Brought to you in partnership with Rod Beckwith
Dr. Mike Woo-Ming
My secret to success was that I wasn't afraid to take a chance on something that wasn't proven. I went ahead and perfected a formula to systematize my internet businesses and had a whole lot of fun in the process!
Highest Education Completed: Medical School, three years of residency training in family practice, and two years getting a masters degree in public health; in all, in all, nine years in post-graduate training
Year Started Business: 1997
Type Of Business: "My first venture was in selling information products to physicians-in-training, which I still do today. I did this part time to make ends meet when I was working as a medical resident."
Target Market: "Today I am involved in many markets, with over 30 products online. These include products for health, pets, and many markets that can be reached online needing "how-to" information. I also teach Internet marketing to small-business owners and entrepreneurs who want to get online and start making money for themselves."
Number Of Employees: Two
Best Month (Gross Revenues): $24,000
Hours Worked Per Week During Startup: "My first part-time venture was up to 10 hours a week as a resident, ramping up to 15 to 20 hours, all while working a fulltime 70+-hour medical practice."
Hours Worked Per Week Now: "I now only work a few days a week as a physician to keep up my skills. I work 25 to 30 hours a week."
Least Favorite Part Of The Job: "For years there's been a built-in distrust about people buying on the Internet. Even if you make it as simple as possible for people, if they have trouble downloading your product or you don't respond immediately to their concerns, you get accused of scamming or being a fraud. I do think that as more people are becoming more internet savvy, that perception is changing."
Companies Admired: Synergy Marketing - "My good friend and top-notch Randy Charach's company - I can't wait to see how much it will continue to grow. I continue to be inspired by his dedication to make his company as best as it can be." Google - "They just continue to deliver what people wants." Apple - "Innovative, and those iPods are just pure perfection."
I sell what people buy. - John Reese
Sweat plus sacrifice equals success. - Charlie Finley
If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. - Thomas Edison
The Person Who Most Influenced His Life: "My wife Deborah, whose been with me since I've been on this roller coaster ride. She is the rock in my life and keeps me grounded."
Favorite Business Magazines: Business 2.0, Entrepreneur, and Inc.
Favorite Business Books Or Authors: Robert Allen, Multiple Streams of Internet Income - "This is the one book that really got my juices flowing. It's funny because I bought and didn't read it for several months." Mark Victor-Hansen and Robert Allen - The One-Minute Millionaire and Robert Kiyazaki - The Cash Flow Quadrant
Relaxes By: Playing basketball, walking, playing video games, spending time with his two sons, and watching DVDs on "movie night" with his family
Keeps In Shape Physically By: Walking and using the elliptical - "I also joined a gym and hired a personal trainer to kick my butt at 6 a.m."
Favorite Part Of The Job: "My favorite part is getting that first sale when you are trying a new product or marketing something a new way. It helps to validate the hard work that you spent in creating and launching that product. In my "Infoproduct Insider" coaching club, I help people liberate themselves from the J-O-B by being able to stay at home and making money on the Internet like I do. I also enjoy going to seminars and finally being able to talk to people who are doing the same thing."
Heroes: "Many of my own patients are my heroes. I have seen them battle horrible diseases, such as cancer, in the face and won. They continue to inspire me and to never give up when the chips are down."
Special Business Achievements/Honors: "By implementing the strategies I have learned and tested, I went from attending Carl Galletti's "Internet Marketing Superconference" in Las Vegas in 2003 to speaking at it the next year. It was thrilling, and I enjoyed every second of it."
Months Before Achieving A Profit: "I was actually profitable the first month I was in business, creating information products for doctors. I just used the knowledge I had learned and created products and services that I sold at upwards of $100 each. My only expenses were a Website, a domain name, and printing and postage…I had checks in the mail in just a few weeks."
