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3/29/07

Multiple Streams of Income: The Internet Part 5

Some additional notes on affiliate marketing to keep in mind:

(1) Make sure that you are promoting a product from a reputable seller. If the seller is not reputable, two problems arise. First, your reputation suffers, and second, you may not get paid. If the seller does not correctly track sales from your hoplink, you will lose money! We are not in this business to lose money. Therefore, start smart by finding a reputable seller.

(2) When you do affiliate marketing, you may have to give the seller some personal information for tax purposes. This personal information may include your phone number and social security number. If you do not feel comfortable giving out this information, you will need to find a seller that does not track your income for tax purposes. If this occurs, remember to claim any income you make on your tax return. The last thing you need is to get audited by the IRS!

(3) As I stated in my previous post, Clickbank is a good website for finding affiliate marketing opportunities. Alternatively, you can decide to promote a specific product from one seller. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. If you promote multiple products, you can reach a more diverse group of possible customers; however, it will be harder to track sales. If you promote only one product, you may not be able to meet the interests of all you potential customers; however, sales will be easier to track. Whatever you decide, make sure that you consider your time commitments and selling strengths.

Keep these notes in mind when deciding on a seller’s product!



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3/28/07

Multiple Streams of Income: The Internet Part 4

A couple of other quick notes about article writing; as I stated in my previous post, search the terms “free article directory” in your favorite search engine to find various article submission websites. Some of the more popular websites are Ezine Articles, Go Articles, and Idea Marketers. Make sure that you submit your articles to these websites!

Make sure you write quality articles! If you write junk, you will not get traffic to your website. One of the primary purposes of writing articles is to drive traffic. Do not frustrate this purpose by submitting three sentence jumbles and expect results. Many good programs exist to help with article writing and submission. Article writing is very tedious, but with the right help from programs like Article Submitter, Article-a-Day, and 30 Minute Articles you can construct quality, traffic driven, and profit producing articles with ease.

Now that you have an understanding of article writing and submission, affiliate marketing will be our next topic. Affiliate marketing is basically selling other people’s products for them. For every sell you make, you get a commission in the form of a percentage of the purchase price. For a better understanding of affiliate marketing, use this link.

Many affiliate marketing websites and programs exist; however, the most popular is probably Clickbank. Clickbank can be used to promote your own product, should you have one, and/or can be used to promote other people’s products in order to earn a commission. If you search the terms “affiliate marketing opportunities” in your favorite search engine, you should be able to find a product or company that you feel comfortable promoting.

The best part about affiliate marketing is that all the work is done for you. The pitch pages and payment options are already set up by the product creator. All you have to do is drive traffic to the pitch page using your special link. You can utilize your website and/or blog to help drive traffic. Also, your special link or “hoplink” is how your sales are tracked and how you get paid. It is of the utmost importance that you remember to use your hoplink in the links you create. Without your hoplink, YOU WILL NOT GET PAID!

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money. Many programs exist that will help you start and can make you a “Super Affiliate.” Some of these programs are The Super Affiliate Handbook, The Butterfly Marketing Manuscript, and Secret Affiliate Weapon! Many people are affiliate marketers for a living. Everybody has their own strengths. If your strength is marketing, you will want to pursue this opportunity as soon as possible.



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3/25/07

Multiple Streams of Income: The Internet Part 3

Now that you have your website and/or blog, you have to drive traffic to your site in order to profit. How do you do this? Article submission is one way to accomplish this task. Article submission is a key way to generate backlinks and traffic.

By submitting articles to various free article directories, three benefits occur. First, you start to establish yourself as an “expert” in the field in which you are writing. Second, you acquire back-links to your website and/or blog. Third, you acquire traffic.

Establishing yourself as an expert will help build your reputation and status. Article writing is the most effective and efficient way to “build a buzz.” Many free articles directories exist and most are easy to navigate and easy to submit. Search the terms “free article directory” in your favorite search engine. You may be surprised by how many sites result. If you search these terms, you should find hundreds upon hundreds of websites that publish articles. Certain software like Instant Article Submitter, 30 Minute Article Writing System, and Article Directory Pro will help you easily create and submit articles. These programs do cost a little money but are well worth it if you want quick results. Making money on the Internet does not have to be hard, and it can be easy if you are willing to invest a little money and a little time.

