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Success Stories – 12 Doers Share Their Secrets: Interview with Spencer Uresk

Written By: Martin Avis

Today’s interview is with a young man from Utah called
Spencer Uresk. Although still studying at University,
he has built his Internet business to the point where
it provides about 90% of his income.

It is a fair bet that Spencer’s business will continue
to develop and grow as he devotes more and more of his
energies to it.

Let’s see what he has to say.

BizE-zine: Have you ben involved in any other business
or jobs, online or off?

SU: No, I jumped right in to the Internet. I haven’t
had any other jobs. I see this as a full-time
occupation.

BizE-zine: How did it all start?

SU: When I was about 14, my Dad worked for Woods Cross
City. They needed a web site and at that time very few
people knew anything about the Internet. I volunteered
to build it for them, and although I didn’t know much
myself, it was a great learning experience.

I ran that site for them, on a voluntary basis, for two
or three years, learning new things all the time.
Eventually, I became too busy to run it unpaid, and
they found someone else to do it.

When I started, I hadn’t even read a book – I just
jumped on in and learned on the job.

I was just looking over some old files the other day,
and in some of them were the old design. Yikes!
Frankly, I was a bit embarrassed. This was before I
learned that web sites were tools. Before I found out
the important idea that web sites are a means to an
end, not an end in themselves.

Given the time I made it, it probably wasn’t fully as
bad as I thought it to be (this was around 1996 or so),
but it was still very amateur. I’m just glad its still
not around for everyone to see! It just shows you how
fast thing have changed.

BizE-zine: How did you move from that early experience
to the idea that you could support yourself with an
online business?

SU: My first successful ventures were creating
entertainment sites and selling advertising on them.
Greeting Cards, fun pages, jokes, etc.. They were a
mish-mash of general audience content and debatable
value. But, there was a good deal of money involved,
and it got me started.

As the ad market started to crash, I realized that I
needed to add new streams of revenue as any site that
is fully reliant on advertising for money is going to
be subject to market conditions – something I am a bit
uncomfortable with.

I used my experience as a webmaster to create new tools
for webmasters like myself. AdvertisingResults.Net was
the first service I created, and I have since created
several products to sell, and I’ve also branched out
into running my own newsletter.

BizE-zine: Lots of people try to run newsletters
online. Tell us a bit about your experiences.

SU: The Uresk Internet Marketing Journal
(http://www.uresk.net/imjournal.html) is my newest
newsletter. It has been a bit of a struggle to get
subscribers (I am used to the entertainment industry
where we get them buy the tens of thousands!) and also
determine where they are and what they are looking for.
I’ve found that they are usually all over – some are
complete novices, some are just into MLM schemes, some
are further along than I am and so forth. Its a bit of
a challenge to write your articles (and pick syndicated
articles) that can help as many of those people as
possible.

One of the most rewarding things so far has been the
feedback I get. When I sent out my first newsletter
(with under 200 subscribers), I got about half a dozen
replies – all thanking me for sending them the
newsletter and telling me they can’t wait to get the
next issue. Now I can’t wait to SEND the next issue!
>From a sales standpoint, the newsletter fell on its
face. I didn’t get a single sale. But, the fact that
several people read the newsletter, and benefited
enough to warrant letting me know makes me feel good.
It also shows that down the road, any of these people
could become a customer because they trust me and find
me generally knowledgeable about what I am doing.

BizE-zine: So what is your long-term advice for would-
be newsletter publishers?

SU: Don’t go straight for the money. Newsletters can be
quite lucrative, but if you go into it with the mindset
of making as much money as possible as quickly as
possible, you’ll fail. Newsletters take time to grow,
and also for your readers to trust and become
acquainted with you. Give it time!

BizE-zine: How long did it take your online business to
start making a profit?

SU: I didn’t buy much to start with! After my first few
months, I was profitable and haven’t looked back since.

