Skip to main content

Today is a big anniversary for me – 16 years ago today, on August 30th, 1996, I started my first Internet business.

Yes… I actually started all the way back in the summer of 1996.

I've come a long way since then – from incredibly humble beginnings in a corner of the baby's room to selling tens of millions of dollars of my products. (And, of course, that baby is in college now.) More importantly, my students and clients have sold hundreds of millions of dollars of THEIR products.

In any case, since this is my 16th anniversary, I thought I would share my 16 Rules of Internet Success.

These rules came to me at different times over the years. I was lucky to stumble onto the first two of these laws right at the very beginning. The rest were hard-won lessons I learned over the years. So without further ado, here they are:

1. Always Be Building Your List AND Your Relationship With Your List: I wrote about this one at this link – this is one of those laws that I somehow instinctively understood from day one. This is critical, and people still screw this up. For most digital businesses, this is the one true asset that you can truly own. And don't forget that second part – your relationship with your list is just as important as the size of your list.

2. Only Sell What The Market Wants: I learned this one in the first few months of starting my business, when I was looking at which pages on my site were getting the most traffic. I realized that was an easy way to tell what people were interested in… and I also realized that it wasn't what I would have expected them to be interested in. Hmmm… big surprise – and I learned to look at the data instead of trusting my instincts. You need to do the same… sell what the market wants, not what you want to sell them… or what you think they should want. There is so much data and feedback available in our online businesses, there's no reason to mess this one up.

3. Take The Long View – Win With Strategy: So many people continually screw up their positioning, their brand, and their reputation by chasing after the latest tactic or the last dollar that… well, it's just downright sad. The good news is that if you take the long view (and in this business, the long view seems to be anything past the next three months), then you'll instantly stand apart. With your marketplace being so connected (and getting more connected every day), you have to deliver quality, and you have to be congruent. Chasing today's dollar too hard can have long term collateral damage. Giving away last month's flagship product as a bonus to spur sales this month is horrible for your positioning, and it WILL negatively impact your business in the long run.

4. Don't Depend On Any Single Source of Traffic: If you're dependent on your search rankings, you don't have a business. You've temporarily won the lottery… and the gravy train will NOT last. Same with other sources of traffic… none of them are permanent. Diversify your traffic sources. If you only have one primary way of getting your message in front of people, then you're living on borrowed time.

16 cake5. Sell Your Own Stuff (and Other People's Stuff): If you're going to have any control over your business, you need to be selling your own products. So get over it, and create those products.

AND you should also sell other people's products – either as an affiliate or by getting paid to run ads. This is smart because it helps diversify your revenue, and because you're not going to be able to create all the products that your clients need. More about this here.

6. The Purpose Of The Sale Is To Generate A Raving Fan: When you make the sale, your job has just started. You need to deliver a great product and a great experience. Your raving fans will return to buy from you over and over (which is where the real money is made), and they'll become your evangelist in this uber-connected world.

7. It's All About Relationships In Your Industry: I don't use the word “competitor” in my business. I only think in terms of “partners” and “future partners”. I suggest you try that out for a while… because your net worth is equal to your network.

8. Get To Dollar One: I always want to get to my first dollar of revenue with any new product or business. I've heard so many grandiose plans that never got off the ground… often because the plan was just too big, or because there was no real plan for revenue. The danger in any new business grows exponentially for every day that goes by without revenue. Force yourself to figure out how to get at least some revenue flowing as quickly as possible.

9. Opportunity Cost Is The Most Important Thing (And It Becomes More Important As Your Business Grows): I wrote about this here… bottom line is there are always more opportunities than there is time. You can only do so much. Every time you choose a project, it comes at the cost of another project.  Choose wisely.

10. Get Out Of The House And Go To Live Events: My business changed radically after I started going to live events – that is where the connections are made, it's where the deals are done. I met nearly every one of my top Joint Venture partners at a live event, long before any of them ever promoted for me.

11. The Power Of The Mastermind Is Enormous: I wouldn't be where I'm at today if I wasn't actively engaged in various mastermind groups over the last 13 years. Get in a mastermind group now. More here.

16 stamp12. It's A Lot Easier To Sell With The Human Touch – The “Corporate Voice”  Is Death: I've always been happy just being me, and not pretending to be some big corporation. I didn't refer to myself as “we” in my emails… and that set me apart from the very beginning. Back in the early days, everyone was trying to sound big and important – I was just writing my emails like I write to my best friend. It worked. People want to connect with people, not corporations… that corporate voice will kill you.

13. Live Below Your Means… Don't Buy That Ferrari Yet: When the money starts rolling, it's easy to let your lifestyle grow very quickly. Fight that urge. Remember Rule #3 – the long view. It's a lot easier to do the right things and make the right decisions when you aren't chasing the next dollar… when you aren't worried about making the payment on that Ferrari.

14. Baby Steps: I have a video about this here… your first site will suck, that's OK. Your first sales letter will suck, that's OK. Your first email will suck, that's OK. The important thing is to have a rock-solid plan, and keep moving forward. You'll get there… just get started. Be gentle with yourself, forgive yourself for mistakes, don't expect to be perfect – just get moving, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

15. It's All About Creating Value: In the short run, you can use tricks and tactics to create some level of success. But if you're doing that stuff without delivering real value, then you're just spinning the karma wheel… and that doesn't usually work out so well in the long run. The path to long term success is by creating massive value for your clients… and your clients are the ones that will be measuring that value.

16. Invest In Yourself… No One Can Take Your Skills From You: I spend a lot of time, energy, and money on my skills and knowledge. I've been doing that from the start, and I'm not ever going to stop… no one can take that away from me. I've been fortunate enough to have long term success… but I've also had set backs. I've had significant revenue streams disappear overnight – but it never slowed me down. In fact, it really wasn't even very troubling, because I knew I had the skills to bounce right back. Once you've developed your chops, you have the ultimate control over your destiny.

So there's my 16 Rules of Internet Success… I'm not claiming they are all-inclusive, or that they're a fit for everyone. After all, I only had 16 to work with. But they've been working really well for me…

So let me know – what's your #1 law? What was the one you learned first? Which one was the most painful to learn? What did I forget? Leave a comment below and let me know… I read all of the comments.

