Steve Wagenheim’s Home Business Blog Everything You’ll Need To Run A Successful Home Business
  • Jul
    25

    I never thought I’d ever be writing this article but the time has come and I figure, what the heck? Maybe it’s time that Internet marketers and home business owners really understand how volatile this business can be. Just because you’re making money one day doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to be making money the next day. If you read no other article today, you need to read this one.

    I’m going to try to make this as short as possible. This is the Readers Digest version of my last 10 years.

    In 2000, I lost my last job as a QA Tester. After 3 years of looking for work, I finally turned to the Internet. Don’t even ask me what compelled me to do that because I don’t remember. Maybe it was desperation.

    Anyway, in 2003, I started doing some freelancing and affiliate marketing. The freelancing was for very little money but it was something. I was getting monthly checks, some as much as $1,200 or more. My affiliate marketing was slow at first, making about $300 a month, but eventually rose to about $1,200 to $1,500 a month. I wasn’t making anywhere near what I was as a QA Tester, but it was something.

    Finally, in 2006, I got a brilliant idea. I was making money online, albeit not a lot, so why not teach others how to do it by showing them what I was doing? So I created my first e-book. I put it up for sale at the Clickbank marketplace and I was selling 200 copies a month thanks to one affiliate who was selling 100 a month by himself.

    That product put my name on the map. From there, it was all up hill. I made article writing in the Internet Marketing and Home Business niches my main means of driving traffic to my site. Sites like Ezine Articles were largely responsible for my success, which reached an all time high in 2008 when I earned over $16,000 in the month of December alone.

    But then, a couple of years later, Panda and Penguin hit and suddenly my articles stopped getting views. Sites like Ezine Articles were no longer providing me with any significant amount of traffic outside of a select few articles. The rest were effectively dead in the water. And any article I would write after the updates would get me 5 to 10 views max.

    It took time, because I was still selling products to a large list, but eventually, the list burned out, product sales slowed and by 2013 my income was almost nonexistent. In fact, the only reason I’m even writing this article is as a public service to other marketers. Why? Because there is a message that they need to hear … that YOU need to hear.

    Like it or not, believe it or not, what you’re doing today may not work tomorrow. This has been no clearer to me than it currently is because of my own situation. I never thought the day would come that writing articles, at least in the make money niches, would be a waste of time, especially if you’re relying on article directories to provide you with traffic. It’s not going to happen.

    You need to keep your pulse on what’s going on. If you notice traffic starting to dip, you need to immediately evaluate what you’re doing and change course if need be. You may find that free methods of traffic generation don’t work anymore. Maybe you’ll discover that everything has now become social networking based. Maybe you need to focus on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Maybe forum participation is more important than ever. Maybe small blogs don’t work anymore. Maybe you need to put up a full blown site with amazing content and work on SEO.

    I don’t have the answers because I allowed my business to crash and burn by thinking my articles would always bring me traffic. And with over 3,000 articles written, you would THINK that was a valid thought. Obviously it wasn’t.

    Fortunately for me, my wife has a good job as a school teacher and I really don’t need the money anymore. The credit cards are paid, the mortgage is paid and we’re essentially debt free. But boy, it would have been nice to have a few extra bucks for my hobbies, some of which I may now have to give up or cut back on.

    Learn from my mistakes. Track everything you do. If something dips, find out why it’s dipping. Don’t ride out a downward trend for too long. Things on the Internet change all the time. They’ll change for you more than once over the course of your Internet life.

    They certainly did for me.

    To YOUR Success,

    Steven Wagenheim

    Read more of my hard hitting articles at my blog at http://stevewagenheim.com/blog/

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  • May
    21

    Well, the news is out and it’s official. Jobs are dead, according to Forbes. I won’t bore you with all the details, but essentially what they’re saying is that the traditional job is dead because companies really no longer have a need for full time workers with there being so many contractors and outsourcing avenues available. Why hire somebody for $50,000 a year when you can get twice the productivity for half the money?

    So great. Exactly what does this have to do with Internet marketing?

    In essence, IM is the job of the future. Most people are going to start to realize that the traditional 9 to 5 just isn’t working any longer and they’re going to start doing what you and I are already doing.

    The question is, is this good or bad?

    Depends on how you look at it. If you’re afraid of competition because your work is shoddy or you really don’t have anything to offer to anybody, then yes, you’re pretty much going to be up the creek. You’re going to be up against people who will care enough to put their best product in the hands of their customers.

    However, if you have something to offer of real value, the extra competition won’t actually be competition but additional sources of revenue. Think about it. Is every marketer going to be selling the same thing? Of course not. There may be some overlap, but there is going to be a lot of diversity.

    Now, think about this. Most marketers, if they’re smart, don’t do everything themselves. I do it out of boredom and needing to keep busy. But then again, I never really cared about optimizing my business to the point where I was actually a “boss” over a lot of people. That just wasn’t for me.

    But a lot of players in this game are going to want to have the option of having other people do the work for them. That means somebody to write their sales copy, run their help desk, setup their Adwords campaigns, write their articles, design their web pages and on and on and on. And since no one person can really do all of this effectively, there is going to be a lot of work for specialists.

    That is where the money is going to be IF you want to work a job from the comfort of your home. You simply start to make a name for yourself in whatever area you specialize in and eventually, as word spreads, you’re going to get requests for work to be done. By being your own boss, you can decide whether to take a specific job or not. In short, you’ll be able to pick and choose your poison.

