This is a post from a friend of mine about how he went from making $25,000 profit per month to making $0 profit. He wishes to keep his name secret so I will refer to him as Mr $10k.
Mr $10k: I’ve been doing affiliate marketing for a couple of years now, and – at least for my standards – I’ve been doing well over the years. The first half of 2010 was financially great: I was making $25,000 profit each month, while working approximately 25 hours a month on my business. And now, 6 months later? I’m not making ANY money at all…
Even worse, taking all the ongoing costs (servers, domains etc.) into account, I’m actually losing money each month. How did I get from being a “level five” affiliate marketing making a decent amount of money, to a “level one” noob making no money at all? I’ll tell you, and I will keep you guys posted on my way back up in the affiliate game until I make a decent amount of money again!
Over the last 5 years I’ve been doing a lot of different stuff related to online marketing: I started out by running my own online shop, switched to the Adwords/Adsense arbitrage and eventually started doing affiliate marketing. At first the focus was on SEO, but later on I switched to mostly paid traffic. Even though I was running my business part-time, the business was growing steadily. Most of it was running on auto-pilot, giving me the opportunity to do a lot of other (non-work) stuff.
I would never say my business went bad because of “bad luck” or other external factors. It has everything to do with me, my strategy and especially my mindset. Even though the money was still good in 2010, it all happened late 2009. As mentioned, most of the business was running on auto-pilot, so I decided to do some traveling in 2009. Besides some stats-checking and small campaign-adjustments, I didn’t do anything in terms of work.
When I came back, these months turned out to be the most profitable months I ever had! Even though I knew there was no causal relationship (not working -> more profit), it started to change my mindset regardless. I had some other things I wanted to focus on at the time (i.e. university, girlfriend, friends, more traveling), and I shifted of to a state of mind in which I actually felt the money would keep on coming, even if I didn’t do any work. This terrible mindset did not slip in overnight, but eventually, it did slip in.. I pretty much decided to stop working and enjoy the autopilot money (at that time between 20,000 and 25,000 US dollars a month).
This mindset – and the fact that I pretty much stopped working – obviously accounts for the decline for the biggest part, but I also made some fundamental mistakes earlier on while running my business. I was focusing on the short-term instead of on the long-term, even though I knew I had to change course. The money was just to good to adjust the strategy, and thus my business was pretty much dependent on only two traffic sources. I wasn’t building any e-mail lists, or adding a lot of real value for the visitors. I was, so to say, a “thin affiliate”. Buy traffic and forward it to the highest bidder, optimize where you can and *boom*: you’re making good money.
During the second half of 2010 I saw the statistics going down month by month. Campaigns dried out, advertisers went bankrupt, all my Google Adwords accounts got Google-slapped, other PPC prices went up, etc.. At that time I was already committed to some other (non-work) pursuits, so I stood by and watched my affiliate business bleed to death.
Starting with this guest-post, I would like to publicly challenge myself to get back in the game.
The goal? To earn 10,000 US dollars a month (hence Mr. 10K) by running an affiliate business with a long-term strategy.
This public challenge is a win-win: you guys can read my story of how I will try to climb back up (instead of reading some random article of this guy “who made $38,39549.43 in just 5 days”), while I’m hoping to get feedback that will keep me motivated during this adventure.
The biggest struggle I will have to overcome is my mindset. At this moment I don’t have the mindset of a winner. It feels like 10K a month is an impossible goal for me, and I won’t be able to make a nickel. I feel that most of the techniques I used to make money are outdated, and that I won’t be able to start from scratch again. I had the illusion that I could get my mindset back by reading the right books and articles, but there’s only one way I will get my mindset back: by earning the first dollar again. By seeing the results of the work I will put into this challenge.
As mentioned, the challenge of going from 0 to 10,000 a month starts with this post, so I need to start with deciding which direction I’m planning to go. I will keep you all posted regarding my progress, including how much money I’m making! I bet that makes it more interesting for you all.
Do you recognize any of the above? Are you planning on doing the same? Are there specific parts of the path I’m going to take you would like me to write more about? Let me know in the comments!