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Online Business Success | The Michael Dunlop 7 Step System

By:     Topics: Make Money Online

Online Business Success – What You Need, When To Do It & How To Do It

Last week one of my neighbors asked me what I did for a living? I had to smile, after living in my apartment almost 9 months and clearly living an unconventional lifestyle (young, successful, working from home, international travel, lots of play) it is clear that at least some of my neighbors have been wondering what I do.

That said, I am not entirely sure my reply answered my neighbors question. (I am trying to imagine what he may have said to his wife after our chat) That is the thing about being an online entrepreneur – and an evidently successful one at that, most people still don’t really get what we do.

Saying you are an online marketer draws big blank stares I find. Same for being a blogger. Saying that you are an Entrepreneur is even worse because it just leads to more questions and what I explain what I actually do you can almost see the questions marks above their heads. (I am tempted to say I am a successful dyslexic writer – but not done that yet)

This said you could say my neighbors question inspired today’s post. After saying I was a Blogger who wrote about Internet Marketing and his subsequent questions about how that made me money I realised there was some definitions that I have not shared here below – indeed I worked out that I now have a 7 Step System for Online Business success.

The shortened version of this System is the basic strategy of:

Create a Blog – Become an Authority in your niche – Launch a Product

I could add an Eighth Step — which you could actually say is the first step in this system:

That crucial first step is: INSPIRATION – because frankly if you are not inspired nothing I write here is going to be that much help to you.

Actually, on the subject of Inspiration I did just want to share with you something that inspired me today (Author Unknown):

“This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind…let it be something good.”

This is something I challenge myself with every day. I’m not saying every day I succeed in accomplishing what I wish to – but I am pleased to say that more days than not I do. I sincerely hope it is the same for you.

Don’t let life pass you by no matter what your age, your background or your experience to-date.

It is my hope that and this 7 Step System for Online Business Success means that today is one of those days when you do something good.

The Michael Dunlop 7 Step System

Step 1 – Work Out What You Know

The biggest problem people have when they come to me wanting advice on starting an online business is, they just don’t know where to begin and what niche to go into. My usual reply is to tell them to go for something they know a lot about and are passionate about. But these days I also add another crucial point? Whatever niche you get involved in must have evidence of PROFIT / MONEY – people buying products and information. To give you an example of something I would not get involved in in order to make money: PLAYING ONLINE GAMES.

Now I love online games and I know a fair bit about it, but I would never start a website about online gaming because content becomes quickly dated and typically a lot of information is already available for FREE. Of course if I could come up with an idea for a new online game and had the resources to develop the software it would be different – but that is not the case and my experience is that Online gamers are more interested in Cheats and such like and rarely will pay for it. This is

Whatever you do, don’t try to make money online talking about your mission to make money online, it’s been done to death and it sucks!

Profitable Web Niche’s Include: Health, Fitness, Dating, Business Opportunities, Betting, Investing, Forex, Cars, Computers, Parenting, Languages, Self-Help and Travel.

Once you find what niche you are going to go into, you can start your blog.

Step 2 – Start a Blog

A blog is so important to every online business, it’s the cheapest way to bring in new leads, customers and build a solid brand. I have spoke a lot in the past about creating a blog, check out this 30 day guide!

Here’s my earnings break down: 30% blogging, 30% email marketing (which is built via blogging) and 40% my own products which again really comes from having a successful blog. So you can see that with out a blog, really I wouldn’t be making to much money online at all and even if I was, I would be strictly relying on affiliates to bring me traffic, if they go, I go.

Step 3 – Build Your Online Brand

Having a great website isn’t good enough, they need to know who you are and what you represent. If you ever want to sell your own product, or anyone’s, you need people to trust you. Some marketers can sell 1000’s of crap products because their brand is so good (perhaps not so good once people buy the product).

Here’s the simplified version of how I build my brand: Create great content, really help people and make sure before they leave my website that they know my name is MICHAEL DUNLOP and that they need to come back.

40% of people who visit my website, visit My Story page. They get to find out who I am, how I have done what I have done and how they can do it to. This leaves an AWESOME impression. Create a “My Story” page and make sure you bring a personal touch to every blog post.

Step 4 – Build Relationships

When I started I didn’t know much about making money online so instead of teaching people what I didn’t know, I got others to teach. What I mean is that I went out and interviewed 100’s of the top internet entrepreneurs, I would interview them over Skype so we spoke over the phone and I had their instant messenger contact which meant I could contact them when ever I liked. The other thing I did was I did top lists, such as Top 50 Influential Bloggers. This seriously puts you on the map, when they see you getting 1400 retweets and 100’000s of visitors to an article, they now see you as an authority.

