Since the beginning of the year, I have discussed on this blog about my big project of launching a membership website. I really wanted this project to be perfect so I didn’t publicize all over the place to announce my new site back in December. I started with a soft launched that enabled me to #1 recover my investment and #2 control comments and suggestions from my new clients. It’s been two months now since I secretly launched this project, now it’s time to tell you more about it!
Dividend Stocks Rock is an online membership site that gives you access to all the tools and techniques you can use to build a dividend stock portfolio personally. This is not about stock recommendations or some kind of guru principles. It’s about sound investing decisions made based on solid stock research.
I’ve been investing since 2003 and while my investing journey includes failures, I’ve also earned a few bragging rights:
#1 After borrowing from a $20,000 line of credit to invest, I bought my first house with $50,000 in cash down. All generated from my trading abilities.
#2 in 2012, I launched my first stock pick book and selected 20 US and 10 Canadian dividend stocks. I lagged the US market by 1% but killed the Canadian market by more than 8%.
#3 in 2013, my second edition of the Best dividend stock picks for the year beat BOTH the US and Canadian benchmarks.
I’ve noticed that many readers were interested in my point of view with regards to the economy and the stock market. They were curious about my stock picking process and how I manage my own portfolio. This is why I created Dividend Stocks Rock – to share my knowledge with as many people as possible.
The Dividend Stocks Rock site will build your knowledge, skills, and investment capability from the ground up. You’ll master the techniques you need to understand what drives portfolio growth and individual stock growth to build the portfolio you want. Most importantly, it will give you the data at your finger tips that will allow you to put the process into action from day 1.
My goal with this site was to cover the dividend investing world from A to Z from the Canadian and American markets. This is why you will find a lot of information on North American dividend stocks. But I couldn’t compete against the big guys. I didn’t want to enter the playground of data mining and build a filter stronger than Finviz or Ycharts. I couldn’t compete with news and tons of articles that you can find on site such as Google Finance or Seeking Alpha. I wasn’t able to build a complete site such as MorningStar, Dividend.com or Parsimony Research.
When I look at such a list of “competitors”, it seems that there isn’t any place for a smaller player like me, right? If you think so, you are wrong. I personally use all these sites for my own stock research and portfolio management. But they all share the same flaw: they are too big and contain too much information for the average DIY investor. After discussing with many of my readers, I’ve noticed that many of them are brand new DIY investor and are floundering somewhat in the ocean of information and products offered to them. In fact, there is just too much info to digest for people to properly manage their own portfolios. Folks feel overwhelmed and simply do not know where to start. This is where I have found my niche: by doing the work I do and simply deliver the results so decision making is easier.
The other unique feature I can offer clients is even stronger: ME! Instead of logging into a big site managed by a dozen or hundreds of people, you enter in direct connection with a passionate dividend investor. I’m not here to give direct stock recommendations, I’m here to help investors build their portfolio according to their own investing strategy.
The site is being divided into 4 categories:
This section was created for beginner investors who want to learn how to build their own portfolios. It explains the DSR philosophy. You don’t need thousands of dollars to start investing; a few hundred is enough. The idea is to have a clear investing process to achieve your goals.
The DSR Investing Baby Steps is an 8 Step process that will guide you through all phases of investing. You can either read each step on your screen or download them in an eBook (pdf) format.
At the beginning of 2012, we pulled two 100% stock portfolios; one US and one Canadian. Our first portfolios showed a total investment return of 12.37% (US) and 14.69% (CDN). We did it again in 2013. As of November 1st 2013, our portfolios are showing a total investment returns of 31.78% (US) and 17.82%.
We are sharing our talent with you through a series of portfolios that cover a number of different scenarios, you will be able to find a portfolio that fits your needs. There are model portfolio suggestions for Canadian investors, U.S. investors, or investors interested in investing in both Canadian and U.S. investments at the same time. There are a total of 10 different portfolios (click here to see what we are talking about) you can use to build your own. BUY & SELL updates will be delivered to your mailbox!
