Interview With an Internet Entrepreneur

by Joe Plemon on March 1, 2011

I have known Alan Hale for over 40 years and have never been quite sure what he did for a living. One reason for my ambiguity is the simple fact that we live in different cities and, in spite of the fact that Alan is married to my wife’s cousin, we haven’t been all that close. But a second reason is that Alan has done a lot of things.

In recent years, as we have annually shared a vacation house with other cousins and their spouses, I have enjoyed getting to know Alan better. He is one of those guys who seems to know quite a bit about anything and everything. Don’t get me wrong; he doesn’t toot his own horn or come across as a know-it-all. Quite the contrary; he is a great conversationalist whether we are discussing professional football, how to fly an airplane, city zoning ordinances or teachers’ unions.

It is this natural curiosity about life that not only makes him a fun person to be around, but has made him a successful entrepreneur. He has parlayed overall knowledge into savvy business practices.

I want to thank Alan for being a good sport with this interview. Hopefully, his successes will inspire others to stretch their wings.

Alan, tell me a bit about your work background.

I have been employed by: a Consulting Engineering Firm, two Architectural firms, a Design-Build Construction firm, a Performance Bonding Company, Municipal Government, a Midwest ISO (Insurance Service Office), and still do some contract consulting work for a small number of clients.
I have started four owner/operator business ventures. One, while successful, ended like a bad dream. Two were very successful, and I’m glad to have had the experience. One is still running, and is successful beyond my wildest dream.

What can you tell us about exactly what you do?

I buy, trade, and sell things on the internet. I also offer a menu of dedicated services to select clients. My offerings and methodology were developed through very hard work and innovation. I consider them my ‘trade secrets’ and not open for discussion.

What circumstances motivated you to seek out your current career?

For nine years I owned and operated a Pawn Shop. I did not want or have any employees, and by the end of the eighth year of operations, I was bored and ready to make a change. My plan was to move my entire business onto the internet, while continuing to operate the shop for a year. Those twelve months would allow my internet business time to “jell-up" and produce the desired income so I could close the shop. The plan worked as designed, so I closed the Pawn Shop. That was my introduction to making money in cyber space.

Would it be impertinent to ask how well you are doing? If yes, would you share anyway :)? Six figures?

Yes, Yes, and Yes.

How many years did you struggle before reaching your current success level?

Let’s first apply the word struggle to the correct problem. Although my new form of business had ups and downs, at no time did I really struggle financially. However, I did struggle greatly for a couple of years in other ways. My overall knowledge and experience with ‘HTML’ was near zero, and I didn’t completely understand the finer technical details of “The Ways of the Web." I struggled with a very steep learning curve and struggled with getting the small details worked out the way I wanted. I spent a lot of energy looking for answers.

What advice would you give to those who are considering an internet career?

Success on the internet is a moving target. It’s not a destination, it’s a continuous journey. If you’re not in it for the long haul, you are not in. The process of commerce on the internet is a major paradigm shift from what one understands as normal. Find the right mindset, do your homework, and follow through.

Any thoughts about all the “Get rich while working at home” solicitations we so often hear?

Most of these systems really did work at one time. (Heavy on the past tense) They no longer produce as advertised mainly due to saturation. See the destination/journey statement above.
Having said that, there are some solid systems out there that will get you started on the right track. Be careful, it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Shop around and find something that fits your needs and keep an eye out for the on-going expenses. It is safe to say you are not going to get something for nothing.

Don’t quit your day job just yet.

Thanks again, Alan.

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