Wow what a journey it’s been so far! I’ve certainly experienced my share of highs and lows, frustrations and anxieties. But this experience has far exceeded my expectations. Not only am I learning new skills that will take me places (literally), I’m meeting interesting, intelligent and inspirational people from all over the world.
But like any beginner, I’m learning through hard work, determination, trial and error. Here, I share with you some of the mistakes I’ve made and lessons I’ve learnt since starting this amazing journey. I’ll be updating this page as I go, but in the meantime, enjoy – I hope you get something out of it. And please do give me your feedback at the bottom.
1. There’s definitely no silver bullet.
The internet marketing ‘gurus’ make online marketing and social media sound so easy. What we forget is that these people have been doing this stuff for years. As beginners, we’re starting from scratch – and it’s hard work! I’m on my computer at least 10 hours a day, almost every day – searching, reading, connecting and learning. There’s definitely no easy way to be in this game.
2. They say ‘love conquers all’ – I think they may be right!
Passion is an energy that comes from the heart and there’s no faking it. My first blog was a total disaster because I wasn’t passionate about the niche I chose. Even though it was a great blog with [what I thought was] good information and a free e-book to boot, when it came to social media, I bombed badly because I couldn’t post from the heart – and it showed. So I quit.Business is something I’ve always been passionate about, so this niche is just perfect for me!
3. Decide if you’re Arthur or Martha
Ah… branding. Branding is one of the most important parts of your business strategy because it’s how you identify yourself to the world. It’s so important to get your branding right, right from the beginning or you could land yourself in a spot of bother, like I did.
I had two different names – Copytutor in Twitter (as I’m creating a copywriting tutorial) and The Online Marketing Rookie everywhere else. I won’t bore you with the details, but changing my Twitter username to be consistent was a total pain in the proverbial. Not only was my Twitter account linked to so many places, but 3rd party software such as Buffer, Hootsuite and Twylah don’t make it easy to change usernames, so best to avoid having to do it in the first place.
4. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is
When I first started on this journey I attended a ‘free’ seminar that felt like a cross between a brightly-lit nightclub and an evangelistic gathering. It was odd, but for a beginner, the info I received was really helpful and got me started in this business. Cool!
But what I’ve since discovered is that the creators of these seminars aren’t there to help you, as they claim. Their goal is to entice you to part with your money (and it’s a lot of money! They make hundreds of thousands every seminar) using sneaky – but clever – tactics. Even a cynic like myself got sucked into the hole and bought a course that: 1) promoted what I consider to be unethical practices, and 2) was totally overpriced. The course did help a little, but more from a motivational perspective than anything else, given I’d paid so much for it.
So if you’re a newbie like me, go along to ‘free’ seminars because you’re likely to learn something from them. But go with your eyes open, and think carefully before parting with your money – the hype and false promises are often really too good to be true.
5. Yep, multitasking is unproductive
Do you have a gazillion things going on at once? Are you constantly distracted by social media and interrupted by phone calls, text messages and Facebook chats? I hear you…
So I recently started my own productivity system. Here’s how I try to organise myself:
A To Do List at the beginning of every day, then crossing things off and adding to it as I go during the day
Scheduling tasks for every hour of my day – usually I block off an hour every morning to check and respond to emails, then schedule other tasks throughout the day
Scheduling 2 communication-free hours every day to focus on stuff like this blog, my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. By communication-free, I mean turning off phones and closing down emails and Skype.
It works pretty well, but only when I’m using it. If you have a productivity system that’s working really well for you, I’d love to hear about it! Please leave me a comment below.
6. Networking works!
The internet can be a lonely place, and when you’re learning so many different things at once, it can be really helpful to have a network of people you can connect with. I now talk to and meet up other online marketers regularly and connect with experts I’ve met online. For me, it’s about having support, people to bounce ideas off, and people I trust to review my work before it gets published.
So join forums, send messages to experts, talk to others on Facebook, and attend local networking events. You’ll be all the better for it – mentally, emotionally and knowledge-wise.
7. Be your Own Host
Most blogging pros will tell you to host your own website/blog. Well, I’ve discovered that they’re right! But add to that your own email subscription system as well.
As a rookie, it’s easy to take up offers of help from others, but what I’ve learnt is that it’s better to bite the bullet and do it yourself. You see, both my blog and email subscriptions were initially hosted by a good friend who has a web business. But a couple of weeks in, and I had to transfer both to new hosting services – which wasted days of my time and created havoc from having to transfer files and lists.
The thing is, when you’re a rookie, you’re learning through trial and error. A simple mistake I madecaused spammers to infiltrate my friend’s hosting site, which affected his clients as well. Then another simple mistake (not disclosing my physical address in emails) caused a warning from the US Feds regarding SPAM; the problem could’ve been fixed easily but instead, my friend panicked and closed my account without talking with me about it first.
So now I’m using Hostgator for web hosting and have my own AWeber account for email subs. With your own hosting, it may cost a little more but you certainly have better control over your own business.