SBI! Reviews: Infopreneur
Ever Dreamt of Earning a Living
From Your Own Web site?
(If We Can, Anyone Can. Here's How.)
"At work" smashing a raw egg on Tamar's head during a Carnival theme party...
This is a down-to-earth account of how our site, www.coolest-kid-birthday-parties.com, came into existence, how it earns Tamar... yes, and me a living, and how much unbelievable fun we're having....
In short, this site is living proof that what I'm about to tell you REALLY works.
First, take a look at our overall ranking on the Web (out of over 170 Million sites!):
Yep, little Sis and I are in the top 1/2 percent of all the Web sites in the whole wide world. Even we find it hard to believe! And to think that we aren't computer techies and knew very little about creating Web sites before embarking upon this fascinating journey.
OK. So you want to know how? In one word... SBI!
In more than one word?
Sit back and get your scrolling finger ready. Here's our detailed (and often personal) story of:
- How we built this site based entirely on SiteSell knowledge
- How it earns us both a living
- And how it's helping us achieve our other (offline) dreams.
Chapter 1: Dreams DO Come True
Written in October 2003
"All Our Dreams Can Come True, If We
Have The Courage To Pursue Them" - Walt Disney
This is not just a story of how a simple (and fun) Web site, built by two "amateurs", turned into a high-ranking, high-traffic, highly-profitable source of income - in under six months.
First and foremost, it is a story about how the creation of this site has helped my sister and I realize and achieve our true dreams...
My name is Elad.
My daughter Maya was born in June 2001. At the time, I was working as a Marketing Communications manager at a large High Tech company in Israel. The job was demanding, pay was OK (I guess...), I wasn't much at home, and family time was reduced to a few hours on the weekends.
I often caught myself daydreaming of how great it would be to work from home, be my own boss, be able to shut the computer whenever I wanted and play with Maya or go out to the cafe with my wife in the middle of the day....
I've run into lots of so-called work-from-home and get-rich-in-a-week schemes on the Net. And I must admit that some are quite tempting, especially to someone who was eager for a change like myself. But, as a skeptic, I never really bought into any of them and usually would just click on to the next page.
Until one day I stumbled upon a free 5-day email course that promised to enhance my online writing skills as a first step towards building an online business. Again, my first reaction was: Yeah, right... But I admit, something about this particular course strum a sensitive chord, tickled my hopes of one day working from home, and... it was free, so what the heck.
I signed up.
It may sound a bit dramatic, but I regard that very moment of signing up as a turning point in my life.
I have no better way to describe the course besides mind-boggling! It helped me understand that the key to earning a living from a Web site is not by going out and learning HTML, graphic design or any other technical stuff (which already had me quite confused...)
The key is first and foremost the ability to WRITE words that can sell.
The course was so powerful and genuine, yet simple and down-to-earth, that it left me gasping for more.)
After the final installment of the course, I immediately bought an ebook called Make Your Words Sell! (co-written by the same author who wrote the free course, Dr. Ken Evoy). It is by far the very best book on writing (not just Netwriting but virtually any sort of marketing-oriented writing) I've ever read. It took me just one day to devour its 300+ pages. And it's written so simply and eloquently, as if you're sitting in your living room with your old buddy Ken, having a chat over a cup of decaf (or Turkish coffee as customary on our end of the world...). I've read it several times since and keep referring to it and learning from it all the time.
With all the newly acquired knowledge, the next step was putting theory to practice.
My little sister Tamar (23, not so little anymore I guess...), who is an amazing artist (OK, I'm impartial, but I'll link you to some of her work in a moment) was working day and night as a waitress and didn't have any time for her own art. So I offered to build her a small Web site to promote her murals for kids' rooms. Maybe she'd get a job or two to even out the waitressing?
In a matter of weeks Tamar was getting more than five calls a day (all via the Web site), closing lots of work - her average mural was about $250 - which was about one whole week of waitressing. She left her waitressing job and began focusing only on painting murals.
Take a look at her site. Although it's in Hebrew, you can click on the pictures. They speak for themselves. (You'll need to enter username: tamar, password: shippony).
Next came a call from a family friend from California, Ami Adini, who heard how Tamar was getting lots and lots of work just from her Web site. Ami, an environmental consultant, had spent quite a few dollars on building a company Web site, but was quite frustrated that it had not generated even a single lead. So we agreed that I'd rebuild his California-based site from my home in Israel...
