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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's The Deal With Maine? Is It A Good Place To Start a Business?

Question: I know you've talked about living in Maine a lot, and you really love it there. But is it a great place to start a business?
E.L. Delray Beach FL

Answer Marc Charles:

My answer is two-fold. Maine is a gre
at place to live, work and run a "digital business". But its not a great place to start a bricks and mortar type business - or anything retail.

A former governor referred to Maine as the "next Switzerland". Maine is about as far form Switzerland as you can get. The government is fat and lazy, there's almost no privacy when it comes to business or banking, the regulations are absolutely ridiculous, and finding highly skilled workers is almost impossible...unless you live in Portland or Augusta...and even that's pushing it.

When I first moved here in 1993 I traded commodity futures full time. Almost no one I met or hung out with knew what commodity futures were...they thought I sold insurance!

And so the Maine culture always come into play. Most of the people who live in Maine full time are from Maine. The people from "away" who live here are typically here part time...and tend to congregate on the coast.

There's also a segment of Maine which caters to the super-rich. These are not millionaires or multi-millionaires...I'm talking about the super-rich. These people look on Maine residents as "amusements"...kind of like going to LL Bean and hearing someone with a Maine accent.

I know of three super-rich hedge fund managers who recently built mega-estates between Lincolnville Beach and Rockport. One of these guys ruined the view of one of the most breathtaking farms in the order to build his house.

I'm not ranting about the super-rich....or building homes on the ocean. But there is almost 3,500 miles of coastline, and this guy builds right in front of a historic farm.

If the focus of your business is online -- or web-based, in conjunction with phones and teleconfercing, Maine is unlike anywhere else in the world.

However, the untouched beauty is almost too good to be true. The air, lakes and woods are breathtaking, and the weather is fairly mild on the coast.

Well....I hope that helps.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.



Saturday, June 26, 2010

I'm Sick of Google AdWords. Are There Any Legitimate Alternatives?

Question: In know Google AdWords are effective. I've used them for several years. The learning curve has been super steep. But they can be effective. The problem is once you buy into Google AdWords, you are history. You become a part of the Google billing system, no matter what. Can you recommend any alternatives to Google AdWords?

Answer Marc Charles:

Absolutely! I've written and talked about this for years.

Actually, the first time I mentioned "viable" alternatives was in 2005.

Here's a list a viable Google AdWords alternatives:

Yahoo Publisher Network

Just Google it........or check out (insiders choice).

I hope that helps.

Marc Charles

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Should I Open a Used Car Lot?

Question: I'm thinking about starting a used car dealership. I've researched 23 comparable used car dealerships in my state over a three year period. I've also been involved in the industry at several levels - but never as a owner principle. I'm not over extending myself with debt and other words I'm starting really small. My question is in this economy, which I think is a depression, am I nuts?

A.V. Scottsdale AR

Answer Marc Charles:

Most of the people and entrepreneurs I meet with rarely do the research and due diligence you've done. I'm serious. Most people are in too much of a hurry to start a business, and most people bite off more then they can chew.

But, as I've mentioned in my newsletters, columns and The Liberty Street Letter, a nieghborhood used car dealership can be a very wise choice, especially in a depression.

New car dealerships are dropping like flies, downsizing, and just trying to survive until the next bull market arrives. The next bull market in new cars may be ten years down the road..or longer.

What's more, most new car dealers are expanding their used car a big way, because that's what people want (and can afford).

A small neighborhood used car lot with an Internet division, could do extremely well. Obvioulsy if you can offer reasonably priced services like financing, repair, sound system installation, interior repair and upgrades (like carpet and seats) should do extremley well.

On top of that, you'll be competing with the huge auto mall superstores (with dedicated Internet divisions and wholesale auction access)....but who cares! Most of these guys will be ghost towns if the depression persists...which I think it will.

And by the way, you can run commercials just like they do on YouTube...FREE! I don't think you're crazy. In fact, please keep me posted. I put you on my list for buying a car!


Monday, June 21, 2010

What Is AOL's New Program All About?

Question: AOL is tauting it's "new" journalism platform Seed as if it's the second coming or something. Are they really hiring 3000+ freelance writers and journalists? Is it everything its cracked up to be?

Answer Marc Charles:

The best way to find out if AOL's Seed is legitimate is to sign up and try it out.

In my opinion its' mostly an easy way for them to get cheap content.

Yes......I signed up for the program to see if it works. My first impression is not great.

First of all you have to sign up with your real pen names or pseudonyms. That's a joke. I've been writing under a pseudonym for more than 22 years.

But that's a minor point.

The major problem is when you submit an article for "approval" it takes forever. Then, when the article is "rejected" they do not offer any suggestions, comments, insight....nothing.

The so-called Seed customer service told me "Yeah, that's a problem. But we can't provide any feedback at this time -- Seed Customer Service".

Come on.

AOL is supposed to be remaking the world as we know it. Tim Armstrong, the CEO, is tech savvy and a former Google senior manager. So they should "get it".