This type of content is great, you don’t have to do much, makes you look an authority, you get lot’s of traffic etc… The most important part is that you now have a connection with the people you interview so when you go to launch a product (which we talk about further down in this post) you can ask these guys to promote and for their opinions on your product.

Besides these techniques, there are no better networking opportunity then getting yourself to an event related to your Niche – In my case a good example of a superb networking event for me is Yanik Silver’s Underground Online Seminar

Step 5 – Create Your Product

Now that you have taught people for free, built up value and genuinely helped people, you will want to consider creating your own product. That is something I have only done relatively recently. I was always getting people wanting me to do private consultations or to assist them with their websites. These were people who loved all the free stuff but also wanted to shorten their learning curve by hiring me direct or buying a PAID product – and that was the reason I launched my own paid products (in addition to promoting other people’s products as an affiliate).

This is something that is always worth remembering – even after you create your own products, some people will always want a Premium Version of your product or a VIP version. Make sure to offer it in addition to the lower priced option.

There are so many ways to go about creating a product, depending on your industry and following, one may be more successful then others. You really need to decide how you can best help people, so for example you may have an exact system so in your case you would be best writing a eBook or doing an course. Here are some examples of types of products:


You write a educational book on how to do something and sell it as a download online, usually in a PDF format. Examples Include: Truth About Six Pack Abs & The Ultimate Freelancer.


I quite like the formal of reports, I think they are really valuable, quick to read and more importantly, quick to produce. Examples include: Soon to be release Rocket Fuel Food Report (100 foods to give you more energy) and Bullet Proof Openers (117 ways to start a conversation with women).

Online Courses

This structure is become more common as people like to learn by video as they get to see example how it’s done instead of guessing from written material. Examples include Mobile Monopoly and Become a Blogger.


I’m quite fond of software products because you don’t even need to create them yourself, you can get a programmer to do the work so you can spend your time on marketing. Software is good because people can see it working before they buy it so refunds are kept to a minimum, however you do have the issue of support. Examples include PopUp Domination and Wishlist Membership.

The above 4 strategies are the ones I consider best when it comes to your initial product creation.

Quick Tip: Don’t niche your offering down too much. For example if you are in the weight loss niche having a product targeting Men aged 80 or over who want to loose weight using boxing exercise might be stretching the niche a bit too much 😉

There are not many 80 year old men who care about losing weight and those who do, probably don’t want to start boxing. A better product would be: An over 50’s guide to losing weight. This is still niched but highly targeted and you still have a billion people who could be interested.

Next you need to decide how you are going to price your product, most people decide on a price by pulling a number out of the air. I have no idea why but the following price points convert best: $37, $77, $247 and $1997 – using these numbers you can decide what you would offer for which price and how you would deliver it. For the most part, you can have a simple download link for your product but if you are having an online training course, a membership area is preferred and for that I would recommended Wishlist Membership. Depending on your price point, you may also want to consider shipping a physical version of the product to your customer. It adds value and lowers refunds. You could of course offer both.

Step 6 – Launch Product Internally

There is a lot you need to do and think about when creating a product and if your doing it for the first time, you probably want to save yourself some embarrassment and do it internally so you can make sure you get everything perfect before you role it out to 1000’s of people. You need to make sure you have all of the following:

  • Sales Page
  • Download Page
  • Support Area
  • Affiliate Pages
  • Terms & Use

I go over how I did my internal launch in this article about launching a product.

When selling any product online you need to use an online checkout on your sales page – with a link to the checkout. Customers can then pay however they like. (Paypal, Credit Card etc). The checkout company will then pay you either instantly or more typically monthly.

Recommended checkout software include: Clickbank, Nanacast and PayPal.

Step 7 – Officialy Launch Your Product

Now that you have had an internal launch, you can prove to potential affiliates that:

  • The Product Converts
  • The Product is Loved
  • You are an Authority

The most important ingredient for a successful product launch is affiliates. The problem is that if you are launching a product for the first time, you haven’t got much of a chance of getting good affiliates and this makes perfect sense. Think about it this way – a Fitness coach comes to me and asks me to promote his product launch, 99% of the time I won’t reply because I don’t know who he is but if I was to, I would ask:

“Who are you and what other things you have done online”

He would tell me, I’m a personal coach at this sports club or something else that means absolutely nothing.

