Are You A Professional Newbie?

Don't forget, it's okay to make mistakes. When you break into any niche you have to deal with a learning curve and the only way to learn the most important things in life is to make mistakes doing them.

A "professional newbie" is someone who never wises up, never figures out what they are good at, and doesn't belong in the niche they are in.

Are You a Professional Newbie?

There are people in the internet marketing niche, in the stock trading niche, and in the programming niche who lurk on message boards who have no idea what they are talking about, who post on blogs and have no idea what they are talking about.

In internet marketing, a professional newbie is someone who gets hyped up about AdSense, makes some sites for a few weeks and then gets bored. He gets hyped up by another guru about article marketing, writes some articles, but that doesn't make him any money so he moves onto the next thing.

The professional newbie tries Squidoo, blogging, Craigslist, eBay, Forex, AdWords, Clickbank, PLR, ELance, all only for a few months all with no results.

Oh look... a rock over there... oh wait... another rock over there.

Idiot professional newbies spend all their time "thrashing" from idea to idea without any focus. They don't accomplish anything besides losing money.

I read someone's blog in the stock trading niche who is a professional newbie and probably always will be. He follows the advice of random strangers who post comments on his blog and invests tens of thousands of dollars into some stock he has hardly even heard of, but was given "a tip" that it will make him a bunch of money.

Usually it blows up in his face.

Do you make this same mistake in your niche?

(That newbie whose blog I follow was ahead $200,000 at one point and is now almost $500,000 in debt.)

I see the same mistake in the software niche...

  • Professional newbies switch from project to project.
  • Professional newbies begin learning how to program, but they get bored and switch around to some other languages.
  • Professional newbies want to make their products so perfect that they never get launched.
  • Professional newbies want to make the most unique product there is... the only problem is... it's a stupid hair-brained idea and no one wants it.

I could go on forever. In every niche there you are going to deal with a LOT of noise. Moreso if the niche is in any way profitable, because that means others can prey on you -- they profit from your inexperience.

Don't be a professional newbie. Stick to one single project for a month, get off your butt and do some work.

If you have a niche you've always wanted to break into, spend 1-2 days writing a short report and create a sloppy sales page. Send some traffic to it and see if that path is worth pursuing.

Find out what niche you are good at and like.

The only way you are going to get anywhere is by working hard and working smart. You need both. If you work smart but not hard, you're a philosopher. If you work hard but not smart, you're a McDonald's employee.

DO SOMETHING! Stay focused. Don't even think about what your next product will be until the one you're working on now is launched and is selling.

One last thing. You need to know where you want to end up. Do you want to host seminars on your topic, do you want to produce an autoshipped monthly CD series? Do you want to do freelancing and then move up to high-end paid consulting? Or do you just want to sell off the rights to your products and bail out at some point?

It's like a map, you need to know your start point and your end point, and always be on a road that is getting you one step closer to that end point. Just one little step in the right direction.

You can't possibly be thinking about every single road you're going to take to that destination... but on the other hand you can't turn at every single street hoping it will lead you somewhere.

My friend Steven Schwartzman has this problem of taking action... so recently when he had a great idea for a niche to break into, I told him to make the small report, get it out there as sloppily and as quickly as possible, and see if it takes off.

I have been building my business just a little bit every day. I don't think I'm ever going to go full time in internet marketing but I want to build a bigass product funnel, get into physical products then maybe hit some seminars. I don't want to host seminars or speak at any.

The way for me to get there is with more video products, which is why I have been upgrading my e-books to video packages. So far this month I have released Simple JavaScript, Sales Page Tactics Volume 1 and Sales Page Tactics Volume 2 as video products.

I'm not going to try to break into any other niches at this time or pursue any weird projects right now like a membership site. I'm not going to go back to freelancing or put effort into any big joint ventures because that's not the direction I want to be headed towards... but that's just me personally.

What you want with your sites, your products and your niche is going to be way different than what I want.

Filed in: Product Creation

Comments (24)

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  1. Quite true Robert. I will like to add another class of professional newbies to your list. The “Lets do a JV” class. Specifically they cant take the risk of hiring a programmer and what they do is approach someone who already has a good product, tell him the idea of his product and propose the funniest deal on earth – “You develop, I market split 50/50”. LMAO. If anyone reading this had this idea in your mind – just trash it right away. No programmer will ever be interested in such foolish offers! If you believe in your product give yourself 100% to it. Otherwise don’t. Since Joe is selling a software doesn’t necessarily mean you need to sell a software too. The best is to start with something that you really enjoy doing for example if you take interest in photography you might start developing a basic site on photography or if you like cooking why not a nice home recipie site. The ideas are endless.

    Bottomline: Do not loose your focus by following what others are doing!

  2. Robert Plank says:

    As a programmer, I was suckered into my so-called “JV deals” like that one. (Years ago.)

    I develop it and the marketer is too lazy to even start selling it, or they use all the profits — including *my* 50% — for advertising or list building so I just put in a bunch of work to build them a list for free.

