View Full Version : What does success look like?

September 2nd, 2009, 06:38 PM
There is so much good teaching out there about techniques and different ways to make money online. However, there is very little said about how to build a business. For instance, if I wanted to start an affiliate marketing business and I needed to make $100k/year to start, what would that business look like? I am looking for a generic overview, not specific sites or proof. Most business books will tell you to start with a business plan. What does that look like for an internet marketing business?

Lynn Terry
September 3rd, 2009, 12:00 AM
For a sneak peek into what that looks like, check out these videos by Rosalind Gardner:


Most mid-level internet marketers are earning at right about the 6-figure mark. I would venture to guess that a very small percentage actually have a business plan. I dont mind to admit I tend to fly by the seat of my pants. I'm a super affiliate myself, and have been doing it for well over a decade...

It looks like this most of the time:



September 3rd, 2009, 03:45 AM
Thanks Tom for this great topic.

And, thanks Lynn for another great resource I have my copy now and will sit in bed for another night reading like a maniac!!!


September 3rd, 2009, 06:11 AM
Hahaha 206 pages holy moley! I might not be sitting in bed reading that tonight. I think this one might go to the printers!! :)

I might print off a couple of chapters for tonight. ;)


Lynn Terry
September 3rd, 2009, 07:07 AM
That's a new updated version - I originally bought it years ago, so I'd like to sit down and read this new version as well. See what's new from Ros!

September 3rd, 2009, 07:22 AM
I am sure there is quite a gamut and I am also sure it depends on how hard you want to work at it and what your dedication level is. I am very new and have not made much, but I'm learning!

Lynn Terry
September 3rd, 2009, 07:51 AM

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to your question. Every successful affiliate marketer, and online marketer in general for that matter, has a different type of model. Some focus on SEO, some on CPA, others on PPC and landing pages, and we all have our success with our unique combination.

I know that makes it difficult for new people entering into online business, looking for a blueprint or a model. But it is a business, not a job or franchise where things ARE laid out for you. And as you know, almost any small business is unique to the person who created it.

For learning, find people who are doing what you want to be doing, and follow them closely. As much what they say, as what they DO (true leaders lead by example). There is a lot of junk on the 'net - such as ebooks written by people who don't actually make a living doing what they teach in their ebook, etc. Beware of those folks - and stick to figuring out what's working for the people you know are running a solid business model.

September 3rd, 2009, 08:36 AM
I'm hoping that it looks something like this....

September 3rd, 2009, 09:37 AM
Ok let me ask this a different way. If I took away all of your business, connections and websites, but left you with just your experience. And I said that you could not build a new business in any of your current niches, how long would it take you to rebuild a business to the level you have today, and what would that business look like. How many different websites/blogs would you need to establish, how many different products would you need to produce, what level of time commitment would it take? I am not looking for a one size fits all response, I am here at your website trying to understand what makes you successful.



ps: I chose you from your participation in IMTW and how you handled yourself and the fact that you actually participate in your forum and care about your customers. To me that is what separates you from most of the rest of the IM world. I like the 30DC as a model but it fails to provide the sort of business building overview that I am looking for and its really hard to get Ed's attention because it is so big. I am going to listen to tonights webinar where he sounds like he might answer some of my questions.

Lynn Terry
September 3rd, 2009, 09:47 AM
I actually do that all the time, as I start in new niches under pen names. Names that have no connections, so I basically start with my experience only. Everyone's method will be different, but I'll answer the question as it was asked - how *I* do it.

I start with one niche, and one website. Work non-stop to develop and market the site. Use SEO following the model outlined at http://www.seofaststart.com (free SEO guide by Dan Thies). Targeting longtail, and getting relevant inbound links, I would see sales start to trickle in within a few short weeks of the site being live.

Set up a mailing list of course, with a warm follow-up series to connect with my new visitors and start building on that relationship.

I would set up social media profiles for that name, join niche discussion forums under that name, subscribe to & reply at top blogs in my niche, and start interacting with my target market - and with the market leaders in my niche.

Next, publish & submit articles and short reports on my topics. Also do guest posts on B-list blogs.

Pour my heart into manual marketing until the search engine rankings kicked in and started delivering consistent targeted traffic to my web pages.

Only when everything is set up, working beautifully, as automated as humanly possible... would I look at starting a 2nd site/project.

