Pete Downs began his Internet marketing career in late 2008 – starting from scratch in his converted downstairs garage in Canberra, Australia. He went on to make all the usual mistakes – trying to do too much, believing what the majority of people were saying and not finding his own path. But by mid 2010 things started to change thanks to a couple of key mentors. He started to focus on product creation, list building and email marketing and, with the help of his mentors, started to flourish.
Pete is doing pretty good now with developing a dispensed learning course called FlipTheSquid.
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? How old are you? How long have you been working in this industry?
I’m probably a bit old for Internet marketing at 50 – but once bitten! Like a lot of people it attracted me because of the freedom and lifestyle choice it offers. My background is really as an ‘educationalist’ and have produced many offline resources that have gone all over the world. Some of those skills translate to online too – but the marketing stuff I am still learning.
What accomplishments so far are you the most proud of?
I think now – after a lot of work – I can produce a top quality eBook or Report or a video – then get it online pretty quick. I enjoy the creative side of Internet marketing more than I should. I’m most proud of having produced FlipTheSquid training – which is still under construction – but takes people through a series of Roadblocks to success over a three months period.
How did you come to learn about Internet Marketing? Why did you choose it?
Can’t remember now – again, I think it’s easy to see how attractive it is – the low cost set up, the freedom to drive your business as you like. There are boring bits like any business but you do see progress if you stick to it and keep focused.
How long did it take you to go from part-time to a full-time Internet Marketer?
I wouldn’t call myself full-time still – although I think my wife would disagree. And to be honest, I don’t ever want to go ‘full-time’ anyway – to me. It kinda defeats the purpose of why you are doing it in the first place.
What do you think it takes to be successful as an affiliate/internet marketer?
Focus and focus and focus. Stop trying everything that comes along and only pick top quality products that fit with your business model and your subscribers. Too many people promote bad products – you can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig!
What have been your biggest failures and frustrations?
Too many to mention! I think though – looking back – I wish I had planned exactly what my business would be and then just concentrated on those few things. Think about what you’re good at and enjoy. I wish I started building a list of subscribers earlier too.
What is the single toughest problem you’ve had to face, and how did you get through it?
I’ve learnt everything from scratch and, at first, did not seek help. You must invest in coaching. Absolutely. It’s not that easy to find good coaching that suits you. You’ve got to ‘fit’ with your coach – it’s no good if you are learning stuff you don’t agree with or like doing.
Is there anything that you don’t like to do, that you just hate working on?
Yup – backlinks, seo stuff. I’ve been really turned off adswaps the past few months. Mostly because in the IM niche it is hard to find real quality that suits what I am doing with my subscribers at the time. I did far too many at the start and my subscribers grew very unresponsive – and I don’t blame them either.
Thank goodness, things are different now but I have had to work hard at redressing the damage that too many random adswaps did.
Which methods of promotion do you favor?
I still enter Giveaways. I do JV partnerships which are a bit like adswaps. Starting to integrate Facebook a lot more now and that is starting to work.
How have you made those promotion methods successful?
To be honest I find ‘word of mouth’ online works really well – if you focus on providing quality then people just tend to show up!
What have you been up to recently? What projects are you working on?
The FlipTheSquid training is a three month course that takes people on a journey of breaking down the barriers to online success. From developing the right mindset through to creating a website that serves as a HUB and has multiple purposes, to developing a product, gaining traffic and finally converting that traffic into subscribers.
I enjoy putting the content together through dispensed learning – getting the positive feedback and discovering new things that can help my subscribers. I rarely ‘pitch’ anything directly but I integrate affiliate products into the course material. I’m quite open about it and subscribers accept that this is a product that they pay for if they want. I think if you build up authenticity as a marketer in this way then you don’t really have to hard sell anyway. You simply have to provide massive value and people will not worry about buying something from you.
What problems have you had with those new projects?
I have to produce original products regularly and find engaging content can be a challenge. But it’s amazing that often if you are looking for something it invariably turns up! You just have to think a bit laterally and not stick to the traditional channels.
Do you think anything particular in your past prepared you for this industry? Your education? Jobs you’ve held before?
For sure – like I said – I have a long history in developing offline resources, including manuals, books, CD ROMS, DVDs etc. I can write fast and quite well and can apply this to the online world. It’s the actual ‘marketing’ side of things that I struggle with.
What is the future of Internet Marketing?
I defy anyone to predict that. But, I sense there is a strong movement away from some of the bad practices that plague Internet marketing. There’s a growth in authentic, no tricks, marketing. People online are not stupid and will gravitate away from all the emotional bribery and false hope marketing that’s around.
What are your greatest strengths?
Authenticity. Believe it or not I really do want to help people! Weird I know!
What are your greatest weaknesses?
I actually think I’m a crap marketer. I can produce and handle the technical things nowadays but I need to learn more about solid marketing techniques.
What motivates you?
Freedom, seeing how I can help people. Usual stuff!
What is the best advice you’ve been given and try to apply to your life?
End the day knackered.
Who has impacted you most in your career?
What kinds of people do you have difficulties working with? Any good stories?
Plenty. After a while in this industry you get a feel about who is for real and who is not. I don’t care if someone makes a lot of money or nothing – if they are genuine and seek to do the right thing then I will work with them.
What are some of your long-term goals? How much is enough? If money was no object, what would you be doing?
My long term goals don’t relate to money. I think that’s a mistake people make – chasing the sale. I want to make FlipTheSquid the core part of my business – the one thing that I do. As I mentioned at the start I tried far too many things – dabbling in this and that and not getting anywhere. I still stray occasionally but not as bad now.
I think if I produce the absolute best program possible, be as good as I can, then success will follow. It’s a bit like really good football coaches – they focus on getting the best out of themselves, developing a positive culture and sticking to a plan. If that works then the team wins. They don’t say ‘we’re going to win 2-0 this weekend”
Where do you want to be ten years from now?
If you could go back to being 18, what different career choices would you make?
I’d spend all my money on fast cars, women and beer – the rest I’d just squander!
What is your greatest achievement outside of work?
Keeping a happy wife and a roof over our head.
What is your favorite quote?
“The batsman’s Holding, the bowler’s Willey” Brian Johnson (Test Match Special) – sorry, if you don’t follow cricket you’ll just think I’m being rude!
Do you have a blog?