That’s right, I’ve quit my day job. Its been now six months of being a full-time affiliate marketer and I LOVE IT.
Its easy to quit your day job when you’re 20-something and you are working retail jobs; or when you have your parents to fall back on; When you could live on government cheese, or when its just you with no family or kids.
In my case quitting was a little more complicated. Its not so easy when you’re already in your 30s, you have your own family, mortgages, can’t go back to your parents, and you already have a six figure salary doing something a little more interesting than Starbucks barista.
How did I do it? Luck x Effort
By 2009 I had gotten an MBA to add to my technical degree and joined the marketing division at IBM. For the first year I had a blast, over time Sandy Carter, the vice president I was working for started slowly DRIVING ME FUCKING NUTS to the point I routinely fantasized how awesome it would be to get fired. One day in August 2009 she asked me to do some shit I can’t recall with grandmaster douchebag Jeremiah Owyang who was then at Forrester, that’s when I read this article. Before learning about internet marketing there I had been selling junk on eBay (circa 2007), and before that I tried a little startup of my own (2004-2005) on the side which flopped. All in all I’ve been trying to give my corporate overlords the boot for almost ten years.
Of course I didn’t spend ten years locked in a basement trying to leave or working on affiliate marketing stuff. In those ten years I had two kids, got an MBA, changed jobs a couple of times, change wife too. The constant was simple: The writing was on the wall, I had to strike out on my own.
Why? Because I planned for greatness, and found myself stuck in mediocrity. At one point in time I was on a great career path, then something happened – I don’t know what or how, still around 2003 or so I realized I was no longer on track to be a Fortune 500 CEO – so time to clock out.
Fast-forward to 2009, that article from Jeremiah Owyang led me to John Chow. Don’t get me wrong here – I’m not endorsing John Chow in any way, hes so full of shit we could terraform Mars with it. Still… One thing led to another…
I tried doing a blog like John Chow’s. I really did. I gave it all… It didn’t work. Along the way I started reading other blogs… PPC.bz among them. The first time I read it I was sure of two things: 1 – There is something good here. and 2 – I had no fucking clue what was going on. I also started reading some of the blogs on the blogroll and slowly piecing together a larger picture of affiliate marketing.
Then every time I read a “Friday Affiliate Interview” story at JonathanVolk.com it felt like a slap in the balls: Here were people doing what I wanted to be doing, successful at what I wanted to do, and I was still sucking bottom. Jonathan Volk himself with his Christian fervor was also motivational, though not in the way he might have hoped for. I thought if someone so slow as to have invisible friends could be successful at internet marketing, that left me the one possibility that maybe, just maybe, all these folks were smarter and generally better than me. This I refused to believe, yet it provided some serious proof that I was headed in the right direction and a boatload of motivation to prove myself – to myself.
That was 2010… What did I do between 2010 and 2012? Everything.
Top ten tips to quitting your day job with affiliate marketing, based directly on my recent experience:
1 – Focus on ONE THING. One traffic source, one niche, one offer type. Sleep, eat, drink, be the offer, the customer, the traffic – One with the matrix.
2 – The Lifecycle of an Internet Marketer from Adam Bunch and published by Mr. Green was an awesome post, so much so that I printed it out and keep it on my desk.
3 – Your head has to accept the change. I exercised listening to songs about change – Especially awesome in every way is Butterflies and Hurricanes from Muse, that song steals the show for embracing and driving radical change. It says things like “change everything you are”, “Your number has been called” and “You’ve got to be the best”.
4 – Affiliate Summit events. They are an investment, make it. I went to ASW 10, ASC 12 and ASW 13. The value I get from these events keeps GROWING tremendously. Its really not about the sessions for me – Its about the Meet Market and the social networking.
5 – Transparency. The best business relationships I’ve made have come about and are nurtured daily by being completely transparent – about what I promote, where and how. If you think someone is going to steal your stuff, you need to work on your mindset – You are the creator, you have abundance, you make one good thing after another, fear of someone stealing your stuff makes you inefficient and ineffective. At the end of the day there are real human beings behind everything – if you are clean and transparent, people compete to do business with you – because the other folks who are playing “Batman” with cloak-and-dagger hush-hush games are just plain hard to deal with.
6 – Push the envelope without breaking the rules. Forget black-hat shit. Personally, I grew up on TCP/IP Tutorial and Technical Overview original edition from 1996 and packet analyzers. So all the black-hat tricks are within arm’s reach – they will however lead you absolutely nowhere. Sometimes I see very clever black-hat tricks and invariably think to myself how that person could be stacking 10x the cash by using all their knowledge the way its supposed to work.
7 – Stop worrying about what others are doing and get busy. In the beginning I used to “protect” my landing pages, cloak, hide, log IPs and serve up dummy pages, read browser’s histories to see if you were an affiliate. Guess where that got me? Nowhere at all. It wasted a ton of time I could have used for building more campaigns or doing something else. Who’s really going to jack my campaign? Successful affiliates don’t need to jack your crappy landing page, and they will see it anyways sooner or later, because they’re watching the traffic like a cat stalks a mouse. The other folks that can jack your page are unsuccessful affiliates – and guess what they’re going to do with it? Exactly what they’ve been doing so far: Fail. …. Get busy and forget about the idiots.. When you’re too busy to pay close attention to one single campaign, when you’re too busy to work on silly cloaking, that’s when the magic happens.
9 – Understand understanding. You will not understand what the fuck is going on during your first try, or your second, or your tenth. Stare at it. Read it again. And again. And again. Think about it. Think about it again. In time you will start getting valuable insights, these insights only come if you actually do shit and fail repeatedly – They don’t come if you throw up your arms and walk away.
10 – Its all a mind game. Its you against you.
If you’re willing to bust your balls, this can be very rewarding. I have only one word of warning I shared with my fellow blogging friend Mike Chiasson at ASW – I went from working a lot, to working A LOT MORE. Of course I now work for myself, and work twice as much, twice as hard, and my balls are on the line every day.
This is clearly not for everyone – If somewhere in the dark recesses of your mind you secretly believe you’ll hit a home run and walk home a billionaire with strippers lining up at your door to do tricks on your overworked appendage, you’re sorely mistaken. This is hardball, and hardball isn’t for everyone. As for me… I AM FUCKING LOVING IT!