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Success Stories – 12 Doers Share Their Secrets: Interview with Milana Nastetskaya

Written By: Martin Avis

This week we have another great interview – the third
in the series – with a lady who is taking the Internet
by storm. Milana Nastetskaya is the author of the
highly regarded ebook “65 Instant Web Design Answers!”.

Milana currently lives in Central Pennsylvania, quite
close to Harrisburg, but originally came from the
Ukraine. She recently changed her name to Lechinsky at
her U.S. citizenship ceremony. Although eligible for
citizenship in 1997, a combination of factors,
including lost paperwork delayed the ceremony until
June 2001.

“By the time I had my ceremony (June 2001) I felt
completely “American” already. Watching Friday night
sitcoms over a box of pizza is not exactly a Russian
thing!” She says.

BizE-zine: How did you first get involved with the
Internet?

MN: In my “past life”, in Ukraine, I was teaching music
to children and never thought I would do anything else.
But after a year of trying to choose my new path in
America, I decided to major in Computer Systems. What a
huge change from music, I thought! Computers leave no
room for imagination whatsoever… That is, until I
discovered web design and was absolutely blown away by
the creative possibilities it offers.

Now, I am a professional web developer, a web coach, a
workshop leader, and an author of web design manuals
for beginners.

BizE-zine: Tell us about your first experience of the
Internet?

MN: In 1997 I took my first “Internet Development”
class in college and fell in love with it ever since. I
remember my first web page was a collection of bright
yellow buttons linking to other sites, but I was proud
of it anyway :-)

BizE-zine: You are certainly building a good reputation
for yourself online at the moment – how did your
current online venture come to be?

MN: I came across the so popular “Make Your Site Sell!”
by Ken Evoy and spent the next 6 weeks reading it. By
the time I was done with it, I was filled with
excitement and anticipation to start my own online
business. Not sure what to sell yet, I decided to
offer web site critiques on my HelpingFoot.com.

I remembered that Ken Evoy promised to send a free book
to anyone who sent him a useful comment, and I wrote a
1-page feedback about “MYSS!”, asking if he could send
me his “Make Your Price Sell!” but instead he sent
another book.

It was a little disappointing at the time, so I filed
it somewhere on my hard drive and forgot about it. A
few months later, after not making too much progress
with my site critiques, I read somewhere that you can
make money with writing and selling e-books. A book
was recommended to learn how to do it. I was thrilled
to recognize the title of the book – the one that Ken
Evoy sent me a while ago and I never bothered to read
it! It was called “Make Your Knowledge Sell!” and it
inspired me to create my “First Business Web Site in 10
days!”

BizE-zine: Do you still critique people’s sites?

MN: Yes I do, but only now as a bonus to my “First
Business Web Site in 10 days!” customers. When they
complete their web site after following my manual, I
look it over and give them my feedback.

BizE-zine: I couldn’t agree more about Ken Evoy’s
products. I have both books you mentioned and think
they are both in my ‘top 5′. As an aside, if anyone
would like a free trial copy of ‘Make Your Site
Sell!2002′, it can be downloaded at:
http://www.BizE-
zine.com/files/Sitesell ryMYSS!2002.zip

BizE-zine: I know you are a very open person, but can
you share with us what % of your income now comes from
the Internet?

MN: Oh, I never hide my income – perhaps it’s because I
was raised in Ukraine, where people are free to ask how
much you make, how much your house cost and how much
you paid for your car :-)

When I started writing my first e-book, I was hoping
for at least some extra cash – $500 would be nice. But
what happened next has blown me away. Between
February, 2001 and January 2002 I have made a little
over $26,000, working only 4 hours a day.

BizE-zine: That is pretty impressive. How long did it
take you to start making a profit?

MN: I completed my “First Business Web Site in 10
days!” on January 26, and received my first order on
February 2nd, a week later. I remember the customer’s
name, how much I received, and how high I was jumping
around the house with excitement. That was an
absolutely unforgettable moment.

BizE-zine: Have sales been steady over the year, or is
your business accelerating? Also, did September 11th
have a significant impact on you business?

MN: I became a little worried after the September
tragedy happened – I was absolutely positive that this
is the end of my business. But October ended up to be
my best month ever!

Since this was my first holiday season since I started
the business, I was surprised (and scared!) to see just
how slow the sales were in December. But now that I
know this, I will be more prepared and able to plan
ahead next holiday season

BizE-zine: Your book “65 Instant Web Design Answers!”
is getting a lot of attention. How did it come to be?
What sparked the idea off?

MN: Well, I had to create a 2nd product – one just
wasn’t enough, I still had a lot of web design skills
and ideas that I haven’t shared in the 1st book. The
idea of easy-to-follow tutorials on how to do specific
things on your web site (like password-protect it, or
create a simple feedback form) immediately felt like a
winner.