Books/Tapes/Reports Authored: "My background was as a health writer for several dot-coms. I have written over 50 articles on health for consumers. My first book is called Saying No! How to Stop Paying for Overpriced Prescription Drugs (http://www.sayingno.com/) where I discussed cost-saving methods to reduce people's medical bills."
Mike has also written:
Secrets of an Internet Information Broker - "This is my first home study course that will teach you how to create information services for Websites that are literally hands-off businesses: http://www.mybizkit.com/app/aftrack.asp?AFID=167345."
For those who want more Internet market traning, Mike provides a mentorship called the "Infoproduct Insider Coaching Club" - "There, I show you step-by-step what has allowed me to launch over 25 Website businesses in just over nine months and provides me with a six-figure income": http://www.infoproductinsider.com/?afID=76&adc=255
Contact Mike at: Phone: (760) 233-1007; Fax: (760) 233-1067; E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm starting a home business next month. I have a maximum of $3,000 in start-up capital. Where should I invest it?
The best way to get started is to create your own information product. Do the market research to determine what people are buying on the Internet. You can write it yourself or hire someone else to do it. There are places on the Internet where you can get people to write your ebook. For less than $1,000, you can get an excellent 100- to 150-page ebook written for you. Use $500 to $1,000 to drive traffic to your Website using pay-per-click search engines. This should keep you busy for a few months. Use the remaining money to set up Web hosting, buy a domain name, and purchase Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage HTML editor programs, because you'll want to use HTML to make changes to your Website.
I've just started a home business. My spouse has given me six months to make it work. Any advice?
Following the system that I outline for my students, you can become profitable in just a few months. Just be dedicated and set aside at least an hour a day for Internet marketing. Don't get distracted; you will reach your goal if you are focused on what you need to do—that is, get that sale!
They say it takes money to make money. Should I try to get a small business loan for my start-up capital or just try to get by with my own limited finances?
The great thing about the Internet is you don't need a lot of upfront costs. However, one problem that I see is that people spend their last dime to make money on the Internet. Be sure you have enough cash flow that it won't break the bank to get started.
How quickly do you adopt new technology for your business?
I first ask my marketing friends if they are using it and if by owning the technology, it makes them money. If they say yes, then I buy it.
Do you use a fax machine with a dedicated line?
Yes. I have a fax machine on at all times. It's not expensive at all.
How do you use e-mail in your business?
I use it for customer service and use autoresponders to create e-mail courses. I also use it for communication with friends, employees, and colleagues.
How do you utilize the Internet?
The Internet is what I'm all about! However, I do see it as just the first step as I pursue offline marketing as well.
How many of your own Website(s) do you have?
I have 35, as of this writing. I use my Websites to generate sales and as lead generators for other products and services.
Do you use autoresponders?
I use autoresponders by publishing e-mail courses that will continue to expose my products to potential customers, or to introduce other products that I am an affiliate for. Direct marketers say it takes a customer nine times to be exposed to and eventually buy your product—an autoresponder course is a perfect vehicle for this.
If you use voice mail, what is your primary use for it?
My main use is as a voice-mail system for customer service, but I see it's also use as an offline lead generator.
Describe your computer system and how you use computers in your business.
I'm a gadget nut. I have a Dell Pentium 4 Windows XP with a Samsung 19" LCD flat screen monitor. I have a Buffalo Wireless AirStation that allows me work with my Sony Vaio Laptop that I take everywhere around the house and outside. We have three more computers in the house and an inkjet color printer. Also, my assistant has a workstation computer, including a fax/scanner/laser printer, in her home office.
What software do you consider in the "must-have" category?
Sonic Forge - to create and edit audio presentations
Adobe Acrobat - to create PDFs
Camtasia Studio to create screen cam videos
Dreamwevaer - to create Webpages
Microsoft Office - Word, Excel, and Powerpoint
iTunes to listen to my MP3s!