    And as the world in general starts to move more in this direction where the 9 to 5 is all but dead and buried, there will be even more opportunities for this sort of work. The only downside to it is that you’ll need to be focused and disciplined. Nobody is going to drag your butt out of bed in the morning to get to work on time. You’re going to have to do that yourself. And if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. It’s that simple. So being your own boss may not be for you.

    But it sure as heck beats working a 9 to 5.

    To YOUR Success,

    Steven Wagenheim

    Not sure if freelancing is right for you? Get my free report at http://www.stevewagenheim.com/freelancing/squeeze.html and get the total rundown on the freelancing world and find out how YOU can earn 6 figures a year as a freelancer.

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  • Apr
    1

    I know I’ve written some strange articles in my day, but this just might be the strangest yet. At the same time, it just might be one of the most helpful to your creative thinking process that you’ve read in a very long time. If creative thinking gives you fits, you just might want to check this one out.

    Okay, I have a confession to make. I watch soaps. Well, I used to anyway until they took all my favorites (Guiding Light, All My Children, As The World Turns, One Life To Live) off the air. Fortunately, my wife, who is a long time Young and Restless fan, watches it now and has gotten me hooked.

    Well, on the show, there are two main characters who are mortal enemies. I’m talking about Jack Abbott and Victor Newman. I mean if any two people hated each other in this world, these two would be at the top of the contempt for each other list. And even though they’ve both gotten a bit older, they haven’t lost their spunk.

    Jack Abbott likes to call Victor Newman “The Mustache” because he has one, obviously. The Mustache has a favorite saying. He says it all the time. Yes, you guessed it…the title of this article. “I’ll be damned.” Victor says it almost every episode. And he does it with such conviction too. In fact, it’s a running joke in our home.

    And all of this got me thinking. Jack Abbott, Victor Newman, The Mustache, “I’ll be damned.” Suddenly it all came together in one crazy idea. “Jack and the Mustache” would make a GREAT name for a rock group. I mean come on, doesn’t it have a ring to it? I think it does. And “I’ll Be Damned” could be their big hit from their first CD. And that got me thinking. That could lead to follow-up hits like “What Do You Know?” and “You Don’t Say.”

    To make a very long story short, I came up with the idea for my next musical CD. Yes, I am a songwriter and have made over 50 CDs and or tapes of song collections. Anyway, the name of the CD is going to be called “Jack and the Mustache” and is going to be a collection of songs essentially telling the story of these two enemies through their battles against each other and their fights over the women they loved.

    All that from a TV show and two characters.

    There you have it. The creative thinking process in action. But how can we apply this to Internet marketing and how exactly do we even go about doing it? Let’s tackle the “how to do it” part first.

    Probably the most difficult aspect of creative thinking is freeing your mind from preconceived notions and ideas. It’s very easy for us to get locked up in a small little world where only certain things are viable and everything else is just stupid. We tend to look at what already works and immediately dismiss any ideas that don’t conform to the norm. We do this because it’s easy to do it. What’s hard is taking risks.

    If you look at the history of marketing, not just on the Internet but in real life as well, you’ll discover that some of the most successful marketing campaigns were truly unique and memorable. Go back to the old Alka-Seltzer commercial where the guy is eating the spaghetti and meatballs. It’s a classic. Nobody had ever done anything like it before.

    And if you rummage through the history of advertising, you’ll find that the most successful commercials were the most unique. At least they were the ones that you remembered forever.

    Now I don’t know what the creative thought process was behind that commercial. Maybe the guy who wrote it actually had a mother or wife that made spicy meatballs and just maybe that was an actual saying that he used after eating his dinner. How many times have things happened to you in your everyday life where you’ve said to yourself, “Hey, that gives me an idea” and went and ran with it?

    The trick is to be able to summon up those ideas on the fly. And the only way to do that is to continually keep your eyes and ears open to what’s going on in the world. I’m not saying you have to dissect every word that you hear, but when something hits you, sit down and give it some thought for at least a minute or so. Jack and the Mustache hit me right away, but not all ideas will be that simple. Some will take time to develop.

    So how do we apply this to Internet Marketing? First we have to look at what it is we’re selling. Naturally, we have the core of the product that is set in stone. For example, an acne product’s core comes down to one thing…removing acne. That’s what it does. We can’t change that. We can’t make it do something else. But we can put a unique spin on it.

    One way to do this is to think about how acne affects young people. Well, for one thing, it makes dating awkward. So imagine an ad where a young boy knocks on the door of the girl he’s about to pick up for their first date and he has a pimple right in the middle of his forehead and as soon as the girl opens the door and sees it, she screams in horror and passes out on the floor.

    Okay, a little dramatic, but it gets the point across. Acne can be devastating to your love life when you’re young.

    That’s one example. Sit down and see if you can think of other examples. Take incidents from real life that have nothing to do with “acne” but have to do with shock and horror and apply those incidents to “acne.” If you let your imagination run wild, you’d be surprised what you can come up with. Watch TV shows. Listen to songs. Take a ride to the zoo if you have to. Ideas can come from anywhere.

    You just might come up with the next great marketing idea.

    To YOUR Success,

    Steven Wagenheim

    Want some more great home business and marketing tips? Get my 4 Steps To Business Success and you’ll be on your way to a successful business in no time flat.

