In January or early February of 2010, I received a telephone call from someone who had some questions about starting a business. His name was Warren Wooden and he was in the middle of starting an internet marketing website. We had a great conversation and several more followed over the year.
This past month, Warren Wooden’s PLR Internet Marketing celebrated its one year anniversary.
Over the course of the year, Warren has defied the odds and has built up PLR Internet Marketing from an idea into a successful online business. Today, he is a highly sought-after internet marketing expert with a large following, and his site ranks well (on the first page of Google) for popular keywords like “internet marketing” and “Twitter marketing”… keyword rankings that other entrepreneurs only dream of attaining. In the past 12 months, Warren and I have had the chance to work together, we’ve bounced ideas off of each other, and I’m privileged to call him my friend.
I asked Warren to take time out of his increasingly busy schedule to answer a few questions about his first year in business. I wanted to share his challenges and successes with you so you could see how someone can start and grow a business quickly and effectively.
I was thrilled with the interview: Warren pulled back the curtain to reveal the inner workings of a successful entrepreneur. There’s a lot to learn here, so grab a pen and paper and dig in!
(My questions are in black and Warren’s responses are in green).
Aaron Hoos: Tell us how you got started. Have you always been entrepreneurial? What was the catalyst to make you decide to start the business? What was the trajectory of your business this past year?
Warren Wooden: Well Aaron, I’d say I always had the entrepreneurial spirit, and rebelled from an early age against both working for someone else, and working what would be termed “traditional”-type jobs. I tended to do better in positions where I was either working alone, or left to lead my team alone.
I’ve been a model, a bouncer, a commercial diver (everything from recovering sunken boats to body recoveries for the RCMP), I owned a bottled water business for a few years, I was a Regional Sales Manager for an Internet Solutions company, and I was a Sales Manager for the Bay Hbc for the last 5 years until walking out to blog full time
Did I dabble, or jump in? I jumped in 110%!
My last job was Sales Manager with the Hudson’s Bay Company where I spent five years managing a three million dollar business, and for the most part actually loving my job due in large part to the people I got to work with on a daily basis. Many of them are still my friends to this day, and that’s where I first met my beautiful girlfriend, Daya. Unfortunately the job I loved was slowly replaced and the people I loved were let go and replaced with people I had a very hard time working for and with. The final year with them was probably the most stressful year of my life, and I decided in February of 2010 that I’d start a home based business, and continue working for one final year while building up my business on the side.
I had planned to try and last until Dec, 31, 2010 but fate had other plans for me, I guess. During a particularly stressful week I was told that if I didn’t come in on my day off (a day I had a prior commitment I couldn’t break and that they had asked me to take off so they could have me in on my previous days off), I was told to choose between coming in tomorrow or not at all. So after five long years with a company that had gone through several changes I handed them my keys and walked out! That was Mar 16th 2010 just two weeks after launching my blog PLR Internet Marketing.
The beginning was scary as I had zero income coming in except what I was able to create for myself while also trying to build a solid foundation. Having a supportive girlfriend was also a big part of my success and I have to say I couldn’t have done this without her!
As far as the trajectory of my business goes, I set out in the beginning with a list of goals as well as a vision to help guide me and my business.
Here is my Vision: “Our vision at PLR Internet Marketing is to provide a quality online resource that is dedicated to helping individuals with the information to achieve financial growth in the online world. We specialize in showing people how to make money with their blogs, through Internet marketing, affiliate marketing, PLR, as well as SEO techniques in order that they may experience the freedom that comes with owning an online business. With your success, comes our success!” I wanted to tie myself and my success in with that of my readers.
