Monday, April 14

Exclusive Interview - Holly Mann Reveals Her Path to Success

Holly, from your Honest Riches website I get a sense of an interesting and diverse background. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

I'm a 24 year old woman with a 19 month old son. Like many others, I survived a rough childhood and am a stronger person for it today. I have many interests, including: my son, world traveling, volunteering, learning languages, experiencing other cultures, extreme yoga/contortion, writing, photography and art in all forms. I also really enjoy working online; internet marketing, Search Engine Optimization and creating successful online ventures and websites. I enjoy embracing challenges and overcoming them - and each new site is a hurdle and when it's conquered it's a good feeling. One of the worst feelings I've experienced (other than seeing my son physically hurt) is the feeling of guilt associated with financial instability. Parents want their children to have a world of opportunities, financial stability and endless possibilities. That feeling of guilt and the stress from having no money was what pushed me to break into Internet Marketing. I don't want others to keep feeling that way as well. I want them to have hope - and realistically understand how to make money online, what is involved and what is required for them to be successful - then go for it!

How did you happen to get into the Internet Marketing industry? What were the deciding factors?

I'm going to be completely honest. For the first time after years of living on my own, being in the Army and traveling around Asia by myself - I became dependent on others for my survival. I am a single mom and my 4 1/2 month old son and I were cooped up in tiny room I rented out of my brother and his wife's home. It wasn't in a very good neighborhood outside of Milwaukee, and I was trying to survive on $700 dollars a month. I had lived in Thailand when I was 16 as an exchange student with the Rotary Club and I loved it there; the people, food and culture. I decided to sell all of our belongings and move there. I knew I could afford to live on $700 a month there while I got the Internet Businesses started. I didn't need to put my son in daycare - so I could take care of him and still break into Internet Marketing. It was a freeing feeling, but also very scary. The last item I sold prior to leaving was my laptop which I worked on. It was a Sony Vaio I bought while I was working overseas in Iraq (and was actually saving a little money) and I sold it on ebay in order to have enough to buy our airline tickets. After flying for nearly 24 hours, we arrived in Chiangmai, Thailand. I found a small studio apartment and had serious troubles getting an internet connection. I also couldn't afford a computer. So, I went to a computer parts store and bought all of the parts needed to put a computer together. I didn't know what I was doing, but the guys there put it together included in the total price. Most of the parts were used and so they were much cheaper. The total cost for the contraption was a little over $250 dollars U.S. The computer screen alone weighed at least 30 pounds and looked like something from the 1960s. The actual base and hard drive made a really loud buzzing noise all the time. I lived in a 13 story building and there was a phone switch board with 4 lines. I bought an Internet Card from the store and hooked my computer up to the phone connected to the slow switchboard. I held up that line for hours at a time, as others were trying to call in and out of the building. I'll never forget how seemingly impossible it felt to publish a website with Microsoft Frontpage on a 24KBPS connection speed! I thought about giving up on it as it took hours and hours to publish one simple website update. But I didn't give up, and within four months I was making 12K per month and FINALLY got DSL Internet!

It looks like you've had some very exciting successes over the last year. What do you attribute your online growth to? Did you follow someone's formula or path?

Thank you. I didn't follow anyone's formula. If something I did worked well, I continued with it and built on it. I have tried out many different methods to find the ones which are most successful and quickest to implement. My search engine optimization techniques, along with keyword research have made me the most money. I've learned patience - and not to jump into creating a site without conducting full research to know exactly what the market is searching for, how many times are they typing that phrase in the search engines per day, how many competing sites, similar phrases, etc. Some people think certain phrases will get them traffic but without doing the proper research, you can set yourself up for failure. Besides research, my success is due to diligence, hard work and having the hope and motivation to know that it's possible. Last but not least - my customers are very important to me. People are getting ripped off and scammed all the time. Many people who contact me are at the end of their rope - already given up with a small amount of hope left after reading about my program. I try to be as supportive, honest and help them the best that I can at: Although I haven't followed anyone's path, Mike Filsaime has been a huge inspiration to me and someone I have learned a lot from. One technique I learned from him increased my yearly income by quite a lot of money. I created a site about him at: as a thank you and to share my story with others. It was neat because he stumbled upon the site and emailed me to thank me for the support and to tell me he was happy the techniques were working for me.

Do you have a sense of how much time you have put into Honest Riches?

The e-book is actually being sold on four different websites. I put a lot of time into creating the sites. I put many hours over different spans of time after the creation of the e-book - in updating it with the most current internet marketing techniques. I learn new profitable things every day, and some methods change according to different internet marketing trends. I spend a lot of time updating the e-book and the last update was on August 23rd, making it 54 pages long.

You have been getting a lot of positive reviews and recommendations - has getting your products and presence online been a positive experience? What have been the downsides?

It's been an amazing experience. I didn't realize how big it would become. I had no idea. For me, there has been a downfall but it is a minor one. I really enjoy applying all of the techniques I explain in the e-book. I love the research phase, discovering niches, creating websites, making it a success. I'm currently working on a website which will profit from affiliate programs. It's not really a niche because it has over 30 million competing websites. I like the challenge and I'm currently optimizing it and trying to finish it. The only downfall (which isn't a big one) is that since I created the e-book I receive a ton of emails from people. Many people email me and ask general questions which the answers are online if the question is typed in Google. Many people buy the e-book and then lose the download link and ask for it again and again. That doesn't sound like a big deal but then after I send the link - they may send a thank you, then I say "you're welcome" then they say, "oh by the way, I loved your e-book" and I get wrapped up in a funny web of short email notes. With tens of thousands of customers that can be overwhelming. I have become much better with organizing the emails and time management. So, what I am saying is, I have only 3-5 hours online each day while my son is in daycare part time and I'd love to spend some of that time working on my projects but I get caught up in a lot of emails. That is the only downfall but it's just a matter of me managing my time. I make a huge effort in responding to emails within 24 hours and I personally answer each one. I don't want to hire someone to do that because I really enjoying helping my customers.

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently if you were starting today?

No there isn't. Everything I have done has taught me something. I put so much time learning when I first started. I know four months is a short period of time but there are 24 hours in a day and I spent day and night (while my son was sleeping and playing) learning all that I could learn. I slept so little, became addicted to coffee and I am a better person for it. I wouldn't change a thing!

What is your advice to newbie's out there looking to get started? Can almost anyone do this?

First, attitude is very important. Be positive - be ready to learn loads of new things. Be ready to work. If you are realistic, deeply motivated and ready to plunge into this then I believe it is definitely possible for any newbie to make money online. Don't be ready to give up the second you get confused by a new concept or technique. Too many people do that. If this is all new to you then it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed. Stick with it, look for more information online in forums or ask me and others at the Honest Riches Community LiveJournal.

If there was one marketing secret you can share with everyone what would that be?

One word: Wordtracker. It's a goldmine.

Who are your favorite mentors and/or online marketers that you follow closely?

Mike Filsaime is the only one who comes to mind. :)

Any exciting new plans for the future?

Once finished with the site I am currently working on, I'll either keep the residual income or sell the site to a large company. I don't want to give any more details on it - but I'll have to keep you posted on that. Non-work wise, I have some future plans. At my son's age it is too difficult to travel with him (it was a nightmare flying from our last destination to the states). So in a year or so from now I plan to return to Thailand and visit several other countries to volunteer at orphanages. I could baby-sit, teach English, computer skills, etc. For my personal goals and plans - I started training in contortion in June of 2006 and will continue to work on that. I'm really dedicated to it and spend at least one hour per day training. (See for details)

Thanks so much, Holly, for sharing your amazing path to success online!!


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