The Three Biggest Breakthroughs That Are About to Change Your Online Business Forever: 80/20, 95/5/1, and 2/50/33

In our online business, I can think of quite a few "duh" moments where as soon as I discovered them... everything changed. My level of income, the things that were and weren't important,

  • Just the fact that I could charge $997 for a course
  • The fact that I could launch a course that didn't need 100% live training sessions
  • The fact that I could re-market old courses
  • The fact that I could re-market using old recorded webinar pitches (and sometimes make more money from those launches)

And anytime I deal with anyone starting out for the first time online I hear the same series of questions...

  • What's the best time of day to mail?
  • How often should I mail my list?
  • What's the best price point?
  • What's a good open rate, click rate, conversion rate once I mail?
  • What should I price my upsell at?

And the ONLY correct answer to these questions: I DON'T KNOW!
(The answer is NOT "you should test that...")

I simply don't have enough information about you and your business. What's even worse, I quickly realized most people were ASKING THE WRONG QUESTIONS. Let me see your product so we can figure out what to price... oh you don't have one. How often do you mail your list already... not at all...

It's okay, it's fixable, let's just ask the RIGHT questions.

Look, you're asking around about the best day to mail and the "best split test results" because that's what you view as the fun stuff. Creating an OPTIN PAGE? Yuck... writing an INFORMATION PRODUCT? How many months is that going to cut out of my life? A 30-day AUTORESPONDER FOLLOWUP SEQUENCE? Excuse me for a second while I flip over to Twitter to re-tweet some stuff...

80/20 Rule: "The Base" vs. "The Tricks"

Have you heard of this thing called the 80/20 rule? It shows up everywhere in life. It basically means that there are a couple of things you should focus on, and a lot more things you need to cut out of your life...

80% of your results come from 20% of your effort, and the remaining 20% of your results come from 80% of your effort.

Let's say that over a 2 or 3 day period, you finished 10 tasks, some money-making and some not money-making. You ran a pitch webinar for your product, recorded some membership content, wrote an article, marketed on Facebook, checked email, posted on forums, contacted some potential joint venture partners, outlined a new product, responded to customer support issues and fixed a problem in your WordPress setup...

Were all those things necessary? I guess... BUT... it is possible that out of those eight items I listed, there were probably JUST TWO that made most of your money. Out of that list, there were probably JUST TWO things that made you the most money. TWO THINGS that you enjoyed doing, that you did quickly so it was the best use of your time. The remaining EIGHT items? You probably could have automated, outsourced, delayed, or ignored them. Were they a waste? No, but they weren't the best use of your time.

What's my point? Look at your business in two parts:

THE BASE. These are the fundamentals you literally hear everyone talking about. Have a sales letter, payment button, and download page or membership site. Have a blog with articles and drip content. An optin page giving away an ethical bribe with a follow-up sequence getting people to buy.

THE TRICKS. Run this split test, add this special graphic next to your buy button. Place this exit popup downsell. Post content on this social bookmarking site. Run a special paid ad on this site in this way. Make sure your buttons are drawn up in this special color.

For some reason, most people ignore "the base" because they hear about it so much, it's such common knowledge, that it's not new and exciting, therefore it must not be important. Gurus have created 100 pages and they've forgotten how important they are, and newbies have heard about optin pages 100 times (without creating one, or it took a month and I don't want to go through that ordeal again) so even though I hear it all the time, I'm used to hear it and I won't listen...

But the cruel joke is: setting up "the base" only takes 20% of your time, energy and effort, and is responsible for 80% of your income, I guarantee it! Does that mean "the tricks" are unimportant? Of course not, but it's all about diminishing returns. "The tricks" are still important, but they are those unimportant tasks we talked about. The tricks take 80% of your time, energy and effort, but are only responsible for 20% of your income.

Newbies get excited about the tricks because they see it as a way to skip the "outdated stuff" like optin pages or sales letters and take advantage of this hot new traffic source which is really "here today, gone tomorrow."

Gurus get excited about tricks because making THIS change to their optin page and THAT change to their sales letter and tracking THOSE sales meant the difference between a $1 million business this year and a $1.1 million business this year. Of course it's exciting to share how these Ten Changes, or Ten Minutes of Work, boosted this business by $100,000... but those TRICKS are useless without the BASE. And once you have the BASE, the TRICKS are so much better.

Marketing By The Numbers: Clickthrus and Attendance

I know, the "base" doesn't sound sexy and the "tricks" sound too dangerous. You don't want to admit that you need the base, because you're not a newbie and you don't want to seem dumb in front of your friends. But here are a few "average" numbers you can somewhat expect:

  1. If you have a very simple optin page with a headline, three bullet points, and a call to action... plus your optin bribe is cool enough and relevant enough for your traffic, expect a 50% optin rate, and a 1% daily attrition rate (bounces and unsubscribes)
  2. The emails you send "should" get a 2% clickthru rate, which should keep its effectiveness every day for a week, so if you email the same offer once a day for 5 days, expect a 10% clickthru rate of your entire list – provided your emails are interesting enough for people to click and open
  3. You should expect around $1 EPC if you're mailing to a decent sales letter that's an appropriate match for your audience – niche, skill level and price point – that means if you have a $100 offer, expect a 1% conversion, $50 offer, 2% conversion, $7 offer, 14% conversion
  4. On webinars you can expect about a 50% registration rate, 33% attendance rate (out of total registrations only), and a $20 to $100 EPC on the webinar (although that last number is SUPER unpredictable)
  5. You can expect about $1 per subscriber per month if you're marketing to your list (this number kept showing up everywhere for me during my early days of email marketing)

These are all rough estimates, and things might change for you, but once you know these basic numbers, life gets a lot easier. For example...

