5 Lessons Learned in 10 Years as an Internet Marketer

5 Lessons From 10 Years As An Internet Marketer

When I first started in the internet marketing business my aim was simply to make an income creating small sites with ads on them. Having just moved, I was struggling to find a job and money was running out fast.

I quickly realized that small sites with ads are a very short-term business and it takes a fair amount of time to get the income coming in.

So I started to build sites for others. By spending 4 or 5 hours a day creating websites for $10 a pop, I was able to quickly earn enough to live on.

It wasn't high paid work but it generated cash which is what I needed at the time. Once the sites I built for myself started to earn a good income, I was able to reduce and finally stop providing services to others.

This taught me my first lesson.

Lesson 1

Internet Marketing Lesson 1

A solid internet marketing business consists of a short term plan, a medium term plan, and a long term plan.

Because I lacked a lot of cash when I started, I couldn't afford to invest in many tools so I had to learn how to do things manually: keyword research, link building etc. Because I was focused on the jobs I had to do, I wasn't looking for the next big thing. To this day, I talk to people who started out at the same time I did in 2005 and they are still trying to find that magic button.

A friend of mine, Justin Wheeler, once used a term that sums this syndrome up perfectly:

ASOD: “Attention Deficit Oooooh Shiny”

I get emails everyday promoting the next best thing I need to have -if I don't open them for 2 days, then there is something better waiting for me!

If you see an email for something you actually need and can afford, consider it. If not, make do with what you already have. Trust me, you don't need 5 plugins that capture leads!

Everything you buy should have a positive impact on your income.

Don’t get fooled by “theoretical” products. If a marketer is releasing a new product every month, you can be sure he's not making money from his online business, he's making money selling you stuff. Only buy from people who walk the walk and talk the talk.

Lesson 2

Internet Marketing Lesson 2

Focus on what you have. Every cent you spend on a new shiny product is one more cent you need to earn to make a profit.

I got quite lucky with the sites I built and was soon earning over $4000 a month with Adsense, and a similar amount with product sales. Life was good…

Then Google slapped me so hard that I woke up in the 18th century.

Overnight they almost killed my niche site business. My income dropped to 10% of what it was.

To many of you this sounds familiar but we aren't talking about the latest Panda or Penguin update, this was back in 2006.

Google slaps are nothing new to those of us who have been in IM for any length of time.

You just need to deal with them and move on.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket, learn different traffic methods and don't rely on one source.

Lesson 3

Internet Marketing Lesson 3

Any business that relies on 1 source of traffic for an income is a disaster waiting to happen.

I was actually quite lucky as I had suspected that Google wouldn't allow things to remain the way they were so I had diversified and had started creating products.

I learned the basics by working as an intern for a mad old school internet marketer who shall remain nameless at this point in time.

As a result of what I learned, I was able to create my own product and sell 100 or so copies. For a first product that didn't have the benefit of a marketplace like the Warrior Forum'sWSO's” this was a revelation to me and I knew it was what I wanted to do.

After that, the rest is pretty much the same. I've focused on creating useful products that will help people do the stuff that I've found I needed.

Content marketing, Facebook ads, blog creation, and promotion.

Lesson 4

Internet Marketing Lesson 4

Forums, mastermind groups, and mentoring can provide a shortcut to success but like everything, you need to be prepared to work at it and follow instruction.

I've lost count of the number of people who have begged me to coach them and then do nothing with the information I give them.

In our membership site, Serious Marketers Only, we have members making thousands of dollars a month. We've even got  members who earned over $2,000 in one day using our methods. In the past year, a few members have gone on to buy their own houses. Despite seeing other members who are just like them make money, we still get people who don't take action.


The biggest mistake that I've made in my time online was to think I could be successful without building a list. The 2nd biggest mistake was thinking that I needed a big list.

Nothing could be further from the truth. With the right kind of list building and the right approach to your list, you can make a very good living with a small list.

I've spent most of the last 6 months reducing a list of around 10,000 to under 3,000 and I'd still like to get it lower.

Another mistake I've made is not playing to my strengths. Until I partnered up with my business partner Pete Van Zijl, I tried to do everything – product creation, marketing, sales copy, getting JV partners etc.

This is the wrong way to do things as no one is a master of everything. I've recently started to focus on what I do best which is writing, testing and product creation. Everything else is outsourced.

Lesson 5

Internet Marketing Lesson 5

Play to your strengths, and outsource everything else…There is no magic button!

[bctt tweet=”Play to your strengths, and outsource everything else…There is no magic button! #internetmarketing ” username=”m_j_thompson”]

The Future

That brings us pretty much up to date so I think that I'll finish off by talking about my future plans:

  • I intend to build out more lifestyle businesses and buy more traffic.

At present I am averaging between 200% and 300% ROI from bought traffic.

That means for every $100 I spend I make up to $300 profit.

That's a nice feeling!

  • Drive more free traffic from social media.

Free traffic is an even better feeling!

  • Scale up.

The businesses I am building are very scaleable so I can roll out more and more each month allowing me to turn $100 into $1,000 and $1,000 into $10,000.

  • Spend time focusing on driving as much organic traffic as possible to this blog.

Over the past 4 weeks, I've gone from zero organic visitors to almost 1,000 visitors. If I can continue to improve that, the sky is the limit.

Come and Join The Free Lifestyle Marketer facebook Group.

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