I have been doing affiliate marketing for about 5 years now. I had no idea I was going to make a shit load of money when I first started being an affiliate. I thought that only happened to a few lucky ones. Today I’m living my dreams and I’m really happy I didn’t give up. It’s been a fun ride. Let me share with you.
This is where I started
Being 18 years old, I officially opened up my company November 2010. I even started a bit before, but it was just a hobby. But as a hobby it began, so let me start from there.
A year before, I experimented with Google Adsense a bit, and started opening up a couple of low quality websites. Managed to work up a $50 monthly income after a few months. At the moment, that was just pure happiness, and enough fuel for me to keep going.
Time passed, and business was slow, but I was still working hard. I wasn’t sure how much money you could get out of being an affiliate. So it was still just for fun.
I continued working month after month, and got up to about $400 month income after about 6 months or so. Hired a Freelancer to do some writing for me. Expanding faster, starting to think a bit bigger. I started to get some faith in being able to make a living out of it, but I wasn’t convinced.
Start over again
Adsense was fun.. until I got my Adsense account banned. Reason still not known today, but I’ve got some tips for you here if you wanna avoid it.
If you’re not sure what that means, your money gets frozen, your websites forever blacklisted and you’re not allowed to create another Google Adsense account. Not exciting stuff when you’re just starting out.
It hurt really badly after all those months of struggling, trying to work up a good income. Had to start from scratch again. It might not seem like a big deal, but back then, it was everything I had going in my bank account.
That didn’t stop me though. Created a couple of new websites, managed to get a new Adsense account (technically you’re not allowed) and started the hussle all over again.
This time, because of all the skills and knowledge I gathered in the past, I managed to work up the same income in just a matter of months. Back to feeling like a boss. However, it felt like I should change my business model to something more solid. Knowing that Google could cut me out any day was making me feel wobbly.
Time to start my company
Year is 2010, and I knew that I really wanted to build up an online revenue, it seemed like the perfect lifestyle. I opened up my company now. I really loved making money online, so I started to dive into affiliate marketing. It seemed a bit more complicated and hard to succeed with, but I gave it a try.
Affiliate was a bit more convoluted than the good old pay earn per click model I had been focusing on before. Not much happening affiliate wise, I felt more security was needed if I was going to invest all this time and energy in this new era of internet marketing and growing my company. I decide to look around for clients interested in my SEO skills. I got a couple of first clients that made me some extra.
Even though it was good money and I kind of enjoyed working for clients at that particular time, I still knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do for long. I even became part time employed at a SEO company, for about 6 months, to get more involved in the business and build up some capital. Learned a lot from these guys. First and last time being employed this life time though.
At this time, I had a couple of websites monetized with affiliate products like web hosting, clothes and jewelry up and running, generating a total of $0. Affiliate was hard stuff. It felt a bit hopeless working month after month and not getting paid.
But I didn’t really realize that I was planting seeds for the future. You see, affiliate marketing is all about planting seeds, because there comes a day when you harvest all the seeds you once planted.
Years later, actually earlier this year 2015, I sold one of those very first websites I made for about $40 000. You never know where things leads. That’s why it’s better doing stuff, than thinking about doing stuff.
The first affiliate sale
Not much luck being an affiliate so far. I kept at it though. Managed to get my first sale. That was a really happy moment for me. I remember even telling people about it. “Mum, I made a sale today, got a $75 commission”. Mum replying: “That’s great son, but don’t you have homework?”. Guess if it was school or affiliate marketing that got most of my attention then.
Even though I didn’t make a lot of money , I was still really excited about earning money online through affiliate marketing. It felt more steady and I also saw bigger potential in it. If I could make this much money with the amount of work I put in so far, what if I just do the work 50 times?
I developed quicker and became more sophisticated in working with this stuff, and started to create more money generating websites. Wow, the hype was real.
A taste of freedom
Now we’re talking about 2011, and things are really starting to take off. The potential to earn money was there. I had long dreamt of moving to warm place with blue water . I knew some successful affiliate people living in an island called Malta. Booked a trip there, had a great time and loved the place. A few weeks later, I decided that I want going to move there at the beginning of 2012.
I was making money, but not a lot. Maybe around $1500 monthly, and that wasn’t really enough to move to a new country, open up a company and rent an apartment. But I still believed it could happen. I knew I could reach an income level that was enough to support me, if I worked really hard throughout the year.
I had this picture in my head, that if I could reach that point, I’d be the guy with all the freedom in the world, working by the beach, sipping a coconut. My wildest dreams back then.
With some willpower and many long nights of work, I was making almost $3000 monthly in the beginning of 2012. I bought a one way ticket to Malta the 26th of January 2012. Best decision of my life.
The income was steady, and everything was working out smoothly for me. I wasn’t even close to being rich, but I loved the freedom, and excited being in Malta, still working hard, but with a better environment. Had a great time, and meet a lot of like minded entrepreneurs. I got surrounded by people sharing the same vision, and we helped each other becoming more successful. Thinking back on that today, I believe that played a big role in my success.
Move on to the next level
Months past by and the business was still growing, not too rapidly, but increasing steadily every month. I was still working alone, sitting in my underwear in my apartment though. I started to feel like I wanted to get to the next level.
I hired my first employee July 2013, and that was quite exciting. I was living in a huge house so I used the upper floor as an office for us. A step everyone should take as soon as they can, because you learn so much from it.
A while later I employed another person. We moved to a real office. Now we’re 3 people in the business, and also a couple of freelancers working remotely. Things are happening. I had great visions, and I was planning to keep employing people as the income increased.
The good days were here, but at the same time, I got a taste of doing things a real CEO does and some of the responsibilities that comes with it. Like getting in early to the office to set an example, or making sure we had coffee filters. That was new for me, and I didn’t like it too much. I wanted to go travel spontaneously every now and then, bu it seemed it wasn’t a good idea with people being dependent on me.
It felt a bit like my freedom was taken away from me. Being 100% free was always important. That was one of the biggest reasons why I pursued the dream, and it was the vision I’ve always had in my mind of being successful.
2015 – The new approach
One of my employees quit, and I fired the other one a time later. Going back to being just me and a couple of freelancers. Even though it was a bit like I was going backwards, it still felt liberating to have that freedom again.
So now I was out traveling the world. But I still realized I couldn’t do everything by my own. So the last 6 months I’ve been out traveling, I focused a lot on finding smart people to help me grow larger and faster. Freelancing people who can work flexible, getting paid per task, and seeing the beauty of having the freedom to work from wherever they want.
Now when I’m writing this blog post, I’m still out traveling and building up a work force remotely is still working great. Today my team consists of about 15 people working on creating great comparison services with more value. Someday, when I feel like freedom isn’t as important to me, I might go back to employing people in-house. Despite the extra weight, there’s many benefits to it.
Thanks for reading
I just wanted to share my story, hope it inspires you to keep working on your projects, and realize how much difference it can make to not give up, just because things doesn’t give you immediate results.
Affiliate marketing is not a sport for people who wants to get paid immediately for their work. It takes time. Took me 5 years to get to where I am today. But instead, you can reap the benefits from the work you have done in the past, once you succeeded. That’s what I’m doing today. Traveling around the world, earning more money faster than I can spend it, just because of all the hard work I once put in. I guess I’ll move on to something more serious in due time though.