3 powerful ways to grow your Internet business next year

By | Internet Lawyer | No Comments

Texas Internet LawyerBased both on my experience as a Texas Internet lawyer and an online marketer who has built a separate six-figure Internet business from scratch, here are 3 ways you can grow your business during the coming year while others are struggling to survive.
1. Stick To Profitable Niches That You Know and Like.
Jack’s* the typical Internet marketer you meet at Internet seminars. Jack spends his time marketing dating and “get rich” biz opp products…but Jack’s not that successful at dating and he’s broke.
However, Jack is a Dallas sports fanatic who spent more than 15 years playing football as a kid and in college. Instead of focusing on what he knows and likes, he’s “faking it until he makes it” in niches where he’s not an expert.
Jack really doesn’t need a Texas Internet Lawyer to tell him that if he switched to niche products and services related to football, Jack would do better because it is (a) a profitable niche that (b) he knows and (c) likes. His Texas Internet Lawyer could help him put the right legal documents in place to protect Jack as he grows his new niche business.
2. Core Competencies Are Key
Mary spends at least six hours a day in her Austin apartment dabbling with web design work even though it has nothing to do with her products and services because Mary is not a web designer. Mary admits that she doesn’t have the skills to do the work quickly and easily and that it would take a web designer a fraction of the time to do what Mary spends hours on.
Mary is not saving money. She’s focusing on improving her weaknesses instead of her strengths. And it is costing her big time.
In Mary’s case, she’s great at product creation and relationship marketing. If she spent the six hours she wastes each day on web design on her two core competencies, her business would excel.
Mary should outsource other essential parts of her business to free up time so she can focus on what she does best. Mary’s Texas Internet Lawyer could prepare outsourcing agreements that would let Mary free up her time quickly and easily.
3. Consistency in the Vital Few and Dump the Trivial Many
Although Mary’s being unproductive, at least the web design work is a necessary part of an online business. Brian, on the other hand, reads 20 blogs daily on his laptop at Houston coffee shops and waste hours on Facebook and tweeting. None of this generates income for Brian.
Instead, Brian’s confused by the conflicting advice he receives on the 20 different blogs so pretends that being active in social media is going to get him somewhere. Brian is also an info product junkie. From $7 eBooks to $1997 “get rich” products, Brian buys and buys, reads and reads, and does nothing with what he’s learned.
At the end of the year, Brian hasn’t sold anything and his head is filled with thousands of different ways to build an online business based upon what he’s read. He’s overwhelmed and paralyzed into inaction because of this overdose on data.
Like Jack, Brian should pick a single profitable niche that he knows (not make money online niche because he doesn’t know it) and likes. He should research it, identify 1-3 success stories in that niche, and emulate those successes in building his business.
Brian needs to dump at least 80% of the blogs he’s reading, reduce his Facebook/Twitter time to 15 minutes or less, and don’t do any of these trivial activities until he’s completed the important tasks daily that actually build his business in the niche that he’s selected.
Brian should limit himself to using the info products he’s already bought and perhaps attending one seminar (or none) in the coming year. If he goes to a seminar, it should be one held a guru whose success story he’s modeling in the niche he’s selected.
Consistent daily actions tied directly to building a business in his selected niche is the only way Brian’s going to turn around his business. If Brian has legal questions about his new business model, he should consult with his Texas Internet Lawyer.

I’m convinced that more than half of the Internet business failures I see are because the marketers make the same mistakes as Jack, Mary, and Brian.
And it’s okay to make those mistakes when you’re starting out. But the key is to learn from those mistakes and move on to what works instead of repeating the mistakes and expecting a different outcome.
To your online success!
-Mike the Texas Internet Lawyer

* Jack, Mary, and Brian are pseudonyms used to protect real people from being embarrassed.

7 Internet biz trends for 2011 you should know about

By | Internet Lawyer | No Comments

Internet lawyer marketing trendsAs an Internet lawyer gazing into my crystal ball of experience,
here’s where I see things are heading for Internet businesses in the
coming year.

1. Death of Live Speaking Events.

Most of the big gurus are cancelling their live seminars or
holding something local and trying to sell videos from it to recoup
costs. Some are transitioning strictly to webinars.

Seats that would sell for 500 bucks can’t be filled now when
tickets are given away to the same events. Even the super-gurus are
slashing their payrolls right now because they can’t fill seats.
You won’t hear about these downsizings but they’re occurring behind
the scenes.

2. Social Media Blowback.

There’s a South Park episode where characters in YouTube viral
videos are expecting to get paid based on the number of views of
their videos (fat chance). Many Internet marketers are discovering
that Facebook and Twitter aren’t paying off in the cyber-world
either. Fake friends and fictitious Twitter followers don’t equal
income…and a lot of time has been wasted pretending otherwise.
Where there are real people behind the social media accounts, they
don’t buy much.

It’s like your typical offline networking event where broke
people show up to try to sell products and services to each other.
The Mary Kay beauty consultant tries to sell cosmetics to the Amway
lady who is simultaneously pitching product to the Primerica
insurance guy. Then there’s the broke realtor and the newbie
financial advisor each trying get leads from the other when neither
has them.

3. Privacy Gets Crowned.

All the major Web browsers will add “do-not-track” features so
that users can automatically deny cookies when they surf the Web.
Smart marketers who rely upon tracking will deny website visitors
access to key content unless cookies are accepted. Legalese will
change to make full disclosure of what is tracked and how.