Let's say you've built your list up to 1000 subscribers, not huge but somewhat respectable (whether you're a newbie or non-newbie) if you've just made list building your priority.

Mail for the same offer for 5 days, you'll get 20 clicks each day for a total of 100 clicks...

With 100 clicks, you can count on about $100 from this promotion...

Because I gave you that "dollar per month" guideline, you can easily tell that even if you run four promotions like this per month, you're only making about $400 so there's more juice you can pull out of your list...

BUT THAT'S FINE! You have "the base" in place which only took a couple of days (product, sales letter, optin page) and now you can add "the tricks" to increase your income...

Add in an upsell to boost it to $600 or so, a coaching or recurring option, a done-for-you option, $1000 is easily within reach NOW THAT YOU'VE FIRST HIT THAT INITIAL MILESTONE of 400 dollars.

And think about a scenario like this...

  • Instead of going for the traditional "send some emails" approach, you schedule a 1-hour pitch webinar and mail for it – 100 clicks over 5 days
  • 50% or 50 people register for that webinar
  • 33% or 16 people actually attend the webinar

Most marketers (the ones who don't know what to expect) would be super bummed out that only 16 people showed up, webinars don't work and why the heck did I think this internet marketing thing was a good idea anyway? Only 1.6% of my list even attended?

Yeah but, it's not unusual at all to convert 10 out of those 16 on a live webinar at $97, and now you've made $1000 bucks from one hour of your time (plus you have a recording) so you've potentially earned $2000 from that list of 1000.

These are all examples, and who knows what you'll experience based on your niche, audience, offer, and marketing, but you get the idea. The "base" and the "tricks" can't exist without the other. PLUS, one isn't better than the other, they're just DIFFERENT!

The "base" got you from $0 to $400. The "tricks" got you from $400 to $2000. Without the base you wouldn't have any money to improve with tricks, without the tricks you wouldn't be able to progress past the $400 mark and achieve your true potential with that list of subscribers. Without the tricks, you probably wouldn't be able to build that list of 1000 to 2000 or 5000 or 10,000 or more.

The 95/5/1 Rule

I've found that the 80/20 rule just doesn't cut it when marketing to an email list, since so many of your subscribers won't buy, will only buy low ticket or will simply be one-time purchasers, no matter what you do.

But that's okay, IT'S A NUMBERS GAME! Here's what I've noticed over the years looking back at my email list subscribers:

  • The top 1% become your coaching clients
  • The top 5% become your recurring and high ticket buyers
  • The remaining 95% are your low-ticket buyers and non-buyers

Let me explain. Let's say that you build that list up to 10,000 subscribers. Still not huge, still not close to my list size BUT we're now talking about decent and respectable numbers.

Let's assume that along the way you've setup a couple of products. A free product, a $7 product, a $97 product, a $997 product, and a $27/month product...

100 of those subscribers will literally buy everything you put out. It doesn't matter if it's $7 or $97. They'll actually USE your tools, template, software and training. They'll actually ASK QUESTIONS during your Q&A calls if you have them.

Here's where a lot of marketers mess up. They take the 80/20 rule to the extreme, examine their business, decide to take their low-end products off the market and focus entirely on coaching. Those 100 people at the top.

Maybe the $27/month plan is all that's left standing! And then inevitably as some of the coaching students drop off (which is just what happens on the internet), they don't replenish that top 1% with new people, and find themselves doing the same "time-for-dollars" work but putting in the same amount of time for less and less dollars. Attrition!

The lesson here is that it's important to have products on all price points so you can keep people coming in the funnel and walk them up. Get them used to you at $7 or $97 and then get them to buy the high ticket or recurring programs. Don't be a price snob and only charge $997 and up, but don't wimp out and refuse to go above $7 as a price point.

Now, the top 5%... with a 10K list we're talking about 50 people you can count on to buy high ticket $497 and $997 items, join $27/month and $97/month continuity programs (once again, DEPENDING ON YOUR OFFER AND HOW IT MATCHES TO THEM) but not necessarily interact.

This group won't buy EVERYTHING you put out, so you have to make a compelling argument and actually listen to the problems, struggles and frustrations of your marketplace, create a real sales letter dissolving their objections, market it more than once and package a really good offer together.

This group is the reason to have high ticket (single payment or payment plan) membership sites, not necessarily "monthly forever" continuity. If your highest priced product is $100 bucks, and you have 50 "high ticket" buyers, that’s a nice $5000. But if your high price point is $1000, that's a $50,000 payday you just made instead.