Backlinks are important for building your Google pagerank and your Technorati rank (for blogs). A Google page rank is important because it determines how high your internet site and/or blog appears on the Google search engine. You must become indexed in all the main search engines (Google, Yahoo, and MSN) also, but more on that later. Backlinks are links that are incoming. In other words, a backlink occurs when other websites put your link on their page. This is different from a reciprocal link because in a reciprocal link, your webpage links to a site and that site links back to your page. If you still do not understand, use this link to get a better understanding of backlinks . The more backlinks and links you have (depending on your links’ pageranks) the higher you should appear when your keyword(s) are searched in Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. Submitting articles to various article submission websites will help you accomplish all of this.

Traffic on the internet is like location for a restaurant. Have you ever heard the saying, “location, location, location,” in the context of opening a new restaurant? Well, on the Internet, it is all about traffic, traffic, traffic!. Article submission helps you acquire traffic. Once you place you link in an article, an interested reader will click and be brought to your website, or any other website of your choosing. In order to obtain the largest amount of money from your internet site, you need traffic!

On a side note, you should visit Helium . This article submission site, allows you to submit articles, provide a link to your website, and pays you a percentage of all the revenue that Helium collects. Sign-up and submission are both free. Check it out because it is another way to create an income stream.



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3/21/07

Multiple Streams of Income: The Internet Part 2

Instead of trying to pitch a specific product, I am going to give you many different options in which you invest your time and talents and can achieve a cash return. Keep in mind that most of these options will not make you a millionaire, however, all will provide you with some extra dollars if you have the desire to pursue them. Further, I am not saying that you cannot become a millionaire with the following options, all I am saying is that in order to achieve that level of income, you have much hard work to accomplish!

As I stated in my previous post, there are many options one can pursue in order to obtain multiple streams of income. We are still talking about the Internet. In this post, I will give you an overview of just some of the options available. In subsequent posts, I will discuss each one in depth.

Blogging
The word “blog” is an abbreviation for the phrase “web log.” Think of a blog as an Internet diary that the whole world can read. People post personal thoughts, ideas, conversation, or whatever they want in order to share with the world. However, as blogging has become more popular, people have used blogs as a marketing tool. The more traffic you obtain, the higher your potential income may become. In order to obtain income from traffic, you can sell a product on your blog, advertise, Google Adsense, and/or AdBrite to name a few. All of these options provide viable options that will monetize your website.

In order to find a blog service that you like, just search the terms “free blog” in the search engine of your choice. If you are interested in a subject and can write, you possess the elements necessary to start a blog. Most importantly, blogging is free and the tools available to monetize your blog are usually free!

Article Writing
Another way to make extra money is to write articles for websites like Helium. Using services likes this will do two things. First, your writing skills will become more refined, and second, you will market your name and your blog thus obtaining more traffic and a good reputation. These two benefits will help you obtain dollars and will also drive traffic to your blog.

Affiliate Marketing
By utilizing websites like ClickBank, you can sell products on your blog for a commission. Selling these products are easy because all you do is provide the link. If your traffic clicks on these links, they are redirected to the product’s pitch page and thus does all the work for you.

Multi-level Marketing
In the spirit of not promoting any specific product, I will not mention any names; however, multi-level marketing can be a powerful weapon to wield in the Internet jungle. It is important that you find an opportunity that is FREE or nearly free AND that provides income to members mostly on sales and not on referrals! If a company focuses too much of its pay-outs on referrals, you may be looking at an illegal pyramid scheme and should avoid the scam at all costs!

Blog Advertising
By utilizing websites like Payperpost.com, Blogsvertise.com, and Blogitive.com, you can make money by writing about a product and posting your writing on your blog. These services are free and very easy to use. The only disadvantage is that your blog has to meet certain requirements of Google page rank, traffic, and/or number of posts. Read the requirements and make sure you meet them before you sign up!

AdSense and AdBrite
These services post advertisements on your blog or website. Every time a visitor to your blog or website clicks on one of these advertisements, you get paid. Keep in mind that the pay ranges from $.05 to $5.00+ and are only really profitable if you have a lot of traffic coming to your blog or website. However, free money is free money and should not be passed up!

Surveys
Many Internet survey sites exist that will pay you to take surveys. Globaltestmarket.com is one such site. Like I said, I will not promote one specific product, so search the terms “paid surveys” in your favorite search engine to see what results. Most of these services will award you points for taking a survey. Once you acquire enough points, you can exchange them for cash. This opportunity will not make you rich, but like I said, extra money never hurts!