Lynn Terry
September 3rd, 2009, 09:48 AM
Also read over this page:

Don't buy anything - just read over the page. That will give you a good idea of the methods I use to make money online.

September 3rd, 2009, 10:00 AM
y'know, the very best thing for me to do may well be printing off that one post of yours, Lynn, using it daily and tying anything else into it, starting with your guide page.

Maybe for a lot of people!

Heck, ain't getting any younger...


September 3rd, 2009, 10:34 AM
Actually that "If you only had $100 to your name and had to rebuild your business with no contacts and no other assets, how would you do it?" is the final question that I ask in each of my podcasts.

You can hear Lynn answer it here:

I find it fascinating that every successful marketer I ask, answers that question slightly differently.

September 3rd, 2009, 11:17 AM
Ok thats a great start. Now how long would it take you to create this? And do you have an income goal before you start? How much money do you expect to make for your efforts? Do you start out selling affiliate products with the goal of creating your own(the ed dale approach?) Do you mix and match the products on your page or do you focus on one product? You used the phrase "when everything is set up" what does that look like? How much traffic is enough? How do you know when to move on to another site? Do you have failures as well? I know thats alot of questions but I am really trying to understand success before I dive in headfirst.

Lynn Terry
September 3rd, 2009, 11:24 AM
It's great - keep those questions coming! :)

I'm off to host Brainstorming Hour with Elite Members, but I'll be back and I'll answer each one in detail...

September 3rd, 2009, 12:07 PM

Great interview I never would have heard if you didn't respond to this forum. Thanks a bunch!


ps: wow there are 11 total interviews, can't wait to listen to all of them!!

Lynn Terry
September 3rd, 2009, 02:20 PM
I love Nicole's SuccessCast! :)

Ok thats a great start. Now how long would it take you to create this? And do you have an income goal before you start? How much money do you expect to make for your efforts? It would take me pulling a long weekend - or a regular work week. Average 30-40 hours to create the site or blog. It's never "done" but it would take me that long to put it together to the point of putting it online and "open for business".

I have a "guesstimate" formula to determine niche potential:


Some sites I expect to do better than others, based on search volume or commercial intent. If I have a good little niche with low search volume but obvious commercial intent, and I know I probably can't get it earning more than $500/month - It's still worth investing a few days upfront and a few hours here and there to maintain that passive income stream.

Do you mix and match the products on your page or do you focus on one product? That depends on the model, the niche, and the objective. I rarely build an affiliate site around ONE product - unless I know I can replace it without messing up the site. That's in case the product goes off the market, they close the affiliate program, or I lose affiliate status for some reason.

I prefer to build sites around topics, not products.

Do you start out selling affiliate products with the goal of creating your own(the ed dale approach?) Not usually. I'm what you call a lazy affiliate. The whole appeal of affiliate marketing was to avoid product development, customer service, etc.


I've been up'ing my game more the last year or so though, and am doing short reports with as much automation as possible. That means an autoresponder in place instead of writing a newsletter, an FAQ page so I'm not stuck answering the same questions over and over, a VA to answer all of the "I cant find my download link" emails, etc.

You used the phrase "when everything is set up" what does that look like? It might look something like this (but better):

That's an actual online store, so instead of "add to cart" you would deep link to the merchant's checkout page for that product. But most of my affiliate sites for physical products are "ecommerce style".

How much traffic is enough? :eek: It's never enough! :eek:

Kidding - real answer is: I want to rank in the top 3 for every single relevant keyword phrase possible in my niche. Once I've achieved that, and have all other marketing strategies on a roll - it's basically getting all the traffic it's going to get. So that's enough.

Marketing is a work in progress - you can always drive more traffic.

Going back to your question though, there is no standard. Obviously every niche or sub-niche has it's own search volume or seasonal high's & lows - so no standard.

You do need at least 1000 clicks to do any proper testing, though.

How do you know when to move on to another site? When you've done everything you can possibly to do site #1, it's rolling at max potential, and you're bored.

Do you have failures as well?

Of course! But they're usually my fault :rolleyes:

Here's the thing - if something "fails", that just tells you what doesn't work. Great! You can now mark that off the list and try the next thing until you figure out what DOES work.

The only real failure is quitting.

