13
Apr

Affiliate Intangibles – Attitude And Out Of The Box Thinking

Out Of The Box ThinkingWhile the skills of affiliate marketing such as figuring out ppc, building websites, basic keyword seo, content writing and many other things are vitally important and very basic to your online endeavors, you are more than likely going to make the biggest impact on your earnings by improving two intangibles that are somewhat hard to nail down. Once the skills are acquired, more than anything else, attitude and out of the box thinking will get you to that next level.

These two concepts could be discussed separately in different posts, but I believe they are related, so this will be a long post as I try to mix up some stew here and mash things together.

Attitude

Doesn’t Google just piss you off? Don’t you just hate it when you’re crankin on a CPA offer and they change the lading page and your conversions are cut in half? Doesn’t eBay make you mad when your sales stats aren’t making any sense? And what about this Obama guy, either you think the right wing republicans are trying to tear him down or you think he may be the anti-christ and is destroying the country. Man, there’s enough wrong stuff affiliate marketing and in the larger frame of things that you could probably spend your entire life worrying about it.

Now that you’ve probably thought about some of that above and may be thinking, “Yea, right on man! Google really is the evil spawn of a vast conspiracy by eBay, Oprah and Obama to lobotomize the world and merge our consciousness with a machine”, none of that is going to earn you one penny. In fact, dwelling on excuses, negatives and minutiae will seriously hamper your ability to focus, will hurt your motivation and it takes valuable time away from your business.

It all boils down to controlling your attitude instead of letting it control you. Because of the ever changing landscape of affiliate marketing, this business can certainly give you enough to complain about and as long as your complaints are pointed in the right direction they can benefit you, but the problem is, most times they aren’t. Complaints properly focused can change the situation or at least make others aware of a legitimate issue that needs to be dealt with, but complaining just for the joy of flapping your gums only makes you a better complainer, not a person with a better attitude.

Think about that, do you really want to be better at complaining? World class complainers may be great at what they do, unfortunately, the pay isn’t that great.

The next time you run across something that really makes your blood boil, instead of dwelling on the issue and complaining to your spouse or writing one of those long ranting blog posts, immediately refocus your attention on your next task or larger project. If you are like most affiliate marketers, you should at least have a mental list, written is best, of the next 25 or so projects or ideas you’d like to work on. Don’t wait, when you feel like wasting time complaining, immediately get busy doing something on your list and focus the energy you’d be wasting complaining to a more useful endeavor.

The better you control your thinking, the more likely you will be able to adapt to changes and be able to think outside of the box, which of course is the next subject in this post…

Out Of The Box Thinking

Can you think of a single famous inventor, technological pioneer or great leader that didn’t think radically different than the status quo of their time? Probably not, because big change comes from big, and most importantly, different thinkers. Fortunately, affiliate marketing, though it is a different way than most people choose to make a living, doesn’t require the innovation of putting a man on the moon. But to reach greater and greater heights does require a mode of thinking that leads to a path most are either unwilling to take or don’t realize you can take.

Why doesn’t the average affiliate marketer make $300,000 per month? The simple answer is, is that they haven’t figured out a way to do it yet. It may come as a shock to you that in he whole scheme of things, affiliate marketing really isn’t that hard. Most of us in this business probably possess the pure marketing skills to be doing much better than we are already, but the fact is, we aren’t doing better. Why is that? It’s because we become comfortable with the systems we have in place or the training we’ve received because they are working at some level for us. Congratulations, you’ve learned how to follow directions.

Learning how to think outside the box involves learning how not to follow directions! The directions are in place to teach you the system only. Directions for putting together your computer desk allow you to build a nice desk, that’s it. They don’t tell you what kind of computer to buy, what kind of software to put in your computer or what to use the computer for.

I see this in PPC Coach where there’s a system and how to exercises in place to teach members the ins and outs of pay per click marketing. Every month there are more involved lessons and ideas on how to better your ppc efforts and some follow those directions to the letter. What some forget though is that there aren’t any rules that say you must continue to work the lessons on a monthly basis. They are simply guidelines to get you to think about ppc differently than you may have in the past and that’s exactly what they were for me. Expanding on the lesson learned in PPC Coach has helped me go on to earn thousands where I had previously lost hundreds.