This is the bread and butter part of the active investing portion of your portfolio. These lists are your starting point for using dividends to grow your portfolio. With a choice of 8 lists at your disposal (4 US and 4 CDN) the best dividend growth stocks available to supercharge your portfolio returns. We have used four powerful criteria to build our lists: Quality, Yield, Growth & Stability.
Most importantly, these lists are updated weekly with new stats on each and every dividend growth stock as well as additions of new dividend growth stocks and removal of stocks that are no longer providing that all-important dividend growth. Check out the list descriptions here!
This high quality investing newsletter will provide you with first class information about macroeconomics, various stocks to look at and valuable hindsight about the stock market. We will cover various industries and pick the finest stocks with high dividend growth potential. I wake-up every morning to read financial news and economic data. I’m doing all the work for you and send it out once a month. It will be ready to digest and implement right away. This will be part of your favorite Sunday morning reading every month!
Covering these four aspects, I am sure to achieve my goal in giving you all the right tools for a DIY investor to build a strong dividend portfolio.
My goal is to make Dividend Stock Rocks as accessible as possible. After all, your money should be invested and not spent in high fee MERs or on expensive newsletters. And this is the way we see it; DSR is an investment in your portfolio.
I really like when people get more for their money. When you think about it, that’s the whole purpose of investing right? Buying at the right price and benefit from your investment! This is why I’m offering you a special launching package. I’ve teamed up with Pat McKeough from The Successful Investor newsletter to deliver you the best investing offer of the year!
For the price of a Premium Subscription to Dividend Stocks ROCK you also get the choice of receiving one of the two very well-known investing newsletters The Successful Investor & The Wall Street Stock Forecaster.
If you don’t know about Pat’s newsletter, I suggest you checkout his site here and come back for the promotion Please keep in mind that DSR and Pat McKeough’s newsletter are two separate investing services managed by two different companies. Stock and market opinions may differ from the two services. This is a one-time promotion only and will end on March 13th.
When we created Dividend Stocks Rock at the end of 2013, we wanted to make sure our investment platform was ready to meet our clients’ highest expectations. This is why we decided to do a “pre-launch” with people who signed-up for our special dividend investing mailing list. The pre-launch happened in December and was quite successful. But you don’t have to take my word for it, take theirs:
Is DSR worth the subscription? Do I feel I am getting good value? Compare the $4,900.00 that my wife is paying for advice to a one year subscription to DSR. I can’t believe the value that I am getting! DSR has exceeded my expectations by a long shot!
I just checked out your site. Whoa, impressive! I can see that you have done a lot of work to get this up and running. Great job. I like the Canadian feel to it.
If you have any questions, let me know,
I wish you a great investing journey
TFBComments: 3 Read More
My biggest goal of 2013 was to create a membership website. The idea behind it was to diversify my company and become independent from Google for good. Newsletters are great to keep your readers on board regardless if Google sends you traffic or not. And you can’t ask your subscribers to provide income on a monthly basis. If you send them too many “special offers”, they will tag your emails as spam and close the door for good.
But if you offer a service to help them in a specific part of their life, they may become more than readers and subscribers. They may become clients. The fact of having a service or product for sale with clients buying it puts your website in a completely different category. You are not dependent on the web anymore, you have a real business.
As I have always been very transparent with my online business, I will share everything about my new membership website with you, from the good to the bad to the ugly. I started with a soft launch on December 9th 2013 and have already made over $6,000 in the first 6 weeks of operation. Let’s look at how it went:
Man… I wish math was this simple! Sure the numbers add up very well and it is very cool to say that the site has made an average of $1K per week since the launch date. But when we look at the overall trend, it’s not exactly how it went. The first graph I’m showing is the gross revenue per subscription week by week.
