A confession: I had planned to publish this post on 24th Sept on my 37th birthday, but I had been having so much fun that the days kinda flew by. Which is one of the advantages of this crazy thing we call e-commerce, internet marketing, or it’s subset affiliate marketing.
What this post was intended to be (and hopefully will end up as) was a retrospective on the past 5 years.
So here goes:
In mid 2006, I decided to leap headlong into fulltime Internet marketing. Before that I had a pretty successful career as a newspaper reporter, then a realtor as well as consultant for small businesses.
Money wasn’t the lure for me to do the “online thang”, it was time. The ability to call the shots when and where I did my work – whether it was doing a 16-hour grind for a week to get a product out, or to take three weeks off to go on vacation (or sometimes go on a two-week powerlevelling binge on a MMO or online game), then savor the rewards of immortality or highbie-dom before settling down on my next project.
There are lots of reasons to do what we do, but I think the strongest motivator is to have a strong reason – a raison d’etre – reason for existence, else whatever you’re doing online – whether it’s domaining, cpa arbitrage, ebay-ing will get boring after a while.
One of the reasons I’ve focused on creating my own products over the past couple of years has been the ability to follow my interests and I still get expressions of surprise when other marketers find out that I don’t use keyword tools or gauge market demand for many of my projects. I think being able to observe what people are doing in the malls, in the LAN shops/internet cafes, what they’re buying on the Amazons, eBays will stand you in better stead than buying a $500/month keyword or spy tool.
Warren Buffett mentioned that one strategy in determining whether to buy a stock like K-Mart or Wal-Mart or Coke, involved just standing in the company’s store and keeping an eye out for who’s buying what, how much and how many customers there were. If you’re buying based on a representative sample of consumer behavior, you might not be 100% correct, but you’ll swing the odds in your favor.
During my 5-year journey, I’ve had the opportunity to see many of the big forums and blogs now, in their infancy, getting to meet and get to know many affiliates, marketers and some who have a “guru” status in the marketplace. I’ve also had the opportunity to see how some of them have created this self-appointed guru title and built a business on a house of cards. It’s not surprising that business for a number of these guys have come crashing down, even as they continue to launch new products and courses, hoping to snag some newbies.
The operative word for being in the game for the long term has to do with creating value.
Another smart business person once said that with employees, you’ll have some that are working at the level you’re paying them.
There’ll be a greater number who’re working and performing at less than the level that you’re paying them.
There’ll also be the rare few that’re performing at a level way higher than what you’re paying them – these guys are the keepers and the ones who’re the first to get promoted.
In the same way, whether you’re an affiliate, a product/offer creator/owner, you’re also in the same boat, but the customers are the ones who’ll decide whether to fire you or to keep you around.
I’ve had the fortune of pursuing projects that I’ve been personally interested in and offering these products to the marketplace and have had an overall positive reception.
If the example of the past 5 years has been an opportunity to test different business models, different types of products and see what works and what doesn’t, the next 5 years will be focused on systematizing the business, automating elements which are manual and repetitive, and overall scaling the business.
The key driver for doing all this is providing even greater value than before.
And if I succeed in doing that, then the long game will take care of itself too.
The next lap:
The next phase will be more tightly integration the various parts of my business more closely together, I’ve been working on a new book on getting started on the Internet and although it was supposed to be ready at the end of this week, I might give it a little more time to add more value to it.
Expect to see something next week.
Till then, keep on working to reach the next level in your personal life and your business. I’ll be doing it too.