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Archives for December 2012

A Facebook Marketing Holiday Success Story

I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season. It’s gray, rainy and cool here in Atlanta on this Christmas eve, but I’m enjoying the day anyway. I put on my Christmas lights, curled up on the couch, watched some trash TV and got a little work done (obviously). …

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Why I Won’t be Setting Any Freelance Writing Goals for 2013 . . . Should You?

Practically every year, I formulate goals for my freelance writing business. For next year, I’m not going to. Why? Read on….

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Answers to 11 Frequently Asked Questions by New Freelance Writers

This is the time of year when many are turning their attention towards change – whether it’s contemplating a divorce (as an aside did you know that divorce rates are highest around New Year’s); or switching jobs; or making a career change altogether (eg, starting a freelance writing business).

I’ve said this before when it comes to freelancing, ie, we are primed to make change at this time of year. So, I thought I’d answer the 11 most frequently asked questions for those who are thinking about starting a freelance writing business – whether it’s part-time or full-time.

1. How Much Should I Charge as a New Freelance Writer?

If there’s one thing that stumps many new freelance writers it’s how to set their freelance writing rates. Most (understandably) have no idea.

I’ve addressed this question numerous times over the years. Here are some links to in-depth posts on how to set your freelance writing rates just below. I just want to remind you to do a couple of things before you set your freelance rates:

a) Know what you need to live on: Namely, run your personal finance numbers. The reason is, no matter what you decide to charge, if it’s not enough to meet your obligations, you’ll become discouraged and frustrated (and likely quit) freelancing altogether if you’re not making enough to cover your bills. This is particularly important if you’re jumping into freelancing full-time.

The second thing is to . . .

b) Assess the competition: This is to gain an idea of what others are charging so you can know if you’re “in the ballpark” with your rates. I set my firm’s freelance / SEO writing rates somewhere in the middle. Why? Primarily because it makes it easier to bring in new clients.

One thing you’ll learn is that the higher you price your freelance services, the harder it will be to bring in clients (not hard, just not as easy as someone who charges bottom-of-the-barrel rates).

FAQs by New Freelance WritersLinks to In-depth Posts on How to Set Your Freelance Writing Rates

One Good Reason NOT to Raise Your Freelance Writing Rates – and It Has Nothing to Do with Losing Clients

Freelance Writing Rates: And the Debate Rages On . . .

Freelance Writing Rates: What to Charge for Proofreading, Copyediting, Writing, Etc.

Truths about Freelance Writing Rates from a Freelancer with Almost 20 Years of Experience

Freelance Writing Rates: 3 Instances Where You Should Definitely Charge More

2. Should I Get a Freelance Writing Website or Blog?

In general, I advise most freelance writers to get a blog. But, in order to determine which one is right for you, see this post, which explains the difference between a blog and a website.

3. How Do I Get a Website (or Blog)?

If you know absolutely nothing about web design or how to build a website, you have two options here. You can: (i) hire a web designer; or (ii) get or get one of the easy-to-set-up packages offered by your web hosting company (one of the most important decisions you’ll make when starting an online biz by the way).

I advise going the do-it-yourself route because in the end, it will cost you much less.

Why?

Because you’re going to need to know how to update your website/blog – ie, to add testimonials, change your freelance rates, add/update service offerings, etc.

Imagine paying a web designer every time you have to add/delete something from your site. Even the “cheap” ones charge $25-$35/hour (usually with a one-hour minimum). So, learn how to do it yourself from jump – and take control of your freelance writer online presence – from jump.

4. What Should I Put on My Freelance Writing Website (or Blog)?

This can be confusing, especially for new freelance writers. Just know, there are no hard and fast rules. But – as I talked about in the post, How to Start a Freelance Writing Career in Less than 24 Hours for $0, following is some basic info I think every freelance writer should have on their website – newbie or not.

What to List On Your Website/Blog

On your website/blog, you will list your:

(i) writing samples;

(ii) a short bio; and if you want

(iii) your rates (some do, some don’t).

For some more info, read A New Freelance Writer Asks, “What Should I Put on a Website to Attract More Clients?”

