In this tough economy, I’ve had clients approach me and tell me heart-wrenching stories. I’m sure it’s world-wide but I am talking the good ole U S of A.

I am also talking about clients that were cash rich in 2007, either via their self-employed business or they were employed full-time and had part-time internet driven businesses that they dabbled in, hoping to become the next garage to Inc. success.

Unfortunately, as 2009 reaches the last quarter, news is not so good. This week alone I’ve been approached by long-term clients telling me:

(1)  Mark, I’ve got no cash-flow to feed the family, I need to get an employed position.  Can you help me with an online Bio/Website about my skills and awesome PDF /Word Doc version of my resume. We’re talking an ex-stock-broker turned entrepreneur.  I was shocked to learn of his situation, he just seemed so together and successful.

(2) Mark, I got laid off last week, can you help me with my online business that you’ve helped design and develop to monetize my business – fast!  This man is a strong family man that has supported his family since early manhood.  He’s also a very giving person and one that I know would offer you the shirt off his back if you needed his help.  A remarkable and compassionate individual.

(3) Mark, I know we’ve got to spend more on advertising but how can I reach an audience on a low budget?  I mean seriously, my ecommerce store sales have declined by over 50% this year and PPC costs have sky-rocketed with a lot less conversions?  You should know Mark, you helped me set it up!

(4) Mark, I know you tendered for that SEO  job and gave me a reference to your old Agency where you were a Consultant. From your discussion, I understand it  is a multi-million dollar company, but you were right when you said “Don’t be fooled by the CEO, he’s a salesman and would perhaps try to ‘poach’ your business- he did!  Good call and I’ve sent over the NDA and look forward to working with you.”

These are just some of the emails and phone calls I have received. I can tell you, it hurts no matter what.  ALL of these people are just struggling to make ends meet.

My clients are generally long term as I run a boutique firm that survives on customer service.  Indeed, even though most I never meet as they are nationally and internationally located, there becomes a strong bond during our working relationship and as we all do naturally, that leads to personal discussions about family, life and more.

So how can you survive and make your online business work?  There’s got to be some way to get your message out to the audience and on a budget.

Well, I propose you look at Clickbank.com as one marketing alternative if you have a digital or other related product to sell.  For $50 you get to launch your affiliate program to over 100,000 budding marketers to help you get your product to the market-place.  They are aggressive and you can see them promote your products on social networks like Twitter, FB, MySpace, and others as well as their own web sites.

Just make sure you have your own web site that allows only Clickbank as your merchant.  In other words, the website domain or sub-domain needs to meet Clickbank criteria which in layman terms means it should be a landing page or squeeze page that directs buyers to purchase via Clickbank merchant account.

Here’s to your success!