I know thats alot of questions but I am really trying to understand success before I dive in headfirst.Smart move! Thanks for the great questions - if you think of any more, post away...

September 3rd, 2009, 04:49 PM
Thanks Lynn! Super informative. I have many, many questions but I am going to listen to Ed's presentation tonight and distill and read what you have given me so far. I need to make about $5k per month to pay my bills and reinvest back into the business. So what I am trying to do is come up with an overall business strategy to make that happen and price out the minimum tools and effort that it will take to get it going. When I am done I will post it here for comments(or barfing) and feedback on how to make it better. Thanks again


Lynn Terry
September 3rd, 2009, 04:57 PM
Great - let me know if you have any questions along the way :)

And thank you for the questions. I think everyone reading along has enjoyed the topic so I appreciate you taking the time to start the thread!

September 3rd, 2009, 05:58 PM
That is some great insight Lynn! You just answered a ton of questions in that post. more than some of the full blown training courses I've read.

I know it's not as easy as it sounds but, that was more or less a quick A,B,C of how to get started today. Thanks :-)

September 3rd, 2009, 07:47 PM
That was most likely one of the most succinct outline of an online business model that I have read and for free thanks Lyn.

You can read most of the procedures woven through different methods you read online but the sticking point is always the conversion to sale and the traffic.

The method of affiliate marketing is either to have landing presell page or direct link to the merchants site through what ever traffic methods you are comfortable with. The latter generally means you miss out on building a list and is hard to know if you did get a sale.

The former is like holding a A4 sign on the edge of the highway It seems to me the traffic issue, coupled with backlink authority to what ever site is the money site is the one thing that is the hardest to nail.

September 4th, 2009, 01:04 PM
I think this is the best thread I've ever seen on this board-- and they've been getting pretty good lately. I'm copying and saving it as "The Gospel According to Lynn". Every time I get goggle-eyed over some wild and risky scheme, I'm going to come back and look at again.


Lynn Terry
September 4th, 2009, 04:06 PM
Thanks guys - I'm in the process of writing a new report so the info was fresh on my fingertips (from typing!). I'll have it ready for you soon, so keep an eye out for that ;)

September 4th, 2009, 09:59 PM
WOW Andy, telling it like it is. So refreshing! I need to hear it that is for sure. Glad to have you here!

September 4th, 2009, 10:15 PM
Ok I have some more questions, here it goes:

On your niche estimator you use a bunch of different figures, divide by 2, multiply by .3 etc. Can you explain your thinking behind choosing these factors for your rough estimate of income?

I have heard much about the inch wide a mile deep philosophy of building out a niche. Again, can you go into more depth as to what this looks like in numbers of websites/blogs, numbers of keywords etc. And how much do you expect to make from a niche that is fully built out. Do you have an income goal in mind before you put all the work into it?
What is your opinion of Market Samurai tool that is being utilized in the 30DC. It seems that you don't use it but Ed is such a massive fan of it. I have used it and can see its utility, but it is not a user friendly tool for a newbie in my opinion. Maybe that comes from lack of experience.

What is your opinion of wordpress direct vs plain old wordpress? Is it worth the extra pain to learn all the ins and outs of wordpress(how to install and set up, what plugins to use, learning how to optimize it for seo etc), or is wordpress direct a better solution for newbies?

As a newbie I have to expect to have some misses early on. I have really had some trouble trying to pick a niche that will be financially successful. I am just not sure that the method taught in the 30dc(one sale for 200 clicks on the affiliate ad) is enough of a test to fully know whether a market is financially viable. Do you have a different method?

OK thats enough for now. I am planning on reading SEO faststart and Rosalind ebook over the next few days. Thanks again for all the help!

Lynn Terry
September 4th, 2009, 10:16 PM
Perfect, Andy... Simply perfect.

September 4th, 2009, 10:21 PM
Ok in the middle of writing my questions comes this major post by Andy Jenkins! what have I created :). PS, I am just trying to create a gameplan that gives me an overview of a successful business and some action steps to get er done. Not trying to save the word or do a formal business plan etc. Would love to have tons of buttons out there and hopefully will soon!

Lynn Terry
September 4th, 2009, 10:21 PM

Start with SEO Fast Start. That will answer A LOT of your questions.

