Knitting Online Success Story – JJ from begintoknit.com Part 2

This is Part 2 of my interview with JJ, Click Here for Part 1.

[Liz]: Can I just ask you while we were talking about begintoknit and the internet marketing and setting up – I think a lot of people find the challenge of when you first start getting online and learning how set things up, because there’s just so many courses out there. And there’s so much that you can do, so it’s quite hard to get focused sometimes. So how did you decide, and how did you learn how to set up your blog and your orders and everything that you’ve done, how did you learn to do that?

[J.J]: Well I actually ran into a program online; see I had seen time and time again this stuff about lists. What is your list- grow your list. I’m like whatever, what does that even mean? And I had kept coming across it every time I started investigating something about internet marketing and initially it turned me off because I’m like- ‘what are you doing? Are you creating your own cult or what?’ [A knitting cult?!] There you go!

And as I started to investigate it, it made more sense. Internet marketing is the epitome of relationship marketing and relationship marketing is all about interacting with the people you’re marketing too, and in fact I’m almost a little uncomfortable using the term marketing. Because when people talk about marketing, they think; commercials, they think print ads, they think high pressure sales and with internet marketing it really is not about that at all.

I’ve had absolutely no problem for asking someone to pay for a good product that I put out there. I don’t think there is anything at all wrong with that, I really do not, but if as an internet marketer your first goal is not to help people and to improve the lives of individuals- you’re going to get eaten alive and people are not going to come to you for anything. Our goal-my husband and I- our whole goal in anything that we do is always about how can we improve a person’s individual state, how can we elevate people? How can we help people to be better? And absolutely the products that we are providing- what we do- we give people all kinds of freebies. We really like to give stuff away but we recognize the value of paying for something that’s worth having. I can’t reiterate that enough investment makes something more valuable.

I myself, I’m currently in an internet marketing course or internship program or however you want to term it with an organization called Prosperity Based Living and it’s in a larger organization called Champion Vision and the leader of that is Dan Kushel. If anybody whose listening has done anything with internet marketing, they’re very much familiar with that name. He’s very much a self made man, in many ways and when he’s interacting with people, he just doesn’t talk about- well let’s get you started in internet marketing, let me give you three or four things that you can do and from there on out blah blah blah. It’s really not about the hard sell, they are actually literally about walking you through your beginning and encouraging you to continue and when you work with these people you really get a sense of them trying to improve your quality of life- that’s their goal.

So for me that’s very impressive and to me ultimately that’s what internet marketing should be about, monetizing your internet marketing should be secondary. And I know that sounds counter-intuitive, we tend to think of wanting to make everyone wanting to pay for every little tid-bit you give there, but really monetizing your products are secondary you really want to give people quality information, to build that trust with them, they know that you’re giving them something worth having. So if you do give them a product that you are selling them, it’s that much more worth it to them.

Investment makes something… Investment makes the heart grow fonder? I don’t know if that makes sense to you. But your book, “Knitting For Profit – see we’re affiliates for your information also, my husband and I- see this is something we wanted to do we wanted to monetize his knitting ability and he enjoys putting himself out there with it now which is really awesome I see so much change in him. It’s amazing to me, it’s thrilling and it’s encouraging. So it makes me want to put myself out there that much more you know? So we started looking through ClickBank anybody who’s tried to market their own information products knows about ClickBank, it’s basically a real simple, easy way to put your product out there and have other people help you sell it. And Liz we found your product “Knitting For Profit” on ClickBank we bought it, we looked at it and I was very impressed with the knitting for profit E-Book. I went to your blog and I was very impressed with the blog and the quantity and quality of the information that you put out there.

Our blog is just starting and we have a specific challenge in that-and this is kind of funny- our blog is dual language, we actually have two blogs. Anything we post on our main blog which is just begintoknit.com/blog we duplicate that in Spanish on begintoknit.com/blog2. [That’s a fantastic idea, I really like that.] And you would not imagine the thrill I got when we published our first article and I went through- and I started looking for where it was on Google and someone had actually translated my first article into Spanish on their website. I was so thrilled I was unbelievably thrilled, and it’s neat because, you know my husband being Spanish, Spanish being my second language it’s another passion of mine.

