This week's interview takes us all way to Australia. Quentin Brown is 49 and lives in Brisbane. His ultimate aim is to become a fully paid missionary working with children around world by using his Internet business to support orphanages, mobile medical centers and schools. At present he works for an Australian-based international aid organization as a network and administration manager.
BizE-zine: Quentin, when did you first get involved with Internet?
QB: In 1996 I moved to Brisbane from Sydney after a failed business venture. Australia experienced a recession where interest rates topped 24% and this devastated me. I was nearly broke so I used Internet to investigate different ways of making money.
The skills I gained doing this helped me in my new job and I started to build their web site. I found that so many people were interested I spent endless nights building web sites for free and learning all I could.
In 1999 I purchase my first .com called MSIncome.com and have used it ever since. http://www.msincome.com
BizE-zine: What does MS stand for?
QB: MS stands for Multiple Stream. I learnt very early in my time on Internet that selling one product will never get you income you need. I guess secret is to find a good product mix to cater to a wide variety of people. You don't find many traditional businesses just selling one product.
BizE-zine: Your site is very good, but how has it developed since you started out?
QB: Initially, it was very simple. I borrowed ideas from here and there. It was what we call a homepage. Not very specific and advertised pretty well everything I could find. I learnt fairly quickly that you don't make money from these sites. They are good for ego but not pocket.
I spent time learning how to make my own graphics and develop my web site into a selling machine by looking at professionals. A selling web site needs to be simple and load quickly.
There are some great tutorials around to teach you basics and then it is just a matter of trial and error.
One of greatest problems is that we spend so much time on our sites that we get sick of them. Or too familiar. Then it's a good idea to get your peers to evaluate it for you. My wife is also a great critic. She is not very computer literate and if she can understand and navigate through my latest creation, I'm happy.
The biggest change in site is not so much in presentation, but in specifics. I don't build so much to please myself now, but to sell. My backend is my place to play. Once a person joins our program through subscription they enter a realm where I can play and do all stuff I love. We have time to try new technology and bounce ideas off one another. It is a community and everything is far more relaxed.
BizE-zine: What was spark that pushed you into starting up online?
QB: My first experience was with a program called Alladvantage which was an advertising bar you ran on your computer. My first check was $53 and took me three months to get. It was so exciting because I hadn't paid out anything to get it. It was particularly sweet because a few years ago I had lost over half a million on a traditional business and here I was making money with virtually no investment.
In 1999 I was becoming more and more frustrated because I wanted to be more involved in helping people with their web sites, but my job with Global Care and an International magazine was taking up all my time. I decided that if I could write a book and teach people how to do it themselves than I could be a lot more efficient.
After looking at how much it costs to publish a traditional book I became very disheartened till I found Allen Says's Internet Warriors site.
Here I was able to talk to so many different people and I was introduced to Ebooks. I met Jimmy Brown who produced an ebook compiling program for a price I could afford. Then I started to develop "My Website".
I also developed a number of other programs in same vein such as "My Ebook" and "My Templates" which goes through whole process from writing to cover design and marketing.
BizE-zine: You really went for it! Was there a defining moment for you that put everything into place?
QB: I guess that happened when I met Robert Kiyosaki. I had just read his book "Rich Dad Poor Dad" and had a chance to have a very exclusive luncheon with him through magazine I was involved in. I was able to sit and listen to him talk about whole concept and asked all sorts of questions. I started to apply principles he taught.
BizE-zine: I have read, and been impressed with his book. Which principles of his have you specifically found useful in Internet marketing?
QB: The concept of Robert's that I like most is idea of financial intelligence.
"50% of financial intelligence is what you learn. It is so-called technical knowledge about money, accounting, finance, investing and business. The other 50% of financial intelligence is knowing when you are thinking rationally and when you are thinking emotionally. To simply say, 'Play it safe.' is not a rational thought because it is a thought that is generated out of emotion. To say, 'Play it smart.' is a thought coming from rational brain."
I am continually amazed that when many people get on Internet they believe everything they are told. $10,000 a month with nothing down and nothing a month and people belive it. This goes against all common sense but I have seen it happen over and over again. Develop your skills and then work smart.
This was and still is great advice.
BizE-zine: Is your site earning well?
QB: It accounts for about 20% of my income at present.
BizE-zine: Has being outside America posed you any problems?
QB: Living outside US presented a number of problems. At first it was really difficult because in Australia there was no way to really sell digital products on line.
The next problem that Internet non-US marketers face is simple conversion of all those sales into currency of your particular country. Here, banks charge $10 a check and take 30 days to clear. If you are in a good affiliate program you can put a limit on your account so you won't get paid until you reach a certain amount. This buffers expense a little.
I sell a lot of my own products so I have invested in Worldpay which allows me to sell in a number of currencies. They deposit directly into my bank account. It is a more expensive route but has proven a valuable tool over last few months.