Time flies - been a life changing experience to be part of BHW community and meeting the members here. I haven't made a big contribution lately - so this comes as a precursor to some big opportunities I am involved with, recent ones just launched, and reflection on those marketing mountains I have already conquered. All of my success has been in offline sales using online methodologies, technologies, and strategies for positioning solutions in front of the right individuals at the right time. More importantly -- my success has come from working and networking with the right people. Whether you are into CPA or affiliate sales, black hat or white hat, email marketing or building mobile apps, marketing through Facebook or selling cookies through your ecommerce website, SEO or SMO, SEM or PPC, ORM or PPI - this applies to you. I'll distill some information here and let it grow organically from the conversations. Whether you are a veteran or a rookie you'll learn something from this post - if your mind is open to looking at the business of im in a unique way we're about to look at it like a game. It is important to keep in mind these are my opinions from my own experience - many a great book has been written by those with experiences worthy of emulating. I feel at this point in my life and career I have earned the right to share some things that may help others - my success took alot of losing to become a winner but I am yet far from winning The Game. These experiences have made me to date almost $150,000 which is not a lot of money - but it's a good start . Most of that has been earned over the last 6 months with a very large sale in the pipeline to potential break the $200,000 mark in the next week. There is a big learning curve but I have found that when we learn the rules and start to play the game the way it was intended - this is where the magic begins. However, there is a reason that most millionaires say the first million is the hardest to earn. There is no recipe for success in im - BUT if there was - these would be most of the ingredients. Unlike cooking where you just need a trip to the grocery store, however, some of these ingredients are very difficult to find. I am confident these are immutable laws that no guru or newb would dare to argue with - but I launched this thread to see if a discussion could start from it J and I welcome all kinds of discussion - including a solid argument. The Groundwork For This Philosophy of The IM Game 1. It's all a game - life is a game - and all its pieces are a game internet marketing too - is a game. If we want to win and play at the top in any game we need to learn the rules and play by the rules. Sometimes the rules can be bent - but they can't be broken or we are not playing the game anymore. Perhaps this will make sense by the end of this post. 2.Focus is critical - in 99% of imer's careers there is a tendency to jump from one thing to the next - I am certainly no exception. But if we are to win - we must pick something and zoom in on it even if it encompasses a lot of other strategies. 3. Over analysis is deadly - under analysis is for sheep. There are people that will tell you - JUST GO MAKE SOME MONEY. There is some value in that advice - it's important to not get so caught up in making money that we forget that this is not just a one and done type of deal. It is said it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert - practice makes money. 4. Test your theories. Whether it is through your own experiences or data collected based off of REAL results - it is important to test our conceptions - in proving those more successful than myself they were wrong and continuing to find my own path - I learned things that I wouldn't have had space to learn if I jumped right into DOING DOING DOING 5. Meet the right people who are willing to help - but don't be a whiny beggar or a jerk off. The most valuable skill I have ever learned in my life is developing the ability to listen, ask quality questions, and attempt to see the world through the eyes of others - truth is there are few people that will really give a crap about you. People care about themselves - In my experience people tend to help in the proportion that we are willing to help others. Rules of The Game - In no particular order Here are the rules of the internet marketing game. 1. This game is played alone 2. Teams can be formed in the game of any size 3. You can choose to work with a coach 4. You have finite time to dedicate to the game 5. You can sell ideas 6. You can sell products or services 7. The web is built of code 8. Professionals outside the game typically (but not always) don't understand code 9. You don't have to write code 10. You must do your work in code or systems built upon code 11. There are a finite amount of combinations of code in existence at any one time but new code can always be created from that which exists 12. In this game certain audiences will cross - certain audiences will remain segregated from other audiences 13. The right kind of Research gives you an advantage 14. The Wrong kind of research can put you on the wrong path forever 15. Tools are available for assistance in execution or abuse 16. Networks are available for assistance or abuse 17. People are available for assistance or abuse 18. If you choose the wrong [use of] or wrong [type of] (15-18) you can wind up on the wrong path forever 19. A PC and internet connection are needed to play the game - The player doesn't have to own or even use these things 20. There is ALWAYS more than one winner 21. There is ALWAYS more than one loser 22. You MUST ACT to win the game - no amount of thought will make you a winner 23. WINNING can only be defined by the player 24. LOSING can only be defined by the player 25. A player cannot win or lose until one makes that declaration 26. A player must win or lose but can also win after losing or lose after winning Inside