How I Won A Macbook Air And $3,200 Worth Of Other Prizes

Yesterday I found out that I was one of the 5 winners in the Webmaster Talk contest where each one received a prize package valued at $5,000 that included an Apple Macbook Air. In this post I’ll explain my strategy and the steps I took to end up placing in spot number 5 with 8,548 points, only 36 points ahead of the 6th place finisher.

How It Happened:

I read the complete rules – This seems like a no-brainer, but unlike many random winner contests on the web, the rules stated that winners would be determined by the number of points they could earn. I didn’t read this until the second or third day of the contest and when I did, a switch went off in my head my thoughts were, “I can do this and I am going to do this.”

Maximum effort went towards maximizing points – The contest was based on performing certain actions that would earn you points and the maximum points earned for any single action were to be 200 for each article written. I ended up writing 37 articles in 33 days. Some people put a lot of effort into referring new members to the forums earning them only 50 points each. My strategy was to work on what would earn the most points.

I set a goal – This is where things got weird, because after every goal I set for the contest, when I reached it, it still didn’t feel like it was enough. I had originally thought 10 articles would be enough, then 15, then I thought I needed to double that, then I said, “Okay 33 articles, one for each day of the contest, that surely ought to be enough.” Once I got to 32, I had one last burst of creative energy and the day before the end of the contest I ended up doing 4 articles before 11:00 am in the morning and the last article on the last day of the contest. I can only attribute this to the good Lord prompting me to continue to exceed the goals I had set. I was completely unsettled about the number of articles I had written until I finished number 37 and then a total sense of relief came over me.

I made a plan – Finding specific topics for writing 37 articles took a little brainstorming and planning. Initially, just off the top of my head, I came up with 10 ideas for articles and when I needed more, I went through Aaron Wall’s SEOBook ebook and looked at the chapter and section headings to come up with 22 more ideas never thinking I would need that many. When I was again prompted to write even more on the Sunday before contest end I went through the Webmaster Talk forums and looked for good questions or threads and got my last 5 article ideas nearly at the last minute. Sunday evening I had no idea what to write for the 33rd article much less numbers 34 – 37. By early Monday morning I had a renewed sense of what I needed to do to finish out the project.

I focused on the project at hand –  Okay, this is my weak spot. I don’t focus that well at all, but for this contest I was more than determined to be in one of the top 5 places so I set a lot of other things aside. I didn’t end up writing a lot during the beginning of the contest, but again, something just told me I needed to do a lot more than I had originally planned if I were to win. The last week of the contest I was writing 3 to 4 articles a day. I didn’t answer the phone, watch tv in the evenings, check email more than twice a day and changed my habits on many things so as to focus on the contest. If I wasn’t writing, I was thinking of ideas to write about.

I kept my planner close at all times – Many times I already had a title for an article, but not much else. Keeping my planner close allowed me to write a sentence or two under article ideas and titles that were already there when an idea would pop into my head.

I made contact with the forum administrator – This had no bearing on the amount of work that needed to be done, but it was nice to ask a few questions and get my name in front of the people who would be deciding the winners. Lee at Webmaster Talk promptly answered every question I had and it was nice not to have to wait several days for an answer so I could proceed on with my work.

I celebrated when the project was completed – Are you kidding? I was so glad to be finished with that 37th article, Jean and I went out that night, had dinner and bought a bottle of wine. Again, no bearing on the the outcome of the contest, but we both needed a little break after it was over.

Hmm, that looks like a fairly good formula for an affiliate marketer to follow in his or her business. It’s also a formula that is now burned into my head after 33 days of working towards the goal of a new Macbook Air and a bunch of other very cool prizes.

I am immensely thankful I was able to come in at the number 5 slot and would not have continued past article 15 had I not been prompted by the Lord of my life to do so. There just isn’t any other explanation for it. I simply would not have gone on because I thought 15 articles would be plenty. No audible voice here, just a completely unsettled feeling until I finished article number 37.

What I’ve learned from this is that if you really want something, you can do it. You may crash and burn along the way a few times, but when it’s your time, it will happen. But if you aren’t prepared, haven’t made a plan and haven’t acted on the plan by doing the work, then it certainly won’t happen. I don’t believe in luck. Luck is opportunity that comes to your door, dressed in overalls and it looks like work. Unfortunately, many don’t answer the door.

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17 Responses to “How I Won A Macbook Air And $3,200 Worth Of Other Prizes”

  1. You deserve it, buddy! You certainly put in the work. Congrats!

  2. Great strategy man :) I’m happy that someone like you won the prize.

  3. Interesting stuff, keeping your planner close is a great idea. I sleep with my laptop next to me just incase I come up with ideas when I’m lying in bed LOL

  4. Alan,

    Way to go man. However, like your mom probably told you when you were younger – even when you got 98% on an exam, she’ll say, “what about the 2%?”

    To become a better affiliate, or business person in general, you must find out how did the other 4 guys beat you – what they did, and how you can become better.

    Always aim for higher, but totally, appreciate the spoils of your hard work!



  5. Wow man great contest winning strategy :) You surely deserve that for your hard and planned work.

  6. Macbook is misspelled in the title. Feel free to delete this comment.

  7. Kunal, I’ve gotta disagree. There are definitely times where you want to be the very best, but in most cases, I’d rather do enough to meet *my* goals, not the goals of some ranking system. If 4th or 5th place offers a great reward and plenty of spare time while 1st place offers a slightly better reward and an enormous output of time, I want nothing to do with 1st place.

  8. From now on, when I enter a blog contest, I’m gonna make sure you aren’t entered first…*grin*

  9. Wow Alan, you really have a phenomenal work ethic! Great job winning that MacBookAir, you were playing to win! Whoever got 6th seemed to be fairly close. Congrats on a nice win :)

  10. I’m sure your time could have been put to better use. Ever heard of outsourcing? You could have easily hired somebody to write 40 articles for about $200. You should read (or re-read) The 4 Hour Workweek.

  11. Oh boy.. a mac book air. If I were to win one, I’d faint lol.

  12. Steve,

    Yes, I know I could have used Elance.com to find someone to write for me, but this was a personal challenge to see how far I could push myself.

  13. Wow! You really deserved to win! I write 3 article a day in average to my blog and know how challenging it can get.

    Didn’t you feel a sense of pain that you write an article but can’t post it in your own blog?

  14. Wow … it shows what you can achieve when you really set your mind to it and thats a great stradegy.

  15. Financial Jesus,

    Not really, especially since I was one of the winners. I think 37 articles was a more than a fair trade for $5,000 worth of prizes.

  16. That is awsome, and I agree that it is probably a great “business model” if you can call it that, for any web business guy/gal.

    Set goals, plan, excecute and celebrate.

    I am going to use that…..

  17. Wow. That was an intense and aggressive plan. Congratulations effectively putting it into action. After that, you deserve the prizes!

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