The remaining 95% is still worthwhile for a number of reasons:

  • They will still help you adjust your launches and your offers
  • Some of the 95% will graduate into the top 5%
  • Low ticket items can still add up to a nice healthy chunk of your monthly income

In the same way you can't have the "base" without the "tricks" ... you can't have high ticket without low ticket and vice versa. If you only had high ticket offers, you'd still need to build that list and the best list to build is a list of buyers. If you only had low ticket offers then you wouldn't be giving your top 1% and your top 5% the chance to buy your best stuff.

Here's the best thing about the internet. It doesn't cost you anything to create these extra products or keep them online, so pull out a piece of your high ticket offer or recurring program and put them on the marketplace as low-ticket items with upsells into "the bigger courses."

Can you please go into the comments now and tell me... what was a "big breakthrough" or turning point, revelation, sudden moment you had where everything changed for you and your business?

Filed in: Archive 1: 2012-2016Productivity

Comments (107)

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  1. David Taylor says:

    Hi Robert
    My biggest break through was when I learned how to video marketing.

  2. My biggest breakthrough was leaning how to do membership sites.

  3. My biggest breakthrough came when I started to focus and

    not get distracted by every new money making scheme that

    came along.

  4. Pat says:

    My biggest breakthrough was to break things down into small steps, and get each step done.

  5. Val Spangler says:

    Curation vs creativity. You don’t have to create everything yourself. You can add value by curating the quality content of others with proper attribution.

  6. Chris says:

    Making a list of things to do the night before and eat the green hairy toad first….thank you Brian Tracy

  7. Mk Akan says:

    List building was my break through

  8. Jim Galiano says:

    I’ve been building websites and doing PR consulting for offline “brick and mortar” businesses since 1998. It’s a great business… but it’s time consuming and requires regular oversight. A few months ago, I bought the Income Machine course with the hopes of creating a mechanism for creating a more passive income model that would require less time and energy. I went through the course once to get the “big picture.” Then I went back and started from the beginning. The Paper Template saved hours of time, energy and “second guessing.” And the book that comes with the package made it easier to go back and review sections I still hadn’t completely digested.

    I would say this course was just what I needed to simplify the creation of additional income streams without investing months and months of time and energy. It was the game changer and came at just the right time. I already have tons of ideas to test and this course made getting these ideas to market easy and doable. A repeatable system was what I was missing and now that problem has been solved.

    When you’re taking all the energy that should be going into the actual product or service and get bogged down with sales letters, opt-in pages, download pages, etc., it’s miserable. You lose all of the momentum you originally started out with and it’s tough getting it back again. Even the simple membership plugin was a big help in getting started.

  9. Ruthie says:

    I don’t think I’ve had a big breakthrough. Still looking.

  10. Joe says:

    When I found out how all the pieces fit together and how to use the software I bought.

  11. Jim Francis says:

    My biggest break through was when I put together a basic system that can be used for each core market i.e. offline products, coaching, affiliate marketing etc. Most of these core markets overlap in the building phase. The greatest module in my system is Traffic.

    I learned that traffic came from different sources for each core market and that all traffic was not created equal.

  12. Philip Rees says:

    I found your style of enabling and empowering very informative and useful from the days of Time Management on Crack but the real breakthrough was with Membership Cube when every piece of the online jigsaw was laid purposefully in front of me so I could appreciate the system and how to make my path ahead in whichever direction I so choose. Everything changed for me at that point. I can never express my gratitude enough. Thank you!

  13. John says:

    My biggest breakthrough came from a combination of:

    1. Recurring Billing
    2. Automation
    3. The Internet
    4. Employing others to do the bits that could not be automated.

    Individually each was a small breakthrough on its own, but in combination I built a business that now works virtually on autopilot.

  14. Scott says:

    A major breakthrough for me came from a statement I once heard… “In order for you to make a big impact, you must focus, focus, focus!

  15. George says:

    No breakthrough, just slowly grinding upward. Great hopes for Income Machine, however.

  16. Howard says:

    Progress, not perfection combined with consistent marketing

  17. David Bibby says:


    Time Management on Crack and how to make a Facebook Fan page really helped me gain some momentum.

    Usually when sales start declining… I can almost always point to the fact that I’ve discontinued sending emails to my list.

    It’s time to go back to basics for me!

    David Bibby

  18. Declan says:

    The biggest breakthrough was finally understanding (below the surface level) that Vilfredo Pareto’s 80/20 rule worked with anything, at anytime.

  19. My biggest breakthrough came when I started doing in person networking locally with some of the networking groups here in my area. I started offering free half hour strategy and healing sessions and as they took me up on it and discovered I was legitimate, I got rave testimonials and my one to one business exploded. I went from broke to self supporting inside of 3 months. I spend approximately 150 per month for networking and get an ROI that’s about 40 x that value: I’ll do that all day long…..


  20. John Riemsma says:

    Of course you have to have some technical knowledge to get stuff done, but the most beneficial thing for me and my business was learning the simple concept of breaking tasks down into managable chuncks and doing ‘something’ everyday. Also, the use of a timer really helps me to keep on task.

  21. I stopped buying information products and began implementing what I learned.

  22. Lawrence Mills says:

    Finally getting a website up and learning how it is done. Getting over procrastination and the shiny new object problem have been the main problem, lol.