Similar articles

Lights, Camera, Impact! How Elliott Connie Served His Way to a Million-Dollar Business and His Own Network TV Show

“Unbelievably surreal.” That’s how Elliott Connie describes his business journey. And it’s easy to see…

Behind The Scenes: Designing My New Launch Campaign

I’ve been up since 5am planning out a new offer. So this is a perfect…

How to Win at Content

There’s just no way around it – when you’re in this business, you have to…

164 Replies to “The 16 Rules of Internet Success”

    • michael skaja


      My first comment on a blog, hope that means something to ya. Thanks for your guidance.

  1. Tim Tavender


    Hey Jeff,

    Congratulations on this milestone. I really appreciate you sharing your success stories and want you to know that I will be a customer of yours in the next 6 months!



  2. Jeff

    Thanks for this post.

    #16 really, really resonated with me. It turns out that investing in my own growth & learning (through courses, masterminds, & events) has really paid off big time in my career. Learning & practicing internet marketing skills & then translating them to my industry (healthcare) has more than tripled my salary. And my personal IM businesses have become my retirement accounts 🙂

    Invest in yourself & then take action on that investment. Very important.

    Thanks again.

    • @Ed: when I first learned (or realized) that for whatever skill I wanted (from surfing to business to meditation to whatever) that there were experts in the world that would teach me their skills/knowledge, well that changed everything.

      I just wish it hadn’t taken so long to figure that out.

  3. Great article Jeff. Can’t disagree with anything – good solid advice. Number 2 what the stand out for me ‘Sell what the market wants’. I agree, but still find that the hardest part to figure out.

  4. This is gold Jeff, number13 strikes particularly close to home – it’s a big mindset shift especially since many of us get into the online world searching for an immediate and radical lifestyle shift.

    Can’t wait to read your “32 business tips” in 16 years time!
    Nathan Thomas

  5. Happy Sweet 16! Seems like only yesterday PLF 1 was launched and you revolutionized how site owners sell their services and products.


    • @David: I think I released the first PLF on October 21st, 2005… and you’re right, the time has flown. It’s hard for me to write since my 17th Rule would probably be “stay humble”… but PLF really has changed the game. It’s changed the way stuff is sold online.

  6. Wonderful blog post.

    The steps really do put in to perspective how the IM industry works. Especially if your starting out creating products then your going to need to follow those steps closely.

    Skype groups, facebook groups is what you need to get in as soon as you can if your going to push forward fast!

  7. Great advice Jeff. Thanks for taking the time to put it all together. I think just staying focused is one of the hardest things about doing anything online. There are so many strategies, tactics, traffic sources etc. to choose from that you end up becoming distracted a lot of the time, trying this and that out all the time. In the end, you just end up wasting time and nothing gets done. I’m starting to realise it is better just to come up with a plan and stick to it no matter what.

    • @Neal: That’s a great point… and it’s a big difference from when I started out. Back in 1996 a lot of things were a LOT harder… like finding a good web host, setting up your web site, finding a reliable list host, etc, etc.. Even the simple stuff was really hard. And hard stuff like accepting credit cards – well that was like rocket science.

      And getting good training or advice on starting/growing your business? Well that was almost nonexistent. We were all making it up as we went along.

      But the positive side of that was that there wasn’t a lot of distraction. There weren’t a lot of different business models and opportunities.

  8. Jeff, Great post and thanks for sharing. I find this to be valuable information for any marketer, online or offline. I especially can relate to #15. Without giving value you are just another cog in the wheel of unrealized gains.
    Never give up,
    Best Regards,

  9. Great one Jeff.
    The theme I pick up here is to be authentic and deliver great service.

    We are bombarded with emails promoting something every minute and it’s harder than ever to stand out and be noticed. I think if we keep going back to simple human nature as our guide we’ll do great.

    On my last campaign I invited follow up calls. Big investment of my time, but even bigger returns all ready for future business. People want the personal touch and the more we deliver it the more we both win.

  10. Killer stuff Jeff. I kept nodding my head going I was going down that list.

    I am a big fan of these posts where you aren’t pushing a product or an affiliate’s product.

  11. I appreciate that you continue to share your skill set and experiences that you have found to be powerful nuggets. Your list provides a structure that we can understand and benefit from. I will continue to follow and apply what you have learned to my skills and passion to help others.

  12. Baby Steps Rule is my mantra and I have just revised my first sales page because it did SUCK! Really looking forward to PLF 3 2012 Live as I know it will be life changing for me and I am excited about meeting future business partners
    Great quote which you also follow Jeff is …..If you empty your purse into your head you cannot lose it. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest” – Benjamin Franklin
    That is why I am flying 4900 miles to be there !! and I cannot wait
    ps anyone else form Ireland travelling?

    • @Susan: I’ve got to tell you… PLF Live 2012 is going to so completely rock. We almost blew the roof off last year, and this one is going to be even better. Be sure to reserve your room – the hotel is almost sold out. I’m not sure if we’ve got others coming from Ireland – but I know last year we had people from 40+ countries (which I find completely amazing.)

      That’s a GREAT quote by Ben Franklin – I’m not sure I’ve heard that before.

  13. Hey Jeff,

    Greetings from a ‘little guy’ living in another part of the world (Malaysia).

    I’ve been following your teaching and advice not too long ago. What I’d like to say is your teachings have inspired me so much.

    I’ve just started my ‘baby steps’, and really wish that I can be at your position in the coming days.

    Thanks and congratulations on your big anniversary! 🙂


  14. Yuriy Chuvilsky


    Jeff Thank you for the excellent article! Point number three gave me an insight of the business strategy. You’re right, in the pursuit of quick money, many people forget about the long-term. Thank you again!

  15. Henk van der Wijk


    Congratulations Jeff with this 16th anniversary!
    It is a huge milestone and I have a lot of respect for both this achievement and the quality of your work.
    At the moment I am not a customer of yours. But the world is full of great products and great teachers, like your friends Eben and Brendon. I cannot do everything with everybody.
    But who who knows, in the future.

    Thank you and lots of success!

