[contentbox bgcolor=’f2f2f2′ border=’999999′ borderwidth=3 corners=10]This is a guest post written by Ellen Braun.[/contentbox]
The youngest of our three children was just three years old back in 2005 when I discovered Internet Marketing on the heels of a two-year long stint at one of those sell-soap-and-vitamins-to-all-your-friends businesses. The concept of unlimited income potential, the flexibility of the web, and the idea of working from home without having any meetings or appointments were all too attractive for me to overlook — and I jumped right in with both feet! Hours turned into weeks which turned into months, and all the while I was filling my brain with knowledge from various marketing forums, blogs, and ebooks.
It took some time for Robert Kiyosaki’s quote to truly make its way into my head: “Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow“. That was when I realized that it was time to drastically cut down on learning about Internet Marketing and start implementing my knowledge. Quick as a flash, I disappeared from the forums, unsubscribed from the marketing newsletters and got to work.
As a mother of three, I decided to choose the broad niche of raising children, thinking that I would never tire of the subject. Little did I know what the future would hold. I dove into my website, typing out articles until the tips of my fingers were numb. Then I researched keywords and acquired backlinks pointing to my site. My next step was to create audio and video downloadable parenting products, as well as several ebooks. Each product took several weeks and several hundred dollars to create. The products sold well, and I had several 4-figure-profit days, however I found myself getting stuck.
Each time I created a new product, I found myself with a new set of overwhelming challenges: Some customers had trouble downloading the video. Other clients lost their password with which to access my audio. Many people purchased my ebook (despite the clear verbiage explaining that it was an EBOOK) and demanded to know why they had not received the book in their mailbox! As fast as I attempted to create new products, new obstacles and roadblocks occurred.
After years of chasing my tale around in circles in an attempt to build up my online business to a new level, I decided to invest in a team of outsourcing professionals. I chose my virtual assistants and writers with care, and was excited about the exponential growth that outsourcing would bring my way. However, my virtual assistant needed a lot of guidance, and she was often out sick leaving my clients’ emails neglected for weeks on end. My writers wanted feedback on every paragraph, and my link builders had even more questions for me. From morning to night, I found myself managing my staff, rather than growing my business.
It was then that I stumbled upon the Amazonian Profit Plan in the summer of 2010. Although my Internet Marketing income was covering the mortgage and private school tuition; exotic vacations and major household renovations were still out of our budget, and I was continuously looking for that next magic bullet that would grow my business. The Amazonian Profit Plan struck a chord in my heart, and I understood Wanda and Paula’s description of passive income to be the missing key to my business.
That was when I changed my focus from searching for various marketing methods to searching for hours in my week that I could dedicate to implementing Paula and Wanda’s ideas. It was challenging, as my staff and customers from my prior business still needed a lot of my attention, and it was not sensible to ignore a viable business that I had built- albeit a business that took an enormous amount of time and energy to maintain.
I chose a few highly targeted keywords such as: Product ABC, Product ABC reviews, Product XYZ, Product XYZ reviews, Product ABC vs. Product XYZ. I did utilize many methods of backlinking: blog comments, forum profiles, blog networks, article directories, social bookmarking, and guest posting.
I found that my time was best spent doing quality guest posting and improving my reviews while I outsourced the lower quality backlinks to people on sites such as backlinksforum.com. As you can see, I targeted two products: the ABC model and the XYZ model. Incidentally, I found that a lot of people search for “product ABC vs. product XYZ” and “what is the difference between product ABC and XYZ” so I was able to rank well for those keyword phrases.
I am still struggling with my rankings for “Product ABC” and “Product ABC reviews” as the manufacturer of the product has the first FOUR listings in Google, so I am #5-8 most of the time! I’m still working on outranking the manufacturer; however, I still get traffic for those phrases and related keyword phrases. It’s an ongoing process like watching a baby grow: You can’t see much growth day-to-day or even week-to-week, but if you look at the infant’s growth month-to-month you’ll see tremendous growth! I started focusing on this in September 2010, so it has taken me about 6 months of learning, stumbling, and learning to focus to earn $786 from Amazon in March 2011. At this rate of continuous growth, it ought to take me another 10-18 months to hit my goal of five figures in monthly profit from Amazon.
I created several rules for myself to help me grow my passive income, and I hope they will inspire you to create your dream Internet Marketing lifestyle:
1. I must write two articles every morning prior to lunch. They can be articles for my own site or articles to be used as guest posts to obtain backlinks. Oftentimes, I find myself near starvation at 2:00pm, and I hurriedly type up my required articles so that I can eat some pasta! This little rule that I created ascertains that not a day goes by where I have not written two quality articles to benefit my passive income business.
2. I met a friend on a forum who lives 5,000 miles away and shares my goals and methods. Each evening we post the five important things we must do the next day, and the following day we check off the items we have completed. Having a peer look over my shoulder from afar within a shared document is tremendously motivating.
3. I set small goals every week. For example, on a recent Monday I set the goal of having ten new posts about a specific topic on my website and pointing ten contextual backlinks towards each of those articles. If I were to finish this goal by Thursday evenings, then I would be allowed to go to the mall on Friday. (I did, and I bought a beautiful black dress!)
4. I forgive myself when life happens. When a family member was recently ill, I let go of my business for several days while I attended to his needs. I let go of the stressful feelings of ‘needing’ to work on my business and allowed myself to relax knowing that I was making the right decision in these challenging circumstances. Being happy and content with my choices about how to spend my time eliminates anxiety and gives me additional energy to focus on the task at hand without worrying about other things that I might also want to do simultaneously!
5. Facebook, email, and news websites may only be checked at the top of the hour. Some of you may feel that this is a lenient approach; however, it has worked wonders for me. I used to check these sites every seven seconds, so minimizing my distractions to just a few minutes at the top of each hour has made me a far more productive Internet Marketer.
Ellen Braun is a stay at home mother of three who is extremely focused on one particular Amazon niche. However, she is so fascinated by the marriage of Prince William and Princess Kate that she has recently launched a website about Royal Wedding souvenirs and Princess Kate wedding dolls as a side project! When she isn’t busy with her side project, main niche, or family, she can most likely be found catching up on lost sleep in Baltimore, MD.