  23. Cararta says:

    Just beginning to change.

    Have done this for 3 years, and two months ago
    finally started building an email list.

    Still under 200 subscribers, BUT I’m making sales.

  24. Realizing that we do not have to re-invent anything. While our own experience is good, much better is following in the footsteps of someone who has done what we want to accomplish. As AM says, success leaves footprints!

    So, find a mentor/coach to work with (not a bunch at the same time) and follow them. When you have learned all possible from them, move on to another coach that will take you in a complimentary direction. Repeat as necessary.

  25. Robert, my biggest breakthrough was find simple solutions for setting up word press fast and simple. More detailed a good membership script plug in, easy sales page creater, easy content importer, easy way to drip out the content, easy way to display my webinars in wp. I feel when you are a newbie these things made it hard, but after getting them from you along with the training, its simple. I wish I had these way back in the beginning. Sorry but it was hard to write just two sentences when they all pertain to suceeding.

  26. Roger says:

    Hey Robert,

    My BIG breakthrough (so far) has been “Good Enough is Good Enough.” Get it up and running and start making sales, getting traffic and allowing people to follow me!

    I have had several other Grand “Aha” moments, but to date, that’s the big breakthrough.

    Thank you for your help in getting that to stick in my brain!


  27. Ross Perry says:

    My Doctor Ross Perry’s Budgie Bookhas final minor editing early in morning goes to first print tomorrow so I have preview copies Wednesday to take to Singapore Thursday and I am at the point of step by step following your advice that I have paid for. Tx, Ross

  28. Judy Jackson says:

    Learning the difference between ‘having a business’ and ‘having a job’ – That I am the boss of my business not an employee. I make things run, make the decisions, and the success or failure is my responsibility. That I can’t wait for or depend on others. The whole show is MY baby.

  29. John Antaya says:

    Unfortunately there have not been any breakthroughs for me as yet. Everything has been a soap opera in the life of John for a short while now. With the operations that I have had to endure and my wife being ill, my time is being short lived on a daily basis.
    I’m trying to get my head screwed on straight so as to put things back in perspective again and finally make that breakthrough that I truly need to make. Sorry for letting out my frustrations here!


  30. john says:

    my break through was learning article marketing

  31. Rich Stevens says:

    My biggest breakthrough, no lie was discovering all the little plugins from you that make my life easier and my sites much better!
    Thank you, keep em coming:)

  32. The biggest breakthrough moment was learning how important it is to be a visible person online. As soon as I started to use my real name and a photo instead of a username and avatar, I saw a lot more interaction on my blog.

    Still need a break through moment for list building though.

  33. Mary says:

    My breakthrough was figuring out that I should separate my efforts to get money for daily expenses from longer term internet marketing projects.

    Finding service jobs online, like making timelines and writing copy, pay the bills and fund my website design and affiliate marketing projects.

    Eventually I’ll make enough money from those to pay for daily living expenses. Right now, service jobs–trading my time and effort for money–pay the bills.

  34. Caleb says:

    The turning point for me was when I understood what and how a sales funnel flows. Thers nothing like experiencing oto sales and multiple other sales from the same customers. You can only get this once you have a converting sales funnel.

  35. Prakash says:

    My biggest breakthrough was when I started “believing” that I can make money online. Before that I was just an employee of a big IT company. And like 99% of my other engineer co-workers, I was just could never think about working for my own. But when I “believed” in my ability to create a income of my own, then I really created an effective plan for my retirement from the employees world and created my own business.

  36. J Freeman says:

    My biggest breakthrough was when I began to finish what I started before I went to the next project and to stop putting too much on my plate.

  37. Donneitha Reed says:

    My breakthrough was when I realized that I had to start completely over. That’s right – I had to start over. Starting all over again by myself was one of the hardest things that I had to do. That included doing my own business plan, searching for a demand for the market I was going into, and most importantly – funding! It’s a process and a progess, but I’m definitely on the right track.

  38. Phil says:

    I think my biggest breakthrough was learning WordPress and also discovering the Warriorforum. That really took things to a whole new level for me. Last but not least I’m still waiting to hit really big breakthroughs soon (just discovered membership sites…)

  39. Bill Joyce says:

    I have been using 2 of your producs, Started with Make a product and found the process for creatig an ebook wihi 3 days. Very cool.
    Income Machine is also a winner product that my wife uses for her business

    Both are great feeds into how o manage your business.

    Keep it up.


  40. Alvin says:

    My biggest turning point was a big DUH moment as well. It was when I decided to take the leap by quitting my job and going full-time on my business. It was nerve-racking, and I thought of chickening out several times. But I glad I pushed myself to do it. No regrets ever since.

  41. Andrey says:

    My biggest revelation was when I finally realized that hard work will always, always triumph over talent. I had to take action and even though I still struggle – I’m getting there!

  42. James says:

    I haven’t yet had a “financial” breakthrough. A dollar from you might be the 1st I make. But I feel I’m learning to focus better and that will eventually lead to a breakthrough. I’ve spent thousands chasing the newest business opportunities and buying marketing tools. But I believe I’ can’t do that anymore. What would help me most going forward, is good (free) mentorship.