Since the business was new to me, my goals were titled “What I think Success Will Look Like” and I listed out the initial goals that I’d focus on. Obviously this was a fluid document and as the website grew, as did my knowledge and skillsets, some things changed. Certain goals were simply unattainable and others I overshot. Another document I made and have hanging on my wall is my “Why”
This is my reason for doing what I do:
Written by Warren F. Wooden, Mar, 1, 2010
I will build up an Internet Marketing E-Business that provides me and my family with the financial and time freedom to enable us to have a richer and fuller life! (Time frame – 3 year)
What I think Success will look like:
– Will have a branded website receiving 2000 visitors each day
– Income will be $10,000.00 per month
– Will have multiple streams of online income
– Will have my own $100.00 product to promote and sell
1. My own e-book
2. My own digital product
3. Traffic will be 2000+ per day
4. Income will be $10,000.00 per month
5. Email list will hold 20,000+ subscribers
6. Will rank top 3 for “Internet Marketing”
7. Will have 1 product launch under my belt
8. Will have at least one employee in our business
9. Will still be motivated and setting goals each month
10. Social network (Twitter, Facebook) will be over 100,000
House with land
Boat, bike, toys
Time to think
Time to read
Time to live life
“History shall be kind to me, for I intend to write it”
Aaron Hoos: Why did you choose this topic — internet marketing — and what were the things you did to get your business underway? (i.e., did you research the topic first? How did you see the opportunity in this topic that can seem saturated?)
Warren Wooden: Well Aaron, I’ve always been fascinated with computers and the internet and I’ve owned a few websites with the “hope” of making money online, but I’d never really done it before. Well except for that time when AllAdvantage paid to surf came out, and I was getting $50 checks every month — LOL.
It’s actually kind of funny, I sat down with Daya, and told her I wanted to make my living online, but wasn’t sure how. Then I said something strange, I said “I want to make money blogging!” Now this might not seem so strange now, or to you at all, but considering I’d never been to a blog, and really didn’t know what one was, it seemed like a strange thing for me to say.
I then took out about 12 books on the subject from the Library, and did some Google searches which lead to to John Chow’s popular blog www.johnchow.com which solidified the idea in my mind, I knew then that I wanted to earn my living through blogging and internet marketing while helping others do the same thing. I know John Chow is a bit of a controversial figure, but you have to respect what he’s accomplished with his blog.
Aaron Hoos: You’ve recently celebrated your first year in business… and you’ve achieved so much more than many other entrepreneurs who have been in business for the same amount of time: Impressive numbers of fans on Twitter and followers on Facebook… and a top ten placement in Google search for popular terms like “internet marketing”, “Twitter marketing”, and more. What do you credit this rapid success to?
Warren Wooden: Yes, I’ve had a great first year and some of the assets that I’ve built and am proud of are as follows:
- E-Business; The Insider’s Edge is an amazing 79 page e-book that I had written (by you) as a gift to my readers for opting in to my email list. I remember thinking I’d like to give away something that after they finished reading it, they’d think “Wow I can’t believe I got that for free” and that book fulfilled on that in excellent fashion.
- My 2nd Product was “Blog Traffic Tactics”, which I wrote in order to sell, and also to show my readers how I was able to grow my own traffic by over 1500% using tactics that are available to anyone at all, and in turn teach them how to do it as well.
- I was able to grow my Twitter account plrnetmarketing to over 20,000 followers in about 8 months, and then turned my attentions to my Facebook fan page where I also took that to over 20,000 fans in about the same amount of time.
- I ranked my site for many keywords, but despite the fact that Google consistently sends me traffic for over 4000 keywords each month, the one I am most proud of is “internet marketing” due to the level of competition, as well as the fact that Rankpay.com told me it would take about 2 years and a couple thousand dollars a month to achieve. (And they wouldn’t take my site on as it was only a PR3 and couldn’t rank top ten until I increased that. So I learnt everything I could about SEO, keyword research, and link building and drove my site to #7 all on my own. (I just checked using the rankpay site and I’m currently number 9 as of this writing.) Something your readers may find interesting: I rank #1 for “Twitter Marketing” which gets 27,000 searches a month, and between 7 and 10 for “Internet Marketing” which gets more than that a day, and yet the first place results in more traffic to my site than the 7-10 ranking for a much higher volume keyword.
- Another great asset that I’ve been able to build this year is knowledge surrounding my topics. I am sought out by experts in SEO, and Internet Marketing for advice as well as requested to speak about the subject to their audiences in webinar’s and chats and I think that is pretty cool. I have a great thirst for knowledge and am on a continuous search for even more information.
- A website that has the exact look and feel that I’d pictured it having when I started, and loads quickly due to both a VPS (Virtual Private Server) and a CDN (Content Delivery Network) and is packed with features and knowledge.
