Q & A

Thanks to Gary for sending in some questions

As someone who is really only a few months into learning about the wide possibilities and opportunities available on the web (domaining/flipping/adsense/seo/leasing/mini-sites/affiliating/etc) one of my personal biggest problems is sheer information overload. Every day I seem to see some amazing new opportunity to make an income quicker than the way I just started. And the barrage of skills to learn, content to comprehend and tools to pick up is literally overwhelming. How do you guys deal with the mass of information out there and focusing on your tasks? How do you overcome distractions?

The amount of information available for free is simply mind numbing but it can be very helpful, most of the blogs out there simply regurgitate news and info so you need to find the sources and concentrate on them, you’ll find that if you spend many hours on forums and blogs everyday then your being unproductive – yes you pick up the odd bit of info but you waste days reading when all the real work happens away from forums & blogs. Set aside 30 minutes in the morning to scan the forums/blogs of interest and then get down to the practical work, you’ll achieve much more by doing rather than reading about others doing it.

And how do you select projects to work on – what criteria would you use to choose what to drop and what to take on?

I’m an opportunist so that is determined by what opportunities I can create, I don’t have any natural skills or specific experience so when I am hunting out domains or sites I will get one YES or purchase in maybe 100+ emails/contacts made, that yes determines what is added to my portfolio and then I work out whether I would be interested in developing it out, for example I have been wanting to do a geo project for a while and contacted around 50 domain owners trying to find something affordable and then an opportunity suddenly arose from nowhere, which I will talk about in a few weeks.

On a related note, I am sure there are many people like me who are working hard right now on a site that they are hoping to turn into a steady 2nd income. Now, more than ever, there seems to be such a wide range of places/ways to advertise and ways to invest/waste your money to seek/drag visitors to your site that it’s truly hard to know how to get a return of reasonable results for your investment. Have you ever considered some sort of mentor or advisory service (paid or free) to use your experience to help others out?

I am not sure Al or I would see ourselves as mentors or the finished article, we are both busy and very much in the middle of doing it ourselves, SMM is a free advice service though, although the idea of a UK workshop/version of Elite Retreat would be cool.

Any tips on how to know when to outsource? Personally I never know when I am better to learn to do something or outsource. So I do it all. But somewhere in my head is the idea that I should ideally not do anything other than oversee and manage – surely this would be a dream situation?

Al did a post on when to delegate and I did a post on the fact that you may need help along the way.

What sites, forums & blogs do you guys use and recommend? SelfMadeMinds always seems ahead of the pack, especially as you are writing about things in the past tense! Where do the ideas come from?

All our posts are our experiences which made the first year of writing really easy and fun as we have both made plenty of mistakes and tried and tested numerous methods along the way with various success. Forums and blogs are fun and at times educational but they do not offer me the best way to be productive, getting in touch with website & domain owners out of the blue offers greater opportunity. Acorn Domains is a daily visit but nothing else is a must read for me.

A lot of people would want to be in your shoes – but who do you look up to?
Who impresses you with what they do in business?

Loads of people and at the same time nobody in particular, no idol as such, I like to learn from anyone who has had success that has been earned, I especially admire people who have taught themselves and left their comfort zone to achieve their dreams, Al is an inspiration, – he set out his stall early and posted on DP that he planned on building his site(s) to leave his 9-5 job and become fully self employed and with continued success and growth is a real inspiration. I could never be that organised.

More than anything else I like to learn by my own tests, trials and mistakes and learn from experience rather than others, I don’t always take the quickest route – you can’t always believe what you read and you can find a way to make a success where others have failed.

What are the common mistakes in your opinion that you see people making online in their quest for financial success?

The common one’s would probably be:

Thinking about nothing but the money right at the start
Adding Adsense/adverts all over their site when it has little traffic and backlinks
Compromising on content quality
Not considering visitor retention highly enough
Not focusing on one website or niche, it’s easier to build in one area and later launch other sites off it, throwing up 100 sites won’t do it.

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.


  1. I could have written most of these questions. I can be really difficult to not fall into a situation of information overload. If you’re into personal development you’ll know that you keep hearing that “the book you don’t read won’t help” etc. which can result in nothing but reading and no action.

    I think it is something that you’ll need to learn on your own. You need to learn not to take in too much information and you need to learn to focus. There might be people that have an easy time focusing on one thing but I know that we are many that find it hard.

    Luckily the results speak for themselves. It is clear that if you focus and act for even a small amount of time (e.g. 30 days) you will see substantial inprovement compared to the previous 30 days where you did as usual.

  2. Got to agree with Mikael – it’s all to easy to spend your time reading about this stuff and not enough time ‘doing’. I try to spend a little bit of time each day actually doing something, no matter how small. For example writing a new article, I might only write a paragraph each day, but by the end of the week I have a complete article. Bear in mind I’m part time working on my websites so it’s that little bit harder to find time!

  3. Great post Scott. I have to say, SMM has been an inspiration, and posts like this are what keep me plugging away (and keep me on track).

  4. That surely answers some of the common questions we have in our minds.

  5. Scott,
    while I agree that SMM is something of a mentoring service, it would still be very valuable for people to be able to throw specific questions at you.

    I get them all the time, even though the information is readily available.

    There was a service that allowed you to charge per minute for consultation over Skype. Maybe you should consider it!

  6. I will get one YES or purchase in maybe 100+ emails/contacts

    Thats been an insightful comment for me, its brought home the reality of work needed. SSMs can sometimes come off as making it all look so easy, purely because the info is being written about past tense so its great to see this balance. Nobody would read a blog that talked about all the dull roadblocks the SMM crew must go through every day and how hard they keep plugging away BUT it would certainly keep our feet on the ground.
    Great answers thanks!
    and, Information overload is crippling for many of us!

  7. I currently spend more time reading than doing. I set some goals for myself for last weekend but I found a new forum and a blog I liked so I spent more time there than actually working on my sites. Arrrgghhhh…..

    I need to set myself on a schedule for reading. I think the 30 minutes you mentioned would be enough. Especially since I get about 30 at lunch to read too.

    • I used to be guilty of this, too – especially in the beginning. In the real world, you study and study until someone finally tells you that you’re ready, either through graduation, promotion, or some kind of verbal instruction. Online, you need to teach yourself the basics and run with it. The rest can work itself out once you get going.

  8. Hi Scott,

    The sweet buzzword suggestion will be rather than “doing correct things” is to “to do things correctly”. SEO optimization is beating about the bush. If you do most of the things which are done correctly (i mean the way SEO wants it to be and not the way we want it to be) then I do not think you will have to think all about that tonnes of information. We need to concentrate on what is expected than what we think. Hope this helps.

  9. In order to make a success of a website you first need traffic but getting that traffic can be a problem. What would your advise be to anyone looking to increase traffic and search engine positions? I keep hearing people saying build good content and others saying build links. What would your advice be?

    • Work out what your angle or USP is Ben. It may be an easy to achieve but lucrative ranking. It may be an on site tool/resource. It may be buying and building on an existing site or domain to benefit from old links. Whatever it is make sure you have an edge before you start.

      • Have you ever taken an old site and totally changed the ‘keywords’ I have a domain with loads of links to the domain name but want to change the usage of the site but am nervous of ruining it!

  10. Great Post and really puts the emphasis on “Just do it” rather then keep reading about it and be a quiz master. I am at the learning phase at the moment on some aspects but do try and implement one element asap so that it is crawled and recognised by others

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