This was a much bigger project than Tamar's site and I felt I needed a bit more knowledge to build it correctly. By now, I was receiving weekly newsletters from Dr. Ken Evoy, who had become sort of my internet Guru, and I decided to invest $30 in another one of his books called: Make Your Site Sell!
Make Your Site Sell! is considered by many to be the "bible" of selling on the Net. It covers every imaginable aspect of building a Web site that can really SELL. Again, written in Ken's down-to-earth chummy voice. It was also the perfect supplement to the first book I had purchased Make Your Words Sell!
Armed with the wealth of knowledge from these books I was ready to transform www.amiadini.com into a site that actually generated leads for Ami's services.
You'll notice that it's a very simple site, focused on a local clientele. It took me three weeks to build (I knew nothing about the environmental industry and taught myself just a bit of Web building using Dreamweaver to get around) and I still administer it on a regular basis.
This is what Ami recently wrote me:
"Your contribution to our success is sizable. I personally have now stopped recording the calls we get off the Internet from our Web site. Additionally, our enhanced newsletter (thanks to your efforts) is getting VERY positive reactions."
I have returned my $60 investment in the two ebooks a hundred fold.
Dr. Ken Evoy's company has a third product, it's flagship, called SBI!. After experiencing the success with the first two books, I was gradually becoming more and more interested in it.
SBI! (SBI!) sells itself as an all-in-one site-building, site-hosting, site-promoting suite of tools. It supposedly eliminates all the confusing technical complexities and exhausting manual labor involved in building and promoting a site, and leaves you with the fun part - creating content.
Sounds like one heck of a product, but I admit that my inner skeptic voice wasn't ready to part with the few hundred dollars SBI! costs.
However, my day job was getting more and more intense, I was barely seeing my family, I was dragging myself to work, and worst of all, my dream (upon which I will elaborate in a moment...) was now light years away. And that's what got the red lights really flickering.
So one day I just got up and said to myself - ENOUGH! It's time to start moving towards my real goals.
I have a family to support, so I couldn't just get up and go, leave my job and hope for the best (although there were moments I was very tempted to...)
So I took a deep breath, and invested the few hundred dollars in SBI!
My knees were shaking when I clicked submit on the Secure online Credit Card form. But, my third investment in a SiteSell product turned out to be the very best investment I have ever made!
My goal was to build an online business that would generate an income equal (or greater, of course) to the salary I was earning. And also wouldn't be dependant on any country's economy (as my country's economy is in shambles...).
SBI! comes with yet another ebook that helps you get a potentially profitable site up and running by following a ten chapter program. I had no idea what my "money-making" site would be about, but after reading through the first two days, I understood that it would have to involve a theme that was close to my heart.
Travel or backpacking were the obvious choice.
And I was just about ready to choose the domain name and start building my travel/backpacking site, when (luckily) I contained my enthusiasm, and took an extra moment for rational contemplation. With the help of one of SBI!'s powerful tools, I was able to measure the demand and supply for backpacking-related information on the Net and it turned out that there was lots more supply than demand.
Now, I was never really any good with economics, but low demand vs. high supply was a definite no-no. And I'm glad I stopped to think at that very moment because if I would have built a "coolest-backpacking" site, I'd probably still be working as a Marketing Communications Manager...
At this point I needed some help, a pair of fresh eyes, and "enlisted" Tamar. I asked her to follow the first few chapters of the SBI! ebook and help me come up with a concept. Now, when Tamar does something, she tends to go overboard. For about a whole week she sat day and night searching for a topic with high demand and low supply.
And I remember the fateful phone call with her:
"Elad, I've got a site concept for you! But you've got to sit down first and promise not to laugh.... OK?"
I promised and she continued:
"Kid birthday parties."
I admit, I couldn't stop laughing. Kid birthday parties?! Huh?!
But after a few minutes (in which Tamar almost hung up...) it dawned upon me:
- I've got my little Maya and another little girl on the way (and hopefully many more....)
- I'll be in the kid birthday biz whether I want to or not for the next 20 years (at least...).
- I always like to do things with a creative flare.
- And... I love birthdays and parties - especially when they're for my loved ones.
Hey, we may be onto something.
After her brilliant idea, I asked Tamar to join forces with me and take part in building this site. It was perfect timing because she wanted to take a break from painting murals before taking off to the US to start her art studies at one of the most celebrated Schools of Art & Design.