What other technology do you use in your business
I have a digital camera, a Sony camcorder, Edirol UA-700 for audio production, a Blackberry cell phone, and a Casio CW-75 CD thermal printer. I also carry a Panasonic voice recorder for impromptu product ideas. Those are the main things.
Name up to five personal favorite business URL's our readers can benefit from:
http://www.bmyers.com/ - Bill Myers has great stuff to help you with infoproduct creation.
http://www.ablake.net/forum - Anthony Blake's Forum.
http://www.secretstotheirsuccess.com/ - Read success stories from Internet business owners.
http://www.swepa.com/ - A great resource for developing your own membership site.
Of all the technology you use, rank the top three.
My Dell computer is my lifeline - so much so that I back it up frequently.
My Sony Vaio - portable and lightweight, it replaces my computer when I'm on the road.
Blackberry - Its my cell phone but also allows me to check my e-mail and then surf the Internet.
Well, since I'm 100% Internet marketing, I say I market very well...thank you very much!
How do you market on the Internet?
Well, since I'm 100% Internet marketing, I say I market very well...thank you very much!
Approximately what percent of your sales originate from Internet marketing?
How do you market through direct mail?
I'm starting to do so. For customers who have purchased my products, I include an order sheet for other products that I am selling as well.
Approximately what percentage of your sales originate from direct mail marketing?
0% - but that will change!
How do you market in the print media?
My offline successes are nothing to write home about, but I will definitely do advertising in tightly targeted niche periodicals and magazines.
Approximately what percentage of your sales originate from marketing in the print media?
What other kinds of marketing do you utilize?
Word-of-mouth marketing is the best; one happy customer will tell other potential happy customers.
Do you recommend using a toll-free number in advertising?
I think a toll-free number is great for offline leads, I just have not had the chance to do that personally
Where do you market? (locally, nationally, internationally, all three?)
Locally, nationally and internationally - the Internet allows me to do all three!
How should someone set up his/her home office to maximize its effectiveness?
Handle papers only twice; what you don't need, feel free to shred or throw away. I'm still working on this, but I'm getting better. Keep a to-do list posted, and prioritize what needs to be completed.
What, if any, ground rules have you established for yourself and family in order to operate a successful home business?
No ground rules, but with two small children around, it does make things interesting! When I'm recording a teleseminar or conducting an interview, however, the upstairs office is closed, and they're pretty good at keeping things quiet.
What are some of the advantages to working at home? What are some of the disadvantages?
Advantages—you can wear whatever you want, and you can set when you want to work and for how long. A disadvantage is that you can get hampered by a lot of distractions if you're not focused. Other than that, it's better than working for someone else!
What part(s) of your work do you farm out?
I farm out quite a bit on tasks that I can teach others how to do, such as customer service, data entry, and order fulfillment. It allows me to concentrate on what I do best: marketing.
What part(s) do you feel should never be farmed out?
Marketing and marketing research. I also test and track my sites to make sure I do the things that make profit and don't do the things that don't.
Do you encourage or discourage Partnerships?
I've been involved in several partnerships...it's fantastic. You can use other people's resources to help sell your products. I definitely encourage it.
Do you encourage or discourage hiring family members?
Family members have been great. I don't see a problem with it.
When legal issues arise, what's your usual response?
I haven't yet, but in the medical field we are aware of legal issues all the time. It's wise to spend the money to hire good legal counsel.
What are the advantages of earning a lot of money. What are some disadvantages?
Advantages money brings it allows you more freedom on what you want to do. It's amazing how many worries dissipate with more income at your disposal. don't
Best general tax advice?
Hire a good accountant and save your receipts.
Best general investment advice?
Be sure to look at it yourself before investing and do your due diligence and research thoroughly any investment you are seriously considering.
You're in business already, and you've just received a windfall of $20,000. What would you do with it?
I would reinvest in my business but also treat myself and my family to something fun.
In five years I'll be...
