What I’ve Learned Online – 5 Important Lessons

What i've learned online 5 lessoonsIn last Mondays post I said that I wanted to do a mega post for my 50th birthday which is on Sunday July 1st and asked for suggestions, I had a couple of really good ones and I’ll try to merge them together in this post.

This post will hopefully give you some background about how I got to where I am am today and where I see myself and IM a few years down the line and what I’ve learned along the way… Grab a coffee sit back and enjoy!

When I first started in the IM Business my aim was just to make an income from creating Adsense sites, I quickly realized that that is a pretty medium term business as it takes time to get the income coming in so I started to build sites for others. By spending 4 or 5 hours a day creating websites for $10 a time I was able to quickly earn enough to live on.

It wasn’t high paid work but it generated cash which is what I needed at the time. Once the sites I built for myself started to earn a good income I was able to reduce and finally stop providing services to others.  This taught me my first lesson.

Lesson 1.  

A solid Internet Marketing Business consists of a Long term plan , a short term plan and a medium term plan…There is no Magic Button

Because I lacked a lot of cash when I started I couldn’t afford to invest in many tools so I had to learn how to do things manually, keyword research, link building etc. because I was able to focus on the jobs I had to do I wasn’t looking for the next big thing, I still talk to people who started out at the same time as me in 2005 and they are still trying to find that magic button.  Justin Wheeler used a term last week that sums this syndrome up perfectly ASOD  “Attention Deficit Oooooh Shiny”.

I get emails everyday promoting the next best thing I need to have, If I don’t open them for 2 days then there is something better waiting for me! If you see an email for something you need there and then or within the next 24 hours consider it, if not make do with what you already have.

Lesson 2 

Focus on what you have, every cent you spend on a new shiny product is one more cent you need to earn to make a profit…There is no Magic Button

I got quite lucky with the sites I build and was soon earning over $4000 a month with Adsense, and a similar amount with product sales, life was good…Then google slapped me so hard that I woke up in the 18th Century.  Overnight they almost killed my niche site business. My income dropped to 10% of what it was. To many of you this sounds familiar but we aren’t talking about Panda or Penguin, this was back in 2006. Google slaps are nothing new to those of us who have been in IM for any length of time. You just need to deal with them and move on.

Lesson 3 

Any business that relies on 1 source of traffic for an income is a disaster waiting to happen… There is no Magic Button

I was actually quite lucky as I had suspected that google wouldn’t allow things to remain the way they were so I had diversified and I had started creating products. I learned the basics by working as an Intern for a mad old school Internet marketer who shall remain nameless at this point in time. As a result of what I learned I was able to create my own product and sell 100 or so copies. For a first product that didn’t have the benefit of a marketplace like the Warrior Forums “WSO’s ” this was a revelation to me and I knew it was what I wanted to do. After that the rest is pretty much the same, I’ve focused on creating useful products that will help people do the stuff that I’ve found I needed.

Lesson 4.

Mastermind Groups and Mentoring can provide a short cut to success but like everything you need to be prepared to work at it and follow instruction… There is no Magic Button


The biggest mistake that I’ve made in my time online was to think I could be successful without building a list, The 2nd biggest mistake was thinking that I needed a big list , Nothing could be further from the truth. With the right kind of list building and the right approach to your list you can make a very good living with a small list.  I’ve spent most of the last 6 months reducing a list of around 10,000 to under 3000 and I’d still like to get it lower.

Another mistake I’ve made is not playing to my strengths, until recently i’ve tried to do everything, product creation, marketing, sales copy, getting JV partners etc. This is the wrong way to do things as no one is a master of everything. I’ve recently started to focus on what I do best which is Product creation. The last product I created was marketed by someone else and I just took a percentage of the income, this resulted in one of my most profitable products and it only took me a fraction of the work it normally does.

I am currently working on another product and when it’s complete I will probably look for a partner to market it for me.

Lesson 5 

 Play to your strengths, and outsource everything else… There is no Magic Button!

The Future

That brings us pretty much up to date so I think that I’ll finish off by talking about what my future plans are;

The first thing I want to focus on for the next few months is to build up my Facebook presence , it’s something that I’ve ignored but I’ve recently seen how powerful it’s been, by the time this post is live I hope to have hired a social media manager.

Sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Google Plus are going to be more important over the coming months and years. I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve managed to reduce my organic traffic from google from over 35% of my total visitors to under 10% which at the same time trebling my traffic by “dabbling” with social media I would love to remove google search from the equation completely.

I’m not saying that Facebook is any better than google but they are more open about what they want.  They want us to pay a small amount to have our posts seen by more people, thats fine by me. If google said they want me to pay $50 a month to rank for a particular keyword then I would be happy to do that.

My new social media campaign starts here…please feel free to go to http://www.facebook.com/MarkThompsonIM  and click on like, I’ll be posting a useful tip on there on a daily basis so you don’t need to wait for a blog post.(you can also share any of the posts there if you like them or comment… it all helps!)

Thank you for all your support over the past few years, I wouldn’t be where I am today without your support and I will never forget that.

Finally if you like the regular monday tips section as it’s my 50th birthday I’ve taken over 50% off the price of my last WSO for the weekend. It was released a few months back and it’s contains over 100 useful internet marketing tips from myself and other marketers.

IM Braindump 50% Off 

I can assure you that all income from sales will go towards Playing Golf and a massive party on Saturday evening :)

Have a Great weekend… I know I will!!!


  1. says

    Hi Mark,

    Spot on with the post &

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY mate – will partake of a few Guinesses in your honour at the Volvo Ocean Race which ends here in Galway.

    Hope you have a great day and best wishes to you and yours.


