I remember being new. There was so much pressure. Rent: due. Cash: low. I didn’t even have groceries. The start of my business was a last ditch effort at survival, let alone success.

Those first few months, I struggled in silence. I didn’t tell my family or friends that I was in need, just scraped by day to day and begged God to let me wake up to at least three sales a week. All day, every day, I marketed. Free ad submission here, article submission there, manual traffic exchanges to build my list. Called people, emailed people, did link exchanges. Submitted manually to hundreds of directories.

As a new internet marketer, it is crazy to put yourself through the process alone. Nuts. My salvation was in the form of internet marketing forums, particularly two private ones in which we all shared our web addresses and lamented not being able to make one sale a day. We also celebrated landmarks like the first time we made a thousand dollars in one day.

Of particular help was in writing to my internet marketing idols. There were people I looked up to online that I’d never met in person, and I wanted to reach them, in the days before blogging. I’d buy their products and look for direct email addresses. It would take me two days to decide what to write. I kept my messages brief, complimentary, and included offers of help in exchange for knowledge.

This is a big, big secret, that you hear about from time to time but don’t really understand, until you experience it first hand.

The people who make it online, who have businesses that are around for years, who are the “names” in the business are the best and the friendliest people around. If you approach people with respect for them and their time, they will bend over backwards to help you get ahead.

All you have to do is ask them. Yet so many of us are so afraid of having these conversations. I still can’t get up the nerve to do interviews, even though I have an idea that, with my contacts, would make me a small fortune within about a month. I’ve been interviewed myself dozens of times, but contrary to how I appear online, I’m often painfully shy.

I’ll never forget the day I realized that I had gone beyond not being new, to being successful. It was the day I got my first email from a tentative marketer asking for my opinion. I still keep that smile in my pocket.

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