I met up with a friend from college the other day. I hadn’t seen him in years. And the last I heard, he was fixing computers — living and working in his parents’ basement.

And then he rolls up to my house in a BMW Z4 Roadster.

“How they hell did you get those wheels, man?” were the first words out of my mouth. “That’s a lotta laptops!”

“Oh, I’m out of that. I’m selling stuff online. I have a bunch of sites, pay-per-click campaigns, an e-mail list I market to, affiliate deals… the usual stuff,” he shot back. “You work at Early to Rise, don’t you? You should know what I’m talking about.”

“But you were living in your parents’ basement! And you were an English major in college. What do you know about marketing?”

He explained that he didn’t know much about doing business online a couple years ago. But he’d found a place to get started. He made money while he learned. And he was able to start with almost no Web presence – just a sales letter he wrote himself and a product he’d “borrowed” from somebody else.

I was going to write an article for ETR about my friend’s experience… but Marc Charles, one of our Liberty Street League board members, beat me to it. Check out his essay below to find out what it’s all about.

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