    • @Henk: you picked a couple of great teachers! Eben and Brendon are both close friends of mine… I’ve been through a lot with both of them, love being with them, love my conversations with them. In fact, I’m taking a trip with Brendon to Europe in a few months.

  16. Great tips Jeff… Most painful for me is realizing that I don’t know it all when it comes to my niche…well, I know a lot but I’ve got to give people what THEY want NOT what I think they need… rehabbing from that painful process. :):)

  17. Great, great list. I wish I had this when I started. It took me forever to learn these on my own and there is a couple in your list that I still didn’t learn. I am going to have to print this out to keep me reminded of what to stay focused on.

    Thank you.

  18. Congrats – I’m approaching my 20th year in solo business and am looking forward to making the most of the milestone. Doing a great post like this one would be a great start!

    Your points resonated with me in a big way – at least 5 of them. Thanks for the great work here and all along the way! You deserve to celebrate.

  19. Love your point about human touch. Some might see that as a weakness, but as you’ve proven for years, it’s all about people taking care of people.

    May your next 16 be equally adventuresome and even more rewarding!

  20. I would add that it’s important to believe in the product you put out. In the book ‘Obliquity’ the author gives plenty of examples of businesses that have thrived because they were focused on producing something they felt passionate about, and later when the management changed the focus onto profit they went downhill. Interesting paradox.

  21. Hey Jeff,

    Great stuffs. Every single rule worth to turn into a Principle. Have you thought of turn it into a book? Worth an idea for us to learn..

    Keep it up!


    • @Desmond: Hmmmm… well, I had thought about turning into a full-blown report, but I hadn’t thought about a book. Of course, by the time I wrote it and got it published, I would need to come up with a 17th law!

  22. Thanks for the share! I insist on learning something deeper, better, or new every day, and realized a couple of months ago that put us ahead of some things we see coming now. Not everyone will invest in their education, networking, and mastermind, so it looks to me like those who are willing have a better shot of really making a difference. Practical application of these 16 points will benefit everyone who cares about truly growing, not just chasing the buck.

    Glad I’m on your list! Continuing to learn and grow, Susan

  23. Good Stuff!! I always enjoy your. You are doing the 1, 3, 12 and 15 strategies with this kind of stuff! Thanks Jeff.

  24. Dear Jeff,

    Thank You very much for sharing truly motivating post. I liked the Point-12 the most.

    It really makes the difference in my regular communication.

    Bless You!

  25. Hey Jeff,

    first of all congratulations for this long years on top!

    I would say #3 is quite a difficult part of the business.
    Lay back, realx and think about tomorrow is really difficult when you’re working on your daily tasks…
    But of course it’s absolutly necessary to know where you go on the long term!

    And I also like the relationship vs competition concept. How easy is it to see others as competitors and to try to fight them when you could create a fantastic opportunity working with them? Always prefer a creativity mindset to a competition mindset…

    And I would say that #13 is very important too. It’s probably a big reason for failure. Whether it’s for “real” brick and mortar businesses or for online businesses. If you’re not able to manage your finances that 1.get somebody to do it for you or 2. learn it!
    But don’t mess your business up because you can’t handle money!

    Maybe there would be one more law to add: stay focused on what you want and let nothing and nobody come between you and your dreams. It’s somehow mentionned in #3 but I think it’s really crucial.
    What do you want? And what are you ready to do to get it? If you’re not fully aware of this you might not take advantage of your full potential…

    Thanx again Jeff


  26. Great post Jeff – thank you for writing this and congratulations on your 16th year online!

    As a recovering perfectionist, #14 has been big for me i.e. being ok with putting something out there that’s good enough so that I can eventually get to great.

    I’m gonna refer to this list time & again as I build on my online coaching & training practice for rising business leaders.

  27. Congratulations Jeff and brilliant post!

    I look forward to seeing you at PLF Live! – #10!!

    and #8 – get the first dollar. Just read about launch day at Fedex – they delivered 2 packages and the owner was quite happy. Said well at least we know we can do it, now we just have to increase the volume (after nobody believed the concept would work)

    So maybe #17 – believe in yourself no matter what


  28. Great stuff, as usual. Rule #1 resonates because I haven’t been actively building the relationship. I thought it was “Content is King” but in a world of anonymous Facebook friends and emails, relationships do count a lot.

    So before I go and agonize over the content I will provide, I’d better create the content that will build the list and the relationship with them.

    Thanks, Jeff.

  29. Thanks for this important information. Rule 16 strikes me. Wish to here more

  30. #1 is the one that pops out for me. I remember one of your posts or videos that said “no one was born with a list” while I’m thinking that every one had the list but me.

    The second half of #1 “build the relationship”. So what are some tips on doing that besides an auto responder program, continuing to give great content, etc?

  31. Hi Jeff,

    I really like #8. Waiting until you have the perfect product to sell, may take an eternity. Just getting the ball rolling is more important. All your points are great. Thanks

  32. Jeff,

    You’re such an ‘awesome’ person! It’s so good to have someone like you in this industry.

    Thanks for these “eye-opening” tips…they are great for a newbie like myself.

    With gratitude!

  33. Thanks, Jeff.

    Always inspiring and and clearly showing the way to success.

    Congratulations on 16 years.

    Hope to be with you for the next 16.

    God Bless,


  34. Great tips Jeff, love #2 & #4
    Sell what the market wants
    and never depend on one source
    for all your leads and traffic.

    So important in today’s internet age.

  35. Hey Jeff,

    Congratulations, wow, what a milestone!

    Coming to terms with #14 was a big eye opener to me. We are wired to think about success in black and white terms. You said you’ll do X? Didn’t work out? You’ve failed, right? Many times this is true. You can fail an exam, fail to do what you’ve promised, fail to follow a plan… But success and failure have a different meaning when building a new business.

    I like to think about Columbus, who was set out to find an alternative route to Eastern Asia. He did not reach his goal, but he surely sumbled upon something bigger.

    Columbus was an explorer. So are we. Our goal when developing a new business is to search for a business model – not to execute it (Steve Blank). We are set out to explore the space determined by our vision in a search for a business model that works.

    But when you are in a middle of it, it is hard to let go of what you have been repeatedly taught about success and failure.

    So thanks for the reminder!