    Mike :)
    Mike Russen recently posted..Facebook Email SettingsMy Profile



    Thanks Mike… have more than a few. :)


  2. says

    BUT Mark….people think there IS a magic button. -:)

    I’m surprised you want to go more into Facebook and social media though.
    I’ve just written a page for a digital media company one of my client’s has set up, and trying to find social media success stories was a real pig!!


  3. says

    Happy birthday Mark! Thank you so much for this post.

    I’ve made the decision to start all over again, just as I did in 2003-2004. I’m leaving my job in late August. Short term, I’ll supplement my savings by creating content for others.

    Long term, I’ve finally found a way to create killer content and draw traffic without having to artificially create backlinks or be overly dependent upon Google for traffic.

    Those two items have been holding me back for YEARS – since at least 2007. To finally discover that missing piece is amazing – and it’s really been right in front of my nose the whole time. Frustrating. No sense talking about it just yet. I need to prove it for myself first. ;-)

    No magic button – it will take lots of time, energy and hard work, but will be well worth it if things pan out. :-)

    Enjoy the links this weekend!

    Mike Long recently posted..Deep vs. Wide – Why The Experts Are WrongMy Profile



    Mike, as i’ve said to you before you inspired me back in the early days, so i’ll be watching what you do!!


  4. Sunshine says

    Happy belated birthday Mark. I look forward to turning the big 5-0 in seven years.

    To many more birthdays:)



    Lol it’s not till sunday if anything I am a bit premature… but i have big plans for the next 3 days


  5. says

    Thanks Mark, and Happy Birthday!

    You covered here the major traps in this business; hyped-up promises tapping our desire for instant riches and the challenges of time management. I think these words of wisdom will be very helpful to newbies and veterans alike. This post has been helpful and reassuring to me to hear that someone else has these same struggles and I can always use the reminder to stay focused.

    Redondo Beach, CA
    Pete recently posted..List of Social Media Monitoring and Metric ToolsMy Profile


  6. says

    So where do we get this magic button?
    You say it doesn’t exist but it does really doesn’t it? I keep seeing people mention it along with “laser targeted traffic” so it must be real….
    Paul Forcey recently posted..WelcomeMy Profile


    Marc Reply:

    They do sell magic wands in specialty shops. Should do the trick.



    I’ve always wanted to go to Hogwarts, maybe I’ll get one there ;)


  7. says

    Hey Mark,

    Just like Harsh said above, whenever your email hits, I read. The entire thing…then click, and usually purchase whatever you have created or recommend.

    I’m sure glad I found you. Otherwise I’d surely be out there online trying to be somebody I’m not.

    Happy birthday!



    Message to self recommend more :)

    Seriously thanks Jeff, It’s appreciated and BTW shot a gross 3 over yesterday :) so come and play golf any time you want :)


    Jeff Carson Reply:

    How was hole #2? OH SNAP!

    No, damn! Nice round! We are going to play this fall for sure.


  8. says

    Hey Mark!

    Happy Birthday!!! 50 is NOT that bad… I speak from experience! LOL

    I STILL have not gotten around to building a list… it just scares the bejesus outta me! Maybe I’ll add that to the top of my to-do list… then maybe not. :D

    Cindy recently posted..Give The Morning Cup Its Due With Jura C5My Profile



    Thanks Cindy….

    Do it, you’ll inspire people!


  9. says

    I was expecting 50 lessons from Mark Thompson as he turns 50. =)
    Just kidding.

    Thank you very much. These tips are like goldmine!

    It is like literally learning from a veteran general of internet marketing.

    Anyway, I am really curious to know who that mad old internet marketer is.
    Happy Birthday! feliz cumpleaños!
    jeff recently posted..How To Deal With A Struggling BusinessMy Profile


  10. says

    Wishing you all the best on your birthday Mark and have a great time over the next few days!

    My 50th is December this year and the wife and kids booked me an early treat so we’re going to the F1 GP at Silverstone next weekend. Really looking forward to that and I still get to celebrate in December as well ;-)
    Neill recently posted..How to Make $1,000+ From Just One ArticleMy Profile



    Nice gift, I’ll just point this post out to Allison!


  11. says

    Hi Mark,

    Enjoy your celebrations on Sunday and relax about turning 50, you don’t look anything over 40, seriously. Unless you ‘shopped’ your photo lol

    Thanks for the wonderful post. I relate to a lot of what you say, having also spent 6 years working online, 5 of those struggling big time, and going through various ‘lesson learning’ phases.

    And it’s amazing to hear you are looking to pare down your list. It’s a marketers dream to have a quality list that consists of only loyal and responsive customers. That’s something I’ve also been thinking about in regard to my own list. I’m curious, how did you manage to filter your list?
    Tracey recently posted..Outsourcing A WordPress Plugin Case Study Day 1My Profile



    Thanks… not a bit of photoshopping used :)

    I did a post a few months back about how to clean up a list http://mjthompson.net/1328/how-to-clean-up-your-aweber-email-list-and-save-money/ hope it helps


  12. says

    Hi Mark,
    Being new to this business, I hadn’t really thought about having a really small but responsive list, you see so much hype about building huge lists and it’s comforting to know that you can make make good money from smaller lists :)

    I also had no idea that aweber charged for unsubscribes until you physically removed them – maybe aweber sponsors these people to say that we must have huge lists!

    Just a thought…


  13. says

    Happy Birthday Mark,

    Great words of wisdom here. Reminds me of back in 2006 one of my adsense sites started earning over 200 a day. I thought I had it made then woke up one morning to find it was deindexed :-(

    I hope year 50 is your best yet
    David recently posted..Why I Joined Empower NetworkMy Profile


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