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7 years ago today, my husband came home from work to find me staring at a totally white computer screen. He carefully asked me what I was doing to which I responded, “I’m making a website”. He then asked me why I was doing that – my answer was simple, “Because I am going to make money online”.
He then asked me if I knew HOW to make a website or how to make money online and I replied, “Nope, but I am going to figure it out!”
That was exactly seven years ago – 2,555 days ago. I can easily say I averaged at least 8 hours a day so that would be 20, 440 hours ago.
I don’t dare to even guess how many Advil ago that was…. or how many Post-It notes ago that was… or how many Google algorithm updates ago that was – or how many moments I wanted to put my fist through my computer monitor…lol!
It’s been a ride, that’s for sure.
I feel extremely blessed of my achievements and accomplishments, but above all, I feel VERY VERY blessed to still be here 20,440 hours later.
I’ve seen too many great people slowly disappear from this business. And who can blame them? After allllll the Google madness the past 2 years or so…and don’t even get me started on all the Squidoo craziness in that time period… things like that feel like defeating brick walls. It’s like you take 6 big steps forward – and then something shoves you back a mile.
This business sure can rock your world at times, can’t it?
So what have I learned after these 20,440 hours of working online?
I’ve learned a TON – and the beautiful thing is, I am STILL learning. I love that about this business.
So here’s some things I’ve learned –
1. Everyday is a GOOD day – Even the bad days
The moment I decided to stop feeling defeated when an algo change would happen or a rule change at a site would happen or any of those million things that happen day-to-day around here, things got easier for me. Your positive attitude and your ability to “roll with it” are a BIG asset in this business.
2. You can not BUY experience
You can buy tools, and training, and coaching, and systems, and answers, and all that – but you can NOT buy the experience you get from USING those things. You simply must put in the time, break things, and DO IT.
3. Free resources ROCK
Leverage any and all free resources you possibly can when you’re getting started with all this. The internet is full of amazing free-to-use resources where you can learn AND earn – use them. This is one business where there is no reason to go into debt in order to learn, earn, AND get that experience I talked about in #2. If you’re brand new to all this, start here with the free training membership.
I know many others say that when you use free-to-use websites and tools you aren’t in “control” of your business. And that’s true for the most part – when someone else owns a site, you are at their mercy…THEY are in control of what happens on that site.
BUT…. YOU are in control of your spending while you are learning all this and gaining experience – and as you earn, THEN you reinvest that money back into your business.
If you have money to spend on learning all this, then go for it if you want to. However, if you are starting out like I did 20,440 hours ago, and don’t HAVE money to invest and risk on this, then leverage any and all free resources you can. You can’t buy your way out of debt.
4. Be Everywhere
No 500-word article is going to make you a strong presence in a niche – you gotta get out there and be everywhere. If you’re building a site on a certain niche topic, you can’t just type away on your own site and think that the masses will magically appear – you simply must get out there IN your niche market and be where those people are.
And yes, that can be exhausting – but if you really want it, you’ll do it. And by the way, you really can’t buy that either.
5. Keywords = Problems
Every, single time someone types something into the Google search box, they are looking for a solution to their problem. Now, their “problem” might be something simple like what time a movie starts or directions to some place – but that’s still a solution they are looking for.
If you can find the “problem-intent” behind your keywords and offer answers and solutions, you’re golden (if you also follow #4).
6. Everybody wants what everybody wants
I wish I could remember where I read that/heard that, but it was something I wrote down and keep near me. I know it sounds silly, but in our business, it’s a very powerful statement.
Let’s take an Amazon product as an example – say you find a great keyword about blue widgets. Then, you hop over to Amazon and see that they SELL those blue widgets. Awesome, right? So you make your web page and pop your Amazon affiliate link in that goes to that blue widget product page.
But did you really LOOK at that blue widget product page? Does it have good reviews? AND are the reviews recent? Personally, I am hesitant to buy something on Amazon if it appears the last time it was sold was 2 years ago (based on the most recent review dates).