  36. jeff, happy 16th!

    all 16 are great. numbers 1 and 7 are where it’s at for me right now. building my list, building relationship with the people on my list, and also building relationships with potential partners. i, too, have never seen “competitors” in my business, but only take note that there may be people doing similar things, but in their own ways. sometimes it makes sense to collaborate with those people, and sometimes it doesn’t. the trick is finding the right people to connect with for the journey that you want to take.

    it takes time to develop your own programs, and figure out what people want. i’m enjoying the process. thank you for all your posts and information!

  37. Hey Jeff, Congratulations with this 16th magic milestone moment. Thanks to share your rules. Now I have to continue implementing them.

    How do you manage the right order? Because I do so many things it looks like I must be more patient than focus on just one Product Launch at a time.

    #16 I really like. It’s another way of open your mind for new visions.

    Enjoy & create great.

  38. Great list Jeff. It is “living the list” as you have done and as I am now doing that makes the difference. I was happy to have you as one of my first mentors in entrepreneurship on the internet.

    Best regards,

  39. Thanks Jeff, very inspiring.

    After testing my new program for the third time, I’m finally ready to put PLF I learned from you last year into play.

    Scarey…and exciting!

    After 25 years of coaching and teaching others, I do feel like I’m starting over.

    Many, many heart felt thanks.

    Tom Stoyan
    Canada’s Sales Coach

  40. Congratulations – great info! The “no corporatespeak” one is definitely important. Although I do sometimes catch myself saying “we” in a day-job email – I think it’s from being in a “team player” mindset. That’s a bit different than an individual online presence, though, anyway – if I’m representing the organization I work for, sometimes it actually is “we.”

  41. Jeff,

    Congrats, i share the same date for an anniversary , but mine is more of a personal one, that of marriage 🙂 (at least we have something in common), It was awesome learing from you both through PLF 3.2 and your life’s story… Looking forward to more awesomeness.

  42. Hi Jeff
    Wow, what a milestone!
    Probably the hardest thing is # 1, because after you got a list then it is about treating them correctly. Sometimes I wonder why people even waste their time to get on a list and then never open their email. I know you have to do all the compelling things to spark their curiosity and you get the few who will open as always but others I just don’t know why. Once I figure that out maybe things will be easier. Going to pop over and read the link you have under that number.
    I know how it helps by connecting with others and for now all I can afford to do is comment on their posts. I am trying to do this more consistently as that apparently is what it will take to get people to know about you. The internet can be a lonely place, going to try to get more comfortable with connecting.
    Thanks for the great list.

    • @Mary: the fact that some people on your list don’t open your emails is completely irrelevant. There will ALWAYS be those people… they’re not the ones you’re trying to reach. Focus on the ones that ARE opening your email. You can only impact those people who are willing to listen.

  43. Hey Jeff!
    Alan Seid here, we met at PLF Live last year.

    I love this list!

    One of my main principles you incorporated into #14, but I think of them as separate:
    “Be Willing to Take Imperfect Action”
    This is a mindset piece that I think also goes along with taking baby steps – but I think of them as different. Even after we get beyond baby steps we still need to remember that The Perfect is the enemy of The Good. Another way of saying this is “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.”

    I’m just about to pull the trigger on my first BIG launch and I’ve got that positive “holy s**t” kind of nervousness all over… really excited.

    The opt-in page is above if you get curious to check it out, and I’d love any feedback you would offer me.

    I love PLF and I’m incorporating it big time in my above launch process! (much gratitude to you)


  44. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for the 16 tips! Thank you…thank you. You’ve hit the nail on the head.
    I started 5 years ago looking into making $$ online. I didn’t know anything about it. I don’t know how to build a website…just look at my current one ( I don’t know how to really drive traffic, I don’t know how to make $$ on Adwords. I don’t really know SEO, I don’t do Facebook nor Youtube. Don’t know how to use Aweber. But the # 1, numero uno thing that I do well is….keep working at it. It’s like the ‘ol saying, “How do you eat an elephant?…One bite at a time.” That’s my tip…Don’t Stop!…Take action and keep workin’ it.. It took me 3 years to make One dollar online…now my own product brings in well into 5 figures every month. Thank you, I am grateful for what you do. Dave

  45. Great post jeff. I really read it from start to finish. Awesome value here!

    I like the idea that you need to build your list in everything you do online. This is smart advice!

    I made most of my income in autoresponder series. BTW, great stuff.


    Lewey Lu

  46. Thanks, Jeff! I have been following with you since I got your first Product Launch Formula product and you definitely have me as an elated customer.

    I appreciate what you’ve said about “getting over it” and creating my own products. For years I have been sticking to affiliate marketing without actually creating my own products and I have just begun working to create the first “buyable” product of my own.

    Like you said, instead of dreaming too big, I am working to make this something very inexpensive but with high value to my site’s visitors.

    Thanks for this encouragement 🙂 Keep up the great work.

  47. Could not agree more. The last year has been a steep learning curve, but now we’re implementing most everything you are talking about, except maybe the “go easy on yourself” part. Yeah, that is a very good idea!

  48. dear jeff,

    congratulation!!!! 16 years of internet business and lovely 16 “commands” of deep
    understanding what the internet marketing is. keep going on with your work for the benefit of internet marketing arena.
    thanks and best regards,


  49. Hi, Jeff,
    There nothing like good old Rule #14 – “Just get started.” to give us an often needed kick in the pants reminder.
    Another, in Rule #16, is your mention of setbacks. Challenges and adversity are out great sparring partners. We can never have a setback we can’t benefit from.
    I might add this one you’ve often mentioned: Step out of your comfort zone every chance. Don’t let it get in the way.
    “Everything’s impossible until somebody does it.” (Bruce Wayne)
    All the best,
    P S Congratulations on your 16th Anniversay — today’s my birthday too!

  50. Hey Jeff,

    Congratulations…sweet 16!

    Number 3 is the biggie. Newbies fail because they don’t set long term ambitions…just short ones and then get dissatisfied… and leave… 🙁

    The power of Masterminding is huge too… completely under rated!



  51. #1 rule – As my dad taught me, “you can’t go wrong doing the right thing.”