With a 130-page manual behind me, the “65 Instant Web
Design Answers!” seemed less of a challenge now. I
completed it within weeks, and since I already had a
payment system and a mailing list in place, launching
this 2nd product was a lot easier than the first one.

BizE-zine: Have sales been good?

MN: Personally, I have sold over 300 copies since it
came out in July 2001, but since I sold reprint rights
to this book (and I am able to track the sales), I know
it has been downloaded at least 1,000 times.

BizE-zine: What kind of affiliate program have you put
in place?

MN: Boy, I am going to get really embarrassed here,
Martin. I know affiliate programs work, ONLY if you
work on them. I sort of let mine grow on its own, with
the help of the easy-to-use set up from ClickBank.
Anyone can join, and anyone can make as much as they
want referring customers to my web site, but I haven’t
been working hard enough to attract new affiliates.
There is only so much you can do as a business owner,
and the affiliate program has not been my focus.

BizE-zine: Apart from Ken Evoy’s books, have you bought
any other ebooks or courses on online marketing that
you would recommend?

MN: My next purchase was the “Amazing Formula” by
Marlon Sanders, and had a great blueprint for success
in front of me. While not revealing any shocking
secrets, Marlon’s book had confirmed what I already
learned from visiting Internet marketing forums and
gave me a clear marketing plan to follow.

What I discovered about buying Internet marketing
products is that no manual will give you a “magic
bullet”. They will all teach you about the same things
- how to bring traffic to your site, capture your
visitors e-mails and follow up with them asking for the
sale. The rest are details.

BizE-zine: Of all the information available free
online, what do you read the most?

MN: I used to read a lot of e-zines, but after reading
about 10 from “cover to cover” for months, I found that
most of them contain similar information and advice.

What I do read is interesting forum posts and articles
I receive through the e-mail discussion groups. This
not only helps me learn about other people’s
experiences, but helps me make new business contacts
and joint ventures.

BizE-zine: How do you go about attracting traffic, and
what has been your most successful tactic?

MN: The number 1 traffic generator for me has been my
free e-book, “The Absolute Beginner’s Guide To Starting
a Web Site” which I submitted to ZDNet. After it got
listed on their web site, I receive at least 150
visitors a day from people who read that e-book.

Other traffic generators for me are writing articles on
a regular basis, search engines and my wonderful
affiliates.

BizE-zine: You mentioned online forums. Which ones do
you use most?

MN: No doubt, it’s the Anthony Blake’s marketing forum.

http://www.ablake.net/forum/

I don’t post there as much as I used to, but do read it
weekly. There are so many different people out there,
with completely different personalities and opinions!
Before you post, hang out there for a while to make
sure your posts are appropriate. Never get into a
flame war; you will only hurt yourself and your
business.

BizE-zine: Up to now, what has been your biggest
mistake in business?

MN: Hmmm… that’s a hard one. Probably spending too
much time on online forums and taking everyone’s
comments close to heart. That took up a lot of my time
and energy, and sometimes discouraged me from going on.

Thanks to a few people who supported me through the
tough times, I am still in business :-)

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

MN: My best friend is the WorldMerge mailing list
software that allows me to import and personalize a
list of subscribers, in whichever format I have them
in. There is a free version of this software at
ColoradoSoft.com.

BizE-zine: What are your business plans for the future?

MN: I always have plans! The trouble with
entrepreneurs is that sometimes we have too many ideas
to implement. I think in the past 12 months I have
started at least 10-15 different ventures, and only 4
of them were implemented and proved to be a success.

I have recently launched a new web site,
MyCoachingWebSite.com, created specifically for
coaches, consultants, writers, speakers and other
professionals. There is a whole different set of
strategies a service provider should include in his or
her marketing strategy on the Internet, and that’s what
this web site is about.

As I mentioned before, my number 1 traffic generator is
my free e-book. After starting my new web site, I
absolutely had to develop a free e-book :-) “How To
Market Your Practice on the Internet”, can be
successfully used by any professional who provides
services (download at http://www.MyCoachingWebSite.com)

I am also publishing my first booklet this month titled
“59 Ways To Grow Your Practice on the Internet”. It
will be available for sale at My Coaching Web Site, as
well.

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

MN: Commit yourself entirely to succeeding. Don’t ever
think, “What if I don’t make any money?” Always think
“I will do everything possible, and work hard until I
start making money”.

I am incredibly afraid of personal selling over the
phone. In fact, I am not looking forward to calling
companies and media offering my new booklet at all!

But I also know that if I don’t do it, my dream of
becoming a completely independent entrepreneur will not
realize. So I will just keep going until it does.

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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