31
Dec

Saturday Night Healthy Pizza Dinners

 Saturday Night Pizza

After reading John Chow’s latest fine dining entry about his trip to Tony Roma’s I thought I’d try to give bloggers a little bit more of a healthy choice in food. This is one of our cooked recipes that accounts for about 20% of the food we eat. It certainly isn’t the most healthy thing you could eat since it is cooked and has a little cheese on it, but it’s way healthier than anything you would get at Pizza Hut or Domino’s.

As a tradition my wife Jean and I make pizza almost every Saturday night. This is no ordinary pizza as it is completely made from scratch, except for the sauce which is organic Muir Glen pasta sauce. It is a fairly labor intensive process that takes about 2.5 hours to prepare the dinner, which includes salads, for the evening.

The usual toppings for the pizza include green peppers, red peppers, zucchini, olives, onions, jalapenos, fresh garlic, 3 different kinds of cheese and sauteed crimini mushrooms. The mushrooms are sliced up and sauteed until all the water cooks out of them and then I pour a little sweet vermouth in the skillet and saute it down again. This makes the mushrooms nice and tangy. Occasionally we will add some sun-dried tomatoes prepared in our dehydrator when we have them.

The crust is prepared by my wife Jean and the process starts by grinding our own wheat. She uses our Vita Mix blender to grind hard red wheat berries into whole grain flour. The flour is a little more course than your average white flour which makes for a nice consistency to the crust. If you’ve never used a Vita Mix blender, they are incredible machines and you will never own a traditional blender again once you own a Vita Mix.

After the dough is made it is rolled out onto a large cutting board to let it rise for about 30 minutes. We then heat our pizza stone for 15 minutes at 450 degrees F. Jean then slides the crust onto the hot stone and cooks it for 8 minutes so it will be firm when adding the ingredients. This is the secret to great pizza. Every time you get a pizza from the major delivery outlets, the center of the crust is uncooked and gooey. By cooking it you get a firm pizza that you can actually pick up and eat with one hand.

After the crust cooks for 8 minutes we take it out and add all the ingredients and sprinkle on about as much cheese as there is in probably 2 to 3 slices of Pizza Hut pizza. As you can see there is a little more cheese on the right side, my side. That little bit of cheese is still on of my weaknesses. To give the pizza an extra kick we use fresh crushed garlic on top and sprinkle Italian spices directly on the crust right after we take it out of the oven and then we put more spices on the top as the last ingredient.

The pizza cooks for an additional 8 to 9 minutes. I like the cheese to just start to get brown and the I know it’s done. This pizza last us for 2 meals.

It is a lot of work, but we look forward to our pizza dinners nearly every Saturday night.

Alan

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30
Dec

Business Goals For The New Year

As mentioned in a previous post about goals, I like to set goals for the New Year rather than make resolutions since resolutions concentrate on getting rid of negative habits instead of looking towards positive outcomes.

So here are my business goals for 2008:

Greatly expand my eBay affiliate association by using Build A Niche Store to put up 10 more niche websites. I will have only 8 more sites to go when I put up my next site today or Monday. This should get me to the goal of sending 1,000 people a day to eBay which should bring in approximately $6,500 per month according to current trends.

Get 1,000 people per day to my vacation site which should bring in $123 per day or $3,692 per month according to current numbers over the past year. I currently earn 12.3 cents for every visitor to the site. The plan is to greatly increase content by outsourcing to writers through Elance.com .

Increase rss readers for this blog to 1,000 and increase traffic to at least 2,000 people per day. At this point I can’t put a monetization value on this because the blog has only been up for about 6 weeks now.

Change the theme of Affiliate Confession to something that looks more professional and has a more unique feel. I have a template and design in mind, but my criteria for the change is to have the blog pay for it. I’m counting on that happening by March 1st or sooner.

When realized, those goals should bring me to an income level of $10,192 per month. That’s not counting anything from this blog or any of the other non eBay affiliate sites I have. There is a trickle of income coming in from those, but my goal is to stop counting on the sites that don’t make money and start putting time into the sites and affiliate programs that do.

What are some of your goals for 2008?

Alan

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29
Dec

Are You Suffering From Information Overload?