  43. Rochelle says:

    My biggest breaking was taking action instead of gathering information and hardly actually doing anything!

  44. My biggest breakthrough was when I made my first commission via email. I had a small list then but I was still making money. What I realized is that you really don’t need a big list to make sales. It’s about providing value to your list and emailing consistently.

  45. Terry says:

    Getting there! Big breakthrough is coming soon, just scraping by, but enjoying the work tremendously!

  46. My biggest breakthrough has been when I’ve taken *consistent* action to reach out to my list or *consistently* create and publish content (email AR, Youtube, blog post,etc) that explains the benefits of a product and makes it easy for a person to buy.

  47. Tre says:

    my biggest breakthrough came when I learned about your 4dt technique. Everyday I would make a to do list and never finish what I had on the list. using the technique I now have more focus,get more done and I dont suffer from information overload. I quickly realized that jumping from product to product gets you nowhere. so my aha moment came when I finally sat down and focused my efforts and concentrated on the most profitable tasks in my business.

  48. Robert Plank says:

    Paul, it’s easy to “feel” busy by filling the time — probably feels better too. But it’s more important to complete those activities that actually make us money and grow our business.

  49. As simple as it sounds, my big a-ha was when I realized that it did not matter how good I was at what I was doing. Rather, the important thing was MARKETING and letting people know that I exist and I have a product for sale!

  50. Dianne says:

    Hi, mine was getting out there and talking to people about my business.

  51. Richard G. says:

    Robert, I guess my biggest breakthrough was finding you and Lance.

    I’ve gotten out of scratching around in a sandbox, learned to avoid shiny objects, given up on perfection, learned to automate things, set up a membership site, monetize the site, create products, resell other peoples’ products, have a short to-do list, quit learning and start doing… and the list goes on…

    Even this blog post is helpful, because it makes me review what I’ve learned, and what I’m actually doing. You make me think about things, and teach me new stuff. With you and Lance, I know that if I’m interested in trying out one of your products, it will be of good quality and value, and that if I don’t like it, I can get a refund. (Only did that once…)

    So where am I at now? I’m setting up my own hosting service, planning out several integrated sites, and writing content in preparation for my new project(s). I have specific goals, and a plan of action.

    Would I be where I am without having come across your site? No way… I’d still be scratching around trying to perfect projects that would probably never work for me.

    Thank you Robert and Lance 🙂

  52. Josh says:

    Just take action.

  53. tom urbanek says:

    My breakthrough came after finally deciding to stop the shiny object chase and start to set goals, taking action to reach them by following a system and a daily list. The answer to the question of: “How do you eat an elefant?” did not help me initially, since the concept implies that you set one huge goal and work tiny bits to get there. It helped me much more to set smaller goals that were attainable faster to get the satisfaction of achieving something and be motivated to keep on taking consitant, focused action. Another thought that helped me is that it does not matter so much how much time you have as how you use this time!

  54. Jim Berry says:

    When I first began an Internet business in 2001, it took me about ten months and around six thousand dollars to fail miserably. Even at that point, I considered myself lucky. I had already heard about people who had spent a lot more time and money just to be at the same place I was.
    And it was not the fault of the persons that I had spent this money with that caused me to fail. They fulfilled their part of our agreement. It was the result of things that I did not know.
    So, like so many others, I set about learning everything I could about Internet Marketing, Social Media, Affiliate Marketing, Membership Sites, etc. And then crashed against the dread wall of ‘Information Overload’!
    Sure, I was implementing all the things I was learning. But, what I came to realize was that the benefit was not just in the learning.
    The real benefit taking the wisdom gained from your experiences and sharing it with others. And not just in the things that work. But, in the things that did not work.
    So, I took the path of not only sharing the wisdom I had gained, but, making the wisdom of those from whom I learned readily available and shared with others.
    Since that time, the results have been truly amazing.

  55. My biggest breakthrough in Internet Marketing came when, after learning html, and cascading style sheets, I stumbled upon Robert Planks PHP In A Box, PHP Start Pack, Five Minute PHP, Simple PHP, and LIghtning PHP.

    From Robert Plank, I not only learned how to develop PHP based websites from scratch, but I learned PHP techniques from him, specifically applicable to internet marketing.

    I have been able to make a living coding website backends for others and myself, and marketing websites, ever since.

    The development of a wide-ranging Internet Marketing Skillset, is Crucial.

  56. Robert Plank says:

    Hi Albert, I’m glad to hear you were able to support yourself using my products, that means a lot.

    We ALL have skills that we can sell as products or services. Especially if they seem simple to YOU… that means you’ve mastered it… and if people are willing to pay for it, if you have competitors who have proven people can make money, and as someone else mentioned in these comments if it’s FUN for you to do… it doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that.

  57. Joe Hauenstein says:

    1) Learning that cheating systems is always short lived. I had to learn this lesson probably 10 times. If you want what you do to earn you long term income, you need to do it right. For example, keyword stuffing to rank in SE’s. Another example, I was one of those autoblog people with 100 sites selling links and ads. Another example, buying cheap articles and PLR. Mind you I can prove with most of these methods, I made some substantial money, then it all goes away after a few months. Imagine working 6 months to earn 3 months income. It’s a constant battle of trying to stay ahead of the curve. This also showed me how people can make valid claims of what their system can do, but at the same time, it’s kind of a scam.