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  • Jan
    17

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard Rebecca Black’s song “Friday.” You’ve also probably heard lots of people bash the heck out of it. As Internet marketers, we should be so lucky. This article explains, backed up with a few facts.

    Let’s start with YouTube. If you head on over there and look up the official video that was initially uploaded, you’ll find that to date it has well over 45 million views. About a quarter million people gave it a thumbs up while almost one million people gave it a thumbs down. I should be so lucky to even get one million people to watch one of my videos, let alone pan it.

    Oh but it gets better. One parody of the video is currently up to 18 million views and climbing. Oddly, it has more likes than dislikes. There is something about that, that just scares the heck out of me. But I digress.

    And if you go through YouTube, you will find dozens more parodies that are all in the millions of views. It almost seems like all you have to do is create a Friday parody and you’re an instant star. How’s that for easy success?

    Simon Cowell, who pretty much hates everything, praised her saying that anybody who can create that much controversy inside of a week is someone he wants to meet.

    And while the song itself is painfully “bad” it’s also painfully obvious that this was no accident. Let’s face it folks. The world loves bad. The 50s classic “Plan 9 From Outer Space” is said to be the worst movie of all time. Would you like to know how many people have either rented it or bought it just to get a good laugh?

    I should have THAT kind of success.

    Okay Wags, there’s a marketing lesson in here somewhere so can you please get to it?

    Nothing spells death for an Internet marketing campaign more than dullness. It is worse to be totally ignored than for people to look at what you’ve done and say, “Oh my God … how can he even consider doing such a stupid thing?”

    I vividly remember “The Rich Jerk” from back in the early part of the 21st century. I remember reading that very first sales page how he flat out proclaimed “I’m better than you” and went on to ask the reader how long they wanted to go on “being a loser.” It was controversial to say the least. Nobody had ever done anything like this before. And believe me, he spawned imitators though they never really caught on like he did. Lawn Chair Millionaire comes to mind.

    Controversy sells. Sometimes even poor taste sells. Now I’m not advocating going out and creating the worst ad campaign that you can possibly think of, especially if it doesn’t fit your company persona. But there is room for some innovation. Look at the JG Wentworth “Need Cash Now” commercials. They’re pretty corny, wouldn’t you say? But people love ‘em. Hell, I love ‘em. The JG Wentworth Opera Commercial has over a half million views on YouTube right now.

    Half million views for a commercial.One commenter wrote “You know your marketing is good when people search for it on YouTube.”

    Damn straight.

    Nothing puts prospects to sleep quicker than the same old hum drum stuff. I see so much of it everyday that I wonder if ANY of these people are making any money.

    Okay, but if you’re going to get creative, you can’t just throw stuff together. If you think Rebecca Black’s video was just thrown together, think again. A lot of thought went into making it. The auto tune feature was purposely done that way in order to spoof pop music and it did an excellent job of it. In fact, one could argue that the original video itself was a parody of pop music today.

    And why not? Have you LISTENED to some of the garbage on the radio today that artists are trying to pass off as legitimate art? In some ways, “Friday” is more legitimate than a lot of the stuff I currently hear on Z-100, which just happens to be the #1 top 40 station in my area today. I rarely put it on because the sound coming from my speakers is just too awful to stand.

    But the masses eat it up. Heck, even though supposedly nobody buys vinyl records anymore, in 2011, vinyl sales were close to 4 million. What I’d like to know is where people are finding all these record players. And a lot of new music is being put on vinyl because of the resurgence in popularity. I won’t even get into the hundreds of millions in sales in general in this industry yearly. Heck, ITunes is making a killing in case you haven’t noticed.

    But where does all this leave today’s Internet marketer? The answer is quite simple. Technology has made it so that it’s very easy to come up with an ad campaign that blows away anything that was done by professional ad makers back in the 70s and 80s. We can make things now that could only be dreamed about years ago. And we can do it all from our living room. But the technology alone isn’t going to do it for us.

    We need to start thinking outside the box. We need to go back to the days when we were young and weren’t so self conscious. Remember how we would think of the stupidest games and ideas and didn’t care? The dumber something was, the better. And oddly, our friends would say, “Hey, that’s cool. Let’s do it.” Of course that was until we got older and more sophisticated. Then all creativity went out the window. Heaven forbid we did anything to embarrass ourselves.

    Well, unless we go back to THAT kind of thinking and not be afraid to put it all out there and be different, our marketing is going to stagnate and die. People will start to tune us out because we’ve become boring and stale. The end result? Our sales die.

    Rebecca Black got a lot of criticism. And while she herself didn’t make a lot of money from the video, she generated a lot of revenue for somebody.

    Today is Thursday. Tomorrow is Friday.

    Do something about it … before IT does something about YOU.

    To YOUR Success,

    Steven Wagenheim

    If you want more straight talk about marketing and learn more than from all those high priced e-books at NO cost, subscribe to my New World Order Newsletter and get the education of a lifetime.

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  • Jan
    16

    The title of this article should be the end of it. You can’t please everybody. It’s something that should be obvious to every living being walking this planet. And yet, we continually try to do JUST that and then get all bent out of shape when we don’t. Is it any wonder that I’m writing this? Well, if you already know this obvious “duh!” statement, you can skip the rest of this journalistic gem. If not, and you’re still trying to fit a round peg into a square hole, you just might want to keep reading.

