- Time management
- Commitment, and
- How to go from start to profit
Enjoy the interview, and be sure to hang out with Lynn and I in her internet marketing forum.
Bob The Teacher: ClickNewz is one of the most popular affiliate marketing blogs out there, and I’m impressed by how much of a community feel you’ve developed there. I’d love to know how much time (as a ratio because I’m a math guy) do you spend on the following blog activities:
- writing your posts,
- responding to comments,
- tweeting about your blog posts,
- linking back to your blog by commenting on other people’s blogs.
Lynn Terry: You actually outlined them in the exact order of time I spend, and priority I put on each of those tasks. I spend the majority of time writing blog posts, and then responding to the comments on those posts. Quality content and keeping a sense of community are my top priorities at my internet marketing blog.
I notice that a lot of bloggers use automated tweeting systems to tweet their new blog posts, but I tweet mine manually – as a means of also opening the topic for discussion on Twitter. It only takes a matter of seconds to copy the URL and paste it into a tweet, and I like keeping it personal.
As for blog commenting, it’s not one of my favorite link-building methods. I find that it takes more time and energy than other ways to gain high quality inbound links, so I usually get involved in blog comments simply because I have something to add to the discussion. The link is just a perk…
BTT: Which area should you do more? Less?
LT: I would like to blog more frequently. I currently post about one post per day on average. I did a little test with post frequency last year and found that it increases traffic exponentially. The more you post, the more appearances you make in Google results, and the more traffic you get to your blog.
One of my goals is to up my posting frequency to 3 posts per day. That won’t necessarily be 3 pillar articles or lengthy tutorials, but perhaps one great post and then a couple of resourceful or fun posts.
BTT: You get up at the crack of dawn most days to enjoy your coffee and the sunrise. Do you give yourself a schedule for how you complete each day’s tasks? Or do you just kinda wing it?
LT: That’s true – I do love catching the sunrise over coffee
I start my day with a mini-task list. This is “the top 3 things I must get done first today”, and it is pulled from my master task list. Nothing, and I mean nothing, gets to skip line in front of my 3 priority tasks.
The key is to keep a master task list, and to keep it prioritized. Any new thing that comes your way goes on that list – it doesn’t get to skip line and distract you the minute you discover it. My own list can become messy with all the strike through’s and additions, so I end each day by making sure it’s correctly prioritized. According to my objectives, of course. That way I can start the morning off each day by simply plucking the top 3 tasks off the list.
Outside of that, which is done fairly early in the day, I don’t keep a strict work schedule. I have tried this in the past, but found that I prefer a lot of freedom and flexibility – particularly for my creative work, like writing.
BTT: Do you have any time management tricks or tools that you rely on?
LT: The one thing that you have to do is figure out what is going to work best for you, in your environment and your unique circumstances. Some people have children or spouse’s schedules to work around, and we all have times of the day when we are most productive. You have to really take a look at your day, and your energy levels, and choose to work when you’re at your best. And if that time is limited… focus on priority tasks.
I use a dry-erase wall calendar because I am “out of sight, out of mind”, and I also use the calendar in Outlook (my email program) which will give me audio alerts. Those alerts are helpful as I often get so engrossed in researching, writing or link-building that I easily lose track of time.
BTT: When it comes to affiliate marketing, a lot of people have trouble getting focused on a specific niche. What advice would you give them?
LT: First, any new ideas go on that master task list – they don’t get to “cut line” and take priority over your current project. That’s my rule. I may register a domain and make note of my idea on the master task list, but then it’s back to work on the current project until it is complete.
Start to Profit – that’s my motto. Once you start a niche affiliate site, you take it all the way to profit and automation so that it’s in “maintenance mode”. You never want to have more than one project in “development phase” at a time – not until you’ve really mastered the process, at least.
BTT: People are infatuated with the idea of multiple streams of income. Do you prefer to develop your streams in different niches, or different areas of the same niche?
LT: Great question…
You want to create multiple streams of income within your one niche for sure. There’s no point leaving money on the table! You should absolutely consider every possible way to monetize your niche. It’s a lot less work to add another stream of income to an established site than it is to start a new site in a new niche.
Once I exhaust the options with a niche site, and have it running as automated as possible (requiring less than 5 hours a week to maintain -tops), then I will often move to another project – creating another website in another niche.
BTT: You’ve been online for over a decade now. Have you ever lost your sense of commitment to your business? If so, how did you overcome that so you could continue to grow?
LT: Oddly, I’ve never fully lost my sense of commitment. There were times that I was frustrated with how things were going, or less than enthusiastic about the type of work where I was spending my time. It has never been to the point of that “burn out” feeling I’d had with jobs in the past, but anything less than being 100% happy always gets my attention.
The minute I sense that lack of enthusiasm, I sit down and analyze the issues. I look for ways to outsource or automate if possible, or consider changes that may need to be made to my business model. I never let it go on without addressing it immediately.
We spend entirely too much of our adult life involved in our career for it to make us even the slightest bit unhappy.
BTT: When you’re developing a niche affiliate website, how long do you wait for it to turn a profit before you decide it’s not going to pan out?
LT: It is so easy to turn a profit considering the low investment involved in starting a new niche affiliate site. To start, I usually have less than $20 invested before I start making sales – and that’s simply the domain name and first month of hosting.
Even my very first niche affiliate site made a profit within 3 weeks. I’ve actually never had an affiliate site NOT turn a profit in short time. At least, not a site that I actually finished.
A lot of people give up before they complete the site, and market it properly. You can’t assume a niche or a website isn’t going to be profitable if you don’t commit to seeing it all the way through.
From Start To Profit
BTT: How did you make your first dollar on the internet?
LT: You’re really tapping my memory here, Bob – that was way back in the 90′s! lol…
I honestly can’t recall how I made that very first dollar, but I do remember my first affiliate check – and it was a turning point in my online business, and the direction I ultimately chose (niche affiliate marketing).
I had a web development company, and I had a client with a large mailing list that I was working for. He needed a new newsletter template designed, and offered to barter with me for one ad spot in his next issue. We had worked together for awhile so I accepted.
I found an affiliate program that was a good match for his readership, wrote up an ad and included my affiliate link. As I watched the sales come in, and then the check arrived in the mail… I knew that affiliate marketing was something I wanted to explore on a bigger level.
BTT: Why do you think so many people struggle to make their first dollar online? What can a new affiliate marketer do to accelerate their results?
LT: Stay focused. Once you pick a project, put everything you have into it. If you aren’t sure what you’re doing – ask! There are plenty of forums, and plenty of sources for solid information, so there’s no reason to go it alone out there and wonder if you’re doing things right or not.
The one mistake I see above all others is that people will start a project or a site, and never complete it. Ideas are a dime a dozen, and chasing ideas and doing a little work here and there is going to get you nowhere – and fast.
Stick it out with one idea… all the way from start to profit.
BTT: You’ve used a lot of methods for making money as an affiliate: reports, blogging, videos, social media, etc. Which has brought you the most success? Has that changed over the last 5 years?
LT: I am constantly testing new methods to increase my affiliate income. My favorite marketing method is SEO (search engine optimization) because it is incredibly effective – and results in passive traffic & sales. That said, I never rely on one method.
The success is not in the platform (HTML vs WordPress), or in the marketing method even – the success is in the model of serving your market, in whatever ways it takes to reach them and engage them in your offer or your content.
BTT: Thanks for sharing your time with us, Lynn!
Want to meet Lynn and me in person? We’ll both be faculty members at the Niche Affiliate Marketing System workshop in Atlanta.