We’re able to head a whole different niche and our true goal is to get out there and give people something to work with- we want to give people information. So our information is building, its building slowly but its building and we’re trying to get as much quality information out there as possible and we’re trying to provide people with some free resources as well as connecting up with wonderful resources like your website. And obviously as affiliates for your product, your product is one that we’re also out there providing to people and currently on begintoknit.com what we do provide initially is a free e-course.

So anybody listening- if you know somebody that wants to learn how to knit so they can fully take advantage of Liz’s product- send them on over we’ll give them a free e-course on beginning knitting.

Liz: [And that’s using your unique set of teaching… the way your husband teaches?]

Yes it is extraordinarily simple; we did as much as we could to provide as many full colored photographs as we could to illustrate as closely and as specifically as we could how to do the actual movements with your hands. It’s a five step course but the first step is actually just about what you need. So it only takes four specific steps to allow you to get started on a simple knitting project and after we go through the initial e-course then we start providing patterns for beginning knitters to be able to do confidently and effectively.

Then as we go forward we’re going to provide the intermediate knitting e-book as a purchased product. We’re working right now on the video series on the initial e-course and the intermediate as well.

Liz: [That’s fantastic, to get ranked on Google as well as to get some video on YouTube as well.]

Absolutely and I also I have four little hams, also known as my children-and Ruth has actually told me that she wants to be active in this process so the whole thing I mean, not only has it been beneficial from a monetary perspective, not only has it been beneficial in that we have a way to help people which is the cry of our hearts- we want to help people but it’s also become this amazing family project. Everyone in the family has something they can do. Even my littlest child, she’s three years old, and she’s singing the farmer in the dell and it’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. And I actually did unashamedly put a big plug in there for begintoknit.com and why not? She’s a beautiful adorable little girl and people can get a free e-course out of watching her- why not?

Ruth actually did a Squidoo Page, squidoo.com, and that’s a fun little web directory. You can go in there and you can donate part of your money or all of it if you want- you can donate it to whatever cause may be beneficial to you, one that you personally support. Ruth and I both have Squidoo pages; my son wants to put one up about Lego’s. Hey he’s a boy- he’s all boy so he may as well. And we’re both supporting the local Salvation Army through it and mine is specifically about knitting, her own is about crafting in general. There’s links on the blog about it and I’m so proud of my kids what they’re also doing with this particular aspect of our family life. It’s been amazing just to watch –especially Ruth- flourish with her writing skills in this. So it’s become such a family affair and the internet marketing aspect of it, the more I see of that interacting with people the more I enjoy it

[Liz]: Wonderful, so is that how you are going to promote begintoknit? Because I think that’s something else that a lot of people initially struggle with, how to get known, how to get out there and to connect with people and build that list. So what’s your strategy for doing that?

[J.J]: Well I have actually come up with two strategies that have begun to really show fruit for me, one of them is article marketing. Now here’s the really cool thing about article marketing. Often times when you start studying about search engine optimization, I know that’s a big giant word. Basically all that is, is Google Rankings. When someone plugs in your keyword- you want your page to be close to the top because you’re going to have people more likely to click on you.

Part of what Google uses to decide whether or not your blog, your website, your forum, or whatever is worth people going to is how many different places are linked to it, that’s incoming links. Now obviously you also want a lot of outgoing links on your site that lead to other people who do similar things as what you do. Which- I’ve linked to you, you’ve linked to me, and there’s a couple of other people out there that I’ve linked up to, there’s a number of products I’ve linked up to. But getting the articles out there, that’s other websites that have articles that are linking back to me. Other people get in there and they start looking at my articles then they come back to my website. Article marketing is very powerful, and I love writing, so it’s a joy for me to get out there, put out stuff that’s good quality information, touching stories, inspirational stories- stuff to encourage people, stuff to inform people.

And that’s all free for the taking, they can take it as much as they want and do whatever they want with it and then they can read that article and they link back to my website. So that’s one way I generate traffic.

