5 Internet Businesses Any College Student Can Start Without Spending a Dime

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 27, 2009

When I was in college in 1989, we had only a few options to make a buck. Manual labor or selling products no one wanted to sell. After all, if a product was sell-able, all the experienced sales people would be all over it, leaving no open spots available for the inexperienced college student. But, the Internet has changed all that. Today, a college student only needs to look inside his or her own experiences to find ways to make money that older adults cannot invade.

1. Videographer - Sure, there are many video experts out there who are no strangers to the web. But, there are many business owners who would love to have video on their Web sites but don’t want to pay huge video production costs. Offer a video package deal that streamlines the process. The mobile device you use right now could be of high enough quality to post a fairly decent video for a business owner giving a short tour of their facility, for example. Offer uploading it to a YouTube account or their blog as part of the fee. Offer you could swing by once a week to record them on video and upload it to their blog or Web site or Facebook account. The list is truly endless if you add the word “video” into the mix. And, most business owners are scared to death of the thought of video although they know that’s where everything is happening online right now.

2. Setting up Social Sites – If you’re in your late teens or early twenties, you’ve practically grown up with MySpace and Facebook and all the cool ways and strategies to use those mediums. You probably can’t even imagine what life would be like without social sites! Business owners just think it’s “something they’d maybe get into if they had time.” You could offer a social media setup and training package where you do the setup and then offer training and support. This could be a package deal price or offer a monthly rate. Get 10 clients paying you even just $100 per month would be some pretty easy pay for you.

3. List Building – Tie in the social system with building the business owners newsletter list and even helping them with promotions. If you’ve used any html editors or even basic software, you would be able to figure out their email system like Constant Contact or other commercial email manager.

4. Affiliate Marketer – This one would just involve yourself working for you. You probably learned how to make a Web site in the 8th grade. So, use those early learned skills to promote some affiliate products. You don’t have to be a master of the industry and usually don’t even have to buy the product to start promoting it. Products abound in ClickBank.com and CommissionJunction.com where you can find products available to promote and you get up to 75% commission sometimes when one of your referrals buys. There’s a lot to starting to get involved in affiliate programs. I even created a free e-course for people in the business world who fear getting laid off and how they should start getting involved with the Internet before they lose their jobs.

5. Lead Generator - People refer business to me all the time. They don’t “sell” the client and get the order. They just tell people they know about my services and I get the phone call or they’ll go buy something on my Web site. When they do order, I pay commission on the sale to whoever referred the customer. This is even simpler than option #4 above because you don’t have to even worry about making Web sites. Simply find some companies that provide Internet promotion services (always a hot item with business owners) and offer to refer people their way for a commission on the sale.

If you go that route, I hope you would include my company in that mix. We have a particularly interesting package deal we’re selling called The Ultimate Blog Setup Package and it sells for $2500 a piece. There’s a lot of work we do on this end to implement the blog package, so we only pay 10% referrals. But, still that’s $250 just for a short conversation with a business owner, author or speaker you may already know in your network.

Imagine if you USED or expanded your network a little heavier and brought in 7, 8, 10 referrals a week for our blog package? Now you’re talking some bank.

This is just one of many examples you could use to refer prospective clients to web companies. The critical part is finding web services companies YOU can trust to get the job done…and get it done quickly. Be very careful with companies you pick to send your referrals to that they’ve been doing this for a while and that they really will pay you for those referrals.

So, that’s the scoop. 5 pretty solid and free ways any college student can start without spending a dime. And, because you’ve grown up with the technology in your back pocket, all of these will be simple for you to get into and start making immediate cash. The byproduct of course being that you will expand your education potential rivaling any college course for sure. Good luck and study hard!

Choose To Participate in the Economic Meltdown

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 19, 2009

I hear speakers boast how they’re “ignoring” the economy or “choosing not to participate” or “not joining the membership to poverty”. Just today I received an invitation to attend a workshop called Marketing Through the Meltdown.

C’mon America. We’re better than this. Don’t ignore your life or your future. Don’t resign yourself to doom.

This isn’t a time for desperate measures. But it IS a great time for considering how your product or service is essential to someone’s well-being, that’s all.

And, I believe just about any product or service can be promoted as an essential component to someone’s well-being.

So, here are some steps for you to pick yourself up and change your mindset from one of attempting to ignore what’s happening to embracing the economic situation and moving forward and upward:

1) Know people are making money - Sure, lots of companies have been laying off and shutting down, but there are plenty of new business starting-up too. Before you can make money, you have to believe you can. Doesn’t that make sense? If you keep thinking “nobody’s going to buy from me, nobody’s going to buy anything!” then they surely won’t. Don’t get caught up with “who’ is making money exactly, or what industry. Just change your mindset by knowing in your heart and mind and even saying to yourself that, “In every economic downturn, people do find opportunity and I are one of them!”

