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That really changed the way I did business. It was at that point where I started to see my online business as a mail order company. Then, I was able to formulate it using the same process that I was using offline, and then things really started to click and come together. The first year I was working online I didn't make any money because I was out there spinning my wheels and I didn't have a mentor or coach at that time to tell me what to do. It was all trial and error. I was out there trying to come up with things.
So, just to give you a quick example of the difference between the online and offline world when it comes to the mail order business, when I was doing mail order offline, I was spending about 50% of the income coming in through the business on expenses. The biggest expense in my mail order company is the advertising. Whether you're sending out postcards, advertising in newspapers, advertising in magazines, fax advertising, whatever it is that you're doing in the offline world, it's very expensive. I was very happy to be able to have my cost low at 50%.
When we do that online and take the same business online, my cost is not 10%-20% depending on what I'm experimenting that month and what marketing and advertising I'm doing. Now instead of keeping $50 for every $100 I bring in, I'm keeping $80-$90 from that $100 I bring into that company. So, there's really no comparison, especially when it comes to the financial side of it.
When you also look at the work and the physical labor that you're doing, it's the same type of thing. When you're offline, if you're doing a simple postcard campaign for example, there are seven steps that you go through. You design a postcard and print out the post card. Next, you write everybody's address on it using labels or handing writing them.
Then, you stamp them, run them to the post office, and in a week or two you get orders that start to filter in. Now, you take the checks and deposit slips and run all of that to the bank. Then, you have to wait again for the checks to clear. Finally, you have to package everything up and take it to the post office and mail it. It's pretty much like a shampoo bottle: apply, rinse, repeat. You will be in that constant circulation all the time.
When you get your online business up and running and things are running smoothly, you really have a five-step process, and you're only involved in one step. In the online side of things, you're looking at the same process. You send out an e-mail message to your list. Your subscribers decide if they're going to take a look at what you're promoting, so they go look at the website that you're promoting in that e-mail.
Some of those subscribers will click on the buy button and make the purchase. Their credit card is automatically verified by the payment processing company, whether you're using PayPal or ClickBank or 2CheckOut or whatever. Then, your customer is automatically sent to a download area, where they take care of it themselves. The majority of things are electronic. So, they download it whenever they want. If you take a look of where you're involved in that process, you're involved only in step one. You sent out an e-mail. You write an e-mail and send it out.
That's comparing apples to apples because I didn't go though the whole process of how you developed your list offline. But, there is also the list building online which is the same process as it is offline. When you're looking at the actual physical daily process after you have your list built, what you physically do is send out an e-mail. That's your day's work.
There's really no comparison from online and offline, but it is the same process. Online you're working with a mail order business. Your website is a giant interactive brochure. When that hit me, it was my first big Ah-Ha moment. The next thing was actually something that Richard covered: you have to walk before you can run. It's very easy to come online and see all the huge success stories. You're familiar with people like Willie. Now, you make a very good income. Back in the beginning, when he first started out, Willie wasn't making huge dollars. He struggled along the same as we all do.