OK, let me set this post up here….
Every week at Wealthy Affiliate, we have weekly discussions about certain topics related to online business, Internet marketing, and sometimes they are just wide open and can be about any random topic.
This week’s topic happened to be on “OUR SECRET to 10 Years of online success”, a subject that is obviously very near and dear to Carson and myself. Also a topic that comes as second nature to talk about.
Today I wanted to share a bit of the dialogue that went on in this discussion, as I think you would find some value in it. Remember, Carson and I created success from nothing. From $0. From no knowledge. And well, here we are 10 years and many successful businesses later…
So here it is, our discussion for you to read, enjoy, and critique (please note that I left the conversations raw and unedited, there may be some spelling/grammar mistakes).
“OUR SECRET to 10 Years of online success” Live Discussion Excerpts
WA Member Question: Did you also struggle with simple things like setting up domains and hosting?
Kyle’s response: Absolutely, you are not just born with technical skills. When we started out, website development was much harder than it is now. You needed to know HTML, you need to know how to manipulated templates, you needed to know how to create your own graphics. The actual process was probably 10x longer than it is now to create a website, if only there were CMS like WordPress when we started out, things would have been much easier.
The thing about technical stuff is that once you do it once or twice, you know it. You don’t lose it. You don’t forget it and you will be able to do it going forward without having to worry about relearning anything….and you can also help others.
WA Member Question: Hey Kyle, I know building a website was different back then, but most of your success came from paid traffic correct? (google adwords) I know google adwords was much much different back then.. they are very strict now..
Kyle’s response: Yes, correct. A good deal of my earnings were a result of paid traffic back 2002-2005. At the core, SEO would have been just as appropriate a technique and many people were doing that and doing very well, but Carson and I were focused on techniques that worked for us. When we started Wealthy Affiliate we had experience in SEO and building lists, but our expertise was primarily in the PPC, web development and “helping people” line of business.
The underlying strategy for success online has not really changed. The ideologies have not changed.
You have a person and you have a product. As an affiliate your job is to connect these two items. As an advertiser, your goal is to get traffic and you do this through creating quality content that search engines like (which is a result of people liking it). The mediums have changed though. They were far more PPC and SEO based back then, now there are far more mediums to do this as people are much more connected. Social, building leads, engaging in content, apps, etc. The principles have not changed, the mediums for which it is delivered has…and in my opinion, the opportunity has grown as far more people are connected now.
WA Member Question: I am just confused, because it seems like you need to know so much…and there are so many different ways to achieve success.
Kyle’s response: Once you figure out YOUR formula, you can scale. When Carson and I worked independently of each other, we did very different things. Sure we were in the PPC and SEO worlds (primarly PPC at first), but our strategies, our apporach, and our niches were much different. What we did is we took what worked for us, and then we continued to build on that.
People get far too distracted. They buy new ebooks to learn new techniques, when most of the time these are written by people who just “theorize” about whether or not it will work. They are making money off of selling the book and if you asked them to implement what they teach, they would be screwed.
I focused on what I knew, what I learned through failing and succeeding, and built off of that. Everything can be turned into a process once you have a formula down, and any process can be scaled.
WA Member Question: How do you approach failure? How often do you fail?
Kyle’s response: I fail all of the time. I believe that learning how to fail and accept failure is critical to success within any business. How you address failure is what will lead you to much more success in business.
I only know what I can know, so sometimes “trying” new things is the only way to learn. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If it works, that is great…and I take mental note. If it doesn’t, I know what not to do next time. Knowing what not to do is sometimes far more powerful as knowing what to do.
WA Member Question: How did you go about finding products to promote that you were passionate enough about?
Kyle’s response: If you are passionate enough about your niche, you will be just as passionate about the products within it. You can give people the option as does any store out there, as some people like lower cost, but not as good products where some people want the “premium” products and are willing to pay the premium price to get these. You just need to understand that everyone is not going to want the exact same type of product…that is why stores like Walmart are so successful, because they let people decide on options within the exact same product niche.
Things are much easier and better for you online, as you can create relationships with people and offer insights into products, services, and programs.