Right now though I’m still in a box though. It’s a $10,000 per month box, but it’s still a box. Others think in a $30K, $50K or $100K per month box. They learned to see beyond the $10K per month box and expand their “what if” thinking to a whole new level. And that’s one of the secrets for us as affiliate marketers that will help us see beyond the normal, learning to always ask “what if”. What if I did this backwards? What if Google didn’t matter? What if you didn’t follow the rules (I’m not advocating black hat here)? What if offer xxxx was only paying half of what it is, how could you still make money with it. What if I offer legitimate stuff to customers instead of rip-off gimmicks with recurring monthly charges? What if I bid on concept keywords instead of specific keywords in my ppc marketing. What if Google Quality Score didn’t matter, and on and on. It’s good to sit down from time to time and make a list of “what if” scenarios and meditate on them for a bit to see what you come up with.

It’s also important to get outside of the realm of affiliate marketing on a regular basis to get your mind thinking in a different direction. Go to your favorite book store such as Barnes & Noble and read up on the economy, find out how finance and economics works, read about how designers developed the latest Ferrari, the challenges the latest software packages are helping 3d modelers overcome, what people are doing to make due when they lost their job and so on. A constant refreshing of your mind with new ideas will help you see beyond your current mode of thinking into an ever expanding box that someday will expand large enough to encompass your ultimate goals and desires, whatever they may be.

Using all their skills wisely, the average affiliate marketer will have an average business and make average money. Marketers that take those same skills and reverse engineer the rules by thinking out of the box with an attitude of finding solutions instead of complaining, will succeed wildly. Never forget that the rules are put it in place to tell you what you can’t do, they rarely, if ever, tell you what you can do. It’s up to you to put on your thinking cap and figure that out.

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14
Jan

Planning For A Sabbatical At 50

Sometimes it’s appropriate to take a serious look at what you’re doing in life and plan accordingly. I had wanted to be retired by the time I was 40. That didn’t happen. And now just 2 days ago I turned 49 and exactly 1 more Earth trip around the sun, and providing that Barack Obama isn’t the anti-christ, I’m looking at the big Five Ohh No!

With that in mind, on my birthday I implemented the plan to allow for my wife Jean and I to take a year off from work and set a new direction for our lives. Where the year 2010, and beyond, will take us I’m not quite sure yet, but in 2009 I’ll be working like a mad dog to raise the funds needed and set in place a business that keeps on working even when I’m not working at it.

As a little aside, don’t think when I mentioned retirement in the opening paragraph that means you go and sit on your backside, smoke a pipe and drink powdered lemonade while playing checkers with the rest of your retiree buddies all day long. That’s not living. Retirement is living life and filling in best where the good Lord can use you, but not having to worry how you’re going to pay for it. By the time I’m 50 I don’t want to be worried about how I’m going to make the money needed to spend my next 50 years here.

I’m not saying I’ll never put out any effort in the money making department of life after 50, I just don’t want that to be the main focus of my endeavors as it has been for the last 35 years or so.

What makes up the plan for this year and what is different than how I’ve conducted business in the past is that I’ll be outsourcing almost all my content writing. Right now I’m looking at getting about 50 articles a month written for the 3 main sites that have generated the bulk of my income for some time now. Two of those sites, one being a blog, are travel related, one of them focusing on a specific city or area of the United States and the other site is a BANS site that has at its highest income level produced over $1,000 a month.

The content I’m outsourcing will be used as articles for the sites and blog posts, but the majority of it will be used for article marketing and getting those all important incoming links pointing to your site. I’m hoping by the end of this year, or actually my 50th birthday next year, that I’ll have an additional 600 pages of content, blog posts and articles working for me making the elves at Google happy.

So, with the business side of life covered, what are Jean and I going to do on our year long sabbatical you may be thinking? While that isn’t 100% carved in stone just yet, we do have several ideas we’re kicking around. First, we have to have our house taken care of because by this time next year we’ll have probably 50 to 60% of our available yard covered with gardens so we will need someone to make sure all of that doesn’t die.

And for locations we’re looking at, right now we’re thinking of somewhere in Montana where it’s dark and I can play amateur astronomer on about 40 acres of land, a cabin somewhere in the Smoky Mountains or northern Georgia or on some sort of farming co-op in Costa Rica. As far as what we’d actually be doing, well for the farming co-op, that’s fairly obvious, but for the other locations we have a few book ideas rolling around in our brains. For me I’d like to turn Affiliate Confession into a book about how to make money through all the opportunities on the web. Heck, I already have 340 pages of affiliate marketing info online already with this blog, it would probably be useful to someone in a book format. And Jean has a couple ideas for books related to her Christian counseling work and healthy eating.

And when we’re done with the year long sabbatical, what then? One thing I know for sure, life will not return to normal, normal being spending 50 to 60 hours a week in front of the computer writing, doing research, learning more about what everyone else is doing and spending way too much time following rabbit trails originating at the Drudge Report.