Set up WordPress on your own domain, on your own hosting account. Not WordpressDirect. Here are my full thoughts on that:

WordPress Direct Review/Controversy (http://www.clicknewz.com/1837/no-real-shortcuts/)

Setting up a blog is not hard. Here is a step-by-step checklist:


Also read this on choosing a niche or market:

There are no magic numbers (http://www.clicknewz.com/1822/market-research-or-finding-niches/)

Read & study, then come back and scroll up to read Andy Jenkins' reply again. You'll be on the right track - and have a much better start than the majority!

Lynn Terry
September 4th, 2009, 10:24 PM
I am just trying to create a gameplan that gives me an overview of a successful business and some action steps to get er done. Not trying to save the word or do a formal business plan etc. Would love to have tons of buttons out there and hopefully will soon!

Andy is right on target with his reply here, because while you're trying to create a strategic game plan... a lot of people are trying to "save the world" or set out as martyrs. It goes along with the theme of one of my most recent videos: Pursue Passion... or Profit? (http://www.clicknewz.com/2010/passion-or-profit-video/)

September 4th, 2009, 11:03 PM
Hi Andy

Smart Butt humour ... I like you already. :)

I look forward to your contributions here, this place is awesome ... I'm smitten anyway :p


Lynn Terry
September 4th, 2009, 11:14 PM
this place is awesome ... I'm smitten anyway :p

- and that was hard work! quite proud of that turn-around! :cool:

So glad to have you aboard, Leigh!

September 4th, 2009, 11:34 PM
Lynn - that video is one of the first things I saw on your blog. I totally agree with it. My passion is travel and you need money to do that!

Lynn Terry
September 4th, 2009, 11:37 PM
I LOVE to travel. Almost as much as the chosen destination! :)

And I agree. It's definitely one of the things my success with "work" has enabled me to enjoy...


December 2008...
Ranelagh Beach, Mt Eliza Australia

Gord Young
September 5th, 2009, 12:40 AM
Hi Tom,

Seems you've spawned a great discussion here by asking a very good question.
"What does success look like?"

You are taking a very good approach by formulating something of a biz plan.

Too often people come online looking for the "easy button" (and no plan) with
very unrealistic expectations. People with no biz savvy or experience have heard that they can suddenly start earning big bucks without any investment of time or money.

In the offline world it is not uncommon to have to invest large sums of both
without expecting to be in profit for years.

Some of the claims made on the internet are outrageous.

Online you are told you can earn many thousands/month if
you know how to copy and paste and send an email.
no website
no experience
no tech skills
no writing skills
no time

It's true that the internet offers some great advantages, amazing margins (ROI)
You can start with very little investment and build up to earning a nice living...
but there is a trade-off.

If you don't have money to invest then expect to have to do more work.

Online, or offline it is still a business.

You should first look at the ways to make a living online and decide what you
think might best suit you.

Often it is the affiliate sales model that is best unless you think you are ready
to start creating your own products. Lynn has already talked about the various methods of affiliate marketing.

Researching to find a market willing to buy is the first advice you should heed.

If you are listening to people like Lynn Terry and Ed Dale you are off to a great start. Andy Jenkins is another worth listening to. They have been successful for a long time and all offer trusted advice freely.

Don't fret about things like buying the fancy software and other time saver tools right away. There are basic tools that you will need to start.

This thread is a small sample of the kind of help you can get on this forum. If
you can afford it, I suggest you join the elite group. That would be the smartest investment in your biz that I know of. Membership can save you lots of money, time and headaches.

In the mean time you can also get good answer here.

Keep asking the good questions!

September 5th, 2009, 12:45 AM
Lynn, I am totally jealous, Australia is one of the places I am dying to visit.

Lynn Terry
September 5th, 2009, 12:48 AM
I was thinking of going back in a couple of weeks :cool:

I'm one of those strange people that ENJOY the 14-hour flight!

September 5th, 2009, 12:50 AM

thanks for the advice. I note that you were a machinist. I used to buy machine parts for Aerospace and Medical markets. How is your online business doing? I hope you are doing well because things were getting tough in the machine shop world with all the overseas competition. Best of luck!

September 5th, 2009, 12:52 AM
Lynn do you have a travel blog?! I have to live vicariously thru others for now :) I don't enjoy long flights because planes were built for shorter people. My lower back doesn't agree with them either. But no doubt the destination is worth the inconvenience to me!