Affiliates need to be sure what they are promoting is going to be good on a few levels:

Author is known (that’s why you blog, to build a brand)
Sales Page Converts
Affiliate Offer Is Rewarding

While blogging you want to take this time, not only to prove yourself to your readers but also to other people in the industry with products and authority.

Before launching my own product, I got involved in the product launches for a few guys such as Yaro Starak, Gideon Shalwick & David Risley. Then when it was my turn to put together a product, they responded by helping me out on my launches because I had proven to them I had authority.

A huge launch comes down to one thing and that is your affiliates, if you want to have the biggest launch ever and make the most money, get the most affiliates. Start by contacting:

  • Other bloggers in your niche
  • Your customers
  • Other product owners
  • People you interviewed
  • Your readers

Launching a product is fun, making more in a day then most make in a year is just mind boggling. Most launches last 7 days and so it’s vital you take full advantage of all that traffic you get!

If I didn’t do some of the following things, I wouldn’t of made half the amount of money I have made on my launch, so make sure to apply these:

Scarcity Suggestions: 300 Sales Limit, Time Limit Till Closing, Time Limit Till Price Increase

Conversion Boosters: Discounted Exit Popup, Prelaunch Content, Upsells

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  • Onibalusi Bamidele

    Awesome post Michael,

    You listed a killer formula for making it as a blogger.

    Concerning building connections where you gave an example of writing top posts listing successful people, can you pls explain to to write top posts that get results? The last one I did was with no success and I wonder how you do it.

    Thanks so much for replying in advance,

  • Mike you’re an amazing inspiration for people. For me especially because I wouldnt have started my site if it wasnt for following your teachings. This formula right here makes total sense. Blogging is the cheapest way to get started online and become an authority. Making your own products is the best way to get expert status and make a ton of money too which is why I am releasing mine in December.

    Aaron Darko

    • Michael

      Hey Aaron,

      Looking forward to your 7 figure launch 😀

      Most people who are not successful with launching products are that way because no one knows who they are. Branding and authority comes into it more then people think.



  • Doesn’t get anymore clear then that. Start a blog, build a list, build relationships, you will not succeed alone.

    Greta post Mike.

  • Good info buddy – definately a solid model to follow.

    This is the exact model I am using and I can confirm that it works!

    Anyone starting out should take note of this and start today!

    ~James Dyson

    • Michael

      Thanks James…

      Definitely makes it easiest to get people to work with you and promote you. Seen your name come up more and more over the past few months, definitely working for you!


  • This is a good post.

    I know exactly what you are saying about trying to tell people what you do. When I first started making 7 figures and I moved into a new upscale neighborhood I got a lot of questions. When people see a young punk living “the lifestyle” they usually have questions.

    At first I would try to explain affiliate marketing and internet marketing, and I would see their eyes just glaze over. There were many rumors going around that I was doing Porn, I was a drug dealer, I was a professional athlete, or that I was a musician (I like that latter the best). I ended up just starting to tell people that I run a web design company, heh.

    I have noticed that people are getting better at understanding this whole online marketing thing each day though. It was real bad a few years ago. Anyways…

    I really like that you are telling the people to build their brand and relationships first. This will make things much easier for people moving forward. It never ceases to amaze how much harder people make it for themselves to make money online than it has to be. These steps should help them get on the right track.

  • Samuel

    Great post Micheal! You’ve nailed it all. thanks for sharing and keep the good work up.
    Ps: correct the typos!!!!!!!!!!!! take care.

  • Awesome post! Blogging definitely works. I’m starting to experiment with my own product creation now…it’s quite insane. I started off as just an average joe working out in my garage gym, and now people are actually searching for my website on google! It’s all about the brand, but more importantly being yourself and showing people why they need to listen to you. Thanks for the post, I sent it to all my FB friends cuz they keep asking me what I’m doing and why they’re still struggling to get jobs even though we all all graduated at the same time!

  • Fazreen

    this is why I like your blog Michael! I’m on my way to launch a product in my country which is Malaysia. This guide absolutely useful for me. Thanks Michael.

  • Paul

    As always the info you provide is great . I love the way you present the material and see that your ability to provide great info is one of the secrets of your success. Thanks.
    P. S. Are you planning to go to Yaniks underground again!

  • Jeremiah

    Great strategy Michael!

    I am following your approach with my own info product on how to get six pack abs based on my own fat loss success story.