The other thing has been very, very effective for me, have been give-a-way programs. Now that, I kind of accidently came upon and I’m definitely going to have to put something about this in my blog-just because it’s been so interesting. There’s a whole side to internet marketing that’s about people reselling private label rights products. Basically they go and they pull up as many private products that they can, that other people would give them the right to alter; brand and sell- and they really make a lot of money doing this.

And one little section of that kind of marketing are the JV Giveaways. What is that? Well a number of people with a free product get on these give-a-ways and they put their product in there. Let’s say they have three different products and they’re trying to build three different lists. Remember I said something about the list earlier, that’s when you get people set up on an email list, that you send them emails. That’s what my e-course is, it’s through email and basically you have permission to contact these people. Ideally you’re going to give them free products, you’re going to give them quality information, and you’re going to present them quality monetized products.

I’m only going to sell stuff that I think is quality and I want people to realize that when they see my product, they’re going to see I’m giving them a good product. So these JV partnerships, these give-a-way programs- the whole point is you get in there and you give away a good product. You start getting people to opt into your list and you’re able then to take advantage of that relationship- they saw your product, they know it’s good, if they like it they stay subscribed if they don’t they unsubscribe and you haven’t lost anything. It doesn’t cost you anything if you’re only putting in one product.

Now a lot of times people will upgrade and that’s how they make their money. Well I’ve never upgraded and I would say a full third of my opt-ins on my email list has come through these free give-aways. Yeah- and I’m not even trying. I put in this little product and they do their give-away program and people see my product, and they’re interested and intrigued and they sign up for it-Boom there you go.

[Liz]: I was just going to say, there’s probably people listening now who would be interested to learn more about that or actually going to do that, do you have a website address or anything that you can send them to?

[J.J]: Oh you know what? Not initially, but right now as a family we’re working on developing a whole new website aside from begintoknit, and I think that’s one of the aspects of that new website- as soon as it comes up- if people stay connected to begintoknit.com and that email list- I would absolutely be able to send them that information. And at some point I’m also going to pick out the one’s that do the best at this, because I only want to work with the best, I only want to give out quality products and I only want to provide people with quality contacts, so at this point right I’m looking for people that do the best quality program and have actually gotten me the most quality leads. I’m in a lot of different programs right now where that is concerned, and I need to backtrack and see exactly where the best leads have come from. I do have a contact that I have a relationship with and I’m going to kind of touch base with him specifically on who he recommends but if people just keep in contact with me on begintoknit.com, especially in the blog – so it’s begintoknit.com/blog. I’m going to be putting that on the blog very soon, I’ve got to interact with my contact and then and I want to make sure that I’m getting people the absolute best product and contact that they can get.

Liz: [Fantastic, and that’s a great value.] It is, it’s wonderful and it’s free!

Liz: [You can’t get better value than that] Absolutely, and something else I’ve begun to notice as far as traffic is twitter.

Liz: [Ah Yes, yes I’ve seen that too.] Yeah! I was really surprised I just went in and just did a search on how many people knit on twitter and all I did was go into their help screen and I did a specific search by topic for ‘Knit’ and it’s like wow- there are so many people out there that do that. So that’s another tremendous resource, you interact with these people and you can actually start specifically, I mean this is all relationship stuff so you don’t want to start bombarding people with your product. That’s not where it’s at. The idea is you want to learn about people so you take advantage first of all of the lists that you’ve built, you ask them what they want and you give them what they want. You want to give people something that they’re going to consider valuable. And with twitter it’s a great resource because you also find out what people enjoy, what their looking for, what they need and I have learned a huge amount of information just by floating through twitter and just seeing what people are talking about.

[Liz]: The other thing actually you’ve mentioned to me before with your blog, you were talking about getting other contributors in. I think one of the things with blogging is that keeping up with a blog, keeping up with a lot of articles can be daunting for some people. That was a really bright idea that you had there- that you started getting other people to contribute to your blog as well.

[J.J]: Absolutely, I especially have a tender heart towards previous generations. Mostly because I don’t think our older folks are valued in society in general, especially in the United States. I can tell you there’s not the reverence for the older generation as there ought to be that’s my personal opinion. I would love to hear from those seasoned knitters, who have had specific experiences or who have some little kind of trick or tip about different ways knitting has helped them or ways they have found to really explode their ability with knitting.