Lynn Terry
September 5th, 2009, 01:04 AM
I'm short :) I am 5'5" - I used to be 5'7" but I shrunk!

My blog is at ClickNewz.com, and I often discuss my travels there as I meet with other Internet Marketers around the world or across the continent. It also ties in with my work-at-home and mobile lifestyle.

Here's an example:

And another:
(also taken in Australia - in Frankston, south of Melbourne)

September 5th, 2009, 01:14 AM
Great vids

seagulls = rats with wings :) I love the far off sound of a seagull mixed with a warm ocean breeze and sunset. But don't want to get up close and personal with them.

Lynn Terry
September 5th, 2009, 01:23 AM
Thank you. Life is FUN, which was the whole goal... freedom, flexibility, time.

September 5th, 2009, 06:26 AM
I enjoyed the teaching on the video from Lake Entrance. The seagulls know something that many people don't.

September 5th, 2009, 08:03 AM
Andy, thanks for bringing the reality and I LOVE your smart (Lynn, can I say ass here?) humor.

I sincerely hope that you pop in and share your wisdom more often.

September 5th, 2009, 04:57 PM
Wow! Talk about laying out the formula for success. Outstanding outline Lynn!

September 6th, 2009, 10:41 PM
"What does success look like" is a great topic and I got so many special lesson by Tom, Andy, Lynn and others.
Thanks you and this has made my brain to learn more just by reading all your sharing :)

Lynn Terry
September 7th, 2009, 12:21 PM
Welcome Gordon :)

First, set up a signature in your UserCP:


Then start a new thread here in the main forum for review requests. Happy to take a look, but we don't want to sidetrack this topic.

September 7th, 2009, 12:30 PM
How do I get to the UserCP?


All you need to do is click on the link that Lynn posted above. OR you can look at the top of the forum and click on User CP link on the left side.

September 7th, 2009, 12:44 PM
I just started to make some moeny online and I'm curious how it will work out. Success would be a great thing if it happens. Visit my website and tell me what you think. OK?


One thing I have learned about success is to be very careful how I word my statements. Such as "if it happens." How about "when it happens."

Over the last 15 years of owning my business I have become very clear on success taking time. Laying the foundation, hanging out with the "winners" (those who are doing it) and being willing to put in the time to achieve the outcomes.

There is unlimited possibility with the Internet and all it has to offer. Sky is truly the limit.

You are in the right place at the right time Gordon. Lynn, in my humble opinion, is one of the most genuine, sharing and amazing IM experts around. And this group is pretty darned amazing. I have been so impressed by the sharing and willingness to be open about what it takes to make this whole IM thing work.

Another lesson I have learned over the years. Have a vision of what you want to achieve, map it out, and start with that first step. Don't expect to hit a home run every single time. Often our biggest screw ups are the best teachers. :rolleyes:

September 7th, 2009, 08:22 PM
If you did know, what do you think it would look like? One fun process is to think about successful people you know and write a list of qualities and characteristics they have that you admire. The more you can gain a clear picture and a sense of what they have that constitutes success the easier it is to know what you would consider success.

September 8th, 2009, 02:02 PM
I asked Lynn today on the SSWT Webinar how many websites she had. While she was a little hesitant to be specific she said that she had "about a dozen" active sites right now. That is a lot less than I imagined, and is very motivating because once you learn how to build just one of these, you don't have to repeat that process very many times to make a great income.

I would love to know what the mix of sites is, blogs vs ecommerce outside of IM niche.

Lynn Terry
September 8th, 2009, 02:50 PM
Hi Tom,

I used to have a lot more. At one time over 300 domains. And when I say "active niche sites" the implication that I have more on the back burner would be correct.

I have heard people say things like - my goal is to have 500 niche sites that each make $10/day. You can go that route, but that's not my preference. My preference is to create sites that earn much more per day, and manage a lot fewer sites.

And there is always more you can do to a site/niche to increase the income. Adding new offers, new pages, setting up reports and e-courses, having an autoresponder series for the mailing list, adding a blogtalkradio broadcast - etc. I like the idea of expanding on what I have versus heading off in a whole new direction on a whole new niche.