Depending on what we may learn in Costa Rica or what we come up with pursuing a book we could either be teaching people how to turn their yards into mini farms or promoting our books in various venues. We’ll also get back to working our yard / mini farm that we hope to get to produce 40 to 50% of our food someday.

Right now, I have to get back to working on the main goal because I’ve spent way too much time writing this blog post.

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31
Dec

Business Goals For The New Year 2009

Another year passes us by and new opportunity is always around the corner so it’s time to set some goals for 2009. Unfortunately the year ended on the downside income wise with not even being able to get close to the $10,000 earnings goal I had set for December. Thanks to what’s going to be a less than stellar month from eBay and Google completely shutting me down on the content network for the last 2 weeks (more about that in a post later) income is way off from what I had projected. If you haven’t figured it out by now, that’s just the way it goes with affiliate marketing and the only thing you can do is continue to press on.

With the volatile nature of affiliate marketing I’ve decided to make some some significant changes in the way I’m going to do business this year. The things that have generated a steady income for me over the years will be where I’ll be spending a majority of my time in 2009. Gone will be much of the experimental things I’ve been doing with PPC and many of the weight loss, diet type offers I’ve been toying around with. I don’t believe green tea and acai berry pills and potions are a legitimate way to lose weight and stay healthy, so what the heck am I trying to sell that garbage for?

On the plus side I’ve found a few CPA offers that seem to work very well and are good solid, legitimate products and I’ll continue to work with those and look for more like them. But PPC is not where I’ll be spending the bulk of my time. The three main areas of business I’ll be working on in 2009 are as follows:

Travel Sites- This is where the bulk of my Adsense income has come from for the last 4 years and it’s time to seriously expand this part of my business. Right now I have 1 travel site and 1 travel blog that brings in 85% of my roughly $1,200 to $1,500 per month Adsense income. My initial goal is to double the Adsense income or bring it to a steady $3,000 per month and increase TripAdvisor income to $1,000 per month.

This will be accomplished by adding a blog to my travel site (which I’ve already done) and outsourcing content for both article marketing and adding new pages to these sites. I’ve outsourced content writing before, but this will be on a much larger scale and plan to pay for some 20 to 30 articles a month and possibly double that when I get a good system going. There also may be another travel site going online depending on how quickly I cab increase Adsense income.

Healthy Eating Sites and Blogs – This is really the core of our belief in what’s going to make a difference in your health and I need to be putting much more time into writing content and blogging about what were doing around our home and yard to make this a reality. We’re transforming our yard into a mini farm and I’ve hardly written about this at all. And with the the way the economy is going, I can see a lot of people heading in this direction.

My initial goal in this area is to do 2 to 3 blog posts a week about nutrition and add 2 pages of content a week to our healthy diet site.

Attitude Adjustment- I’ve had to ask myself if I really have the mind of an internet entrepreneur and have come to the conclusion I need a new attitude for a new year. I spend way too much time fretting about Google, losing money with pay per click marketing, dwindling revenue, CPA offers not converting, checking stats and on, and on. I also tend to be way to negative and that attitude just has to go.

Things are going to be way different in 2009 with the way the economy is going it will require extraordinary thinking and innovation. There is always opportunity regardless of what happens and it just takes a little more thinking outside of the normal way of doing things to be creative and to find out what works and what doesn’t. Time to stop sweating the small stuff and see a much bigger picture.

So, my initial goal is to bring Adsense income to a steady $3,000 per month, get TripAdvisor to $1,000 per month and earn $1,000 from all other sources including eBay, through PPC and all other sources giving me a solid $5,000 per month. When that goal is realized hopefully in 6 to 9 months, I’ll start working on doubling it.

Are you ready for 2009? What are your goals?

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10
Dec

Try Selling Cheeseburgers In China

Cheeseburger In ChinaHonestly, sometimes when I see what other people have to overcome to be successful in their businesses I feel like a total wimp. I love to complain about Google, Facebook ad editors, article editors at EzineArticles.com and just about anything that doesn’t suit me well. But some people are on a mission and regardless of the obstacles they just keep plugging away doing business.

Case in point – Yesterday Jean and I were trying to decide what to have for lunch so we got out the menu from one of our local Chinese take out restaurants and phoned in our order. During the process we quickly figured out that we didn’t have the updated menu from the restaurant and the numbers and prices of the 497 items on the menu didn’t quite line up. As you might guess there was quite a large language barrier going on here and it took a little while to get the guy on the phone to understand what I wanted.

