Despite all the "dot-com" busts a few years ago, the
Internet still represents the ultimate opportunity for some
people to turn their initiative, a good idea, and a few
bucks into a legitimate, profitable business.
One such person, Rosalind Gardner, took her interest in
online dating services and turned it into a business that
generated almost half a million dollars in revenue last year
and should do even better this year.
The fact that she created this business without spending one
dime on product development makes her story even more
Rosalind Gardner used to make her living as an air traffic
controller, a job most people consider quite stressful.
After getting tired of swing-shift work, and though she had
no product of her own to sell and needed to make money
relatively quickly, Gardner decided to try her hand at
selling on the Internet.
What she did next might seem simple, but it started an
online venture that would make every dot-com refugee from
1999 drool with envy.
Gardner logged on to OneAndOnly.com, an online dating
service, and signed up as an associate or "affiliate". She
said they were paying "healthy" commissions to any webmaster
who wanted to refer paying customers to them.
Commonly called "affiliate programs," this setup enables
entrepreneurs to create a business promoting other people's
businesses and bypass the entire product development and
product testing phases.
In short, by selling through other people's affiliate
programs, virtually anyone can set up a business online
promoting almost any type of product or service.
Gardner created a website (101date.com), her storefront on
Though she created her own website pages, she suggests that
an effective way to get started even faster is to go to
dollartemplates.com or 4templates.com, buy a website
template for between $10-$30, and modify it to meet your
"Instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on
website design," Gardner advises, "purchase an inexpensive
website template for much less than the cost of dinner and a
Gardner also kept the content for her website simple, direct
and effective. Though she wanted to appeal to the widest
possible audience, she kept focused on her narrow "niche" of
She wrote a review of the dating service so her visitors
could quickly understand the main benefits, pitfalls,
special features, and other information to see if the
service met their needs. If it did, and they clicked through
her affiliate link to sign up, Gardner made a commission.
To drive traffic to her site, Gardner buys targeted,
keyword-specific ads from google.com and overture.com which
get displayed on the Web's most popular sites, including
Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN.
This type of advertising means she only spends money when
interested people actively searching for dating information
go to her website.
Gardner also offers a newsletter from her dating website
in order to update her visitors when new dating services and
products come available.
The side benefits of publishing the newsletter are many,
including the fact that she can build trust with her
subscribers by sending them valuable articles and
information on a regular basis.
Instead of just referring them over to the merchant's site
and losing them forever, Gardner captures them and makes
them her customer first... and then hands them off to the
So what's the secret of her success?
Gardner's system works because:
~ she keeps it simple;
~ she doesn't get slowed down by creating the product
~ she adds her own unique value to the process with her
reviews and newsletter;
~ she only invests in performance-based advertising.
Further, her added step of going the extra mile to offer
free updates, articles and tips to her growing list helps
her business grow MUCH faster than affiliates who just hand-
off to the merchant website.
By building her list, she can bring visitors back to her
site or send them to other sites through her affiliate link
without having to pay for them again.
So if the system is so simple, why don't more people do it
My only guess is that maybe it's too simple! Often people
want something complicated in order to feel like a "system"
will work, but often the opposite proves true.
Simple = Powerful = It keeps working!
For more information about Gardner and the step-by-step
process detailed in her new ebook, "The Super Affiliate
Handbook - How I Made $436,797 Last Year Selling Other
People's Stuff Online" log on to www.Affiliate-Handbook.com
Jim Edwards is a syndicated newspaper columnist
(http://www.TheNetReporter.com) and is the author of
numerous best-selling ebooks, information products and