    So many marketers want to spin things so far (whether it’s a bribe or an outcome) that it becomes a lie. Sometimes it’s hard to do the next right thing. Sometimes you have to spend more more and take more time and give more in order to do what’s right by your customers.

    It’s not about the money first – it always comes as a result of doing the right things and delivering a great product and great service.

    Stay up late and learn that next piece of critical information that will take you to the next level. Don’t work on the weekends and devote time to your family. Pick up the phone and call your customers to see what’s up with that list of yours. THESE THINGS ARE HARD! But they’re the right things.

    Just do the next right thing – no matter how hard it is.

  52. Hi Jef, Felicidades … in Spanish! Hear you come to Europe? You will do some event so we can meet you! Hope to meet you and Eben here! You´re welkom in Barcelona! Buen Barista, Buen Café! Kim.-

  53. My #1 rule is “Serve the customer” even if you don’t know who he is, even if he doesn’t know he is. Of course I’m way below successful, but that’s okay with me – it jives with the #1 rule, right?

  54. So true, words of wise intent. Happy 16th!! I enjoy your natural down-to-earth style of writing and speaking. No hype, always just great value. Thanks for sharing your tips and tools. 🙂

  55. Hello,

    I just read your 16 rules of success, I enjoyed although I speak French, I’m doing English. You are saying the truth, there remains much to go for in-depth practice.
    So big thank you and congratulations

  56. Dear Jeff, Congratulations. Every single step counts.

    I met you at Brendon Burchard event the last May at San Jose and I hope be at your event at the end of october.

    Great Rules, I like the number one and sixteen.

    At middle of september will be my 21th anniversary of my business.

    Cheers by now and be yourself like allways.


  57. You’re so cool, Jeff, I want to be like you when I grow up :-). Thanks for the always sound advice. I’m taking baby steps…. Warm Blessings, Vicki

  58. Teresa Molter


    Thanks for this great summary Jeff! To continue to model best practices for all of us to follow.

    Your grateful PLF student . . .

  59. Justin Durano


    Whoa! Congratulation Jeff.
    How I wish I could have 16 years in internet marketing.
    This article have a really good point. It will surely help other internet marketers.
    Baby Steps is my favorite among those steps.

    Thanks for sharing this kind of article.

  60. I am so thrilled to know I am not the only one that first website was awful, first sales letter (even though it cost me $thousands) was awful, and so on. I feel better knowing I am not alone! thanks Jeff, feeling a lot more motivated reading your post.

  61. Jeff, another great valuable post. Happy anniversary! You are a great asset to the rest of us and thank you for sharing with us. 🙂

  62. Hi Jeff,

    Great blue print. Very powerful. The baby step rule is a wonderful one for me who are just starting my blog on how to blog and be rich.

    thanks a lot


  63. Most painful to learn: Don’t over-complicate your tactics, apply simple and easy strategies and gradually scale em’up … Jeff Bezos is one great example and now Google puts Amazon as their number 1 threat..

    The slow-burner method like burning charcoal is often more effective than fast burners that quickly burn up all the fuel..

  64. Jeff, are Brandon and you going to go on holiday in Europe or to “work”? If you come to Berlin let me know, if you like, so I can give you some tips 🙂

    – Hans

  65. Hey Jeff – these are all great rules, but I’ll highlight a few that I’ve learned after almost 3 years of doing this stuff:

    #13 was a hard lesson for me. After some > six figure successes in my second year, I went out and overcommitted myself to a big house lease. This caused all sorts of stress, and though I made the payments all on time, I ended up in a battle with the landlords about a big upcoming payment, and it fell apart. Now I’m living in a much more modest place and very happy about the much more relaxed (i.e. smaller) payments.

    I like #3 a lot as well – very important. I have people who follow me for more than a year before buying, then they buy into my high-end program. If I hadn’t been careful about providing value to them and relationship building all along, that would never happen.

    However, I think you forgot one, and it’s one that I’m sure you use (and I know that Frank Kern and Brendon Burchard use it as well).

    Take breaks. Do other stuff (for you and I it’s whitewater, for BB it’s hiking in the mountains and such, for FK it’s surfing). That helps you regain the big picture! If you work all the time with no breaks, it’s so easy to loose the big picture!!!!

    Ok, last but not least, if you’re ever in Idaho and want to do some boating, drop me a line!

    • @Morgan: Yup, I’m a big fan of taking time away from the business… it’s like Stephen Covey said – you have to sharpen the saw.

      I’ve done a bunch of boating in Idaho… love it up there. I’ve run the Middle Fork Salmon, Main Salmon, Selway, Lower Main… plus lots of days on the South Fork Payette and others I’m forgetting.

  66. Hello Jeff,
    That is an interesting set of path 🙂
    Thank you for sharing this list. This is a very good one not to loose focus on a daily basis. I’m a baby in that business despite my age (48 !) so I’ll stuck on these for a while and may be one day, I’ll be happy to share some of my experience !
    Marianne (fm France)

  67. George Shepherd


    Great Post! Every one of your 16 points carry soo much value. If the majority of folks looking to start or expand an online business can get off the “push button riches” hamster wheel and start following you and your methods, imagine how much more wealth and good-will there would be in this world!!!

    I appreciate your constant reminders to stay the course and your willingness to help so many people. Esse Quam Videri ~ To be, rather than seem to be!

  68. @Jeff – hey, awesome. I’ve only been here in Idaho for a few years, but I grew up in the West, and so got to do most of those rivers before the permits were so hard to get. The one that I’ve never done is the Selway, and it drives me crazy – I’ve been applying for permits since I was 14 years old – and that was a long time ago! Fortunately, there are lots of other good runs (as you point out)!

    I hope to see you at an event sometime – just put in notice at my day job, so having full attention on my business will be great! Doing science has been very, very fun, but the business is cooler (for now), and I had no time for boating when doing both! Split focus not good. (Maybe another business principle?)

    Lastly but not leastly – I’ve done courses & coaching with many of your friends (Frank, Brendon, Eben), so I’ll have to check your work in more depth soon.

  69. Hello Jeff

    Excuse my bad English. (I’m from Ukraine) But I had to write it.

