So I’m trying this experiment (yes this really is a big experiment for me) because I’m curious (and cynical) enough to check out this whole affiliate marketing world and see if I can find my lane.
Early on in this journey I really got tired of the “success” stories of new students promoting courses to other newbies and getting rich. That sounds like I’m hating (and slightly contradictory), but really it makes it difficult to know whether a course can legitimately teach me how to make money online. A little while later I would jump in and I was in for quite an awakening.
I found some minor success in my first 90 days from SEO Affiliate Domination using Greg’s framework to sell health/wellness related products. I decided to document my journey because I’m a firm believer that money is a byproduct of solid insight and superior work. I think it’s an essential lesson that I’ve learned on 3yrs into documenting it now.
My next phase is in working with companies both as a consultant and full-time in SEO, PPC, and tracking and conversions. What that has looked like for me is Ahrefs, Google Ads, Analytics, Search Console and Tag Manager all working in concert to put everything I’ve learned about research and traffic on steroids. I’m indeed in this for the long-haul and plan to push it to the limit and actually grow my knowledge outside of the foundation my friend and mentor Greg Jeffries provided. I’m now in a unique position to have my day job pay for my affiliate journey and I couldn’t be more thankful.
I worked in Finance before all this started. I’ve traded commodities in Houston and briefly in Austin. Just like you see in the movies, high-stress, huge budgets, bigger egos, and busy trading floors.
It has been a great ride and I enjoy the ups-and-downs but… I got burned out.
When I moved to Austin I started to meet young successful professionals from all walks of life that were making their money online.
I was always curious of how that worked so I decided to dive in. Between the cringy YouTube ads and the idea that I could actually become one of these Internet Marketing guys that made money like a trader but didn’t have the weight and stress that office politics can put on you.
Before I knew it I was at Internet Marketing Party or IMP for short, a local meet-up, networking and finding my way into this world I now enjoy. I literally randomly bumped into David Gonzalez on an elevator at my former home, The Catherine in downtown Austin, and he invited me to his event after a quick elevator ride.
I started with a blog in ’14 and didn’t understand anything about what I should sell or how.
I went through an intense discovery period that resulted in:
- Thousands in Facebook and Google ad spend
- a Shopify dropship business
- Some independent Forex and Options trading
- an Amazon FBA store
- Taking SEO Affiliate Domination
- A relaunch of my Shopify store
- Driving Uber to pay for ad spend
- Building Blue Highlighted Text after earning my first affiliate commission
- Landing a few clients through word-of-mouth
It seems like a lot because it was…
I slowly pulled back from this “discovery” period and began really realigning what skills I wanted to focus on.
I chose SEO, PPC, and Tracking and Conversions
SEO is a lot like PPC
I learned the basics for SEO AD and proceeded to build my first couple of test sites. When I got to about the 4th site I put together a SOP of sorts for myself and began experimenting with GTM/GA as Google Search Console had me very interested in learning more and comparing insights.
Through experimenting with PPC early on in my personal blog I started to see the similarities with SEO and what I knew at the time in regards to PPC.
As I started linking my Google accounts (Ads, Analytics, Search Console, Tag Manager) I became curious about how I could build audiences in Google Ads and why I would even do that instead of using Google Analytics.
I dove in and became obsessed.
PPC is a lot like Trading
Ask. Seek. Knock.
I found what I was looking for way back when. This is where I really belonged. This was me trading and making quick decisions, putting money on the line, and getting quick feedback.
I dove in and joined a few paid courses and started watching and using tips and tricks from leaders in the field.
I realized how little I knew and within a few months I became competent in Google Ads and tracking data on my affiliate sites.
Before too long I started getting calls for consulting through what I was posting online (here, Upwork, YouTube, Job Boards, etc.)
I got my first big gig and learned more in 3 months than I had in 6 months of PPC discovery.
I managed just under $1m in ad spend and had free reign over the Google suite of tracking and advertising tools while spending for both PPC and Display. This was a huge win for me and did 2 things simultaneously.
- I boosted my confidence in my ability to find answers.
- Through finding answers I found areas that I can grow as a marketer.