Members had the possibility to sign-up for a monthly membership or an annual subscription with 2 months’ worth of rebate and a bonus (a book). The monthly price was set at $14.95 and the annual price at $149.50 USD.
The blue bar is the annual subscription, the red bar monthly and, most importantly; the green bar shows total gross revenues per week. You will also note that I’ve cut the week to months’ end as I also wanted to see the trend per month.
Without any surprised, the week of December 9th was the most profitable. Within a week, I made slightly over $3,500. After the soft launch date (I’ll come back with the notion of a soft launch versus an official launch later in this post), we can see that the average is pretty solid around $500/week. This is particularly good since the announcement was right before the Holidays. I didn’t expect much movement from December 23th to January 5th and I still made $932.04 during these two weeks.
The exact weekly average for the past 5 weeks stands at $514.88. If this trend keeps up, I can expect to make a gross revenue of $26,773.76 this year. My goal for 2014 is to make $30K from my product business segment. As I am making a steady $300 in revenue from eBook sales, keeping a weekly average of $514.88 with my membership website would enable me to achieve this plan. I find it a little tight as the projections show a gross revenue of $30,373.76. This doesn’t leave much room for unexpected events!
I also have to keep in mind that the first few weeks after a launch are always stronger. This means I will have to work harder in the upcoming months to keep this $500/week average. Right now I’m standing at roughly 30 monthly subscribers generating $426.60 net in Paypal commissions. This leaves me with about $1,650 to find in new members each month to reach my goal. This is not an easy task.
Therefore, I don’t expect to make 52K in 52 weeks this year, but I surely intend to make $26K with my membership website.
Making money is one thing, but making profits is better. Obviously, building such a product costs money. Therefore, you have to spend money upfront and hope it will succeed. I will go into more details about my expenses in another post, but I’ll list them briefly today:
Buying the website for $2,500. This was the biggest expense we had. We could have built the website on our own but we had an offer where an existing membership website was already setup. The whole site wasn’t completed (far from it!) but the structure was in place. We basically bought a skeleton and added to put meat on the bones. It enabled us to save time wondering which software to use and how manage the members.
Time spent on the website: $2,366. This is the price of my own time put into this project. This is not real money as it didn’t come out of our pockets, but I believe one should assess how many hours are worked on something to determine if it was truly profitable or not. In this case, I valued my time at $30.33/hour and worked 78 hours on the site before launch date. Yeah… it was a lot of work!
Shutterstock images for $320.60. We used 2 packages of 25 images each to build our website. We decided to buy them through Shutterstock as it offers an amazing range of high quality and professional pictures/images/buttons. We especially used Shutterstock to create our navigation buttons. The good news is that we found a 30% coupon on the internet so we didn’t pay the full price. On top of this, we still have 17 images left from our second package for future projects.
Leadpages plugin for $197. Leadpages is an amazing plugin to create professional pages where users can sign-up for a newsletter. They have several templates (you can check them out here) and can be modified as you wish. The Leadpages purchase was necessary to generate a “warm mailing list” where I could let people know about my progress and pitch my service.
Fiverr work for $55. Before finding Shutterstock, I tried ordering buttons from designers on Fiverr. To be honest, the work was barely “okay” quality and it was definitely not a good fit for my site. Therefore, I can say that I threw $55 in the trash.
Total Expenses at $5,438. The number seems pretty high considering I’ve made $6,000 in 6 weeks. But 43.5% of our expense is time spent working on the site. The real required cash flow was $3,072. When I look back at this project, I can tell we could have dropped our expenses by a few hundred bucks. The $55 bucks in Fiverr was definitely a waste and could have managed with only 1 shutterstock package at $160.30 and use our images properly. I must confess I went a little bit trigger happy with the download button for nothing! Finally, if we hadn’t bought the website structure, we could have probably done it for under $1,000 instead of $2,500. However, it was our first membership site and we preferred to save time and go with something that was already working instead of trying to make it work on our own.
