This part of my story will start after I finally got the ball rolling, and discovered a major pillar in my success as an internet marketer. Just a word of warning, it's really long, but there are lots of juicy details.
When I made my first website I didn't know what I was doing. I simply followed a tutorial – the same method I give you access to – and jumped in head first. I chose my product poorly. My site was full of broken links and spelling errors (8 years later, not much has changed…OK, well my ramshackle websites actually make money lol).
Most of my campaign was made up of free tools available to anyone online. It took me 1 month to get my site up, and get indexed in Google. It took me 3 months to make my first sale, and my first $5 online. (The first sale is always the sweetest. Ask any successful internet marketer)
Now imagine that I had never improved from that point. Imagine that I didn't learn anything more, didn't start any new websites, and didn't try promoting new products. If I only made $5 per day after 3 months of work, that'll barely buy a cup of coffee these days, right?
But $5 per day is $150 per month or $1800 per year. Would you scoff at an extra $1800 dollars added to your paycheck?
Plus it's not a stretch to say that in your second year you start making 2 sales a day, for $3600 over the course of a year. Or maybe you start a new campaign, and choose a product with higher commissions, and make $15 per day for $5400 more spending money. Now it's easy to see how internet marketing can be profitable.
About Internet Marketing Gurus (A Short Story)
Have you ever watched a video that claims their product can help you make X thousands of dollars in just minutes a day? It's true!
Sort of. There's a catch.
So I'll tell you a story from my personal internet marketing escapades that validates, but also explains further (which the gurus don't) what the real situation is. Remember how in the example above I was making $5 per sale on my first product? Totally true.
Then I said that in your second year you may choose a product with higher commissions? I did that.
I found one for a whopping $18 per sale (Although I know now that $18 isn't that much compared to some affiliate programs, especially when you consider that some places offer recurring commissions). Regardless, I was making $18 per sale, and making 1 sale every couple of days. But regardless of how I tried, I just couldn't ramp up the campaign to be really profitable. I got bored, and quit working on it.
But it was still making money.
Sometimes one sale on one day, then no sales for 3 days. Then 3 sales on one day, then two weeks with nothing. All I did was update the website every once in a while, which took maybe a 1/2 an hour, a couple of times over the course of the year.
Fast forward to 2013.
I made $2000 on from this site last year. From a few hours of work. It probably works out to something around $300-400 per hour. Of course that doesn't tell you much about how much work I put into it the year before, but it does tell you that this year was AWESOME! So you can see how making $400 dollars an hour is totally possible.
But you can also see how it's not the whole picture.
Back to my story. So I had two semi-successful websites under my belt, and was hungry for more. I was hooked. This internet marketing thing really worked, and I could see now that if I could make $1000 dollar per year off of one website, if I could make one website a month, that would be $12,000 per year.
If I did this for the next 5 years, that would be 60,000 per year. That's not a huge wage in the US, but I could keep my job and make an extra 60 grand a year, or tighten up my budget a bit, quit my job, and devote more time to internet marketing (more time = more money).
So I kept looking for some good keywords and products for my next campaign.
Grow Your Business? What Business? (Another Short Story)
Now, this is another thing that internet marketers don't like to tell you in their tutorials and videos. No one likes to reveal the niches that led them to success.
You'll hear things like “Grow your business”, or “Build a marketing campaign”, but no one ever says WHAT they sold. There's reason for this.
I'll tell you a story to show you the reason for this.
The online business training center where I learned how to create an online business, has weekly webinars to teach us tips and tricks to improve our businesses so we can make more money.
Anyway, every week this guy named Jay hosts a live webinar where he teaches different aspects of internet marketing.
One week he might teach how to build a WordPress website from scratch, and another week he'll teach us about how to do keyword research. He's covered topics like how to build a local marketing business, how to leverage social media in your marketing campaign, and how to rank well in the search engines.
There was one time he did a webinar on how to build a review website for an Amazon product. The webinar was live, so everyone watching could see him actually do the keyword research, hear him thinking out loud, and learn from the master, so to speak.
When he finally found a keyword and product he liked, and used Jaxxy to find an available domain name.
