Archive for the ‘Lessons’ Category

 

The #1 Most Costly Business Mistake

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

hrg

What’s the number one most costly business mistake people make and that I’ve made?

It’s getting in a relationship. Or more specifically the wrong relationship.

Now don’t get me wrong – being in the right relationship can actually make you even more successful by having someone that inspires you and pushes you to work harder.

But then there’s the dark side. And I see this often in relationships where one person is an entrepreneur / business-owner and the other is not.

Sure they’ll say they “support” you. And you’ll think you’ll have found a good person because of course they say they’re behind your goals 100% or claim to be. But is he or she really?

Top Signs that Your Significant Other Doesn’t Really Support You

– They mention how nice it would be if you went to work a nice suit and tie to a “real job”

– They say how you’re so intelligent and should apply to go to grad school and get an MBA, when you’re already doing what you love.

– They take up hours and hours of your most valuable asset – your time – even though they know you have to work and complain when you choose work over theme

– They’re super excited when times are good, but hate what you do when there are bumps in the road

– No matter how many times you try to explain why you do what you do, they just “don’t get it.”

This type of relationship pitfall aka black hole is especially important to avoid and look out for early in your career. I’ve now gone through this experience twice and have since sworn off any type of serious relationship for now as it becomes a major distraction. It may be too little too late for me, but I want any other young entrepreneurs out there who are starting off to take a serious look at their relationship and decide whether that person is helping them achieve their goals in life or holding them back. If the answer is the latter, then you need to do what Mr. Wonderful from Shark Tank would suggest you do – cut them off and move forward. There are plenty of (genuinely supportive) fish in the sea. Especially, after you’ve made it (in which case they may just be after your wallet, but that’s a whole different story).

I don’t mean to demonize women here and I’m using he and she interchangeably. It could just as easily be a female entrepreneur wanting to succeed and her boyfriend holding her back for whatever reason. In whichever situation this occurs, you have to realize that your time is limited. Whatever opportunities present themselves now will not present themselves later. If you become too distracted in a bad relationship, you’re killing your business and opportunities for growth.

I missed a ton of money trains and I regret them completely. I made bad choice and missed out on opportunities because I wasn’t focused. Now I’m slowly building my business, health, and sanity back. Trust me, a bad relationship can take a lot out of you no matter how well you think you can multi-task your life. If I had the fortitude to just cut things off when I knew they weren’t going anywhere, I would not have moved backwards in my business and likely would have been way further ahead. But alas, hindsight is 20 / 20.

Don’t make the same mistake. You’ve been warned.

 

50 Cent on Affiliate Marketing Part 2

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Okay so instead of making this “series” a post-by-post thing for each chapter I’ve decided to do put a few together. Otherwise you guys might be waiting a very long time lol. Again, go pick up The 50th Law by Robert Greene and 50 Cent to learn more about these ideas.

Chapter 2- Make Everything Your Own – Self-Reliance

In this business we rely on a lot of entities. We really on affiliate networks, advertisers, traffic sources, and more. 50 advocates becoming as self-reliant as you possibly can because when you work for others, you’re at their mercy. You don’t own your work. This sort of dependency is especially risky in a world where people are hooked to their 9-5 jobs and have no other source of income. It can apply to us affiliate marketers too, however. We’re constantly faced with offers going down, traffic sources banning advertisers, and affiliate networks going bankrupt. In order to be self-reliant, we have to think outside the box whether that means launching our own offer, working direct with a reputable advertiser, or building your own traffic source.

Chapter 3- Turn Shit into Sugar – Opportunism

This chapter mostly talks about taking a perceived negative situation and turning it into something positive. It’s how you look at things that matters. The fact that you’re at a perceived disadvantage might actually be an advantage and forces you to be more inventive than the next guy. As marketers, we’re all opportunistic. We take advantage of everything from the NBA Finals to the death of Michael Jackson and use that the profiteer. Keeping our finger on the pulse and watching trends is what we do. 50 says when you have nothing to lose and fear absolutely nothing is when you perform the best. This explains why when we’re starting out and having nothing to lose we take the greatest risks.

Chapter 4- Keep Moving – Calculated Momentum

This chapter basically talks about how micromanaging is a bad idea and how we continually have to adapt to our changing environment. We have to stop trying to control things and move with the chaos. This means learning how to move beyond flogs as a way to advertise or discovering new traffic sources. Things are always going to be changing in our industry and the Internet evolves and as regulations come into place…it’s our job to maneuver and adapt with that change. Be fluid, and don’t try to dominate using force.

