Whenever I’ve been interviewed or taken questions in an “Ask Me Anything Q&A”, the one thing I often get asked is: “If you had to start over tomorrow with no list, no products, no tools… What would you do?”
And over the years the answer has changed a little because things have advanced so much in the world of the Internet and the ways we can reach people online.
So I wanted to write this to discuss what I would do if I was starting over tomorrow. Some of the things I’m going to suggest I am actually doing in my business because it just makes sense to make use of the latest technology. Other things I can’t really do as it makes no sense to pull existing working funnels from where they are and put them into other systems for the sake of it.
The truth is it’s never been easier to start doing business online.
When you consider that when I first started in 1999 web hosting cost $50 a month, a domain name cost $50 per year and you had to either learn to code HTML by hand in notepad or spend $500 on Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage.
These days you can get a domain for under $10 a year, host it for $3 a month and you get easy installers for WordPress and dozens of other tools thrown in for free.
Ironically hosting and WordPress don’t feature in my new “if I was starting over” plan. Certainly not as a must-have which may surprise some.
Now I want to be realistic here so I am coming at this from the perspective of having a little money to invest in getting started.
There are cheaper ways and even almost free ways of doing things but they have a much higher time overhead and one of the most important things you can do from day one is understand that your time has a value.
You also need to accept that if you are being serious about building a business online that it is exactly that. A business. And no real business on the planet has been started with nothing and got up and running quickly and successfully.
The other huge advantage of my recommendations over what most folk will tell you to do is that this set-up helps you avoid falling for a lot of “shiney object syndrome.” That’s a massive trap for so many newbies. They get offered the latest must-have plugin or theme and before they know it they’ve spent far more than what I am going to outline and all they’ve ended up with is a huge collection of crap and no idea how to make it all work in any logical way.
OK let’s get into this...
Step One: A page builder and hosting.
You are going to need lead capture pages and sales pages online. They are what will generate you customers and sales.
These days there is a super-easy page building system that includes your web hosting. It’s called Convertri and it costs $47 a month or $497 for a year (I have a special link that will get you $200 off that annual price).
Even as someone who has been doing web page building for years and is quite happy to use HTML, Wordpress or any of the other more traditional ways to get things done I have never seen anything as easy as Convertri for page building.
Their system really is a “drag anything anywhere” page builder and because its all done in your browser you can use it on PC’s, Macs, even tablets (although it’s easiest with keyboard and mouse).
It hosts all the pages you make with it on their lightening fast “Fastly-powered” hosting which means you don’t need to buy separate web hosting. And you can just have a yoursitename.convertri.com type web address if you’d rather not register a domain.
The only thing Convertri wouldn’t be suitable for is running a blog. But for sales pages, funnels, squeeze pages and the like it’s amazing.
And if you did want a blog then perhaps a good route to go would be to use a hosted blog solution like https://wordpress.com/ or http://medium.com (which is free and can generate you some free traffic at the same time) and simply put an HTML frame in a Convertri page.
The one huge advantage over a self hosted WordPress set-up is that you’d bypass all the security hassles of WordPress and you couldn’t get caught in the shiney object syndrome that leads you to buy every new whizz-bang must have plugin that you didn’t really need.
Here’s the special discount link which gets Convertri for $297 instead of $497. http://200off.convertri.com/
Step Two: A mechanism for taking sales, handling affiliates and list building.
It may seem odd that I have grouped these things together but I’ve done it because what I propose you do is use one service that does all of the above.
Zaxaa with it’s addon BEATS marketing system gives you the total package. You can have them handle funnels, product delivery (they have a super-easy and smooth system) as well as an intelligent follow up autoresponder system that will handle up to 25,000 contacts. It can also handle your affiliate system for you and you can get all of that for just $99 a month.
