When did you get started in blogging and affiliate marketing?
Back in 2012 when I started learning about SEO and promoting products or services with an email list.
Even before that (since 2006) I had been writing for many websites but never thought about monetization or other parts of this business. I was getting paid by content only.
How did you get started in blogging and affiliate marketing?
I started learning about affiliate marketing after realizing Google Adsense was NOT the only way to make money online. In fact, it’s far from being the best way to earn money from your traffic.
Then I just started searching to learn more about affiliate marketing and found blogs doing 4-6 figures per month just promoting affiliate products.
Finally, I decided I wanted to learn more and joined a few forums, including Warrior Forum (back then it wasn’t so bad), AffiliateFix and StackThatMoney. This was back in 2012-2013 and since that time I have been learning many strategies including email marketing, FB Ads, SEO, Pop traffic, Push Ads and Native.
What’s the story behind your business?
I wouldn’t say there’s a story behind it as a whole. We have been dabbling in affiliate marketing for years, and every year we adjust to new trends and learn new things. We’re always learning and I try to save $5,000-$10,000 per year to spend solely on courses or masterminds. I want to always be learning.
My main focus has been CPA marketing since 2014, however before that I got started with SEO and email Marketing until I was making 4 figures per month and left my job.
Quickly after that we rode a huge wave of viral marketing with Facebook where we were making 4 figures per day and it lasted around 6 months before everything went downhill and FB changed its algorithm. This is something they do on a yearly basis.
After that, to stay in the business, I was in a sense forced to learn Facebook Ads and that was the beginning of learning paid traffic. Paying for my traffic was something I used to hate before that (most SEOs feel the same way) but eventually I realized paid traffic could be very profitable and much more scalable than organic traffic if you had the right mindset and knew how to optimize your campaigns.
That brought me to the StackThatMoney forum where I realized there was so much more than just FB ads and we started learning how to monetize pop traffic (yeah, those annoying pops everybody hates and nobody thinks they work) and we learned a lot from that to understand how to optimize paid traffic campaigns, define budgets, test affiliate offers, etc.
In 2017 we decided to diversify and learned Native Ads and we also created our first offer that was promoted within FB Ads and it generated 6 figures. I later sold that project, but, it was a good one.
In 2018 I started learning about Push ads and we’ve been focused a lot on Native + Push ads for the last 12 months. So, working all this time as an agency that promotes CPA offers has been a full time job but I still find some time to keep my blogs up to date from time to time.
Describe the process of launching the business and getting it off the ground.
Being a CPA affiliate makes the progress quite fast to get started, but very difficult (and budget intensive) to make it work after a few months.
Normally you sign up with a traffic network and a CPA/Affiliate Network.
Then, you need to setup a tracker and a server to host the landing pages you’re going to use to promote the offers.
Finally, you select a few offers from the network and start sending them traffic and see if the offer converts. If the offer converts, then it’s time to optimize for profits. If it doesn’t, you forget about it and test more offers.
That’s pretty much the initial flow of every affiliate and it can be repetitive work as you could be launching hundreds of campaigns per month.
How long did it take before you made your first affiliate sale?
My first affiliate sale was made with SEO traffic, and it took me around 6 months.
However nowadays since we’re using paid traffic, any campaign or affiliate offer we try takes a few hours or a day at most to get the first conversion. If it doesn’t, my traffic strategy or the affiliate offer sucks, or both of them sometimes suck.
How do you drive traffic to your affiliate offers and website?
There are several ways we’re doing this: email traffic, FB Ads traffic, pop/redirect traffic, native ads traffic and push notifications traffic.
We still need time to learn other sources like Snapchat Ads, Google Ads and even Pinterest/Reddit/etc. but we like to learn 1 source per year and focus on it if we find there’s potential.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to start and grow your business?
The first obstacle several years ago was believing that making money from the internet was possible. I think that’s something we all fear at some point.
My second obstacle was having a budget to start learning. Starting a blog and doing SEO doesn’t take much money the first months if you’re a newbie. It just takes time. Once I saved $10,000+ I decided to get into paid traffic (that I was forced by Mark Zuckerberg with his timely algorithm update haha).
The third and most important obstacle a lot of people don’t realize and hence they never overcome is the fear of losing money. When you’re learning stuff on the net, buying courses or paying for services like hosting, ads, etc. it’s easy to be impatient and fail because you’re losing money and you’re not seeing results.
The reality is you’re not losing money, but investing it to learn how to create a business. People spend 4-6 years (and in some countries, also 4-6 figures spent) just to go to school. They do this because they believe it works to get a job. These same people then come to the internet and try to start a business just to give up after 2 months and after spending only $200.
If you run paid traffic campaigns you start investing money from day 1, so it helps a lot to get rid of that feeling and overcome it.
Also, it helps a lot when you potentially lose 6 figures in crypto currencies like I did last year haha. Investing a few hundred dollars in a website, or a thousand dollars to test an affiliate offer now feels like nothing against that. True story.
What mistakes did you make as you built your business?