Chapter 5- Know When to Be Bad – Aggression

This chapter talks about how sometimes it’s necessary to be aggressive. Too many times we take the nice route when someone is taking something or keeping us from something because we’re too afraid to be upfront and aggressive. People will try to stop you and take your power from you aggressively or passive aggressively. This can play out in our industry as well. A lot of times affiliate managers push a slew of new “hot” offers on us and we take their word for it instead of being more aggressive and trying to find out every tidbit we can from our affiliate managers to help make our campaigns successful. Some affiliates never ask for a pay bump or even know that they can sometimes get a higher payout if they just ask provided they’re bringing in quality volume. Don’t be afraid to leverage your strengths…if you’re making someone money and driving quality traffic, don’t be shy to ask for a bump. There are plenty of networks and plenty of offers where you could be sending your traffic…use that to your advantage. There’s a whole slew of ways being more aggressive can be to your advantage…from networking, to outbidding, to making bigger and bolder media buys than the other guy.

 

That’s it for part 2…let me know if you’re finding this interesting and I’ll make for a part 3 very soon.

P.S. There is no affiliation between this blog and 50 Cent or Robert Greene (sorry gotta protect my ass in case 50 comes at me lol)

Affiliate Marketing Lessons by 50 Cent Part 1

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Okay well they’re not really lessons on affiliate marketing from 50 Cent, but they are based off of the book The 50th Law, written by 50 Cent and Robert Greene. This book was a really good read and had terrific insight into the true genius and hustle that defined 50’s success and the same lessons and tactics can be used to find success in any field. Since this industry is often all about hustle and internet gangstaz I decided to take 50’s lessons and see how they apply to affiliate marketing.

Chapter 1: See Things for What They Are- Intense Realism

In this first chapter 50 describes how imperative it is to see things as they really are no matter how bad they get and to not get complacent no matter how good things get. A prime example of this is the recent FTC crackdown on affiliates. There comes a time when affiliates need to realize the true nature of the landscape and the various factors that affect our business and that includes the government. Some affiliates will probably continue to be greedy and not see the situation as it is and adapt accordingly – even if that means promoting legitimate offers with full compliance- and as 50 says “might as well kill yourself” if you “lose your grip on reality.”

On the other end of the spectrum, it’s important not to get complacent once you have that initial success. Campaigns don’t last forever and eventually that one-hit wonder will dry up. Are you going to see things for what they really are and scope out the bigger picture or relish in your short-term success only to find out you can’t make rent a few months from now? As affiliates, we can’t be blinded by quick money and lavish lifestyles. We need to continue to push the limits and try something new.

Everyday as marketers we see new things pushed on us. It’s up to us though to stay focused and have a real sense of what’s going on. Does your affiliate manager really care about you and your future success or does he just care if you sent him or her some leads today. In truth, just like small-time drug dealers and new budding musicians, most affiliates are just pawns. The big boss, the record company, and the affiliate network all have their own agenda which is to milk as much money out of you as possible. So seeing things for what they are might even mean not being an affiliate marketer anymore. It’s up to you to see what the trends are and what the real landscape is looking like not just now but a year or five years from now. Things are changing around us all the time. In the music industry it was pirating music and buying it in different forms- something 50 cent capitalized on instead of going along with the CEOs in the record industry. He told them to shove their MBAs elsewhere and was able to see the changing times and do things his own way. It’s precisely this sort of intuition and awareness that you need as an affiliate to not just  grow an empire, but crucial to even staying in business at all. Without it, as 50 cent makes it very clear through various examples, your days are numbered only by however long you’re profitable to someone else.

Disclaimer: This post isn’t to say that there aren’t networks out there looking out for your overall success. I know and work with plenty. Without successful affiliates there are no successful networks, which is what I like about the industry. It’s just important to be aware of the changing landscape of the affiliate space and that means keeping an eye on networks, advertisers, the government, and yourself.

How Being “Rich” Can Make You Poor

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

This is something that I realized only fairly recently in my affiliate career. What I realized is that back when I was first starting off and had nothing to lose and only a dream of success in affiliate marketing, I had absolutely no fear of taking risks. I played with money I didn’t have (not that I would recommend it), and took one risk after another. I racked up over $10k in credit card debt as a junior in college with no clue of how I was going to pay it back other than the fact that I was going to make it work.

