Can You Really Work From Home and Make a Substantial Amount of Income On the Internet?

When you’re first starting out with internet marketing, all of the videos, seminars, webinars, etc. may be a bit overwhelming. With so much to learn can you really work at home and make a substantial amount of income?

Well, in the beginning, of course! Before you start anything, you must decide what you expect to gain from an internet marketing business. Is it the freedom of working from home, is it the ability to quit your day job, is it a hobby to earn income, or a combination of them all? After you have made the decision, you next need to decide where to turn for help and guidance with internet marketing? The internet is the obvious place, and while you can gain a significant amount of knowledge from reading, it’s the actual hands-on experience that gives you the power to excel.

As with anything in life, we didn’t come out of the womb knowing how to do things and just as we had to learn how to walk, crawl, and talk, you have to study internet marketing to know how it works. For some it’s a game, But for many its there livelihood, and they take it serious. Many people go the multimedia route to learn the ropes; videos, audio, eBooks, etc., but if you really want to learn the business, and you are truly serious, consider an internet marketing coach or mentor.

Your first thought may be, I am not going to pay someone to teach me what I can learn online, but the truth is there are many things that you cannot learn online, I don’t care how many eBooks you purchase.

A professional internet marketing coach, meaning someone who has lived or lives the life and not just read about it, will show you the inns and outs of the business from the ground up. There are different types of coaching, and after researching some of them, you can decide- this could be one-on-one coaching, or group sessions such as mastermind groups, or online instruction. The group format of learning seems to be the most rewarding for many because you have a chance to interact with others who have the same goal as you, to succeed at online marketing. Through these meetings, you might discuss the problems you’re having, ideas you might want feedback on, or even having the group critique some of your work.

One of the greatest things about pairing up with an internet marketing coach or mentor is that you can learn the secrets that others may not know, things that made them successful. You are also exposed to freebies like new product launches, guest speakers, and most importantly, sound advice from an expert who is in your corner. Even if you don’t have a lot of extra money to spend, consider a marketing coach or mentor as an investment in your near future. You won’t regret it.

So can you really work from home and make a substantial amount of income…… well yes in my opinion. If you search around and find a marketing coach or mentor who is willing to put there time in you and help you to become successful than you will succeed. As long as you’re willing to listen, learn and most of all keep an open mind and know that you can and will never know it all. “It’s not possible we all learn everyday.”

11 Warning Signs From Prospects and Clients – Part 1 of 2

In every high-tech company there is always call for celebration when a new client is landed with a sexy, high-margin opportunity. And while the opportunity may look sweet on the surface, it can be rotten on the inside.

The good news is that we can “read” the “character” of the opportunity during interactions with buyers, so we can make a good sense of what to expect after signing the contract.

In this two-part series we discuss 22 warning signs from prospects and clients which should raise red flags about the quality of the project we’re about to engage in.

Yes, sometimes we may ditch prospects buyer that could become a great client with a great project, but I think it’s better to err on the side of ditching a few potentially good clients than accepting dodgy buyers who later give us all sorts of problems.

In their efforts to produce higher sales, many IT business development folks overlook the typical warning signs from prospects and clients because they feel pressurised by quota-obsessed sales managers to turn every living-breathing body into invoice numbers.

And while making money is a pretty good idea in any business, it is important to consider how much future trouble and aggravation sellers take on when accepting certain clients.

I believe it’s vital to consider how much effort it takes to deliver the value buyers and sellers agree, and the more effortlessly we can do the work, the better it is.

After all, delivering higher client value is not necessarily about working harder and sweating more in the process.

If you are good at your profession, you can create and deliver great client value with very little effort. So, your prospects and clients should consider the end results not the effort you put into creating them.

Some of these points are more applicable to product sales, and some others are more applicable to selling services. However, if you sell complex high-ticket technology products, they always come with related professional services.

So, Here Are 11 Warning Signs…

…indicating that prospects or clients try to treat us as subordinates and try to play the master-servant game, with their being the masters.

In the next 11 points, by buyers I mean both existing and prospective clients.

1. Buyers want to keep you under their thumbs on a “do it as I tell you” basis. They self-diagnose their situations, develop solutions based on their limited knowledge (this is why they hire you) and try to dictate the solution to you, the expert.

I would encourage you to suggest to prospects/clients that it’s in their best interest to develop the best solution, but to do that, you have to diagnose the problem, and then, jointly with the buyer’s people, you can develop the exact solution.

If necessary, push back a bit, but it the situation requires too much pushing, I think you’d better walk away and find buyers who respect your expertise.

2. Buyers keep moving project goalposts. Here comes the famous scope creep. This is a double-edged sword. Buyers start requesting more for the same money, and often, worrying about losing the contracts, sellers agree. So, the scope of work is getting bigger and bigger, while the time frame and the money remain the same. Now, instead of a mass-produced run-of-the-mill moped the client wants a custom-made souped-up motorbike at the same price and by the same deadline.