    2) How much FREE stuff can impact your bottom line. I once created a marketing application and tried to sell it for various price points. All of which failed miserably. I had invested a lot of time into the app, so I wound up giving it away with an optional email opt in. I got 600+ sign ups, and monetized that list by 100x what I made selling the app.

    3) I’ve come to take on a role of helping people. Like small businesses and entrepreneurs. I believe this is the foundation of entrepreneurship. I’ve made more money by helping people, and expecting nothing in return, than I have with all of my other projects combined. This is the reason I am posting to this thread, please keep your buck :). Example: I help local businesses rank in SEs sustainably, as well as optimize their processes, and develop their marketing programs. If I were to charge them for this service, they wouldn’t be able to afford it, however I have gotten several long term contracts from these companies as a consultant.

    4) Do something big, and realize even the biggest projects are easily achievable. You only have to do two things… 1 – Make sure the projects is worthwhile. Sorry, I cant imagine how to explain how to do this, it just taking forward thinking. 2 – Plan the steps you need to take, then take the first step. Before you know it, what seemed impossible is halfway done.

    5) Follow through. A lot of entrepreneur personalities are “Trail Blazers”. They love to start projects, but fail miserably at exploiting them. Imagine aggressively cutiing a path through the thick forest, then just moving on to the next project. If you don’t maintain that trail you created, you can’t benefit from it. You will go to drive your jeep through it a year later, only to find the path has been overgrown again.

    Take this advice from a entrepreneur / internet marketer with 15 years of experience. It took me 10 years before I could support myself fully. I’m not wildly successful, but I’m happy and fulfilled, and I don’t have to pay a mortgage payment any more.

  58. Robert Plank says:

    Hi Dexter, I feel as if I lost at least 5 years in the beginning from not building a list.

  59. Anna Faulds says:

    My big breakthrough came just recently through a webinar on abundance in which I uncovered my block. I was originally doing my website from the perspective of discovery and having fun learning and sharing.
    When I decided to be more serious about my website, it became hard work that I needed to get done NOW.
    The joy was lost and so was my motivation.
    I am now approaching it from that place of child like discovery and adventure again, so that heavy feeling in my chest when ever I go to work on my website has been released.
    Not putting so much pressure on myself is key to getting anything accomplished for me.

  60. Amos Patterson says:

    My biggest breakthrough when I stopped opening my email in the morning and switched to opening them at the end of the day.

  61. Robert Plank says:

    Pretty dang simple but it works and pays off again and again!

  62. my turning point came when i got focus and started to zero in on one area that i enjoyed doing , and stayed with it!

    instead of being all over the place. that when i was amble to finish off my projects and get some income flowing?

  63. Robert Plank says:

    Finishing is more important than starting!

  64. diane moss says:

    my momment came when i realized i could creat amazing videos
    and find client for my business. My client really like the work that i do
    and i get alot of excellent feedback!!

    Which has created word of mouth repeat customers, I overdelivery and
    respect the client!!!

  65. Bill says:

    My big break I am still waiting for. I had several sites that I have made a little with but nothing to brag about. I have not tried writing as of yet as I am not that good of a writer.
    I love going to webinars and other training and listing of people that have made it. I do a little of this and that as I am in pain most of the time and can not do a lot. I do appreciate Robert and others helping me and others so much. I just wish I would have more success myself and know it can be done. Thank all of you for posting and thank Robert for allowing us to share here.

  66. daniel says:

    my big breakthrough is when i learn how to make android app the first time i make money online after 4 years of trying and been scam by big guru with their fake push button but after i started making andorid app and earn my first money this week
    is my biggest breakthrough , thanks

  67. lusekelo says:

    My Break thrugh was when i realized that i should start taking my online business as a real business and not a hoby,i started to focus and buildind my business from ground i am not successfully yet but iam not far from that.

  68. My biggest breakthrough was a result of participating in your programs.

    Your “challenges” taught me that it is possible to get from A to B without jumping. They taught me to respect, honor, and follow processes, and since then I’ve been using everything I learned in your many courses to make a living, and to live a life I love…

    So, we could simply say, the biggest breakthrough came as a result of getting that it’s a process, not an event.

    Thank you,

  69. Robert Plank says:

    Sophie, as a coach you’ve probably seen how many people fail because they are “too smart” to follow simple instructions… and they end up over-complicating. If you’re so smart, how about implementing the system EXACTLY and then if you want to change things up later, you have a baseline to compare it to.

  70. My husband and I recently discovered that our experience is valuable to others.
    We decided to build their business by sharing experiences to help others.

  71. Shaun says:

    A breakthrough means you have achieved what you set out to do…..or at least you
    are on the right track.

    I think I have had many breakthroughs but without acknowledging them or respecting them I think they have gotten overwritten with another so-called break through.

    I have to focus on a proven system and work that system…..income machine is a
    massive breakthrough….if i respect it and follow through on the nuts and bolts!

    Up to me…….accountability partners would help….or a forum of like-minded peeps!