    If you’re a marketer you need to bring something to the table. As in, write a $7 report in the same niche as the software product you want developed and build up a list of at least 100 proven buyers, and write the sales letter for the product (yes, before the product is even made).

    Doing something like that would be enough proof that you aren’t a professional newbie, that the product would sell and that you have enough focus to market a product.

    Even if you are lazy… if you slapped a payment button on the page and sent a mailing to that buyer list, that is a few hundred bucks at least, which is not bad considering most of my successful software products only took about 2-3 days to get to the barebones “version 1.0” shippable stage.

    Heck yes about sticking to a niche instead of copying software. If the product you’re developing is in a niche you like or are trained in, that means you’re also an authority figure on that subject so you can use your personality to market it on a blog or a list or with follow-up products.

  3. Allen Farlow says:

    Great post, Robert! Thanks !

    So many people try to make their product the best one yet and they tweak it and change it and it takes forever before they let anyone know about it!

    I’ve got to admit, I’ve been a ‘product-tweaker’ and it didn’t make me any money, that’s for sure.

    If you want to make money, you’ve absolutely got to get it out there. You’re right, throw up a quick salespage, drive some traffic to it and see what happens.

  4. Very good post Robert, and thanks for the mention.

    It’s very hard to keep focused online with so many opportunities and avenues to make money. It’s a real problem I have, and many others have as well.

    I’m getting over it though, slowly, and when/if I figure it out I’ll let mine and your readers know!

    Here’s what I’m doing right now, and I am doing nothing else until this is done.

    1. Choose a niche (DONE)
    2. Decide on my business model (DONE)
    3. Write the product (In Progress)
    4. Develop the website/have graphics created (DONE)
    5. Choose a payment processor (DONE)
    6. Begin advertising (Yet To Be Started)
    7. Develop an upsell offer AFTER advertising begins (Yet To Be Started)

    Rinse and repeat. I will do very little Internet Marketing-wise until this is done.

    Steven Schwartzman – No Longer A Professional Newbie.

  5. Funniest thing is someone just went ahead and posted in two forums (back in 2004) when I turned down such an offer that I am a thief! If you type Aritrim Basu in Google you will know what I mean. The reason he gave – now that the idea has been disclosed I as a programmer would steal it and develop my own product. Give me a break!

    Bottom line: Even today if someone searches my name (which my gf did and I had a hard time explaining her why I am not a thief) they see “Aritrim Basu is a thief or not”, what will you say about such careless and “professional newbies”?

  6. Amin Motin says:

    Robert, that was a great post, but I think you’re a little harsh in calling some people ‘idiot’ professional newbies. I’m sure people do the best they can, given their particular circumstances at the time.

    I agree with your point – I just think you made it a bit harshly. There are people who could do with listening to your point and as soon as they see that ‘idiot’ term they’ll close off.

    Great post, though, and bang on target.

  7. Nota Newbie says:

    In answer to Mr Streaming Video Software. I’ve done exactly what you are saying “won’t work”, have made a mid 6 figure income from it for 4+ years, while paying the 3 software programmers I work with a $ amount for each copy sold. (The only twist is, I give them some money as they program too, not just on the finished product.) Oh yeah, did I mention they also handle all the support tickets too?

    Unless they all 3 are lying to me, we are all pretty happy with this arrangement.

    Here’s the problem with me paying out all of the money to a programmer upfront:

    1. The project never gets done and has nothing to do with project creep on my part. The programmer finds a cooler project, works on his personal apps, etc.

    I had paid out literally over $50k to programmers in the past before I started “partnering”. During this time I never received a finished product you would have marketed.

    2. The programmer likes the idea and thinks he SHOULD be a partner and won’t continue unless I do so.

    I don’t think either of us is right or wrong. I just think there are always ways to partner together without either getting screwed.

  8. Ahhh, once again the mythical business of “internet marketing” raises its head. This is what seems to be the problem with the vast majority of people who flit around from place to place. It’s simply because they believe they are an “internet marketer” and that is their business.

    Well that is pure rubbish! You absolutely MUST have a niche and you absolutely MUST have a business model and you absolutely MUST have a business plan. When you have all that sorted out, go and MARKET it on the INTERNET. That does not make you an “internet marketer”, it makes you a businessperson who markets on the internet!



  9. Thank you for this wonderful post, Robert! This confirms the style of geniuses (like Einstein) and several other successful people: FOCUS on a project.

    May you continue to inspire more newbies to get off the multi-project train and finally come out with a project.

  10. HI Robert,

    Great post. And thanks for making your books into videos as well. Yes, I too must confess I have been guilty of doing the “flit” thing and it is a hard habit to break. I keep telling my list to “Do Something..anything.. just get started!!

    It really is true the key a focus and moving forward. As you do this and as it is with the other IM stuff then more you do the easier it gets.

    Glad you wrote the post and am really happy tpo be the 10th comment .. now are you going to give the reason why you need 10 comments for each post ??

    Best regards,


  11. Col says:

    Hi Robert,

    Great stuff man!

