3 Beginner Lessons for Your Online Business

Last night I returned from Panama and had one of the worst customs experiences of my lifetime. First, the line-up was almost an hour long…

…and then I was pulled aside for a secondary examination.

All three customs agents that interrogated me were astounded I traveled to Panama for 6 days with only a small carry-on bag.

It’s called an “Air Boss” bag (from a company called Red Oxx), and the reason I use it is to be able to pack 7+ days of clothes in a small space.

(BTW, the bag is great for that, but a pain to carry.)

I’m a veteran traveler…or so I thought.

As the customs agent looked through my bag, he discovered an apple that I had picked up in the President’s Club of the Houston airport and subsequently forgot about. Apparently I
was subject to a $1300 fine for not declaring “imported food”.

Fortunately, the customs agent was reasonable and simply confiscated it and told me to eat it before arrival next time.

Beginner lesson learned.

Speaking of beginners…I’ve had a lot of conversations with online business beginners in the last week, and so I want to share 3 things you should do when getting started online.

And these aren’t just theories, but 3 things that I did back in the early 2000’s to dramatically boost my online business.

1) Go where the people are and help them

First, I found the right online forums where I could help the end-user, discover their biggest problems, and eventually start building my list by telling them about my site.

Please Note: I was not spamming the forums with sales offers, but instead telling them about relevant articles on my site when it was appropriate. In addition to that, I was helping them every day by answering their questions.

Spending 15-20 minutes on a forum everyday can be a helpful strategy at the beginner level. However, be positive. Do not get into negative arguments online. That is a waste of time.

2) Network with others

This is the biggest tip that helped me back in 2002-2003, and to be honest I didn’t even know what I was doing.

Back in those days, I was just interviewing other experts for my site, and sharing their wisdom with my readers.

I didn’t realize that I was building powerful connections with the people I was interviewing, nor did I realize I was increasing my credibility in the marketplace.

All I was trying to do was help others.

So start a contact list today of all the great people in your marketplace that you can interview.

Contact one person per day. Interview as many of them as you can. Help as many of them as you can.

Be a connector and big things will happen for you.

You’re going to hear this so much from me that it will probably annoy you – if it hasn’t already – but I guarantee your success will be in proportion to the number of people – and the quality of the people – you know.

Get out there and network. Believe me, my trip to Panama was life-changing, and not just because of the info at the seminar, but because of the people I met.

Fortunately, you don’t have to travel the world to meet the right people. You can start online – for free – today.

3) Fill a GAP in the marketplace

My friend Barry Dunlop (another one of the extraordinary people I’ve connected with) recommends a great book, “The Secret to Money is Having Some” by Stuart Wilde.

And the book can be summed up in 2 sentences.

i) Identify a problem people are having.

ii) Solve it.

That’s it. That’s all you need to do.

Spend a few minutes today thinking about how you can do that.

Now obviously there are dozens of other tips I can give to beginners, and trust me, I will. But we’re out of time for today. So just remember, the bottom line to getting started on the Internet is:

Simply become the #1 trusted source for your niche market on the Internet while building in personality, entertainment, and education.

Essentially, you want you and your site to become the best friend of your readers so that you become their trusted and reliable source of all information in your niche market.

It’s also the best way to do business because everybody wins.

Keep it simple to get started,

Craig Ballantyne

You’ll Be Remembered Most For…

“The people you developed who went on to stellar accomplishments and the people who years later say, ‘You made a difference in my life. Your belief in me changed everything.” – Tom Peters

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  • Hi Craig,

    It was great meeting at the conference in Panama! (By the way, I was the guy with pointed hair, blue polo, and green sandals.)

    After your presentation, I went through your steps for getting started and I couldn’t stop making notes. I now have a list of items that I can start working on! Thanks again for providing such concrete, actionable steps for what I consider to be an overwhelming topic.

    As a beginner with zero internet business knowledge, I’m grateful for the wonderful advice that you’re freely giving away. I look forward to reading and learning more from you!

    Have a good one!

    Hau

  • “Use a Paid Service to Submit Your Articles to the Article Directories”

    What is your experience on this? Any experience from you when the cost for the service is more than what you earn?