Hi there, welcome to my little corner of the web! I’ve been online since my days at The Walt Disney Company.
Even though my job at Disney had nothing to do with the internet, I learned HTML and web programming on my own, knowing that eventually these skills would come in handy. When the Vice President I worked for decided we needed a web presence, guess who got to develop one of the first department websites? It was just the opening I needed to create my dream job, developing database driven intranet applications. I was in heaven!
All of that changed when I went out on maternity leave to have my darling triplets. Having 3 babies at once was a big shock, and it changed the way I thought of work. Even though I loved working for Disney, I wanted to be near my babies. Eventually I was able to work out a telecommuting arrangement that allowed me to work from home a couple days a week so I could keep an eye on them (and the nanny).
When the kids turned 3, I left Disney and became a consultant … for Disney. That worked well until consulting dollars dried up. It was at that point that I became permanently self-employed. Not the ideal way to do it for sure, but I had a few small business clients already from word of mouth. Being an early Internet adopter, it frustrated me when I couldn’t find local businesses online. That and a conversation with Ken Evoy of SiteSell.com put me on the local business consulting path.
I jumped in with both feet, sure that local businesses needed and wanted my help. Only one of these was true, can you guess which? Alas, I was way too early to the party. I wrote my first book “How to Promote Your Local Business on the Internet”. Created a resource for small business owners, or so I thought. Sold some copies of my book, which I’ve updated numerous times over the years and still sells.
Here’s the problem. Local business owners don’t think of themselves that way – it’s way too general. Their problems may be the same, but in their mind, their problems are unique to that type of business. Florists and plumbers don’t want to be lumped together. That was lesson #1.
And lesson #2? Small business owners were definitely NOT surfing the web in 2001, looking for information products. Most of the people who subscribed to my mailing list and bought my products were online marketers who wanted to target offline business owners.
By now, we had moved to Houston to be near family and I realized that the world had not caught up with my ideas. There was no Google Local, Places, Plus, whatever – no tools whatsoever. And business owners still thought (hoped) the internet was a passing fad. It was tough going and I got mighty discouraged.
At this point I stumbled into lead generation, and actually did quite well at affiliate marketing on a CPA (Cost Per Action) basis generating education leads. I liked SEO, especially when I realized those were my initials. I worked with a company who had the relationships with the schools so all I had to do was generate the leads.
Then I learned that I should be building my own leads database and decided to remove the middle man. Mistake #3. I told you I wasn’t going to shy away from painful mistakes!
Sold the education site, developed a new one from scratch. Targeting a particular niche that did not have very many CPA offers to help monetize it. To make it worse, the people in this niche had gatekeepers!
Guess what happened next? Big beautiful site, lots of traffic, but nobody to buy the leads! OMG, what have I done? Learned not to overlook the SALES process, for one. Learned to know my strengths and weaknesses and develop my business accordingly. I sold that site in early 2013.
My children are now teenagers and I’m happy to say they have never known me to work outside the home. Being a full-time “mompreneur” has its ups and downs but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve learned a lot and made some good friends along the way.
Has it been easy? No.
Would I do it again? Absolutely.
One more thing. I’m not a guru, but I do have something to say every now and then. So if you want to hear from a real person who has “been there, done that” when it comes to internet marketing, stay tuned.