Jim Daniels, Owner, Bizweb2000

Tell me something about yourself. What were you doing before starting Bizweb2000?

I was actually a telephone man for about 10 years. When the Internet came to be in  the mid-nineties, I decided I'd try to forge a new career. I was not sure what I wanted to do exactly, so I started researching things like how to build a website, get traffic to it and such. Before I know it, I knew more than most folks about the topic so I started to share what I knew. It eventually grew into a home business that earned me more than  my phone guy pay. So I ditched that and started doing it full time.

How did the idea for your websites come about?

I needed a way to inform people on the latest ways to earn money online, and then coach  them as they grew their businesses. So I put together a website where I could share all the details. Now I'm able to help folks with each step of their journey. And I've seen many successes already. In fact, my BizWeb eGazette stands at about 152.450 subscribers now.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you see other small businesses making online?

The biggest one I see is folks chasing business opportunities. In my opinion the BEST  way to grow a successful business online or anywhere for that matter is to come up with your OWN idea and a product or service that you own. It does not have to be anything  elaborate, a simple ebook, audio book or even a memberships site is a good way to get started. Just choose a topic you enjoy and run with it!

How do you find and advertise to your target market?

I do very little paid advertising. I rely mostly on referrals from other sites that publish my articles and tips. Many of them use my articles for content and many sites are affiliates who refer traffic for commissions. My loyal affiliate base sends most of my traffic.

What's your sales process? (eg. What process do you put a lead through to turn them into a customer).

I do it a bit differently than most marketers. I inform, inform and inform some more. In fact, my popular http://www.make-a-living-online.com site is really a 5 page web guide to start a business online. I get many compliments on it from people who do NOT go on to buy the package at the end of the site.

I also offer a downloadable beginner's guide there that has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.  (In fact, see http://download.com.com/3000-2125-10110400.html?tag=lst-4-12 and you'll see that some 23,500 users at C/Net's download.com have grabbed it over the past two years alone.

Offering help without money exchange gives me an opportunity to grow relationships  with potential future customers. When they are ready to get down to business, they  go to people they know and trust. And I've had many people order my products and  services and mention that they have been a subscriber for 3, 4, even 5 years.

What kind of strategy to do use to separate yourself from your competitors?

One of the things I do that most other "gurus" think is foolish, is answer all my email  personally. Sure, I could spend more time developing products and services to sell, but the only way I can REALLY help people is doing it myself. I don't think you can  find many others in my field who do that. Forming relationships and showing a willingness to truly help, leads to more sales than any secret "strategy" you'll ever find.

What kind of conversion rate do you have for your site?

(Unique  visitors to paying customers) It all depends where the traffic comes from. I've seen it range from 0.1% to as high as 12% at my newest site, www.ezWebBusinessBuilder.com -- but to average al my stats into a single conversion rate really creates a meaningless number in my opinion. The best conversion rates come from personal recommendations from my affiliates.

What would be the most important thing you would say to someone trying to start and promote their own site?

Start with a professional website template. Keep your spending to a minimum. Find a successful site model that you like, and emulate their strategies. There are many proven business models online. While your site should be original, it should also fit into a successful  mold that has been profitable in the past.

To your success,
Jim Daniels

Jim, thank you for this interview.