Net Profits - Make More Money
Malaysian Today, 22-28 Jan 09
Two Netpreneurs with number one websites in the world share with us their stories of success so that others who are interested can follow in their footsteps and reap really good Net profits.
For those of you celebrating Chinese New Year in a few days time, what do you think your “collection” will be this time around?
Of course the main idea when celebrating this festive season is for us to go round paying our respects to family and relatives, but for many of us singles, the ang pow is an important feature during this auspicious celebration too, right?
With such a bleak world economic outlook though, it’s best not to harbour high expectations; chances are, you could be getting smaller packets this year.
At the same time, prices of things seem to be rocketing. A Mars bar which used to be RM2.30 half a year ago, is now RM3.20 at one convenience store. A bottle of mineral water is RM2.80, the smaller one, which used to be RM1, is now RM1.50.
And you know what they say about things that go up, right? They never come down!
"Net Profits - Make More Money - Malaysian Today - Fione Tan"
How do we keep up with higher expenses, less jobs around, and a keener competition for work? What can we do to supplement our income?
“Turn to your computer,” says Fione Tan.
Tan did just this and made her first million when she was still in her 20s.
Now 29, Tan who graduated with an American degree, is the brains behind eOneNet, a multi-million dollar online business coaching and internet marketing company which currently holds the number one spot in Asia for internet coaching.
With offices in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong, Tan, who is the CEO of eOneNet, is a woman with the virtual and real world at her feet. In December 2008, Tan was selected as the Top 10 Women Entrepreneurs in the National Women Entrepreneurs Award Malaysia.
She relates to Malaysian Today her journey from a business plan consisting of four pieces of white-and-black A4 paper to the moment she purchased a luxury car costing a quarter of a million.
“I quit my job at the end of 1999, and decided I wanted to do something on the Internet,” she said. “However, I had no product ideas or any money to get started.”
“So, armed with a simple 4-page business plan, I attended business events and various talks to meet more entrepreneurs and business owners.” But at the relatively tender age of 21, it was not easy to influence others that she was determined to make this business work.
“Still, I was persistent and found a few shareholders (who owned their own businesses as well) who decided to invest in my internet idea,” she says. “And that was how eOneNet.com was born in 2000.”
“Just like any normal young entrepreneur, I lacked the confidence, yet my passion for the Internet saw me through the obstacles,” she say frankly. “I had to learn a lot of new things and constantly adjust my ideas to fit the market’s response.”
Tan is convinced that the online world holds limitless possibilities for young entrepreneurs out there.
“I wanted a ‘job’ that pays money without me having to break my back working day and night, so very hard that I wouldn’t even have the time to enjoy the fruits of my labour.
“And I have found it, running my online venture. Some of the products I market, like headphones, and other computer peripherals, have earned me revenue beyond my wildest dreams.
“The first time an ‘order’ for some of my products came in, I was on holiday. I was just checking my mail on my laptop when I discovered an order for US$10,000… just like that!
And because Tan was doing so well by herself at such a young age, she was plagued by a particular problem; many couldn’t believe she was able to afford very expensive buys at her age.
“I wanted to get the newest BMW model for myself when I walked into a car showroom. The sales people didn’t seem to want to give me the time of day, and when they did, they looked me up and down, with rolling eyes that seemed to say, “Don’t waste my time girl, you definitely can’t afford this.”
It was the same when she wanted to buy property, where once, she just walked into a house-for-sale, said she liked it there and then, and paid the deposit on the spot, to a rather startled real estate agent.
But thankfully she says, she doesn’t get the “once-over” treatment when she weaves herself in and out of boutiques here and abroad, getting her favourite designer labels. This could most likely be because she is able to look the part of a big buyer.
“If this is your passion, you will need to do whatever you can to push your website to greater heights. Even the world’s youngest billionaire made his fortune from an Internet venture so this is undeniably the best industry for you to start your entrepreneurial journey.”
Another young woman who has found the pot of gold in the broadbands of the Internet is Jennifer Too, the enterprising daughter of Feng Shui master extraordinaire and founder of World of Feng Shui (WOFS), the top Feng Shui paraphernalia store in Malaysia, Lillian Too.
