Monday, October 27, 2008

Internet Marketing Can Be Addictive!

Even though I'm not yet really "marketing" anything! There is so much to learn, so much to try, it is never ending…and because it is something I am enjoying, I don't want it to end. Just look around my house and desk at the evidence of "things left undone".

Part of this is totally "me". When I find something new that I am interested in learning or working on, I get pretty single-focused. And, you see, this competes with my natural preference of being somewhat organized and "scheduled" with my housework and deskwork. Realizing this upfront is probably a good thing, so hopefully I can "nip it in the bud". My incentive to buckle down and get caught up comes from wanting to get rid of that "knot" sitting in the middle of my stomach. You might be familiar with this. Think back to when you were school age and it was 6pm on Sunday night. If it was during the school year and I hadn't finished my homework or studies, I would always get that sinking feeling when the theme music for The Wonderful World of Disney television show would come on. Hearing that music signaled to me that the weekend was almost over and if I didn't get busy, my battleship would be in line to be sunk, come Monday morning!

Well, I may not be hearing the Disney theme music, but I am feeling that lump in my stomach, and I don't like it. As much as I want to do nothing except for Internet Marketing oriented tasks, it's time to "face the music" and set my priorities. No matter what, if I stay up until 3am every night working, there will still be more to do. So…how should I approach this? How do I divide my time so that I keep moving forward, yet get my discipline back to reign in the wildness of my home and office?

Ok, here is my plan:

Get back to what I know, first, and get a handle on my responsibilities. My dad once told me, when I was really behind in a course my freshman year of college, to knuckle down and get caught up, THEN, keep working and get a little bit ahead. I'm going to do that. Get caught up on my deskwork, bills and such, then get caught up on the housework and laundry.

Prioritize what needs to be done, in order, with regards to my Internet Marketing business so I can stop trying to do too many things at once, and ending up feeling guilty for not getting anything completed.

Focus on researching legitimate paid surveys to sign up with
Be more diligent in making timely blog posts
Order Honest Riches
Read Honest Riches

Make myself get back to exercising at least 3-4 times a week. All this sitting at the computer is starting to find it's way into the old muscles! Now this one is going to be easy, for I have a great collection of exercise DVD's and workout equipment.

Set a "stop working" time: Computer off at 11pm. (Since it's 10:37pm right now, I'd better wrap this up if I want to post it tonight!)


My conclusion is this: Excess in moderation is fine! There is nothing wrong with pouring myself into learning all I can about Internet Marketing, but, do it smart. I plan to be around a long time, so instead of running down the mountain at full speed, I'll take it a bit slower, and walk. I'll still get there, but in my own time!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Survey Says: Legitimate Paid Surveys Exist...But do they?

You know how I've said that during the time up until now I have been reading a lot in different online forums? Well, one topic that seems to be found in most "earn money at home forums" is the discussion on honest ways to make money online. I had remembered seeing a thread topic about "Legitimate Paid Surveys" and how some people were writing that you really could get paid for surveys. As it always seems, in the middle of what looks to be a good home based business opportunity, somewhere there is a monkey-wrench thrown in under the cloud of concern about the likelihood of "paid surveys scam".

I guess what bums me the most about any idea that sounds good, but is overshadowed by the potential of scam, is that instead of being able to just go forward with working the idea, time has to be spent doing research to determine the legitimacy of the idea. *Sigh* Alas, this is where I try to remember the old adage "Haste makes waste". I know that if I don't do the research, I could potentially waste my time, and worse, risk wasting some money and "business" happiness, if I do get "taken" by scam offers. Resigned to doing the research, I set off to see what I could find for "Paid Surveys Review". I found some, but for the most part, what each "paid to take surveys" user review consisted of was a list of links to paid survey sites with a brief account of the type of money making opportunities, being either surveys or offers, or both, and how great the site was. Nothing I found really made me feel like the reviewer had actually been a "user" of the sites. I mean, some of these reviews had over 50 get paid to take survey links. That's a lot of companies to sign up with! I'm not saying they were being untruthful, but, it did strike me as a bit questionable. Alright, I'll go ahead and say it…I was looking for something to give me the same feeling of confidence I felt when I found Holly's book, Honest Riches, and her website.

