Dear ETR: “I would like to expand my business and create a website”

Dear ETR: “I would like to expand my business and create a website.”

“Michael, I am one of many who have read your e-letter from the beginning. I listened to your advice and started a very small business that brings in a small amount of money. Now I would like to expand and create a website.

“I don’t recommend stocks, but I provide people with information about any companies they request. I even tell them that they can get the same information from Yahoo and Edger online. But for some reason, people want to either make their own investment decisions or just use advisory letters.

“What I would like to do next is keep a record of my personal portfolio online for anyone to read. There will be a disclaimer on the bottom of the page that will say that no stocks are recommended.

“Do you have any ideas on how I can get started or what software I should use?”

Jeanne in Virginia


Dear Jeanne,

It seems to me that what you want to do is publish investment advice. That is okay so long as you follow certain rules. You can find out what those rules are later on, after your business is structured. The most important thing now is to create a business model that will work.

To do that, you must first have some special expertise in investing. If you don’t, why will people pay to see your portfolio? You have to have an investment philosophy that lots of people can relate to. And you have to have a good, proven track record of success.

Developing your investment expertise is half of the initial challenge. The other half is learning how to sell your expertise online. Don’t worry about software right now. Instead, become an expert in direct-response marketing and the Internet.

You can start by reading the following books:

  • Ready, Fire, Aim  (my recent New York TimesWall Street Journal, and Business Week best-seller)

Then, when you are done with them, you should enroll in one of ETR’s recommended marketing or Internet business programs. These include the Direct Marketing Masters programInstant Internet Income, and The Magic Button. You should also consider attending one of ETR’s info-marketing bootcamps, which are held in Florida every fall.

If you work hard, it will take you about six months to learn everything you need to know. That’s a significant investment of time, but you want to invest your time before you invest your money… or your money will disappear very quickly

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]