Does the product have a sales rank? Scroll down and look under the Product Information area of the product listing page… does it have a Best Sellers Rank? If not, guess what? It’s never sold – ever.
An Amazon product has to make at least ONE sale to obtain a Best Seller Rank. Yes, it’s possible it is a brand new product, but no one wants what appears that no one else wants. You know the whole saying, “Perception creates reality”? It totally applies here – if a product listing gives a viewer the perception that no one else wants the product, they don’t want it either.
7. Days off are VERY GOOD for your business
Take time off – and do your best to do it BEFORE you feel stressed and burnt out. Get off the computer, email, Facebook, cell phone, ipad, etc….and do something AWAY from all that. Even if all you do is go stand outside in your driveway and let the sun shine on you (yep, I’ve done that…lol!) – just do something to get away from it now and then.
Personally, I have learned that I need to literally get AWAY to be able to really do that. Ever since I started all this 2,555 days ago, I worked at it with the mentality that if my eyes were open, I was working. And, when you work from home, you’re always AT work. No disrespect to the guys, but I think this is particularly hard on the moms. No matter WHERE we are when in our home, there is some sort of work that needs to be done, or somebody has needs that we have to meet. So when you work online on top of all that, when you’re at home, you are always “at work”.
Once I realized I worked for myself and “myself” is a pretty cool boss that would let me take time off , I totally did – and it’s totally worth it and good for business.
8. Reinvesting in your business is great, but pay yourself first
No matter how you divvy up your monthly earnings, make sure you pay yourself at least 10% of it first and tuck away in an account you don’t touch for ANYTHING. As someone who started all this with really bad debt and really bad credit, I can tell you that it is SO empowering to have a nest egg of money put to the side. That fear of “What If” that keeps you awake at night slowly goes away as the balance builds up. You are totally worth being paid first so do it.
9. Learn how money works
This was a really tough one for me. In my world 2,555 days ago, money “worked” like this – get some sort of paycheck in the bank and then pay whatever bills I could with it. And the bills I couldn’t pay? Well, that was part of my “What If” insomnia I referred to in #8.
I am so glad I learned how money worked (and I’m still learning it) – the best part is that as I was learning it, my kids were at the age where they really needed to LEARN those things. And sadly, it’s not something that is really taught these days.
Probably the biggest pride I feel from all this is what my kids learned from my learning (and my preaching…lol). My son is now 25 and my daughter is 22, and they are BOTH home owners all on their own.
(and another fun fact, they are both giving me new grandbabies this fall! My daughter is expecting her first baby in September, and my daughter-in-law is expecting her third in October. To say I’m excited is a HUGE understatement!)
I think other parents will agree with me when I say that we want our kids to be/do better than we have. I was in my 40’s before I even started the self-education of learning how money works. My kids, on the other hand, have a healthy understanding of money, good jobs, and good credit in their 20’s. Breaking harmful cycles from our past to improve their future – and their kids future – is a big deal.
10. Don’t feel guilt from success
This is a tough one to explain, and a little hard to admit because I’m not sure others feel this way, but I have experienced many moments in the past 2,555 days where I realized I was actually feeling GUILTY for my success online.
Here’s an example: As I said, I am still always trying to learn about money and how it works – and how to make it work for ME. I was with a few people and we were talking about cars.
Now, I have a nice car and I’m really proud of it. Not because I like to show off, but because at one time I had a car repossessed. What a VERY humbling experience…and that feeling when I had to tell my kids that mommy had her car repossessed was a pretty sh*tty feeling.
When I started all this and made that first money online ($7) and I realized that this whole ‘make money online thing’ really DOES work, I promised myself that someday I would save up enough to buy the car I wanted.
And I did.
Ok, so back to that “guily feeling moment” – I was sitting with a group of people and we were talking cars. I mentioned that I was thinking about getting a new model Escalade soon but was torn between actually buying it or leasing one. I really don’t know what the best financial choice for my situation and was still trying to learn how car leases work. So, I asked this group of people what they thought to see if I could learn something.