    I’m a self admitted stubborn mule. I find it very hard to take no for an answer without at least putting up some kind of a fight. In business, when that means making somebody an offer that I think should be a no brainer and they say “thanks but no thanks” I don’t leave it at just scratching my head and wondering why. I flat out ask them, “What the heck is wrong with you? Can’t you see that this is the offer of a lifetime? Are you daft?” Well, I used to do that, but I don’t anymore. Why? Because I learned a very important thing about running a home business.

    You can’t please everybody.

    True story.

    I just recently started a newsletter that I wanted to be the best newsletter on the planet. So the first thing I sat down and thought about was how I could go about doing that. Well, what’s one of the things that most people hate about newsletters? At the top of the list has to be the fact that a lot of them try to sell you something every single time they send you an issue. The content is more like foreplay for a sales pitch than simply good content for good content’s sake.

    So I decided that my newsletter was going to be almost pitch free. I’d email 4 issues a week with only Tuesday’s being of a promotional nature. And that’s if I even had something to sell. Many times I don’t and Tuesday simply comes and goes. Most weeks are content only and ZERO sales pitches. I thought that fact alone would completely eliminate any complaints or unsubscribes.

    But I didn’t stop there. I decided that I’d try to make each issue as informative as possible without cramming so much down somebody’s throat that they couldn’t find the time to read it. While this is a tough balancing act, I’ve had other successful newsletters by other marketers to use as guides. I was pretty confident that the amount of content would be just right.

    And for a long time, I went along doing very well. The only people who opted out were ones who simply didn’t have the time any longer and had to devote it to other things. That’s great. I’ve been telling people for years that they need to concentrate on the things that are productive. Home business owners waste way too much time on stupid stuff. I should know. I used to waste a lot of my time on activities that didn’t help build my business one little bit. But I digress.

    The other day, I got an email from one of my subscribers. Now I don’t usually get emails from subscribers unless they have questions or want to tell me how much they’re enjoying my newsletter. Most of the ones that opt out will leave a message in the little Aweber text box so I can see their reason. Many leave no message at all. They just move on.

    Well, this one person had to tell me that (1) I was emailing too often, even though I said up front that they’d hear from me 4 days a week, and (2) there was nothing at all useful in my emails and I should seriously consider thinking about what I wrote before I wrote it. In short, it was the worst tongue lashing that I’ve received in quite some time.

    This is the same newsletter that I have heard people say was one they never miss.

    Are we reading the same newsletter here?

    Go back to the title of this article for the answer to that.

    Now, what a lot of home business owners will do is drastically change their newsletter because of this ONE complaint. I’m serious. They’ll stop emailing as often for one thing. Instead of emailing 4 times a week, they’ll drop down to 2 times or even ONCE a week. They’ll shorten the length of their newsletter for each issue. They’ll second guess the content itself and end up, many times, not writing anything because they’re afraid that nobody will read it,

    I could go on and on but I think you get the point. And ultimately what will probably happen is that the home business owner will end up with MORE complaints after the changes because there will be more people who don’t like the new format. Think about it. If it was just ONE person who said you emailed too much or didn’t have anything useful to say, and everybody else stayed on your newsletter, isn’t it safe to assume that MAYBE they’re getting something useful out of it and don’t mind the way you’re running it?

    Changing something for ONE person is more than likely going to tick somebody else off. If you think you’re going to please every single person on your mailing list, you are sadly mistaken. Some people, if you sold them a pack of playing cards with a $100 bill in it for just $2, they’d complain about the way the $100 bill was folded, or insist that it was counterfeit or something. Somebody would find some fault with what they just bought. It’s human nature to complain and a lot of people do it very well.

    Obviously you want to monitor your opt outs and if a lot of people start leaving then yes, you might want to reevaluate what you’re doing. But if it’s just one or two, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you try to please people who are already gone while risking alienating those who actually LIKE what you’re doing.

    Okay, got it?

    You can’t please everybody.

    Don’t try.

    To YOUR Success,

    Steven Wagenheim

    If you want to get on a great newsletter that only a few people have left and learn a lot of great stuff about running a home business and marketing, sign up for my New World Order Newsletter and learn a whole lot of really great stuff FREE.

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  • Jan
    15

    This is a very touchy subject but one that needs to be addressed because how you handle these situations can directly affect your marketing and your business in general. If you’re not sure where I’m going with this one, keep reading. I promise you’ll get an earful.

    Without mentioning any names, I have had disappointments in my marketing life. I’ve had people sell me bad products and make me jump through hoops for refunds. I have been sold things that literally turned out to be illegal but I didn’t know it at the time. I’ve been told that I’d be given assistance with things that never came through. I have … well, you name it. I’ve had it.

    And yes, there are days when I have literally had it and want to name and shame everybody who ever wronged me in this world. So the question is, when do you and when do you keep your mouth shut? In other words, when is the appropriate time to throw somebody under the bus? Yes, there is such a time. But knowing when is the key to operating a successful business.

    In the case where you have literally been the victim of fraud or some other crime (I have been) you MUST speak up. For one thing, if you allow this person or company to go unpunished then you are, in a sense, helping him by not alerting others to what he or the company is doing. I’ve only had to do this once in my whole life. I am so glad I did. I can’t tell you how many people have written to me to thank me for exposing this person.

    But what if it’s not something so severe? What if it’s a personal thing? Somebody promised to do something for you and they didn’t come through. Or maybe it’s a relatively minor thing like work was supposed to be completed by a certain date and was late by a week. There may have been extenuating circumstances that you weren’t aware of. Maybe they tried to email you but for some reason, the email never got delivered. Not every email makes it to its destination.

