Have you ever been at the end of your rope? No seriously – I mean ready to just throw in the towel on this whole Internet Marketing/blogging thing.
Well, I have a confession to make . . . are you ready for this . . . Yes, I too was ready to call it quits at one point. In fact, I actually did just that. Step into the time machine with me and let me tell you a little story.
Leslie – The Freebie Guy
For those of you who haven’t been following what I’ve been doing from the very beginning, let me tell you – it’s nothing like what I’m doing now.
When I started learning about internet marketing, I was toying around with Incentivized Freebie Websites – you know those websites that claim that you can get a Free ipod, TV, or other consumer electronics for free in exchange for completing an offer and referring others to do the same.
Yes, you thought they were scams, and yes – many of them are (especially today). However, back then (2008), I was on fire with those sites. In fact, I found a way to not only get free stuff, but also make some decent money.
Ok, lets make this more concrete. I started what we called “Freebie Trading” on January 18, 2008. On my very first day, I made $70 doing it. When I saw that money in my Paypal account, I got so excited and started thinking that I would just do that over and over and over and make a ton of money.
It started off VERY well. In fact, In my first year as a Freebie Trader, I made $28,000+, got a flat panel TV and an iPod, while having a full time job as a High School teacher. I mean – look how happy I looked!
Then I stumbled onto blogging and I realized that I could build an awesome blog about Freebie Trading and take what I was doing to the next level. I then started the blog and called myself “The Freebie Guy”. Ahh mann, the memories . . .
My blog grew to be the premiere blog in the Freebie Industry and I became well known among the Freebie Traders and Freebie Companies.
What I was doing was extremely stressful, and took A LOT of work. Not only that, but if I didn’t work, I didn’t make any money. There was no passive income. Every dollar I earned was a dollar I worked HARD for.
I then went on to purchase a Freebie Trading Forum with 10,000 members, and my partner and I grew that forum to over 40,000 members within the span of a few months.
It got to the point where if I wasn’t eating, sleeping, or teaching, I was working on my business. No time for myself, no time for my wife (even worse), no time for my relationship with God, no time for hanging out with friends, no time for ANYTHING!
I can remember the days when I found it VERY hard to leave my laptop to do things like eat and use the restroom. It was BAD!
The breakdown point
Then it happened – I was SO FED UP with what I was doing and I decided to give up on the system. I stopped blogging, didn’t even look at my forum, wasn’t working the freebie sites, and just forgot about it all.
As far as I was concerned, it just wasn’t worth it. I didn’t care if I was making 1 Million dollars, that wouldn’t buy me all the things I was missing out on. Money wouldn’t have fixed my relationships, and I’m all about relationships. Then again . . . with a million dollars . . . ok, never mind 😉
My Saving Grace
While I was building my blog, I made a very smart decision (under the guidance of some Australian dude named Yaro Starak). I started a list from the very beginning.
After a few days of writing and tweaking, I had put together a Free eBook called “The Freebie Report”, and gave it away from my blog in exchange for signing up to my email newsletter.
The report became a hit, and I had a bunch of people (don’t remember the exact number) sign up for my list. But it didn’t end there – I used that list to nurture relationships with my subscribers. They came to know me for who I was, and they started appreciating the value I was providing.
When I posted an article to my blog that I thought would help them out, I sent them a message letting them know that it was there for them to read. When I found a valuable resource, I shared it with them. They were becoming my friends. I know I sound kinda mushy, but that’s the way I like to look at my list.
What’s the significance of that? Just follow along and you’ll see . . .
The result of me stopping everything
So, as I mentioned before, I gave up on everything I was doing. I had enough and didn’t want to do it anymore and I took a step back from it all.
The result was exactly what I expected. I went from having hundreds of people check out my site every day down to a handful of people. After a few months, my level of traffic was pathetic, but I didn’t care because I was DONE!
However, in my time of absence (which was very valuable), I decided to take a “bigger picture” look at my business. In doing so, I realized that it wasn’t that I couldn’t build my business without working so hard, it was that I wasn’t going about it in a smart way, and I wasn’t setting up systems to let my business work for me.
It was in that moment of clarity that I decided that I was going to give it another try, but that I was going to make sure to do it in a smarter way.
The Magical Moment
Once that decision was made, I went at it again. What happened next was absolutely beautiful. I posted an article to my blog and sent one email to my list, and from one day to the next, I went from virtually no traffic the day before writing that post to having the same level of traffic I had before taking my hiatus.
What I saw that day taught me a very valuable lesson – Having a list of responsive subscribers is a very powerful thing – no joke!
From that point on, I made a conscious decision to focus on making my list better and better, by delivering value and going above and beyond what my subscribers expect from me.
If I had to start over from absolute scratch, knowing everything I had gone through to get to where I had gotten, I don't know if I would've made it. THANK GOD, I followed the wise advice of building a list!
Are you building a list?
That’s a serious question, because if you aren’t, you definitely should be. Just in case you need a simple guide to follow on how to get started, let me break it down as simply as I possibly can:
Step 1 – Sign up for an Aweber Account. This will give you all the list management capabilities and features you need, and you can get started for $1
Step 2 – Set up your list in Aweber by following the onscreen instructions.
Step 3 – Create a Free resource that you can give to your subscribers in exchange for them signing up to your list.
Step 4 – Create a Web Form in your Aweber account for the list you created. This can actually be done in step 2, because the onscreen instructions for setting up your list will also walk you through this process.
Step 5 – Put the Aweber form code on your blog and start collecting subscribers.
Step 6 – Fill your autoresponder sequence with valuable content to go out to your subscribers automatically. Ask yourself – what does your audience want, and give it to them. Make sure you are doing it in a way to nurture relationships with them.
Bonus – As you add content to your autoresponder sequence, also include promotions for any affiliate products that can help your subscribers accomplish their goals. If you have products to sell, this would be a great place to do it. Don’t oversell, but don’t undersell.
Lets end this off with a question for you . . .
What is the biggest struggle you face in growing your list?