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

SU: I don’t care for a lot of ebooks and courses. I’ve
found that most of them contain little or no new
information, and are often written by people who don’t
have the experience to back them up. I honestly think
that the best sources for me have been short articles,
good newsletters, and discussion boards. I have found a
few good ebooks though.

One is “Million Dollar Emails” by Yanik Silver. Why?
Its comprised largely of the experiences of those who
have done it before. In my mind, the best way to become
successful is to seek out successful people, find out
what they are doing, then pick out what it is that
makes them successful and apply it to your own
situation. “Million Dollar Emails” showed some great
examples of how to make money with emails, and has
already influenced some upcoming email campaigns I’ll
be doing.

BizE-zine: I’m glad you mentioned that one because it
is one of the free bonus gifts for new BizE-zine
subscribers!

SU: Another one the is great for beginners is Jay
Conrad Levinson’s “Marketing On Steroids”. It has some
good stuff for people who are fairly new. Most
importantly, it changes some misconceptions that people
may have about marketing on the Internet, which often
leads to the downfall of their ventures.

BizE-zine: You mentioned online forums as a good source
of information. Which are your favorites?

SU: I frequent these tow most often:
http://www.ablake.net/forum
http://www.geekvillage.com/forums

I should also add that I learn a lot by studying the
sales letters of other related products. Taking time to
study other people’s sales letters can be very
insightful! But never fall into the trap of copying
word for word.

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

SU: Easily the best source of traffic, both in terms of
quantity and quality has been to post on related
discussion boards/forums. I make sure I have links to
my sites/products in my signature, and then try to be
as helpful as possible. Establishing credibility is
very important in those situations, and a drive-by
spamming won’t get you much business, whereas being
helpful and only plugging your product/service when
pertinent can bring in quality sales.

BizE-zine: Tell us about your biggest mistake.

SU: Assuming too much about potential clients. Namely
that they will find my site easily and that they are
looking for my product/service. Ultimately, potential
clients won’t know about your site unless you find some
way to tell them. Promotion can be painful and hard,
but it is also very rewarding when done right.

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

SU: I have mailing software I’ve written. It allows me
to keep in contact with customers and potential
customers. This is a must – current customers account
for half my sales, but cost virtually nothing to market
to. Make sure you get your hands on some sort of
mailing software, or at least use a mailing service. It
really is indispensable.

I also use my own AdvertisingResults.net service. It is
a powerful tool that tracks all my marketing campaigns,
so that I can find out which ones are worth continuing
and which ones I should dump. It’s saved me thousands
in advertising and helped to boost my revenues. There
are others on the market, but naturally, I like my own
best!

BizE-zine: What’s next for your online business?

SU: One of the things that I’ve been working on is how
to expand my business, but keep it profitable and
efficient. The thing I’ve learned is to make sure
expansion is within your area of expertise and doesn’t
distract you or draw revenues away. I have about 5 or 6
webmaster-related products and services in the works,
and they will all complement each other and existing
offerings.

Like I said, most of my sales are from current
customers, so the more services and products I can
offer, the more each customer becomes worth. The idea
is to get as many related offerings, and then I can use
them to promote each other by offering current
customers a discount on another product I sell.

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

SU: Too many people try and go it alone on the
Internet, don’t make that mistake. Participate in
discussion forums, email lists and even talk to people
on ICQ. If I hadn’t found a few good forums a few years
ago, I wouldn’t have an online business to run.

There are two reasons you should be talking with your
peers:

1. You need to learn what is working and what isn’t.
The best way to get the most current information is by
discussing it with other people. Some of the most
important things I’ve learned haven’t been from
expensive courses or ebooks, but from a fellow
entrepreneur who had tried a few things and shared some
tips.

2. You need to network in order to setup deals or joint
ventures, and also to make sales. You can spend
thousands of dollars on advertising, and still not make
as much as you would setting up a joint venture with
someone else. Also, many people that I build credible
relationships will buy several of my products down the
road.

Talk to people. Pick their brains. That is by far the
best way to keep current and build sales. And it makes
life a lot more interesting!

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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