There are those who come to the internet with a solid business plan, a substantial amount of investment capital, and a well-defined strategy for leveraging the internet and exploiting the incredible revenue potential of the cyber-age. Then there’s the remainder of us.
Millions of individuals have flocked to the World Wide Web in search of financial success, and millions more will do so within the next two years. These hopeful masses span the entire financial spectrum, from six-figure earners to minimum-wage workers. Similarly, a novice networker may have an extensive background in conventional business or be a high school graduate with no knowledge of the dynamics of commerce and marketing.
I’ve observed an intriguing progression among those internet marketers who entered the market without a road map and with little knowledge of the internet marketing microcosm. Or perhaps I’ve only observed my own journey, and it makes me feel better to believe that others have had similar experiences.
In either case. Please allow me a few more paragraphs to describe what I consider to be the evolution of a web marketer.
Initial Phase: Easy Money... Not!
The majority of people appear to believe that the internet “levels the playing field” or enables anyone with a keyboard and a few hours of work per week to amass staggering wealth. It typically takes a few months for this bubble to burst, but when it does, the majority of newcomers do not survive.
However, when that dark day of realization arrives and it becomes apparent that one must actually work this business in order to see results, the strong of the networking gene pool sprout their working legs and move beyond the haze of delusion. The survivors of Stage One, supremely confident in the knowledge that they have surpassed those slothful slackers who squealed and fled at the suggestion of buckling down and putting in some hard work, proceed to Stage Two, where they will undoubtedly be rewarded for their perseverance.
Second Phase: Hard Work Does Not Pay Server Fees
In Stage Two, our post-primal networkers toil tirelessly through the thickets of website-building, traffic-generation, email-list-building, and all manner of arduous and structured tedium. With sore buttocks from being glued to an old office chair and bloodshot, bleary eyes from all-night clicking sessions, they persevere day after day, certain of their eventual vindication.
However, they are still not making any money. In addition, they are beginning to look beyond free web hosting, free classified ads, and trial memberships. All the good stuff seems to cost money, but our Stage Two participants had hoped to delay any monetary investment until they could generate at least some form of income to offset such costs.
Thus, another massive cohort of subpar networkers perish. The idea of investing money in their web business was too much for their tender hearts to bear.
As always, however, those more suited to the challenge survive. The Stage Two survivors take a deep breath and examine their monthly budgets before deciding to invest as much money as necessary to keep their operations afloat until they can become self-funding marketers.
Third Stage: Throwing Money at the Problem Doesn’t Work Either
The golden age of paid upgrades and memberships has arrived. Monthly payment is $5 for this. Ten dollars per month for this. Everything that contains a PayPal button is fair game.
Our marketers are no longer naive amateurs who believe this can be done for free; they are in full stride. They cruise through cyberspace on a mission to buy their way to the top by purchasing every ebook that is released, upgrading in programs they log into once a month, and clicking every buy now button they can find. They boast, “I’m not afraid to invest in my business.””
An enormous amount of money is spent. Significantly less revenue is collected.
Eventually, those who have reached Stage Three will recognize the futility of their current course of action. Perhaps it is when the credit card bill arrives, or when they are balancing their checkbook.
Once more, the brutal process of selection eliminates those without the will to endure additional trials. Numerous failed Internet marketers sink beneath the muck of this level.
And once more, the portion of the whole with the courage and tenacity to persevere grows stronger than ever. They conclude that more is required than a regimen of hard work and the willingness to invest money. On the verge of a genuine breakthrough (they can feel it in their bones), those who have thus far resisted falling determine that a well-thought-out plan for all future endeavors is necessary.
Plan to fail, fail to plan, and all the rest of the crap
Plans are formulated to address every possible aspect of the game moving forward. A strict but balanced budget is mandated. Daily tasks are optimized for maximum efficiency. Prior to each advertising campaign, projections are made, and results are measured afterward. Tracking, testing, brainstorming, and a constant focus on the hows and what-ifs become indispensable.
This continues for a while. Until another instance of clarity occurs.
A question is posed…
“Does all of this labor justify the meager earnings it generates?”
Or, more often…
“How is it possible that I’m still not making any money?!”
This stage quickly transitions into the next. Due to the rapid transition from Stage Four to Stage Five, a surprisingly large number of marketers are able to make the leap.
“What the hell am I doing here?”
Here is where things turn ugly. Stage Five is not so much a part of evolution as it is a bitter bog.
Verbal outbursts comparable to the following are typical of individuals at this stage:
“What a disgraceful collection of @#$ percent!!! I can’t believe I’ve squandered three @#$#*& years of my @#$ percent $# life with this group of @!!#$ percent silly @#$ percent #@!!! and we still don’t have any children “Absolutely nothing to show for it!”
During this stage, a staggering number of networkers perish, as one might expect.
Those who are able to endure this particularly crucial phase of development, however, will find that the arduous journey was worthwhile. For in the exhausted, breathless aftermath of their well-deserved tantrums, a revelation is born.
Sixth Phase: The Hard Facts
For the love of cheese fries, this is an ordinary business. Hard work, financial investment, and sound planning are required, but they are not sufficient to generate a profit.
You must know what works and have a basic understanding of why it works. Real knowledge of the market, the methods, and the reasoning behind the apparent insanity is what separates a person who works tirelessly for nothing from one who makes a large fortune with the same or less effort.
Nobody cares how much money we invest or how much time we spend in front of the computer each day. Competition is fierce, customer expectations are high, and the only thing that matters is whether we can penetrate, deliver, and close the deal.
This is the exact opposite of what the majority of us want to hear. However, valuable lessons typically have a bitter taste.
Determine what successful people in this field are doing by contacting them. Observe them. Ask questions of them. Take notes. Absorb as much information as possible, then put that information into practice.