    * I have my wordpress blog setup,

    * I have my ebook written

    * I have a free 5 day email course that I give away on my site (showing how I got six pack abs & how to do it yourself)

    * I am in the process of shooting my workout videos for my membership site

    Your strategy is awesome, simple, yet very powerful.

    Thanks for all your great advice.


    • Michael

      Hey Jeremiah,

      Saw your site a few months ago.. make sure you follow through on the interviews and top lists, that’s great for building traffic & authority so when you launch, you will have a great bunch of affiliates and customers.

      Keep it up,


  • Joshu Thomas ( OC webmaster Blog)


    There is lot of SOLID information in your post and i really loved it. What i really like about the way you write is you start from the begining.. You dont make assumption that the reader knows the basic.. Excellent.

    I am personally impressed and inspired by your pop up domination release and i guess u remember receiving my email on it after my purschase. Its a really awesome product and recommend all to “BUY” it. ( ive started seeing magic and i did not know an ajax/ light box pop up was so different from a normal popup )

    This article is been great, i would look fwd to see one article from you only on ” being the authority in your Niche” that really makes a difference.

    warm regards
    Joshu Thomas

  • Great post Mike!!

  • Prajwal Shinde

    Great post Michael. Blogging is one of the best online business models. I have started my own blog and have started to add content to it. Learning and implementing lots of things from your posts. Hope I really make it big one day.
    Thank you for inspiring Michael.

  • Monica Beltran

    Hi Michael
    Thank you for the great post. As always, you have amazing content. Make it a great day!

  • Great post!

    I’m on step #6 and looking ofrward to great things to come. It’s all very exciting!

  • Nick Tart

    Haha… That’s funny, Michael. When I tell people about all of our interviewees who make money online, it rarely gets through to them. And they’re more confused than they were before asking me about what I do.

    Do you think that if someone started IncomeDiary today and did the exact same things that you did, it would be as successful?

    The reason I ask is because you put a lot of emphasis on list posts to start and pump them through Twitter, but I don’t think Twitter is as valuable as it was when you got started.

    • Michael

      Hey Nick,

      Valid question, I actually did lists well before Twitter, one getting over 70,000 visitors in a day. Twitter doesn’t mean anything, actually twitter made it worse because instead of blogging about lists, people now just tweet it, I have seen a change recently though where people are blogging more again.

      If someone else was to do exactly what I have done, yes probably would be more well of then me because I’m to much of a nice guy.. I hold back on some monetization and list promotions.

      Interviews are the way, thanks Nick!

      • I am willing to bet if a newbie takes every step that you did for iD and replicate it… they will not get where you are. Because there are other factors that are involved:

        One must have the right personality to dominate the niche.
        The timing must be right in order for one to capitalize their niche.
        There is that luck factor as well.
        A newbie would not have the Retireat21 audience supporting them on iD….
        They would not have the UG6 audience supporting them…

        For someone to start a blog in the very same niche with the same steps as you did needs to have the same qualifications as you did at the time of starting.

        • Michael

          Hey Syed..

          Always putting a downer of life aren’t we lol.

          So when I launched IncomeDiary I didn’t even tell people on Retireat21 about it for months and months, I remember getting people emailing me saying wow you own this site as well?

          As for Underground event, I took that into consideration and thought the new person would of had access to that.

          The thing is.. the question was if someone did the exact thing today would it be as successful… so if I did it again, it would be, it’s a system more then anything.

          Your also forgetting that when I started IncomeDiary I wasn’t really great at: Writing, Monetizing or Blogging – in fact it was my first proper WP blog.

          It was simply the mind frame change and that’s how the system came about.


          • Nick Tart

            **Battle of Young Entrepreneur Rock Stars**

  • Marvincspw


    I’m devising a way to start a business and did not know what to do and well this guide is really useful for me. Blogging is the most inexpensive days to start a business.

    You are a awesome.!


  • Harry Okoyibo

    This is a great information you are giving out for the benefit of others. Please keep posting & meeting needs.

  • Pingback: 7 Types of Headlines That Attract Readers | Lickshunmewah()

  • john


  • Love the post, funny thing is. That is exactly what I am doing at this very time.

  • Chris Penney

    Hello Michael

    As your nosey neighbour I felt it was only right to leave a comment Lol,
    Just wanted to say thanks for the info and I will be looking into your advice sooner rather than later, I am sure we will be spending more time together in the future, as I will be picking your brains a lot.

