Today we have Terry Dean sharing his own online business experiences. Just to share a little background on Terry he started his online business from little to nothing back in 1996. His story goes from delivering pizzas for a living to building a successful Internet business that he will be sharing more about.
Terry’s business slogan is “Earn More. Work Less. Enjoy Life!” and his basic business truths are:
- having a profitable business
- spend more time with your family
- enjoy it ALL
His passion is MyMarketingCoach, which is dedicated to coaching entrepreneurs in the 10 key principles of success in business and life.
How did you go from delivering pizzas to making a successful business online?
That’s a pretty long story. It really starts off with desperation. Back when I was delivering pizzas for Little Caesars for $8 an hour, I was trying everything to survive. This included multiple network marketing companies, direct mail offers, and even door-to-door selling. I had to be the absolute worst satellite dish salesperson in the world. I ended up with a grand total of ZERO sales while working for that company.
But let’s fast forward to the internet. I heard way back in 1996 that some people were making it online. There weren’t many, but there were a few rumors. I said this was something I could do because it wouldn’t require me to sell in person. I wouldn’t have to bug my friends and family. And the fact I’m a pretty shy person wouldn’t get in the way.
So I purchased my first PC at Best Buy on one of my last remaining credit cards. I taught myself how to use it and got started online by selling some self-help VHS videos. My first marketing strategy was to go in and participate on the discussion boards at Compuserve (shows how long I’ve been doing this). This worked OK, but my big discovery was when I started pushing a free ebook if people subscribed to my email list.
Once a week I sent out an email to my list with content (which I had learned from those videos starting out). And then would make a pitch. As my list grew, so did my income. I’m not 100% positive, but I may have been one of the very first people sharing “The Money is in the List” 17 years ago. It’s where the money was at for me.
As I concentrated on building my list, my income went right along with it. It was only a couple of months before I was full-time online…and I’ve built my business ever since then even retiring for 18 months in 2004 after selling my first online business.
How do you provide quality content, not just average content, therefore separating yourself from others?
The goal in my business is to make sales of my products, my services, affiliate offers, and other joint venture partners. When you want sales, it’s not about average content or even quality content. Content is no longer king online. In fact, I’d even say content is now a dime a dozen. It’s a commodity.
What you need is celebrity.
Pop quiz. Don’t worry. It’s easy. Who gets paid more today …teachers or celebrities?
This isn’t about who deserves to get paid more. It’s about who actually gets paid more. It’s obviously celebrities.
But then people start an internet business and willingly put themselves in the role of a teacher. A couple of years down the road they complain about their income when they should have known better.
If you want to separate yourself from others today, find ways to mix in ENTERTAINMENT and not just content. That means entertain with your own personal stories, case studies from clients, and find unique points of view. Share content that is contrarian. What common wisdom is wrong?
Develop your own personal style and mannerisms that show through in your writing, interviews, videos, and more. Take up a cause and become a hero to your audience.
Remember this. No one sells with “constipated content.” Even the best content will be ignored if it isn’t entertaining, unique, and attention grabbing.
What are three foundations that have proven to help you build a successful business online?
The 3 basic foundations for me are the EXACT same 3 foundations that apply to everyone online. They are: Traffic, List, and Offers.
The first foundation is your traffic or audience you’re after. The biggest mistakes I’ve made in business have always surrounded trying to sell what people need instead of what they want. I say mistakes because I’ve been foolish enough to do this multiple times thinking that my marketing skills could overcome this basic marketing truth.
You as a small business owner cannot afford to change your audience’s desires. That takes a massive advertising budget. All you can do is tap into the desires your target audience already has and focus those desires on the product or service you’re selling. Spend time studying what your customers are already buying. Spy on conversations they’re having in social media, on product review sites, and in discussion boards. Survey and ask them to find out what else they want. And then test your offers to see what they respond to.
Your number one income source will be your list. Concentrate on growing that list. Find new ways to add to your list every day. Ask yourself what strategies are you using TODAY to grow your list? If a customer buys from you, follow-up on them by email, direct mail, and even phone. Here’s another marketing cliché. The money is in the backend. Your first sale to a customer is simply to pay for the time or expense of generating them as a customer. You’re essentially buying customers. It’s the list that holds the majority of the long-term value in your business.
Finally it’s all about the irresistible offers you put together. Ask yourself how you can give customers $1,000 worth of value for $100. Use deadlines on your best offers. Customers have only 48 hours to purchase or they miss out on your best price. Make JV deals to include bonuses from others inside of the package you’re selling. Use trial offers where they pay only $1 down and the rest other $98 in 10 days after giving it a full try. Your goal with offers is to make it easier to buy than to sit there and do nothing.
What’s the best business advice you have applied to your business?
Obviously the best advice I followed was to build a list and concentrate on it. So I’ll give you #2, because it made a huge difference for me also. When I first got started, I had a “broke” mentality and thought everyone else online was just as broke as me. That means every single offer I made was under $50.
