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Getting Back to Business

Mom Masterminds Meet-up in Toronto

International "in-person" gathering of "Mom Masterminds" online mentorship group. At left Sarah Zeldman speaking with Cindy Bidar,

Even though it is still “technically” summer so many of us are focused on the busy fall season. After all, in some communities kids are back in school already and in others school begins after Labour Day on September 8.

Summer hopefully provided you with some much needed R&R and if you’re like me that fall “electricity” has a way of energizing you for the possibilities ahead.

Today’s post is all about those possibilities. There’s an over abundance of information online about starting or building a small business and sometimes the sheer volume of information can be intimidating and paralyzing – especially when you’re busy with your existing career and/or family obligations.  I’m going to try to zero in on two practical resources that would appeal to readers of this blog – people who want to work in their communities (either part time or full time) and who have an interest in using the Internet to jumpstart those plans…affordably.

I have quite a few friends who are savvy marketers and managers in various fields but who have not a clue as to how they can take their interests and skills and apply that to a business that they manage online. In other words they have trouble imagining how to run their business professionally without a brick and mortar building and how to attract clients to what will be their “virtual” home on the web.

Here’s what convinced me to pursue an online business: I got the opportunity to meet women and men earning full time incomes as marketers and experts in their various fields…and doing so completely online.

One of the individuals I found online and eventually met in person is Kelly McCausey.  In addition to the numerous resources she has created over the years, most recently Kelly created a phenomenal book for new online business owners – especially women who are managing child rearing at the same time – called “The Complete Internet Marketing Moms Start Up Guide.” Moms are the target for this book but really the information inside is relevant for men and women.

Among the topics she covers are:

  • Reasons to Stay Home
  • Your Work History and Existing Skills
  • Financial Needs and goals
  • Ways to Work from Home Online
  • Knowing Your Target market and Unique Selling Proposition
  • Choosing a Domain Name
  • Choosing Website Building Tools
  • Shopping Carts
  • Mailing Lists
  • Blogging
  • Podcasting
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Developing Systems
  • How to Occupy the Kids While You Work
  • Joint Ventures
  • And more…

My second key recommendation today is another bright star on the Internet marketing landscape.  There are numerous experts online blogging about thousands of different topics, and one of the best on the topic of affiliate marketing is Nicole Dean.  Her blog Nicole on the Net offers daily posts filled with her entertaining insight on the world of affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is about working with affiliates (other website owners) to promote your product or services to their audiences.  Your affiliates do this for a commission and the entire process is automated. You can also be an affiliate marketer for other business owners’ products or services.  Some super affiliates who are really good at identifying products and services that their target audience is interested in, generate a very good income on the commissions they earn from these sales.

In my mind affiliate marketing is one of those sleeping giants ideal for many people especially:

  • Those of us working full-time in jobs we enjoy but interested in starting a business “on the side” for financial security and/or for the future (e.g. retirement years). This is the kind of business that can accommodate travel or philanthropic pursuits or whatever your particular season of life demands.
  • Professional service providers like writers, designers, accountants or business coaches and consultants for whom earnings are directly linked to the time they put into serving clients…hour by hour.  A catastrophic illness or long vacation can mean less income.  Affiliate marketing is a way of developing passive income that generates revenue even when you’re not at work, running your business.

Here’s a great free podcast Nicole created during an interview with marketer Bob Jenkins that effectively explains exactly what affiliate marketing is all about: “Nicole Dean Affiliate Management Secrets.”

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