Black hat data mining will rely upon packet-sniffing so that
Internet users are unaware of what’s being collected every time
they go online. The tech savvy will subscribe to VPN services to
use for privacy when logged into unsecured Wi-Fi networks (like
those at Starbucks, McDonalds, Paradise, Panera, etc.).

4. Triplet Crackdown.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Food & Drug Administration
(FDA), and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will make it a
priority to tame the Internet.

– The FTC will focus on deceptive practices and privacy,
– the FDA will aim at health and weight-loss products, and
– the FCC will try to enforce Net Neutrality by regulation.

Some of those already being investigated will lose their online
businesses in 2011.

5. Legal Robbers.

Broke governments will be looting the Internet for additional
taxes and fees. The Amazon tax is just the start. In addition to
sales and use taxes, the governments will be looking for unreported
online income. The new 1099 reporting requirements under ObamaCare
will make it harder to hide income.

There’s also the new 1099-K form that will hit online
transactions. PayPal and other payment processors are ramping up for it.
More online entrepreneurs will get EIN numbers so they don’t have
to give out their Social Security Number that can be used for
identity theft.

6. Geo-Local Becomes Prom Queen.

The buzz about Facebook and Twitter has migrated to geo-local
marketing. Groupon is a big winner for 2011…a business that had the
chutzpah to walk away from Google’s reported offer to buy the
company for $5 billion. Many Internet marketers are returning to
their roots by targeting local businesses.

When 1/5 Google searches and 1/3 searches on smartphone browsers
are local, the trend is to profit from driving traffic to local
brick-and-mortar businesses using the Internet. Expect Google to
buy a Groupon competitor or start its own to compete.

7. Wildings Hunted Down.

The Wall Street Journal today compared the
denial-of-service attacks by WikiLeaks hacktivists and similar
online crime to the “wildings” youth group crime sprees that used
to take place in the Big Apple (beatings, rapes in Central Park
etc.).

Combine this lawless behavior with ruthless hacking
attacks on Google, and the hacks of Fed Reserve and DoD computers
and there’s a big incentive for Uncle Sam to crush Internet law
breakers in the interest of “national security” and “public
safety.”

The U.S. government has closed down tens of thousands of
sites/blogs in 2010 without even having to get a court order. Expect this
trend to continue. There’s a call for online businesses to live by
the same rules as offline companies in the interest of “fairness.”

Where does this leave you as an online entrepreneur?

Like any other business owner, if you obey the law and treat
people fairly, you’ve got a good chance of surviving and thriving.
Find the starving markets and sell them something they want. Of course,
if you’ve got legal questions, talk to your Internet lawyer.

To your online success!

-Mike the Internet lawyer

Web Lawyer: Are you river dancing with American i-dolts?

By | Website Lawyer | No Comments

Web lawyer watching tvEvery successful online entrepreneur devotes a lot of “free” time to doing Internet marketing tasks he enjoys doing that many people consider to be that dreaded four-letter word…W-O-R-K.

The flip side of the coin, as a Web lawyer, I see struggling business owners who never have “free” time to succeed. But it isn’t a lack of time. It’s vicariously living someone else’s life.

Here’s what happens…

Weeknights are spent watching fake reality TV shows like “Top Anorexic Model” and “Survivor: Graceland.” Perhaps a few docudramas are thrown in, such as “Law & Order: Boise,” and “CSI: Des Moines.” And let’s not forget social media time building Facebook farms etc.

Weekends mean catching a new movie, following your favorite sport team, or reading a novel.

What each of these have in common is that you’re living someone else’s dream: the actors, the directors, the authors, the Facebook app developers, the athletes, and the team owners.

Now there’s absolutely nothing wrong with decompressing with a little “down time” or spending quality time with your friends and family.

The big hurdle is consciously making those choices instead of living someone else’s life by watching it.

If you’d rather spend your time watching others achieve their goals and dreams, that’s okay. Just understand that you’re doing it by choice and it comes at a cost to your own business.

To your online success!

-Mike the Web lawyer

Web Lawyer: The blind DonKey and your website

By | Website Lawyer | No Comments

Web lawyer distributionThere’s an old school marketing guru (let’s call him “DonKey”) who says Internet businesses do not exist. As a Web lawyer and entrepreneur, I know that’s nonsense. However, according to DonKey, the Web is only a marketing and distribution channel.

To support this view, DonKey likes to point to the time when the government wiped out the TV info-mercial “business” for years by enacting new regulations to protect consumers.

Although the government has been cracking down on false and deceptive Internet marketing practices (talk with your Web lawyer about this), you won’t see the government outlawing the Internet.

Before putting DonKey out to pasture or shipping him off to the glue factory, let’s give him credit for being half right.

You don’t have a business built on a solid foundation if your only source of marketing and distribution is online.

For example, Amazon.com hasn’t put all its eggs in one basket even though it is now worth 50 times its largest competitor in the real world. In addition to diversifying far beyond books in its product line (even its competitors pay to use its software!), the company is using alternative marketing channels, such as making offers offline and even having electronics store Best Buy sell Amazon’s Kindle eBook readers.

Like a free lance soldier, be a mercenary about your Internet business instead of remaining loyal to just one method of growing your company. Look for alternative marketing and distribution sources that work whether or not they’re online or offline.

To your online success!

-Mike the Web lawyer