How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I’ve always been a believer of selling high-end products even before the internet was born. And I know by admitting that observation I just tipped my hat about my age. Yes, I’m in my 50’s. I went into outside direct sales right out of college and quickly learned that selling big ticket items took no more energy than selling small ticket ones. The same principal applies in online sales.
So when I got into affiliate marketing I was searching Google for a good resource website on big ticket items to sell and was surprised that I couldn’t find any good sites that had what I was looking for in one place. So I decided to create my own website on that topic to fill that market segment. I settled on the long, but aptly titled, domain name highpayingaffiliateprograms.com.
I had no vision or plan for what the site would become. In fact, when I started building out the site, I had no idea what I was going to do with it; but I knew somehow I was on the right track. I created the site organically, building at least a page a day, and it began to grow and get noticed very quickly. By the end of it’s first year it was included in the Affiliate Summit’s list of Top Affiliate Marketing Blogs of 2013.
What was your first major breakthrough on your path to success?
The day I checked my SEO rankings and found my site on the first page of Google for several of my targeted keywords. In fact, a few of them were in the #1 position on the front page of Google. I was stunned. That’s when my site traffic and income really took off. I no longer needed to spend as much time reaching out to others because I now had both affiliate marketers and affiliate networks coming to me first. That’s the moment I knew that I had become the authority in my market segment.
How long did it take you to earn enough money to quit your job and become 100% digitally free?
It was actually the other way around. I was a successful mortgage loan broker for a decade when I was abruptly laid off by my employer when the real estate crash occurred in 2007. If that wasn’t bad enough the company stole my final 5-figure paycheck and filed bankruptcy before I could get it back. After that catastrophic series of events, I vowed to never work for anyone else ever again.
I stumbled into affiliate marketing by pure luck and found it to be exactly the kind of business I wanted to do. Since I mentally burned my bridge back to the corporate world I had no other choice but to make it work. I only lost money only one month and that was my first month online. Now, I’m financially independent and have never been happier. The freedom that comes from working when you want to work, where you want to work, and never worry about money again is amazing!
What was the biggest failure, waste of time or money, or most embarrassing mistake you made along the way?
Failing to build my own email list when I first got started. I waited until almost a year in and that mistake cost me a lot of money in the beginning and it also lengthened my learning curve by months. I think you should start building your email list from day one even if you have no clue what you’re doing yet.
What is the single most effective tactic you discovered to grow your business?
List building and email marketing by far. Email marketing delivers a huge return on investment and is more cost effective than any other single form of marketing. When you set it up right, it allows you to literally make money on demand. Send out an email… get paid. It’s really that simple. I believe if you’re not incorporating email marketing into your online business strategy you’re making a big mistake and leaving a ton of easy money on the table.
What advice would you give someone wanting to achieve similar success?
If you want to follow my path, simply find a need in you marketplace and fill it. There is a common misconception that the internet is already too crowded and all of the great ideas have been fulfilled. That’s BS.
Even in popular online markets such as health or relationships you can find a small segment of passionate people who are looking for a product or service that nobody has provided yet. Or maybe just a better platform for finding those products or services. Probe, research, and survey possibilities until you find such a segment and make sure its part of a larger market where money is already being spent. Become the go-to-person in that market segment, the authority, and eventually branch out into the primary market to scale your business out.
You need to have a unique approach or voice to cut through all of the clutter in your marketplace. If you do what every else is doing you’ll never have a big enough audience to build wealth online. Set yourself apart and always give a ton of value away for free up-front before you ask your customers to buy anything from you.
Trust is the only thing that matters online and if you lose it you may never get it back. Keep things real and treat every site visitor and customer as if they were a million-dollar client.
What is the best way to learn more about you and your services? (This is basically your call to action plus any social link you would like to share.)
My flagship website is www.highpayingaffiliateprograms.com. I can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/highpayingaffiliateprograms.
Come on by and say hello. I still answer all of my emails and phone calls myself because I think it’s important to be reachable no matter how successful you get.