September 8th, 2009, 05:16 PM
One of the shiny penny chasing courses I bought in my effort to find a "quick and easy" way to profits was a mini-site course. This guy was proposing that you build literally thousands of sites each making $3-$5/site on average(of course some will do better and some won't make anything). I was skeptical but desperate and after getting the course I decided not to pursue this method. It wasn't a bad course and I didn't feel cheated but I just didn't think that managing thousands of mini-websites was realistic for most people and it wasn't something I wanted to do. Looking back, I also think that these types of sites are pretty low value and a little spammy to me. However, some of the training for that is valuable learning and I am still satisfied that I have access to it.

Congrats on having an amazing month in August 2009!

Lynn Terry
September 8th, 2009, 05:28 PM
Yeah, to each his own. Back when the Underachiever method came out (years ago) I used to jokingly call myself an Overachiever :)

September 9th, 2009, 03:28 AM
Wow -- great question, Tom..... and such a clear answer, Lynn!!


September 9th, 2009, 04:25 PM

On the sites where you've created a persona using a pen name, what do you do about a photo? Do you buy a stock photo of someone else, or have someone draw a likeness of some kind?



Lynn Terry
September 10th, 2009, 06:32 AM
Not every niche site requires a photo or a big focus on the person behind it. Consider shopping at amazon, circuitcity, bestbuy, etc - you don't generally form a relationship with the webmaster, but go there to find deals and focus mainly on your purchase.

On the sites that do require a more personable approach, I have used stock photos, just a name & bio with no photo, and a time or two I've used older photos of myself that are somewhat obscure. It depends on the niche and the need.

On the sites with no photo, I often use a logo or image that represents the site on social profiles like Twitter.

September 16th, 2009, 10:14 PM
I wanted to ask this question and thought this thread the appropriate place.

What is an average conversion rate. I know it depends on lots of factors, but what is a middle of the road conversion rate? 1%, 5% What?

Lynn Terry
September 16th, 2009, 10:16 PM
Too many elements to answer in general - but the standard response is: "half a percent".

It depends on if you're selling a physical product, digital product, free ecourse or newsletter subscription, a free offer (pay per lead), etc.

September 16th, 2009, 10:28 PM
and an average sale or commission might be? I know, once again it really depends on product, but could you say an average sale, very middle of the road would be $5?

Lynn Terry
September 16th, 2009, 10:45 PM
No - there's no such thing as average on that with the huge range in prices.

September 16th, 2009, 10:53 PM
okay, going another direction. If I wanted to get to making $50K/yr. what would I plan toward for visitors /day? It doesn't matter how many sites, what I'm looking at is if you wanted to make that amount, what would your target be for visitors to make the conversion rate equal the income you wanted?

Lynn Terry
September 16th, 2009, 11:00 PM
Again, there is no right answer here.

It's more about your conversion rate, and your offer.

But if someone twisted my arm and forced an answer out of me, it would be somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 unique visitors per month. Although I was making that with a lot less.

The truth is, you don't even have to have visitors to make sales. But that's a whole 'nother thread...

September 16th, 2009, 11:09 PM
Okay let me take a shot at this. Lets say you are selling a product in which your net income(after all expenses) is $25. If you want to make $50k per year you would need to make an average of $137/day ($50,000/365). That means you have to sell 5.5 products per day($137/$25) in order to meet your financial goals. If your conversion rate is .5% (that equals .005) then you would need 1100 visitors to your website per day. (5.5/.005). Obviously, if you are selling multiple products or more expensive products or continuity programs etc, this example is not valid. But I hope it helps you understand how to calculate your goals. I think breaking things down to daily numbers is easier to digest.

Lynn Terry
September 16th, 2009, 11:13 PM
Thank you Tom :)

Well put!

September 17th, 2009, 06:05 AM
That is exactly what I was getting at. Trying to figure out, "on average" if your income target is X What sort of traffic do you need to shoot for. I realize that there are tons of variables. I'm just trying to boil it down so that I know what it is I have to do, what my goals need to be.

Lynn Terry
September 17th, 2009, 07:53 AM
Also see: http://www.clicknewz.com/260/niche-potential/

This is my method of "guesstimating" niche potential.

September 17th, 2009, 07:58 AM
Thanks Lynn, That's just what I needed. That gives me some sort of base idea to work from! :)