2) Diversify – Adapt some of your current offerings to meet the new needs of your market. Our HereNextYear blog package is a good example. In January, we had a “soft launch” of the new package deal and had a record sales month. We just got two new clients yesterday for the blog package and that’s a $2500 product. Same service as what we would’ve done previously, just packaged differently to meet the needs of the market.

3) Acknowledge your lifestyle – Those that know me know I go skiing every weekend with my kids, sometimes once during the work week too. Sure costs money to make those trips even with paid season passes. There’s gas, breakfast on the way, dinner on our way home…at least we bring bag lunches! That weekly cost adds up, but it’s a lifestyle I want to uphold and it motivates me to continue to be positive and work hard to maintain that lifestyle.

4) Find what people are doing – When you find someone that’s not foreclosing on their home, hang around them. Find out how they’re spending their time, what seminars they’re attending, what they’re learning about, how they’re promoting their business.

5) Learn and expand - This is not the time to turn into a t.v. zombie and watch 5 hours of news or fall into a trance listening to old Pink Floyd albums or playing Captain Jack by Billy Joel over and over again. Once you find out what people are doing to be successful, give yourself a chance to learn with them. Take a video production class. Learn SEO for your Web site or get onto the social networking bandwagon and devote an hour a day to conversing with others online with Twitter or industry forums.

They say that when the economy recovers, the world will never be the same and that we will all be so much better off. What about your personal economic growth? Does it have to wait until the world fixes itself?

Of course not. Take this opportunity now TO PARTICIPATE in this economy. Because what you have to offer really is essential but only if you believe it is.

Tips to Ease the Fears of Public Speaking

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 12, 2009

fear-of-public-speakingPublic speaking is one of the most feared things on the planet. You probably knew this because maybe you’ve experienced the same jitters (or death-gripping fear) on a stage or in front of an audience before. If you are in an industry that doesn’t require some form of public speaking then maybe you can apply some of these tips to networking (which is one of the most important skills for building your business)…

Those are some tips and techniques that have helped me tremendously in the past. Hopefully they can help you feel more prepared, more accepted – and less fearful.

Get 19530 New Twitter Followers in 30 Days?

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 12, 2009

Hey check this out…

I just found this site that shows you a way of getting 1000′s of new followers on twitter, I just started using it myself and its starting to work


Yet another very interesting Twitter tool to try recommended by Website

SEO and Social Networking Training Class in Denver Feb 25

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 11, 2009

SEO and Social Networking training class in Denver Feb 25 will be led by “me” Marty Dickinson. This is a special one because the entire class is entirely “hands-on.”  No need to bring your laptop because every attendee will have a computer to use anyway. Limit to class size is just 20. The Google SEO class will be in the morning from 9 to noon and then Social Networking setup will be the afternoon. Register for one or both. Check out the press release we ran a couple of days ago that goes into some detail about why we chose New Horizons as your learning center for this event.

If you know of someone who really needs to learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for getting pages of their website on Google, suggest they attend this class. Perfect for web designers who have not yet learned about SEO. Also great for the non-technical business owner who would love to learn to optimize their own pages but just doesn’t think they have the technical skills to pull it off. You will be using LIVE data on pages of a website and shown how to optimize them. Then you will actually upload those to a real live web server so that you can go back to your business that night and work on your own pages without worry of breaking anything!

Class #2 is a set-up class where we will target 5 of the most prominent social networking sites: FaceBook, Twitter, Linked-in, Squidoo, and MySpace. Bring a photo of yourself if you have one.

With the other 27 class sessions we have planned for 2009, I can’t promise I’ll be doing these two classes again soon. So, if either or both of these classes would save you some money from paying someone else to do it, or you want to learn the inside secrets to making all of these things work together, this is your day to attend.

It’s time to learn how to do these Internet tasks on your own. That’s why we’re creating DoItMySelfInstitute.com. Be one of the first to attend. Hope to see you there.

Worlds Tiniest Website

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 10, 2009

Ever checkout the worlds tiniest website? I came across this during a heated forum discussion whether a website should force a visitor to scroll versus click to get to the information that they want. Programmers are notorious for wanting to develop small functionality or utilities one has to “figure out.”

Designers seem to want to never make the visitor scroll to get information. Since everyone I’ve ever hung around in the millionaire circle will tell you that half your visitors leave every time you make them click on a link, you know my stance to that question.