The first response I got?
“Must be nice. Tough problem to have.”
My first immediate emotion was GUILT. So I stopped talking about it because I felt bad.
It took me a long time of those kinds of situations to realize that was the most INSANE internal reaction to have – I felt BAD because I worked my ass off, saved the money, and bought the car? Say WHAT??!?!
You have every right to every success you have earned. If you feel that guilt thing bubble up in you, it’s time to detox – there is no room for guilt. Do YOU make snide comments to others due to THEIR success? Or are you proud of them… happy for them? I realized that guilt thing was a “me problem” that I had to address and work through…and their ease of snide comments to me was a “them problem” that I couldn’t do anything about.
And that brings me to #11 –
11. Remove yourself from “Must be nice”
You just might find many people in your life suddenly having the “Must be nice” attitude towards you as you excel online. You might also find that these are people that you can’t, and don’t WANT, to literally remove from your life. I’m not saying to dump all your previous relationships if/when this happens – I AM saying to teach yourself how to remove your FEELINGS from those moments and how you ALLOW them to affect you. You can only change and/or fix YOU.
And as an extra little tip I’ve learned – take time to get around other people who have the same kinds of “Must be nice” type of problems you have. In the past 2,555 days I have been blessed to meet and hang out with some people who make more money than I can even dare to imagine. They are the risk takers, the over-achievers…and they are my counsel. I love learning from self-made entrepreneurs – they are an amazing breed.
Ok, that’s it from me. It’s been WAY too long since I’ve posted here and I figured today was the perfect day to get back in touch. I’ve been super busy since my last post “in the lab” developing my Reverse Attack Marketing Method and then hanging out with all the FANTASTIC folks in our Private R.A.M. Google Plus Community. It is such a blessing to work every single day with such a phenomenal group of people.
I’d love to hear what YOU have been up to since my last post….and best yet, what things YOU have learned from working online that you can share with everyone.
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You have LOTS of experience in all those hours as an Internet Marketing so thanks for sharing those advice. You deserve every penny of financial success b/c you DO work hard. People think money comes easy as an IM but they just don’t know it DOES take work.
I love the keywords=problems tip. Sometimes you figure out the problem-intent and sometimes you don’t. That’s part of the game. But, when you get a hit, it feels good, doesn’t it?
IM is definitely a wild ride, huh? But, the freshness and never ending opportunities is what makes this so addicting, and that’s why I love my “job.”
Thanks again for this great post,
PS Did you get my PM in Wealthy Affiliate? I thought I heard you on the radio.
Thank you, Charlie. And no, I didn’t get that message yet. Don’t believe I’ve been on the radio lately tho….
Hi Jennifer, I really wanted to read this but it is way too late and I am way too tired. Will be back again to finish… It is great to get to read this!
Great post Jennifer…what I love best when I read a post of yours that is of a personal nature, is that I know you’re talking from the heart. I get tired of reading people’s emails where it’s an obvious, artificial effort to “to connect with your audience.” Thanks for sharing about the real “Jennifer.”
You share great insights, but what hit me most was “you can’t buy experience.” IM has been a long road for me, but I’ve always felt that what I was doing, right or wrong, had some value. Now I know, I have been accumulating that invaluable experience you talk about.
PS. We have an only daughter, and we have 2 grandsons, ages 4 and 6. You are in for the most awesome experience when yours captivate your heart and change your life forever.
Thanks, Juan! I think there is an incredible amount of value in experience and in knowledge – whether it turns into money or not, don’t you think?
Great to hear from you. My question in when are you going to open up one week marketing again? Thank you for your time. Anthony
Hiya Anthony =) At this moment OWM is still open, but that will be changing soon.
Important reminders for all of us, Jennifer! Getting back up when we fall down is perhaps the most difficult lesson for me personally. But I continue to push on, learn, and enjoy!