In all honesty, I think that if you start your own membership site, you can do it for under $1,500 (but be ready to work over 100 hours on it!).
I’ve compiled my cumulative gross revenues and added my expenses to calculate the net profit in the following graph. You will notice that I breakeven on the 6th week with a small profit of $149.10 as at January 19th.
How’s the net profit not over $600 since I’ve made slightly over $6,000 so far? This is because there are costs involved after you launch the site! I’ve worked a total of 18 hours after the launch to answer questions, improve the site and write monthly newsletters (2 so far). This added up to a virtual cost of $546. It’s not a real cost since I didn’t get paid for it, but I strongly believe you must take the value of your time into consideration when you are working to build passive income.
I expect to work about 12 hours per month on average for a total expense of $364/month. Since we control our own product, we don’t have to pay for any other monthly fees. Therefore, the total cost of maintaining the website over a year should be around $4,368.
If I really make it to total revenue of $26,773, I will make a net profit of $22,405. This is real passive income since I’ve already “paid” myself for the hours put into the work. The other way to calculate it would be to divided the total revenue by the hours I work instead of “paying me” for it. This would equal to $185.92/hour… not bad
Since I launched the site in December 2013, it means that I will receive annual renewals in the last month of the year. I’ve made $4,351.80 in December from my annual subscriptions. Since I work very hard to provide a high level of service, I can conservatively expect to keep 75% of my members. This would add-up to another $3,263.85. This is where my buffer to make my 30K in products is.
Still, these are only numbers and projections. I will provide you with my complete plan to promote my website in the next article of this series. The work required prior to launch a website is nothing compared to the work required after you launch it! If I stop the promotion today, I will definitely not make 26K from my site this year.Comments: 6 Read More
The future of an online business is linked to its ability to adapt.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve mentioned several times that I was working on launching a membership website. In fact, it was part of my 2013 to come up with a long-term product by the end of the year. I successfully launched my membership site in December 2013 (yeah I know, pretty last minute!). The site is up and running smoothly. Within its first month of operation, I have not only covered all my funding costs but I’ve gone into the black right away. Since then, I have generated nothing but profits… almost
I’m currently working on a very big case study about how to build your own membership. I personally think this is the future of any online business. I love the model because you own both the product and the client. Therefore, there is nothing to take your money away from you if you do a good job serving your client.
Who doesn’t want to make recurring profits each month? Yeah… that’s the problem; building a membership site is not that easy… but it’s not that complicated either! This is why I’m sharing my story starting with what I had in hand to build my membership site.
Most people think you need your product ready or at least an idea of a product before starting your own online business. I don’t agree with this. In my case, I started by growing an audience. I think it was best thing I have ever done… before the membership website; I started a newsletter.
I have owned a dividend investing blog since 2010. The site has a great reputation and gets some decent traffic. However, the problem with a blog is often that readers come and go without leaving a trace. You can’t contact them, ask them for feedback or tell them to read your latest article because you think it’s Rock Solid. I have read tons of blogs, rarely leave comments and for some unknown reason, I sometimes get bored by one blog, forget about it for a while and only come back months later. If the guy was going to tell me something very important in between, the message is just lost.
The newsletter is the answer to build a solid audience. These readers may come and go on your blog, but you always have a way to reach out to them. This is what I did with my dividend investing blog: I started to focus on getting more and more mailing list subscribers. I ran contests, offered exclusive content and, the best trick; I offered a free but highly valuable eBook about dividend investing.
So over 2 years, I’ve worked very hard on building an audience. I wasn’t too sure what my newsletter would be used for in the future, but I only knew that it was the best way to keep direct contact with my readers. On top of this, I’ve made several thousand from the newsletter in the meantime. I’ve outlined many ways I’ve used the newsletter to generate profits in the past.
