As my online business approaches its 1st anniversary, I look back on my efforts and results, trying to summarize and draw conclusions.
What would I have done differently if I had to start from scratch again? What could I have done better? If you are just starting out in an information publishing business, or thinking about going into an e-business, information I will share with you could be absolutely priceless as I will speak completely from personal experience.
************ If I had to do all over again, here are things I would do differently: ************
1. I would have focused on one product at a time - starting from developing it to putting in place an effective marketing strategy. Beginning to work on new products while my 1st product wasn't yet selling well was a big mistake. I was completely overwhelmed by amount of work. I had to keep testing ad copy, web design, and headlines for my 1st book while creating 2nd one.
My part-time business turned into a full-time nightmare for a little while. Now I am definitely waiting - no new products until my three books have a good and a proven marketing system in place.
Now, that's not to say that I don't come up with ideas for new products. I have at least 4 or 5 titles in my "idea bank", but I will not start working on them until I can see that my current projects are set up successfully.
2. I would have not jumped into forums and discussions groups making a fool out of myself before even "testing waters". Being completely new to e-business (but not to web design) I underestimated power of message boards and their effect on one's business. The Internet is not some huge universe of anonymous creatures. Everyone knows everyone and a bad news spreads fast throughout online marketing community.
If I could do it over, I would have definitely lurked before posting. Get a feel of what kind of people, messages and reaction you should expect. Once you understand forum atmosphere, your posts will be much more in tone with others and appropriate.
3. I would have never believed those ads, web sites and people who said that this is not hard work. There is no way you will be "making money while you sleep". This statement is missing one point: you need to work HARD before you can start "making money while you sleep". In other words, you need to get your business to a certain level before you start getting consistent orders, some of which will arrive "while you are asleep" :-)
4. I would have definitely come up with a schedule of when to work and what to do. For example, 2 hours a day. Monday - submitting to Search Engines, Tuesday - contacting other webmasters for link exchange, Wednesday - writing an article, and so on.
Because there is always something to do, I found myself working too many hours a week and many times would not accomplish much. Having a schedule and a plan helps a lot and allows rest time without feeling any guilt :-)