Check out all these opportunities and see how much you can make!



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3/19/07

Multiple Streams of Income: The Internet Part 1

Let me start by saying that this multiple streams of income series is going to be long. There are going to be many posts over many days, but all should provide help and usefulness. We start with the Internet.

Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes. Some have very specialized education, some are high school dropouts. However, all entrepreneurs share one distinct quality. That quality is the drive, the motivation, the desire to better our current situation. All of us share a deep seeded passion to create a better life for ourselves and our loved ones. As such, we have the talent to succeed in whatever venture we choose. Do not be discouraged if you lack a formal education or are attempting an investment in a new field. As long as you possess that deep seeded passion to achieve greatness, at whatever level, you will find your version of success.

On that note, we begin with the Internet and the most obvious question, “Do I need a website?” There are two ways to approach this problem. You can either spend money or try it for free. Do not get me wrong, I firmly believe the old adage that “it takes money to make money,” however, if you are a new entrepreneur, you may not have much money to invest. As such, you will want to conserve your money for your most important purchases. Therefore, why pay for a website when you can get one for free? A free website will most likely come in the form of a blog.

The word “blog” is an abbreviation for the phrase “web log.” Think of a blog as an Internet diary that the whole world can read. People post personal thoughts, ideas, conversation, or whatever they want in order to share with the world. However, as blogging has become more popular, people have used blogs as a marketing tool. For those of you that want to save some cash, you should check out (1) Blogger; (2) Wordpress; (3) MySpace; and (4) Live Journal to name a few. If you do not like any of these just search the terms “free blog” in the search engine of your choice.

Advantages of Blogging
• It is usually free
• Easy to use
• Many services and products to assist you in blog formation and creation
• Easy to find help with questions

Disadvantages of Blogging
• Your website will have a subname. For example, your website will not be www.yoursitename.com. Instead, you site will likely not have a “www” prefix or will have a name like www.blogservice.yourwebsitename.com.
• Harder to create multiple pages
• Webpage look usually limited to available templates

The choice is up to you. Buying a website can be expensive depending on the hosting you choose and whether or not you are competent with website design. Blogs provide a great alternative and are usually free. Do your homework and figure out which is better for your needs and wants.



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3/8/07

Multiple Streams of Income

Just like diversifying a stock portfolio gives you the best opportunity to make money by spreading your risk of loss, multiple streams of income give you the best opportunity to achieve wealth and success. The phrase “multiple streams of income” has been around for some time. You have probably heard it used in various wealth building systems and/or popular personal success literature. The logic behind the idea of multiple streams of income is simple. The more areas from which you acquire income, the greater the chance of success and the less the chance of loss. The goal of multiple streams of income is to build a large passive income and residual income.

Passive Income vs. Residual Income

Passive income is defined as: Income derived from business investments in which the individual is not actively involved.

Residual income is defined as: Recurring income received after the initial sale is made.

Income, as defined by the I.R.S. is: An undeniable accession to wealth that is clearly realized and over which the taxpayer has complete dominion and control.

As you can tell by the definitions, some differences exist between passive income and residual income; however, both are equally important and effective in helping you acquire wealth. Now we get to the million dollar question, how does one achieve a passive income and a residual income? This is the whole concept behind the goal of multiple streams of income.

Multiple Streams

I could easily tell you the many areas of business and entrepreneurialism that could help you achieve a passive and residual income, but it probably would not help much. If I said, “Check out the internet, real estate market, stock market, employment opportunities, and investments/savings products,” you would not gain any insight into these areas of potential success. However, over the upcoming months, I am going to break down each area stated above. I am going to tell you about as many different possibilities, products, and opportunities that I know of in each area. By doing this, I hope to inspire you to pursue some of these opportunities. I also hope to build your motivation and get your entrepreneurial mind working.

The Main Categories

I will discuss: (1) the internet; (2) real estate possibilities; (3) stock market strategies; (4) employment opportunities; and (5) investment and savings products.

Please note that each “main category” will be discussed in depth in numerous posts. I will discuss the many different avenues for each category and how each avenue can help you create passive and residual income.

More to come soon...

3/5/07

How to Create A Business/Marketable Idea

As you begin your entrepreneurial journey, many questions and concerns will arise: How do I find financing? How do I write a business plan? To whom will I pitch my plan? However, no matter how much information and advice you can, and probably will, obtain about those questions, all of your questions and all of the available information and advice are based on the assumption that you have already created an idea, product, or concept.