    Speak to you soon



  • It is great way to get money online but first important thing is to make your product that is much better than sell others products

  • great article. thanks for sharing few things to be successful online. there are many people who makes lots of money online

  • Vincent

    Great post. Working towards similar goals myself. Thanks!

  • innocriss

    HI Michael, Great post!
    I think branding is the greatest deal. Many try to market products on their website, when they haven’t yet built an online reputation.

  • Wade McMaster

    Man this is pretty inspiring, I love the fact that you had to somehow explain what you do to your neighbor, its not an easy thing to explain..

  • Thanks for a very solid and CLEAR article. My issue is that I’m trying to make money online by developing websites and I’m not quite sure what to blog about. I kind of blog about my journey that I go through whilst developing these sites and my thoughts, but they are quite random and sporadic. What would you suggest to assist me? I know that my blog should perhaps be more specific but I’m not sure on the content to create?

  • Anass

    Finally A post after those really long days. I was sure that such time will be source of a really good and quality post. I’ve liked the part about inspiration. Giving the best in our possible to the world is what will make people remember us.
    Thank you Michael for the article again 😀


  • TrafficColeman

    People have to realize that you don’t have to be showing people how to make money on to make money online. If someone is good at cross country running, you can set an blog teaching people the elements of preparing for an race..the ideas are countless.

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  • Awesome post and information, Michael! I love your PopUp Domination product and sharing this info. is tremendous. Keep up the great work!

    Steve Hawk

  • Nice simple breakdown of a blueprint that really works – this is what people really need.

    Plus, used with Popup Domination the list is built nicely too.

  • C.S. Hughes – Success Coach

    I have been helping individuals and organizations achieve higher levels of success for more than 11 years, but I’m only 11 weeks into my new blog. I really appreciate your coaching. And Popup Domination is AWESOME!! I’ve added 1,000 subscribers in 11 weeks. I think that’s good. Is it? Or no? 🙂 C.S. Hughes

  • Mandeep

    Wow, great information. I am actually working on creating my own app. Hoping to have it done by the end of this month. I will come back to this article when I decide to do the product launch. 🙂

  • Alex Whinfield

    Realy great article Michael.

    Your strategy is awesome, Thanksfor sharing 🙂

  • Cristian Weiser

    I need some affiliate system that can work with custom payment gateway. Thats because i am from Brazil and we use Pagseguro as gateway. Do you know any to recommend?

  • TradeProfits

    Thats a cool blueprint Michael! A lot of other internemt marketers would have sold this in a pretty box for $97 through clickbank with a long-ass landing page to it 🙂

  • Vandana

    You always make sense to me! Thanks.

    just curious – Why is $37, $77, etc a better Product price then a 36, or 38 or 39?

  • GREAT Post mate,

    Really good strategy from start to finish! Others would probably charge for this sort of information!

    @Vandana th 37, 77 is partly to do with the number 7. It always converts better if there is a 7 somewhere in the price.

  • Hey Michael,

    I have been thinking about creating a few top lists, but I don’t know what would be a good idea to do. I don’t mind doing the research, but I just want to make sure that top list is actually interesting.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


  • mk akan

    simple ,straight forward and very true…i am currently building my brand and making connections ….yet to launch a product …will follow this does make sense
    thanks mike

  • Great information! This is one of the best posts I’ve read in quite some time, thanks for the valuable information!

  • Hi Micheal,

    Thanks for sharing this post. Online business is indeed the trend right now. Many have resorted to this because of the freedom and flexibility it gives them. I am doing some writing myself and I find this site very useful. Keep posting!

  • Sarah Leather

    Great post. Thanks for reminding me about affiliates- I am preparing to launch my new fertility eBook on in 3 weeks & have been concentrating on building my list- have negleacted to contact others in my niche.
    Sarah Leather

  • Suharto

    Great tips Michael. Hope you will give more tips on how to make money online by blogging. Thank you.

  • Aoife

    I’ve been a pretty dedicated reader for a while now but I somehow missed this post until now. Excellent post as always! Not 100% applicable to me but still good ideas to keep in mind.

  • Jeff Wisuri

    Hey Mike,

    Glad to see a young un doing so well in this medium! I’m sure your neighbor is still scratching his head wondering why this youngster is living the rockstar lifestyle:) I just bought your PUD WP plug in and its soooo easy to use, LOVE it already! Keep up the good work and I’ll look for more greatness from you!!

  • Brandon Yanofsky

    Such a great formula. Im beginning to work on launching a product through my blog. Not only is this super informative, but it’s amazingly inspirational. I’m energized to get working now.