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Internet Marketing: How to Tell When to Start Spending Money to Make Money Online (Pt I of III)

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If you’re a regular reader of my posts here on BloggingTips, then you know that I’m a freelance writer. In addition to working for clients, I write and publish my own ebooks. While I’m a big proponent of article marketing, I’ve recently started to spend money to promote my line of ebooks.

Just to give you a little background, I’ve been writing and publishing ebooks since 2004. I’ve never spent money to promote my line until recently. So, how did I decide it was time to take the plunge?

Following are some guidelines – and my reasons – for deciding to take this route.

FYI, I will be writing here at BloggingTips every Monday through Wednesday (roughly 10am EST) now. So, this post will be broken into three parts.

The #1 Guideline to Consider Before Spending Money to Make Money Online

Level Sales: My ebook sales have reached a predictable, comfortable level. This has happened only in the last year or so. It’s happened because I’ve put in a predictable, comfortable level of marketing effort.

For example, I know that if I write and distribute 3-5 articles to article directories every week, then I will sell a certain number of ebooks. Why is this important?

Why You Should Have a Level Sales Volume Before You Spend Money to Make Money Online

Having a level sales volume is important to me for three reasons:

(i) It allows the business to pay for itself, so to speak. Many internet marketers have little or no marketing money. So initially, you are forced to use free and/or low-cost methods to generate sales.

Article marketing is my favorite free method. Some others you may try are press release distribution, blogging, guest blogging and forum posting.

(ii) The second reason a level sales volume is important is because it gives you an effective fall-back marketing option. I believe that every business should rely on two or three different marketing methods to promote their enterprise. And, one or two of them should be free and/or low-cost.

The reason is, if you ever run out of money and/or need to cut back for whatever reason, you will still have an effective way to get the word out about your product/service.

(iii) The third reason a level sales volume is important is because if you’ve built your sales volume using free methods, it means you’re passionate about your product/service.

When I first started promoting my ebooks, I’d go weeks without a sale, then I’d sell one or two, then go weeks – and sometimes a couple of months – without a sale. But, I kept plugging away. I kept writing new ebooks and promoting them when I could. Sales slowly, but continually, increased.

To be fair, when I first started writing ebooks, my intention was never to make a full-time living doing it. Hence, I didn’t spend a lot of time on marketing. I just wrote the ebooks, added them to my website and that was basically it.

But the more I wrote and saw the potential, the more excited I became about making it a full-time income (I’m still not there yet). And, the more feedback I received from readers about how helpful they were, the more it made me want to put out other titles. All of these things spurred me on.

A level sales volume proves that you have a desired product – one that if you put more marketing might behind it – could succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you the second guideline I follow before spending money to make money online.

And, a big thanks Kevin for the expanded opportunity to write for your blog. It rocks!

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Yuwanda Black is the founder of New Media Words (NewMediaWords.biz), an SEO writing company, and the publisher of InkwellEditorial.com, a leading blog for info on how to start a successful freelance writing career. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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How to Start an Affiliate Marketing Business with Little to No Money

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Nearly two-thirds of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, saving minimal funds or none at all. If this sounds familiar, you might feel like it’s impossible to turn your financial situation around. After all, you need to have money to make money, right?

Actually, the truth is a little bit different. There are some lucrative side gigs you can start right now with no funding at all. Eventually, these side gigs can even turn into full-time jobs.

One of those no-money gigs you can start right now is becoming an affiliate marketer.

Wondering how to start an affiliate marketing business? We can help. This guide provides everything you need to get started – keep reading to learn how to make the money you deserve!

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is one of the newer and more exciting ways to make money online while working at home.

Basically, you’ll partner up with a business to help them sell their products online. You create a website and add useful content, such as product reviews. But you also put affiliate links in your posts; that way, people reading your posts can use the links to buy the products you mention.

Every time someone makes a purchase using one of your affiliate links, you’ll get paid a commission on it. As you grow your site, add more links, and gain new readers, your profits can increase exponentially.

This is a win-win situation for both you and the brands you’re linking to. They make money because you’re helping them gain exposure to new customers. And, of course, you generate revenue with every sale made through your site.

However, you can’t just create a website, start linking to products, and call it affiliate marketing. You need to use the proper affiliate links to get commissions from the sales.

Is Affiliate Marketing Right for You?

There are many things that make affiliate marketing appealing to beginners.

First of all, it doesn’t require any money to get started. You’re not selling products that you carry, so you don’t need to stock up on inventory. The online marketing tactics you’ll use to gain customers don’t require any funds, just some time spent learning how to do them.

You can also choose any niche for your affiliate marketing site. You don’t want to have a general site that features all kinds of random products. Instead, you can choose an area that you’re interested in, such as cooking or fashion, and build your affiliate marketing site around that.

The people who succeed most with affiliate marketing tend to be motivated self-starters. There won’t be anyone watching over your shoulder to make sure you get the work done. But if you’re committed to the idea of making money as an affiliate, you shouldn’t find it too hard to invest the time needed to get off the ground.

