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What’s the #1 question you have about running a profitable online business?

You might have dozens of questions about how you can run your own profitable online business, but which one is your #1 question?

What questions would need to get answered first before you can move on from where you are now to where you want to get?


Bret Harbour says:

Greetings Mr. Bauer, My direction has significantly redirected. I’m currently committing to navigating the patenting process. What would be your advise in terms of incorporating this effort and Viral URL?

Frank Bauer says:

I am not familiar with the patenting process… can you share your sites URL so I can educate myself in how your business works and how you could incorporate ViralURL?

Bret Harbour says:

Yes Sir, I can, however to what I'm referring is not a business rather a funding campaign via crowd-funding platform, which is why I was unsure of its compatibility with Viral URL. Thanks for your assistance.

Frank Bauer says:

Thank you for providing the link Bret.

I visited your crowd funding listing and checked it out.

Now I understand that what you are trying to accomplish is to find contributors that fund the development and patenting of your project.

You could use the mailing abilities of ViralURL to drive traffic to your crowd funding listing, but before you do so, I highly recommend to improve your listing.

The first question that came to my mind after watching your video and reading the listing was…

1. What does the product he tries to develop do for the consumer? What are the benefits of using it and how will it look like?

2. What are my benefits of contributing to that crowd funding campaign?

I did read that I will get mentioned in the product literature, but to what degree will this “advertising” help me as a contributor?

In order to fully understand how it will help me as a contributor, I would also need to know what exactly the product is about to see if I am in a similar niche and your consumers will be a good fit to be mentioned in front.

The only other way I could see people getting interested to contribute is if they either get early access to the finished product or their contribution will result in them actually saving money compared to the regular customers.

The better these 2 questions are answered to visitors of your crowd funding listing, the more likely you will see any results from it… not just from your advertising of that listing within ViralURL, but in general.

Bret Harbour says:

Greetings Mr. Bauer, Thank you for the detailed response.

Your specific insights provide significant value and are sincerely appreciated, although disheartening. I had invested considerable time and thought into crafting the presentation, many revisions. I reluctantly admit your perspectives may likely reflect the majority of the potential visitor. Prior to publishing, I had concluded that what you reviewed was to the absolute extent as to what I could safely reveal while maintaining the security of the pending patent application. I thought I had provided basic information that answered your questions 1 and 2. I would be most interested in additional observations from you in ref. to several of your questions representative of the avg. consumer, should you care to continue, in this forum or another.

Your input is greatly appreciated sir, thanks again.

Bret Harbour

Frank Bauer says:

Hi Bret,

You are very welcome and my apology if my response was disheartening.

If you share what exactly your solution can do for the end consumer without revelling how it will do that, your idea will remain save. If you keep the how basic and what what as detailed as possible you will have a better chance to find people willing to support your crowd funding listing.

Also, don’t forget to explain in as much detail as possible, what benefit supporters will gain from their support and provide multiple options to support, starting from a very low amount with of course less benefits to an even higher amount than $100 with a lot more benefits.

If you for example assume that the final product might sell for e.g. $50 and cost $25 to manufacture, maybe allow people to pay $25 + s/h for a unit of the finished product.

Or $50 for 2 unites etc. Of course pointing out their savings of 50% as the reason why they should support you.

Another option to catch interest would be to offer a profit share for a high amount paid upfront. For example, you could offer a 5% profit share for paying $1,000 or more.

I have seen many game developers use crowd funding to move their development ahead. They usually provide early game access and permission to direct the game development with their feedback as an incentive to contribute.

Have a look at this great example to model

They tried to raise $200,000 and ended up raising over $500,000 for their development.

Bret Harbour says:

Greetings Mr. Bauer, No need for apologies sir, targeting the faults is one step closer to success.

Briefly off topic…. In my opinion, and you may agree, the information and insight you’ve provided is routinely dispensed at a significant cost to the recipient. The constructive critiques of the campaign are valued and sincerely appreciated. I have re-tooled sections of the campaign to include your suggestions ref. questions 1 and 2, though nothing major. I’ve also added a “Benefit of Contributing.” I did visit the link provided…. extensive, elaborate benefits and perks. What I’ve noticed in every example I’ve viewed on the various fund raising sites of the impressive success is corporate association. Meaning, these showcased products are already, legally, well protected. Ironically, the acquisition of that same protection for my product is dependent upon the success of the very campaign in which it is to be disclosed which, without that protection, is a complete, costly loss. In ref. to the examples you’ve provided, I understand wholesale, it’s the matter of profit sharing i am at a disadvantage. I’m not sure how this figure would be calculated for the purpose of “incentive.” Would the “Profit Sharing” aspect be of any interest to you sir, commensurate to the input you’ve provided? Contingent, of course, upon the success of the campaign.