The Rules Notice these rules speak nothing of Facebook, nothing of Google or Pinterest or Mashable, nothing of Adwords, Adsense, Mobile Apps, SMS, Server Load or Cloud Technologies, nothing of Windows or Apple, Gateway or Intel. These rules apply to your business if you are in business on the web - whether you recognize them - accept them - and work within them or not. The rules can always be bent - if you break them - you are not playing the game anymore - meaning you can't win or lose - but whatever you are doing is NOT internet marketing There are no emotions involved in the rules - they are subjective and everyone is subjected to them - if you are here you are playing this game Now let's get specific. You might be reading this thinking I am a looney toon - first off - you are right But more importantly - I am right. These rules are not a complete list but there is no denying the validity of any of them. So if you want to win in this game and you learn these rules and how to work within them - you WILL win. Winning and Losing Notice the last 2 rules - we are all different - with different mindsets, different goals, and different views on reality. It is what makes the world so diverse. Your dream may be to make $100 per day - depending on what country you are in even $5 per day could potentially change your life. Or maybe your definition of winning the game is to drive a half million dollar car and have sex with super model looking women all over the world while learning different languages and meeting diverse people(we share the same dream in that case ). Internet marketing as a skilled trade can help us discover the skills beyond those that bring riches - this makes the experience that much more rewarding imho. Here's my point - doesn't matter how "big" or "small" your dream is - it is yours - how you define winning is YOUR definition and no one else's. There are people who are piss poor and grateful for what they have - and enjoy their life - in their mind they are a winner. If you want to win it is important to define what winning looks like for youâ€”specifically what it looks like. There are a lot of ways to make a lot of money in this business when we stick with it long enough. Losing You don't lose the game until you quit playing or you declare yourself a loser. You can win the game after you lose it - as long as you keep playing and don't give up. Many times I felt like I "failed" it was a temporary setback but I did not quit. Through distraction after distraction - through a full time job, through alot of nay-sayers and people who would hold me back where I was gladly -- I lost the game many times. Now I am winning by the standards I defined for myself. What are you playing for? If you can't answer that - losing or worse - flat out quitting - is inevitable. Fun - is not an answer. I play the game for fun - but ultimately we can only be a winner or a loser - you can be both at different times but you must be one or the other at the end of the game. Strategies For Winning The Game In any sporting even from cricket to ping pong, basketball to soccer there are strategies for winning. Understand your opponent - online that is the platform or service sector you work within and how to bypass, circumvent, or beat the system so that you can play better than the 99% out there who come and go like dust in the wind. In order to win you have to beat the system no matter which it is - you have to learn how that system is different from all others and what creates a winning strategy within that one itself. Each type of IM can be considered a different sport within those sports there are classes - for example in baseball there is AA AAA and then the major leagues in IM it looks like this (not in any specific order of classes). These are general and this might not be an exhaustive list (I welcome any that I may have missed) IM Sports: Classes Paid Media: Adwords, Paid Media Placements, Online Display Advertising, Pre and post roll video advertising Search: SEO, Optimization for search within a specific platform ex: Youtube - this includes optimization within the realms of SEO i.e classified sites and forum marketing, Reputation Management Mobile: SMS, Apps, Mobile Websites Social: SMO, SMM, Local: Google Local Places, Reviews sites Email Marketing: Spam, Opted In Lead Generation: CPA, Affiliate Marketing, Deals Web Design and Development: Conversion Optimization, Custom Coding (web apps, custom landing pages), Automation, Virtualization Sales: Websites, Services, Lead Generation One more bit of food for thought - in any great game/match/set/competition there is one concept that ALWAYS exists. The one who has more to lose and believes more that they can win - the one who will stop at nothing until they arise triumphant - that is the one or the team that will win. Ridiculous impossible combacks in every competition have happened this way. Just because you are losing doesn't mean you lost, and just because you are winning doesn't mean you have won - it's not over until the clock hits 0:00. The Abrupt End to Part I Part II of Winning The IM Game will come along if people show enough interest - I will talk about specific stages that most people progress through along the path to becoming a winner and get into a bit of my own story and why I know I am no rare snowflake. Will also touch on the games and their classes and how we progress through them to become great at something or even if we do not become great - we become good enough to make a decent or excellent full time living. I wrote this to gauge interest - it is not your typical BHW post - if you like it - subscribe, bump it, leave a comment and thanks - rep me until your heart's content and I'll write another - I was planning 3 parts but I don't write just to see my words on the screen - will only write again if there is enough interest. Thanks for reading I hope I provided some value to you!