Yes, definitely provide the information you need to on a page where the visitors scroll whenever possible. But, just in case you get into a heated discussion with your designer or programmer, just say well, fine then, just go visit guimp.com and make me a website like that!

Accountability Partners – Helping You Get Stuff Done

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 9, 2009

small-business-helpIf you’re like most business owners, you have a long to-do list that only seems to grow each day, you have new ideas to increase sales popping in from every which way…but at the end of the day…nothing really seems to be getting done.

Or maybe it’s a new week, or a new quarter and you have written out a set of new goals..but you struggle to hit them week-to-week. Sometimes you just wish you could clone yourself – maybe even two or three times – so that you could make more progress.

One thing that I want to introduce you to today is the idea of getting an Accountability Partner. This is someone you can trust that has the ability to challenge you, expand your thinking and your abilities each day, week, or month.

Here’s how it works: You and your partner (see qualifications and suggestions below) set up a quick scheduled call or meeting once a week, or bi-weekly. Note: If you do one longer meeting once a month, it will not be as effective as accountability-partnershorter bi-weekly meetings/calls. The whole point of doing this in the first place is to keep each other on track – and a monthly meeting will be spent getting back “into it” instead of evaluating each others progress and creating new plans of action to get you closer to hitting your goals.

To prepare for the meeting, you’ll both want to:

This way, you are both ready to maximize your time together. During the meeting or call, you’ll first want to review progress made from the previous meeting. This is the tough part – you’ll need to hold your partner accountable for the goals on their list they did not achieve. You can do this by asking questions such as:

You will also want to praise your partner for their success. You could even ask questions such as:

doneNext, it’s time to review what you each prepared for the upcoming week(s), strategize how to overcome weaknesses, and motivate each other to move forward and get stuff done!

Now, how do you pick your Accountability Partner? Caution: Do *not* pick someone who will be easy on you, who will accept even your best excuses, or someone who isn’t as motivated to get stuff done as you are. This is the hardest part. You want to approach someone who will really push you to hit your goals and achieve a higher level of success. Otherwise, it will just be another “chat session” that you could have had with your best friend.

Now what? Today’s task is to pick your Accountability Partner. Then, set up your first meeting. Then, write out your goals and prepare for your time together. Then, you take action and tackle that task list to get your business on track to the next level. Happy partner hunting!

Newsletters: Design, Purpose, Formatting, Selling, and More!

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 6, 2009

After you have put up a website, it might be a good idea to start thinking about a newsletter you can offer weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly to your customers. Study after study shows that newsletters can create a loyal following and repeat sales. And the good news is, newsletters are fast, easy, and can be a very fun way to let your creative side out. BUT, if you’re not creative, you don’t have to be!

So, a few things to think about before you start designing:

  1. What is the purpose of your newsletter? Do you want to put together a document to keep readers updated on your industry? Do you want to make this more of a personal newsletter on your interests, recommended products, etc.? Get a good sense of your objectives and goals.
  2. Sit down and brainstorm every possible component you can think of that could be included in your newsletter – tips, jokes, quotes, testimonials, video, articles, etc. Make this list as long as possible (research what others have done for more ideas) and then refine your list down to the elements that get YOU excited. If you aren’t excited about what you’re doing, it’ll never get done.
  3. Think about what format you want to use for your newsletter:
    -   You can do a plain text format which is easy, fast, and has good deliverability in email accounts – but, it’s a little boring because there are no graphics or creative ways to break up the text.
    -   HTML newsletters are a little more fun because you can adjust the theme, colors, and layout – but, some email accounts only accept text emails which could hurt your deliverability a little.
    -   You could also create your newsletter in a word processor and publish it as a PDF. This can give you a little more of a professional feel and you have creative control as well. (Word even has pre-made newsletter templates available to help you get started.)
    -   Also, do you want this to be a digital newsletter that you send to people via email or post on a website? Or will this be a printed newsletter that you mail to your customers?
  4. If you’ve done writing in the past for articles or blogs, you know that writer’s block can set in and deter you from producing a finished product. I suggest writing out a list of ideas – article topics that you can put into a document and pull out when you need a little shove in the right direction.
  5. Frustrated with the design process or feeling a wave of procrastination in getting started? Go to your favorite search engine and type in “free newsletter templates” and bingo! – You’ve got instant motivation and a fill-in-the-blank template you can go to town with.

So, start with brainstorming, then finish up with creating the template. Newsletters can be fun and rewarding (both personally and financially). Let me see your newsletter once you’ve designed it, and then we can create a blog post around it and get you some increased exposure!!  :)

How a Custom Theme Increased Twitter Follows

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 4, 2009

Want to increase your Twitter follows? Add a custom theme using these simple steps. Yesterday, we all wanted to get our pages to the top of Google. Today, we just want more “follows” on Twitter. It’s partially a status symbol and part good business sense. The more people who are following you, the more people you have the opportunity to build relationships with.