Not finding what I was looking for, I made the decision to select a handful of survey sites that had been mentioned in the majority of the GPT (Get Paid To) reviews and join them with the plan to try them out and take my own notes for research, then write my own review with the type of information I was unable to find online myself.

When I get the research completed and the review written, I'll come back to this post and put a link to it. Actually, this is kind of exciting…ok, so maybe I'm not researching Rocket Science, but, I'm finally doing something, um…sort of "tangible" for making some money online! (Or so I hope!)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

7 Day's and Counting

Well, I had challenged myself to see what I could learn online about the things Holly would be teaching in her book along with trying to make some money over the next 7 days.

To get started trying to make some money, I decided to concentrate on two areas I knew something about, Half.com and consignment store selling. For those of you just joining my Diary, HERE is a link to an earlier entry telling about how I first became involved with selling books and Cd's online, first with EBay, then with Half.com. It actually felt good to be getting back to looking around the house and gathering up more books and Cd's to list for sale in my online store. Once I had completed this task, I continued to gather and sort through the larger items that I had originally intended to sell on EBay. Instead of getting back into the online auction program, I wanted to see how I would fare with selling through an IRL (in real life) consignment store. We are fortunate to live within the neighborhood of several of these stores so putting this part of my plan into action was very convenient. Another bonus for trying the consignment store? After they picked out the items they thought would sell, it was a breeze to take the remainder of things to donate to the charity shop where I received a receipt for Income Tax deductions. OK, so no actual $$$ yet, but, the foundation was getting set.

Getting a bit "itchy" to start learning, I decided to delve into seeing what all I could learn online. There are several forums for people interested in working from home and making money on the Internet, so I set about to reading as much as I could, and from the forums, I found links to independent articles and peoples websites and blogs, also packed with information and ideas. Once I started reading, my mind felt like a sponge, absorbing all these random bits and pieces of information, ideas, techniques and terminology, all about things I knew very little to nothing about. It was exciting because even though I was totally confused by all this new information, I was so inspired to keep reading. At one point a little switch turned on in my mind and I started brainstorming…which was really funny since I really had no idea what I was brainstorming about!

Now, this is where I will tell you to take note and consider doing, not as I did, but as I wish I had done. As I said before, I didn't know how I would use all this information I was picking up in the forums, articles, blogs and websites, but, I started jotting down notes, website addresses, and creative ideas on a little scratch pad that I grabbed in haste. There were actually several times that I had a thought, but my lone scratchpad was in the other room, and by the time I went to write it down, my thought was lost. My mind was in such a "free form" that the ideas were just flowing. Afraid that when my initial excitement subsided, the potential blast of creativity would also diminish, I wanted to take full advantage of this great moment in time.

What would I do differently? Instead of using a little scratchpad which resulted in my having page after page of random notes and website addresses, I would start organized instead of having to get organized. Just like when taking notes in school, having the proper supplies available is key. Everyone has the way they work "best". For me, I like combining handwritten notes with computer document files. What I eventually did was take all my random notes and determine how to categorize them.

I then purchased a writing tablet just for this purpose and began rewriting my notes into the tablet, by my categories such as:

Article ideas: For Reviews or Blogs
Items to incorporate in Articles
Blog site possibilities
Blog site theme ideas
Article submission sites
Forums
Web hosting options
Pay per Post sites
Domain name ideas
Affiliate Companies: Are there programs for the following products I am interested in? (my list then followed)
Money making ideas

In addition to purchasing the writing tablet, I purchased a small spiral, dedicated as a place to write my login name and passwords for various sites I was signing up for.

In the event that I had a brainstorm when I was away from my desk, I placed a small scratchpad and pen in my nightstand, by my sofa, and in the car…when I did find that I used the pad to capture an idea or thought, I made it a point to transfer the note into the appropriate category in my writing tablet as soon as possible. To get an idea of the types of products I'm referring to you can click here to see examples. In fact, it's through Amazon.com, so you can even buy if you need anything.

