By Laura Sweeney
March 4, 2010
David Wood, “recovering actuary,” online businessman and life coach, provides his advice on creating a successful online business along with how it can positively change a person’s life. After all he should know, being the owner of 15 coaching Web sites, creator of a million-dollar online empire and a former actuary in New York for Fortune 100 companies. Since leaving his job in New York, Wood has expanded his work environment to over 90 countries and has discovered new freedoms that he wants to share with others. He’s also the author of the new book, Get Paid For Who You Are.
Corp!: What do you think are the essentials to building a successful online business?
Wood: There are five steps that I recommend. First, decide who you are helping. Second, set up a Web site in seven days. Third, setup a newsletter in seven days. Fourth, you have to have an information product that sells under $50. Give them something they can buy under $50 that can be useful and valuable. Fifth, generate message traffic. Too often people think that comes first, but it doesn’t.
Corp!: What is a common myth people have about online businesses?
Wood: One is a lot of people think that it takes a lot of time to set up an Internet business. It doesn’t. Another is that you need to have a lot of technical skill to do it and that’s not true. A lot of people think, “I need to be an expert in something to do something.” You don’t. You can partner with an expert or hire someone for technical skill.
Corp!: What are the positive outcomes of having an online business?
Wood: You have time freedom from having an Internet business. You have location freedom. Once you have an Internet business you can work from home, from Hawaii, from the workplace to anyplace. I’ve worked from a tree house in Thailand. You have financial freedom. I don’t know anyone that is allergic to a second income. For any executive or anyone working in corporate America, you can set up your own business on the side. And you have inner freedom. By using an Internet business you can share something that you are passionate about, what it is that you are really good at. And if you can share that and make differences in people’s lives then you have inner freedom.
Corp!: What are some negative aspects of having an online business?
Wood: I would say if you try to do it all yourself and try to handle all your technical stuff, and you’re not a compute geek, then you are going to be overloaded. I would recommend to everyone to hire a Web wizard, it’s so inexpensive. And then you can relax.
Corp!: How do you keep a good relationship with customers over the Internet?
Wood: I’ll tell you the first thing, the biggest thing you want and the number one goal is to capture your customer’s e-mail address. What I teach is all you want is their e-mail address to build a relationship with them for the rest of life.
Once you have that e-mail address then you have to give them something that they can download and consume that is going to be useful and valuable. If you keep giving them value and surprise them with value-¦you give them so much value that they feel like they are ripping you off, and then when it comes to suggesting it to their friends they will do it. They will pay you back.
Corp!: If you had to start all over again, would you choose the same career of being an actuary? Why or why not?
Wood: I call myself a recovering actuary. You can’t overwrite history and I can’t say I wouldn’t do it, but if I could choose - no way. I went into it because that’s what I was good at and that was where the money was at. It wasn’t lighting me up, but I didn’t know any better. I got lucky to have a six-month break and played guitars in pubs. And I stumbled into personal development. People have to ask themselves, “Yeah I’m good at it and yes I’m making a lot of money, but what am I passionate about and how can I make money from that?”
Corp!: What is your passion in life?
Wood: I really love to see people facing their fears. I’ve been doing it as almost a hobby. I’ve been facing my fears since I was born. I like pushing back the edge because every time there is more freedom on the other side.