5. What If I Have No Freelance Writing Experience (ie, No Writing Samples)?

This really stumps really new freelancers because they think that they can’t get work without writing samples.

This is one of the easiest problems to solve for newbies, which was explained in the aforementioned post, How to Start a Freelance Writing Career in Less than 24 Hours for $0, where I outlined what to do, writing:

If your writing cubbard is dry, sit down and write three articles (400-600 words each, no longer). This is enough to start.

If you want to be a health writer, then write health articles to use as samples. If you want to be a technology writer, then write on technology issues; a finance writer, then write on finance (the current economy should give you more than enough to pull from here).

It really is that simple, especially if you’re pursuing online writing jobs. Why? Because all most prospective clients want to see is proof that you CAN write on a subject; not that you’ve been published before (ie, done writing for another client).

FYI, learn the 5 elements that every freelance writing sample should have.

Since I started writing SEO content in 2007, I can count on one hand the number of times clients have asked me where a sample has been published. Really, I don’t think anyone has asked. What they usually ask is, can you write on X subject; or does your firm do Y type of writing.

Don’t believe you can land freelance writing jobs by going this route (or not having any writing samples)? See the post, How to Get Freelance Writing Jobs Advice: How a New Freelance Writer Landed a $150 Gig with No Experience, No Samples & No Website – 4 Things She Did Right for some inspiration.

6. What Services Should I Offer?

See the post, Starting an SEO Writing Company? A Newbie Asks, “How Do You Decide Which Services to Offer and/or Not Offer?”, on SeoWritingJobs.com. Although the answered is geared for SEO writers, the thought process is the same – no matter what kind of freelance writing you do.

7. How Do I Find Clients When I First Start My Freelance Writing Business?

There are many ways to market for writing jobs. One of my favorite ways is e-mail marketing. You can also find them:

Via free classified ad sites like Craigslist;

At your local Chamber of Commerce;

On social media (many writers have touted how well Facebook has worked for them);

On bid-for-pay sites like Elance (although I don’t use bid-for-pay sites, they work for some freelancers).

Learn more about the Opportunities in Freelance Writing (Where the Jobs Are & Specific Advice On How to Get Them).

8. How Much Can I Expect to Earn as a Freelance Writer?

As stated in the post, Opportunities in Freelance Writing: Realistically, How Much Should You Expect to Earn as a FT Freelance Writer Your First Year, $30,000 is very feasible. The post explained why, stating:

How much you can realistically expect to earn depends on a lot of factors, eg, niche, experience, freelance writing rates, marketing ability, etc. However, in my opinion, even a complete novice should be able to earn between $30,000 and $50,000 their first year freelancing. Now, this means getting up, putting in a solid 8-10 hours per day (mostly marketing in the beginning) and charging a decent rate; but this is a very realistic ballpark figure. . . .

One of the main reasons it’s so easy is because of a wave of opportunities ushered in by the web.

9. Should I Develop a Niche as a Freelance Writer?

I’m a big believer in what I call “niching it to success.” The reasons for this are numerous, ie:

4 Reasons to “Niche It” as a Freelance Writer

It’s easy to find prospects to target;

It’s easier to develop a marketing message;

It’s easier to assess the competition; and

It’s easier to come up with your freelance writing rates, to name a few.

Learn more about should you niche it or not as a freelance writer in the posts below.

Writing As a Career: Questions from a Freelancer Who’s Just Starting Out about Niche Marketing & More

Niche Marketing Advice: How to Find Hundreds of Prospects to Contact for Freelance Writing Jobs in a Specific Niche

Writing for SEO: Is It Better to Cultivate a Niche, or Not?

10. What Am I Doing Wrong?

When many freelance writers first start out, they will inevitably get to a point where they doubt themselves. This usually happens within the first six months or so. They hit a (marketing) wall where they can’t seem to land clients – no matter how hard they try.

And, this is when many lament, “What am I doing wrong?”

I addressed this in a post a couple of years ago. As many of the posts on this site are, it was inspired by a freelancer who emailed me. She wrote, in part:

I’m doing everything I can to get clients with a 0 budget (I’m still unemployed). I don’t know if there’s a missing link in marketing from my end. I see my fellow writers who I correspond with on Facebook, and all of them are making six-figures or pretty darn close to it. . . .