    Great discussion……

    Good luck all…


  72. RJ Peters says:

    So far, the best thing that happened for me here is to read everyone else’s comments, some of which are extraordinarily educational, inspirational and helpful. After at least 10 years trying all the guru programs and doing OK for a while, only to have them dry up, I know I need to find the “breakthrough point.” Some of the posts here already spell that out. But I’m still eager to see what you have to say, Robert.

  73. Mat says:

    I have learned that, for long term success, you need to find a niche you can be passionate about and will enjoy working in.

    You need to BUILD A LIST. To do that you need to give useful information that will get people to sign up to receive it. You want to develop a relationship with your list. People buy from people they like.

    You want to give your customers extreme value and good service so they become repeat buyers.

    You need to have a sales funnel.

    To learn how to do all this, you need to have a MENTOR.

    You must be prepared to invest time and money.

    To actually achieve your plans, you need to establish a business plan, set goals, and FOCUS on one thing at a time.

    Avoid being distracted by every new opportunity. Stop buying – start selling!

    You must take ACTION! Get started!! Don’t keep waiting until everything is perfect – it never will be!

    You must treat it as a serious business and be prepared to WORK at it, not just play at it.

    You must treat the inevitable setbacks as learning opportunities and, whatever happens, PERSEVERE.

    To help you achieve all that, you want to have an ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER so you can spur each other on to achieve your targets.

    And having learnt this, I WILL have my breakthrough as I finally defeat my procrastination and work consistently to achieve my goals!

  74. John Chang says:

    No matter what business you’re in – you need to identify the PAIN.. that’s why people open their wallets.

  75. Robert Plank says:

    Never check your email first thing in the morning… they even wrote a whole book with that title! (although I don’t know anyone who’s read it…)

  76. Gordon says:

    I was very disorganised, then I decided to spend 20 mins everyday when I first sit at my computer planning my day, and not to open my emails program until the planned time. Emails can kill your productivity!!!

  77. Hey Robert,

    This is great topic. I can’t wait to hear what your breakthrough was. Mine came from one of my coaches. I was at that state where I was constantly jumping from opportunity to opportunity and buying every new (but not really new) method out there thinking the next one would be the one.

    My coach told me that I needed to stop being a prospect and become a marketer. I needed to stop buying and start selling. I needed to look at things that I was buying and ask myself why did I buy them. I needed to emulate what these marketers were doing and start doing it myself. All the methods and opportunities out won’t make me any money unless I actually become a marketer.

    I still struggle with this concept today but I’m doing much better than I was before. Now I’ve stopped wasting money on junk and started building a list an making sales. That was the big turning point for me.

  78. David Ashton says:

    When I decided that I have had enough and something has to change (me).

  79. Robert Plank says:

    David, funny how sometimes that takes years to realize… and it doesn’t matter how many times someone else has said that YOU need to change… YOU have to be the one to realize this.

  80. tom urbanek says:

    Ok, in my first comment I forgot to say that one crucial ingredient for success was having fun doing what I was doing – this starts with identifying the “why” you want to do what you do. This helps you to focus and take massive action.

    I finally realized happiness was inside of me and stopped looking for it elsewhere. Happiness is not a station you arrive at, it is a form of travelling. Deepak Chopra taught me of the importance of living in the present and Tony Robbins of how to take advantage of the giant that lives inside of us, among other great insights, I recommend both highly!

    I wish all of you a happy journey!

  81. joe says:

    Learning the truth and getting focused has been my guiding light.

  82. kathy ousley says:

    i am still waiting for my breakthru.., i seem to go from opp to opp trying to find one that will bring the most income in the shortest time possible but havent found that one yet. Hopefully this one will be the missing link that i have been searching for.
    looking forward to learning more.

  83. Michelle says:

    I’ve had a lot of breakthroughs over the years, and hearing about how you did membership sites was major for me. I then started your membership cube (but haven’t finished the training!).

  84. Robert Plank says:

    Michelle, membership sites were helpful for me to, if nothing else than just to manage all the members I have and give them updates.

  85. Robert Plank says:

    Hi Michelle, let me know when you finish Membership Cube… or heck, you don’t even have to finish, just implement while you watch the training. As soon as I realized it was better to run a fixed-term site (instead of a forever continuity site), and that I didn’t have to “discount” things just because I was charging monthly, everything changed.

  86. My biggest breakthroughs were learning from Lance and Rober’ts MembershipCube about WordPress-powered membership sites, and building an email list lightning-fast with the help of Robert’s Action Pop-Up plugin.

  87. Dexter Chan says:

    My Biggest Breakthroughs are when I learned to stop being a Jack of All Trades in Online Marketing and stay focused on those few… and that I should have started building my list from 5 years back!

  88. Ron says:

    My biggest breakthrough was actually taking action and putting my product out there. I was terrified it would fail. My programmer emailed me and asked what was wrong, because he had sent me the completed plugin over a week earlier and it wasn’t online yet.

    His email was embarrassing, so come what may, I launched! It brought in steady income for close to 3 years. Now I’m in the process of re-positioning and modernizing it a bit.

