You’ll see a lot written about how to learn and succeed as an Internet Marketer.

At the most basic level, there are skills you need to learn as an Internet Marketer to be successful. Some technical skills, some social skills, some marketing skills. The trick is learning those skills before you give up in disgust, having spent more money than you can afford.

Here’s my guide to learning Internet Marketing.

1) Stop buying ebooks! Ebooks provide information, and information is useful. But not all information in ebooks is reliable. Some are just plain wrong, some are outdated, some are just trying to get you to spend money, and some are great, but you have to wade through a lot of ebooks to figure out which is which. You can get the same mix of reliable and unreliable information for free by reading the various Internet Marketing blogs.

There’s an underlying assumption behind buying ebooks that an ebook can teach you skills. It cannot. An ebook can provide information that you must interpret based on your current skill set. An ebook could lay out the best marketing tactic in the world, and if your skill set isn’t there yet you won’t understand what it’s trying to tell you.

Plus, the average person who wants to make money online spends between two and five thousand dollars each year on products designed to help them, until they finally decide that they can’t make money online after all. Spending that sort of money when you aren’t making anything yet is not sound business.

2) Stop joining systems! Systems are designed to make money for the founder, plain and simple. Ethical founders will try to work systems so they’re at least not too bad for the members, but systems generally work by funding early joiners from the fees of late joiners.

Joining a system shows an assumption that someone else can do the work for you so you don’t have to build skills. But you usually need the skills to get referrals to the system.

If you can’t make money online without a system, you won’t be able to do much of it with a system.

3) Experiment! If you’ve spent money on an ebook or read an interesting technique on a blog, try it. It doesn’t matter if you’re not entirely sure how it’s supposed to work. Let’s say you read about creating a Squidoo page to drive traffic to an affiliate link. You’re not too sure about Squidoo, or how it gets traffic in the first place. Just create a Squidoo page!

Stop trying to understand the complete roadmap of how things are going to unfold from start to finish. The process of doing and then analyzing the results will teach you far more than any ebook or system.

4) Find a mentor. If you want to spend money to accelerate building your Internet Marketing skills, find a mentor. Mentors will provide advice tailored to your level of skills and your interests. They won’t do the work for you, but they’ll give you direction and motivation. You’ll do the work, trying their advice, seeing what works and what doesn’t.

5) Create products, don’t buy products. Product creation is how you make serious money online. If you’re not sure what sort of product to create, work with your mentor. Everyone knows enough about at least one topic to create their first product on that topic, and after that the process of product creation gets easier.

6) Network! This is the true secret of Internet Marketing success, the one that most people avoid like the plague. After all, if we’re doing business online doesn’t that mean that we don’t need to interact with each other? If I can become an affiliate at the push of a button, why do I need to network?

Networking is where the real deals are made between Internet Marketers. So called “joint venture” partners give each other far higher commissions on product sales than they do to affiliates. A good JV partner will promote your product in exchange for you promoting theirs. You might collaborate on creating products.

Building a good set of JV partners is critical. The gurus are gurus largely because they all support one another’s products.

Patience is a virtue when learning any skill set, and Internet Marketing is no exception. Be prepared to put in the time to learn what you need to learn by experimenting, and you will eventually succeed.

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