In 5 years, I hope I'll be doing the same thing but on an even grander scale. I see myself having at least 100 profitable Websites up at that time. I'm very goal-oriented, and in my life (I'm 34 now), I've managed to reach every financial goal that I've set ($100,000 a year by 30, $200,000 by 35 years old, retire at 40) To be honest, I don't see myself ever hanging up the stethoscope, but I imagine doing more volunteer work, especially in areas of the world that need it most.
In 10 years I'll be...
Doing more of the same thing...but let's say 200 sites by then! I also hope to have some graduates of my coaching club program making six figures completely online (or at the very least, living extremely comfortably). At this point, my children will be into adulthood, so I envision traveling the world with my wife Deborah at my side.
What was the motivating factor that drove you to start your own business?
The motivating factor was simply to create additional income to make ends meet. When I first started my Internet business, I was in residency making less than minimum wage (when you compare the 100+ hours we work and the measly stipend we receive), and my wife was pregnant. I would simply not quit until my business became profitable, which was in a very short time.
What role, if any, did your family play when you were getting your business off the ground?
My family was very supportive. They helped with order fulfillment and customer support to help get it off the ground.
What motivates you now to continue building your business?
My main motivation is that I have a system on the Internet that works, and through my coaching club, I am now able to help other people become successful.
What's the best thing about being self-employed?
Becoming self-employed lets you control your own destiny. I am a firm believer and I see it first hand as a physician that having a job can lead to the big "killers" in this country, such as obesity, stress, and depression. We now have it where the typical family has both the husband and wife working full-time jobs. There's more to life than that. Self-employment allows you the freedom to do what you want to do and when you want to do it!
How often do you read books and/or listen to or watch tapes for improving your business skills or knowledge?
I'm a big proponent of continually educating myself in marketing. I love audio materials, such as teleseminar MP3s that I can either download on my PC or burn it on CD and listen in my car. As doctors we have to recredential every seven years to make sure we are giving the right advice. Well, a marketer should continue to strive to learn, especially on the Internet, where past strategies could change in a moment's notice.
The most underrated activity in business is…
Doing proper market research. Finding the areas to sell to is the first step to successfully selling online.
The most overrated activity in business is…
Spending time on Internet marketing forums. Spend more time on your business and less time worrying about someone else's.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to face when you were launching your own business? What's your biggest obstacle now?
Time constraints was a big factor. Working doctor's hours doesn't afford me a lot of time to fool around, but it did help me get focused. I still suffer with time issues. I simply have too many ideas, too little time.
If you had to start your business all over again, what would you do differently?
If I were to do it differently, I would have stopped trusting others that had too much influence in my own business and allowing them to make the decisions for me. Since I became my own boss, I make my own decisions, and of course, I (and I alone) am responsible for the consequences.
What was your worst business decision?
I became a victim of the dot-com era and made investments in businesses that weren't sound. I also bought real estate I never visited. I trusted the wrong people and lost a lot of money doing that. On the other hand, I learned from my experiences, and it let me become a better entrepreneur.
What was your best business decision?
I spent the $1,000 or so and flew to Las Vegas to attend my first Internet marketing seminar. I was able to conduct a joint venture with one of the speakers, and it opened the door to a ton of networking possibilities. I haven't looked back since.
What do you consider to be the main keys of your success?
I put in the same dedication as I did to become a doctor in becoming a marketer. And then I implemented the steps that I needed to do to become successful. Also, I surround myself with people who are successful.
What's your success philosophy?
Spend more time in "revenue generating" activities and do the things that make you money. Don't do the things that don't. It's as simple as that. Be sure to treat people how you want to be treated.
What about you has changed the most since finding success in business?
Not much; I'm the same person/nice guy I've always been. :^)
What is the legacy you hope to leave?
That I've created systems in my business so that my two sons don't have to work...ever. That would be my greatest legacy. Also, I hope to be a positive influence on the Internet marketing industry...that has had its share of bad apples.