Tamar and I did lots and lots of research on kid birthday parties and started experimenting with our ideas on kids and during parties whenever the opportunity arose. We wrote up lots of content for the site and I was in charge of strategy and building the site from a technical aspect (although, with SBI!, you really don't need any technical knowledge because you can build a site through simple building blocks and monitor every aspect of traffic through a consolidated control center.)
In no time, both of us became kid birthday junkies!
There are two ways our site makes money:
1. Google Ads - We earn money when people click on an ad that appears on our site.
2. Affiliate Marketing - We provide content and make suggestions as to where to buy quality products. If a visitor clicks over from our site to our affiliate (partner merchant) we earn a commission (while the customer doesn't pay even a penny more for the product.) Fair enough.
I won't get into the woof and warp of affiliate marketing as Dr. Ken Evoy (yes, him again...) has yet another FREE ebook that explains this topic thoroughly, the Affiliate Masters Course.
The underlying philosophy is to rank high in the search engines for keywords that are in high demand and that way generate lots of traffic to our site and lots of clicks on the ads and clickthroughs to our affiliates.
Just four months after starting the site and during a month in which many people are out vacationing, this site generated a Net profit of almost $1,000! The site was ranked 50,821 at Alexa and we had close to 500 subscribers to our Birthdayography newsletter.
(Oh yeah, and during August I was also on vacation for a whole computer-less week of Scuba diving in the Red Sea while our site continued to work as usual.)
Two months later, commission was up to $2000 and since then stats have been continuously increasing.
As for Tamar... She's moved to the US and has been creating some amazing works of art. As you've probably noticed already, I'm a proud brother, and when I asked to "show off" her work in this story, she protested vehemently (such a humble being...).
But I'm bigger and stronger :-)
Tamar gets a percentage of the monthly earnings from our site (a great student salary) and can now focus solely on her dream - ART - without having to waste any of her time on minimum-wage student jobs.
She provides content and inspiration when she can (mainly during vacations...). I've been doing the rest, trying out new strategies, making mistakes and learning from them, and all the while, using the wealth of SiteSell knowledge and SBI! power to strengthen our site. Oh yeah, and having fun all the while!
I admit that I haven't read any other online marketing books (and I probably should), but I'd just rather read and re-read the books and free courses I already have from SiteSell because there's so much more I can learn from them and I already KNOW how much they work.
But that's not all...
Way back at the top I mentioned another dream which seemed light years away. Well... I'm also an aspiring actor/storyteller and I've always dreamt of putting together my own storytelling performance.
But I never got around to it.
Let me rephrase, I HAD never got around to doing it.
With a bit more time on my hands and a whole lot of amazing energy, I uncorked the champagne on a new storytelling and music performance called:
"The Wandering Storyteller"
Together with my musician partner, we interweave a dialogue between percussion instruments and stories. The stories are based on my amusing and sometimes outrageous travel experiences. I also do some singing and act out different characters. It's a very unique show, it's the fruit of our creation, and we've been getting really great feedback and reviews.
So why have I brought it up now?
Well, besides having realized an important dream, I still had to market it.
So what did I do?
You got it.
I built a one-page site (in Hebrew - but with pictures and a video clip). The simplest site ever. A day after putting it online, I closed two performances. Only two months after curtains went up on our new show, we performed NINE times in both private and public affairs (seven performances came in through the Web!).
Just goes to show that the knowledge I gained from the SiteSell products has no language barrier.
As a final word...
I recently left my day job much earlier than I expected to, I work from home on our Web site, Ami's Web site, and I'm developing another new site. I'm also performing in front of audiences quite a bit now. I have a rule that I close my computer (with lock and bolt) every day between 4-8 pm to be with my family. I spend lots of quality time with them!
And I'm achieving my dreams and enjoying every moment of life. So is Tamar.
I wish you the same.
P.S. I'd like to say a special thank you to Dr. Ken Evoy, the founder of SiteSell. Ken (if I may), my virtual friend and Guru, whom I regard in high esteem (without ever having spoken to him...), has helped me make a difference in my life and I'm sure in many others by building a company that shines above the rest!
If you're not sure where to start your own Internet Journey, I recommend you start off by reading Ken Evoy's latest and really one of his very best ebooks Make Your Content PREsell!. It'll change your life (and I do not say so lightly). Good Luck!