With fear in my heart I tested one of my first “higher ticket” offers at $495. Would anyone buy? Nobody had that kind of money, did they? It’s funny because I would have claimed I didn’t have that kind of money BUT I had spent almost $1,000 on one of the first courses I personally bought.
My $495 offer was an incredible offer and my list immediately responded to it. That was the first time I earned over $30,000 in just one weekend online. It was a turning point for me to realize my list wouldn’t just buy cheap products. They’d also buy higher ticket offers if they were jam packed with value and the benefits they were looking for.
So many people today get stuck in the “cheap” mentality and it’s one of the biggest reasons they’re not seeing the success they want from their online business. Cheap often isn’t worth it for you or your customers. What they really want are the end benefits you can deliver. If your high ticket product can deliver the value and what they’re looking for, they will buy it.
What’s a secret can you share in regards to building relationships with your readers?
Here’s a quick one. Claim your own title. One of the titles I’ve claimed is the “Internet Lifestyle Mentor.” You can also assign a title to your subscribers and buyers. I’ll sometimes refer to my customers as “Internet Lifestyle Entrepreneurs.” I’ve used multiple other titles since I’ve been online.
What title illustrates what you do for people? What title gives the correct impression for the celebrity you’re building around yourself? And then what can you call your community to make them feel a part of something greater?
This is just a small thing, but you’ll find the concept affects everything else you’re doing in your follow-up. You’re taking a role and a position in the marketplace. You’re writing to them as an authority, not someone just making a few suggestions. People want to see confidence and passion. Almost everyone suffers with some level of self-esteem issues. They want to see someone who is bold to confront the mistakes in the industry and willing to stand up as an advocate for them.
Be that advocate and leader in your marketplace. Claim your title and position.
How is your business motto (Earn More. Work Less. Enjoy Life) reflected in your own online business lifestyle?
After working with hundreds of clients online, that motto really is a step-by-step process. Most come to me because they want to earn more. That’s the reason I came online. I was desperate to earn more and get out of the debt hole I had dug for myself. Earning more will often require massive action and moving forward. It’s not always easy. But my worst day online is better than my best day ever delivering pizzas. That is for sure.
Working less is the next step in the process. You often find yourself overworking to get through the Earn More stage. It’s just a nature of the beast. Many times entrepreneurs have come to me burned out. They have a successful business but they were doing everything themselves. This is where you start setting up systems and outsourcing more.
For example, one client came to me who already had a good income online but he was terrified of a heart attack with him often working 60 to 80 hour weeks. We now have him down to 20 to 30 hours while earning more than he was before. And by the end of this year he may not even be needed in the business at all while the income keeps increasing.
Enjoying life is about finding your passion. Very rarely does an individual want to completely work themselves out of the job. Instead they have parts of the business they truly enjoy. That’s what this is all about. Discover what you love and are passionate about. Do that. Find your unique giftings. Let the rest of the business be handled by “lesser mortals.”
I am successful because…
I tested everything that didn’t work first. My greatest quality has always been my desire to test new actions while tracking everything. I’ll test 3 new strategies. Two will fail. The other one is wildly successful. Keep doing the one that works and test 3 new strategies.
The biggest mistake I see clients making before they come to me is not testing and tracking everything they do in their business. This includes both time you invest and money you spend. Demand everything have a return on the investment. Track the time spent. Track the investments. Watch the returns. Improve on the results.
That’s how you build a successful business online. Too many people just throw everything at the wall and hope something works. But they never track it so they don’t have a clue how to do more of what’s working. Instead they’d rather just complain about everything that’s not working.
One of the first questions I ask a client is, “What is currently working?” If they’ve been online for at least a couple of months, there is usually SOMETHING that’s working. Maybe they’re writing well or their videos or generating traffic. Maybe they’re getting the ears of some jv partners but they’re not closing. Something is working, but they’re too upset that not everything is working. You build on where you’re at right now.
Anything else you would like to share?
I feel that many “gurus” make an internet business seem easier than it is. Starting out, you will put in a ton of effort. It takes some serious action to get the momentum going. You need to find an audience to target, start growing a list, and create (or find) offers they respond to. A lot of people give up before they reach their breakthrough.
But I also feel those same gurus don’t share just how exciting this life really is. It is all worth it once you experience the freedom of living an internet lifestyle. You are in control of your income and your life. You can build something that truly influences and helps those around you. And you can outsource your business to focus on your greatest skills.
The big secret for me is the relationship I build with my email list. And I want to help your readers more with this subject. Currently I’m giving away a FREE copy of my $29.95 Monthly Mentor Club newsletter just for registering for my email list (is this any surprise). The FREE issue shows you 7 Unique Ways to Write Emails That Double Profits Today. It will enable any of your readers to produce more profits out of the emails they write. Check it out at http://www.InternetLifestyleSystem.com.