Getting better is an obsession of mine. I found a way to do that through paid traffic and now I can circle back and absolutely dominate audiences that have stumbled onto my (or my clients) site organically.
This is a huge edge because cold organic traffic is inexpensive, while cold paid traffic can be very expensive.
Trading Taught Me To Use Data
Early on this was the fascination for me. Little did I know, it would fit like a glove as I developed a similar approach to affiliate marketing. This is how I’m naturally wired so it meant a lot to me to be able to fit into a game that I’m still learning but have a skill to use that I’m very much at home using.
This blog is going to outline my process from start to finish. The learning, testing, failures, and successes.
Different than other blogs on affiliate marketing, I’m mostly interested in providing problems that I come across even if I don’t have a solution readily available immediately. Partially, by putting what I’m working on out there it will act as a catalyst for me to close the loop and find solutions.
Blogging From Scratch
It took me a couple months to understand the fundamentals (just the friggin fundamentals!) of setting up my first blog. I’ve grown to enjoy the technical aspects of this business model and hire out the content creation portion. Check out my resource list here.
My main purpose was to make this daunting task tangible for noobs. I’m done with the cheerleading that are disguised as reviews, especially after taking my foundational knowledge from SEO Affiliate Domination (SEO AD) and following it up with becoming a member of the Wealthy Affiliate community and later Project 24 which I’d consider an elite-level authority site course.
Blue Highlighted Text Approach
There is definitely an order to attack this whole content marketing angle from. And to make matter more complicated, the path can be easier if tailored to your personality and skillset.
With Wealthy Affiliate I’ve noticed a ton of hype from half-ass review sites in which beginner level affiliates get stuck promoting the only course they’ve ever taken! Most beginners, myself included, want quick results promoting obvious things. It doesn’t really work well though. You’ll need to pump out content slow and steady to get there. But without much in the way of explanation some can get more done.
With SEO AD you’re getting thrown into the deep end of understanding how the search engine works and how to manipulate it to your liking. You then optimize your approach based on the data you’ll eventually gather and make authority sites from a much more informed position. The process is much more complicated but also faster and systematic.
With Project 24 you’re going to go through a very thorough bootcamp in research and authority site building. This was huge for me and picked up where SEO AD left off. The big gamechanger for me was taking this course and tweaking my entire research approach from something that was quick and cursory to a premeditated deep dive that involved several blog posts strung together.
You gotta start somewhere, but I’m pretty sure I can be that somewhere for those that have earned between $0-$1,000 on their journey thus far. So the angle is different than what you typically hear. I haven’t made millions yet, but I’m closing in on my first $10,000 so I think I’m better suited to serve beginners.
However, if you’re successful and seasoned at this affiliate marketing thing, I encourage you to reach out to me [email protected] in order to tell me your story. I’m always looking to sharpen my skills and strategy.
That said, I’m lucky to have met a few successful Affiliate Marketers recently, Austin is in flux and full of some of the tech industries brightest professionals. Community is a large reason why I feel confident that I’ll succeed, that said the community attached to SEO AD is by far the strongest of any program I’ve been a part of thusfar.
I’m good, I know it’s a matter of time for me. Not sure if I’m being confident or cocky, but I’m proud to offer a full view of what I’m doing and what I’ve learned. Maybe you’ll click with my process, I hope I can be of some help.
The Big Problem
A major problem exists, the blind lead the blind in terms of free or inexpensive options for beginner affiliate marketers.
I’m trying hard not to bash Wealthy Affiliate, but I think I can offer my journey and guide newcomers with a fuller view of earning money from a blog more responsibly.
I learned a skill through SEO AD and WA taught me mostly to write and be patient. I’m just saying there’s a better route and I believe I’ve found it as I’m currently living it. Check out the SEO Game free course if you might be limited on budget but want to follow my approach.
Just so you know, I will be recommending the exact courses and software that levels me up, I’ll also give insight into tools and ideas that don’t work as well for me. Essentially, you’ll be able to watch my every move as I grow my earnings over time. Ground level from a similar beginners perspective. No hype, no millions (yet), no lambos, no BS. All I ask is that you use the links in my tools section.