“I started building websites while still in university (Jennifer is from Cambridge), and built a website around my favourite movie at the time – Titanic – selling movie-related merchandise for 3rd party merchants,” she recalls. “I managed to make quite decent pocket money that way, so when I graduated I set up a company to build websites and offer internet solutions for other websites.”
One of the websites she built was for WOFS, to disseminate the knowledge of Feng Shui and to market her mother’s books.
“Today, www.worldoffengshui.com – now www.WOFS.com – is the number one ranked website on Feng Shui, and our online store matches our bricks-and-mortar stores in terms of monthly sales,” she says.
AND HOW DO YOU START?
In this growing trend of bright young minds seeking self-employment, Fione Tan says that pursuing entrepreneurship versus seeking a stable employment are two worlds apart.
“When you are an entrepreneur, you pour in sweat, blood and tears but your results will be justified as you will reap what you sow,” she enthuses. “It requires you to think out of the box and be proactive as no good entrepreneur will just wait for things to happen. They make things happen!”
“First of all, you should make a decision to be an Internet Entrepreneur. It will be an uphill battle to convince your family members that the Internet can be a career and not merely a hobby. Therefore, be persistent and make this your objective,” she encourages.
She also advises doing research about the internet businesses, by reading online blogs, websites and attending internet marketing seminars.
“Initially, you will need to come up with a website business plan,” she says. “You must have a clear picture of what items you wish to sell, source of supplies, and the targeted revenues projected from this website.”
“Remember also that what you are interested in selling may not be a product with high demand online,” she warns. “You need to research on marketable products that people are searching and buying online, by using online resources such as the Google keyword tool; to ensure you can target a product with a high online demand.”
“You can register a domain name and check for available domain names online, as well as register with a credit card at FreeDomainsRegistration.com.” she suggests.
The next step, she says, is to find a supplier for the product, services or related information that you need for your business. Following that is website development.
“You need to be aware that the website is not just merely web design. What matters is how to write website contents which can convince the search engines to put you on top of the search results, and to convince your visitors to buy from your site instead of from your competitors.”
“Do all you can to promote your website but choose to use effective methods such as search engine optimisation, pay per click advertising, blog and email marketing, and the new trend of using social networking websites, such as Facebook and MySpace,” she suggests.
Online marketing, she notes, will be the most important criteria in having a successful online business.
“No matter how good your product is, or how well the website is designed, if no one visits your website, you are unlikely to earn any money. Many websites with simple web design and average products are able to generate income due to effective online marketing,” she shares. “Therefore, it’s undeniable that online marketing can make or break your online business.”
“It’s no longer the days when companies have to be asked to use online marketing. It’s now a case of survival and growth. When companies wish to increase their market share or improve worldwide sales, there will be no better choice than internet marketing.”
Those who embrace this marketing method will grow and those who avoid this method will lose out or even extinguish in the competitive market, she predicts. Never forget that it is also equally important to know your competition.
“Compare your website to other leading sites of the same industry and work on what are your areas of improvements required,” she says. “Ultimately, in a website business, skills such as sales and customer service are infinitely more crucial than the skills of designing or programming a website.”
Too, who is the CEO of WOFS.com, has well-earned knowledge to share when it comes making your fortune on the digital super-highway.
“Decide what kind of online business you want to do. Set up. Get going. Then hope it is successful! For first timers it is probably easier if you have a business model to emulate; but then you add your own twist, or borrow a concept and apply it to your own local market.”
“Be bold and give it a go,” she encourages. “But don’t spend too much money on it if you don’t have the money to spend, and don’t give up your day job if you need your steady income to survive!”
“Internet businesses can work as a side business, turning into your main business only once it has had the time to “take off”,” she says.
Too believes that those who long to be the next proprietor of Google or Facebook, must think out the box and come up with something completely new and different.
eOneNet.com, ranked Asia's top Internet marketing company with offices in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, and ranked No.1 Internet marketing company Asia by Google, specializes in helping SMIs to expand their business globally and get top rankings in international and China search engines, and offers services including guaranteed top rankings in international and China search engines, email marketing in the legal way, and Internet marketing training and coaching. Clients include both multinational companies and SMIs in the region. For more details, visit http://www.eOneNet.com.