$99 a month might sound a little steep to a newbie, but when you compare the traditional way of doing things where you’d get an auto responder from Aweber or Getresponse and then you’d use one of the free affiliate networks (JVZoo or Warrior+) which aren’t really free as they take a hefty cut of every transaction, it really doesn’t take long to be burning up more than $99 a month and getting a lot less for your cash.
Zaxaa also gives a really good way of delivering “free products” so you can build lead magnet pages and use Zaxaa to handle the lead capture, follow-up and delivery.
You can try Zaxaa out here: http://zaxaa.com
Step Three: Amazon AWS S3 Account.
This is almost optional but since S3 file hosting is free to being with and very cheap once you have to start paying, and it integrates with Zaxaa and can be used to host any non image file you might want to link to on your Convertri sites… It just makes sense.
That is ALL You Really Need…
Astonishingly that is all you really need to get started and beyond. There are a few optional things I’d consider but none of them are essential as there are free tools and open source software that will be more than adequate to being with.
But here are some optional extras to seriously consider…
- YouZign - This is an online graphics creator that is so easy to use. People think I have photoshop skills when they see the stuff I make with YouZign and I don’t! All the images you see on my main blog site http://AndyBrocklehurst.com are made with it and it integrates with Convertri so you can just directly link to images in your YouZign account. Give Youzign a try here: http://viewurl.net/go/youzign/
- Something to do screen recording with. I personally use Camtasia which is the rolls royce of screen recording and editing software but I started with much cheaper alternatives when I first got started. These days you can even get a really good basic system for free thanks to OpenVid, here is a quick video I made with it: https://www.opentest.co/share/5197a3a07e4e11e69db3eb10245a2efeVideo is becoming a must-use feature for your sales pages. Even if you don’t want to talk on a video, doing a video with callouts (text boxes that appear with the instructions) and music are better than nothing.
- Snake Player - Host your videos on YouTube and display them with SnakePlayer to make them look super slick and professional. http://snakeplayer.com - use the coupon code ANDYSVLOG to get a whopping 40% off the price!
- Membership to Resell Rights Weekly. You can pull content for bonuses from here, find PLR that you can rework or work into your own projects and for me it’s a great source of inspiration when I am trying to come up with product ideas. I’ve been a member for over six years and have no plan to ever cancel this membership. My only word of warning is that as a newbie it might be easy to get suckered into downloading heaps of stuff and getting totally overwhelmed. But if you use this resource right it’s a goldmine.
What to do with the tools once you’ve bought them.
This depends a little on what your grand plan is. But I would always get building a list first. So if I was starting out the first thing I’d build is a landing or “squeeze” page. This is a page that collects a prospect's email address, usually in exchange for a freebie.
With the Zaxaa beats system you could just have a sign-up form, or you could use the “free product” feature of Zaxaa which would be my preference. It’s easier to get a prospect to go through a free checkout process than just to enter an email. Their guard is down a lot more this way.
I would seek out solid affiliate products I could promote in my follow-up sequence which would start some form of income while I made my own first product.
The biggest trick to this is not getting blinded by all the nonsense out there and to become a provider of solutions as quickly as possible. This is something I talk about at length in my book “Be a Five Percenter”.
The nice thing about this tool set is that is learning curve isn’t too steep. Convertri is very easy to get to grips with (in fact it’s harder for someone who's been building sites for years as it breaks the conventions they’ve been forced to stick with for as long as they can remember.
Is this plan only for newbies?
No. Although I am not going to convert all my stuff over to these tools I am personally building most of my new pages and funnels using these tools.
It really is so much easier to get started than it has ever been provided you don’t get bogged down in all the shiney objects. Avoiding the WordPress route, at least to begin with will protect you from a fair chunk of these things.
If you look around at the guys who are making serious bank online, you will notice they keep it simple. They don’t mess with complex membership plugins or whizz-bang social share plugins.
I hope this helps many folk really get started in the right way. It’s certainly what I’d do if I was starting again, and I am actually adopting a lot of this even at my advanced stage.
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