How to Start an Affiliate Marketing Business: The Step-by-Step Guide

Ready to get started? Let’s take a look at how to start an affiliate marketing business with no funding at all.

1. Get on Social Media

If you already have a thriving social media presence, you’re on your way to affiliate marketing success. No social media presence yet? It’s time to start building.

Social media is another way to put your affiliate links in front of potential customers. You can start making affiliate marketing money on your favorite social media sites before your website or blog is even finished. However, to make money this way, you’ll need to be sure to have a solid following. Famoid is a perfect example of a company that focuses solely on social media, and has helped improve branding and reach for thousands of accounts and social profiles.

You can also use social media to experiment and figure out your niche. Explore your interests and see which products you can create the most buzz about. This might help you decide on the direction for your affiliate marketing site.

2. Select Your Niche

After some preliminary research, you’re now ready to decide on your niche.

Your niche should be both something that you’re interested in – and something that people want to buy. Luckily, there are products you can sell for just about every interest you can think of.

You don’t want your site to be too broad, otherwise, it will be hard to find and connect with the right audience. However, you also don’t want it to be too narrow.

Make sure to pick a niche with a healthy interest so plenty of people will want to read – and buy.

3. Build Your Blog

Now, you can work on building your affiliate site or blog. Of course, if you find lots of success on social media, you can also just stick with that!

Lots of platforms, such as WordPress, offer free, easy-to-use website builders. The site doesn’t need to be too elaborate, but it needs to provide a good home for your content.

In this step, you’ll also need to find the right affiliate program to provide you with links. Major sites like eBay and Amazon have affiliate programs. You can also do a Google search for affiliate programs in your niche.

4. Work on Marketing

Once you have your site up, it’s time to work on marketing that site.

Of course, posting regularly is an important part of marketing. People want to see a site filled with useful, interesting content. Make sure to start building up a body of posts with affiliate links in them.

However, you also need to make your site easy to find. This means learning modern digital marketing tactics, such as SEO.

There’s plenty of information on this online, and it’s all free! Financial experts like Bonsai Finance can also provide you with a source of quick cash while you get your affiliate marketing site off the ground. Not only are they experts in the financial space, they’ve also had their fair share of online and affiliate marketing to grow their brand into what it is today.

Stuck on Affiliate Marketing? We Can Help

Anyone can learn how to start an affiliate marketing business and find success along the way. If you get stuck at some point in your journey, don’t worry. Help is available.

We offer assistance with everything from site development to marketing – check out our site articles and resources to learn more!

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A Guide for Canadian Bloggers to Get Out of Debt Fast

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Canadians owe 1.69 dollars from every dollar of household disposable income. Are you dealing with a mountain of debt?

With blogging on the rise across the world, many Canadians are looking to start a blog of their own to try and push down some of these negative finances, while also getting out of debt in the process. All too often, the dreams of making money with blogging are great at first, but then people start to find themselves working on their blog and not seeing much money come in.

Blogging is definitely a legitimate way to make money online, but it’s also a slow and tedious one if you are looking for success to come through organic search results and free social media traffic. While all of this is going on, you might find yourself getting into even more debt over time.

For Canadians that are currently blogging and trying to work their way out of debt, there are some other considers to achieve your financial freedom you may want to consider.

We’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn how to get out of debt and start your journey toward financial freedom.

Your Personal How to Get Out of Debt Guide to Achieve Financial Freedom

Financial freedom may sound next to impossible for many people. Yet, if you implement the right plan, you can start getting out of debt today.

Don’t know where to start? Here are the must follow steps to regain control over your finances.

1. Make a List of Debts

The first step toward financial freedom is making a list of all your debts. It should include everything from your credit cards to your mortgage.

Don’t forget to list details about your debt, such as the interest rate, amount owed, minimum monthly payments, and months or years left until the repayment for loans kicks in.

If you are running an online business or blog of your own, this is something you should be doing for your side business as well.

Hosting costs, mailing lists, content creation, outsourcing… it can all add up over time.

2. Review Your Monthly Budget

After listing your debt, take a hard look at your monthly budget. How much is your monthly income? What are your typical monthly expenses?

You should balance your budget and eliminate any unnecessary expenses. Consider opening a savings account and depositing the money from unnecessary expenses in that account.

If your budget is too tight, seek ways to make money online or start a side hustle. One of the best ways for bloggers to start seeing immediate financial success from their results, is to freelance and start writing for other sites and clients.

3. Develop a Debt Repayment Plan

Once you figure out how much money you have left after expenses, develop a debt repayment strategy. You may think that paying off your highest balance is the best approach.

Yet, experts recommend paying off your account with the highest interest rate first to become debt-free faster and reduce your interest. Another strategy you may consider is consolidating your debt into one monthly payment.

Keep in mind that achieving financial freedom won’t happen overnight. Develop a plan with a realistic timeframe in mind and commit to it in the long term.

