Instead of another blog about internet marketing today, I want to tell you a story. My story – of how I started an internet home business including the good, the bad and the ugly. My intention is to show you anyone can do it, even a stubborn know it all, not willing to listen like me.
My beautiful wife Sandi bought me my first computer in 1994 as a Christmas present because as she said "Face it-you're not that great with people". I felt like I just discovered fire! Hot Damn, I can do anything with this!
I owned a physical business franchise at the time and had over 1400 customers that had to be billed monthly – BY HAND and handed out small envelopes they had to mail back. Well, I wondered if this puppy could handle that. After learning the Appleworks database application and only after reading my company contract three times, I began typing in customers names, addresses and info, two in an 8 1/2 x 11 format. This took me about a week, working 6 or 7 hours a day to get everything into the database. Think I backed it up? Damn skippy!
When I was finished, I printed out a couple pages and it looked great. All I had to to was cut them in half (I purchased a guillotine paper cutter), collate them and they were ready to go out. But the new bills had all the previous month's data like the date I received their payment & check # or cash payments were recorded. The customers loved it – so I charged each one 50 cents extra to cover the cost of the paper and ink. I made a tidy little profit at the end of each month too – about $600. Now back to the company contract. There was nothing in there that said I couldn't do this and there wasn't anything that said I could. So I took the initiative.
A couple days before I began charging, I put out a letter informing the customers and there were no complaints – not one. The day AFTER I put out all the bills I went to the company's office and showed the head honcho my letter. He read it and said "When are you going to implement this"? I said "yesterday".
You know how you can see someone's face get redder by the second? Well, this guy's face started reddening at his chin and went all the way to his forehead. I literally thought the top of his head was going to go off like a volcano! He started yelling and literally pacing around his desk. This company had a policy, and the contract did state, that if I lost 5% of my customer base they could take my business (I paid $28,500 for it a few years before) and I had no intention of losing it. He told his managers to call my customers to try to come up with the percentage they needed to confiscate my business.
It never happened. In fact from what I found out, many people said if I'd have charged $1.00 more a month they would have gladly paid it because my customer service was so good. In all, I lost 15 customers out of 1400 and when I got the list of people I lost, I called them and got 8 back. The next contract that came out had a clause (other distributors called it the "Paulie Clause") that specifically said you cannot raise your rates unless you tell the company first and got their OK – in writing – that you could do so.
This whole price increase was my wife's idea, but it taught me a great lesson in business – one I want to pass on to you. I simply want to show you how thinking out of the box can benefit you greatly and if you know you're right, to stick to your guns. I sold the business a few months later for $42.000.
Right about then I started thinking about using the Mac for an online business.This was back in 1996 when the Internet was still new and fresh… and people had an internet attention span of about 10 seconds a site. I looked at a few income opportunities and they seemed redundant. It actually took me another year to find the right "foundation" businesses that were a good fit for me. For you, I'd suggest two or three foundation affiliate businesses where they do the heavy lifting – and at least two fun online businesses. Fun Online Businesses are just taking the stuff you love to do and turning it into a business.
That's the key right there to having a wildly successful online business. You love the stuff you do so much, you'd do it if you got paid for it or not. I've since invested in a Windows computer because some of my software will only run on that machine. I've come to appreciate it to a point, but not as much as my Mac.
Your Foundation – (Affiliate Business) – Join at least 3. Do your homework first and make sure they have a strong reputation with the BBB. There's a simple test you can take to see if the business is right for you. If you find yourself doing things other than working on that affiliate business when you should be, re-evaluate it. What other things? I once found myself going around the room dusting equipment.
Your Fun Online Business – Start with at least two. Sit down with yourself and figure out what you love to do and just turn it into your business. With this mix of affiliate businesses and your own businesses you should do well.
Just remember, whatever you choose it will take work. I can give you a thousand different sayings – Rome wasn't built in a day, anything worth doing is worth doing well – you know the drill. Don't expect to get rich overnight. Plant the seed, water it, prune it when you should and watch it grow. When you start to make an income, it'll just make you want to reach higher. And don't forget to think out of the box now and then.