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Success Stories – 12 Doers Share Their Secrets: Interview with Ben Prater

Written By: Martin Avis

Ben, from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, is a 26 year old
software development consultant. He says that his job
is to help people turn their dreams into reality.

After years of looking at the Internet from the
outside, Ben decided to take the advice of the gurus
and turn his own specialized knowledge into an
information product. His e-book, ‘Software Secrets -
Exposed’, tells the real inside story of how anybody
can develop software products.

It sure hit a nerve, because Ben tells me that in the
first eight weeks after launch, he sold over $75,000
worth of his book. And his sales, and good reviews,
continue.

Here is a great example of what you can achieve once
you get up and have a go.

BizE-zine: Your book reflects your work, so what
exactly do you do for a living?

BP: I’m an software development consultant. Previously,
I was the Chief Technical Officer of a web-based
company – so I’ve been seriously involved in the
programming side of things for some time now.

BizE-zine: And Internet-awareness must go with the job.

BP: Oh yes! It wasn’t long after the Internet became
popular and accessible in my home town that I got
online. In fact, early on, I was paying per-minute fees
to be online. I’ve been excited with the Net since the
beginning.

Although I haven’t been doing it for myself, my whole
career has been involved in the web and web-related
businesses. Even when the web wasn’t commonplace, I was
using my background in programming and graphic design
to build some of the first commercial web sites that
people were using. The Internet was amazing – anyone in
the world could see my work within seconds of me
posting it online. This blew me away. I was hooked!

BizE-zine: What made you take the giant step to become
an online entrepreneur?

BP: Microsoft is to blame! I’d been thinking about
creating a product for some time, but it was only after
a visit to Microsoft that I finally decided to get on
with it.

‘Software Secrets – Exposed!’ came from my direct
experience with my own clients. Making their dreams a
reality meant putting a plan together that they and I
could use. Over time, I began creating a step-by-step
system we could follow and it worked like a charm!

Once my mind was made up, it was a simple process of
packaging my system into an ebook and offering it
online.

BizE-zine: So you were really making money online even
before the book came out.

BP: All my income is effectively derived online.
Originally from my consulting business – but now,
rather more directly through my online publishing
company.

BizE-zine: When did you first realize that you had a
success on your hands?

BP: With my new book? Overnight! Within the first
month, the book had pulled in over $30,000 in profits.
And sales have been steady ever since.

I just wish I had started much, much sooner!

This is still a part-time hobby for me. I still have a
regular day-job as a programming consultant. Imagine
what I could accomplish if I could dedicate eight-hours
a day to doing this!

BizE-zine: You are making money from a self-published
book, but do you buy any ebooks or courses on online
marketing?

BP: There are tons of great books and courses that some
very brilliant marketers have put together – and if it
sounds like they can add something to you business,
grab it and call it an investment.

The reason most people don’t find success is that they
don’t create a plan and hesitate to take any action. I
waited far too long, but at least I made a start
eventually.

Absorb as much info as you can get your hands on, build
your confidence level, and do something.

BizE-zine: Getting noticed is probably the hardest part
of running an online business. How did you set about
getting traffic?

BP: Many moons ago, in my first foray into marketing
online with my web design business I focused on
attracting attention by the search engines. As time has
passed, I’ve focused less on search engines are more on
more active ways of attracting attention.

Endorsed deals between myself and other savvy marketers
have brought in the most profits in the shortest amount
of time. If you have created a product that you believe
will bring benefits to someone else’s list – don’t
hesitate to present it to them. But make sure you know
your numbers – what are your conversions, how much
would they get for each sale. Like everything else, you
have to address the ‘what’s in it for them’ question.

Looking for deals shouldn’t be your first step – but it
should be there early on.

BizE-zine: It is still early days yet, but can you
point to one big mistake you wish you could put right?

BP: My biggest mistake was not doing something earlier.
I spun my wheels for four years before I finally put my
book together. Those are four years I can’t get back -
who knows what I could be doing today.

All my other mistakes are pretty minor in comparison.

BizE-zine: What kind of software does the ‘King of
Software Secrets’ use himself?

BP: I use a couple of applications day-to-day that I
wrote myself, including my autoresponder. Obviously,
not everyone can do this, or would even want to – but
it is important to find the tools that let you spend
your maximum amount of time focusing on doing things
that will make you money.

If you are wasting time doing something that isn’t
making you money, find a way to automate it. For
instance, if you are responding to similar questions
through you email, set up a FAQs page or use a macro
program like RemoteKeys to get these questions answered
more quickly or better yet, without your intervention.

In my writing, I use Word. Then Adobe Acrobat to seal
it up. I wish more people would stick to using Acrobat,
rather than some of the ebook packages available.
Acrobat increases the level of portability and makes
it easy to print out.

BizE-zine: Having tasted such a spectacular success,
I’m sure you don’t plan to sit back and do nothing.
What are your plans for the future?

BP: I have several ideas. Early on, I’d like to
continue to build on the success of my ‘Secrets -
Exposed!’ brand.

I keep liberal notes in dozens of notebooks – and try
to revisit these often to keep my mind fresh and
looking for new opportunities. Even this morning, I was
contacting a publisher and pitching a software idea to
him. This project may not see sunlight for months – but
it is planting seeds for the future.

BizE-zine: Many people would love to produce their own
ebook, but don’t know how to go about it. What would
you say to them?

BP: Do a little each day. Such a simple suggestion, but
if it’s followed each day the book will “magically”
complete itself. Write a paragraph, a section or a
chapter, but keep cracking at it every single day.

Have a good outline you can follow. Instead of trying
to decide what content you need to fill it out, you can
simply follow the outline you have already in front on
you.

And bring passion to your work every time you sit down.
Infuse it 100% with your personality and enthusiasm.

BizE-zine: What advice would you give to someone who
wants to make it online?

BP: Become educated, create a plan, and do something.

It might mean breaking into your weekends or evenings,
but the resulting success can last you a lifetime.

Have a burning desire to succeed. Find someone that can
mentor you – or a friend that has a similar desire to
succeed. You definitely want a cheering section of your
crowd. Be thankful and be giving. And don’t forget the
importance of your family.

BizE-zine: And a final word?

BP: I started with zero like most people – I didn’t
have tons of contacts in the industry, I didn’t have
experience writing a book or a sales letter or running
an affiliate program.

But I didn’t let those fears stop me. I took the action
I knew I needed to take. And I learned from my mistakes
and I keep learning more today. But had I been too
scared to get started, I’d still be sitting here
thinking about what to do today.

Get out there – get started – and do something
everyday! See you at the top!

About the Author

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

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