    Point is, when it’s something personal or minor, you have to sit back and think about your own reputation and how people will view you as somebody that THEY want to work with … or not. I mean imagine if all you ever did was complain about how this person didn’t do this for you and that person was late with this and this other person never responded to me quick enough. Do you think people will want to work with you? Let me put it this way. If I saw that all you ever did was complain about other people, I’d have to think long and hard about whether or not I wanted to do business with you.

    Like it or not, your business depends on a lot on how you publicly conduct yourself. You may have some very valid reasons for complaining about the things that you complain about. But perception is reality. If it seems that all you do is complain and that you seem to have nothing but bad experiences, folks are going to wonder if MAYBE a lot of it isn’t YOUR fault. It may not be. But like I said, perception is reality.

    So how do you evaluate whether or not to start up that bus and send it gunning for somebody’s head? Well, you need to really sit back and look at the situation and realistically evaluate how critical it really is. Minor issues are almost never worth getting worked up about. Stuff happens. We all make mistakes. I’ve made my share of them. If I got thrown under the bus for every screw up I made, I wouldn’t be writing this today. Hey, I’m human. So sue me.

    But if what happened to you was so detrimental that it could have cost you your business, then you MUST speak out. The problem with this world is that too many people find themselves the victims of fraud or worse and just shrug their shoulders. They don’t even give a second thought to how devastating it could be to another person if the same thing happened to them. Apathy is a terrible thing and there’s too much of it in this world.

    Yes, you do have to be aware of possible fallout. If you DO name somebody publicly, you better have all your facts and be able to prove them. The last thing you want is to be brought to court on some libel suit. These can be very expensive. Imagine blasting somebody for not finishing a job on time and it turns out his wife had a baby that day. Forgetting everything else, that just turns into very bad PR for you.

    In the grand scheme of things, use your head. It’s easy to fly off the handle when something didn’t go your way. We tend to exaggerate things when they’re bad and diminish things when they’re good. That’s just human nature, which is why nobody takes a second look at a boy scout helping an old lady across the street but will cause a traffic jam 10 miles long when they see a five car pile up on the Garden State Parkway. God I avoid that road like the plague if I can.

    The bottom line is this, and please implant this on your brain somewhere where you won’t lose it. Tack it up on a wall somewhere. Tattoo it on your hand if you have to. Once you let the cat out of the bag and rev up that bus, and once you’ve road it over somebody’s forehead, you can’t undo it. Saying I’m sorry isn’t going to cut it. The damage has been done and YOU end up looking like the bad guy UNLESS it truly is something worth getting all worked up about.

    I have had to bite my tongue many times in my 10 years of marketing online.

    It may have not saved my life, but it did save my business.

    To YOUR Success,

    Steven Wagenheim

    If you want more straight talk about marketing and learn more than from all those high priced e-books at NO cost, subscribe to my New World Order Newsletter and get the education of a lifetime.

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  • Jan
    14

    Well, I said I was going to report back my Kindle experience from a marketing perspective and in this article, that’s just what I’m doing. I’m in no way finished with the process but I felt that I had enough interesting data compiled so far that it was important enough to share it at this stage. There WILL be a part 2 in this series so stay tuned for it.

    Okay, so what have I learned so far? Well, if you’re thinking of getting into Kindle publishing and marketing your own books, the first thing I learned is that formatting your book is a nightmare. This is something that they don’t tell you when they tell you how great Kindle is for selling your books.

    It seems that the format that Kindle books are compiled into are not 100% compatible with things that most people use, like Microsoft Word as an example. Your book can look really great when you look at it on your PC through Word. But after you upload it to Amazon and let them get their hands on it, well, let’s put it this way. The formatting really takes a beating.

    Never in a million years did I ever think I’d have so much trouble getting a table of contents to align properly. And alignment is just part of the problem. There are no page breaks with the Kindle format. For some books, this may not be such a big problem. For others, this can be a nightmare. Certainly made mine more challenging when I absolutely wanted breaks between certain pieces of information.

    Forget about fonts. Kindle has its own way of displaying them AND you can adjust them any old way you like if you know how. If not, you could end up reading something that is either so small that you need a magnifying glass to read it or so large that it’s just plain obnoxious.

    Needless to say, my first attempt at creating and viewing my Kindle book was a nightmare.

    And the worst part about this problem is that there aren’t really any “fool proof” converters out there. Oh sure, there are some decent ones. But depending on how complex your book is, the converter may or may not do an adequate job.

    But one of the BIGGEST pitfalls and head scratchers of them all is graphics. And the only way I even figured this mess out was through trial and error.

    I have a few graphics in my book. Three to be exact. Thank goodness it wasn’t more or I would have gone crazy. After I uploaded my Word Doc to Amazon and converted it to Kindle platform, upon downloading it to review, I noticed the graphics didn’t show up.

    Not one of them.

    Interesting. They were there in the Doc. Well, actually, they were there in the HTML file that I had to convert the Doc to. Did I tell you that Doc files are a bloody mess when translated to Kindle? You need to go with an HTML file to have any chance of your book looking decent. Forget that Word’s HTML is anything but tidy. But that’s another problem. In short, don’t use Word. Start with HTML right from the start, and with a GOOD editor.

