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I wonder sometimes, if the same difficulties I had when I was starting out, were experienced by others.  Nobody really talks about what was the hardest part of their online journey.

Well I take that back.  A few marketers do, but that is usually in the middle of some long boring sales pitch so I’m usually not going to give that any credibility.  Unfortunately, in my opinion, many marketers will say anything or photo shop anything they can to get you to buy their product.

Each of us comes into this new venture with different skill sets, so I suppose it is reasonable to expect that we would all have different sticking points.

Some might be really intimidated by the technology.  Writing HTML, css, javascript, etc., might not be everyone’s cup of tea.  So that might slow them down.  For me that wasn’t the case, as I had an IT background and was building web sites when Google was just the gleam in a venture capitalist’s eye.

Others probably have an issue writing.  I can remember in school when the teacher announced we were writing an essay for an assignment, the groan from the class was audible.  Again for me this wasn’t an issue, I was one of the weird ones and actually enjoyed writing.  I just didn’t like to write under pressure.

When I tried to look at my skill set, I felt that I had experience and skills in every area required to make a successful career out of online business, and to be fair, I have now for quite a few years.

But the hardest thing for me to get going with was a surprise.

It is one of the most important things in the whole complex equation too.  It was my  mailing list.

Truth be told I may have a mental block about mailing people.  One of my first websites was called Spam Busters!  That should tell you how I feel about the junk email I’ve received over the years.  Now in order to feed my family I have to build and maintain a list and …ack..email them.

At least I hope it’s the reason.  I have chatted with colleagues about this issue and they have said the same thing.  You first list, and your first 500 subscribers are the hardest thing to do in Internet Marketing.  Why is this?

Because once you get some traction, some momentum, and have a list of 500 or more, not only will you probably be making money, but you can grow your list relatively easy.  You can swap ads to your hearts content.  You may even be able to sell solo ads.

Getting the first 500 is the hard part.  It takes time, it takes practice, and it takes traffic.  Not just any traffic but targeted traffic.  I’m convinced that there is no other way around it, it is just part of the process – and it takes time.

Buying solo’s once a week or two will help.  However, some people do not have the budget to do that at all.

For me, I had a little budget, but it was mostly just hard work.  Articles.  Squidoo lenses.  Videos.  E-Books.  Blog Posts.  Forums.  Yahoo Answers.  I did it all.

One thing though that I learned that may be of value to you, dear reader.  I tested several squeeze pages, probably about six.  Once I found one that converted the best, I started sending ALL traffic there.  When I could afford a solo ad, that was the one I used.

So keep working on sending traffic to your squeeze pages, keep testing out which ones work best, and eventually you’ll hit that magic number of 500 and the rest, as they say, will be history.

p.s.  I’ve read probably 35 or so e-books, and watched video training about list building, and tried quite a few things to get that first 500.  Nothing really worked except getting traffic through SEO.  Giveaways are fine, but you are expected to promote the giveaway – and you have no list yet!  I tries safelists, but bad traffic.  I tried viral emailing, bad traffic.

One thing I never did try that you may be able to do, is instead of paying for a solo, try a barter.  If you have a skill that another list owner can use, try and arrange a trade.  Make an e-book cover for him.  Build him a website.  Write some sales copy.  Whatever your skills are, try and trade them for another list owner’s promotion of your squeeze page to his list.

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