Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Investing in your online business

This week I have been investing in a few bits and pieces which should hopefully reap some good rewards.

With so many offers flying around, major launches by big names, and a host of smaller offerings it is often hard to decide what is a good choice.

I was almost tempted by Joel Comms new Adsense package, but he blew it on 2 major accounts.

First off was when he mentioned he doesn't know much about HTML. Wordpress templates have to be 100% right for compatibility with all the plugins and widgets. They can't just be chucked together with the same CSS as other pages and get everything looking right, especially when you have lots of content in multiple child categories.
The bonuses on offer were actually more valuable than the templates, but even then many were not ideally suited for use with Wordpress sites.
In addition I sent them a support ticket just a few minutes after the site went live. I still haven't received an answer back.
It is a physical product. As you know I run my business from the UK, but I live in Poland. Shipping and importing to Poland is a nightmare if a package gets stopped for import duties.
Whilst Joel would only have charged $20 for shipping, the Polish authorities don't have to believe that fee is accurate. They can decide that $100 - $150 was the actual shipping fee.
If the paperwork isn't completed corectly, instead of paying only $5 or so in duty, I could end up paying 30-40% on the total $197+$150 - so maybe an extra $150. Add to that admin fees and a $200 purchase costs $400.

But then there is the time investment. I might have to actually travel to the customs office to sort out paperwork, faxes back and forth. Maybe shipping new sales documentation from the US because of some error etc.

You might think I am over exagerating, but I have paid $200 import duty on a single CDR beta version of a game I was once sent by a publisher. Importing CDs to Poland was my main line of business for over 10 years, often into 7 digits worth per year.

Stomper didn't attract me. I often worry about non competition clauses. I have some major plans ahead and avoid anything that might be looked on as even vaguely in the same direction. This is especially true if they have hidden features that are a secret weapon.
That is actually one of the reasons I dropped out of Portal Feeder. I might have ended up helping to shape it's future, and in some ways that would have overlapped with some of my own plans, especially smaller projects that didn't happen due to my time offline.

They don't come close to one of my major projects that even 1 year after I first conceived the concept and made some initial appraoches to technology partners, is still fresh, state-of-the-art and begging for a green light (from my bank balance... ) ;)

So what have I spent money on?

First off Affiliate Project X. That is an affiliate link but this is way after the big guys have been promoting it. I found it highly motivational for my major project which combines some of underlying concepts. The primary concepts are pre-selling and being sneaky. It isn't an ebook filled with 10 products that you simply must buy to get it working. The strategies work - I have made around 10x my investment back over the last week. It doesn't require a mailing list (which is a good job, I have never mailed my 1K+ subscribers - when it happens it will be juicy)

My largest investment this week was Domain Dashboard. It is a tool for managing domains with cpanel and whm. I am setting up a lot of new sites, and managing what is happening on each hosting account is becoming a pain. You can do it with lots of bookmarks, but even using a tool like roboform for filling in all the passwords it eventually gets too much.

Last off I purchased some Adsense backgrounds. I have sites that get 100+ unique visitors per day yet don't cover domain purchase and hosting fees. I have used a couple so far over on my Wordpress Plugins site which has recently changed domain name. (more about that on the site)
It is one of my poorer performers atm, but that will change. I have full time programmers working on some very neat wordpress plugins. Most of them will be free, so well worth subscribing to my plugins blog.

So I have invested in products that:-

1. will enhance my approach to my business (Project X)
2. will save me time and help me work more efficiently, no matter what kind of sites I create
3. Something that will help my existing sites make more money (Adsense Backgrounds)

There are lots of smaller investments you can make that will make a direct measurable change to your business. It is often better to make small purchases than buy one large training package, mentoring program etc.

The gurus all preach about the little changes you can make to your business that soon amount to big changes. Then they try to rape your wallet for something you don't need, an all in one solution.

I am only investing profit. If you go back into the archives you might recall that not much more than a year ago I was making sites on free hosting.