Guest Post by Carol Bremner
Do you have any guiding principles that govern your life? When looking back at my history, I’ve noticed three:
1. You're never too old.
2. It's never too late.
3. Get out of your comfort zone.
I’ll tell you a little bit about myself and you’ll see what I mean...
I was a stay-at-home mom of six children and when the youngest started school, I decided to go to work. I was able to find a position as a university library technician and trained on the job. That was way out of my comfort zone, but I started, loved it, and was at the university for 12 years.
The library had no computers, but after a number of years, we computerised. My first thought was “no way, I can't learn that at my age” and I transferred to the campus daycare to take care of babies. But I missed the students and a year later transferred back to the library, and started taking computer courses in my free time. It wasn’t long before I realised I loved the doors that computer literacy could open.
Like many people, I dreamed about having my own business, so when the opportunity came, I left the university and after completing a small business course, opened a cozy computer café in 2001. It was an exciting time, renovating, getting permits, leasing equipment. Lots of learning and being out of my comfort zone.
But the dream and the reality are often quite different...
It turned out that I didn't like waiting for customers to come into the shop. And my target market wanted personal computer training, not the tutorial CD's I had purchased. By the end of the first year, my business had evolved to workshops and one-on-one training. The storefront was an expense that I no longer needed, so I closed and began to freelance. Before long I was also doing training programs for local community centres as well as my own clients.
At about that time, I found out about Internet marketing. This was a whole new world, and it leveled the playing field for everyone. There were no age or gender limitations and the possibilities were limitless. With an offline location it was so expensive to change my direction and try new things, but the Internet allowed so much more flexibility. I was hooked and started to learn everything I could.
Soon I was buying courses from a number of Internet marketers, many of which were too advanced for me. As a non-technical person, I often felt lost. I made all kinds of mistakes: too many domains and websites, changing hosting and losing subscribers each time I did since my email program was tied to the hosting service.
Like many new marketers, I had a lack of focus that resulted in way too many websites to keep up with. But I slowly learned the business and realized it was much more than putting up a website and slapping up some banner ads. It was easier to get people to sign up for my list in those days, but no one ever purchased from the banner ads and I didn’t realize I was supposed to actually say anything about the products or give a call to action.
Then I found some online mentors, one of whom was Lynn Terry and her Self Starters Weekly Tips – SSWT – which I joined in May of 2003. After that, I learned to ghostwrite for a number of Internet marketers on the Warrior Forum.
I slowly began to make money in this modern wild west, but it didn’t take long to burn out writing articles from morning to night for very little pay. I was also still trying to keep up with all my sites, none very well, made very little affiliate income, and found online marketing wasn’t so easy after all.
Eventually I started to go to live marketing events near my home and that kept the dream alive. I knew there were people who were making a living online. It wasn’t just a story. By then I had also met Lynn and saw how much could be accomplished if I didn’t give up.
Then I found out about the NAMS conference in Atlanta. There were no hotel rooms left, but I knew I had to be there. Since I couldn't afford a flight, I rode a bus for 24 hours and arrived hot and exhausted. One of the ladies in the lobby was also attending and asked if she could help me with anything. When my response was a shower, she took me up to her room where I soon found that she had been looking for a roommate for the weekend. This was where I was meant to be.
I left three days later, motivated and full of ideas for my business. And the relationships that were built during that time have continued until today.
Learning in this business is a continuous thing.
I wanted to do webinars and tried many different programs – some were too difficult, some didn’t allow screen sharing, some were too expensive, some only allowed one host, and some didn’t have the option to record the webinar.
After months of trying, I finally put webinars on the back burner for two years, then tried again with GoToWebinar and really liked it. Sometimes it’s a matter of waiting for the right time to do the things you’d like to do.
These last couple of years, I've been spending more time with offline businesses, helping them with their online marketing efforts. If you want to boost your confidence, spend time with local business people. It won’t be long before you see how much you really do know and how much you can help them. Whether groups, individuals, training at your own live events, teaching at community centres, or doing presentations to local groups, it’s so much easier to be a big fish in a small pond.
Offline businesses kept asking for social media training so I do a lot of that now. As well, I’ve led a weekly mastermind for the last two plus years. We are accountable for our goals, encourage one another, and brainstorm solutions to our problems. We started with using Google Hangouts and now use GoToMeeting, which I also use for distance training.
After years of trying one thing after the other, it seems that what I most enjoy are teaching people to use Hootsuite for their social media, and doing webinars, masterminds, and online training. I’m finally finding focus after doing 18 weekly webinars that were well received and very enjoyable.
I’ve started another webinar series and am focusing on building an online foundation, sharing your expertise, and promoting it with social media. As well as using the webinars as a list builder, I’m packaging the episodes and selling them as modules or putting them as a course on Udemy.com. Another area that is opening up as a result is offering webinar management to clients.
As for tips, they are the same ones you’ve probably heard a hundred times...
Start with one website and as Lynn says, bring it to profit.
Find what works for you and do what you enjoy; if it isn’t writing, try audio or video or webinars.
Choose a good hosting service and email provider from the beginning.
Learn from others, have an accountability partner or group.
And go to live events - building relationships with other marketers can really help your business. For example, this past month all of my websites were hacked, but I knew exactly who to call because I had met her and trusted her.
None of the above would ever have happened if I hadn't remembered my three rules: You're never too old, It's never too late, and Get out of your comfort zone!
I encourage you to do the same...
Join me at http://www.carolbremner.com for my weekly online marketing webinars