Expert Advice – An Interview With Willie Crawford

    March 5, 2003

Willie Crawford is the owner of, and has released several products (including tele seminar tapes, an internet marketing videotape series, and even a cookbook!)

Q: When, how and why did you get a start running a business online?

Willie: I started in late 1996 by signing up for a few affiliate programs, and subscribing to lots of ezines. By 1997 I was making a few dollars on some programs – mainly telecom and recurring commission products.

Q: How long did it take for your online business to start making a profit?

Willie: After I got my own domain in 1997, I started making bigger money. Each time I upgraded my site, I notice an improvement in sales. By 1999 I had times when I ran a some fairly successful ads and made I had my first $1000 day.

Q: What sort of things were you selling back then? (affiliate items, your own products, products with resell rights, etc).

Willie: Back then I was selling strictly affiliate products and multi-level products like long distance service and nutritional supplements.

The first day that I made $1000 in a day, it was on a product that I bought resale rights to. Now my mix is mostly my own digitally delivered products.

Q: What has been the biggest mistake you have made in your online business so far, and what did you learn from it?

Willie: I waited too late to develop my own products. I also introduced my first product without planning out the backend. That made many of sales one-time sales when the potential was tremendous for repeat business. Now I have a full line of products and my own affiliate program.

Q: You’ve has some amazing success with your soul food cookbook, which you sell in both digital and physical form. What gave you the idea for the cookbook, and how did you get started on the project?

Willie: I had lots of visitors to my website, where I had lots of my recipes posted, who asked me if I had a cookbook. They convinced me that I should write one. So I announced that I was going to write one and also announced that I was selling pre-release copies before I had even finished the outline.

I made sales the first day or two…. I probably had less than 20 recipes written out when I made my first sale. That forced me to finish writing the book, test the recipes, and take photos of many of the dishes. That project really took off and gave a life of it’s own. It now produces sales every day, even when I don’t pay any attention to it since most of my orders are filled automatically.

Q: How do you go about promoting your products?

Willie: My mailing lists deliver a lot of sales. My affiliate program is probably my second biggest source of sales for some products. Search engines and articles in ezines round out the mix.

The system that I use for all of my products is really an integrated marketing machine. People request information from any of my autoresponders or join any of my mailing lists. This enters them into what is really 1 centralized database. When they make a purchase, the system I use automatically unsubscribes them from one autoresponder and automatically subscribes them to another. It automatically offers them upsells at the orderform and automatically follows up with a series of messages that I have written for up to 3 years.

Q: With the benefit of hindsight, if there was one thing you could go back and change since you started your business, what would it be?

Willie: I would have created my own product sooner, and I would have probably taken more risks earlier. I also would have networked and joint ventured with other online business people a lot sooner. Now I attend a lot of conferences and workshops where I meet a lot of the people I communicate with via email. My biggest deals are all made in face-to-face interactions. I get so much out of seminars that I created a site that tracks them for me at:

Q: What advice would you have for someone who was starting

out with their own online business?

Willie: Look for a product that’s really needed and develop or offer it. That saves you from wasting a lot of time – as many people do – promoting a product that nobody wants.

Jason is the editor of Achieve Net Profits, where he interviews successful Internet marketers each week. Save yourself time and money by learning marketing directly from the pros! –>