Yes, that is a tough one to learn, but I think we actually have to RE-learn to get back up. As kids, we didn’t hesitate to get back up…. but as adults, we forget how at times.
Excellent article. As if I was writing this article. You described a lot of things and situations where I find myself in – the guilt, always at work if you work from home, days off…The best article I have read in a long time…
Thanks, Riki =)
Your advice about taking time off is genius. I spend hours in front of the computer, working, working, working, yet it is in the wee hours of the morning or in the shower or out in the garden or messing with the animals I get my best ideas. Taking time to let your brain shift gears is super important. Thanks for sharing.
Hey Jill =) Funny how time off turns the ideas ON, isn’t it?
I love reading about your success. You are one of few that I trust totally online and know that you have worked hard for what you have and still gracious enough to share with others.
I haven’t sat down and worked on RAM yet as it caught me in the middle of writing a book but looking forward to really digging in and working with it.
Have a great day, Monna
Oh Monna, how exciting! Good luck with your book – we’ll see you in RAM soon =)
If we purchased your original 1st version of Reverse Attack Marketing, do we get version 2 for free, or do we have to pay again for version 2? I asked this question via email or support a while ago but got no response. Please advise… If we do get the version 2 update for free, as I feel should be the case, how do I get it? Thanks.
Hiya Mike =)
Yep, you sure do… I sent a bunch of emails out about it and all, but the short answer is – log back into JVZoo (like you originally did) and the new files to download there are the new 2014 RAM Guides.
Jennifer, GREAT read! Thanks for sharing! Helen
Hey Jennifer… thank you so much for sharing a bit about your IM journey. It will soon be a year since I started mine and it’s been tough. I’ve made a piddly amount of money but only enough to cover some of the expenses. I feel like I’m a million miles away from earning a living at this yet – but I am not giving up. You are one of the few IM’ers I continue to follow and I really appreciate your words of wisdom. I wish you continued success and I look forward to your future posts & emails.
Hiya Rose =)
Making enough to cover your expenses is FANTASTIC – Good for you! Now just rinse, repeat, and expand. You got this!
Thank you for sharing the reality, Jennifer. I’m so glad your story isn’t, “I pushed a button on my computer and money came out.”
You worked at it, you believed in yourself, you overcame the barriers no matter what.
That’s the truth behind ALL successful businesses and business people.
You “got it” from the start. I’d love to get that message to all the “newbies” who think they can crush it overnight.
Thanks for a heartfelt and eloquent post.
Hiya Trevor =)
No, my story is more like, “I pushed a button and my computer blew up!” – lol!!!!! Actually, and true story from when I started, “I pushed a button and deleted my entire website!” (ugh….but yes, I really did that once about 2,500 days ago. As we say down here in the South – Bless my heart…haha!
Great post Jennifer! I love how you manage to be original and unique in your approach to Internet Marketing.
I bet those 7 years have flown by….but what a ride!!
Thanks so much! And yes, it’s been quite a ride!
Your journey in the Internet marketing world is a tremendous experience and I thank you for sharing it with us.
It is a delight to read all the lessons you gathered in these 7 years and your tips are certainly a good asset to build the positive mindset necessary to face that G Goliath and its algos.
By the way I think it was Barbara Corcoran who said “Everybody wants what everybody wants”
P.S.: thank you for your good words regarding the RAM community, it really means a lot for me.
Yes! It was Barbara that said that in that video I shared in the RAM community! THANK YOU! Was driving me nuts! Naturally, I had it written down on a Post-It note…but didn’t cite my source…haha!
YOU have been, and continue to be, an amazing asset to the RAM community – thank YOU for that.
Hi Jen, I can definitely relate to everything you have written above. This post makes a lot of sense and the most attractive statement in it is “everybody wants what everybody wants”. That was an eye-opener for me, and it got me thinking about why some of thee Amazon products I’m promoting aren’t selling.
I’ve got a little question for ya. As a veteran in this field, if you were to start all over again with a goal of making $100 before the end of the next month, what method or strategy would you leverage to help you achieve that goal within the stated time frame?