If you start your projects with a clear scope document, then the project gets documented in advance, and buyers can’t make unreasonable demands on you. But if they want you to deviate from the scope document, they can submit a change request to you. Then you scope out the requested change, price and carry on with implementation.
When the project is properly documented, goalposts can’t be moved without a documented change request.

3. Buyers put you down for every little mistake. Many buyers behave this way because this is how they try to lift themselves up from their own downtrodden states.

Have you noticed that successful clients are pretty easy and enjoyable to work with? Yes, they demand high quality work, but they are also willing to work with you to make sure they get the most out of their projects. They are also pretty forgiving. They are emotionally secure enough to realise that they too make mistakes, and so do others.

It’s always the troubled buyers who demand perfection right out of the gate. The demand constant improvement, but don’t have time to work with you on those improvement.

And even when you interact with them, they are constantly interrupted either by other people or their Blackberries or other electronic gizmos.

Considering that this kind of behaviour can be the hotbed of further problems, the best thing we can do is to confront buyers on their behaviours, but if that doesn’t help, we can just walk away.

4. Buyers advise you on how to conduct your business. This happens especially to those people who are hopelessly hopeless at running their own businesses.

In the beginning of my career, I worked with some clients who hired me just to have someone in their offices to boss around. He would even advise me to drink less water, so I wouldn’t need a pee break.

I think these buyers act out their frustrations on others because they have problems running their own businesses.

And since they are surrounded by raging incompetence 24/7, this is what they see in others too.

Or as French writer, Anais Nin once put it…

“We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are.”

The best thing you can do is to explain to these people that you know how to run your business, and do your best to focus them back on the issue at hand: Their businesses.

If they still insist on poking their noses into your affairs, then the best bet is to get rid of them.

The problem is that you can’t achieve anything with them because they are so focused on how you run your business. But that’s really no one of their business.

5. Buyers regard you as their subordinates, and expect you to dedicate your whole life to them and demand full 24/7 attention from you. They fail to realise that you have several clients but only 24 hours a day.

What many buyers fail to realise that their projects’ successes have nothing to do with the number of hours you’re sitting in their offices. They don’t pay you for chunks of time but for chunks of achievements.

Nevertheless, buyers expect more face time from you with instant access when you’re not there.

It’s our job to educate buyers about the pace of the project, and also communicate to them that they have work to do, and their job is not to pester you to work “harder”, whatever “harder” may mean.

Educate buyers that projects are shared efforts between buyers and seller who work as peers, and that you’re not willing to be treated as a subordinate. Just because buyers pay you, they don’t have the right to domineer over you.

After all, you bring vital expertise to their tables, which would take their staff many years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to acquire.

And if the education doesn’t help and buyers still treat you as an indentured servant, then drop them like hot potatoes.

As the Brits are fond of saying…

“Give them enough rope (to hang themselves).”

And if the problem persists, acquire a reliable rope supplier, and look at your qualification process. How do these nohopers end up meeting you? Tighten your qualification process.

6. Buyers treat the project as a “backburner issue” in their businesses. Projects are not regarded as top priority. The problem is that in doing so they regard you as a backburner person who can be pushed around at will and be dealt with then there is some spare time.

A typical indication of this kind of behaviour is when buyers don’t pay full attention to you but fiddle with their Blackberries, phones or tolerate any kind of interruption.

This is market positioning. The interesting thing is that when brain surgeons talk to their clients about their children’s upcoming brain operations, parents wouldn’t’ even consider allowing any kind of interruption while talking to the surgeons.

Treat people with utmost respect, but also make it clear that you expect them to treat you with respect. And if you don’t get respect in return, then take the appropriate action.

My approach is to remind buyers that either we treat the project as a priority or we forget about it, and I’m out.

Luckily, most buyers are just scattered, so it’s easy to put them back on track and then you can carry on with projects.

But in a few cases buyers have jumped on the next exciting opportunity, and abandon previously important projects. And when that happens, you’d better jump ship. You may have to swim a bit, but soon a new and even better ship comes along, and you may well have a better project.

7. Buyers treat you as a commodity and have little respect for your unique expertise. These are the people who want to see you work and demand that you do all the work in their offices, and that you’re in constant motion. They place value on activities and busy-ness regardless of achievements. They focus on efficiency while ignoring effectiveness.

To these people thinking is the same as goofing off and doing nothing. This is often just projection from their own intellectual uselessness, and they try to compensate for their mental emptiness with lots of physical activity.

These are the people who demand that you show up at their offices at specific allotted times, dictated by them. They try to set your schedule, and if you’re not careful, they can hog your calendar.

