1) What originally gave you the idea to start internet business and how long have you building it out for?
John started Remoteworkmate in late 2010 after working online for many years and noticing that most web design/SEO companies just outsource to the Philippines or Odesk. It was also inspired like many others by the great book 4HWW. After Being involved in outsourcing many of our products services and other business ideas are very closely related.
2) How many hours a week do you spend on your internet business?50hours+...... Honestly we actually need to outsource more of our work and focus on more core activities. Of those 50 hours a lot of time is spent on tasks that we really should not be doing. We are fairly flexible in the hours we work each day and often work most weekends. Getting anywhere takes time you have to be prepared to put in the hours.
3) Ideas are often so hard to implement – tells us a bit about how you started and what were your first steps in creating your site/sites.
We use WordPress for all our sites. For http://www.remoteworkmate.com/ (our main money site) First we had to find a partner in The Philippines to work with before anything. This partner was to help manage staff, run the office and do all general management of the business. Once we had this we used a team to help make the website do all the SEO needed on the site start getting our first clients. We try to get things up as soon as possible even if its not perfect. It really is easy to get up a website and put a Paypal link this can be done in 1 day. The internet is so forgiving if you make a poor site/bad idea it’s easy to pivot and try again. Its better to just get something up rather than brewing on your ideas. We try to brainstorm fairly often and come up with new ideas and improvements on the business
4) What is the main source of income for your internet business?
Our outsourcing business http://www.remoteworkmate.com/ but we are looking to change this a little we are creating new services like http://outsourceppc.com.au/ more niche services and also building out a micro niche site portfolio to help get us some passive income.
5) What other things besides blogging do you do to build your audience and customer base?
We use PPC, niche sites, marketing direct to clients (using a virtual assistant) and of course organic SEO traffic to the site. We are currently redesigning our business and website right now. After this we are going to increase our marketing efforts.
6) What do you think are the biggest challenges of marketing your business?Finding the right clients. In this industry there is such a thing as an awful customer- example... one who wants their virtual assistant to have 30 different skill sets like SEO, graphic design and PHP then they want just 2 hours a week. This is a huge time drain and ultimately ends up costing us money. We are also in limbo trying to decide if we should market ourselves more on the site to make it more personal or to keep it like a corporate site.
7) What has been your main difficulty or barrier in running your business to date?
Retaining clients! Clients are always unhappy, steal our staff and never usually stay more than 5 months. If we could fix this we could have some serious growth. This is something we are working on and think our marketing message could help this along with a better project manager and other things we want to implement.
8) What forums do you follow/participate it?
Our Favorite is the Dynamite Circle a quality private forum with no BS.
9) What do you feel is/are the biggest mistakes you have made this far?
We listed them in a recent blog post we did-
Trusting the wrong people
Management style not suited for Filipinos
Overspent / Hired too many staff
Getting a new office before sorting out more important core business issues
Spending too much time on task not directly related to making profit / revenue
Not focusing enough on growth
10) What are your plans for growing your business into the next 3-5 years?
We are creating new services like I mentioned before plus increasing the quality of our current service. We want to dominate the Australian market for outsourcing eventually and believe this is possible. This includes making a outsourcing membership site and possibly some sort of podcast. If someone in Australia thinks outsourcing we want them to think "Matt and John" We have been at this game just 1 year which has been 90% mistakes.... now we can start to focus on growth/marketing more and more.