I’m trying all I can to get more revenue, however, it seems like no matter what I do, no one is buying.(Or they want my services for $ 5 bucks, and that’s not going to happen). . . . I guess, the real question is, “When you are giving your business everything you got and you are still not seeing the results you desire, what do you do? Or what steps have you personally taken if this situation has happened to you, Yuwanda?

Read what I told her. Just know, it’s probably NOT you.

11. How Can I Become a Freelance Writer (ie, How do I get started)?

I’ve received this question probably a few hundred times in my career. It’s asked in many different ways; the following question from a newbie sums up what most want to know. She wrote, in part:

I am a good student, so know I can learn it, however I am overwhelmed by the amount of [info out there] . . . Help! I want to take the leap, but am unsure of which direction to jump.

Gain More Insight into How to Become a Freelance Writer

How to Become a Freelance Writer: A Wannabe Freelancer States, “I Want to Make the Leap, but I Don’t Know Where to Start – Help!”

How to Become a Freelance Writer: Starting from Scratch

Freelance Writing Advice for College Grads (Or Those Who Want to Transition into Freelancing Fulltime)

How to Become a Freelance Writer: How to Market Consistently to Start Earning $100-$200 Per Day

12. Why Didn’t I Start Sooner?

Keeping the spirit of the graphic to this post in mind, on the 12th day of Christmas, new freelance writers wondered, “Why the heck didn’t I start my freelance writing career earlier?!

Conclusion: Frequently Asked Questions from New Freelance Writers

I know this is a lot of information to digest and want to caution against letting “information overload” stop you. Don’t procrastinate. Of all the links in this post, if you follow the advice given in How to Start a Freelance Writing Career in Less than 24 Hours for $0, you should be up and running in no time.

You’re going to make mistakes as a freelancer; so don’t try to wait until everything is “perfect” to start. It’s never going to be. All you can do is get started, learn from the mistakes you make – and keep going.

FYI . . . the holiday discounts have been extended. Because a few people emailed me saying they were glad to see the discounts (and wanted more time to take advantage of them), I decided to extend them for the rest of this month – until 12/31/2012 midnight (U.S. EST).

Have a great week.

Best,
Yuwanda

P.S.: Wanna join me in Jamaica and learn how to start a high-paying career as an SEO writer so you can travel also?

Learn about the SEO writer who just signed a $24,000 contract, then register for the SEO copywriter training class. A nominal deposit reserves your spot. Learning SEO is about so much more than learning a new skill; it’s about changing (taking control of) your life! Proof? See average salary of SEO writers in graphic just below.

P.P.S.: Avoid freelance writing dry spells by making extra money as an affiliate marketer. How? Learn how to earn $50-$150/day online pretty seamlessly in the best-selling ebook, How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites.

Copyright © 2012: Just a reminder — All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the editor’s written consent (linking to is fine).

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A Freelance Writer’s Life Abroad: Inside Peek at My Life as an American Living in Jamaica for a Year, Part XXIV

In this installment, I’m going to tell you about my trip to Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios (November 2012). As I discussed in this installment of the Living in Jamaica series, I got out of Negril for a while, which is where I usually spend the bulk of my time when I’m in Jamaica.

Where to Go in Jamaica: My Trip to Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios

Fisherman displays his "fresh catch" of the daySome have described Fisherman’s Village as a lot of shacks thrown together — and it could be looked at that way. But, I look at it as enteprising business people using what they have to make a living.

So yeah, there are a lot of little huts that sell fish, alcohol, etc. There are a couple of “real restaurants/bars”. But mostly it’s just a village of small huts run by what seems to be individuals (and their family members) who sell good food and good spirit.

FYI, there are links to tons of photos of my time in Fisherman’s Village at the end of this post (click on all photos for larger view).

The fish in the photo are called “Parrot Fish” (at least I think that’s what the fisherman who was kind enough to stop and let me take photos of his catch called them). They are so named because of their beautiful colors, which is just like a parrot, I’d guess. 

Where to Get the Best Seafood at Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

If you go, DEFINITELY go to Dave’s Lobster. His restaurant (one of the “real establishments”) in the Village is at the back. You can’t miss it, as the village is not that big.

