Making Money on the Internet. What Did and Didn’t Work For Me.
This is what I started doing seven years ago, and what I’m going to do now is show you what I started out doing and a bunch of the mistakes I made and what worked really well in the middle of all those mistakes, but that I eventually moved to the model I’m showing you now because it’s better for the long term. This gaming addiction.net, the first website that had its own domain and everything and I went and made on my own. I started my business out to help people with video game addiction, because, well I knew about it firsthand. You can see my old school videos with a company shirt and a shower curtain the background, and you can see on this website I made a lot of content on it. That was something I did right from the beginning almost by sheer luck. You can see I did a bunch of writing on here like this FAQ. I wrote all of this with some help from my friends. I did research, I had things translated. What’s really cool, I even created surveys so these are interactive surveys in all kinds of languages and people still take these three years after I started the website.
What I did right was what I just showed you I’m doing right now and what I got away from. I stopped doing this for two years. What I did right was write. I put all of this content on the website. It started showing up in search results and that’s when the mistakes happened. Once I started putting things up on the website then immediately I wanted to start spending money, or excuse me, making money. So what I did was start spending money, I tried to I paid for traffic to come to the website, I tried to sell t-shirts and pay for traffic to them. I think I have some of my, yea so check these out, my dad said that I’d have these in my closet for the rest of my life. I spent $1300 buying t-shirts to sell them. And here they are on my website, do you want to know how many I’ve sold? Two. I’ve sold two shirts for a total of around $20. I gave almost all the rest of them away. Selling t-shirts is not a good business 99.9% of the time. I learned that the hard way like damn near everything else.
So what happened? After my t-shirt failure I realized, well shit, I really need to find a better way to make some money and gamingaddictions.net is just not it. I got real creative about the traffic, I had this linked, I don’t know if it still is, it was linked in Wikipedia, like a hard link which isn’t even supposed to be in there and it was in there for over a year. Last time I checked it was in there still. I was getting traffic and I had, I might even still have one I might have take them off, I had ad cents on here, I tried to monetize on that, that was, I made a dollar or two and got excited. I think in the entire time I’ve had the website I made about $100 off of it, out of the tens of thousands of people that came through.
So after I set up m y first website with my passion I realized I couldn’t make any money on it. Then comes BanWork. BanWork was my first, maybe second, I think second company website. My first website’s no longer active realproductivelife.com. That was another great idea that didn’t work out for making any money. BanWork.com was the first thing I did that started making more than $100 at a time online and I got really excited about it. And let’s show you, let’s see which URL I think it’s, I don’t even remember off the top of my head, maybe it’s down here. Here we go. Guaranteed Facebook results. This was my first thing I did that really worked well. I bought Facebook likes and I offered to sell Facebook likes. It was the first thing that went really well. But if you’ll notice on this website and this website has since been sold so I don’t manage any of the content on it, if you’ll notice on this website there’s very few articles on here. There’s very few things like this or even like there were on gaming addiction. I didn’t do step 1 at all on this website. I didn’t give anything free until the very end of this website and the transition to JerryBanfield.com.
All I did was try and force business in the door and from what I’ve seen, most business consultants try and do it that way. Networking events, direct messaging and marketing, that’s what I did I forced in the door and it worked. It worked to get me where I’m at today. But it wasn’t sustainable. If I took a week off, guess what. No new business. If I took a month off, no new business. It always required me actively working on it because hardly anyone was finding this website in search results. It didn’t have any value on it, it gave nothing for free, it was simply a sales website and there are millions of those online now. Millions of websites that give no value and Google initially ranked me better but then after seeing how people behaved when they came and left my website quickly and after some failed SEO attempts, Google hit my website down and I’ll show you how bad they hit it down. If you search, if you go on Google and search for BanWork, wow isn’t that interesting? That JerryBanfield.com comes up first above an exact match, BanWork.com. That shows you the power of giving those free gifts on your website and that is in the form of content.
But, you can still be really effective as a consultant online not doing that. I was very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, right when Facebook page feature was just announced I was right there to help with it. I’d been looking for ways to make money online, I stumbled right into that one by sheer luck. Actually I guess I listened to a local business owner complaining he didn’t know where anyone could help with that and I thought, well I know how to do that because I had figured it out the hard way how to do it for myself using Facebook ads and fake likes first. But then Facebook ads for most of my business.