    Anyway, no graphics. Couldn’t understand it. Finally, what I figured out was this. When converting to HTML, the graphics were no longer physically in the file but stored in a separate directory with link tags pointing to them. SO … when you upload the HTML file, you’re only uploading the link references and NOT the graphics themselves. So when Kindle looks for the graphics, it can’t find them and replaces them with some ugly “I can’t find your graphics” graphic.

    What I had to do was convert the HTML file to a mobi file on my PC and upload THAT file to Amazon. That fixed the problem.

    Oh, but we’re not done. Not by a longshot.

    See, the next step is to start promoting your Kindle book. In order to do that correctly, there are two main steps.

    Step 1 is to get at least 5 reviews from people. This is kind of a catch 22. How can you get reviews from people if the book isn’t selling yet? Well, you essentially ask people you know to buy the book and, if they like it, leave a review. It’s best to price your book at 99 cents if you’re going to do this. Even with that, I have found it difficult to get 5 reviews. I am currently sitting at 4 and that’s with the book out since January 4, 1013. That was 10 days ago.

    Step 2 is to offer the book free for a couple of days in order to get more downloads. Kindle allows you to do this with their KDP program.

    That is where I am right now, about to offer the book free. No sense waiting for the fifth review as I might be waiting until I’m old and gray.

    There are several anticipated pitfalls with step 2 but I’m not going to get into them until I’ve actually completed the second step of the process.

    But there is something in general that I have learned from this whole process that I feel I must pass along to you now before you dive in head first.

    When I first read the “instructions” on how to do this Kindle thing (from a collection of PDFs on the subject) it all looked very simple. In fact, it looked a lot simpler than marketing regular e-books through conventional means the way I’d been doing it for many years now.

    What I discovered was that it really wasn’t ANY different. You still needed to create a product that solved a problem and was in demand.

    I made an entertainment book on music trivia. And while there are quite a few monthly searches, very little competition and my book itself is listed # 2 if you look up music trivia, even at 99 cents, it has all of 4 sales in 10 days. That’s not exactly breaking any sales records.

    People don’t REALLY care about trivia. They care about solving REAL problems.

    So we’re back to where we were with our “regular” e-books. The only difference is that Kindle books have a little less competition because the platform is relatively new. But you still have to do all the things you do with your regular e-books, which is promote, promote, promote.

    Point is, I thought Kindle was going to be a magic bullet. It isn’t. And after 10 years of marketing online, I should have realized that there are no magic bullets. Kindle is far from it. You need to create a book that people want and you have to market the hell out of it.

    Just like with anything else in life.

    So before you dive into Kindle publishing, please keep all these things in mind.

    It’s not as easy as some might have you believe.

    To YOUR Success,

    Steven Wagenheim

    If you want more straight talk about marketing and learn more than from all those high priced e-books at NO cost, subscribe to my New World Order Newsletter and get the education of a lifetime.

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  • Dec
    18

    This is probably one of the most difficult articles I’ve ever had to write. And a lot of people will wonder what this has to do with Internet marketing. The truth is, it has so much to do with Internet marketing that it may be the most important lesson you will ever learn if you want to be successful in this business. I would pay very close attention to this article. It may just save your business.

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that just recently we had another terrible mass murder in our public schools. No need to rehash it. We all know what happened and how tragic it was.

    What followed was almost as tragic, but quite predictable. We saw both sides of the argument for gun control come out with a ferocity that would make a mother lion cower in the corner. Horrible things were said on both sides TO both sides. Friendships were almost destroyed over this issue. It got ugly … very ugly. But it always does when something like this happens.

    And, as what usually happens, Internet marketers couldn’t help but put their two cents in as well. Some tried to remain neutral. Others took one of the two sides with all the passion of that same mother lion protecting her cub. And inevitably, things were said that couldn’t be taken back. Lists of 10,000 were suddenly down to 5,000. Sales virtually stopped overnight. Blog posts had more comments than Carter has liver pills. In short, the chaos was beyond comprehension and businesses were almost destroyed.

    Just because somebody couldn’t keep their head in the midst of all the suffering.

    There is nothing wrong with having an opinion on something. There is nothing wrong with feeling strongly about something. There is nothing wrong with being passionate about something and displaying that passion for all to see. Just understand that unless you do it in a constructive and semi restrained fashion, you are likely to see a fallout that could seriously impact your business.

    As Internet marketers, we have an obligation to our prospective customers. Think about this. How likely is somebody to purchase from you if you go off like a mad man about whatever the topic of the day is. Aren’t you, as a marketer, obligated, if not to the public but to yourself, to keep your emotions in check and stick to facts and the “selling” points of the argument?

    “How To Win Friends And Influence People” is a great book. Everybody should read it. In a nutshell, it basically says that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. It’s a lot easier to get somebody to do something for you when you compliment them and/or make them feel good than if you berate them and make them feel like an idiot. The latter just makes them fight back.

    It’s easy to get caught up in these kind of arguments. What happened this past week was a tragedy and nobody who either supports or opposes new gun laws wanted to see what happened, happen. Nobody is happy about this. Lots of people who own guns themselves are sick about what happened. But as a friend of mine who I respect very much told me, separate what happened from the issues. It’s not easy to do but it’s CRITICAL that we do it.