4. Consider Consulting a Licensed Insolvency Trustee

Most people believe that becoming debt-free is a lonely journey. But you don’t have to do it alone. Consider consulting a licensed insolvency trustee to help you develop the best plan of action.

Your advisor can provide the help you need to achieve financial freedom. Read more now about how they can help you restructure your debt and even avoid bankruptcy.

5. Avoid Taking More Debt

You can make all the right financial decisions and become debt-free. But, if you continue to spend money, you’ll fall into debt once again.

Change your spending habits and cut any expenses that are not really necessary. Discipline is the key.

Again, this goes back to blogging as well. If you have an online business, or any monthly recurring costs (like a gym membership), cancel these asap to avoid more debt build-up over time.

Can You Start Getting Out of Debt Today?

You can start getting out of debt today, but achieving your financial freedom may take some time and commitment. If you follow our how to get out of debt guide and stay disciplined, you’ll take control of your finances and become debt-free soon.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to see more ideas for paying down debt and making money online, be sure to check out this expert roundup.

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The Anatomy of an Effective Business Continuity Plan for Bloggers and Brands

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In a perfect world, disasters would announce themselves with 3-5 business days before making an appearance. But alas, no such world exists, and crises tend to show up with no warning. For online business, brands, and even bloggers, this can come in many shapes and forms.

Everything from in-home/office issues to computer repair, or even customer data being hacked. When it comes to running a business, everything is up in the air and there is no telling what the next day may hold.

According to the US Bureau of Labor, 93 percent of companies that suffer a significant data loss are out of business within five years.

Nobody likes when that happens, and there’s little you can do to prevent deadlocks unless you can anticipate every scenario in which things could go wrong. But there is something you can do to make your life easier should a crisis emerge. We’re talking about a business continuity plan.

This type of pre-planning and security, is the same type of ‘insurance’ every business should have — which is also for piece of mind as well. You may never need such a plan or policy in place, but it’s often best to ‘be safe, than sorry‘.

It’s not something people like to think, but they should. A good business continuity plan can allow you to power through disasters, make a comeback, and continue your growth journey. And this guide can help you create a great one.

What Sort of Disasters Are We Talking about?

First of all, it’s worth determining what instances call for a business continuity plan. Right off the bat, you should know that it doesn’t apply if your crisis has to do with a public relation blunder or lousy customer service. If this is the disaster you’re facing right now, then you need a new (and better) communication strategy to improve your image.

A business continuity plan, however, can help you through those instances where there’s physical damage that can impair you from functioning Fires, floods, hurricanes, hacking, and other similar events that can put you out of business, at least for a while.

As such, the plan will outline the procedure you or your team will have to take. The idea is that following these steps can keep your business afloat, as well as protect your assets.

The Anatomy of a Good Business Continuity Plan

If you don’t have one already, then it’s time you start thinking of one. The first step would be to analyze your business and identify its processes, vulnerabilities, and estimate the potential losses in case of a disruption.

Then, follow these simple steps to lay out the plan:

Figure out to What Extent You Can Apply the Procedure

This first step brings in a dose of realism into the mix. Think, realistically, what is the true scope of the plan, what you can cover for how long, and which are the areas you have to leave out.

From a blogging perspective… consider the type of content that is created on your site, how are you managing your subscriber list, and what type of commission or revenue generating methods are being used on your site? Without the proper guidance or disclosure in place, these could cause problems down the road.

Identify Your Key Areas

Most businesses run numerous different processes at the same time. You’ll need to separate those which are essential from those you could potentially live without when you create your business continuity plan.

From a blogging perspective… take a step back from your blog or business and see all of the many components in place. You may have forgotten about some of them in the past, but they are still accessible by others. Focus on the core basics of your business and what is generating money, then consider removing the rest.

(Really) Know Your Weaknesses and Set Your Priorities

Look at the areas where you are vulnerable in your business. That will help you understand better the impact any future disaster may have, and what steps you’ll have to take.

Of all of them, which do you consider to be a priority? Think of these as essentials or the ones you’ll need to cater to immediately in case of disruption to stay afloat.

From a blogging perspective… what are you best at, and should you being managing everything you are on a daily basis? Not only can delegating different projects to individuals make your business and data more safe, it can also improve your efficiency as well.

Think of a Recovery Plan

At this point, you’ll have to think of the ways you can reduce the negative impact a disruption may have on your business. In a way, it’s like you are developing a backup plan by covering your assets to protect them.

For instance, if you are hit by floods and your shop is temporarily out of business, what do you have to do? Then, write down everything from “clean-up” to “insurance policy claims” and even “finding alternative locations.” It’s easier to think about these steps now than it would be during the when chaos installs.

From a blogging perspective… always plan for the worst. You don’t know what tomorrow might bring, but if you have a preparation and repair plan in place, it will be that much easier to make a quick come back. Assume your online business and blog disappears tomorrow… then what would you do?

One Final Word

As final advice, you should never create the plan, lock it up, and only bring it back in case of a crisis. Things may change over time, so it’s in your best interest to review the plan at least once a year. Only then you are truly prepared for the worst.

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