Building an audience isn’t that hard to achieve. All you need is a platform to tell the world you exist (your blog) and a freebie that is valuable enough to convince them to sign-up for your newsletter. The freebie could be as simple as a quick eBook answering a question, an email series to educate people or the promise of delivering exclusive content or even run a contest!
If you are looking for effective ways to build a newsletter, you can check out my special series on the topic.
Now that I had a bunch of people following me, it was the right time to do something about it. In 2012, I started by publishing a book on Amazon and it went very well. At that time, I got the confirmation I wanted; readers were ready to follow me further. Still, I didn’t have my idea ready yet.
While researching for my book, I contacted my readers many times to know what their main struggles with their portfolios were. I received tons of email back about the three main things that kept coming up:
#1 Having trouble with when to buy or sell (timing)
#2 How to manage the portfolio as a whole (which asset allocation, sector, etc)
#3 Tax implications
It’s pretty obvious that you can’t really build a monthly or annual subscription around a tax service for investors. Therefore, I had to work on the other two issues.
Working on your readers issues is the key for any product. This is exactly where you will find your niche and idea to build a service that will truly help people. Here’s a few examples of products that work big time on the internet:
Steve Chou shows how you can build your online store. Issue answered: several entrepreneurs have a product but don’t know how create and manage an online store.
Adam Baker shows people how to pay off their debts: Issue answered: how many people do you know that are struggling at the end of each month to pay their bills?
Corbett Barr shows people how to create a blog and build a tremendous audience. Issue answered: most people know how to setup a blog, but only a very few are able to get thousands of visitors per day.
Jon Haver builds blog network to improve search engine ranking performance. Issue answered: website owners with great content or great product but no traffic.
I guess you get the idea by now; work on your readers’ pain and solve their issues by using your knowledge. I’m the living proof you can do it in any market! Say what? Do you know a more crowded market than investing? Okay…. Besides internet marketing ;-). Seriously, when I started to tell my readers I was working on an investing tool to help them manage their dividend portfolio, I’ve received many emails telling me they were waiting for it… and a ton of emails warning me that there are very high quality services already in place and offered by big companies.
But this didn’t bring me down. Why? Because I knew I had an audience. I knew that no matter how big and complete other investing services could be, very few of them had the same connection I had with my readers and none of them had what I have to offer; ME!
My product was designed for my readers and the idea of my product came from them. It was only a matter of putting everything on paper and then building a website around it.
As this is an introduction post about how to setup a membership website, I will not highlight all the resources I used to create this project yet. However, I can say that you don’t need a fortune to build a nice looking website offering a membership or an online store.
I must admit that we didn’t start from scratch and this is why it has cost us a little bit more. We bought a website with a design and a membership plugin installed. Therefore, all we had to do was to customize the site to our needs and write our content. We paid about $2,500 for the website plus another $300-$400 in image rights and outsourcing work.
The biggest expense was definitely my time invested in the process. Overall, we have disbursed from our pockets a little less than $3,000 and I worked on this site long enough to say that another $3,000 of my time was spent on this project.
If I had to start a membership from scratch, I probably would have been able to do it with less than $2,000. It’s not much when you consider that you will create a money generating machine for several years to come. In fact, the $2,000 could easily be funded by a few affiliate emails sent through your newsletter while building an audience.
I’m finishing this post with probably the best trick I learned from building my first membership website. As I just wrote, we bought an existing website (with no members) to start our project. What I didn’t tell you is that we bought it back in 2012! Therefore, this project was on hold for over 18 months before we truly started to work on it.
In September of 2013, I decided to put everything aside in my online business and concentrated to finally work on this project. It’s always the same thing; you have a good idea, you know this could work well but you don’t have the time to take care of it. In fact, we never have the time to do something, we need to TAKE it. This is why I decided to give myself no other option but to launch the project in December of the same year. The best solution to cut all slacking options is being accountable for your work. And the best way to become fully accountable is to declare your statement publicly.