What if you have not yet created an idea, product, or concept? Does this mean that you can never advance or achieve your entrepreneurial goals? Of course not! Although creating an idea, product, or concept can be one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome, it is not impossible and can be achieved rather painlessly.

The main problem with idea creation is that ideas are subjective. What one person considers a great idea, another may consider a terrible idea. Another problem with idea creation is that if the idea is forced, it will not be completely thought out, and therefore has the potential to become a “bad” idea.

Let me clarify something, you do not have to have an idea, product, or concept to become or continue to be an entrepreneur. Partnering with others is a large component of being an entrepreneur. Just know that unless you have a lot of money to invest or have specialized education or experience, your options will be limited. Due to this fact, many new entrepreneurs have to possess new, innovative, and creative ideas to make up for their lack of funds.

Some people are lucky enough to be born with creative ability. These people can create ideas and concepts with little or no difficulty. Knowing people who have this gift will benefit your situation. If you happen to know people with this ability, you should create a business relationship with them. They may be able to help you through any creative mental blocks that may occur now or in the future.

Back to the main point; how do you create an idea? First, you have to know what you are interested in and what type of education and experience you possess. Determining these factors will help you focus your thought process. For example, if you are interested in computers, but have no education or experience with computers outside of internet surfing or word processing, it will be difficult to create a marketable idea for computer software components. Know your limits and keep your thought process reasonable. In other words, do NOT let your imagination run wild. When you become good at creating ideas, then you can let your imagination do some work, but not at first.

Second, ideas are like dreams. Have you ever experienced the phenomenon of having a dream, waking up remembering the whole thing and then five minutes later not remembering any of it? In my experience, ideas follow the same pattern. An outside stimulus will trigger an idea and soon after having thought it up, I cannot remember any of it. The way to remedy this problem is to get a small notebook to write ideas in. Get one of the little notebooks that you see police carry in their shirt pocket. Whenever you have an idea, write it down! This way you can look at your notebook and later begin to develop your idea.

Third, ideas occur like magic. I know this sounds cheesy, but hear me out. Have you ever been sitting on your couch and a friend or family member asks, “What is the name of the actor in X movie?” You know the answer, but, for the life of you, you cannot remember the actor’s name. You eventually get frustrated and give up. Then, ten, twenty, or even thirty minutes later you are watching television, not thinking about anything and then “poof,” the actor’s name pops into your head. Ideas also follow this pattern. The truth is every person has had at least one good idea in his/her life. Sometimes, without noticing it, a stimulus awakens something in our subconscious and an idea pops into our head. When this happens (and it will happen because I guarantee it has happened to you before and you have not noticed) write it down in your notebook for further development.

Fourth, if by chance neither of the two phenomenon mentioned above occur or you are not patient enough to wait for them, more practical methods exist to stimulate idea creation. Going back to my first point, focus your thought into a field of interest. For example, if you are interested in cooking, maybe you have a problem with the way an oven can dry out a chicken when cooking. Now that you have identified a problem, brainstorm and think of as many solutions as possible. It does not matter how crazy the solution is, just think about them and write them down. After you have written down every possible solution, no matter how crazy, go through the list and find the solution that you feel you can best accomplish. Surprise! You have come up with an original idea. This does not mean that you should pitch this idea tomorrow. All this means is that you should develop your idea, mold your idea, and perfect your idea into something you think people would buy if in the market. Also, this way of thinking will get your creative juices flowing. You may find yourself traveling a different path from your original field of interest. If this occurs, follow the thought until completion. You may be surprised where it leads!

Remember, do not force your ideas, take a break if you need one, and BE PATIENT! Do not expect miracles the first time. Go through the process and everything should work out. Write down ideas when they hit or sit down, focus your thought, find a problem, think of a solution, and develop YOUR original idea.

Lastly, be proud of your creation. Ideas, like people, need nurturing and development. If you do thee things, idea creation will become second nature to you.



3/2/07

Pyramid Scheme vs. Multi-level Marketing

Many people automatically associate a negative connotation with buzz words like “multi-level marketing” and “downline.” These people assume that those words denote a “pyramid scheme” and that the opportunity attached to those words is a scam. However, this is simply not true. If you know what to look for and what to avoid, you will be able to detect a true “pyramid scheme” from a potential money making opportunity.