He then went to Godaddy to purchase the domain (remember, this was LIVE), but the domain was unavailable! How could this be? After looking up some information on the Whois database, he discovered that the domain had been bought, just moments before.
Someone watching the webinar had taken the domain name from under his nose!
The point of the story is this: it only takes one spammer, hacker, thief (or whatever you want to call it) to ruin the fun for everyone. What your business is about is going to have to be your decision.
If we were sitting down face to face having a beer or cup of coffee, sure, I'd have no problem showing you my money making websites and telling you how much they make. But posting that info online is a slippery slope. There are many issues, that I'm sure you can imagine.
- people trying to reverse-engineer my niche sites
- people copy/pasting my content
- looking like a scam artist with fake income proof
- tell you how much money I make and how doesn't put any money in YOUR pocket
But this is the internet. I just mean to make the point that most folks do not like to reveal information about their money-making websites because even though 99% of people are honest and would not “copy” or “steal”, 1% of jerks can screw it up for everyone.
So I do my best to give examples with websites that I am working on NOW, like my beer site (as well as One More Cup of Coffee), and show you the steps you need to take build your own online business, based on YOUR interests. Not mine.
A Horrible Turn of Events
So getting back to the story (sorry for being so long-winded here), I was looking for a product and some keywords to start my next marketing campaign. I eventually found one, and in my ignorance as a newbie marketer, I had no idea that it was going to be my big break.
I started making a bit of money after a couple of months (a few hundred bucks), and after regularly making about 500 dollars a month on it, I told myself that I would quit the campaign by June (my 1 year anniversary as a marketer), and start a new website, with a new niche, and go along with my plan to have a bunch of sites that made a little bit of money.
But when June came along, I still had some great ideas I had to get done, and told myself I'd work on this site for the summer, but I HAD to start a new site when the school year started in September (I was teaching in China at the time).
September rolled around, and I just kept moving the date when I would stop this niche back again and again. But then I made another site in the same niche. And another. Pretty soon I was juggling about 10 sites in the same niche, outsourcing lots of work, and working really long days. I was exhausted, but making money, and you're never really that tired when you're making lots of money.
Another thing that internet marketers won't tell you is how much money they make.
Oh, sure, they'll give you screen shots of the “37,563.18” they made in one day, but no one really knows if these screenshots are real.
They never really tell you much about their finances because it's probably a ‘feast or famine' type deal, where they make nothing while they develop a scam product, then launch the product and make quite a lot, and when everyone tires of the crap they put out, they go back into development, and do the whole thing over again.
But I don't mind telling you how much I was making at the time because…
1. It's in the past, and is an important part of my story
2. It's important for you to see REAL numbers, not some inflated BS
So around December of the same year I was able to net $4000 in a month, which was 4 times what I was making as a teacher in China. Needless to say, my lifestyle improved quite a bit. By Jan, I netted $6000, and in March of that year I actually made $10,000 in one month.
I was living on cloud 9. I felt like a millionaire. If I could keep this up, I could make over 100K USD, while living in China – WOW. Unfortunately, Google likes to mix things up for us internet marketers sometimes, to keep us on our toes and keep spam out of Google search.
The marketing I was doing certainly wasn't spam, but there was some low-quality stuff I was putting out there. My worst offense was that I was using blog networks to boost my rankings. That's another long story I won't get in to here.
Needless to say, I saw my rankings disappear along with my traffic, and the money I was making went down…down..down… so that in June of 2012, I was down to making $4000 dollars a month.
From 10 → 4!!!!!
I lost more than 50% of my monthly income in just a few months. Needless to say, I was depressed. I didn't know what to do. I looked like all hope was lost.
But again, thanks to the support of other members inside the community, I kept on with my campaigns. I cleaned up my sites and started focusing on high quality content for my websites and articles that would bring me visitors.
No more link schemes, no more paid links, no more blog networks, no more Adwords.
Eventually my earnings came back up a bit, and have leveled off at a place where I was comfortable enough to quit my job in China, move back to the US, and become a full time internet marketer.
And now I'm telling my story to you.
It's been about
three eight years that I've been making money online, and although I'm no expert, and certainly not a ‘guru', I do know how to research, build, and maintain an online business. And I want to teach you how to do the same.