So in September of 2013, I announced on my investing blog and through my newsletter that I was going to work on a “special dividend project”. I asked people interested in knowing more about it to sign-up to a separate mailing list that was solely dedicated to this project.
Then, I got over 1,500 subscriptions to this mailing list. There was no way I could hold on to this project and make it wait. I was accountable to send my progress at least each 2-3 weeks to those people who followed me on my adventure. Having no other choice but to post about my project was the best thing I have ever done. It added pressure on us so we worked like crazy and made it happen right on time.
I could have never completed this membership site within three months if I hadn’t announced publicly about my deadline. At that time, failure was just not an option. I knew that I had built momentum over a three month period and people were definitely looking forward to discovering my project. If I had continued postponing my project until 2014, I would have lost the momentum and, at the same time, a bunch of potential clients.
All right, enough stuff for today, if you have any questions about my story, leave them in the comment section. In the meantime, I’ll be working on my next article for this series!
Comments: 0 Read More
The online business has completely changed over the past 2 years and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!
A few years ago, the recipe to make a few hundred bucks per month with a financial blog was the following:
#1 Buy a domain with a good financial keyword in it
#2 Blog 3-4 times a week
#3 Comment on other blogs daily (let’s say 10 comments per day)
#4 Join a group of bloggers and exchange comments/guest posts/mentions (the biggest at that time was the Yakezie)
#5 Wait for the next Google Page Rank update so you can show a PR2 or PR3
#6 Start selling links on the sidebar and sponsored posts
#7 Bang! You just make between $500 and $1,000 per month for roughly 15 hrs of work per week!
Yup, you read this right; I made over $100K through what I used to call “private advertising”. This private advertising was a mix of a few marketing strategies:
#1 Sidebar links (a link on your homepage to an advertiser)
#2 Sponsored posts (getting paid to publish an article including links to a company)
#3 Banners (an image published on all pages of your blog including a link to a company)
I know… it’s against Google Policy Rules to sell links. We all knew it at the time, but the money was too good. But as you can see, Google finally penalized my site with a PR 0 for selling links. In other words; I finally got caught! Hahaha! I didn’t mind too much since I moved my biggest sites away from private advertising mainly because I wanted to avoid penalties and because the money was drying out of this market anyway. Today, you just can’t expect to publish a few articles a week and sell links like crazy and make $1,000 per month with your blog. Google has a close eye on financial blogs and advertisers understood that it was a bad idea to game the devil at its own game. It was good while it lasted, but now it’s time to move forward.
Ah… that is an interesting question; how can you make money once the easy cash is gone? This is when we will separate the bloggers from the business owners. This change started back in 2012 and it is still the new motto; do you have a business or are you’re simply a blogging slacker?
My goal for 2014 is plain and simple: I want to make 100K from my online business. Keep in mind that I’m talking about revenues and not profit and that I’m a 50% partner in this journey. Therefore, this goal translates to make 30K in my pocket and not the trendy term “6 figures”. But we will all agree that 30K net in your pocket is better than a slap in the face, right?
Still, you’ve heard this before, the money is harder to be made online, this was why I needed to come up with a plan. Here’s how I intend to make 100K this year:
Even though I don’t manage a multimillion dollar company, our online partnership shows more than 1 segment of business. It took us a while to create different segments as only 4 years ago, 90% of our revenue came from private advertising. The goal this year is to keep 10% in private advertising and generate the rest of the money through other means.
I briefly mentioned that we have launched a membership website back in December. I’ll come back to this later as I want to bring you a full case study on how we achieved this important diversification in our business. The idea of a membership website is to create a product generating monthly cash flow. You own both the product and your clients and nobody can take either away from you if you do a good job. Along with our membership websites, we also sell a few eBooks creating a constant flow of income.
