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 WAHM > Work at Home Mom Business Success Stories > Rachael Hoffman of DiscountLongDistanceRates.com

Rachael Hoffman of DiscountLongDistanceRates.com
Interview and Article by Alice Seba, Editor of InternetBasedMoms.com

In June 2001 Rachael Hoffman became a satisfied customer of the telecommunications company, Cognigen. Then in early 2002, she was reading an article in a major magazine that mentioned a website with cheap long distance rates. She promptly went to check if the rates being offered were cheaper than the rates she was paying at Cognigen and discovered that the website was actually a Cognigen site. Prior to visiting this site, she had never noticed that there was a business opportunity available with Cognigen and so she decided to look into it.

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She hasn't looked back since. Rachael became an independent agent of Cognigen in March 2002 and has achieved great success in the past year.

She proudly states that she reached her original sales goal for the end of her first year in just seven months and as of today, has tripled her sales goal.

She expects to do a little over four times what her original sales goal was by her one year anniversary with the company. Rachael began her online business by hiring a designer for her first website http://www.discountlongdistancerates.com
 

Meanwhile, she took online college courses in HTML so that she could learn to do web page design herself. Rachael now does all the updates and adds new pages to http://discountlongdistancerates.com and has since created a few other sites from scratch. Her latest site is http://www.cheaplongdistancecarriers.com, which has recently gone live. Rachael says she keeps her sites graphically simple, due to loading times. Wise thinking, considering most people still access the Internet do so on a 28.8K modem. Rachael now owns 12 domains and has four sites currently on the Internet.

Four of the most important things for the success of a home based business, says Rachael, are drive; being willing to work harder than you ever have before; having a realistic expectation of the investment required to run a business; and being willing to learn. Rachael says she works harder for herself than she did for any boss and she cautions people who think that running a home based business means no investment is required. True, the investment is significantly less than running a traditional business, but it will still cost money in order to attain true success. In regards to learning, as we already know, Rachael has taken the time to learn HTML.

She has also done the research required to learn about search engine optimization, graphic design, hosting lingo, uploading files, Internet Marketing, pay-per-click strategies and more. "The Internet is volatile," states Rachael, "The learning process is never ending."

Because 70% of all website traffic comes from search engines, Rachael emphatically says, "If you want free marketing, you need to study search engine optimization like your life depends on it. If you don't have the time or patience to learn search engine optimization, you can try pay per click," but this comes at a cost.

Rachael combines both strategies to her websites. She mainly relies on search engine optimization, but because it takes a few months to get a website into and ranked well with the search engines, she often uses pay-per-clicks upon launching a new site and then uses them less as her site ranks better.

When it comes to search engine rankings, Rachael says that even with good optimization techniques, you need a quality site. "You don't need bells and whistles,” advises Rachael, “but you do need a good sized site with valuable content."

Rachael cautions that a few factors can hurt you in search engine rankings. One is duplicate content and the other is link exchanges. If your site is a replication of the information on another site, then search engines will effectively think that the information provided is not useful, original content.

This means company-generated sites, often offered with many business opportunities, may not list very well in search engines. Each business rep has the same site and that could mean thousands of sites with the exact same content Link popularity is important to rankings, but it's not just about building a ton of incoming links. The type of sites you are exchanging links with, their importance and their relevance to your content all matter. "Link exchanges can help you or hurt you depending on how you use them," warns Rachael.

Rachael’s future business plans include increasing her sales rate by 50% for the upcoming year. She recently launched her Cheap Long Distance Carriers site and plans to do another niche site or two before the end of the year. She will also begin to focus more attention to finding additional agents for her team. Until this time, Rachael has been mainly sales driven in her business, but would like to see her team grow with a few serious agents.

Even with the growth of her team, she fully expects her own sales to continue generating 95% of her income and her ultimate goal is to match her husband’s income by this time next year.

We wish Rachael continued success and the best of luck in achieving her business goals.


Rachael Hoffman is 25 years old with a two year old daughter, a five year old son with severe special needs and a supportive husband. She makes her living on the Internet, largely based in
the telecommunications industry with her websites, such as http://www.discountlongdistancerates.com  and http://www.cheaplongdistancecarriers.com  serving as her storefronts.

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