Have you ever been writing an e-mail or a report — pouring your heart and soul into each and every word — when, POOF, it vanishes? Maybe it was a computer glitch or a wrong keystroke. Either way, your work is gone. And you can’t retrieve it.

Well, imagine if you’d been working on that document for nearly two years! Imagine if you’d been investing every moment of your spare time in it.

That’s how I felt when I learned about the policies of our new e-mail service provider.

My husband and I had to switch providers because we’d outgrown the free system we had started with. (We were using it to send out our real estate investment newsletter.) But because the old company didn’t have the same opt-in requirements as the new one, they refused to allow us to import our list of names and e-mail addresses.

We had spent nearly two years building that list. And while it was only 700 names, we felt deeply connected with each and every one. We loved getting our newsletter out to our subscribers. We wrote about the mistakes we’d made when we started in real estate. And we shared the secrets we used to build a million-dollar portfolio.

We always dreamed of turning that newsletter into a business. And, as you know, the list is the lifeblood of every online information publishing business.

I credit much of the growth of our list — and our business — to Early to Rise, specifically the Internet Money Club. The IMC’s Director, Brian Edmondson, had helped me create a website (www.revnyou.com) and add names to our list through such things as article marketing and Google Adwords.

As I said, our list had grown to nearly 700 names. And we were about to collect our first $500 check from an affiliate sale AND $150 from Google! The business was just starting to make money… and we were about to lose everything.

Frustrated, I wrote Brian a splenetic e-mail.

I admit, I was a bit annoyed because this disaster was hitting us because Brian had insisted we change providers. His reasoning? The system we were using didn’t allow us to track our results. We had no idea which ads were working, which e-mails generated sales, or where our new subscribers REALLY came from. Brian figured, correctly, that for our business to have any potential to make real money, we needed those stats.

Brian responded immediately. And he gave me very specific yet simple advice. He’d had a similar experience and knew exactly what to say to the company to get them to change their mind. I don’t remember his exact words. But I do remember it was literally three sentences. That’s it.

Thanks to those three sentences, we were able to save our 700 names. Even better, because of the new system, we can measure and monitor our business effectively. We never spend a penny without knowing what it’s doing for us.

Now, thanks to Brian’s continued coaching and tips from Early to Rise, our list is 4,000 names strong and growing! I’m selling my own real estate investing program. And the affiliate checks come in on a regular basis. Considering it took us over two years to get to 700 names, to be at 4,000 names — and nearly $40,000 in revenue — six months later is incredible. And we couldn’t have done it without Brian.

That’s the thing about working with someone who has been there. Everything is a little easier, goes a little faster, and is a lot less frustrating!

But finding a mentor or a good program to learn from is not as simple as grabbing onto the first one you hear about. As I said in “The Problem With Fire,” you have to think about where you want to go. Then, you have to figure out how you’re going to fill the gap between where you are and where you want to be. If you’re going to do it with the help of a mentor, you have to find someone who is STILL active in your niche or industry, doing what you want to do.

In my case, Brian’s advice was spot on. Not only because he’s already been where we are today, but because he continues to build profitable businesses on the Web. He wasn’t telling me what worked a few years ago. He was telling me what he had to do a few months earlier when he had a similar problem.

Brian continues to encounter new challenges and learn new tricks. And he passes them on to me and the other IMC members.

And it’s not just Brian who has helped me out. Several members of the ETR team have given me a helping hand here and there.

Edwin Huertas gave me a search engine optimization tip that took about 10 minutes to implement. And now I’m showing up on the first page of Google search results for certain keywords. Suzanne Richardson gave me writing tips that have helped me communicate my ideas more clearly. Jessica Kurrle made a few fantastic suggestions for testing different price points and making revisions to improve the user experience. And Charlie Byrne made a few tweaks to my sales copy that improved our sales conversions by at least 10 percent.

All of these things would have taken me months, if not years, to figure out on my own. But with the help of Brian and the rest of my mentors at ETR, I drastically reduced my learning curve.

P.S. The key to success in business, including the “go it alone” online world, is a mentor who can help you achieve your goals by sharing their experience. Brian Edmondson, Director of the Internet Money Club, is the real deal. He’s had plenty of success online — but still runs several businesses. More important, he has a genuine interest in helping others follow in his footsteps. Find out more about Brian, and the Internet Money Club, here.

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