Creating and maintaining an online business can be a long and tedious process. There are countless obstacles that will stand between you and the accomplishment of your goals, but hang in there! Here are just some of the ways you can achieve success with your online business… [$5+ patrons can read the rest of How to Achieve Success with Your Online Business here. Not a patron? Consider the benefits here!]
Riquochet is a newer Patron who is curious about my search habits. You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions! When you search the Internet for information, would you rather whip out your wallet and get your hands on what you’re looking for quickly, or spend time searching around for a ‘free’ answer? After all Time = Money. If I want it, need it, and know it fits the bill… I’ll pay the bill. I think it’s asinine to hear people whine about how they got their computer infected with malware because they downloaded a movie through less-than-proper channels. That’s hilarious, really. People spend more by trying to avoid spending money. Free doesn’t always mean totally free. An hour of my time is worth more than minimum wage.
Patron Zamira is curious about affiliate marketing and whether it’s worth the time and effort. You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions! How do you feel about affiliate marketing? Is this a good area to get into? Why or why not? Have you had any good successes being an affiliate? Likewise, do you have any horror stories (without naming company names, I know)? I believe I’ve actually written about this before, and my thoughts haven’t changed much on the matter. I am not a fan of affiliate marketing for many reasons. Case in point? If I ever recommended a product that you bought on Amazon (based on my recommendation) without going through my designated link, I don’t get the credit. Yikes. People who don’t deal with my type of business don’t understand just how outlandish – and unsustainable – that is for someone in my position. That’s about as horrific as it gets. I believe that the only true winners with affiliate programs are the people who operate them. To that end, I’ve longed to figure out a unique product I could sell and find affiliates to sign on as resellers.
Shelley asked me: What makes you do the things you do every day? Why do you push yourself? What is it that makes you want to keep going every day – even when the going is tough? The short answer is: YOU. All of you – the community – is what keeps me pushing myself day in and day out. I’ve said a million times that building a good community is everything. It’s why I do the things I do. That’s the reason I get up in the mornings and head into my office. Y’all make me strive to change things for the better, find new ways to engage and keep making sure everyone is able to easily communicate with each other. Is it always easy? Of course not! People’s needs and interests change. Google changes the way we find websites. Facebook changes the things you do and do not see on your feed. Haters hate. Whiners whine. Some days I do what everyone does at some point – question if what I’m doing is worth it. You know what, though? The answer to that is always a resounding YES! Why do YOU do what you do? What drives you […]
Michael asked: What is microblogging and is it important? Is this something I should be doing for my new small business? Microblogging, quite simply, are short posts made on mediums such as Twitter and even Reddit. Instead of writing a full-on blog post, as I’m doing here, you’re posting a sentence or two to sum something up that you need to say – often including a link for more information. Many people also classify forum posts in this category, but I don’t. Is microblogging important to your small business? Likely. Having a presence on Twitter, Pinterest and even Reddit (depending on your intended audience) can be crucial to your success. You’ll need to (obviously) know your target audience, know what they’re looking for and then talk to them. Don’t ever just throw out links or messages you think will go viral. Your customers don’t care about that crap. They want you to talk to them – interact with them – ask them questions and give them answers. They want to know you’re THERE… accessible to their needs. This builds brand loyalty and word-of-mouth (by consumers who trust you and your product or service) is invaluable. How many different microblogging sites […]
HyderPotter asked: Should social media be at the top of the list for companies who sell things? I don’t know about “top of the list” for any type of company. But… social media definitely needs to be a priority. Companies obviously need a great product or service and amazing customer service. Those things have to be the main focus. Once they’re in place, you have to buckle down on marketing. Any good marketing plan these days involve social media. Don’t do what too many businesses do: throw links at your customers. Yes, they want to see products and sales. They want to know what you’re up to. But more than that, they want you to TALK TO THEM. Seriously. Interact with your customers and it will build into an actual community based around your business. Don’t talk AT them… talk WITH them. Answer questions. Pose questions. Share a funny story or video. Interact with fun comments. Like things they’ve said and ReTweet when you can. Don’t just paste a bunch of crap and then ignore the streams until the next day. Don’t panic over Facebook’s algorithms, either. You’ll never get it right. It’s hard work. Just focus on the things […]
Matthew asked: What are some good features to look for when selecting a new web hosting service? There are a lot of different things that people find important. Some only care about cost. Others feel that uptime is crucial. There are a few things that you should look at, though: Uptime – Does the company have sites that crash often? Also, how quickly do they resolve issues? Addons – Many companies offer freebies when you “subscribe” to a hosting plan. What are these addons? Are they even useful to you? Customer Service – Do your questions regarding pricing get answered quickly? How good are the reps at finding the answers you need – no matter the question? Do they answer professionally, or do they treat people rudely? Technical Service – Even more importantly, do issues get fixed quickly and properly – even little things? Are issues explained to you? Are glitches brought to your attention? I’m sure I’m missing several points to consider. This is where all of you come in: what do you look for when choosing a web host? Photo credit to Funny Pics
WickedZen asked: I am a full time student, and aspiring writer, with a family. For some time now I have used Sunbird to keep track of my schedule, specifically my tasks (assignments, tests, projects, etc) as a student. I review and update this schedule dozens of times during a day. Recently my main laptop died, cause unknown and is on its way to be checked out. I had to switch to using my old, backup laptop. I was able to pull out my hard drive and get the data, including my schedule, onto my backup. If I had been unable to do so, I would have been in serious trouble rebuilding my schedule and keeping up with everything. Any suggestions for task/schedule management software that I can sync between different computer(s) and a tablet, as well as online but with an offline feature if I ever cant access online? Honestly? Google’s calendar may be your best option. Once you fill out your calendar, you can easily sync it to a number of different places, including to your computer. Having this easily available via your phone or other mobile device is great – along with the fact that you can have […]