They often expect you to stay outside office hours to participate in important meetings, but if one day you don’t show up at 09:00am, they start haggling over your fees how much of your fees you should return to buyers due to your lateness.

Again, firmly but respectfully we have to stand up and remind buyers of our agreements that we’re here to help them to achieve certain objectives. We’re not here to grind out certain numbers of hours.

8. Buyers put too much emphasis on references and testimonials. These buyers seem to ignore the first hand experiences they have with you before signing contracts. They don’t seem to care what they can achieve with your help and support, but blindly focus on what others have to say about you. Basically, they say…

I don’t believe a word you say until and unless I can read about what some total strangers have to say about you.

Assessing professionals requires judgement and discernment, and some buyers simply don’t possess the smarts to do their own assessments. So, they rely on other people’s assessments.

But other people have had different projects in different contexts and under different circumstances. Also, different people have different character traits and different perceptions of other people and their surroundings.

I know I don’t work well with people of type A personalities (Impatient, authoritarian, status-conscious, highly competitive, ambitious, hostile, aggressive, thrive on stress, multi-tasking workaholics) who are driven by perfection usually caused by low self-esteem.

I’m more of an AB type, so I’m looking for buyers who are good match for me, so we can work well together.

Many aspects of your work requires collaboration with several people, so it’s a good idea if your buyers’ and your style’s match to a large extent.

In each engagement you are the constant and your clients are the variables. Using basic mathematics, the outcome of the equation is the function of the variable, not the constant.

Have you ever heard entrepreneurs lament…

“I can never hire the right person”

While other entrepreneurs say excitedly…

“I’ve never hired a less than perfect person.”

As military generals say, you have to pick your battles with utmost precision.

What really matters is the first-hand experience, so allow buyers to “taste” your expertise before engaging your services.

A relationship with a professional is not only intellectual but also highly emotional. Just like a marriage. And no one picks a spouse wife based on testimonials, like “She is great in bed” or “He is brilliant at lawnmowers”. 80% of a relationship with a professional is visceral, thus cannot be put into a testimonial.

9. Buyers repeatedly violate your time by calling you at socially unacceptable times. Again, we have to educate buyers about how and when they can contact us. They may contact you because they don’t know the rules.

Marketing guru, Dan Kennedy’s clients know that they can contact Dan only by fax, nothing else. And they do. I communicate exclusively via email. Telephone calls or Skype conferences must be pre-scheduled via email.

Yes, we can fiddle with the access levels we grant to clients, but we have to adjust our fees accordingly. At any one time I have 2-3 “Concierge” clients, but they pay serious money to have concierge-calibre access to me.

And it all starts with your scope document, in which you specify the parameters of the work, including access levels to you or your company’s helpdesk.

10. Buyers keep reminding you that they could get the same or more value for lower fees. They keep telling you they are with you just as a favour and expect you to lower your fees if you want to keep them.

The problem is that this deal may have been closed based on a need. And not a client’s need to solve a problem, but a seller’s need to make the sale.

This is one of the many banes of having commissioned salespeople in your company. They try to close any deal that can bring them money, regardless of how hard it will be to work with the client.

At this point we have to sit down with buyers and ask them to elaborate on their comments.

Review your basic agreement and the scope document.

Also, review the client’s logbook and weekly project progress report. The logbook is either a file or notebook to document the project as the client sees it. The project progress report is a 1-2 page weekly summary of the project in its current state, including specific pre-assigned progress indicators.

When clients see how much progress they’ve made with your help, they often realise that they’re getting great value for their money, they shut up and carry on with the project.

Some kick up a fuss, and at that point we’d better don our hats and leave the sinking ship.

11. Buyers consider you as a bank, and demand favourable payment terms and special deals. Slimy car salespeople often use the “Man, give me an offer and I’ll cut you a deal” pitch to speed up the sales process.

Some buyers try to pull this approach off by saying…

“Give me a special deal or payment terms and you’ll get lots of work from us.”

But this can lead to disasters.

If you give in here, you undermine your market positioning. You relinquish your position as a trusted technology fiduciary and re-categorise your company as a fungible vendor or even a techno-peddler.

On the surface this approach can boost sakes, but when you look at your cashflow statement, you may see something that you don’t like.

In order to earn money sometimes in the future, you have to invest some serious money right now. I’m all for calculated risks, but this is more of a gamble.

In my experience, only troubled clients ask for special treatments, and we have to be careful with these clients.

Lack of money in a company is an effect, caused by the leaders’ characteristic shortcomings. It’s not bad economy or government. It’s the owner(s).

We’d better stay away from these companies.

Or as the former editor of the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s The American Scholar magazine, Joseph Epstein once put it…

“Some shores are set aside for shipwreck.”

Similarly, some companies are set aside for struggle. And we’d better stay away from them.

Luckily, there are some clear warning signs. In part 2 we continue with 11 more warning signs.

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