Just how knitting makes them feel- all of these sorts of things my husband and I are just really fascinated hearing people’s stories- learning from them. A couple of older gals that are at our church, interacting with them and looking at some of the stuff they’ve created – I’ve been just absolutely amazed at what they have been able to show us and I have been really astonished, surprised and thrilled to see some of the younger girls- who have taken up the needles on their own and we have been able to actually interact with some of them.

My husband has actually given some tips and tricks to some of the younger girls in our church. Yeah! This one gal was like I really want to knit, but I’m not sure how to go about it, you know- do you have any suggestions? Because she always sees me with the shawls or the scarves, the sweater my husband made me, one thing or another. And she’s like I always see you with these great handmade items where do I get more information on it? And I said- talk to him, and she’s like you’re kidding, ‘No-talk to him, he can help you, he wants to do this’. So a number of people have gone to my husband for this information, but yes I am fascinated by people’s stories. It’s not just technique that I’m interested in finding out about, I want to hear people talk about why they started to knit or why knitting is an important part of their life.

Knitting is part of a lifestyle and it is something that will stop you and slow you down, and it will teach you patience and teaches you perseverance sometimes it teaches you how to overcome frustration- when you have that new stitch that you’re trying to learn. I can’t tell you how many times, and remarkably it can be so interactive if you have a partner that you can knit with. My husband, there have been a number of times when he’s seen a pattern or something in a book that he’s gotten from the library- which is a great resource by the way, go to your local library get books on knitting- and that’s how he’s developed so many patterns, he’ll take something out of a book that he’s gotten at the library and he’ll put a couple of things together- boom he’s got a new stitch. And there have been a number of times where he’s just sitting there and he sees something, and it looks so pretty and he’s like I just really want to do this I just can’t get it to work. And we’ll sit there and we’ll puzzle over it and I’ll read the pattern and I’ll try it and I’ll be like well I’m not sure but I think this is what its saying. And he’ll take the needles and say I think you’ve got it up to there but I think this is what happens next. It’s fun and it’s a good way to get that television turned off and to get the interaction happening.

I’m fascinated at hearing people’s why behind the knitting and that’s some of the stuff I really want people to contribute to the blog about. I want to read it, if for no other reason and we want to share people’s personal stories and their testimonials about knitting and it’s just touching to me, to hear that.

[Liz]: Ok, well the final question I just wanted to ask you was in terms of starting, we’re talking to a lot of people obviously who are looking to starting a knitting business or starting up online, what would be your piece of advice for someone just starting out?

[J.J]: Oh… The biggest, the biggest thing is about passion. If there’s one thing that you may have picked up about me is that when I am doing something it has to come from my gut, it has to be something I am passionate about. Having that passion is going to carry you through those times when you’re starting to get frustrated, it’s going to carry you through those times when it doesn’t look like it’s quite going the way you’re expecting it to. That passion is going to help push you through seeking help when you need it and people are going to pick up on that- if you are not passionate about doing it, don’t do it. And by all means I’m not telling you don’t try to make money knitting, that’s not at all what I’m telling you. I would venture to say that if you’re even looking at the possibility, chances are you’re more passionate about knitting than most people out there. But anything that you do, that you want to make a business out of, if you are not passionate about it you will not make it. Honestly, it’s that simple, that’s number one.

Number two I would say get as much information as you can- and not just from mediocre resources, get information from top-notch resources. I hate the term ‘Guru’, honestly, but if you are looking to getting into an internet business you need to talk to the gurus, I really do hate that word. But if you’re talking to someone who has made money online chances are they’re going to tell you how to make money online. If you’re talking to someone that has made money knitting, then that person is someone you want to interact with.

You need quality resources you need quality information. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there a little bit- my relationship with Liz has developed just because I shot her off an email. And was I nervous about doing that? Yeah I was a little nervous because you obviously have a well developed concept, you have a well developed idea, and you have a well developed blog, so yeah that was a little intimidating. But you’re a very personable person; you’re very knowledgeable about what you’re doing so I consider you a tremendous resource- your book Knitting For Profit is very good. What you have done, you have obviously done what you set out to do and that’s what you need to do. You need to interact with people that have done what they set out to do; you need to get those suggestions and advice from those people.