Hiya Charles =)
Ah, good question…. when you say $100 before the end of next month, does that mean have that $100 in hand… or have $100 showing in an earnings account?
If it’s to literally have an extra $100 in your possession by the end of next month, I would say to leverage free resources to promote quality instant commission products (ie, like on JVZoo). You can be approved for those to pay instantly to your PayPal account whenever a conversion happens.
You should be very proud of your efforts to date.
Your site is rich and vibrant with great stories & very helpful content.
I come from a PC & IT security background, I built a couple of websites back in the day, using HTML and CGI. I had no issues with that the sites came out great! However, sadly nobody mentioned to me the obvious, no Google rankings is like winking in the dark, your the only one that knows what your doing. RIP.
I joined WA in December and I have not looked back. All of the vital site building techniques and SEO methodology is explained in complete and useful detail.
My sponsor, Kyle, Carson and the rest of the community have all been awesome.
Your information above item’s 4 and 5 are both spot on. Marketing of any sort requires getting out where “they” are! Understanding keyword usage and the alphabet soup technique have helped me dramatically.
Jen thanks for your site, best to success,
Hey, thank you for this fantastic, thoughtful post — I thought the first paragraph was especially cute as I imagined you staring at that blank computer screen with an “I’m going to do this!” look of determination on your face. I am going to do it too — I have to.
But I wish I had have discovered this IM stuff 7 years ago, rather than being stuck, broke as shit, in debt, not enough money to cover my base expenses which I have reduced back to the bone, no money to pay that $400 traffic fine which will get jacked up to $1000 if I don’t pay it next month, with barely any visible light at the end of the tunnel — not a dollar in my account an hour after I get paid each week.
So, after more than three years feeling stuck like this, a poor uni student with limited prospects that has missed the boat, I sure as hell won’t be feeling guilty if, or rather WHEN, I finally succeed and claw my way out of this hole. On that day I will be wearing a shirt that says, “Too rich to give a fuck”.
Most importantly, I want my children to have a good life, to have the opportunities that I did not have; I want to be able to help my family; and I want to be able to be involved in charity again instead of worrying about number one all the time, allowing little time to enjoy anything else.
First of all, congrats, Jennifer; quite an achievement indeed. I love your 8 years worth of takeaways for the rest of us to take or leave – hopefully take, but you know human nature: for some stupid reason we learn best from our own mistakes.
First of all. Thank you very much for everything you share with us both about your personal experiences or your ride in this business.
If I had to think about one word defining what I’ve learned from you out of this post of out of any other thing you have share with us is: D-E-T-E-R-M-I-N-A-T-I-O-N!!!
All the technical knowledge, skills, tools, etc are out there and certainly anyone can take advantage of it, so for me what makes all this stuff useful to build up a business is no more than determination. I’ve made a scientific career which have gave me many satisfactions but not enough money so far 🙂 that’s why I sought for an alternative way to get money. At first the idea of doing IM was mainly because I didn’t have enough time to spend in a second job an I guessed IM was just about optimizing any site and became rich. So after some time digging in tons of information which gave any results at all, I found your OWM program and gave it a chance and it worked and that was the time when I was convinced about this IM thing was real, but after trying this business as a secondary job more or less as a hobby, I learned soon that I was getting hobby results. At this point I understand something that if you want real, strong, huge results you should put your effort as any other big dream you are willing to achieve.
I’m at a crossroads in my life (a happy one I have to say) that is leading me to take a decision: science or IM. That’s is a personal decision but what I want to share here that I consider you the same as I considered my mentor in science, not because she thought me the technical stuff but because she is a great person like you that thought me about the compromise one must have to succeed in life.
Personally I’m very happy and honored to be part of that amazing group of people which is Google RAM community, and hope someday be so lucky to meet every people of it but specially you and your lovely family. God bless you Jen for following your dreams and share with us!
P.S. As always I apologize if something is misunderstood since english is not my maternal language