So what did I do here? And this is where you might be able to get some great insights about having a business system that works as a consultant. So what I did here you can see I have services so I jumped straight to the core offering. I didn’t collect any email addresses and I didn’t offer anything free I jumped straight into the bed if you want to talk about it in sex terms. No dates, no dating profile, straight into the bed. That’s how my website worked and that’s how a lot of consultants I work see, you jump straight into the bed with them. They don’t give you anything maybe a free consultation but you have to pay them for service and that’s how I work. And this was my first really successful service. On my ad campaign setups, especially on Facebook, these were in such demand that I raised the price up to $400 from starting at $99. I actually made more sells as I raised the price higher and the more I did it, I got more confident. I had weeks where I sold ten to twenty plus of these ad campaign setups. It quickly got out of control. The better I did, the more business I got and I wasn’t set up to handle more business. But the worst thing is, the most business I got the more word of mouth went out, then I got roped into spending a bunch of time trying to convert all these leads. I had some weeks, anywhere from 50 to 100 leads come in. I would be spending 10, 15 plus hours just emailing and calling brand new leads. The business system crashed.
So what I’m saying is, if you set up a system that’s completely based on services, you’re totally beholden to doing the work. So if I stopped responding to the emails, my business dried up immediately. When I got overwhelmed and I couldn’t deliver all these ad campaigns, in July in 2013 I oversold damn near double what I could handle, deliver. Because I kept prioritizing new clients in. I figured if you already paid me 400 or more, why would I want to talk to you until I got everyone else to pay me too. That worked great for making money in July, and everything fell apart by the end of the year. I didn’t build, I, by some incredible luck I built one incredible relationship through all of this. I kept in touch with one client that continually gave me bigger work. And I screwed it up for all the rest of them. There were a ton of people out there that needed my help and I messed it up because my business system was not set up to handle success. I tried to scale every part of it and every part of it ended up being a failure because I didn’t adequately have replicated what I needed to do for the client.
And then it all came crashing down. Everything, I went from selling twenty plus campaigns setups in July and having all of my existing repeat automatic business so a bunch of new campaign setups, a bunch of other big orders on things like Facebook likes, to have by the end of the year I had only a handful of clients left. I just, I put so much energy into generating the leads on the front end of the business system that as soon as I stopped putting that energy in for a month or two and my service for my existing clients all went downhill, by December I had almost nothing. I had hardly any leads, I had expenses way higher than my revenue because I had set up my entire business system to aggressively direct market business. So in other words, I would go out and grab business. I would send people an email directly or Facebook message that they should come to my website, but as soon as I stopped doing that, boom, no more business.
In the depths of that frustration I realized I had to make a business model. One that didn’t die as soon as I did. But this still worked really well, this got me to a place where I could afford to have my own company and work full time on my own. At one point I had around 90 people working for me on Odesk with this system. I outsourced almost completely the lead generation and I outsourced some of the campaign set up and t hat’s when my business system broke. It fell apart. It was not set up for success. So, what I’ve shared with you is a business system that is set up for success. You can see my system that I have now grows slowly over time. My search results go up a little bit each month. My direct traffic goes up a little bit each month. My YouTube views and subscribers go up a little bit each month. It’s predictable. I get group membership applications, I just launched a group recently and I get applications every week and I get a new member or two every week. It’s predictable. It’s scalable, steadily. What I did here it worked so well it fell apart.
So as a consultant it’s important to remember that you want to make something that’s more consistent versus scalable because consistent is comfortably scalable. This is comfortably scalable. I have almost no discomfort in scaling what I’ doing now. This was very uncomfortable. It took, one of the reasons my business crashed was I had months where almost all I did was spend time hiring people on Odesk and outsourcing all my work. That’s where it crashed. There was no personal value. Everything felt very automated and it felt like working with an agency but the difference was, unlike an agency, I hadn’t built any relationships with these clients. I didn’t have sales people talking to them.
But this system can still work really well and especially if you offer services like you can see this is a clear value service. I offered to set up an ad campaign. I don’t do this anymore but I offered to set up ad campaigns. It’s a very clear and specific service. So if you’re having a question of well how should I get started, what should I offer to do, offering services is really good. You can see the prices on these. People will pay that and much more for a simple straight forward service if you already know how to do it. $400 for an ad campaign set up is a great deal in terms of if you know how to make ads, you can spend a few hours doing it and you make $400. That’s a great deal when you’re getting started and that can be one of your core offerings that I was talking about.