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Publisher Note This series is seeking a sponsor (eg, airline, phone company, travel firm, luggage seller, etc.). If interested, send email via “Contact” page and let’s discuss. Access links to every post in this series at the end of this page. Enjoy!
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One more thing, on TripAdvisor.com, a popular travel site, the question comes up a lot if this place is “safe.” I hear that a lot about Jamaica in general. While there are definitely places NOT to go (eg, the ghetto in Kingston, where I’ve been and never want to go again), Jamaica for tourists is very safe.

I think a lot of this “fear” stems from the fact that Jamaicans (especially rastas) can look intimidating — especially if you’re from a place where you’re not accustomed to being around other races — particularly a whole bunch of “fierce looking” black men. But they’re just like any other people. So use your wits when you travel to this country just like you would any place else.

Yes, Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios is Safe — Here’s Why

The proprietors want tourists to come because they want the business. So you don’t have to worry about anybody bothering you (other than maybe a beggar or two, and if you’ve lived in a metropolis like NYC or Atlanta or Chicago, then you know how to handle this).

Bottom line — you’re not in any danger at Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios — at all.

OR . . .

Jamaica in general. I’ve been travelling to this beautiful Caribbean island since 2009, and have done some pretty stupid things (eg, walking a mile from a restaurant to my hotel at 11 at night along dark cliffs with nary a car in sight).

Guys do come on to women — old, young, fat, skinny, white, black, blue, green or purple– if you’re a woman, the Jamaican men are going to come on to you. But, this happens in America too. A firm “No” gets them on their way.

And not for nothing, the police are very vigilant about protecting tourists in Jamaica — because tourism is the country’s bread and butter. The locals know this; hence, most of the crime in Jamaica is local on local — not local on tourist.

I hope this alleviates any fears you may have about visiting Jamaica. Again, just use your wits — like you would when you travel any place else — and you’ll be fine.

Photos: Fisherman’s Village, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Just a shot from the car window on the way from Columbus Park in Discovery Bay (St. Ann’s Parish) to Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios (or “Ochi” as the Jamaicans say).

Superstorm Sandy tore up a lot of places in Jamaica. This uprooted tree bore evidence of her wrath.

Boats “parked” at Fisherman’s Village.

Cute little houses (stores) right next door to Fisherman’s Village. Margaritaville is right next to these.

There seems to be a Margaritaville at every tourist spot in Jamaica — some of the most overpriced, weak drinks I’ve ever had. Went once in Negril; never again. A tourist trap IMO. Eat/drink like the locals and you can almost never go wrong — and it’s cheaper (way cheaper!)

Beach at Fisherman’s Village — lots of stuff still on the beach that Superstorm Sandy caused the sea to cough up.

This is a “mineral stream” that runs through Fisherman’s village. Fresh water is constantly coming through the stream.

The locals bathe in the stream (anybody can). You just undress and step right in. The guy standing there in his undies was even doing his laundry there as he bathed. FYI, this takes place right out in public (you can see it from the highway, as that’s where Fisherman Village is located — right off a main highway). The water was too cold for me, but my friend had no problem with it. Lots of Jamaicans bathe in cold water (in streams, rivers, etc.); many don’t have hot water at home, so they’re used to it.

Sign right above the bath spring at Fisherman’s Village.

I finally got up the nerve to stick my feet in the water. It wasn’t an unusually hot day, but the water felt good after I got used to it.

Literally soaking my feet. Hmmmmm …. refreshing!

Carving of Bob Marley (into a tree of a bar). Also, there’s a carving of . . .

Rita Marley, his wife and . . .

Carvings of a couple of their kids too (I don’t know how many kids Bob Marley had, but it was definitely more than two). These were so unusual. Again, carved right into the side of a tree, which was one of the “columns” of a bar.

See the carving; this is the one of Rita Marley. Bob is to the left of her– and the kids are to the left of him. [FYI that’s the fisherman who was kind enough to stand still and let me take a shot of his fish (shot shown at the beginning of this post)– and who told me about the carvings].

