It’s tax time in the United States, so I was compiling the numbers on my Internet Marketing efforts for the last year. My income was down, since I really haven’t been putting much effort into IM this year.

For 2008, I think my income was around $2,500. For 2009, it was around $1,400. But here’s the catch, and what prompts this post and what every part-time beginning online marketer should pay attention to.

For 2008, I ended up with a net loss of about $2,000. For 2009, I ended up with a net profit of around $900.

This leads to some Truths of Internet Marketing that most beginners fail to realize until it’s too late.

It isn’t important how much you earn

How much you earn is not important. What is important is how much you spend in relation to what you earn. If your total at the end of the year is not positive, then you may be doing something wrong.

There is no magic program

The number one mistake most beginners make is falling for the hype that there’s a program that will make them successful. It just isn’t so. There is no “one true program”. That hype is put out by the people who will make money if you invest in the program.

You can make money with anything online. Chasing programs just costs you money. Pick one and stick with it.

There are magic skills

There is a learning curve. You must learn SEO, copywriting, keyword research, creating web sites, etc, etc, etc. Those skills are what will make you money.

And you can learn them without paying out a lot of money to expensive programs. But it takes time, and trial and error.

The Recipe For Success

Pick an affiliate program to promote. For beginners, affiliate programs are an easy way to get started on the learning curve without the hassle of creating your own product.

Start on the learning curve. Write some articles, put up some web sites on likely keywords, and see what your results are. The only things you should be spending money on at this point are web hosting and directory submission services. A new site should cost you very little to put up.

Keep at it! Explore the corners of the product you’ve chosen to promote. Don’t switch products, see how many different ways you can promote the one product or line of products. This is the way you learn.

When you are comfortable with the process of promoting a product, and making a little money at it, create your own product. This can be anything! Create it, and promote it. You’ll spend a bit more here for a system that can accept payments (such as Rapid Action Profits), but that should be a one-time payment that can be amortized across this and future products.

Again, keep at it. Promote your product using the skills you developed, and while you’re at it, look for ways to develop more related products. Creating a line of products allows for better branding, and allows you to build on the relationships you’ve made with sales of each product.

Internet Marketing is not supposed to cost a lot of money. So if you’re chasing programs looking for the one that will magically make you money, get off that treadmill and start learning the skills that will help you succeed.

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