    Straight to the point as usual…

    (Just thought I’d add this comment so that you’d have MORE than ten….)

    Keep Rockin’


  12. A good friend showed me your blog and I have to tell you, I laughed. I know so many who are professional newbies and wonder why they never get ahead. These are people who may not have their own businesses, but will have so many blogs..all different…never worked on but have great business owners who start one thing and then move onto the next project and wonder why people go cross eyed. It is so fortunate that I am now working with a company that has a vision…is staying on track and is going to succeed. By the way…it is a membership site…lol.
    I just want to thank you for this great post and a lot more people should read it.

    To Your Success,


  13. Mike says:

    Excellent post Robert and spot-on, in truth, though, as Amin says, a bit harsh. I think a lot of people do get mired in distractions, because there are many, probably thousands of people, who market to the ‘Biz Opp’ niche and they know exactly which buttons to press and there are just as many opinions, methods and products as there are marketers. Then there are the actual scams.. It’s like trying to tell a young person not to make a mistake – it won’t work, they have to discover it for themselves and this takes time.

  14. Eugene Humbert says:

    I guess I qualify as a professional programming newbie. I’ve been at it for 12 years now, and still haven’t reached the point I can say I understand PHP, Javascript, or even HTML that well. What I want to be when I grow up is a web designer. That’s why I buy your products… simple, legible, reusable php and javascripts.

    Not that I ever do anything with them… I’m 62 years old, stay-at-home grandpa who just can’t seem to get my brain around the simple programming concepts. So, I keep buying your scripts because they are neat, clean, and I don’t have to be a marketeer to use them. Thanks for all you do. Maybe someday I’ll learn enough to not use your scripts, and write some of my own.

  15. Hey Robert,

    Excellent post. Straight to the point about the need to pick one thing and just do it to completion and success! THEN can decide to move on to the next project…

    Thanks for all the excellent PHP resources with the video add-ons. Very helpful as I start to implement on my sites.

    Many Blessings,

  16. I couldn’t have said it better. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As always, your blog is interesting and well-written and constantly brings us wonderful opportunities to review subjects. We may have studied the subjects before but your “new” perspective on things is ALWAYS enlightening.

    Thanks, Robert, for this blog. It is truly appreciated – even when I haven’t always had the time to comment every single article on it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Phil Rogers says:

    I must confess that I was a professional newbie for a while. I think it really comes out of frustration due to lack of knowledge. You get suckered into buying the latest fad ebook from the so-called “gurus”. You try it out and it doesn’t work, so you move on to the next one.

    Fortunately I had an “epiphany” and realised that I was going to be suckered in forever if I didn’t get focused on what I wanted to do.

    As a profesional programmer, I’m also a bit of a perfectionist. I’ve seen a lot of dreadful software out there and I don’t want mine to be thought of in the same way, so I do tend to over-engineer it. Consequently, it takes forever and a day to get it finished.

    But I’ve seen the light. If I sell an initial version of my software that doesn’t meet my own exacting standards, I can always send my buyers a free upgrade. That will have the benefit of maintaining a good relationship with my customers.

    So I’m going to get that program finished. Today.

  18. Dave says:

    I used to be *sorta* professional newbie. Actually have a small part-time consulting biz that makes a little.

    Have tried to turn that consulting (which relies on self-written code) into some custom programming biz without much luck.

    And I now have some websites making some Adsense coin. Not a lot, but when you get tens of thousands of uniques/month you have nice platform of traffic to learn from.

  19. Andrew says:

    A good post Robert.

    The temptations are so strong that it requires dedication and focus to move ahead. Certainly a powerful beginning is to decide what you want as your ending. And if you choose money as your end goal, it is very unlikely to happen. There needs to be a bigger “Why” to keep you focused.

  20. Kamin says:

    Great post Robert.

    I’ve been hiding as a professional student but now it’s time to be willing to be seen, be willing to make mistakes, learn and grow. Today’s my first full day in my office after leaving corporate a couple of weeks ago. I’m excited, scared and … excited and I’ve got clients so now it’s time to trust that I know enough, cuz I do! And, keep moving forward ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks again!

  21. Elaine Hagar says:

    Fantastic post Robert! I’m still learning so you were very interesting.

  22. jakson says:

    every thing should fellow blueprint with willing to accomplish it

  23. Ray Edwards says:


    As always, some great insights. You’re always good at telling the cold hard truth!

  24. Carol says:

    I may be a professional newbie, but some of the “so called” real professionals need to take some of the blame. I have spent quite a bit of coin trying to learn from the professionals, taking their advice, and working hours with little gain. I have received conflicting advice, and no way to know, except trying one way and finding out it doesn’t work and then trying the other. It is very difficult to know who you can trust as the internet is full of scammers. Thank goodness for some of the internet forums where you can make sense of legitimate products and the “poor bets”. I have had the most success with Amazon as with my own sites getting traffic seems to be very difficult. I will agree that keeping focus is very important, but seeing some progress from your efforts is a great motivator!!

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