But instead it's the same old corporate mumbo jumbo.

Seed may be the greatest platform since the "blog".

But in my opinion there are much better and lucrative ways to make extra money as a freelance writer. One way is by going direct to publishers who need relevant content.

Well....I'll clarify.....publishers with a track record of paying writers on time.

That's it.

Seed is worth a try but in my book its a joke. Thousands of writers providing millions of pages of content for pennies on the dollar....that is the REAL AOL/Seed business model.

If you've had a different experience I would love to hear about it.


Marc Charles

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Are There Legitimate Web Based Businesses?

Question: I’ve heard a lot of hype regarding so-called “web-based businesses”. I’m looking for viable side income opportunities. Are people really making money with web-based businesses?                                                                                                             
 L.D. Winnipeg Manitoba

Answer Marc Charles:  

The answer is yes! I’ve launched, bought, sold, managed and advised dozens of “viable” web-based businesses. Many of these ventures were profitable and made money.

Granted, there’s a ton of misinformation on launching (and running) a web-based business.  

For instance, in most cases you will need a computer and Internet connection. But I recently met someone who’s making  money (selling used books) without a computer or Internet connection. This person outsources all of the computer and Internet work.

But in most cases you will need a computer, basic computer and Internet knowledge, and an Internet connection.

I have two questions for you.

Do you have the time and energy to focus on making a web-based business profitable? Or would you rather purchase a web-based business which is already successful?

There’s nothing wrong with either approach.

But entrepreneurs are on a shoestring budget may not have the capital to purchase a going business. These entrepreneurs are content building something from the ground up (which can be done easily).

Whereas other entrepreneurs prefer acquiring a ‘plug and play” web-based business; one which is already producing revenue.

There are a ton of resources for identifying legitimate web-based businesses you can start from the ground up, such as Early to Rise, The Liberty Street League and Marc Charles Reviews

The two best resources for identifying viable web-based businesses for sale are SitePoint Marketplace and Viper Business Listings.

You can also find a great selection of web-based businesses and domains for sale at and BizBuySell.

I hope that helps!

Marc Charles

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What is the hottest business opportunity on the Internet right now?

Question: This probably sounds like a loaded question. But what is the hottest business opportunity on the Internet right now?
T.N. Columbus OH

Answer Marc Charles:

Hottest is not necessarily the best or most legitimate.

What's more, the "hottest" may mean an opportunity has reached its peak.

Okay....I won;t play with words!

I  think I know what you're getting at....

You'd like to know about legitimate money making ventures or businesses, preferably web-based, on the Internet right now.

Well......honestly there are probably hundreds, maybe thousands of opportunities.

Most of the time, it's what a person does with an opportunity that makes the difference. 

Businesses don't build themselves.

I just Googled the term: what is the hottest business opportunity on the Internet right now?

Boy....what an education!

Most of the so-called opportunities are MLM and network marketing companies.  But you will find some legitimate opportunities.

My suggestion is to stay tuned to this blog, subscribe to Early to Rise, The League of Power,
or Nitro Blueprint.

You can also drop me a note -- and I'll tryto recommend an opportuity that matches your lifestyle, cash holdings, desires, etc.

I hope that helps.



Monday, June 7, 2010

Do You Follow Any Gurus?

Question: Do You Follow or Recommend Any Gurus?
P.N. Mountainaire AZ

Answer Marc Charles:
I stopped hanging my hat on "gurus" many years ago.

The problem with gurus is whenever they get into trouble, lie, cheat or're always left holding the bag so to speak.

Whenever I judge someone's or a guru's character....and put my trust in them, I ask two questions:

1) Would I let this person watch my kids?

2) Would I want to be in a fox hole with this person when all hell breaks loose?

A lot of so-called gurus I've worked with or have known would not pass this test.

I won't post any names or businesses on this blog.

But if you drop me an email -- and tell me about your project, venture or business, I'll give you some recommendations and give you some names of people who would "pass the test" in my book.

Sound fair?



Marc Charles

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Is the Best Resource for Finding Cash for My Business?

Question: I'm a successful entrepreneur. I've bought, sold and started several businesses over the past 25 years or so. Most of my business had no debt and were started without financing. I'm not planning to get into a deep debt hole now. But I would like to have resources, contacts and people for financing or last minute deals. Can you recommend any places?
T.Y. Orange County CA

Answer Marc Charles:

Hey TY:

Thanks for your note and question.

Check out Tyler Hicks and Internet Wealth Success: 

Ty and his network of contacts is among the best in the business.

I've been a subscriber to his two newsletters (one devoted to Money Sources) for 15+ years.

I hope that helps!

You're smart not to take on huge levels of debt right now. If you can forgo a few deals, you might be further ahead.

The entrepreneurs with no debt, low overhead, low inventory and that are involved in rising trends are doing incredibly well right least the ones I know.


Marc Charles