Thanks for your assistance,

Bret Harbour

Bret Harbour says:

I thought it important to also mention the Marketing Meetup on the 2nd did not appear to take place. I logged in numerous times but the screen remained blank, the “online” status did intermittently indicate you and I. Is this on my end or did the meeting occur?

Thanks for your assistance,

Bret Harbour

Frank Bauer says:

We where live on September 2nd at 9 pm EST, the replay is now available at:

In regards to the crowd funding listing… as long was the listing doesn’t in detail describe how the gadget will work, nobody can copy it until they get their hands on it. By then the protection will be in place.

Calculating the production costs ahead of production might not be easy… but it’s a task that needs to be done either way in order to not only be able to describe the advantage of funding your project, but also in order to be able to estimate the end consumer cost for the finished gadget. Only if you have an idea of what it will cost can you find out if at that price there is even a demand for what is being offered.

You don’t want to find out later on that the production cost of the gadget will be too high to be able to generate a decent profit on selling it or that the gadget would need to be sold at a price where there will be only very little demand.

That I am personally not interested in funding has less to do with what your gadget is actually doing, but more about my focus being 100% on my own online business targeting other online business owners and not pet related products.

Lawrence Mills says:

Hi Frank,

I have been mucking around with affiliate marketing for quite a few years now.

My question is:

How do I create a list without actually creating a website for affiliate offers?

Not sure what is needed to use an Autoresponder to build a list or even if it can be done without a site.

I know that I have had thousands of viewers to the various sites but have only been notified on the odd occasion of any contact details. Frustrating to say the least.

Lawrence Mills

Frank Bauer says:

Without a website of your own, the only way to build your own list while doing affiliate marketing, is if you promote an affiliate program that has a list building function build in for their affiliates.

Now, there are two types of affiliate programs that allow you to build a mailing list of your own…

1. Affiliate Programs with a build in downline mailer e.g.,, etc.

2. Affiliate Programs with a build in function to grow your or (etc.) autoreponder list e.g., etc.

The 2nd type of affiliate programs are the better kind as they allow you to build your mailing list (the most important asset you can grow with your online business) in your own autoresponder that you will be able to keep even if you stop using that affiliate program.

The only downside is that there is an extra cost involved for having your own account with an autoresponder service provider like, etc.

An alternative to an autoresponder service would of course be using a self hosted autoresponder script like e.g. But… a self hosted autoresponder script will require you again to have your own web hosting account with e.g.

On the long run I highly recommend to get your own website and to start out… it should best be your own blog.

What will you sooner or later need to run your own web business?

1. Get a domain name e.g.
2. Get a web hosting account e.g.
3. Get an autoresponder account or script

Anonymous says:

Have a list of about 3,000 subscribers in Aweber, built with solo-ads and ad-swaps.

What is the best and fastest way to scale up that won’t break the bank using my existing converting lead magnets and still get the highly targeted traffic I’ve been getting?

Frank Bauer says:

Building your own list driving traffic to great converting squeeze (aka lead capture) page via solo-ads & ad-swaps is one of the best ways to do so.

The downside with solo-ads though is that they can cost a lot of money.

Ad-swaps on the other side are free, but will initially only get you small list increases as you usually can only swap ads with a list of similar size of your own.

The other disadvantage of ad-swaps is of course that you are potentially watering down your list by sharing them with other list owners or reducing the effectiveness of your own mailings by having to email them with offers from other list owners as part of the ad-swap.

When looking for the best and fastest ways to scale up your list building you will want to keep several aspects in mind…

1. What is the cost per new subscriber?

2. Will I need to share my existing or new subscribers?

3. How much time does it take to utilize the list building method?

4. How effective is the traffic source used to drive traffic to your lead capture page?

We are looking for affordable methods, but of course everybody has a different idea about what that means in terms of cost.

In addition, a lot of traffic sources will not provide a clear picture of the actual cost per subscriber or effectiveness of the provided traffic… leaving only the option to test & track the results.

With all this in mind, here are some options you have besides purchasing more solo-ads and doing more ad-swaps…

1. Email advertising with Viral List Mailer services that allow free or upgraded members to email their members e.g.,, etc.

2. Email advertising with Safelist services that allow free or upgraded members to email their members

3. Generating traffic using Traffic Exchanges

4. Publishing content on your own blog to generate SEO traffic

5. Publishing articles in article directories

6. Offering something for free on your sales pages (trial, report etc.) and letting affiliates promote the product you sell

7. Building a membership site with a free front-end offer and making each member automatically also an affiliate

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