Our second business segment is our blogging business. We own a sizeable portfolio of blogs in different niches where we write or pay writers to do the job for us. The blogging business is where the most traffic is but due to its nature, it doesn’t mean that it’s the most profitable segment. Blogs mainly generate Adsense and affiliate income.
C) Niche Websites
This ranges from a 5 page site to a 200 page website on a very specific topic. I’ve discussed this before on this blog as building several niche sites has been tried over the past 2 years. Unfortunately, I can’t say it was our biggest success so far. On the other hand, what is very interesting is the potential cash flow these sites could generate with only a few more hours of work. With small numbers, our niche sites have revealed their potential. It’s now a matter of growing them into real money making machines.
It’s no secret; if you want to reach your goal, you need a plan. A solid one, not just a plan including words like:
I’ll work harder
I’ll work on getting traffic
I’ll optimize my sites
I’ll generate more affiliate income
This is wishful thinking and will not get you anywhere. I know it because I’ve tried it many times and it never worked! My plan is a lot different this year as I’ve listed actions to be taken instead of writing down results such as “increasing my Adsense income with more traffic”.
I’ve made a list of 10 tasks to be completed during the year to make it roughly a monthly marketing plan. The goal for our product line is to acquire 140 new members this year. This makes an average of a dozen new members per month. Since I want to reach 200 members by the end of the year, I need to get more than 12 new members each month considering cancellations. This is why I need a continuous marketing plan.
Income Expectation from Products for 2014: $30,000
Since private advertising has been cut from our blogging network, there is a lot of work to be done to make money from these sites. It’s not just a matter of using our blogs to promote our products, we are already doing that. We need a list of key tasks to achieve in order to increase the money directly generated from blogs. Among these, here are a few ideas:
#1 Identify useful affiliate products for each blog.
#2 Create blog posts, newsletters and an overall package (a resource) to promote the product by helping readers.
#3 Create offers and bonuses for those who sign-up to the blog newsletter.
#4 Communicate directly with readers through the newsletter (send “checking in” emails)
Income Expectation from Blogs for 2014: $60,000
C) Niche Websites
Our general problem with our niche sites is not the optimization or monetization of sites. It’s definitely the lack of traffic. This will be the most challenging part of our business plan. We all know there is a lot of money to be made from niche websites but it’s not like we just have to write about it to make it happen. Our niche sites generate roughly $500/month at the month with 0 hours of work on it. I guess that if we can manage to find a few hours, we can double this revenue!
Income Expectations from Niche Websites for 2014: $10,000
It’s fun to make money, but it’s also fun to keep the money for yourself! In 2014, we expect to cut down our costs to roughly $3,000 per month. It is still a lot of money but most of it is related to accounting and servers. We can’t really cut these expenses as we need both to operate! On the other hand, if we reach our goal of making 100K in revenues, there will be over 50K left after expenses and taxes which is a very good thing!
We are definitely starting the New Year with a new set of goals and a lot of hope for 2014!Comments: 15 Read More
The problems is that freeloaders are everywhere these days… they are hiding in the crowd and pretend to be someone else…
Today, I wanted to write about a phenomenon that is taking up more and more space in our population. Is it because everything costs more year after year? Or is it because people misinterpret movements like Occupy Wall Street? Or maybe it’s because the internet is providing this shield of invulnerability called anonymity. I’m not too sure about the reasons why there are so many more freeloaders around, but what I can tell you is that I hate them deeply.
The term freeloader does not come from proper English. In fact, it is derived from a financial term; “Free Rider”. A free rider, in economics, refers to someone who benefits from resources, goods, or services without paying for the cost of the benefit (Source from Wikipedia). So a free RIDER is more of an opportunist, read lucky, individual who is at the right place at the right time. I have no problem with that. In fact, it’s always fun to free ride from time to time.
The freeloader is the dark side of the free rider. He is the individual who takes something with value at no cost and complains on top of it. The freeloader thinks everything should be offered at no cost and no effort. It’s almost like people owe it to him. And if the good or resource is not delivered according to his own terms, he whines about it (remember, this is all given to him for free).