    You have no idea how to help me with valuable advice! Even the free information you have excellent quality.

    This information helps greatly increased my income.

    A recent video I’ll apply the suggestions into practice. If it increases to 10 times earnings, be sure to write a review!

    All the best,

  70. I like all of these rules, and can really see that the long term view (number 3) is paying off for us. We have spent all year developing our brand, message and product and it’s been ‘scary’ at times to have spent so long. But we are sooo much clearer on what we stand for now and what we’re offering that we have a solid foundation to build on. If we’d have rushed it, just to get something out there to sell, we’d now be back peddling to work out where to move from here.

  71. You are an inspiration. Been watching you since you had that interview with Tony, and your content is pin point correct. I love it. Please update more often, I do know that you don’t have enough time, but it would be great if you could find more time to post stuff. Thanks.

  72. I have been reading a lot on internet marketing.. I wish I had just gotten to this page first. The most clear and concise advise encompassing most facets of internet marketing. Thanks much for giving it free.. some other ‘gurus’ would have easily made a 97$ product out of this.

  73. Hi Jeff! Love these rules! Especially #2! It’s so simple that it’s easy to overlook the profoundness of being “data-driven.” I had a real “duh/aha” moment!

    Thanks so much!


  74. My #1 rule is: Take action!
    Start doing something worth your time.
    No profit!? …that’s ok, you just got yourself a brand new skill. Don’t be lazy in learning; study and take appropriate action. Mistakes can mean 1000 times more than any seminar you could afford to go to.
    Is there anything else I’m missing on my rule, Jeff? 😀


    P.S. I can’t wait for PLF Elite to go live!

  75. Jeff, Congratulations on the article and the long overdue attention from a high quality publication like Forbes. Online and Mobile are reaching huge turning points every day, and I am honestly thankful that I began reading and listening to your humble advice several years ago. This article is a feather in the hat for online entrepreneurs and an inspiration for those of us still struggling though the “early days” of our business. Cheers, and thanks for your contribution to the bright side of Internet Marketing!

    With kind regards,


  76. Thanks Jeff for your words of wisdom. I have just “discovered” you. I watched one of your videos today and read an article about you in Forbes which referred me to this article. I am looking forward to learning more about you.


  77. Jeff. I really enjoyed reading this post. Loved the 16 tips. I’m just getting started in the online marketing world. I’ll be at PLF next month!!! See you there 🙂

  78. Great stuff Jeff. As a fledgling internet marketer all of your rules are very helpful to me. Rule 4 stands out to me, “Don’t Depend On Any Single Source of Traffic”. Great advice. Another rule that I am trying to implement is to have multiple streams of income as you alluded to in rule 16 “Invest In Yourself… No One Can Take Your Skills From You”. I will be applying rule 16 on a daily basis. Thanks for the information.

  79. Hi Jeff
    Congratulations on your success, I read the piece in Forbes, although I have been following you for a little while now.

    It is refreshing to hear you talk about creating value for your customers. In this day and age when everything is about instant gratification, creating long term value is really the key to success.

    I also like the concept of baby steps. Everyday you learn a new skill, build a new site is a day to celebrate as you have taken one small step forward. Without learning we stagnate and so does our business.

    Congratulations again, I love your philosophy!


  80. Hello,
    I loved your videos. I like the way you convey your messages. I feel motivated to keep going. Baby steps are cool. You portray running a business in a caring way. Thankyou.

  81. Learning so much and connecting with so many great entrepreneurs since I decided to go down the Internet Marketing route. Best bit for me today is: The human touch and the corporate voice being dead. It’s ‘I’ from now on.

  82. Hi Jeff,
    I love what you do and the way you do it. I think your business reflects a very ethical personality behind it.
    It’s funny as you read the article, but actually if you take it seriously, it’s sad to realise that we are making the same mistakes over and over again. Especially this one – we tend to make assumptions about what our customers want instead of gathering the correct data. As a result we create products or services that very few people are interested to buy.
    How would you suggest to start your market research if your blog is not attracting that many visitors yet and there is not enough data on Google analytics?

  83. Great blog post Jeff, Having worked for The late Corey Rudl and Derek Gehl as the affiliate manager for the internet marketing center I totally agree with all your principles, great piece and validates everything I do in my own business…

    There is three more I would add to this list that really work for me today
    1- Show up! at everything or else your competitors will
    2- Dont be afraid to do things different and take calculated risks
    3- Sail unchartered waters and take your business no one else has thought of going before – Do it differently when it counts!

    I hope you will make it to Vancouver BC someday- would love to see see you keynote sometime!

    Best Regards!

    • @Bosco: I love Vancouver and BC… have done a couple of great trips up there. On one trip we got in mountain biking, skiing, and surfing (in Tofino) all in one week.

  84. Pingback: Why Jeff Walker is the $400 Million Dollar Man -- And 7 Lessons You Can Learn From Him

  85. Hey Jeff

    Just found you through Eben Pagan and I’m glad I did! Really resonate with what you are saying and you are helping a lot! You are obviously passionate about what you teach and that reassures me to keep reading your stuff and learning from you. Thanks 🙂

  86. Thank for the article, really awesome!

    Rule no 1. Always Be Building Your List AND Your Relationship With Your List

    Is on top of my list. Nowadays, I try not to sound spammy and hypey when I email them about any promotions. Building their trust will take some time but I’m getting there.

  87. These are things I’ll definitely take into consideration when I get there! (I can see what you mean by your first email will suck as well.. :-P)

  88. Hi jeff,
    Your article is really awesome. For sure, I will continue reading your articles…..

  89. Hi Jeff

    Just been watching your interview with Tony Robbins on the new money masters seriies. Its 11:35 pm here in Teddington and I really should be in bed. Your interview was very inspiring and I love your website. I have two lovely children and a beautiful wife and wider family. I want to serve them and inspire others about the magic of business development, marketing and innovation in this great digital world. Your techniques are all new to me and I am 47! I want to use my experience in sales, marketing and media and inspire others. I get tired of the governments talking about austerity, cutting back and stuff and never about how people can grow and build business and be entrepreneurial. People like you should have a more mainstream voice instead of negative news on TV!
    I will tell others about your achievements and hope to inspire them. I have only just started using aweber email markeitng and sill learning how to use it properly. I feel this will help me get leverage and scale up. Your wisdom is of real value to me. PS like you I love to cycle and canoe. I work from home on Mondays and Fridays and in London on Tues, Wed and Thurs – I go for a canoe every Friday on the River Thames and that is when I get all my good ideas. Many thanks for being an inspiration on the journey! Paul Stallard

  90. Jeff, you’re a true inspiration. I think I’ve learned more from you (from blogs, free content and your Tony Robbins interview) than anyone else. This is yet another great article and I only hope to have the same level of success with my online marketing as you have had. Much love from the UK, thanks for all your continued support in this community.