Fast forward a few years, and although I’m not “rich” as the title indicates, but I’ve noticed that even though I have a little bit of a bankroll now, I’m actually LESS inclined to take risks as I was before. Maybe I just hate losing money more now that I somewhat know how to make it, but taking less risks means lesser rewards. But it’s funny how when you have nothing to lose you can be so adamant about taking risks, and once you do have the means that attitude dissipates. I don’t know if this is a phenomenon others have experienced, but I think in the long run taking less risks with your money because you’re too afraid to lose a little bit of it is detrimental to anyone’s success.

I think I have to go back to seeing things as I did in my earlier days with nothing to lose in order to gain more success in niches and traffic sources that I haven’t been bold enough to test out yet. Sticking to the familiar works, but only for so long. At a certain point you have to expand out of your comfort zone. Another reason for losing that kind of determination in the beginning is the failure to set new goals. When you’re new, you’re salivating for that first $100 day, then that $500 day, or $1000 day. But what if you’ve been at that $1000 day for a while and take it for what it is. I’ve been there and it’s not a bad amount of money by any means, but it certainly makes it easy to get complacent. I think it’s important to be able to set your sights higher. I just calculated this today and if you’re making $400 a day as an affiliate that’s only $146,000 pre-taxes per year. That’s certainly nothing to complain about and liveable, but if you’re like me and want to trump what you can make in a normal day job by ten-fold or more, then we’ve certainly got to set our sights higher and continually set new goals. At $1000/day we get to $365,000 pre-tax annually, but that’s still not enough to afford me the lifestyle I want. I know I’m in a business where that’s certainly possible, so I suppose it’s time to aim higher.

What do you think? Have you ever felt a similar reluctance to take risks once you’ve made a little bit of money? Let me know in the comments.

My Move to Miami & What I’ve Learned

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

As you may know, a couple of months ago I made the move to escape the bitter cold Jersey winter to Miami. There are a couple of reasons I made the move (which I knew was going to be temporary from the beginning) and there are also a lot of things I’ve learned from it.

One of the main reasons I moved was to just start living on my own, pay rent and other living expenses which would hopefully motivate me to make more money (I need a little pressure), and be able to live without depending on anybody else to be there…in a sense to be 100% content with just being by myself. I know it sounds like I’m trying to play the card of misanthropic House, M.D. here, but it was and is a real goal of mine. If you can’t be happy with just you and all you have, then you can’t be happy no matter what other people bring into your life. It was also to learn a sense of responsibility – that if something happens the only person I have to blame is myself. I’m still working on this one and a lot of times it comes from the belief that we can control everything when we really can’t.

All this is not to say that I haven’t been out meeting people though. I’ve met quite a few affiliates here and even hosting a Meetup202 Miami. It was kind of on short notice, but nonetheless it seems pretty apparent that there are a lot of underground affiliates here that don’t really come out. Although, I might have to try getting a network to sponsor an open bar or something – that just might work :)  There is a meetup sponsored by a few networks going on next week, Feb. 10th in Delray Beach, FL, however. It looks like it’s going to be pretty big, so if you’re in the area check it out (sflaffiliatemeetup.com).

Something I realized while living here though is that there are very few people who live the lives that we affiliates do. Most people have a set routine that they can’t really break ever…get up, go to work, gym, dinner, sleep, and do it all over again the next day. On the other hand, as affiliates we really own our time. And that can be a good thing or a bad thing. For me, I hate to waste a nice day outside so sometimes I just end up spending the day out or just hitting the beach. I guess I’m still not used to the fact that it’s almost always nice here. But owning my hours and deciding to hit the beach takes a toll on how much work I get done. Yet, I feel guilty not taking advantage of the nice weather. It’s almost as if people that are in the rat race or in a daily grind at least have some direction. As an affiliate, it’s 100% up to you to figure out how you want to spend your day.

Another reason why our lifestyles are unlike any others is something that really rang true in Ian’s recent post. We as affiliates work alone for the most part and that can suck sometimes. Sure you can bounce ideas off someone on AIM, but that’s still not the same as having people around you that you can interact with. We miss a whole dynamic of social interaction that people with jobs have access to everyday to the point where it becomes the foundation of there social lives. Think about the office Christmas party, the lunch meetings, the happy hours, and even people dating and getting married to people they meet at work. That entire aspect is kind of missing from the affiliate lifestyle. And I think that’s why people look so forward to events like ASW and ASE. It’s because we get to go out there- out of our isolated office spaces, and actually interact and have fun with like-minded people twice a year. The point of this isn’t to depress anybody out there, but just kind of bring to light how different a full-time affiliate’s life is. Now I’ve never worked a corporate job like some of my friends have and are, but I can definitely imagine them having a lot more of a social experience at work. Maybe not making as much money, but definitely having a better social experience on a day-to-day basis.

