Interview with Willie Crawford...Veteran Internet Marketer


Interview with Willie Crawford...Veteran Internet Marketer

SkillsforFreedom:

Hello and welcome. Joining us this time is a true veteran of the internet marketing scene and someone who, if you don't already know, you will soon want to. He's been called one of the most genuine and most respected marketers in the world today. And in this session you'll hear why he thinks it's important to choose who you listen to, why you should have a loose plan, but also still be open to change and why age isn't an issue. It's my pleasure to welcome to the show Willie Crawford.


Willie Crawford:

Thank you very much. It's my pleasure to be here.


SkillsforFreedom:

Well, you've been around on the internet marketing scene now for many, many years. How many years has it been and how did you get started?


Willie Crawford:

I've been around since 1996, at that time I was in the United States Air Force and I had been trained in economics and business in college and I was ready to start a business of my own, even though I had six years before I would retire from the military. And so, it was an office job where I had access to the early internet and I looked out and saw advertisements on the internet that said you could make money by doing different things and so I just started doing them.


SkillsforFreedom:

That's an amazing story. And here we are now all these years later and you're still as active or possibly even more active than ever. What kinds of things are you working on at the moment?


Willie Crawford:

Well, my biggest thing right now is doing the rank and rent websites and I'm actually working on putting together a course on how to do that because it's fairly easy to build a website and even to rank it in the search engines, but to find a tenant, a renter, that's the challenge for a lot of people. And so I decided to do a six week course, six one hour sessions and so I'll have six hours of recorded audio and video and the transcripts and I'll sell that as one of my many, many products.


Other than that, I'm turning 61 next month and I want to work less. And so I'll still do some consulting, and I'll do some internet marketing where I'll mail out a newsletter several times a week, but I won't do much else.


SkillsforFreedom:

I was going to say, you're going to make sure that you match the lifestyle to what you're doing online as well. So that's the dream I think for most people, isn't it?


Willie Crawford:

Yes it is. And I'll have my military pension and when I turn 62 I'll get a social security pension, they call it. And so I'll have like lots of sources of income, I don't need to work 18 hours a day and anymore. I've done that in the past and it's sort of crazy.


SkillsforFreedom:

I can imagine it. So Willie, what made you want to get into internet marketing in the first place?


Willie Crawford:

Well, when I looked around I was just trying to figure out what I could do. And I came across a number of people who said what you do is you build an audience and you find out what they want. And you offer it to them, but what really made me get into internet marketing was the fact when I first started, I was flying a C-130 aircraft and so I was flying all over the world and I put in like 16 to 18 hours crew duty day and then land and then try to do some work on the computer.


So I needed something that was portable, so that no matter where I was, as long as I had access to the internet, I could work on my business too. And so that's sort of what nudged me towards internet marketing.


SkillsforFreedom:

Got you. And then how easy or how hard did you find it right back at the very start?


Willie Crawford:

It was very difficult at the very start because the standard crew duty day is you were expected to put in up to 18 hours working from when you first showed up at the base operation to plan your mission. And so I'd work up to 18 hours, then land and then get on the computer and maybe put in another four hours maybe. So some days, some nights I slept maybe two hours and I'd fall asleep at my keyboard and I'd wake up and because I'd had my hand resting on a computer the screen would be full of Zs or whatever. So it was exhausting at first.


SkillsforFreedom:

And you say you started back in 1996.


Willie Crawford:

Yes.


SkillsforFreedom:

How quickly did you start to make money online once you actually committed to doing this?



Willie Crawford:

About a year. Yeah, it took about a year. At first, it was trying to figure out what to do, what to offer people. And I was told find something that you know, and then build an audience around that. And the only thing I really knew that I thought would be marketable was I had grown up on a farm in North Carolina where I'd learned to cook. And with my grandmother, she started teaching me at about age seven. And so I put together a website that was all around cooking or as the people in the UK say cookery and I started building an audience, and around 2000 of my mailing list enjoyed my recipes so much they asked me if I had a cookbook and I said, "No, but if you want one I'll write one." And they said, "We'll buy it." And so I pretty sold about 200 copies before I even started writing the book and it's published in 2000 and it still sells to this day.


SkillsforFreedom:

Wow. And now here you are, as you say, you are about to hit your 61st birthday, did you say next month?


Willie Crawford:

Yes.


SkillsforFreedom:

So as a man in your 60s I guess what you're saying is that age isn't a barrier to this, that the internet is kind of leveled the playing field for everyone no matter what age you are.

Willie Crawford:

Yes, I've seen people as young as like 14 starting online businesses and I've seen many people in their 70s and even 80s. I used to attend a lot of seminars and conferences and I'd sit and talk to people in their 70s and 80s and they were very lucid first of all. And so we were all sharing the same experiences, the same dreams and hopes and so it was just a matter of figuring out what ... Putting all the pieces together. But anyone can do it though regardless of age.


SkillsforFreedom:

And obviously since you got started back in 1996 the internet has developed, it's evolved, it's changed massively from what it was then to what it is like today. Would you say it would be easier or harder to get started today?


Willie Crawford:

It's easier to get started because there's more tools, more training, more people who have experiences you can tap into, the problem though is knowing who to listen to because there are lots of people who when they first start, they do what we call fake it until you make it. And so there's a lot of training out there that's nothing but theory and so you have to be very careful who you listen to. But then at the same time, I look back at all the people that I've encountered over the past 24 years online and fully, 80% of those people are not in business online anymore. So I guess they burn out if they are disingenuous.


SkillsforFreedom:

Yeah, of course. I mean, you're absolutely right. And if you were starting out now today, what do you think maybe you would do differently to what you did back then? I mean, as you say, there are more tools around these days, do you think that, that would make things easier for you?


Willie Crawford:

I would focus on a different market. I would focus on the one I'm focusing on now. When I first went into business online, I focused on teaching ordinary people to build a business, to take their knowledge, their skills and create information products and then sell those and build a mailing list and market their products and other people's products to their list. And so I've worked with a lot of people who had no, absolutely no business experience and many of them were unwilling to learn the skill set they needed to.


Probably 90% of them never had any major success. And so today if I started over again, I would focus on business owners, which is what I'm focused on now anyway because they have experience running businesses, they have the pressures of running their business, they have to make decisions, tough decisions. And so they are more ... I enjoy working with them more, I guess I should say.


SkillsforFreedom:

Yeah, I mean I guess that's the benefit of hindsight is always wonderful isn't it?


Willie Crawford:

Yeah, it is.


SkillsforFreedom:

And I guess where you are now is somewhere where you're comfortable, you've got that lifestyle with you can work the hours you want to work, when you want to work them as opposed to the other way round. So in terms of the domain stuff that you're doing and the course that you're putting together, just could you walk us through that process? I mean, how long does that take you to do, somebody with your level of experience?


Willie Crawford:

Well, I was trained early on to record almost everything you do. And so I had people who noticed that I was