Secrets of Online Entrepreneurs
Don't miss this next wave of industry disruption. Get on board the internet express and snare a slice of the pie for what promises to be one of the most transformational times in business history. BERNADETTE SCHWERDT is the director of the Australian School of Copywriting, an entrepreneur, an advertising copywriter, and a university lecturer. She is currently the executive producer and presenter of the online video series Secrets of Aussie Online Entrepreneurs as featured on The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald websites. Find out more at www.bernadetteschwerdt.com.au
Secrets of Online Entrepreneurs
Being an 'online entrepreneur' means different things to different people but for me, the definition that sums it up in its purest sense is 'one who identifies a need, any need, and fills it using the internet as the main means of promotion'.
Creating an online business that sells to a global marketplace 24/7 can be intoxicating and when those first few sales arrive, it becomes quite addictive. I can still vividly recall that moment when I launched my online business. It was June 2006 and my online entrepreneurial journey had just begun.
How to make money in your pyjamas
Date: June 2006
Time: 9:17 am
The baby's napping. I'm in bed, eating Vegemite toast and drinking coffee. I fire up the laptop and check my email. My new website's been up for two days and overnight two people have bought my home-study copywriting course. One thousand, six hundred dollars went into my bank account while I slept. I forward the email receipts to my virtual assistant and she dispatches the packages to their new owners, triggering the auto-responders that will take care of all client communication for the next few months. Automation heaven! I sweep the crumbs out of the bed, put my mug aside and snuggle down to catch up on the sleep I lost tending to a newborn the night before.
I had hoped my new website would work, but really - seriously - would anyone buy my home-study course sight unseen, without even knowing me, without even so much as sending an email to check that I was real? Would they really entrust this random website with that most precious of data, their credit card?
As it turns out, yes they would and yes they did.
The thought that the average Australian would have to work a week to generate what I earned overnight was not lost on me. At that very moment, I fell in love with online business, and that thrill of seeing money go into my bank account without me having to do anything on that day (note the italics) still thrills me.
Online business? I was hooked.
But that was then, and this is now. Boy, how things have changed.
The allure of an online business
There was a time when online entrepreneurs were greeted with awe, curiosity and intrigue.
'Wow, someone who makes money out of thin air, without doing anything! What a talent!'
'Yes, it's a passive-income business,' we'd muse, smugly.
In the early 2000s, when the world wide web really was the wild, wild west, having an online business that delivered a passive income was not that hard to achieve. I know because I had one: a business that provided an income whether I was in bed, the Bahamas or the bath.
It seemed that if you could put a half-decent website together, devise a reasonable product and get the site on page one of Google, you really could make money out of nothing.
I recall a colleague who wrote an eBook containing original fairytale stories for children. Its point of difference was that each story ended with a simple moral that dealt with everyday childhood fears and worries. Those books are commonplace now, but back then they were the height of novelty and, even better, you could get them instantly - without going to the bookshop! Amazing. She sold more than 10 000 copies in four weeks. At $47 a pop, that's a nice little earner for a 50-page digital download.
Another colleague built a simple membership site costing $97 per month. Within a few months, he had more than 500 people in his club. That should pay his mortgage for the month.
Is passive income really passive?
Let's knock this one on the head right now.
There's no such thing as passive income. Most people I know who make money 'while they sleep' are actually really, really active in making it - they just do all the work in advance of the sale, not after it.
Passive income may look easy, and it certainly