It all happened by accident. I was a mortgage broker struggling with a pitiful wage and one hellish drive to work. Being so disenchanted with the way things were going for me, I decided to look elsewhere to earn a living.
My first thoughts were of going into mail order and I wrote a book called How to Cut Your Mortgage Payments and Save a Small Fortune. However, I never left my job because I never had any capital to invest in marketing my mortgage book.
I did spend some time studying marketing so that I could improve my chances in selling my book. Yet the strange thing is that this newly acquired skill was to prove useful in another endeavour, namely the computing business.
I was quite proficient in using a computer and so I thought to myself “There must be a market out there for computer training. Let’s place an advert in the classified section of my local paper.” I had advertised one year previously and generally got little response. This was due to my lack of marketing knowledge.
How my first $3.58 dollar investment brought a 10,000% return
The advert came out around the 7th of January 1993 and only cost me $3.58. It was all I could afford anyway since I was so broke. To my astonishment, I received 3 calls and 3 appointments were made. I was charging $20 per hour, which I thought, was stretching it a bit at the time.
How tripling my investment more than tripled my profits
This first week I earn’t $128 from my measly $3.58. My marketing background indicated to me that I should triple the number of adverts I placed. This I did and my results nearly tripled again. In the third week I decided to triple my advertising again and my results were more than tripling. Why? I started to get a lot of repeat business from my earlier clients.
Snowed under – 70+ hours of work per week in under 6 weeks!
The result of all this was that within 6 weeks I was so snowed under with work that I was starting to raise my prices. It went to $24 per hour but the demand still kept on growing. After several months I was charging $32 to $40 per hour. And then $48 per hour and even $80 per hour! If I knew what the market could bear I would have charged $32 per hour after very little time. Knowledge is everything in this business.
Please note that nowadays, I occasionally get up to $1,600 per hour for certain parts of my work that require highly specialised and proprietary knowledge. Yes, this is 100% true. No, I do not do 40 hours per week of this ultra-high profit work. Wish I did – I would be fantastically well paid. But I do it regularly. And, I often do work at $200 per hour. These are targets to aim for over time and not necessarily straight away. Hey, getting just $80 per hour is a damn sight more than most people will ever get! And that is easy!
Nearly 20 years later – my new wealth producing mindset
The opportunities I now have are endless. One of the most difficult things I have to do now is decide in which direction I wish to point my business. When you are faced with so many choices you can end up agonising over what to do. I can now see endless ways in which to turn a profit. The question I have to answer is: “Which is the one that will bring me the highest profit for the least possible hassle and effort?”
Recently, I have been leveraging my experience by creating a portfolio of internet based businesses. By sharing what I know about this industry, I can generate an additional income stream by diversifying my business. The content you are reading now is one of the first I have produced. I expect to create many more.
It is interesting to note that with experience, I am much less inclined to worry about losing an enquiry here and an enquiry there. For I know that it is the long term goal that you should worry about. The day-to-day results are less important so long as you are heading in the right direction. When you are starting out, losing even one enquiry can give you a sleepless night. This is particularly true when you have next to no clients and the income hasn’t yet started rolling in. But don’t let it get to you. Point your compass, press ahead with full steam and forget about the day-to-day consequences. Concentrate on your career, your business growth and where you want to be. Yes, you have to make progress one day at a time, but ultimately a poor day here, a bad appointment there, a lost enquiry…they amount to nothing if you stay on track. You will ultimately succeed.
Pricing secrets learnt from my first few weeks
One of the biggest mistakes I made when first starting out was not finding out what the competition charged. The result was that I was way underpricing my services and could have earnt a whole lot more for less effort.
Charging $20 per hour did seem a lot for me at the time but I was hopelessly out of touch with reality. Because I was so busy, I did increase my hourly rate but not fast enough. I just didn’t believe people could either afford or want to pay more than my current rate. How wrong I was.
Lets get one thing straight, it is good to charge a low rate to get yourself started and to improve your skills. But don’t do what I did and keep it low for a long time. Bump it up in double quick time as you gain in confidence and experience. Otherwise, you will leave so much money on the table it doesn’t warrant thinking about.