- I’ve just integrated a forum into my website and am looking forward to building an online community of likeminded people so that we can each teach, and learn from each other, as well as share ideas and brainstorming sessions. I’m a great believer in mastermind sessions and hope to be able to cultivate just that type of atmosphere. There are currently over500 internet marketers registered and I’d hope to see that number swell to over 20,000 and I’d have each one of them find the success they are looking for.
- I now have over 400 unique articles that are being ranked, read, and linked to daily and are one of my biggest assets. Content truly is king. (My goal is 365/year or roughly one a day)
- I’m made some great online connections with entrepreneurs new and old, and have learnt a great deal from those people. One of the greatest things about bloggers is that they are willing to share everything, both successes and failures and I find that inspiring.
- This last asset also answers your last question “What do you credit this rapid success to?” I still have the drive I had in the beginning to both learn, help, and succeed myself, and the consistency to apply all the things I’ve learned to date, as well as the desire to learn everything else I possibly can.
Aaron Hoos: What are the top tips that you’d advise to other entrepreneurs with a similar dream?
Warren Wooden: I’ll share the top ten things I wish I’d known before starting out.
- Spend the time to choose the topic that is right for you. Once you’ve chosen it, focus all your attention on it. There are so many side roads that you can get caught up with, that they’ll steal your focus or dilute your progress.
- Once you’ve chosen that topic immerse yourself into it, learn everything there is to know about it. Make education a part of your business model. I schedule 2 hours a day toward learning new tactics, reviewing old ones, or watching my competitors.
- Set goals, I have daily, monthly, 3 month, 6 month, and annual goals. (I think anything further than that for me falls under “dreams”
- Consistency is key, write out all the different tasks that will bring you closer to your dream blog, or dream business, and do some of those things every single day turn them into habits, and they’ll start to grow like compound interest.
- Listen to those who are where you want to be, as well as those heading there like you are. Choose 20 people to follow and pay attention to, read their blog, subscribe to their newsletter or opt-in list, hear what they have to say. The great thing about listening to people who have been doing this longer than me is that I now have several years’ worth of blog posts I can read at my leisure.
- I’d focus even harder at building both my RSS feed, and my email list from the very beginning. And, rather than waiting and being content with 10 opt-ins a day, I’d aim for 50 a day! These people are valuable to your blog and will visit often.
- I’d find one or two services that tie in with my business model, and offer them as soon as possible this creates “Now” income while you work at building the “residual” income that most of us are targeting.
- I generally wrote a post a day for my readers. But looking back I would have written 5 quality posts for them, and 2 posts geared either toward an affiliate product or review allowing me to earn an income on those two posts.
- I would have focused early on developing a healthy comment interaction on my blog with my readers. I turned off comments in the first few months and have struggled to get them ever since.
- I’d guest post as often as possible! If I could do it again, I’d write two quality posts daily, keeping one for my readers, and using the other as either a guest post or adding it into my arsenal for later use. Having 30 articles on the topic you cover sitting in a file folder ready for use is an asset, and building assets is what this business is all about!
Aaron Hoos: What would you do differently if you had to do it all over again?
- As I pointed, out I’d spend more time list building and developing my RSS subscribers (which is one of my 3 main goals this year)
- Instead of writing 7 posts each week for my readers, I’d write 5 for them and 2 affiliate or promotional type articles. It’s important to strike a balance between helping others and earning a living for yourself and your family.
- I’d not spread myself so thin. I took on too many projects and grew in more directions that I should have. Great for the long run, but tiring for sure.
- I read in the beginning that the optimal blog post was around 300 to 500 words. I believe now it is between 1000 and 2000 and in order to stand out from the rest of the crowd that is what I strive for. I would have started that practice earlier given the opportunity and foreknowledge.
- Avoid information overload!!! There are some great courses out there, and even more not so great courses, but I think you need to choose 6 to 12 things to focus on and then focus your time and attention on those, and ignore all the other over hyped information products, ideas, and such. It is easy to see how people get caught up in the search for the next best thing, and lose sight of the one they started off with.
- I would cultivate the comments on my blog. I originally turned comments off to combat spammers, I have been struggling to get my readers into the habit ever since.