  91. Hi Jeff,
    I just read a blog post from October 14, 2010 by Holly Lisle. She used a quote in there from you and this link:

    Of course, when I clicked and started reading I had to subscribe to you. She’s a writer, quite a good one, and I’m taking some courses from her.

    I have a blog, also, with exactly two subscribers, but neither of them is a relative…:) I look forward to learning all that I can from you and passing it forward.

    Have a great day!

  92. Hi Jeff,

    Congratulations and a BIG THANK YOU for PLF Live this past weekend!!!

    It was great and a true testimonial to the great work you do and the person you are. I am so excitied to be a part of this community.

    I think one of my biggest lessons in the years of business that I have learned over and over from different people along the path, and which I got again at an even deeper level this past weekend, is the power of the ripple affect. As Bucky Fuller called it “the precesional effect”.

    It is so amazing to see it work and when you are an entrepreneur that works from home, I think it is easy to loose site of the ripple affect you can have in the world if you are coming from a place of value, service, truth and compassion for your customer and all the people you touch on a daily basis.

    Rock on and I look forward to the journey with you and PLF!

    All the best,

  93. Has anyone here gotten results — I mean hard cash — from Jeff’s PLF, and that alone?

  94. I just found your site – recommendation from Corbett Barr. This is a great list — some of them I’m doing, others I need to add (like attending live events, but difficult with my lifestyle)…

    I’ll do some more exploring around here.


  95. Great post Jeff!

    I’m just stumbling across this now (Dec 26th) but I’d still like to congratulate you on this awesome milestone! I’m just getting my feet wet in this information marketing game, and have much to learn still. This post was exceptionally helpful as it introduced me to some new concepts and reconfirmed others I knew I had to stay on top of.

    Will be following your posts and other sites more often from now on.

    Thanks for the useful content!

  96. Hello,

    I just started an internet business 3 months ago. It seems to me somewhat “magic” to get so hight level informations. I think of you 16 years ago, you were just like I am now! fantastic. Lucky man I am to have the opportunity to read you blog.
    Thanks for sharing with us.
    Looking forward to seeing you “in vivo”

    best regards

  97. Hello, Jeff!

    I’m a young Ukrainian infopreneur and following my principles (as you and other people did) changed my life rapidly.
    In hallf a year I built two online businesss that not only help me but also help hundreds of my clients.

    Probably the most effectvite law was the one I borrowed from Brian Tracy – “Eat Yor Frog in the Morning FIRST”. It was not easy to wake up every morning 2 hours prior to starting regular office job and dedicate these 2 hours only to my single dream 🙂

    However following this simlpe but not easy principle (doing in the morning main thing first) changed my life and business…

    Now I freely travel around the world help and inspired other people from my country and beyound showing that opportunities are unlimited…

  98. Nancy Wyatt


    Hello, Jeff,
    I am just learning about you and am enjoying the trip. First, let me say that my home town is Durango, Colorado, and the shot of you looks like you are on Crestview Drive with Engineer Mountain in the background. Maybe yes, maybe no; but my sister lives on Crestview Drive. I used to be the “Coca-Cola Girl” on “the little train” when I worked during the summers. I’m in Virginia and rarely get back. Maybe that will change, if I learn and prosper from your teachings. The issue of ‘what if I’m not an expert’ / ‘what concept do I know enough about to sell’ is one that has plagued me…particularly, since I am thinking in terms of authorship, but have lacked inspiration. So, I appreciate the dilemma and plan to plunge forward after a little more definition. Thanks for all you know, are, and share!

  99. Jeff,
    I thought your side bar tutorial was very eye opening
    Thank you very much!

  100. hi jeff,

    this is genious! i can’t wait to see your next vid.

    i am thinking about using your method for my girlfriend’s business, who is coaching graphic designers. how can you help me do that?

  101. Jeff,

    Just “met” you for the first time through Tony Robbins video interview. It has been a long time since I have been that enthralled watching something. Thanks for providing such great free information. I’m writing a book for campus ministry and I can really see myself applying many of your principles.

    Thanks again. 🙂

  102. Robson Teixeira


    Hey Jeff, First of all, thank’s for share your knowledge, it’s amazing could find all these informations avaliable on internet, I really appreciate that. But I really want to know what could I sell, because the form to launch this is awsome, but I don’t know what could I sell, How would I know what the people need? I don’t have any business yet, and the big problem is: What kind of business could I do?
    I really loved your launch form, but I hope you could help me to know where to use this, What does the people need?

  103. Jeff. awesome rules. I will frame and stick it to the wall :)… Jeff , Just curious, what is your age? 😉

  104. Thank you Jeff you make so much sense.
    Every one of these rules is a golden nugget. I think my favourite two are to take baby steps and invest in yourself.

    Onward And Upwards To Success


  105. Brit Evensen


    Planning for PLF next year! All your videos makes sense.i am one of Gry Sindings students,Norway :-))

  106. Belated Congratulations! Printing these rules out love your content and i so agree.

  107. One of the most important lessons I have learnt in relation to developing my business online is….be careful who you listen to!!! There are so many folks out there teaching online business building and the quality, integrity and values vary wildly. In my early days I was a bit naive on this front. But now, I am very careful who I listen to and apply it not just to my business, but all areas of life.

  108. Hi Jeff! Great words of wisdom 🙂 I think the most important rule I have learned from these 16 Rules is understanding that the clients are the ones that measure the value you give. As simple as that is, I think it gets lost in the ‘grind of things’ in the beginning.. good thing to remember. Thank you!!

