When I got home from Expert’s Academy I was faced with the question, now what is the next step to get started implementing what I learned? And, how can I apply what I learned to promoting my book?
I thought to myself, “I got this. I’m a technology guy. I can figure this out."
I conveniently forgot that I wasn’t yet a “marketing and sales” guy, so I focused first on the technology to support an online business with online marketing and sales.
All the thought leaders I was listening to at the time were saying “start with WordPress” to build your website and go from there. The advantage of WordPress is that it is relatively inexpensive, but it is hard to learn how to use. And there was no guidance on what content to put on your website.
Some people will say "Websites are dead. You don't need a website to sell stuff online. You just need marketing and sales funnels." I fell for that too. Neither were right. You actually need both.
I did what many people do. I created an “extended business card” or an “information brochure” website. It really did not do much to drive business. And to be honest, I wasn’t really clear yet on what my business was going to be.
I discovered quickly that the disadvantage of WordPress (or any other free website creation tool) is that it doesn’t do anything but allow you to create public content website pages and blogs. Anything you want to do to support online business activities (marketing, sales, and product delivery) on your website needs to be done by other systems, either “plug-ins” or “separate online services” that required monthly subscriptions to use.
Brendon and Jeff Walker were both saying “start by building your email list,” which is another way of saying start building a community of followers, but WordPress doesn’t have any native ability to capture names and email addresses, or to send automated email responses. To do that, you need an email system.
How do you build your email list? Offer something valuable to your audience in exchange for their name and email address. To set this up, you need to create an opt-in page immediately followed by a value delivery page, and to simultaneously send an automated email response. To do that you needed a separate web page builder system integrated with the separate email automation system.
Then there was the idea of selling and delivering an online product, for example, an online course to interactively teach the principles in my book. That would require licensing another piece of software to take the payment and automatically provide login access for a customer to access the private course content. The course content itself needs to be in the form of hosted streaming videos and downloadable worksheets. I needed to learn how to produce and edit videos,
If you lay the technology complexity on top of the need to understand online marketing, sales, and content delivery, the whole thing seemed overwhelming and expensive. This seems especially daunting when you’re not sure yet exactly who your audience is, and you’re not clear about what you’re going to be selling to pay for all of technology investments needed to make the sales.
After months and years of trying to figure this out, It finally dawned on me what the solution was. Every online business system is a custom-built system.
I realized that the solution to this complicated puzzle is to use the project management techniques that I had used for over 20 years at Exxon and NASA to build custom software systems for collaborating engineering communities – use agile software development principles.
Huh? What's that and why should I care? ... Stay tuned
To your online success!
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Reflections about Choice, Personal Performance and Online Business