    That same thing applies to our Internet marketing. If we’re going to take a stand on social issues and mix them with our marketing message (maybe we have a web site about guns) we have to make sure that we detach our raw emotions from the issues at hand. Nobody listens to a raving lunatic except to point out that he’s a raving lunatic. But people DO listen to marketers who make valid and well thought out points, even if they don’t agree with them.

    One of the things I do as a marketer, when I’m trying to make a point on an issue is end with something like, “Maybe I’m wrong, but after careful thought about the issues, this is my opinion. What do you think?”

    Trust me, it works. You might get people respond back that they don’t agree with you, but you won’t have them coming back at you calling you a radical idiot, unless of course they simply don’t practice “winning friends” themselves, in which case, you can’t win those arguments. So just move on.

    I don’t know what the answer to the latest crisis is. I’m not sure anybody does. We live in a very evil world with a lot of very evil people. We’ve had murder ever since Cane killed Able. There is nothing new here. We’re just getting a lot better and a lot more efficient at doing it, that’s all.

    But I do know that if you’re going to be a successful Internet marketer, you need to concentrate on your marketing first and let all this other stuff take a back seat, at least when it comes to your marketing message and putting food on the table.

    A lot of people go through life with the attitude “I defend my right to voice my opinion, even if it ticks off the whole world.” The problem with that attitude is that a lot of times, it can make putting food on the table really, really hard.

    Imagine has I written to my list and told them what I thought of this whole situation. How many of them do you think I might have lost that had nothing to do with marketing or the product I was selling. And let’s be honest. Do YOU know each person on your list personally? Do YOU know their political affiliation? Do YOU know how they feel about anything other than what products they’re interested in and/or what they want to learn from you?

    Then why should they know anything more than that from you, especially when it has nothing to do with your business. Heck, a lot of people are just sick and tired of you telling them about your new boat that you got from all your product sales. Great, you got a boat. Don’t care. Just show me how I can buy my OWN boat.

    Some will take this advice when it comes to their marketing and others will just go and lose their heads the next time something terrible happens.

    Hopefully, you’re among the former.

    To YOUR Success,

    Steven Wagenheim

    Want some more great home business and marketing tips? Get my 4 Steps To Business Success and you’ll be on your way to a successful business in no time flat.

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  • Dec
    13

    I’m going to make a suggestion before you start to read this. Go to the fridge and get yourself a snack and something cold to drink because you’re going to be here for a while. After reading this article, you may not feel any differently about what you’re doing as an Internet marketer, and that’s okay. I hope that you’ll at least take a few moments to think about what I’m about to say.

    First, a disclaimer. What you’re about to read in no way applies to everybody or even the majority of Internet marketers out there. But it certainly applies to many. If you’re one of the “clean” ones, you can probably stop reading half way through this. In fact, you can probably stop reading now. But I know you’re just dying to hear what I have to say.

    There is no doubt that the US economy is in the dumper. I don’t know what the unemployment figures are. I don’t need to know. I know things are bad, really bad. And you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that much out. But what you probably don’t know is that when things get bad, it drives people to do really bad things. Desperation, especially when you’re close to being homeless, can do that to you.

    I was there about 10 years ago. I’m not going to bore you with my story here because it’s all over the Internet. Go look up my name with the phrase “almost homeless” and you’ll probably find my story. But that’s not the point of this article. The point, is what I’ve seen in almost 10 years (as of January 1, 2013).

    Bernie Madoff may have been a con man, but I’ve seen things in 10 years online that make him look like a boy scout. And what gets me about all of it is that some of the stuff was so blatantly ridiculous, I don’t know how anybody fell for it. But even that’s not the point of this article. We all know that there is bad out there. We all know, at least I hope we do, to avoid it and use our heads.

    But what about those of us who have caved in to the dark side or those Internet Marketing Demons From Hell? You know, that would make a cool title for a song. But I digress. What about those folks who are so much at the end of their ropes that they’ll do ANYTHING to make a buck, even if they know it isn’t exactly on the up and up?

    Sadly, most of those people reading this right now, IF they’re reading this right now, don’t really care. They’re wondering where their next meal is coming from. They’re wondering if their electricity is going to be shut off on them. They’re wondering if their landlord is going to serve them with an eviction notice for not paying their rent. They’re wondering if they’re even going to be alive the next day.

    So yeah, I don’t think they really care about anything I have to say, even if it may just save their soul. See, there is a price to be paid for doing whatever you have to in order to keep from dying. Sometimes that price is doing something to another person that you’d never want done to you. You only hope that they’re well enough off that the damage won’t be too severe.

    But, as in the case with good old Bernie, may he rot in prison, the harm was quite severe. People lost their savings, their homes, everything. Their lives were ruined. Some of them never recovered and even died broke. The damage was catastrophic.

    Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “What damage can I possibly cause by selling an e-book or membership or whatever it is, even if it’s not really something that’s viable?” You may even justify it by saying that the price is only $27 or whatever menial price you have it set to and thus, won’t really “break” anybody.

    See, this is where so many Internet marketers are short sighted. It isn’t the one $27 e-book that’s the problem. The problem is when you compound that worthless $27 e-book by having 100,000 people selling the same garbage. Then, all of a sudden, what happens is that the industry itself starts to get a bad rap. And when THAT happens, the feds step in.

    Ah, is this starting to sound familiar? I knew it would. Yes, the feds. The guys who said affiliate marketers now have to disclose when they’re promoting something that they get paid a commission on. The guys who said that all testimonials on sales pages have to have documented verification and that any claims, if not applicable to the average person using the product, cannot be made.

