Success Stories – 12 Doers Share Their Secrets: Interview with Jim Wilson

Written By: Martin Avis

Jim Wilson, 40, works as a Firefighter/Paramedic in Melbourne,
Florida, about an hour south of the Kennedy space center.

Although he has no plans to give up his career, and lose his
accrued pension rights, the Internet provides a very useful
top-up to his regular income, and is preparing the way for a
lucrative and exciting future.

BizE-zine: Jim, when did you first get involved with the

JW: About 1994 I got into the old Bulletin Boards. In 1995,
through AOL, I got hooked on meeting people and chatting. Sharing
emails with family and friends became a daily event.

It wasn’t until 1997 that I realized, since I love being online
so much, I might be able to make money online.

BizE-zine: How did your online business come to be?

JW: In 1999 I discovered EBay(TM). Around that same time I met a
man called Leo Richardson, a well established EBay(TM) seller. I
emailed him and asked about his products. Luckily for me, he
answered and we became friends.

Leo literally taught me everything I know about marketing on
EBay(TM). He left Ebay(TM) in early 2000 to work for a software
company, but I had caught the bug! I kept learning from
everywhere I could – to enhance my skills as a salesman and a

I have come to the conclusion that you literally never stop
learning in life. Whether in my ‘regular job’ or online, I am
always finding out new things. It keeps it interesting. Now I can
help other folks out by answering their questions, like Leo did
for me. As my credibility grows, so do my sales – it is a win-win

BizE-zine: What % of your income now comes from the Internet?

JW: About 25%. And that’s only part time. I post ads on EBay(TM)
when I want to, and search for products to sell when I have time.
All told I put about 20 hours per week into my online business.
Many of my online endeavors are now fully on “auto pilot”. I
simply place a couple of ads and they do all of the work for me.

Every time I check my email there is another sale from one of my
sites. I think that this is the mark that I must be doing
something right.

Not all that long ago I wasn’t making all that many sales. I
could have easily given up, but this online thing is something I
truly love. I have met so many great people doing this, when I
really think about it, I would have never given it up. I would
miss it and them too much. Making the money is like icing on a
very sweet cake!

BizE-zine: How long did it take you to start making a profit?

JW: Now this is really going to surprise some people. I made a
huge profit my second month on EBay(TM). I found some software
that was collectable and in demand. I bought 200 of them at $6.00
each. I sold all of them in only about 3 months and the going
rate was about $60.00 each! The title was, “The Neverhood”. I was
able to send those wonderful proggies all over the world.

This one experience gave me a lot of knowledge. I had to deal
with one stolen credit card, a couple of bad checks, sending
through customs, and trying all the while to find other things to

Finding those was a VERY lucky break but I did it. And if I can
find something of value like that, anyone else can too. Since
then there have been some lean months (those in which I was
really getting frustrated because as much as I thought I knew, I
was still learning things) and there were some incredible months.

In the end I made money, kept learning, kept expanding on what I
sold, and constantly tried to think of new things to sell, new
services to provide, and tried to find new suppliers.

BizE-zine: Have you bought any ebooks or courses on online
marketing, and if so, which was the best for you?

JW: In the years I have been doing this I have read so many
Ebooks and have such a large number on my HDD, it’s pathetic.
There are a couple that end up sticking out as ones I still, to
this day, pull out and re-read in order to make sense of things.
One great one is Robbin Tungett’s “Auction Profits”. She really
hit a homer with that one.

Another hidden jewel is titled “65 Instant Web Answers” by a lady
called Milana Nastetskaya. She tells people exactly how they can
build a winning web site on their own without paying someone else
thousands to do it for them. In my opinion, it’s a must read.

My favorite is Allen Say’s “Instant Cash Machines”. To this day I
go to the Internet Warrior’s site and open this one to get ideas
and to refresh my memory.

I want to add that I also subscribe to several great e-zines from
which I also learn a great deal. I would urge people that, as you
are searching the net for this and that, if you come across a
site that really catches your attention, chances are that
webmaster knows what they are doing. Subscribing to their e-zine
is like allowing them to teach you.

BizE-zine: What has been your most successful tactic for
generating traffic?

JW: E-zine ads, by far. A good e-zine ad will really go a long
way. By good, I mean an ad for a product with mass appeal in an
e-zine with large true optin subscriber numbers that brings lots
of quality visitors to your site.