A ton of them. I love making mistakes because that’s how you learn and once you do, you probably won’t repeat them again.
All the cliché mistakes like not starting with an email list and up to sending traffic from a country that was not accepted to an offer because I didn’t double check my campaign settings just to wake up and realize I spend $1,000 during the night and all that traffic was wasted.
I plan to make a lot more mistakes in the future to keep learning.
What mistakes have you seen other bloggers and affiliate marketers make?
The same as I’ve done, including the crypto currency frenzy in 2017. We all end up making similar mistakes. All affiliates make mistakes but eventually you either give up and leave the field or you keep going and find success.
What are some of your favorite affiliate programs to promote? (Amazon etc.)
I think promoting with the Amazon Associates program is a race to the bottom and probably one of the worst was to focus your monetization strategies. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do money with it. You can always make a ton of money with the right strategy and create successful businesses.
I don’t really have any favorite affiliate programs to be honest. Affiliate offers come and go all the time and what worked 6 months ago could completely stop now. We just follow the trends and analyze the market situation.
If I had to choose a good affiliate program to promote in the long run though, I’d say recurring commissions is one of the best ways to grow your business in the future.
Do you have any tips and tricks you used to help your business grow?
There’s plenty of them, but most of them are things I have learned in masterminds, affiliate events and courses. I couldn’t really just point out one that applies for everybody as there are many ways to make money as an affiliate.
I would like to add that while a lot of people think being an affiliate can be a simple job and you can work behind your computer in the shadows, those who are active and go meet the advertisers they’re working with, or simply talk to them constantly via Skype always have an advantage over those who never want to speak and socialize with anybody.
What tools do you use to help you run your business?
I don’t use many tools in particular. But let’s see if I can name my favorite ones and the ones I can’t live without as well.
- WordPress to create complete sites if needed
- Voluum tracker to optimize paid affiliate campaigns
- VPS from Vultr or Digital Ocean to host sites or landing pages
- Ahrefs for SEO and market research
- Convertkit for Email Marketing
- My iPhone/Macbook to manage all of my businesses when I’m on the road
That’s it. The rest is not really essential.
Did you take a course to learn how to succeed in affiliate marketing? If so, what course?
I have taken a lot of courses over the years. As I mentioned above, I like to spend around $5,000 per year in courses or masterminds to learn.
Most of the courses, if not all of them are not accessible or for sale anymore, so it wouldn’t really make sense to share them I guess.
I have taken courses about SEO, Facebook organic traffic, Facebook Ads (several courses on FB ads actually), eCommerce, Print on Demand, Instagram, CPA marketing, native ads, pops ads, Copywriting, funnels, etc.
If there’s a new course that I feel it can help me grow my business, I’ll probably take it.
Was there an event you attended that change the trajectory of your business? If so, what event?
My favorite affiliate conference is called Affiliate World Asia and it’s hosted in Bangkok, Thailand every December. I’ve been there 3 or 4 times and every time it’s a blast.
I have also been at Affiliate Summit East in New York, Affiliate Europe in several countries and plan to go to the Chiang Mai SEO conference or the Traffic & Conversion summit in San Diego, USA soon.
Who has had the greatest impact on your decision to become an entrepreneur?
Me. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was 15 years old. I became a full time entrepreneur in 2013 and I don’t regret it.
Are there any books that you have read that have helped you on your journey as an entrepreneur?
There are some books I’ve read that have helped change my mind or perspective of several things around entrepreneurship, marketing or social skills.
I won’t recommend many books because every person is very different and they all have different needs, however some of the things that have helped me more are learning about the psychology of the consumer as well as marketing tactics in general, and for me personally, my life has changed a lot since I learned how to stop saying yes to most people/projects/ideas as well as how not to give a fuck about what other people think.
There’s a book named “The subtle art of not giving a fuck” in case you’re having problems with that.
Some of the other problems I’ve seen many entrepreneurs have is they are perfectionists so they really don’t take much action because they’re paralyzed just by thinking their idea or execution could be better. There are many books that talk about that or you can just follow Gary Vaynerchuk on Instagram to get your daily dose of how being a perfectionist doesn’t really help when you’re an entrepreneur. Better to get started and fix things in the process than waiting for the perfect moment that will never arrive.
Do you have any words of advice for people thinking of getting into affiliate marketing?
It’s hard. Keep in mind more than 90% of the people fail when they get into this market. If you think you can be better than all of them and you have a budget to learn then by all means do it and fight your way through it.
But if you’re hesitating, you have fear of losing, you’re a perfectionist or you just want to try it because it seems like an easy way to make money while sleeping then you’re going to hit a wall in a few months and most probably quit. Don’t be this type of person.
What is the one thing every affiliate marketer needs to know above all else?
Every affiliate offer or campaign comes to an end eventually. Milk it as much as you can while it lasts, and then move to the next one.
You need to put in the work, and initially you might work many hours but it will be worth it if you eventually make it. Just make sure you don’t blow all of your money on stupid things, because life comes in waves and there’s always highs and lows. Stay safe out there!