These are just my ramblings for now that I thought I had to get out there. Maybe some of you guys have gone through and experienced the same kind of things. Let me know what you think in the comments.

The 5 C’s of Affiliate Marketing

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

You’ve never heard of the 5 C’s?

Does this post sound like it’s about to turn into some corporate drone powerpoint presentation?

Well rest assured, it’s not. These 5 C’s are for real. How do I know? Because I’ve learned them through experience.

  1. Confidence – Ah yes that elusive term confidence. Why is it necessary? Well first let’s take a look at the majority  people in affiliate marketing who make a boatload of money or at least claim to. What do they have in common? A shear amount of cockiness (or confidence if that’s what you want to call it). Just hang out with any of these guys at any conference and you’ll know what I’m talking about. And it’s not a bad thing. I actually admire them for it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year it’s that I NEED to be more confident in myself as a person and as a business owner. If I don’t believe in my abilities then why the hell should you? And you know what? I’m getting there slowly. Along with this, you should know that confidence should be your first goal, NOT success. Copyblogger talks about how aiming for success instead of confidence could keep you poor in this post and I absolutely agree. Once you have confidence, you know you can make something happen again and having confidence in your abilities should be your greater goal.
  2. Creativity- You’ve probably heard this one a bunch of times so I’m gonna keep it short. If you’re not being creative then there’s a 98% chance you’re not making any real money. Let me tell you – any time I’ve followed one of those hot tips that come flying into my inbox telling me that I should be stacking paper taller than skyscrapers, I’ve failed. Maybe it’s just me, but I have a HUGE feeling that it’s probably not working because everybody and their mother is running the same offer on the same traffic sources. Any time that I’ve gotten something to really work for me it’s been an offer that I personally picked because I thought it would work and I saw an angle that I could promote it with. And you know what? It’s always always taken less testing than the latest dating or bizopp offer that’s been pushed to me from the networks.
  3. Conferences- Shows like Affiliate Summit and AdTech can literally boost your profits. How? Well first let’s talk about the amount of motivation you get after attending these shows. You’re literally hanging with millionaires and people who know their shit in the industry. You can’t help but be motivated and not to mention I’ve definitely picked up some HUGE tips while attending these conferences. Half of them I haven’t even put to use because I just don’t have the time. I even say that even if you’re a seasoned pro at this game there’s always something to learn. For instance, I learned about how to market on Android-powered phones at the last Affiliate Summit East in NY and I wouldn’t have learned about how to take advantage of Android phones if I hadn’t gone to the conference. Not to mention you have the opportunity to speak to the experts on panels face to face. A lot of people tell me that they’re not ready to go to conferences and are waiting until they get big. Well chances are you’re not going to get big until you get out there and start learning and doing with real people and real face-to-face business relationships.
  4. Connections- I don’t really like the word connections. I prefer relationships. But it’s true in any business, a part of success is who you know and more importantly who knows you. Establishing honest relationships in the industry and making friends can definitely open doors for you, but the first thing you should know is that in any relationship it’s a two way street. So don’t go out there trying to fling your business cards at everybody at the next conference. Listen to what people have to say and be confident (not cocky). I usually don’t even go with an agenda to any of these conferences. Just be yourself, be open to meeting new people, and have fun.
  5. Cloaking- This last one is a joke of course lol. But remember that any one in business who made a large fortune made it because they spotted an opportunity – a loophole if you will- and were able to capitalize on that opportunity. Most of the money made in the world today is made in that way. The laws aren’t perfect. And there are always loopholes. That’s exactly how the person who created the first flog was thinking and that’s how he got away with a fortune before it was even really made illegal by the FTC. So always be thinking ahead and if you can find that one loophole, it can make you very rich.

So that’s it. Those are my 5 C’s of affiliate marketing. Master these five concepts and you’ll be guaranteed to be making more money than you are currently.

Are any of these especially true in your business? Leave a comment.

 
Hi, I'm Rohail, affiliate marketer and serial entrepreneur. Follow my trials and triumphs in affiliate marketing as I give you an inside look at the industry and what it takes to be successful.

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