We see a lot of freeloaders on the internet since the web has given the illusion that everything is free and available through a simple click.
Unfortunately, freeloaders are not only crawling the web, they are everywhere. A long time ago, I wrote a piece about rate shoppers, this is another kind of freeloader. Therefore, they also are clients who want a bigger slice of the pie without considering anything but the cost.
If you author a blog, you will definitely see freeloaders complain if you write an affiliate product reviews, offer your own products or simply run a contest asking your readers to share something.
If you own a company or work with clients, you will see clients act as freeloaders always asking for more. More freebies, more exceptions, more of everything. They something pretend to be “negotiators” or “frugal individuals” that are only looking for the best deal, the problem is that they don’t give a crap about what you offer. You can offer the best product, service or write the best blog in the world, they simply don’t care. They want to be fed and expect you to hold the spoon!
I have “opportunities” to deal with freeloaders both at work and with my online company. I find it easier to deal them at work though. I’ve found a trick that does it all the time. This is my secret weapon against freeloaders; I’ve defined myself and know what I offer. Therefore, I stand behind my principles and explain what I do for a living in a simple line.
No matter in which field you work, here’s how you can deal with freeloaders in a simple tag line:
“If you are looking for the cheapest price, you are not going to get it with me. I’m not a Walmart, I’m a Birks. I will provide you with the best service ever and the best assistance at a fair price. If you buy a home theatre at Walmart and you have questions or problems, don’t expect the 16yr old kid at the electronics department to help you out. You will pay the cheapest price, and this is all you will get. You will not run into this situation with me”.
If the potential client is a good negotiator or simply frugal, he will understand the true value of my offer. If he is a freeloader, he will simply walk away and I will not have to deal with him anymore. I’ve made the decision a long time ago to deal with people I really want to work with. Those who are looking for a delivery man pick someone other than me and that’s perfectly fine.
I’m having more difficulties to work it out on the web thought. The problem when you are dealing with someone online is that you are not face to face. This makes a huge difference as the freeloaders suddenly have a lot more power over you. For example, I recently launched a dividend investing book on Kindle (Amazon’s platform). I offered my book for free for 5 days as a promotion. For FREE, you can download the book, read it and do whatever you want. All you need to do is to open a free account with Amazon and download the book. I know because I’ve done it in the past.
I don’t get any money from it one way or another when someone benefits from this offer and downloads my book. But believe it or not, two freeloaders were dumb enough to not understand how to download a free book on Amazon and thought they had to pay for a Prime membership for $79/yr at Amazon to get access to the book. I can’t blame them for not being able to read properly, but the worst part is that they both gave a 1 star review on the book calling the whole thing a gimmick!
These people received an email with this offer because they are subscribers to my newsletter. If there was something they didn’t understand, they could have simply replied back to this email, asking me why they had to pay for a prime membership to download the book. I could have explained to them how to solve the problem and get the book for free. Since they don’t care, they simply decided to throw their venom in a review to downgrade my book. Wow… talk about an elementary school mentality…
How have I dealt with them? I simply commented politely on their review on Amazon… and I’ve manually unsubscribed them from my mailing list. I don’t want these people around my blog. Since I can’t take their computer away, the best I could do was to cancel their access to my investing newsletter which has the most value anyway.
There is one thing I’ve learned from freeloaders is to never get into a fight with them. If you do, you are playing THEIR game and they simply love it. They can do more harm to you than anything you can do to them (it is especially true online). Plus, they seem to have an awful lot of time on their hands to fight back so it’s definitely not worth it.
Even though I wish I could tell them how much I hate them, I simply made it clear that we should not be in contact with each other as I don’t provide what they are looking for. This is how sometimes; it pays to show some maturity! Hahaha!
Readers, how do you deal with freeloaders on your blog or at work?Comments: 2 Read More
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