Affiliate Confession received an interesting comment from a reader back at the beginning of this month and it’s been bugging me for some time now. Binh from Binh.name made the comment on the Misconceptions About Making Money Online post that he reads other people’s blogs and comments for an astounding 8 hours a day.

While I do think it is important, especially for a beginning affiliate marketer or blogger, to read and learn how others make money, 8 hours a day of reading blogs would give almost anyone way more information than they could possibly use. In fact, information overload is a serious problem in our society today. Think about it, can you possibly digest all the information that’s thrown at you and more importantly, is the information you’re digesting useful? Does it get you closer to your goal of either working at home full time or being at a specific income level?

Several years ago my wife and I eliminated the newspaper from cluttering up our home, partly because the Florida Today is a useless fish guts wrapper, but more importantly because we decided we didn’t need the redundancy of information filling up our minds. We would watch the news, read the Drudge Report, scan the headlines at Yahoo News and get pretty much all the same information 3 or 4 times over. Why add a newspaper on top of that.

I’m sure you know about Pareto and the 80/20 rule. It applies to information as well. Translated it means that 80% of the information you come across provides you with only 20% of what you really need and 20% of the info you come across provides you with the 80% majority of useful info. One of the most important tasks to being effective as a internet marketer is to figure out which 20% of that info is really useful and trash the rest. Yes, I said trash the rest, because it is useless and wastes your time.

Check Out The 4 Hour Work WeekI’m reading a great book I was hesitant to pick up at first because of the title. I thought it was one of those cheesy get rich quick books, but The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss chronicles the life of a serial entrepreneur (who calls himself part of the new rich class) who travels the world and really only works 4 hours per week. You will hear much more about this incredibly useful book in upcoming posts, but a quote the author uses in the chapter entitled The Low-Information Diet struck me right between the eyes. He quotes the Nobel Prize winning Herbert Simon who once said, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

The author then goes on to explain how he has nearly cut himself off from almost all news sources available. He doesn’t ever watch the news, ever. He has purchased only one newspaper in the last 5 years and he checks his business email once a week on Mondays for only one hour. Ferriss reads the headlines in the newspaper machines on his walk to lunch every afternoon and reads approximately 4 hours worth of business magazines a month, that’s it. He figures if the world is about to end, someone will probably let him know.

Ferriss is incredibly effective in his use of time and has tons of time left over to pursue a lifestyle of gallivanting around the globe enjoying the things he considers important. While what he does may not be important to you, he does exactly what he chooses because he is a master of only doing the things in his business life that are truly effective allowing him to live life on his terms.

Since eliminating the newspaper from our home we have drastically reduced TV consumption down to about 2 to 3 hours a week, I no longer read my email before 11:00 am, I rarely read the Drudge Report and I’m taking a serious look at the tasks I do everyday to see which ones bring results and which are just a waste of time.

As you reflect on the past year and consider the new year, maybe you need to finally ask yourself just what heck you’ve been doing with your time and information input and why you aren’t more effective in your internet businesses. I know I certainly need to do that.

Alan

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28
Dec

Money And Fame Or Freedom And Lifestyle?

Are you sure you are ready for lots of money as an affiliate marketer? Can you deal with the cash flow? You might want to think about that. As an example, most rock stars are idiots when it comes to dealing with money. A majority of them can’t handle the fame and fortune hand they’ve been dealt. They have money and they have fame, but they have pretty crappy lives.

Most of the people in the world will never have the kind of money a rock star has. The truth is, you likely earn what you earn because you think like someone who makes what you make. I don’t make $27,000 per month like John Chow does because I think like a person who makes $2,500 per month, even though I’m working to increase that amount.

There are those rare individuals however, who end up making more money than they can obviously handle as in the case of most rock stars. Yes, they make lots of money, but they end up losing it or they screw up their lives, or usually both. Is that the way you want to live as an affiliate marketer? Wouldn’t you rather have freedom and the lifestyle that goes along with it. Most rock stars don’t really have freedom, they’re bound to their old loser habits.