- I’d cultivate relationships with like-minded people, even to the point of attending events and seminars. Together we are so much more powerful than apart. I spent most of the last year alone. I should have been aiming at working as more of a community.
- I’d start creating products as soon as possible. Within 3 months. You will learn much in the process, and you’ll then have something that is your own to sell and promote.
- I wrote a post titled “ABC – Always be creating” and this is huge, always be creating assets for your blog or business in the form of articles, guest posts, video’s, podcasts, back links, etc. The more content you have the bigger you can grow.
- I would have spent my first day reading and learning about information overload. There are some great marketers out there who have spent thousands and thousands of dollars tweaking their sales copy, and it’s easy to read those sales pages and either doubt the choice of direction you took, or get so interested and side tracked that you purchase it, and spend days or more reviewing the material that doesn’t line up with your goals what so ever.
Aaron Hoos: Take a moment to describe your basic sales funnel:
Warren Wooden: My target market is people exactly like myself, people who were sitting in unloved jobs and who wished to change their circumstances while also allowing them the freedom to spend time with the people who are important to them. Internet Marketing and Social Media are about to come into their own, and I believe more and more people will be turning to the internet to earn their income in the next few years. Corporate giants no longer rule. The quick, reactive individual and small business owners now have the ability to reach out to numbers never before possible.
- To attract people to my blog I write about all the topics that I research and implement into my own business. Chances are if I find something important and beneficial to the growth of my blog then so will my readers. I also am of the mentality that the more links to my site the more possibilities of someone travelling down that road to get to it. So SEO and link-building are an integral part of my traffic tactics.
- The actions are twofold: 1. I’d like them to click on the articles that I send them each week and read and apply those that relate to them and their website. I try and send information that will benefit them with their businesses. 2. I will occasionally recommend a product or service that I personally use and love and have benefited from. Programs like Market Samurai, or Bookmarking Demon, etc. I’d love for my readers who are in the market for the products I recommend to click and purchase through my links. The affiliate commissions I earn through these referrals make up approximately half of my income.
- After that? I continue to build the relationship with my subscribers, continue to offer advice and information, while tweaking things to flow smoothly for both of us.
Aaron Hoos: What are the next steps for your business? What will your business be like in a year? and in 5 years?
Warren Wooden: Well Aaron, I’m not sure if you noticed my new logo, but the words that are written in each of the three spokes are Foundation, Growth, Support, and what that means is that the first portion of building my business was dedicated toward building a solid foundation first with which to build the rest upon.
Now as of March 1st I’m in my second phase which is “Growth” and I have 3 main goals that I’m focusing on.
- Income Streams
- List Building
Product creation will be a part of things this year, and I’d like to have my own internet marketing training course that goes into each of the areas that I’ve had to cover myself this past year. I was originally going to package it up and sell it as a product, but have recently been considering integrating it into my forum where I can continue to add and expand upon it as new technologies come out, and new strategies are brought about in the online world.
I focused mainly on growing my social network last year, and while that will continue to grow I will focus more of my time towards building my subscriber list to match my social network. I’d like to have 20,000 subscribers by the end of the year.
Traffic seems to be the dividing factor between successful and surviving websites (though not always) and I’d like to drive my traffic to the point where I can relax a little bit. Perhaps it once I reach that point I’ll hire someone to work with me, and shoulder some of the load so that I can once again enjoy a life!
In five years I’d like to be a well-known successful internet marketer who makes a good living while helping others do the same. I’d also like to be sitting back relaxing, and enjoying life. Working from absolutely anywhere in the country or the world!
I’d like to thank you Aaron for taking the time to interview me, I know that you too are enjoying a successful online business that has recently exploded to the point where the demand exceeds the man! This was my first interview, and it was kind of exciting!
Aaron Hoos: Warren, thank you so much for taking the time to share this information with my readers. Many people dream of becoming successful online business owners but don’t know where to start or what to do once they’ve started… and the long hours and lonely days can sometimes cast a shadow of the potential that a business can provide. You’ve shown us that, in a very short time, someone can start from scratch and grow a business that can make a different — to you and Daya, and to your audience.
Congratulations on a year of success, Warren, and all the best in the years to come!