Tell us a little background info about yourself. Where are you from? How old are you? How long have you been working in this industry?
I’m 27 years old, from Melbourne, Australia. I’ve been working online since 2003, not always as an affiliate marketer, I began with e-commerce and importing tangible products.
What accomplishments so far are you the most proud of?
The accomplishment that I’m most proud of would be my lifestyle. I created an income based on how I wanted to live, so I can do and see everything I want to, and make a good living at the same time.
How did you come to learn about this industry? Why did you choose this career? When did you first realize the full potential in affiliate marketing? When did you first “hit the big time?”
I’d known about affiliate marketing for a long time. After selling my e-commerce business back in 2005, I decided to go on a 1 year trip around the world. When I returned home, I realized I didn’t want to be there, so the next day I was on a plane out of the country. After the global financial crisis(ouch), I realized I couldn’t sustain my lifestyle. It was at this point I decided to give affiliate marketing a go.
I did reasonably well for an affiliate marketer who would sometimes go a few days without an internet connection, but I wouldn’t say I ever hit the ‘big time’. I had plenty of 5 figure months, but my income was up and down like a yoyo, mainly because I was always moving around. After the first round of Google bans, I decided to make e-commerce work on the move.
I’m mostly known for my e-commerce guide that I posted on WickedFire. That drew a lot of attention to me and my blog. Lots of other affiliates were interested in branching out as well, so my previous experience was useful to them.
What have been your biggest failures and frustrations?
My biggest failure hasn’t been related to affiliate marketing or online business, but an important lesson anyway. I lost nearly a million dollars during the global financial crisis because I had all my eggs in mining stocks. It was a big ouch, and since then I’ve always made sure I’m well diversified. Slowly but surely I’m now bouncing back!
My main frustrations with affiliate marketing were mostly to do with CPA offers. Many CPA offers would come and go so fast and advertising platforms would change their rules every second day. Sometimes if I was offline for a few days, it was quite easy to come back expecting to see some $x,xxx profit to find myself down $x,xxx instead. It left me feeling a little nervous to scale up knowing what a day or two of downtime could cost me. And I wasn’t willing to sacrifice my lifestyle to sit in front of a screen all day, especially when I was in exotic locations and there were better things to be doing.
What is the single toughest problem you’ve had to face, and how did you get through it?
The toughest problem I’ve had was launching my current e-commerce business while being overseas. I had to arrange products to be rebranded and imported. I was selling the product before I had even seen it with my own eyes. Not to mention setting up a new company, bank accounts and merchant account, while in a hotel room in Bangkok is not one of the easiest things I’ve done.
Is there anything that you don’t like to do, that you just hate working on?
Design, web or graphics, I suck at it. I also find analyzing stats boring, but it’s something that has to be done.
What is the future of marketing?
The future of marketing is really bright, that’s for sure. Every year more and more people and businesses are getting online. We’re all in the perfect position right now to capitalize on this.
I believe the long way forward in this industry is to build something of value. If you want to survive in this industry, you need to either control a product(tangible or digital) or control the audience(traffic). Build something you can sell.
As smartphones get more powerful and with the iPad revitalizing tablets, I’m sure there will be tons of new opportunities, as to what they are, you’ll have to ask someone smarter than me.
If it’s possible for you to share, are there any particular niches that you currently favor? Or that you aren’t necessarily in right now but that you would recommend?
I am not promoting any affiliate offers at the moment, as I’ve switched sides to become an advertiser/merchant. I’ve already been transparent with my business, and some people already know that my niche is colored contacts. I documented most of what I did on my blog.
As for affiliate programs, I highly recommend my affiliate program .
What have you been up to recently? What projects are you working on?
Two weeks ago, I arrived in Colombia, after spending the last 3 months traveling from Argentina to Colombia. I’m currently in hermit mode catching up on work which is all based on improving my e-commerce sites.
Long term stable projects like this suit me much better. Adwords campaigns that I launched last year, are still up and running, profitable every day, and these same campaigns will probably be profitable next year too.
Apart from PPC ads on the ‘Big 3’, I’m working to optimize my sites to increase conversion rates. So from installing heatmaps and running Google Website Optimizer tests, I’m also looking to increase traffic from SEO and build my affiliate program.
Do you think anything particular in your past prepared you for this industry? Your education? Jobs you’ve held before?
Definitely. I have previous experience with sourcing products from overseas and importing. I had the confidence to bring in anything I wanted which is a big hurdle for a lot of new people.
What are your greatest strengths?
Probably that I tend to jump in the deep end, and tend to make somewhat extreme decisions. If I had never quit my job, sold my apartment and moved to the beach in 2004, I probably would still be sitting in an office somewhere.
What are your greatest weaknesses?
I’m lazy. I don’t like to be on the grind all the time.
What motivates you?
The freedom to do whatever I want motivates me. I’m a down to earth person and I’m motivated by travel and seeing and learning new things. We work online and have the freedom to move around, I think more people need to take advantage of this.
I have a dream of sailing around the world, spending a year or two living on a sail boat. I get seasick though, so I don’t know how that will work out.
What are some of your long-term goals?
My long term goal is to grow my current business, and then outsource all the operational aspects of it, to free up my time. Then I’d like to work with other people to build up new businesses.
Where do you want to be ten years from now?
I imagine doing the same thing. Maybe traveling a bit less, but I’d hope to have a network of businesses that allow me to passively make money while working very little. With the changes in technology, I can’t imagine how different things will be in 10 years!
If you could go back to being 18, what different career choices would you make?
In hindsight, there’s lots of things I’d have done differently… I would of gotten into affiliate marketing earlier and I would have tackled more e-commerce niches rather than just 1. I would of diversified into more areas.
How do you like to spend your free time? What doe work-life balance mean to you?
I’ll admit that I’m not a balanced person. Sometimes I’ll work 16 hours a day for a month, and then not work for 2 months. As for my free time, I like to drink and party like most people my age. Keep an eye on my blog, and if I’m in your area, let me know, we’ll get some beers!
Tags: Affiliate Marketing, Pay Per Click, SEO
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