Though I am jumping ahead in the time line, I want to tell you of the program that I am using to write my blog entries, for if I had realized how great it is early on, I would have probably been using it alongside, or maybe even instead of, my writing tablet. It is my Microsoft Office OneNote computer program. For creative purposes, I really like the flexibility of this program, much more than Word or other word processing programs I've used. If you can picture having a notebook with dividers, where you can open up to a page and jot down a thought or quickly take notes, anywhere on the page, and have it automatically saved…then you have a tiny idea of how cool this program is. Anyway, if you want to see it for yourself, you can check it out here, it's the Microsoft Office Home and Student program with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

During the process of all of this research, note taking, brainstorming and organizing, I had read several times about something some people were doing to make "easy" money online, and I began contemplating if I should try it. Hmmm? After all, I was supposed to be trying to make a few dollars this week for my "expenses". I decided that I would approach this idea like everything else: do a little research along the way and make an informed decision, only taking action when I felt confident that it was the right thing to do. So, I did!

Friday, October 3, 2008

How Seeking Honesty Led Me To Honest Riches

Have you ever sat down to do a Google search on your computer, and when you finished and got up, were shocked to see how much time had passed? That's what happened to me when I started my search for a program that would teach me how to build an online business. It seemed to take forever. My results gave me a lot of sites that were close to what I was looking for, but usually they felt all hyped up and fake. A lot of my results led me to several blog sites and things called Ezine articles that promoted online courses. One such site even said that it was set up almost like a college course, which I liked. But then, when it said that it also gave you 15 personalized, hosted websites to help you make money online, I said "good-bye". In my mind if they are giving me 15 sites, then who says my sites are going to be any different from the other 15 sites another "student" has? And another. And, so on. This sounded like they were not really teaching how to build an online business, but more giving some basic information then supplying you with an online vehicle pre-destined to make THEM money, via you, the student. All said and done, I spent about 2 hours typing in variations on the phrase "course on how to build an online business". In doing all of this I learned something that I now use quite a lot. In one of my results I saw that a course was being reviewed, so I clicked on the link and was able to read a more refreshing perspective of the course I was considering, as compared to only what I had read on the courses product information page. I liked that. Getting an individuals thought's on the product. Just when I was about to head over to Amazon.com to try and find a book to order on this, I thought about adding the word "honest" to my search terms. When I hit enter and my new page of results appeared, I nearly could not believe my eyes. An official site called HONEST RICHES. The summary text below the main titled link read (this is a direct cut and paste of the text):

"How to Make Money Online. Resources, information, recommendations & HONEST legit advice and methods. What it takes, what is involved and how to do it"

Once I followed the link and read some of the product review, I was so excited. Everything I read sounded exactly like what I was seeking…a book that would teach me what I needed to learn, and how to apply it. Because of my earlier disappointments that I've written about in prior posts, I didn't buy right away. Using my handy little "review" trick, I searched all different ways to check out Honest Riches. I tried to find something bad about it, looking for a negative review, searching RipOffReport.com, even searching for some sites that rank and compare online products and programs. (I'd love to post links to some of the places I did my research, but in all my excitement, it never dawned on me to save any sites to My Favorites folder for later use.) After another couple of hours, I was convinced that Holly Mann's book was legit, popular and well received. It took all my discipline to hold off on buying the book right then. In fact, I made a vow to myself that I would actually wait 7 days before making any decision that would cost money. This was on August 3rd, 2008.

You might be wondering that if this book was so wonderful and exactly what I was looking for, then why on earth, after all the time and effort I had put in on everything, would I wait to buy the book and get started studying? Well, everything about the book felt right, to the point that I wasn't having to convince myself of anything just to feel ok about ordering the book. However, by waiting 7 days to give myself a "cooling off" period, I wanted to see if my excitement and commitment to wanting to start this learning process and then follow through with it, would be as high and determined at the end of the week.

During the self-imposed 7 day waiting period, I decided to challenge myself a little. First of all, I wanted to do as much reading online to get a better understanding of what might be involved in building an internet business, sort of like my own "introductory course" to what I expected Holly's book to be about. Second, I wanted to try and make some money, either online or offline, that I could put towards paying any of my "start-up" expenses I incurred with this new endeavor. Between all of these projects, I was hoping that the 7 days would fly by!

By Sunday night, still the same date of August 3rd, I knew that I was definitely going to purchase Holly's book, but, I had made a commitment to myself that I intended to keep. So for the next 7 days I would keep myself busy and see what all I could learn on my own and see how much money I could make to put towards building my new business!