    I mean, have you SEEN the drastic changes in sales pages?

    And yes, the same feds that made Google clamp down hard on certain segments of the Internet that shall remain nameless right now, causing their services to be close to worthless if not totally so.

    Even if you’re a cold-hearted “I don’t give a darn about my fellow man” kind of person, you can’t be oblivious to the changes that have taken place in the last couple of years.

    And because of all the regulating to death, innocent marketers have been caught in the crossfire. People who used to publish relevant content to their niche soon found their content not performing as well simply because of the sites they chose to associate with and not so much because of the content itself. I am one of those casualties of war.

    Where my articles used to bring in 10 opt ins per day, now I’m lucky if I get 10 per week. And it’s not because the content has gotten worse. In fact, it’s gotten better. The problem is that a lot of the avenues for syndication that used to be viable are not so viable any longer, at least in certain high profile niches like Internet Marketing and Make Money Online.

    Yes, all because of a few bad apples, innocent ones had to suffer. Some have even gone out of business because their traffic literally dried up overnight.

    And if you think that’s the end of it, think again. This is just the beginning. Soon, regulations are going to force Google and other sites to squeeze tighter and tighter. And no, I’m not talking about the hit record by Alive And Kicking.

    And then, when the squeezing gets to the point where good people can’t pay their rent or keep their power on or feed their kids, those Internet Marketing Demons From Hell are going to rear their ugly faces again and consume what’s left of humanity.

    Fortunately for myself, I am approaching retirement age soon so I can just leave all this garbage behind and say farewell to it.

    Some folks may not be so lucky.

    Think about what you’re doing.

    It affects more than just YOU.

    To YOUR Success,

    Steven Wagenheim

    Want to save your soul from going to IM hell? Subscribe to my New World Order Newsletter and you’ll be on your way to a successful business in no time flat without having to sell your soul in the process.

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  • Dec
    13

    I can see the hate email pouring in from this one. Well, quite honestly, I couldn’t care less. In fact, I’ll even post my email address at the end of this article so you can tell me what a jackass I am. In the meantime, you might want to read this before you even consider getting into article marketing. Why? Because the rules have changed and, quite honestly, nobody cares about your crap.

    You’re probably wondering where this rant is coming from. Well, here is the back story so you can understand where this is coming from. It certainly isn’t from a relaxing evening at Sardi’s. Oh, and by the way, from what I hear, the scallops there aren’t all that great. But back to the main topic at hand.

    So I’m at the Warrior Forum and some idiot asks if article marketing still works and wants to see PROOF that it works. He wanted one of the best article marketers on the planet, one Alexa Smith, to reveal one of her hard fought for niches in order to PROVE that she’s not full of it.

    Well, I couldn’t help but stick my nose into this confrontation and give this pigs feet for brains moron a piece of my mind. For starters, since Alexa’s not trying to sell him anything, she doesn’t have to PROVE to him anything. I then went on to give him the straight poop about article marketing. And if you’re smart, you’ll make a note of all of this.

    The biggest problem with article marketers is that they think they can write about any old crap, slap it up on an article directory, and it’ll bring in LOADS of traffic. My friend, those days died along with the Ford Pinto and New Coke. Today, it’s a whole new ball game. So, I’m going to give you a list of things that you better do if you’re going to have ANY chance at all of making it as an article marketer.

    1. You have to write about stuff that people actually care about.

    2. You have to write in a way that is engaging and doesn’t put your reader to sleep. You can be controversial and even a little arrogant like me, but for crying out loud, don’t be a snooze fest. In short, LEARN HOW TO WRITE.

    3. Don’t make your writing sound like you’re trying to sell something to your reader. People don’t want to be sold stuff. They’re looking for information when they’re looking for articles. The selling stuff part comes in your signature or at your web site. Just give them info that they can actually USE. For crying out loud, help them to solve their problem or at least give them more insight into their problem.

    4. Don’t just rely on article directories. I’m sorry, I love these guys but Google has basically said, if you rely solely on them, you’re not going to get the optimal results. Put your articles on YOUR sites first. Build up your OWN virtual real estate before you build up somebody else’s.

    5. Look for exclusive syndication deals with big sites that are looking for content. Trust me, they’re out there. You just have to go out and find them. News flash … not everybody likes to write. And a lot of web masters HATE to write. So make them an offer. You’ll be surprised at some of the takers you’ll get.

    6. Look to getting your stuff published in magazines. Yeah, real magazines. Who’d a thunk it? Not easy? No, not if you write the crap that most article marketers throw together. If you’re going to write that kind of garbage and expect people to take you seriously, you’re better off buying a pair of dark glasses, an accordion, a tin cup, and a monkey named Guido. Find yourself a street corner somewhere in New York or Paris and you’ve got it made. But PLEASE … don’t write any articles if that’s the kind of garbage you’re going to spew out.

    There’s more, but I’ll stop there. Want more info? Want to actually have some success with your article marketing? Check out below my John Hancock.

    Or you can just go out and get that tin cup, accordion and monkey.

    Just don’t forget to feed him.

    To YOUR Success,

    Steven Wagenheim

    Tired of being an article marketing failure? Get a copy of the ONLY article marketing guide you will EVER need at Insider Secrets Of An Article Marketing Wiz and become an article marketing expert TODAY! Oh, and you can email me at: swagen2167@aol.com to tell me off.

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