Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Taking control of your assets

Something really funny:

An ad on a Google Adsense widget:

Wanna Get Rich Blogging?
I Make $6,000 A Month From My Blog. Now I Reveal My Secrets For Free!
www.RipYouOff.com (not his real url of course)

Something really sad:

A lot of people probably give this dork money.


This little series of posts are directed at people who love to write, have something to say, blog in large part because they love to write. And who would not mind making some money from their writing.


You love to write.

You wouldn't mind earning a tidy side income from your writing. Truth be known, you might not even mind earning your ENTIRE living from writing.

I don't want to get into talking about places you can sell your writing. I don't want to talk about the traditional writer's marketplace. There are already plenty of websites devoted to that. If that is your bag, go for it. But know you are in the wrong place right now, and you should stop reading this and leave. Because, my purpose here is to get you thinking about the possibility that you should be doing it all yourself: not just the writing part, but the publishing and marketing as well. That is really the only way you are ever going to keep the lion's share of the money that your writing earns. Wake up and smell the 21st century. You don't need the publisher leeches any longer. Keep the money yourself.

In my opinion, you absolutely must get out of the box that tells you that you are a writer, and start thinking that you are, instead, a MARKETER of written assets. Further, those written assets are created by YOU. And you have an infinite capacity to create these valuable, marketable, assets.

Does that turn you off? Do you think you simply MUST be a writer, and nothing else? That kind of thinking may hold you back, may keep you from earning a living with your writing. Please understand that EVERY job, EVERY occupation—even your dream job of being a writer—will always include some aspects that are less exciting than others. For you and me, the act or process of WRITING is the sweet spot. But writing, no matter how good it is (and in spite of how bad it is) must be marketed. It must be sold before you get any money for it. Fact. Sorry. An unpleasant fact of life.

You can turn this task over to a publisher, and give them 95% (or more) of the money, or you can do it yourself and keep the money yourself. In other words, you can choose to work on a small commission while conforming to the timetable and other dictates of someone who doesn't really care about promoting your product, or you can become an actual business man or woman and take over control of the sales of your products.

A blog, for such a person, is simply a vehicle to promote one's products. I suggest you consider NOT using your blog, and your excellent writing, simply to attract buyers of the products of OTHERS, especially when those "others" aren't really paying you jack shit for all your trouble.


A note: I haven't said this for a long time, so I should probably mention it from time to time. The header of this blog, the picture collage, is tongue-in-cheek. It is meant to ridicule the stupid websites who, like the Adsense ad at the beginning of this post, try to induce you to buy into some phony "secret" of success. I am here to tell you that the only "secret" to success I have ever come across, is the secret of being willing to work your ass off during certain periods of every day. Sorry.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Are you really a writer?

This post is one of a series of articles directed at people who love to write. Bloggers. Authors. Explainers. Analysts. Teachers. And, like myself, Interpreters. This series is not intended to try and tell you how to write, but rather how to make money with the writing you do on your blog.

So many bloggers are really, really good writers, at least from what I have seen. But when they attract readers with their good writing, they often then just try to send those readers off to someone else’s store. That doesn’t seem right. Especially if you aren’t making much money (or no money at all) for all that effort. In my opinion, if you are a good writer, then you ought to be reaping the rewards of that writing. Why just give it away?

Remember, I am only speaking about bloggers who have a desire to earn money on the internet. I am not talking to bloggers who simply want to publish their news or opinions or journals to the world.

If you are (a) a writer, and (b) a blogger, and (c) you would like to earn some money from your blogging, then I think the answer is pretty obvious: find ways to sell your writing and keep all the money. Don’t use your great writing simply to try to sell an iTunes and keep 9 cents. Or whatever. Or don’t put up Adsense on your blog and take up half your sidebar, simply for the privilege of giving Google free advertising. How much did you earn from Adsense last month? Me too (and I didn't even have their widget installed last month!)

Mainly, I want to share with a few of you what I used to do (and what I stopped doing), and what I do now to earn money. Hint: I do somthing I love to do: write. More specifically, I “interpret" things.

And here I should stop and mention that just saying you want to earn money from “writing” isn’t a clear enough definition. You need to define exactly what kind of writing you like to do. That will depend on your own  particular personality.

For example, are you are reporter or a researcher?

Do you like to explain things?—How to do things, or how things are in the world?

Maybe you are like me: an interpretor. I like to clarify complex issues for other people. I like to simplify things. This is a very wide field, by the way, and a much-needed field to be in.

Of course there are more kinds of writing, but you get the idea. The point is, you must realize that you have value, and your writing has value. And, if I get no other point across in this post, you need to know that your valuable writing—that which you love to do—is the product that you should be selling. It is not simply a way to attract eyes for other people’s products!