  109. Great post Jeff, I assume this isn’t in any order as they are all important. (I’d put no. 16 first!)
    My #1 law is to ‘Live with Integrity’. If you are playing for the long term, it is your personal integrity that will bring people back time and time again.

  110. Full agreement with Chris Edwards. It’s what is in your own head that counts. That’s number one!

    Just ask someone who escaped a tyrannical country (YES, it is still happening today), sometimes with only the clothes on their back. Their knowledge is their survival, and ultimately what is in our heads is what sustains each of us.

  111. Hi Jeff! #1 for me is knowing that everything happens in divine order completely aligned with our path. Combine that with #2 We are each responsible for our life, we come to my #3, We are the creators of our life. We can make worlds come together if we want them too. A hard one for me was to let go of the need to be right and accept myself for who I am. I went through my teenage years and early 20s a perfectionist. I forced myself to be right and would limit what I did until I had it just right. I set myself up for failure. It has been one of my biggest lessons to learn how to just go with the flow of life rather than against it. I have learned that through our failures we truly succeed. And if we didn’t try we wouldn’t never get anywhere. We would remain stuck in a holding pattern of fear. Our limiting beliefs rain over us and lay us victim to the path of misery and self-doubt.

  112. Jeff – All I do is learn something everytime I see read or hear what you talk about.
    But specifically to your questions –

    What was the one you learned first?
    #7 – however not just in your industry but all relationships are most important. I learned this by my father when I was like 10 years old. He told me – it is not what you know but who you know that matters in life.
    And I have come to learn and share with my followers, friends and clients – if you don’t like the people you deal with – it doesn’t matter what they offer you will find away to get out of that relationship. (Oh and in my new book coming out – I share a secret to my relationship building methods —> It is not what you get from a relationship, it is what you bring to a relationship that makes it valuable.

  113. Hi Jeff , Hope your week is going well! this week is important to millions and millions all over the world and it’s because we need to have a faith or belief — something we can’t live without! I’m working on my ‘What have you got to lose’ book which will get into that … 50 to 60 years of my life’s questions to save many the trouble and time of ‘looking it up’ themselves!

    You asked I think what is my #1 Law or tool to sell or convince someone to ‘buy or accept’ what you have to offer. My simple response or law is 2 part actually,. First you can’t sell anything to anyone. It will never happen. Point 2 I learned is never lie! We may misspeak but stick to informing the person or group of the facts. You then become the go-to guy. It’s what too many asked what was my secret? I think that was. Hope this helps here and with your latest survey! Blessing to you Jeff! Rick =)

  114. What I learned in the beginning, which I am still in, is it is a process. Build a strong foundation with support and be clear about your vision. Keep integrity in all that you do and be generous with your service.

  115. Hey, Jeff! Thanks for sharing this.

    My #1 is the same as yours: build the list and relationships with the list.

    My greatest challenge is making the time and commitment to get out of the house and go to events (live networking). After reading this, I’m moving that up the priority list.

  116. Thank you very much, Jeff, for your many uplifting, encouraging and inspiring videos and your liberating PLF system for many people in the world! I am also very grateful for Adam and Justin at Clickbank and there inspiration and practical know-how.
    I have registered for your PLF workshop in October this year and I will be there and take advantage of the opportunity to network with many like-minded people from around the world and learn everything I can about online marketing and specifically about PLF. As you know, I bought PLF twice. The first time I ended up doing nothing because I was not really ready. The second time, last year, I actually took action and that’s why I am now at a point in my life to make my dreams come true.

  117. Thank you very much, Jeff, for your many uplifting, encouraging and inspiring videos and your liberating PLF system for many people in the world! I am also very grateful for Adam and Justin at Clickbank and there inspiration and practical know-how.

  118. Dear Jeff,
    You speak from the heart and this is your true success.
    Over 2,000 Americans die of Heart Disease Daily.
    My mission is to teach how to communicate with their spiritual heart.
    Heart Attack is a misnomer! Your heart never attacks you.
    It is the source of life. It is the House of God.

  119. Debby Jones


    Signed up for the Product Launch Formula and am slowly but surely getting through it. Was unable to keep up at the course speed but am excited to put all of the information and tools to use. So appreciate the way you keep connecting, sharing and encouraging.

  120. Absolutely LOVE this article! Such great knowledge, so freely shared! But… it’s now 2016. ( Happy 20th! ) Care to share 4 more? 🙂 THANKS JEFF!

  121. Jeni Grabowski


    Hi Jeff
    I love all of your info – it is very valuable to me…and thank you for sharing it.
    I get what you are saying in #2 about checking data to see what’s selling/not selling etc but as entrepreneurs, we can also create a desire or need for a product or service as stated so succinctly by Henry Ford:

    “When asked if he believed in asking customers what they want – Ford replied:
    “If I had asked them what they had wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”
    He raises a valid point – sometimes people don’t know what they want and it requires some serious thinking ‘outside of the box’ to create incredible ideas that will change the world.”

  122. Jeff, I love your comment on the selling with the “human touch” and that the Corporate Touch is “Death”. I totally agree! I work with manufacturers and retailers we work hard to give every single brand we create a distinct and personal “voice”. No one wants to buy from a cold, impersonal company. They want to buy from human beings. So whether it’s a one person company, or you employ 3,000, your message should sound like you’re having a one on one conversation with your customer. Like you’re speaking directly to them, in a language and tone that really connects with them.

  123. #2 has been my biggest challenge…shifting from 4 decades of developing learning systems, instructional design, and video production for Fortune 500 companies, to the totally different world of online marketing. I spent months putting together lead magnets, copy, program designs, ads, etc., only to realize the market doesn’t want “learning” or other words that imply a lot of work or time to develop their online programs. That’s the “Catch 22” for me — I know the vast majority need better instructional design to incorporate proven learning techniques and processes, but most of them don’t see the need. So I’m retooling my story, copy, etc. to try to appeal to folks where they are (current felt needs/fears) and provide a solution that they see will meet those needs, but which will also incorporate the learning techniques so their programs can have a high transformation rate of creating successful, raving fans.

Your Email address will not be published.

By submitting this form you agree to our terms and conditions and our Privacy Policy.