So services are very easy in terms of understanding. The client knows what they’re going to get, you know what you’re going to give. The problem is, this works good up until you get successful with it. It works good when you’ve got maybe five, ten clients, enough where you can remember all of their names, remember what you’re doing for all of them, works good until then. Where it starts to fall apart is when you get more than that and I say fall apart because if you’re an online consultant, you often are just looking to make money or build into a new lifestyle. If what you’re doing turns into a job, then you’ve often lost what originally you ere trying to do and have a free lifestyle. So in other words, if you have so many clients that you literally can’t take a vacation, you have client calls all day, you have emails you have to send and work you have to do all the time, that’s a job. That’s not a business, that’s a job. And that’s exactly what happened to me a little over a year ago. I had a job, I was sitting there at my computer realizing damn, I have a job. I have all these clients I have to do work for and yet I get no benefits, I have no job security, but I still went and made myself a job. It was better than having a job working for someone else, but it still was a job and the worst part was I was always stuck with the boss. The boss was me and I was the worker. So I had to manage myself. I had to work all the time. I worked and worked and worked until I got burned out.
But this is still a great way to start off. Here are some of the problems with it. So what happens when, what happens when you get too many people that want one of these. So you can see there’s an email down here for free consultation or a custom solution. What happens when you get too many of those emails? I’ll tell you what happens, you end up spending most of your time answering those emails and free consultations. That’s why now I have this contact form like this. I don’t put my email on my website now. You have to subscribe to my emails because if I’m going to spend time emailing you, you should at least be willing to subscribe to my emails if you want that personal attention because I give so much free content. The problem is when you don’t have that free content, what you have to do is share all of that via email and then what happens? Client, potential client, or lead number one asks questions a, b, and c, lead number two asks questions b, c, and d, lead number three asks questions, a, b, c, d, e, and f. You end up spending your time answering all these questions that you could in fact answer all on your website. This is what happens to a lot of consultants. Right when things start going well, we get bogged down with our own success and that’s when the quality starts to deteriorate. Have you noticed working with other people online there’s this dichotomy, they’re either too busy they don’t have time for you or they have nothing to do except pay complete attention to you. They have excellent perfect service, they’re always noticing what you’re doing. But what happens? You tell your friend about them, now your friend’s doing business with them, a couple months later, now, they don’t have time for you anymore. And that’s what exactly what happened to me.
You end up, when you make great services, let me say here, if you make services that suck it’s real easy, no one will buy them, it’s real simple. So I’m talking about when you get it to work right. When you have services up no one’s buying, you need to stop offering them. I had a website and there might still be some evidence of it on this website, I used to offer to do everything and so what I’m showing you is already what I did before, this is already a step ahead of that, it’s very specific. When you offer to do everything and no one hires you to do anything, well obviously you’re going to move o n. But the real pain in the ass of being a consultant is when you get things working just good enough to get excited. Because when nothing’s working, you’re going to keep doing other things, you’re going to keep trying other things. You’re not, I hope, going to keep doing things that don’t work. So the real challenge for me is when I did something that did work. What the hell do I do, I didn’t have any idea where I could go to figure out what to do. But when I got this service to work really good, my customer service especially via email went way down hill. I stopped taking phone calls which made it harder to build relationships. It got frustrating really fast.
So the thing is, with consulting business or trying to have a business system online, the trick is to try and think ahead to getting it to work and I thought ahead a little bit, I thought well if I get people ordering 20, 50 ad campaigns a month I’ll just hire someone else to do it. That was not very easy to do. That was the most critical portion of the work and I did hire someone who was very good with online ads but it wasn’t the same and the clients notice the difference. They hired me because they saw the results I put out for previous clients and then when it didn’t come out like that, they quickly got the feeling something wasn’t right and they left. If you’re doing something that’s working very well, I t can be very hard to replace yourself and often taking the effort to replace yourself can disrupt everything else you’re doing.
So this is my new system, the idea with this is, I want to be able to run almost everything with no help until I have total validation that everything is worth doing. So I don’t want to just hire out a blog writer. I did that on Banwork.com. I paid someone $20 an hour to write my blog for me. I have never to date proven that any blog post they wrote converted a sale. The blog post I had written on my old blog which I imported to my website, some of the blog posts I had written got sales. But the thing was they got sales because of what and how I wrote them. Hiring out a ghostwriter on your website can be very challenging if that ghostwriter doesn’t have the exact same things in their head you do which they often don’t. So for scaling up a consulting business, it’s really challenging to do it if you just offer services like this, but it can still give you the opportunity to launch your business and get off the ground.