The best fish meal I ever had — EVER! I forgot the name of the fish, but it was big, meaty and seasoned so good. It was served with bammy (a kind of cornbread), potatoes, yams, okra, Jamaican peppers (which are very hot) and onion. My stomach is growling just thinking about it.

FYI, fish cooked here usually has the head still on (the whole thing is cooked). My cousin visited me here one time with a friend of hers and ordered fried fish. It came with the head on — and she couldn’t eat it. It was funny to me, but if you’re not used to it, it can be kind of “icky” I guess. Doesn’t bother me a bit — but I tend to be greedy!

These two little girls (between 11 and 13 yrs old I’d say) were fishing. They were frustrated b/c they said that stingrays were chasing all the fish away. Too adorable — and enterprising I thought!

There are many ways you’ll find fished being cooked in Fisherman’s Village. This gentleman was cooking some on an open flame outside. My Rasta friend knows everbody it seems — this guy gave us a couple of the fish he was cooking while we waited for our “big meal” to be prepared.

Closeup: Fish cooking on open flame.

It’s ready to eat! Fish that my Rasta’s friend shared with us. It was served on some type of palm leaf — plucked right from the trees. Yummy (the fish, not the leaf).

Fisherman boats at Fisherman Village — yes, a storm was coming. Didn’t last long. The sun came out again. We sat inside Dave’s Lobster and had our meal while it rained. Then, we got on the road again.

Sunset over Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios, Jamaica: Even though this shot came out blurry, I loved the eerie serenity of it.

More sunset over Fisherman’s Village (sunsets here — amazing!). The beer has been finished, the fish eaten and I’m ready for bed.

General shot of Fisherman’s Village.

FYI, these pics were taken over two visits to this village; we visited Fisherman’s Village on our way to and from the Blue Mountains. I had to have more of that fish dish I talked about earlier!

I hope you enjoyed the visit through Fisherman’s Village in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. And if you decide to go, remember, go to Dave’s. He’s a nice guy; I met him personally, as he is a friend of my rasta friend. He really does serve up some great seafood — and I’m a born and raised Floridian – where seafood is a staple. So, I know great seafood!

Next time I go back (oh yeah, there’ll definitely be a next time!), I’m definitely having the lobster.

Have a great weekend,

Yuwanda
P.S.: Wanna join me in Jamaica and learn how to start a high-paying career as an SEO writer so you can travel also? Learn about the SEO writer who just signed a $24,000 contract!

Register for the SEO copywriter training class. A nominal deposit reserves your spot. Learning SEO is about so much more than learning a new skill; it’s about changing (taking control of) your life! Proof? See average salary of SEO writers in graphic just below.

P.P.S.: Avoid freelance writing dry spells by making extra money as an affiliate marketer. How? Learn how to earn $50-$150/day online pretty seamlessly in the best-selling ebook, How to Make Money Placing Ads on Free Classified Ad Sites.

Copyright © 2012: Just a reminder — All material on this site is copyright protected and cannot be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the editor’s written consent (linking to is fine).

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How to Price Your Ebook to Sell: 7 Things I Learned from Publishing 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year

The following is an excerpt (a pullout) from the ebook, Sell Ebooks Online, How I Published 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year – And You Can Too!

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HOW TO SELL EBOOKS ONLINE: 18 Things I Learned from Publishing 50 Ebooks in One Year

FOREWORD

The following is an excerpt (a pullout) from the ebook, Sell Ebooks Online, How I Published 50 Ebooks on Amazon in One Year – And You Can Too!

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The $24,000 Freelance Writing Contract & Great Holiday Deals/Discounts

FYI, some details on the SEO writer who landed a $24,000 contract is belowFirst up though are the holiday deals and discounts for this year….

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How I Earned $84,358.24 in 21 Months in Affiliate Marketing: The 11 FREE Methods I Used

[See all Inkwell Editorial Work-from-Home Titles Here]

PREFACE

My Story: How I Got into Affiliate Marketing

From January 1, 2010 to September 23, 2011, I earned $84,358.24 in affiliate marketing. Now why that’s by no means a fortune, what makes it great is that it was mostly pure profit becuase I did it all using free techniques – the very ones I’m going to share with you here.