A true quality optin list can get in the neighborhood of 8-10%
clickthroughs and about 2-5% of those who visit will buy.
Consider an e-zine with 50,000 true subscribers and you are
talking about 5000 hits and somewhere about 250 sales. See what I
mean? The trick is to know what you are doing BEFORE you buy the

I always tell people to:

1. Subscribe to the e-zine. Then ask yourself – Did it come on
time? Is the content worth reading? Are there too many ads? Was
it well formatted?

2. Contact current advertisers and tell them you are thinking
about placing an ad. Ask them what their response rate is?

3. Ask the publisher about their e-zine. Is it “true optin”? How
long have they been publishing it? If they started in 2001 and
boast 100,000 subscribers, guess what…they bought them. Sending
your ad to their list is like sending it to 99,990 trash cans and
dead email addresses. The 10 who do receive it, don’t read it.

4. Negotiate what you pay for ads. You will want at least 4-5 so
use this ad leverage. Tell the publisher you want a package. I
have found that one solo ad followed by 4 classifieds really
works well. The solo ad gets some attention, then, as they see it
over and over, they visit. If the list is true quality optin you
can get as many as 20% or more of them to come to your

5. Pay with a credit card. This protects you from publishers who
say they have a quality list but don’t, as well as those who
don’t list your ads at all.

E-zine advertising is awesome. If you know what you are doing.

E-zine ads can be quite lucrative. Interested in placing ads in
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BizE-zine: What has been your biggest mistake?

JW: At one time I bought lots of domains as an investment. I
learned the hard way that they aren’t worth all that much unless
they are getting lots of traffic or are established sites.

Also, I used to just place ads in any old e-zine I came across
without checking things out first. I lost literally thousands
between those two errors alone, especially to poor e-zines. I am
happy to say that I now have a list of quality e-zines in which I
buy ads. When I launch a site or an offer I place the ads in the
same ones over and over. And they always get the same awesome

BizE-zine: Do you use any proprietary software to help you run
your business, and which one would you most hate to be without?

JW: I use several titles. There are three I couldn’t run things
without. First there is “Create” which lets me burn CD’s fast and
furious. I sell CD’s in the hundreds, so I couldn’t do without

I also couldn’t live without Ebook Editor Pro. I write Ebooks and
compile them. This software allows me to do it fast and easy.

Finally I use WorldMerge to send to my e-zine mailing list.

I am always looking for easier ways to do things, and there is
always better software out there. I love downloading trials and
testing them out.

BizE-zine: Do you have any plans to expand your online business,
and if so, how?

JW: Constantly! Right now I am working on three main projects.
All three have incredible potential. One made a sale before I
even placed an ad. I sent out about 20 emails with my sig file
and one of them came and bought it! It will launch very soon.

Then I am working on a deal that should lead to more sales on
EBay(TM). I found a new supplier and am excited to see how things
work out.

Overall, in the online world, you can’t sit on your laurels and
relax. Things change fast. Look at those who are THE most
successful and you will always see one commonality. They are not
only on the cutting edge…they set it.

Does this mean I am on the cutting edge? I don’t think of myself
in this way. But I do my best to constantly learn, grow, and
adapt in order to continue making money online. And that means
reading e-zines, ebooks and web sites, to learn what is happening
right now!

BizE-zine: What one piece of advice would you give to someone who
is just planning to start out?

JW: Online marketing is like the race between the tortoise and
the hare. A slow, steady, constant pace will always win out over
fast and furious. If someone tells you, “Buy my product and be
making $5000 next week”, run as fast as you can away from them.
It simply does not happen all that often.

Online work means just that. Work. And lots of it. But you will
be working for yourself in order to reach your own goals and
ambitions. This alone should keep you going. I don’t know of even
one online success story who was a quitter.

There is definitely money to be made online. You just have to
learn how find ways to make it. I can say that given how I am now
doing part time, if I were to take the plunge I would almost
certainly make more money than I am at the Fire Department.

On the opposite side I know of a lot of those who left the online
world because they failed. But, in my humble opinion, they failed
because they left. They didn’t leave because they failed. Think
about it. Find a niche online. Something you REALLY love. Base
your first marketing on this. Learn as much as you can.

And never, ever give up.

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
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