Cut out the middleman. Don’t give away your most valuable assests. Use your blog to sell your own products (your writing.)


We are just getting started. 

Monday, May 26, 2008

Giving it away

You like to write. You have something to say. You are passionate about some subject. After all, that's why you have a blog in the first place, right?

Generally speaking, a blog (if you are using it to make money on the internet) is simply a funnel site. That is, it either redirects traffic to your store, or it teases some primary content you have written. Otherwise, it is just a social blog, or public information blog.

This post starts a series of articles directed at people who love to write. Bloggers. Authors. Explainers. Analysts. Teachers. And, like myself, Interpreters. My first little informational tidbit: STOP GIVING YOUR GOOD SHIT AWAY!!

Assuming you are reading THIS blog, you probably earn at least part of your income from internet sales or commissions, and are interested in additional ideas to enhance that income.

I think there are a lot of good writers out there who are mistakenly giving their products away instead of selling them.

If you read a good series of articles over a period of several (or many) days in someone's blog, I think it is safe to assume one of two things: either the blogger is passionate about the subject and has a burning desire to share his information with others as a humanitarian or philanthropic project, or else that person is a moron.

I will clarify this abusive statement next time.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Everything Old is New Again...just wait your turn.

More discoveries.

Except that the more I keep digging, the more I seem to keep uncovering things I learned and tried 35 years ago. The methods have been updated, but the message is still the same. Surprisingly, this is not especially disappointing: all those tried and true things really worked in the "old" days--really made money for the people who "worked" the plans. No reason they can't work again using a more modern technology. Might work even better.

The one disappointment--and I'm giving this to you up front so you can stop reading right away if you want to--is that I have not, still, suddenly come across that "magic bullet" which nobody knows about and which will start the money pouring in just as soon as you install the "Incredible Secret Billionaire Method of the New Millennium." Sorry. You'd think I would know better after all these years. Why do people still have that unreasonable hope? (Me included, by the way.) When, in true fact, the only things that have really consistently made me money were the ability to clearly define and articulate the essential process, and the willingness to work harder (and longer) than other people in order to implement and work the system once I had defined it. This is such a simple formula for success, especially if you're an analyst as I am. So why is it that the longer I stick to a proven system, the less competition I seem to have? I'm starting to believe it's because there's actual WORK involved. Horrors!

As one of my readers earlier pointed out, there was an article on Darren Crowse's blog about a new breakthrough idea they called "Selling Teaching" (I can't seem to find the article anymore, but I am pretty sure that's what this "new" system was called.) I read about it until it became obvious that it wasn't exactly a new idea, and that all I really had to do was go in my back room and blow the dust off a few 30-year old "Get Rich by Explaining How To ______________" books. It sounds so dated and stilted, but truly there is nothing new under the sun. And there hasn't been, probably, since that sun was quite new.

On the bright side, I am happy to tell you that this little search of mine has refocused my mind on getting back to the basics that have paid my bills for many years. Actually, these things are the true "secret" to financial success. Indeed, there is one sentence you've already read in this post, tossed casually out--as Napoleon Hill would say--to see if you have brains enough to pick it up and begin using it to make money.

I hope you will find a way to endure your disappointment at the lack of an Ali Baba ending to this story, and continue to join me as I revisit some old and very wealthy friends I have come to know over the years. Long dead, most of them, they continue to speak to us if we will stop and listen. As always, give me a few days. My goal is no longer to post daily, but to post when I have something to say.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Selling the Sizzle, Not the Steak

Well I found it! I've been in Vegas this past week spending the money!

I wish.

But I have excavated a couple more pieces of the puzzle. And I am even more convinced than last week that a new big picture exists of which those pieces are a piece.

That's not quite true: it doesn't appear to be new, actually. I can't quite put my finger on it just yet, but it is starting to smell like something Melvin Powers used to do. I remember old Melvin Powers, the self-promoted "King of Mailorder." I mean, this guy would promote anything! I think he cranked out a new book of some kind or other every 72 hours or so. I swear!

He was the kind of guy who would run classified ads in 100 little newspapers for 10-cent bars of soap, and then, when the orders started to flow in, he would go out and start looking for some soap maker to sell him soap for a nickel a bar. Anyway, one of the things this guy promoted was books about how to do various things, and music (for some reason he was into hawking sheet music.) He would talk these middle-aged singers (who had used to be popular but hadn't been for years) into recording some of his stuff and going 50-50 with him on any profits. (Melvin really fancied himself an actual song-writer.)

The point that I need you to glean from this turns out to be one of the pieces of that big picture I was talking about earlier. That point, that the old hustler Melvin Powers teaches us, is this: It doesn't, within reason, really matter what the product is. All that really matters is the proper promotion of that product.

