I’ve been running my internet home business since January 2008. In my first year of operation, I made less than $10. That’s $10 in one whole year. Believe me, it was depressing.
It took me 12 months to learn what my problem was: bad advice.
Oh yeah, there’s bad advice out there about running an internet home business. Times are tough, and a lot of people are hungry. You might be one of them. Or maybe you have an OK job, but you can’t stand somebody you work for. Or maybe you’re hearing rumors about layoffs and people being let go. I had all of these problems to deal with. At once.
When you’re hungry, or worried about losing your job, you’re a target for people who want to sell you bad advice. These people are geniuses at selling. They know how to push your buttons. The pitch goes something like this:
> I started out with nothing. Then I developed the Secret Formula for making money on the internet. Within six months, I was making $100,000 a year, and I did it all by working only four hours a week. Download my e-book now and learn the Secret Formula for only $79.95. Do it today, because tomorrow the price will double.
These shysters can clean out your bank account in no time. I used to see their victims on internet marketing discussion boards all the time – people with thousands of dollars worth of advice stashed in folders on their hard drive, still making a few dollars a week. Thinking there was something wrong with them because they followed the Secret Formula and it wasn’t working for them.
But the wasted money isn’t the worst of it. The real crime of bad advice is that it steals your time. Time you could have spent building a legitimate home based business . If you just got laid off and somebody sells you bogus advice, you can’t get back the time you spend finding out it’s wrong. When you’re laid off, time is not your friend.
This happened to me. The only good news is that the money I wasted on bad advice came to less than $100. Others were not so lucky.
Late in 2008 I was surfing around the internet trying to figure out what I was doing wrong and I kept running into a funny new word: SEO. I had been hearing a little bit about it during my year of failure. Mostly bad things. I thought it meant fooling Google, or sending out thousands of spam e-mails, or building those funny looking web pages with nothing but ads on them.
I was so desperate by that time that I was ready to do any of these things, so I kept reading about SEO. It didn’t take long before my I realized I had found something completely different from the Secret Formula. For one thing, the people writing about SEO were giving the information away. For free. I wondered: if they weren’t making a living emptying the pockets of desperate people like me, how were they earning their money?
It took me another week of surfing to learn the answer to that question. I’ll try to sum it up for you in one paragraph. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Most of us think of websites as something for humans. But computers also read websites. That’s what Google is: a computer that reads the internet. SEO means writing your website so that a computer can read it, understand what it’s about, and send you visitors looking for what you have to offer.
The fun part is, when visitors click an ad on your site, you get paid. If they click at 3 a.m. while you’re sleeping, you get paid. When you wake up the next morning, you have money in your account that you didn’t have when you went to bed the night before. I still get a thrill when it happens, and it’s been happening for me since February 2009.
In the process of learning about SEO, I started learning who the experts are. One thing that stood out right away is that they’re good writers, and smart. Not only smart, but funny. My kind of people. Nothing like the smarmy salesmen hawking their Secret Formula like they think I’m stupid. SEO is still a fairly small community if you boil it down to the experts who really make a living at it.
I had already read all of Courtney Tuttle’s SEO website when I saw that he was giving away hour-long free consultations. I figured it was a come-on. Even if he actually followed through, I’d be sure to get the hard sell at the end to buy whatever product he was selling. But I was broke, so I figured I could sit through the sales pitch in exchange for some coaching. I was pretty discouraged at that point.
It was nothing like I expected. Court’s partner, Mark Butler, walked me through the process of setting up my own websites in a way that would draw search engine traffic. I took five pages of notes. He and Court had developed an instructional video series that they originally planned to sell, but Mark told me everything in the videos for free and didn’t ask me to do a thing at the end except send me an e-mail in a few months and let him know how I was doing.
After a gift like that, I would have been a jerk not to follow through. I set up a few websites according to his instructions. A month later, I had made my first $100.
Soon afterward, Court and Mark opened The Keyword Academy . There was a lot of buzz in the SEO community when they did it, because the first month’s membership was $1.00 and gave access to the entire video series. Basically they were giving away a $600 product for $1.00. And they still are.
I’ve been a Keyword Academy member since April 2009. Even though Mark had already told me everything that was in the videos, my income has grown because of the resources that my membership offers me. Every time I’m ready to cancel it and just work on my own, Court and Mark roll out another tool that I can use to make my sites work better. And the community there is smart and supportive.
I wish I could tell you it’s a four-hour work week. It’s not. In the beginning it’s a whole lot of work. But as your sites gain age and stability, your workload decreases and your income grows.
There’s a lot of rapid change on the internet. It drives me crazy sometimes. SEO isn’t for everybody. But for $1.00, you can find out what it’s all about and see if it’s for you . If you want to cancel, you can do it on your own through PayPal—you don’t have to go through a sales pitch to get out.
I’m not going to tell you to hurry up and join because the price will go up. But my one regret is that I waited so long before I got good advice for my internet home business.