Pyramid Scheme

Overview
A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business that involves the exchange of money, usually in the form of a sign-up fee, and usually has no product or service. Most importantly, pyramid schemes are ILLEGAL! The only people that are able to make money on a pyramid scheme are the people at the top of the pyramid.



Source: http://www.sec.gov/answers/pyramid.htm


The above picture proves that pyramid schemes are unsustainable. As stated above, because these businesses offer no product or service, no possible way exists for the people at the bottom of the pyramid to make any money. The only way to make money in a pyramid scheme is to sign-up new members for a fee. However, as the above picture shows, this becomes impossible when the scheme reaches a certain level. The end result is that people can spend upwards of several thousand dollars to enroll in one of these scams and will end up losing everything.

Common Elements
As the United State Securities and Exchange Commission states, “[t]he hallmark of these schemes is the promise of sky-high returns in a short period of time for doing nothing other than handing over your money and getting others to do the same. The fraudsters behind a pyramid scheme may go to great lengths to make the program look like a legitimate multi-level marketing program. But despite their claims to have legitimate products or services to sell, these fraudsters simply use money coming in from new recruits to pay off early stage investors.”

Some other identifying characteristics to look for are:
• Vague descriptions about the company from which your questions can only be answered by signing up and paying the fee
• No product or service being offered or a product that sells at a highly inflated price
• A majority or all of the possible income to be made comes from the sign-up fee from new enrollees.
• Repeated assurances that the company is completely legal.

If any of these characteristics are present, you will want to completely avoid the company and warn others from participating in this advanced form of fraud.

Multi-level Marketing

Overview
Multi-level marketing companies follow a similar concept to a pyramid scheme, which is a reason for most of the confusion, except that two significant differences exist. One difference is that members at any level of a multi-level marketing model can make income through the company’s products and/or services without signing up any new members. The second difference is that multi-level marketing companies are LEGAL!

You may be asking, “if all the confusion, why then do these companies initiate this business model?” The main reason for this type of model is to reduce the cost of advertising. We can all agree that effective advertising in this day and age can cost a bundle. Many new companies do not have this much capital in the beginning. Therefore, one solution is to reward the company’s members for “spreading the word.” Instead of the company spending hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars on advertising, the company gives the members an incentive, usually in the form of money, for signing up new members to sell/use the company’s product and/or service.

Unlike a pyramid scheme, any member on any level can make money without ever having to sign-up a new member. However, like a pyramid scheme, once the company reaches a certain population level, it becomes impossible for any new people to sign-up. Therefore, the people at the bottom cannot make bonuses for sign-ups, but they will still be able to make money based on the company’s product and/or services.

Examples
The following is a list of companies that conduct business under a multi-level marketing business model. You may have heard of a few of these:
• Avon Products
• Tupperware
• Mary Kay Cosmetics
• Herbalife
• World Financial Group

Common Elements
Common elements of a multi-level business model are different from a pyramid scheme:
• Little or no enrollment fee
• The company completely explains itself, its products, and its services BEFORE you sign-up
• A member’s main source of income will come from selling or offering the company’s products and/or services
• A member can make money at ANY level of the model WITHOUT signing up new members

These elements assure that the member will have a fair chance to make money from the company. However, as is true with any venture, your income depends on your ability to sell products or offer services. Any company that promises you money for doing nothing is not being honest with you.

If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to tell the difference between the two types of companies. Some pyramid schemes are very cleverly hidden. If you should encounter a company like this during your entrepreneurial journey, and you discover that you cannot make a conclusive decision as to whether or not the company is a pyramid scheme, it is best to error on the side of caution and avoid the situation.

If you discover a multi-level marketing company that you may want to sign-up for, always do a cost/benefit analysis. Weigh all possible costs associated with signing up against all the potential benefits. If the benefits outweigh the costs, you may want to sign-up and try to make some money from the company. The same is true vice versa. In the end, the decision is up to you.

After reading this article, it is my intention that at the very least you should now be able to differentiate between an illegal pyramid scam that will take your money and a legal multi-level marketing company that offers a legitimate opportunity to make money. By knowing and recognizing the difference between the two, you should no longer worry when you here buzzwords like “multi-level marketing” and “downline.” Also, you should be able to take a closer look at multi-level marketing companies and possibly expand your entrepreneurial horizons.



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