WA Member Question: So what would you say the 10 secrets of today are? not what worked 10 years ago, 1 year ago, 1 month ago, 1 week ago, or even yesterday, but what works today that is not over saturated already?
Kyle’s response: First, the secret is that there is no secret. People who tell you otherwise are just trying to sell you something, like their debunk product.
Secondly, what worked 10 years ago for the most part still works today. The principles that is. People have not changed that much, the mediums in which they communicate, share and buy things have changed. I think that if you approach this like a business and not a scheme, then you will be setting yourself up for success. People that think this is “push button” and they get sucked into the idea of that are bound to fail.
Your success comes down not to the niche that you choose, it comes down to how you approach the niche. Your drive, passion and persistence within a niche makes it successful. I hate it when people say “I am going into the weight loss niche because lots of people are making money with it”. Sure there are, there are lots of people making money within every niche. That doesn’t mean it is necessarily a good idea for you to. If you are not interested in it, you will not be able to connect with an audience. That connection and that passion will be very evident in everything you do.
The thing that has changed the most over the 10 years is the transparency online and the emphasis that this is truly a people business, not a snake oil salesman biz.
WA Member Question: Read somewhere that with all businesses we are actually in the business of marketing …., not necessarily in the business of selling shoes or e-books etc, I think that the main thing is to market whatever it is with integrity.
Kyle’s response: I agree, market with integrity. I like it. When it comes down to it, a long term business is built off the brand they create, not a singular product they launch. In the online world, this could just as easily be your personal brand.
WA Member Question: Since google is very strict now.. what paid methods do you recommend?
Kyle’s response: Google is fine for PPC if you are promoting your own product/service, if you are an affiliate they are far harder on you, in particular within the Search Network.
There are actually many opportunities for ad buys out there. Singular websites are willing to sell you ads if you contact them. Why not approach a site that is ranked under “search term a”, one that you want to get traffic from, and offer to pay them for an ad on their site. I think you will get a decent response.
There are also places like Facebook ads, LinkedIn which are popular, but again moreso for driving people to your business. That is why I promote the idea of creating a business, you could be in the business of helping people within a certain niche, and this will act as a business. If you potray yourself as a vaccuum salesman as the first impression, then people are less likely to do business with you and this includes Google, Facebook, and your website visitors.
WA Member Question: 10 years is a long time, ever think about changing businesses?
Kyle’s response: No, at first I didn’t know I WAS a business, I was just doing something that I enjoyed doing and earned me money. Over the years I learned a lot about business, through trial and error, through failure and through successes.
As for changing businesses, that is a tough questions. I think we have evolved so much in the last 5-6 years alone (as has the Internet) that I do not feel like we are doing the same thing as we did then. Next year I will probably feel completely different about the business we are operating as well. That is what makes this so interesting, appealing and exciting to us.
Yeah, that is the Internet. Change is inevitable, but change is exciting…and change is happening to everyone around us. The conventional way we live, think, learn and earn money is shifting…so people better get used to it.
WA Member Question: 10 years though, are you happy like this? I mean you’re here every single day
Kyle’s response: Yeah, still happy buddy. Change and growth are the two things I find most interesting…and creating technologies and services that help people.
Growth doesn’t mean money necessarily either. It could be user based, it could be new technology, it could be seeing new ideas materialize, it could be an entire different business.
If I wasn’t happy, I can honestly say I would be doing something else.
There you have it, some of the snippets from the dialogue discussed amongst myself and members at Wealthy Affiliate.
We enjoy doing these every week and if you are interested in connecting with us, we would love for you to partake in the upcoming one. There is only one pre-requisite, you have to be a member of WealthyAffiliate.com. You can join here!
Here is what we will be talking about this upcoming week.
Live Discussion Date: Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
Topic: Content, content, content (how to get it ranked)
Most people are doing content wrong. This likely includes you. If you are still writing for keywords, back-links, and trying to appeal to Google, then you have it all WRONG.Get ready for us to RIP APART Google Panda, analyze the many “content related” changes that have taken place in the past year, and give you a working “content business model” that will work for YEARS to come! Panda approved!
Hope to see you then!
Co-owner of WealthyAffiliate.com