Number one is passion, number two is information, number three—be willing to invest whatever it takes, and that’s not necessarily money, that’s about time, that’s about personal commitment that is about being able to sacrifice something in order to do it. Let’s say for example that you’re looking at your budget and you’re realize you’re only a few dollars away for being able to pay for that Domain Hosting, you know what? Give up Star Bucks; give up Dunkin Donuts or whatever- that McDonald’s stop in the morning or whatever it is that you don’t need. Be willing to give that up- who knows you might actually end up with better health out of it, you never know, but be willing to sacrifice those things.

Make sure your team is in on this with you, when I talk about my team, my team is my family. My husband has actually been after me for a while, he knew that I wanted to do something; he knew that I was capable of doing something but I hadn’t found it. I hadn’t found the ‘it’ I was looking for, when I found it my passion began to grow, I began to get the information I needed to make it work and I saw his support. I said I need this I need your support on this I need to know that you’d be behind me if I did this. He said absolutely I support you, I said it’s going to take a sacrifice of time, it’s going to take a sacrifice of money, and it’s going to take a sacrifice of energy on my part. I’m not going to be able to do as much in the house keeping and all of those things. You know obviously I’m not slacking off on everything in my household but it has taken a huge chunk of my time and I don’t begrudge that because I do still at this point have a part time job. But I am very close of working myself out of that part time job and I’m willing to do that, I’m willing to put that time and that energy into it.

So number one is passion, number two is information, number three is do whatever it takes. So just don’t be afraid if you find a good resource, if it costs you a little money, it takes a monetary investment. You know what the fact of the matter is that if everything you invest in your business is free, you may not take it as seriously. If the information that you’re getting is all free information, you may not be getting the quality of information that you deserve to make your business really work.

Honestly the initial information I got for the internet marketing, for the affiliate marketing, for the website design all of this stuff that I gleamed through the free information. You know what it was good information but I kept finding hurdles that I had to overcome and that was because I hadn’t developed the relationship with the people that had the information that I needed, I got that relationship and I got that information by paying for it. It’s a tremendous resource if you can find somebody that has what you need. If you are willing to pay for it do so, and I’m not going to tell you who to go to because it really depends on how you want to monetize your knitting business or your information business or whatever type of business you want to go into. Obviously there’s a lot of different avenues people can take- if they want to do the public domain marketing or whatever it is they want to do with this. Re-sale products, or if they’re selling hard products, if they want to sell something on E-Bay or Etsy or whatever it is that they’re trying to sell on.

There’s a number of different people out there that have successful, good businesses that they have developed over those sorts of resources and those people would be the one that they would need to go to. I can give suggestions- I have some tremendous mentors and I can definitely suggest them. But a lot of times the best resources and the most valuable resources are going to be the ones that you find, that you have gotten quality information from. I encourage people to do their research, get their information. So number on passion, number two information, number three, do what it takes, and number four be willing to pay for it. So there you go that’s what I would tell someone who wants to start their own business.

[Liz]: Excellent that is a really fantastic summary! Well hey, I think we’re at the end here, I really appreciate you spending the time today, I found this really interesting I’ve learnt a lot. I’m impressed and I love your passion and I love the way you love knitting and this new direction in your life. It’s really inspiring.

[J.J] It’s wonderful, and I’m glad I can share it and I’m honored that you wanted to share this with people and that you want and that you wanted to talk to me about it, I was really touched. But I was excited to have the opportunity to do this and thank you very much for the opportunity to share.

[Liz]: Well thank you, I think people will have learned a lot from this, and if anyone wants to contact you- I highly recommend they sign up with your newsletter which is at begintoknit.com or check out the blog at begintoknit.com/blog or if you speak Spanish, begintoknit.com/blog2. OK, so thank you very much for being with us J.J

[J.J] You’re absolutely welcome and thank you for having me!

If you would also like to make some money from promoting the Knitting For Profit E-Book like JJ, learn more about becoming an affiliate at www.knittingforprofit.com/affiliates.html. It's a fast, easy way to start making money from your existing knitting or crochet website or blog!

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