts and bolts of making money online. They’re constantly looking for ways to upgrade and sharpen their knowledge and skills in industries such as mobile marketing, search engine optimization, trends in affiliate marketing, and how to launch successful viral campaigns.
Second (and this is especially true for older internet entrepreneurs trying to get into the business), if you’re still getting a lot of your news and current events from the traditional, brick-and-mortar Fourth Estate (i.e. newspapers, evening news programs, and cable news) it’s time to cut the chord and fully join the 21st century economy through the internet-based Fifth Estate.
This is especially true if part of your Online Employment Portfolio requires you to stay on top of cutting edge fads, trends, technologies, and current events. The Fifth Estate is often days, weeks, sometimes even months ahead of Fourth Estate when it comes to reporting on a topic. A perfect example would be domain flipping. If you think you’re going to find profitable domains by using newspapers or the evening news to keep you in the loop on new trends, forget about it. By the time you show up, all the profitable domains well have been thoroughly picked clean.
Finally, one of the quickest ways to lose your audience is through your content becoming stale, stagnant, and repetitive. If you get into this business, you’ll quickly learn that it’s often a struggle for many websites to keep their content fresh and engaging, but if you’re not even making an attempt to replenish the well with no ideas, topics, and strategies, you’re doomed.
This brings us to our final point.
V) Quality products not only have to be matched with quality content, but content that leads to conversions. Content is king, and you have internet entrepreneurs that are naturally gifted at both producing it and using it to increase sales, as well as entrepreneurs that not only struggle when it comes to producing quality content, but what that content should actually contain in order to increase conversions.
My advice to both groups would be to incorporate The Seven Cs of Content Quality into each and every one of their posts – client-centric, compelling, credible, concise, clear, conversational, and clean.
This list comes from James Mathewson, who was the editor-in-chief for ibm.com as well as IBM’s global point man for teaching their employees protocols and guidelines for producing a steady stream of quality, profitable content.
For those that struggle to produce quality content, Mathewson offers you a comprehensive template that can help you create engaging content while also increase your conversion rates.
For those that are naturally gifted at creating quality content, this template can help increase your RBI average. Singles and doubles are great. Triples, home runs, and grand slams are even better.
Conclusion – So let’s put it all together, shall we? If you want to be a successful online entrepreneur, then you have to treat every customer as a long-term client that will provide your company with both profitability and stability. You also have to funnel and integrate that client loyalty into your Online Employment Portfolio by crafting a synergistic brand that stresses honesty, punctuality, quality, and profitability.
But of course, it’s one thing to claim that you have a reputation for honesty, punctuality, quality, and profitability (everybody and their dog claims that on the internet), it’s quite another to have both the client and referral bases that actually prove it.
Honesty and punctuality are how you keep customers. Quality and profitability are how you hook them in the first place, and when it comes to hooking new fish, content is king. You have to stay on top of research and market trends, and when parlaying that research and knowledge into profitable writing, remember The Seven 7 Cs of Content Quality.