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Success Stories – 12 Doers Share Their Secrets. Interview #10: Peter Twist

Written By: Martin Avis

There are lots of ways to make the Internet work for
you. Although selling a product online is the most
obvious business model, it certainly isn’t the only
way.

This interview, with British voice-over artist, Peter
Twist, shows how he has harnessed the Internet’s
potential. Not only is he selling products, but he is
also selling himself, his services and those of his
colleagues.

Truly a man who understands the power of multiple
streams of income.

BizE-zine: Peter, who are you and what is your
background?

PT: My name is Peter Twist, I’m 41 and I live partly in
London UK and partly in Monaco.

My bread and butter is as a voice-over for TV and Radio
in the UK and abroad. As I work for myself it has been
easy to work this and the Internet alongside each
other.

I am probably one of the best-known “unknown” voices:
the guy who promotes Classic FM Magazine and sometimes
tells you what’s on TV on Saturday night. I
occasionally do work for clients in the US as well.

BizE-zine: When did you discover the power of the
Internet?

PT: I first got involved about 8 years ago. I went
online by joining CompuServe with a 2.5k modem! I
initially set up a web site to promote my voice-over
work. In this business you spend a lot of time giving
prospective clients details about yourself and demo
tapes. Being lazy I put it all on the web site with
streaming audio files and told people to go there.

BizE-zine: Did it work?

PT: Putting my voice-over information on the Internet
did work. It saved me having to send out CDs and tapes.
It was also fairly easy to get a good search engine
ranking for ‘voice-over’ or ‘voice talent’ so I did get
a lot of referrals from the web.

If it was a choice between me and another voice who was
sending stuff to prospective clients by snail mail, it
gave me the edge.

At about the same time, 8 years ago, the voice-over
world had a major upheaval. ISDN telephone lines came
in. I went from driving around 60,000 miles a year to
all the major radio stations in the UK, to building a
studio at home and talking down an ISDN line.

So I was already beginning to experience the benefits
of technology even before the Internet started to grow.

BizE-zine: What was your next Internet development as
far as the voice-over work was concerned?

PT: Now that all the voices were at home waiting for
work, the radio stations and production companies began
asking for weekly faxes listing a voice-over’s
availability. Fairly soon they were getting up to 200
faxes per week. Every time they needed a voice, they
would have to trawl through these faxes to find out
whether or not the voice was available, and of course
that availability would change so the producer would
have to telephone the voice artist too.

So where does the Internet come in? I thought to
myself how much better it would be to go to a web site
and see the list of voices and whether or not they were
available on that day.

At the time, only the really big companies could afford
their own programmers to write specialist software like
this, so I began the idea using Microsoft Front Page.
Each day around 50 voice artists would email me and I
would update the site. Phew, hard work! Also, if I put
‘no’ instead of ‘yes’ for their availability I was in
big trouble! A few voices did ask whether they could
update their own pages, but it wasn’t possible unless I
invested around $30,000 in software development.

Eventually, about 9 months ago, I finally managed to
find and adapt some web-based software that allowed all
the voice-overs to log in, and change their own
details. There are currently around 35 voice-overs on
the site and around 100-150 producers access it on a
daily basis.

http://www.powercomm.co.uk/isdn

The key is not massive amounts of traffic; it’s finding
and filling a niche. The site is paid for by the
voices, it generates around $15,000 per year. That may
not sound like much but consider that it’s renewable,
regular income, and I don’t have any ongoing labor: the
voices do all the work!

BizE-zine: You got started by selling yourself and your
colleagues, but what happened next?

PT: Next I did what everyone seems to do – I tried to
sell other people’s products.

I followed all the strategies for advertising and
promotion but saw that there were many more people who
were better at it than me and had more patience. So,
after about three months, (I have no patience at all!),
I decided to take the other route, produce my own
product and let the good marketers sell it.

I just kept seeing the same products being sold over
and over again, and it was always the marketers with
the best mailing lists (their own opt-in lists) who
sucked up all the sales because they had already
established themselves. You really have to hand it to
those marketers who push stuff day after day and never
give up.

BizE-zine: Let’s get philosophical for a moment. You
already had a successful offline business – what need
did Internet marketing fulfill in your life?

PT: I was attracted to the Internet mainly because I
could see the potential audience and the ability it
gave you to work at your own pace, at times that suited
you.

I had always envied writers (novel & song) who could
live anywhere, and, if they were successful, live off
royalties.

Yet, I could see that for every successful novel and
songwriter there were thousands of others who weren’t.
In large part s seemed to be because other people
control their destiny. If your face doesn’t fit, you
have no chance.

The Internet creates a level playing field; you get a
chance to let the buying public decide whether or not
they like you.

I love the “unknown territory” of the Internet, it’s
relatively inexpensive to test and you get results,
good or bad within hours.

BizE-zine: You are very much a ‘have a go’ person,
Peter. What checks and balances do you apply to your
ideas prior to jumping in?

PT: Whatever project I’ve thought up, I always like to
look at the end result and then work out how to get
there. If you analyzed any new venture and all the
things that could go wrong, you would never begin
anything!

BizE-zine: So how did your business develop?

PT: I thought this web-based stuff was really something
so I looked for other niches that would benefit and I
thought of auto dealers, real estate businesses and
travel agents. I have started off with auto dealers and
have begun selling sites like the one here:
http://www.hendymotorsales.co.uk

All these guys need is a digital camera and a
connection to the Internet and no specialized software.

Because I have my own servers I make money by setting
up domains and renting web space to people.

BizE-zine: Then, as if you didn’t have enough going on,
you created your own info products to sell. How did
that come about?