It certainly helps to pad those dry spells all freelance writers have. Now, I don’t even worry when things get slow for my writing firm.

x-click-but22 Learn free ways to earn money in affiliate/internet marketing for only $6.99. [Learn how to get this ebook for just $1!]. Updated in December 2012.

Why I Wrote This E-Guide: Who It Can Help

I decided to write this e-guide because I got into affiliate marketing – for good – in late 2008. I’d dibbled and dabbled before, but never made any real money at it and quite frankly, I’m not surprised.

affmkting-cover-lgI was like a lot of new affiliate marketers – frustrated at not making money online; especially when I kept reading story after story after story of some guy who started last month and was making $10,000 per month.

I was like, “If I could make a third of that, I’d be happy!

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

So, this information if for anyone who doubts that you can make money online in affiliate marketing. I’m here to tell you that you can! And, I’m still a novice, but I earn a consistent four figures per month doing it. In fact, I’ve made my living completely online since 2007 and part of it is due to my affiliate earnings.

Affiliate Marketing Training

The second group this ebook is for is those who already believe you can make money in affiliate marketing, but haven’t quite discovered a winning formula yet.

Maybe by seeing some of the tactics I employ – and my rationale behind them – you can put together a successful marketing strategy that will make your affiliate earnings grow and become consistent.

It took me a while, but mine now are. Now, I’m trying to get to the next level, eg, break five figures per month.

Learn Affiliate Marketing the Easy Way!

Here I discuss all of the FREE methods I still use to this day – when I could well afford to spend money on things like PPC (pay per click) ads. While I may go this route one day, right now, I’m comfortable.

My affiliate marketing income is rising and I’m investing time in building my affiliate marketing business’s infrastructure (ie, subscriber list, putting out new products), so have no urgent need to invest time in learning the intricacies of paid methods like PPC (where you can lose your shirt if you don’t know what you’re doing).

Get Serious or Get Out of the Game

You see, you have to treat affiliate marketing like a real business (which is what it is) to succeed. Once I started doing this, I started making good money — consistently.

The Most Money I’ve Earned in One Day as an Affiliate Marketer

The most I’ve ever earned in one day is $900. And while that’s nowhere near what the big-shot affiliate marketers earn (many earn tens of thousands of dollars per day), I consistently earn $100-$150/day, which is enough to allow many to quit their full-time jobs.

I have occasional $200, $300 and $500+ days. These are becoming more frequent. While they’re not as frequent as I’d like, its proof enough to make me realize that “Yeah, sooner rather than later, I’m gonna get to the four-figure PER DAY mark.”

Yes, You Really Can Make a Full-Time Living as an Affiliate Marketer

Once I started experiencing success in affiliate marketing, it became “real” for me; like:

Wow! I can really make a living doing this!

Once I saw how successful I was promoting my sister’s ebook on backpage, I started placing ads for my own ebooks and e-classes. I started to sell more. Then I started promoting other products and services on backpage, via article marketing, on my blog/website, etc.

I have to admit, I went kinda crazy trying out new products to promote. In short, I was “affiliate program hopping” – and started to dilute my sales.

After a while, I settled into affiliate marketing seriously, honing in on a few products – ones I use consistently – that I promote regularly, along with my ebooks, of course.

And as I’ve said, I’ve been able to earn a consistent $100-$150/day doing so.

Affiliate Marketing Tips: Topics Covered Within

Following are the FREE promotional methods I’ve used – and continue to use – to successfully sell a myriad of products and services online – my own and those of others.

Some of the things discussed include:

Why affiliate marketing is exploding as an online business;

How to set up a free affiliate website/blog;

How to avoid the hype and still sell the product;

The benefits of selling what you DON’T Like about a product/service;

Why building a subscriber list is critical to your success;

How to build and manage a subscriber list for free;

Why promoting higher and lower-priced items can earn you more money in affiliate marketing;

Why to market within a niche;

The one site I use a lot that brings me consistent sales;

Two benefits of creating your own product/service to sell;

How I sold $1,038.70 worth of ebooks in 2.5 days; and

And a whole lot more!

x-click-but22 Get on the road to affiliate/internet marketing success for only $6.99. [Learn how to get this ebook for just $1!]

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