Internet Marketing CollegeLast week we looked at new opportunities that come with lifelong learning. I suggested that, unless you're ready to hibernate from all progress, learning cannot stop the day you leave school / college. It must be life-long.

As an aside I noted that in the list of jobs that didn't exist 30 years ago, several of them were skills that anyone starting an online business must master.

Here's my list again, with the addition of a few other skills needed to run a successful internet business.

  • Blogger or Web Developer
  • Image Designer
  • Social Media Manager
  • Lead Generation (see my sorry story below)
  • Autoresponder Management
  • Website Security Manager (and maybe website repair after hacking)
  • Video Producer
  • Web Copy-writing
  • User Experience Designer
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Product Creation (unless you become an affiliate marketer)

The above are just some of the skills I found I needed to build a successful online business.

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Starting An Online Business

Many experts recommend learning product creation.

I've written at length about my reasons for NOT recommending that you create your own online product (as a beginner). The main reason is that, in my experience, the average wannabee Internet Marketer just wants to find a way to earn an extra income, rather than learn blogging and all the other skills above.

Many who go that route drop out along the way. Others (like me) create the product but never cover their costs.

risk-px-250Creating your own product is completely different when you have some internet marketing training and skills behind you – and some expertise to share.

Until then, if you are a newbie internet marketer, I recommend Affiliate Marketing as the lowest risk way to start an online business.

When you are successful at generating traffic and making sales, you will have a head start if you then create your own product.

Skills Needed By An Affiliate Marketer

So… being an affiliate marketer cuts “product creation” from the list – other than, perhaps, a free report to use as a lead magnet.

But that still leaves a whole list of skills that you'll need to be a successful affiliate marketer.

Whoa!

No-one mentioned all that when you signed up for JVZoo, ClickBank or any other affiliate marketplace.

If you were anything like I was a few years ago, you imagined you could just sling about a few affiliate links, place some adverts and coin it in.

Perhaps you could ten years ago, but even by the time I started looking into starting an online business this was totally unrealistic.

Lead Generation By PPC Advertising

My sad story….

My wake-up call for Pay-Per-Click advertising came early. I took a “Product Creation” course. It advertised that if a total beginner (as I was then) spent ten hours a week for six weeks, they could launch and profit from their own product.

After spending way beyond those 60 hours, I finally produced my own product and website and THEN had to start marketing it. The first lesson was PPC advertising (it was a few years ago – I doubt anyone still recommends that as a strategy for beginners).

I placed a few ads and lost my entire advertising budget with ZERO sales of my $17 ebook. Not a happy bunny, I insisted that the coaching company place my next advert for me to demonstrate how it should be done. They put their top PPC man on the case and he didn't make a sale either. With those results I fled the PPC scene, bruised and battered, never to return. (And that was before I learned about competitors clicking your ad to use up your budget.)

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and now I can see several things I should have done differently, but that's not the point of this story. The point is that “lead generation” is just ONE of the skills needed to run an online business, and even a coaching company's top advertising man got it completely wrong.

Why Affiliate Marketers Fail

You know those adverts that “promise” beginners can grab some affiliate links and make money. Unless you're already very skilled online, it's just not true. Here are a few completely basic reasons why:affiliate marketing sales funnel

  1. Without a proper sales funnel / follow-up system where you make money on the backend, you'll lose your future sales to the product creator.
  2. Unless you have a high-ticket product in your sales funnel your commission just can't cover the cost of acquiring a customer
  3. With low-ticket products only, you need a huge number of sales to generate a decent monthly income.
  4. Without a completely different website to the standard affiliate site for the product you are promoting, ad-blindness will quickly set in. Soon you'll be just another “me-too” using the company's replicated website.
  5. Are you a successful “sales closer”? If yes – great. If not, how will you close those high ticket sales?

How To Have Better Affiliate Marketing Skills

Above are some of the reasons why you need to have better affiliate marketing skills than the adverts imply. After all, an advert that asked you to master all those skills before you made a sale wouldn't have many takers.

So where does that leave aspiring Internet Marketers? Where does it leave me, in fact?

stress-fot-webWell, I'm a competent blogger, I've out-sourced a few videos and banners and Yoast plugin is “my” SEO.

I fumble my way impatiently through social media marketing, but I know my copy-writing needs work.

As for developing my own sales funnel…. I probably COULD do it if I set my mind to it, but frankly I have been getting worn out with it all.

What was meant to be a part-time business to ease me into a comfortable retirement, has ended up taking over my life and even impinging on my offline business.

Yes, there are places I can out-source the work, but the costs mount up. So I've often tended to DIY (and make a botch of it) instead of hiring experts.

Relieving The Stress of Affiliate Marketing

It's no real secret that I've found part-time online business more stressful than I had imagined it would be.

And if I have struggled, I doubt I'm the only one. Yet I would dearly like to help other newcomers to online marketing (part-time or full-time) to avoid the stress and heart-ache I have been through.

But I can't know everything, so how can I pass Internet Marketing skills on to newcomers?

Alternative Way To Have Better Affiliate Marketing Skills

Light at the end of the tunnel….

I have found these courses by acknowledged experts in their field – some on subjects I will probably need to learn about myself.

There's almost certainly an area you need to brush up on, so check them out and see which one suits you best.

To improve your Internet Marketing skills Learn More About Internet Marketing College (affiliate link) here.