If you are an American with a few years under your belt, you will recall the incessant TV commercials of trinket-inventor Ron Popeil. You know--the Ronco Veg-O-matic, and the Ronco this and the Ronco that. And then came the age of TV "infomercials"--long commercials. And when he had run Ronco into the ground, then came the Popeil this and the Popeil that. Ok, maybe you are too young to remember.

Dan Ackroyd of the original Saturday Night Live crew in the late 1970s did a skit which entailed grinding up fish on live TV. That was a parody of Ron Popeil's ubiquitous TV commercial, and of the way Ron talked. (Actually, Ron didn't talk like that; it was an announcer. Ron himself didn't talk like that at all.) Dan did that carnival barker voice perfectly in that famous skit.

This post is getting too long to hold your attention, so I am going to come back and finish the thought in a few days. Just keep the first point I am trying to make in the back of your minds: it's not really the product that's of greatest importance; it's the proper promotion of that product that makes money.

Think I'm crazy? Then while I'm gone, ponder Britney Spears. Yes, Britney Spears. Helluva fantastic singer, right? That voice deserves to rise to the top, right? Sheesh! No, people. What makes the money is product promotion.

Something else to chew on: How even cooler would it be if the product you are uber-promoting is also itself something of great value? What a thought!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Paradigm Change

I have been away for awhile taking care of another baby, trying to teach it to walk on its own. Sorry. While I was away, though, I have been continuing my studies on how to make money on the internet--reading the philosophy of others, as well as reviewing the basics of making money in general.

Mostly, as you probably have discovered as well, the "how to make money" philosophies out there are the same as what I have been preaching on this blog. That is, "think up ways to try and attract a lot of visitors." But you know what? There has been a feeling building inside me for quite a while now that tells me that ship has sailed. There has to be more. I have lately had the queasy feeling that this preacher is preaching the wrong religion. So I have been out probing and poking for the answer, as is my habit.

No, I don't have the complete system figured out for a new and earthshaking method of making money on the internet. Yet. But I have glimpsed a flickering candle down towards the end of this dark internet cave. It is the light of a completely new idea (for me, at least.) It has nothing to do with simply working to apply the Law of Large Numbers, like most of us are doing right now. If it works, it will set us apart from the traditional "make a million with your blog" crowd.

Napoleon Hill, the man famous for the legendary "Think and Grow Rich", wrote another huge volume--his life's work, really--in which he elaborated on his earlier overview. In his monumental "Law of Success" which, I think, is probably now out of print, he related how he was privileged to "sit at the feet" of many industrial giants of an earlier age, such as Andrew Carnegie, and listen to their answers to the same question he kept posing. He said that, on occasion, they would drop hints here and there, without explaining fully, just to see if he had brains enough to see what they were talking about. It took him his whole life, but he finally put the puzzle together. At least as much as any of us can do that, I think.

I certainly don't profess to know all of what Napoleon Hill learned, but I am starting to see a glimmer of what those old Robber Barons all knew very well. And I want to try and apply that concept to internet marketing. If those old boys had had access to our internet today, we'd all be dead. Babes in the woods. They would crush us.

I am only now beginning to put the pieces together, much less devise a workable plan of attack for the internet. I just wanted to make a post and let all you smart people out there (you must be extra smart if you read my stuff, right?) and let you know where I've been.

I'm afraid it may be a week or so before I have an update on the puzzle I am trying to put together. And even then, it is unlikely it will be complete. Please don't give up on me in the meantime.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Making money basics: traffic

Just as there are three major ways to earn money on the internet, there are also three ways to get lots of visitors to your website:

1. Advertise
2. Advertise
3. Advertise

This is not meant to be insulting to you; it is meant to focus your attention.

How many ways are there to advertise? A heck of a lot more than three. A heck of a lot more than Google Adwords.

In short, pretty much every single thing you can think of to do which will somehow serve to publicize your website falls under the general category of advertising. A lot of the things on the following list are things you very likely do already. Maybe you just haven’t thought of them as being “advertising.”

Adwords bidding (I didn’t say not to do it, just that it isn’t the only way to advertise.)

Visiting other websites and commenting.

Syndicating your content.

Creating a topical and informative newsletter.

Forcing yourself to join some social networking websites.

Making a list of relevant forums and being a regular contributor.

Pay for advertising space on popular websites, at least as popular as you can afford.

Write free PDF downloadable informational ebooks.

Be a teacher. Set yourself up as an authority on something. (You are, you know.)

Finally, make sure your website is attractive, informative, entertaining, and fun to visit. Unless you are selling used cars, respect your audience by leaving out the audio, the popups, and the unutterably despicable sticky regenerating exit windows. If you happen to be selling cars, new or used, then the above is ok, because you don’t respect your audience anyway.

Are there more? I haven’t even scratched the surface. Use these to jog your thinking about more.

More importantly, DO them.