This past Saturday, I finally had a few hours to create a background for my Twitter profile. This is Tuesday night and I have received 62 new follows since then. The interesting thing is that I did absolutely nothing between then and now other than one thing; I added a custom background.

Twitter allows you to upload a custom background. First login and go to the “Design” link in the top right corner of your profile page. Click “Background Image” to upload from your computer to your Twitter account.

But, let’s talk about what you want in your Twitter background. I’ve outline 7 components of what I added. Not that any of these are absolutely essential, but most of them are:

Sample Twitter Background Components
1) Shell – The main body of Twitter is white, so I made the inside of my body image to be white too.

2) Logo – You’re just a person on Twitter, but your name is still a logo and it’s certainly okay to come up with a slogan for yourself.

3) Photo - Since my main Twitter photo is sort of formal, I added one that is pretty casual and reflects a playful side, but also showcases a part of my business, in this case appearing on a radio talk show.
4) Links - Here’s your money opp! Add some links where you want people to check you out more. Of course Twitter allows you to add a website link in your profile admin area, but this is much more prounounced.

5) Special - List either a special you’re having or special news about YOU. In this case, I have a For Dummies book coming out in a few months. So, it’s natural to want to promote it. But, people respond to book covers online so, if you have a book out, feature it in your Twitter profile.

6) Something playful - I mentioned the book, but the playful line below it is what gets peoples’ attention. Why? because it’s not so corporate and it’s kind of playful too. I love the emails I get like, “ha, loved the caption at the bottom of your book cover.”

7) Right column color - This is a tricky one. The colors are changed in the “change design colors” link within Twitter, but it’s up to you to figure out which color will go well with your profile and your custom background. Choose a color that isn’t so bright that people are blinded that the leave. keep a soft, but dark color to make your text stand out.

Once you’ve saved your background image and upload it, make a Twitter post that you’ve changed your background and you’d like others to critique it.

I’m actually kind of amazed that Twitter actually even offers this level of customization. I mean, you can put anything into an image and upload it. But, in the past week, after seeing months of pretty meaningless amounts of additional follows, I get this spike. And the only thing I’ve done different since Saturday is add a custom background.

Have you seen any difference in follows or traffic since adding a background? Report your findings here.

YourSmallBizCollege.com – The Super Saver For 2009 Businesses?

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Feb 2, 2009

YourSmallBizCollege.comThree years in development, over 10,000 hours spent turning over every rock online, and 2 partners…put all of that together and you’ve got a link www.YourSmallBizCollege.com. By clicking on that link, you will come across the most complete resource center for businesses that I have seen.

Their headline reads, “Calling All Business Owners: Finally! A One-Stop Complete Entrepreneur’s Resource Center Jam-Packed With Hundreds of Tools To Build Your Business in 2009…Even with the Economy’s Ups and Downs!

Their subhead reads, “Over 35 Categories About To Bust Loose With Trusted Tips and Tools: Video Tutorials, Business Planning Forms and Templates, Software, eBooks, Internet Marketing Training Webinars, Social Networking Apps, Widgets, and More!” Let’s just say, I was intrigued.

I now have access to the site, and thought I’d share my review of it with you. I’m sure you’ll come across a lot of promotion for this site. It is said that by the end of their first week, over 300,00o people will have received emails about this inexpensive membership site.

So what’s in this A to Z business site?

You will even find places to take business classes at Harvard and Yale online for Free.  They’ve purchased resell/reprint rights to over 40,000 e-books and internet tools just so you could use them in your product or service promotional efforts.

They also have:

I’ve only just begun to crack open this site and see all there is to see. It will probably take me weeks to take advantage of all the information.

I encourage you to go to www.YourSmallBizCollege.com and watch the video on the site set-up, read their sales letter on what is included, and see if it’s a good fit for your business in 2009.

Considering what’s inside, I was pretty surprised that they only charge $27/mo. to get access. The 2 partners, Darrell Hornbacher and Client Steiner, are business associates of mine…so I had to ask Darrell, “Why only $27 a month?” He says, “We understand these are challenging financial times.  We don’t want the cost of a membership precluding a small biz owner from taking advantage of a tool that can have an impact on their business.  For less than a dollar a day and a money back guarantee what do you have to lose?

A few of their fast action bonuses (to the first 100 sign-ups) include:

I’ve been told that a flood of people have already visited the site. To Darrell and Clint, “Great job and good luck!”

Go check it out, come back, and tell me what you think…