After running my mouth for awhile I just stuck with the names of the old items on the menu such as, “bean curd, Szechuan style”, and everything was fine. Once I got to the restaurant to pick up lunch, the hilarity continued as I tried carry on a conversation with the guy at the counter. “Were you the person I talked to on the phone?” was met with a smile and a nod. “I guess we had the numbers mixed up” was again met with a smile and a nod, but when I used the word menu in conjunction with the fact that we had an old one, he knew exactly what I was talking about and nodded vigorously.

At that point I figured out we could have a conversation as long as I stuck with keywords like order, bean curd (or any ingredient on the menu), credit card, thank you and a few others. It was also interesting to note that the guys running the restaurant were all talking to each other in their native language and it wasn’t English.

And that’s when it hit me…

I thought of the incredible barrier language is, yet these guys don’t let that stop them, they have a booming business and they keep plugging along despite the fact that they can hardly communicate with their customers, except for when it comes to food. And it’s not just Great Wall Chinese Food in Palm Bay Florida, if you haven’t noticed there’s probably a Chinese take out restaurant within walking distance your home. In fact, a quick mental check brings up 7 of these restaurants within about a 10 minute drive of our home. And yes, 2 of those are withing walking distance.

Many families run these restaurants and they have become incredibly adaptable to the American way of life. Even though their English may not be the best, they may not know the customs of our land all that well and they probably had limited start-up capital to get their businesses going, they have succeeded and keep pumping out Kung-Pow chicken and broccoli with garlic sauce as fast as we can eat it.

Compared to these food service entrepreneurs we affiliate marketers have it easy. The next time you think you have it difficult in your online business and are ticked off at Google for one of their slaps or some such thing, think about how difficult it would be for us Americans to start a family business and sell cheeseburgers in China.

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12
Sep

How Lawn Mowing Is Like Pay Per Click Marketing

Lawn mowing is like PPC, instant gratification.My wife asks me on a semi-regular basis why I don’t just hire someone to do the lawn for us. I don’t because I like mowing the lawn. It’s one of those simple pleasures in life that provides instant gratification. With the new lawn mower we recently got, it has cut (no put intended) 15 minutes from the time it takes me to mow and when the work is done, instant results, we have a nice looking lawn. I get to enjoy the fruits of labor by seeing our nicely manicured yard.

That’s why pay per click marketing, once you finally start to make a profit, is like mowing your lawn, you can throw a campaign together in an hour or two and start making a profit in another hour. Sure, it does take a bit of a learning curve for most to get the hang of how to actually make a profit in the world of PPC (It certainly did for me). But when you do, if you direct link to affiliate offers or just build simple landing pages without all the work that goes into building out a large site, you can see nearly instant results. There isn’t any waiting to see if Google will show you some favor and index your pages high enough to get good traffic. Normally within a couple of hours you can see the results of a good pay per click campaign start to take shape and it’s a marvelous thing. It obviously doesn’t always work out this way, but with the info I learned from PPC Coach, I was making a profit with my first campaign about 3 hours after I started it and 24 hours later, after a bit of tweaking, my ROI was 100%.

Now there are two major schools of thought to PPC marketing. One is to build landing pages and there are those that say this is the only way to do it. Pre-sell your traffic with your own landing page, or at least collect your visitor’s email address and build a list that you can market to over and over. And the other option is to work with CPA offers and merchants who allow you to deep link to their website directly from your ads. In fact in reading the PPC Coach forums the other day, I ran across someone who has been at this game for a few years and claimed that he has never built a landing page. So whenever you get into the PPC game, you’ll just have to figure out what works best for you.

I tend to like the direct linking option better because you’re still sending traffic to a landing page, it just happens to belong to the merchant. You just have to find out which ones convert better than others through testing different offers or different merchants with the same kind of offer. One of the nice things about PPC Coach is that a tool they have is a database which shows the top paying offers through several networks, searchable by keyword, so you can look for the latest Acai Berry or Green Tea diet and weight loss offers and more easily find the landing page that converts the best.

PPC Coach has definitely helped the instant gratification of PPC become a reality. While on vacation this next week, a lot of planning will be going into heading more into this direction with my online endeavors.

By the way, my wife recently hired someone to do the house cleaning for us and I’m so thankful, because I got zero enjoyment out of running the vacuum around the house. However, I don’t know if I’ll ever hire someone on a regular basis to mow our lawn. It’s too easy to do and I get too much enjoyment out of it to farm it out to someone else.

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