  89. Robert Plank says:

    Over a decade ago I had a PHP product ready to go, I knew it wouldn’t be perfect, and for some reason I needed about 10-20 people to tell me I “could” do it… that I should release now and sell at $30 instead of piling on more and more stuff (that no one needed) in order to justify a $97 price tag. Software is never done… you’ll always find bugs… things to add or take away too.

  90. Isobel says:

    Actually my biggest breakthrough came last night while reading The Suitcase Entrepreneur. I realised that my “sweet spot” – the interaction of what I enjoy, what I’m good and what people would pay me for – is not the one I’ve been pursuing for a few years, but something completely different!

    Today I’ll be fleshing out that a-ha moment 🙂

  91. Robert Plank says:

    Hi Dexter, I experienced a very similar breakthrough at one point. Early on I thought I would have “lots of little things” … make money from web hosting, from selling articles, from services, until I realized that by trying to do everything, I was doing nothing, and once I became skilled at just 1 or 2 things, everything changed.

  92. Crystal says:

    My biggest breakthrough (aside from the one I’m hoping to have after you update this post) was when I realised that there is no objective “value” that determines what Life will give back to you, but that if you change what you believe you’re worth, it’s amazing how much changes in real life to mirror that.

  93. Alex says:

    My biggest breakthrough was a result of joining at Fiverr and got my first 100 dollars in few days. After at least 4 years trying all sorts of affiliate programs I decided to focus on my Fiverr freelance job. Starting from $5 gig for only two months I became a level 2 seller on Fiverr and now I can earn $100+ from one gig.

    Good luck to all of us!

  94. Robert Plank says:

    Hi Alex, that’s really cool… you should make a report breaking down a 4-step or 7-step system showing exactly how you did that.

    EDIT: I see you’ve already made the product… buying it now out of curiosity!

  95. brian says:

    My breakthrough came when I finally figured out how you needed to send people to an opt in page first before sending them to a salespage. its important because long term thats where you can make the most money.

  96. Sean says:

    One of my a-ha moments:

    Relatives were staying with us and we were about to head out the door to go to Disney World (we live in Central Florida).

    I wanted to send an email to my lists to promote a product of mine.

    Instead of taking WAAAAAYYYY too long to write that email, I literally had only ten minutes to write and send.

    Friendly short email was sent, and then all day long sales came in — while we were at Disney.

    For some reason, in the past I might have taken hours to write and send a single careful email.

    Turns out 10 minutes can get the job done.

    Lesson learned.

  97. Robert Plank says:

    Hi Sean,

    Years ago I ran some kind of statistical analysis using Microsoft Excel… I compared to see if longer or shorter emails brought in more clicks (I guessed shorter emails) and if longer or shorter blog posts brought in more comments (I guessed shorter blog posts).

    Guess what… I was REALLY wrong… there was no statistical difference!

    Long emails, short emails, long posts, short posts, same response. So why spend all day writing a 5 page email when a 5 sentence email will bring in more clicks?

  98. Dennis says:

    Learning to stay focused and turn off my urge to indulge my Shiny Object Syndrome disease!

  99. sivakumar says:

    Good Breakthrough is yet to come to me. I’m waiting for that to come, Ofcourse in multiple ways. I have good plans to commence and thats the way I will be having Good Luck. Hope it reaches me soon.

  100. Trevor Baret says:

    My biggest aha moment was all about focus. Keeping away from the distractions for a specified time each day, so that I could focus on getting the basics done and then a few of the tricks

    Still battling with the focus thing…

  101. Dear Robert,

    My biggest breakthrough came when I focused and stopped chasing every IM product with a great sales page.- and go deep in my specialized knowledge

    The best way to learn is to do,,Test and Tweak- start and finish in the marketplace
    -Got out of the need for perfection that is in my head.


  102. Len says:

    No breakthrough yet, been trying for 3 years or more, and have only made about $80 even though I have some sites on the 1st page of Google, no one is buying from me.


  103. Rick Kirkham says:

    My biggest breakthrough was when I got enough guts to go full time as an in home computer tutor and virus removal specialist here in Honolulu Hawaii

  104. Rick Kirkham says:


    The website you chose to leave is AN AFFILIATE website not your own

    Get your own domain
    Build your list
    Add affiliate products to YOUR website


  105. samy says:

    my big breakthrough was list building

  106. Connie Dunn says:

    Probably, my biggest breakthrough has been in discovering Membership Cube. I don’t work as fast as some people, but I did get it set up and slowly I’ve been adding courses.

    I set up my very first affiliate niche site just last week. I got 281 likes in about 3 days…it was phenomenal. I had some products as affiliates and I’m just about to put some of my own out. I’m not making hand-over-fists full of money, but I’ve learned a lot just the same. I also didn’t choose a niche that was going to bring in that much traffic, either…but it was a niche that I felt I could do long-term.

    I think my biggest challenge is always: How do I get traffic to……………… And with the affiliate niche site, getting 281 people to view my Facebook site in 3 days was a lot of traffic! Now all I have to do, is create some attraction to my other sites using the same technique, but better thought-out!


  107. David Ashton says:

    My biggest breakthrough was when I was recommended to listen to your training. This totally changed my direction and has taken me a little longer than anticipated to “course correct”.
    And having advice like this is awesome, as I do this leads numbers sorting in my day job to make it easier to focus.

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