SolidSafety asked: What does being sponsored mean? I know that it can help you but don’t know how and what it does. I know that a lot of people are being sponsored on YouTube or their websites. What’s this all about? Being sponsored means that a company believes in you and what you’re doing and wants to help. In some cases, it just means that you have something a company wants: lots of exposure. Company X may have a product that best fits the audience you have on YouTube and your website(s). You have a fairly good-sized following, so they approach you and offer to sponsor you in exchange for promotion – a video, a link in an article or even a social media status. The benefit you receive could be money or product(s) – it depends on the company and your needs. Company Y may see that you’re hosting a meetup or conference in the near future. The person there may completely believe in the message you’re trying to bring to your audience, and so the company decides to be a partner – they give money to the event in exchange for branding of some type during it. The […]
Mark D asked: What is your best financial advice to pass along to those of us just starting out? Cover your costs. No, seriously. Cover. Your. Costs. When you’re just starting out, make sure you have enough in the bank to get you through the first few months. Think of things like office supplies, payroll, taxes, personal living expenses and on and on and on. You also need to be sure you pay your bills on time. Vendors won’t work with you anymore if you aren’t paying them in a timely fashion. Never rob Peter to pay Paul. Dinner out can wait. That new pair of shoes can wait – even if you’re barefoot. Pay the invoices when they’re due or you’re going to be sunk before you get started. What about all of you? What’s your best financial advice for those just starting out?
Keegan Hall wondered: What type of tech device/software would you support via crowdfund in a heartbeat if they had a working prototype? I wouldn’t. I’ll wait until it’s truly shipping. I’ve been burned too many times. Crowdfunded hardware / software / tech has produced more disappointments than it has successes in the eyes of the people who went the extra mile to fund an idea. Most of my own crowdfunding efforts will more than likely remain in the realm of media-related support. You typically know what you’re getting there (and, sometimes, the impact is immediate).
Todd Donna asked: Do you ever wish you made different decisions in the past from where you are today ? Or are you on the right track ? Of course, I think we would all make different decisions if we were given a chance to do so. But what would that do? If we zigged instead of zagging, we may not be in the place(s) we are now – for better or for worse. I could wish that I did something else, but would I know (truly) if that would have made a difference for the better (overall)? Nobody knows. I don’t know if I’m on the “right” track, or if I ever would be even if I thought I could have made a better decision at some point in the past. You have to keep in mind, as well: if you changed even one tiny thing about your past, you wouldn’t be who and where you are right now. Everything would be different. I’m pretty happy with who I am, who I’m with and where our life is at. I wouldn’t actually change a single thing. What about you? Are you happy with all of the decisions you’ve made […]
Thady Senior is curious about my thoughts on monetization. Buckle up, buttercups. We may be here a while! Do you think monetization of content has gone too far? It used to be that everything could be watched for free and advertising revenue covered it. Now it is the case that internet streaming services (Patreon, Netflix, etc.) and satellite / TV services are chargeable. Do you think YouTube will integrate a pay-for-content facility? First, YouTube already has a PPV option. It’s rarely used because it’s rather inflexible for both would-be supporters and existing producers. Second, I don’t think monetization can ever truly go “too far.” If someone’s getting a piece of content for free, they have to support (or, in some cases, “suffer through”) whatever needs to happen to make that free transaction worth doing for all parties involved. “Too far” for one person is not “too far” for another. I’ve gone into this topic in depth at various points in the past, but advertising has never been a stable form of support for valuable content – and you’re blind to assume otherwise. Take, for example, the cancellation of one of your favorite TV shows. Why? Because a network decided that […]
Patron Christopher Micallef is curious about a proposed huge hike in minimum wage. You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions! How do you feel about the $15 minimum wage? Do price floors make you sad too? I spoke about this briefly in a TLDR episode. I feel that you should get paid a fair wage for fair work, but I’m also very well aware of costs that employers often assume on behalf of their employees. Who wouldn’t want to be paid more for the work they’re doing? But that’s not the problem. Who is going to pay for those employees to get paid more? How are costs going to be offset now that they’ve increased across the board? What potential new hire isn’t going to get the opportunity to work? There aren’t definitive answers to these questions, either. It’s like people who watch a “free video” on YouTube and assume that it came to them for free simply because they didn’t pay anything to see it. A $15/hr minimum wage is outstanding for those who deserve it, but it also increases the chances of an employer burning through more revenue due to making a […]
Patron JC Ernsd is worried that real work can’t be fun! You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions! Is it possible to have a serious business and still have fun? I am so driven that working for myself tends to stress me out but I have a low tolerance for stress. Can you have fun at your job and still be successful? Do you have any tips? Let me ask you this: do you actually really LOVE what you’re doing? You may love working for yourself. You may be pushing yourself to succeed. But do you even enjoy what it is you’re doing day in and day out? If not… there’s the simple answer to your issue. If you do, and it’s just a matter of overwhelming yourself and stressing out, you need to step back a little. Where can something “give” a little? What can you put off for another day? What is crucial to the success of your business and what are things you just hope to do? Prioritize. Figure out what must be done, make a list and go from there. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a million things that turn out […]