PT: I really like to help other people and have always
been a fan of Brian Tracy and Anthony Robbins who are
great motivational speakers. I love listening again and
again to their tapes and CDs. To me it is better than
just reading a book – I find it much more enjoyable.

There are many ebooks available online, but all you can
do is read them. So the first actual product I
developed was “The 7 Secrets Of Success”. It’s an ebook
in PDF form, but it has links so you can listen to me
reading too. I had a great response to this, especially
as people in the USA loved my UK accent.

BizE-zine: How did you go about promoting it?

PT: You can have the greatest product in the world, but
if nobody knows about it, you won’t make any sales.

By chance I received a mail shot about these guys in
the US who were really successful online, and had just
presented a seminar in Las Vegas. I bit the bullet and
spend around $500 on the videotapes of the seminar, all
30 of them!

That really turned my head around to see how these guys
were finding the customers and leading them into their
websites and products and making sale after sale. I put
many of their strategies to use for the “7 Secrets” and
they worked.

The best product I bought after seeing the tapes was
Yanik Silver’s ’33 Days to Online Profits’. Rather
than just present a pile of stuff in one go, it took
you a day at a time through what you needed to do. He
even chases you with reminder emails!

People then started to ask me for advice on how to get
their Internet businesses going and so I figured I’d
work smart and muster up all that experience from
radio, TV and the Internet. I decided to interview 10
of the top online marketers.

Obviously I started with the guys I’d seen on the
videos. First, Yanik Silver said ‘yes’. Then I
contacted Jonathan Mizel and so on. I set up telephone
interviews with them all, transcribed them (nearly 200
pages in the end) and converted them into streaming
audio for Real Player and Windows Media Player. There
were many frustrations and heartaches along the way,
not to mention numerous technical failures, but because
I had committed myself big time to all these gurus
there was no way I could stop.

BizE-zine: How much of your income is now derived from
the Internet?

PT: About 40% at the moment.

BizE-zine: Is that fairly stable, or have you
experienced any slowdown online?

PT: There has been a bit of a reduction in my voice-
over work recently because of the recession in
advertising. But online, I haven’t found a problem.

BizE-zine: It is clear that you believe in investing in
yourself, from all the tapes and books that you buy.
What was it about these books that lit your fuse?

PT: What really lit my fuse about the books I read was
that they were real people talking about the challenges
they faced and setbacks they overcame. I always used to
think that people were successful because of their
education, amount of money or talent. None of it is
true. Anyone can be successful; you just have to follow
a certain set of rules just like an instruction
booklet. Just follow other successful people and copy
what they do.

BizE-zine: What is your favorite way of generating
traffic?

PT: Just to connect with people. I spend lots of time
sending personalized emails to other successful
marketers. I participate in discussion forums and just
offer help whenever I can.

BizE-zine: Do you worry about making mistakes?

PT: I have made thousands of mistakes over the years,
but if you analyze them and don’t repeat them, they can
help. I’ve learned to keep all those boring things like
accounting up to date, to pay attention to details and
double check when people say it’s no problem. You have
to take total responsibility for yourself.

BizE-zine: What software do you use to help you run
your business?

PT: Although I have swapped from one to another I would
say that I couldn’t be without good autoresponder and
mailing list software. I prefer web-based systems so
they don’t tie up your own computer. Also you can
access them from anywhere.

BizE-zine: What is next for Peter Twist online?

PT: The great thing about the Internet is that your
business can expand whether you like it or not. By that
I mean new people are always finding out about you and
putting links into your site, so it grows on it’s own.
I would like to develop a few more products and expand
in that way.

I’d be daft to try to re-invent the wheel, so how about
another book interviewing Internet experts? When are
you free Martin?

A lot of books you read waffle on for page after page,
I want to write one called “The Smallest Ebook in The
World” It will be one page with a list of what you need
to do to succeed online. Watch this space…

BizE-zine: I don’t know if you are joking or not! What
advice would you give to someone who is just planning
to start out?

PT: Read as much material as possible from people who
are doing right now what you want to do. Then when
things get tough, you can focus on them. Don’t be a
perfectionist, just take action, but learn quickly from
your mistakes. Write down in great detail exactly what
you want – down to how much you’ll earn. Even more
importantly, write down what you will do with the
money. Look to earning a good monthly income rather
than $1 million.

If anyone is thinking of writing a book now, you just
have to get on and do it. Write it with something like
Microsoft Word, which has a spell checker. Don’t get
hung up about security and passwords, if people are
going to copy and steal it that may be a good thing
because it gets your name around! Try to get people to
send you their email address, offer them a free gift,
or updates to your book – that way you can build up you
list and when your next book comes out they’ll buy
that.

I have looked at all the formats and personally prefer
books that can be read with Adobe Acrobat. Then, people
with Apple Macs as well as PCs can read it and it looks
professional. To collect the money, just use Clickbank.
They process the credit card payments and pay you the
money, and, others can sell your book through them too.

The most useful piece of advice that I have ever seen
is to start building your own “opt-in” list. These are
people who have seen information about you or your web
site and have then given you their email address
because they would like more information. It’s up to
you to then develop a relationship with them so they
begin to see that the information you are sharing is
useful to them.

I would say to anyone starting out, just get your hands
on as much material as you can and start learning.
Choose a good mentor, someone who you can see is doing
what they say, but also get online yourself and start
making mistakes. It’s the only way to learn.

Peter Twist is the author of “The 7 Secrets Of Success”
and “Success Internet Interviews, more info at
http://www.internetsuccessinterviews.com

About the Author

Martin Avis is a management and training consultant.
To get your unfair advantage in Internet marketing,
business and personal success, (and 6 free gifts),
subscribe to his free weekly newsletter, BizE-zine.
mailto:subscribe5@BizE-zine.com or visit his
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