Don’t think so? Why don’t we take a look at a few just to prove my point:

Eddie Van HalenEddie Van Halen
What’s up with Eddie? The poor guy used to be known as the most incredible guitarist on the planet. He was also married to every guy’s dream girl from prime time TV in the late 70’s. Eddie didn’t have the sense to realize a bottle of booze was more important to him than was Valerie Bertinelli for crying out loud. Eddie qualifies as a purebred idiot because money didn’t do anything for him.

Eddie Van Halen should really make $30,000 per year, just enough to pay to fix his rotten teeth…and maybe buy a nice guitar.

Keith RichardsKeith Richards
Does anyone out there want to be like Keith Richards? Can I see a show of hands? I know it’s hard to believe, but Keith looks fairly drug free and sober here. This guy was cursed with a very serious case of ugly and he should have spent his money on a face lift instead of alcohol. Being a test case for every drug known to man probably didn’t help Keith either. 

Keith Richards should really make $27.50 per month which is just enough for him to get a decent haircut and a cup of coffee at Starbucks to keep him sober. Sorry Keith, that’s all you get.

David Lee RothDavid Lee Roth
Sorry Van Halen fans, but there are issues here with the boys in the band. The rock star lifestyle wasn’t kind to Dave. All I remember about Dave was that he was with Van Halen one day, he dressed up in a sissy leopard leotard and had his own band the next day and I woke up the morning after that and David was old. He looks like a male Farrah Fawcett.

David Lee Roth should really make $40,014.88 per year. The $14.88 is for a once yearly purchase of a Best of Van Halen CD so he can sit around an reminisce about the good old days.

Britney SpearsBritney Spears
I don’t even know why I included Britney here because she’s not really a rock star and she certainly can’t sing. But she does make lots of money even when she’s just sittin around doing nothing besides getting chubby and making babies. Remember the days when all you pervs thought Britney was smokin hot? Now Britney’s just smokin.

Britney Spears should really make $18,500 per year so she can buy a used trailer, a pimped out 95 Crown Vic and some Nicorette patches.

Phil SpectorPhil Spector
That hairdo on Phil looks like Darth Vader’s Death Star. It’s a white fro freak show. Phil was one of the most prolific song writers and music producers of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. He wrote the most played song in record history, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ and now he is a complete loser. What good did all the moolah do for Phil?

Phil Spector should really be makingabsolutely nothing! He should be breaking rocks in prison for the rest of his natural life for killing his girlfriend Lana Clarkson. He’s an idiot!

There you have it. Money and fame won’t do much for you if you can’t handle it. In fact, it most likely will destroy you as seen by our famous rock stars being kind enough to play show-and-tell for this post.

Make darn sure you know what you’re doing when you start making the big bucks in affiliate marketing.

You have been warned.

Alan

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27
Dec

Adsense And CJ Checks Arrive As Christmas Present

Usually the day after Christmas is almost as huge a day for shopping as is the day after Thanksgiving. May people take their Christmas gifts, in the form of gift certificates, and use them around town on the various sales that range anywhere from 30% to 70% off retail. If you didn’t get what you wanted this year, you can go out and find your own Christmas present at a great discount.

Well, I got a one day late Christmas present this year courtesy of Google and Commission Junction. This has never happened before, but both checks arrived on the same day, yesterday. The Google check was for $1,150.84 and the CJ check was for $969.30. No it’s not really a true Christmas present, but it sure is nice to get them on the same day, so I thought I’d share them with the readers of Affiliate Confession.

Google & CJ Checks For November

The CJ check, which is kind of hard to read, is off a bit from what I reported on my November earnings because of the way eBay pays its bonuses and I think there was also some late reporting involved as well. CJ checks are always off a bit from the reported monthly earnings because they pay commissions for the previous month and then eBay bonuses aren’t posted until the 9th of the month, but they’re paid in the current month.

I haven’t quite figured out why, but earnings are always higher than reported, never lower than reported. When you look at your CJ reports for a month, after the 9th, they would include your eBay bonus for the previous month. There should be times where your bonus from eBay drops, giving you a commission less than reported at the end of the month. It never works out that way and I’m not complaining.

If you’re confused after that last paragraph, so am I, but the nice thing is, I get to put more than $2,000 in the bank within the next couple of days thanks to getting 2 large affiliate checks on the same day.

The goal of course, is to keep making these checks bigger.

Alan

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