At the time of me writing this (December ’18) I’m currently at $394.63 in my affiliate earnings total. That’s it, open and honest. But, according to statistics it’s $394.63 more than 95% of affiliate marketers in total.
I haven’t been doing this for very long but I have taken some huge steps in planning and executing the foundation. Pageviews and low Bounce Rate are key in this business model. Money is a byproduct of either 1. Great content or 2. Great research. I plan on building on both and look forward to your feedback as you do the same.
I was able to earn within my first 90 days, but more impressive is how long those sites I took about a week to create and optimize will be able to earn for me passively. What about the insights I’ll receive from the niches I’ve chosen?
I can show and prove that much at this point. On top of that, I’ve posted over 100 posts on this blog and can give some insight into pros and cons of how I did it and what I’d do differently.
I’m glad to offer my route, I wonder if you’ll find value in following someone just a step or two ahead rather than some rich guy that started years ago when the landscape was much different.
It Takes One To Know
I’m still a beginner. When I first came into affiliate marketing and experienced a ton of intimidation and confusion. I took SEO AD but it took me going through it twice before I could actually sit down and begin implementing. This was me trying to wrap my head around an actual strategy that works. I learned the basics of an SEO strategy that I use to this day. Luckily, I didn’t stagnate after the course was over, I decided to continue building my knowledge while telling this story. In a lot of ways this is a form of accountability for me.
I came up with the idea for Blue Highlighted Text because I think there are a ton of people who just want unbiased guidance. I also believe that people will spend for courses when they have the money to do so. I’ve been there, the first course I ever took cost me $3,000 to learn the very basic ideas of dropshipping through Shopify (I know don’t judge). I’d later get much more value from SEO Affiliate Domination for $500 than I ever could have imagined.
Bridge Between Starting and Success
I ended up creating a bridge (Blue Highlighted Text) between low to no budget and being able to continue confidently as an affiliate with continual education.
That’s the key, the difference between this community and others.
I don’t have all the answers, I don’t need them. I’m here to provide my stamp of approval on each and every angle of this journey and believe that an unbias approach will give you a great opportunity to save money and time while you find your own way to use what I teach and level up your own strategies and tactics.
It feels a little arrogant to more or less “call my shot” but I’ll deal with that in hopes of offering a fresh idea. Maybe you are over the fact that no matter who’s link you click >> Wealthy Affiliate or SEO Affiliate Domination.
If you decide to spend your money on an online course someone is getting paid. There’s a growing community of people that hate how promotion is unavoidable online in general.
Additionally, no program is 100% complete as to guarantee it will lead to your success. That’s a great point actually, the best thing I can suggest is that you get over that any single course is “the one”.
Inevitably, you’re going to need to pull from several sources over time to really find a route that clicks for you.
The benefit of trusting my path is that I don’t have reason to hold anything back.
I started undercapitalized and ignorant as to how to build a WordPress site.
The goal is to get you profitable, not sell you courses or memberships. You should be able to just by reading the posts that are on this blog free. If you want to really brainstorm and get my thoughts in real time consider joining our community for only $20/month. I’m here to give you a full view, I don’t care which course you use because I’m mostly focused on building this as a case study for Project Newsense my non-profit focused on niche education.
Luckily, I made my first affiliate commission with Share-A-Sale which allows you to link to different products and earn a commission. I always thought it a little shady to promote a course and only pump it up without holding yourself accountable for the shitty aspects of the course too. All this to say that I’ll chill out on the blue highlighted text and stay focused on providing an accurate and unedited account of my experience AFTER taking the courses I actually completed and software I actually use.
I do plan on earning an income from Affiliate Marketing, but I don’t think beginners (or anyone) should be lied to.
If you’re still reading this, let’s get you started on a legit way to earn money online. Passive income, created through an actual business. No MLM, no pyramid scheme, no overdoing it with the blue highlighted text.
I’m of the belief that if you build the right content and proper personal engagement, people will go out of their way to click your links.
If you’re looking for what I use check out my recommended tools.
Then go here to as a starting point.