Karen Cioffi’s thoughts on online opportunities

Posted on Sep 01 2009

Today our special guest is Karen Cioffi, of the Virtual Book Tour. Karen, take it away!

Online Career Opportunities and Opportunity Costs

By Karen Cioffi


The list of online marketing gurus is growing every day. Every time I turn around I find another site full of valuable marketing resources and the site owner is willing to email additional information, and I get a how-to ebook, free. How do you say no to that? The only catch is that you have to subscribe to their site. Well, okay, that’s not so horrible. The information certainly has to be worth a subscription, so you’d think.

The deal with this is that each of those subscriptions (site owners), along with some useful informational emails, will offer products or services of their own and from affiliates they promote. According to each of these emails, every product or service offered will be a must have…a real deal. Which do you choose, if any?

In cost accounting there is a term:  Opportunity Costs. What this term means is that if you choose one path or alternative, it is at the sake of other options and benefits. Another way of putting this is: I have $147 and can buy either 10 books about writing and marketing in an effort to teach myself, or purchase an e-course with instructor guidance and bonus cds. The option I don’t choose is an opportunity cost. So, the bottom line is to choose the option that will give you the most benefit for the money and time involved. You want your opportunity costs to be low and of little consequence.

After I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time gathering information form various sites and marketing gurus, and spent a fair amount of money (fair amount for me anyway) on strategies, programs, ebooks, cds and so on, I’ve come to a couple of realizations that you should consider before you venture into this bottomless pit of opportunities.

Four Tips on Choosing an Online Product or Service:

1.    You need to research any strategy, program, or service you are thinking of investing in. Though, you need to be careful here because once you Google the company or site name, you will undoubtedly come upon some of their affiliates who are eager to proclaim the value of the product or service. The affiliates are partnered with the company. They get a pre-arranged percentage for every visitor they send over or visitor who makes a purchase, or some other call-to-action.

2.    Ask friends, writers and marketers you know and trust about the company or entrepreneur you’re thinking of investing time or money or both in. If no one you know can provide some input, be certain to use tip number ONE.

3.    Once you’ve made your decision and purchase that product or service, STOP looking for others until you’ve gotten your money’s worth out of your first investment. Or, at least stop until you’ve reviewed and worked on the first purchase. What I mean here is: Early on, I fell into the trap of buying one program and before I even looked at it, I bought another one. This is a huge mistake and waste of time and money. If I involved myself with the first project, I may have realized I didn’t need the second or third purchase.

4.    Always evaluate your opportunity cost when thinking of spending time or money.

Incorporating these tips into your writing and/or marketing journey should help you reap the benefits of your investments and save you time and money.


About Karen:

Karen is married and has two grown daughters and two grandsons. She devotes most of her time now freelance writing, writing children’s picture books and MG chapter books. She is the creator and manager of VBT – Writers on the Move, a Yahoo group of authors and writers who help promote one another through various marketing strategies. She also co-moderates a children’s books critique group. In addition to writing, she has composed two songs. She’s a member of the SCBWI and Children’s Writer’s Coaching Club. In addition, she offers a number of writing services under DKV Writing 4 U.

My children’s bedtime book, Day’s End Lullaby is available through Amazon. I am currently working on two chapter books and one picture book.

Karen Cioffi

6 responses to “Karen Cioffi’s thoughts on online opportunities”

  1. Vivian Zabel says:

    Great advice, Karen. Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. I have to agree with you, Karen, about the enormous list of online marketing gurus – everytime I turn around I seem to stumble across one on Twitter and I think, ‘What another one?!’ It’s very hard to see the wood for the trees amongst this jungle and I think your advice is really useful, particularly the tip about stop looking once you’ve decided on a purchase.

    Very interesting post, Gayle.


  3. I found this to be filled with good advice and information.
    Nicely done, Karen.



  4. Karen Cioffi says:

    Thanks, Gayle, for hosting me this tour. And, thanks, Vivian and Helena for stopping by.

    It’s embarrassing, but I learned the hard way in regard to the tip about once you purchase a product/service you should actually use it before moving on to another.


  5. kathy stemke says:

    Thanks for sharing such great advice, Karen.

  6. Katie Hines says:

    Some great tips. I especially liked the one where you exhaust one area of marketing/promo before you move on to the next. I have a huge file full of marketing and promotional tips – so many that I am overloaded.

    Thanks for some great advice.

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