Before we get started, let me introduce myself and tell you a little about my background. I’m a full-time programmer who has “dabbled” in internet marketing since about 2005. I started out taking a course in dreamweaver at the local college where I created our Associated Students website, from there I continued creating websites and helping others maintain their websites, for a fee of course. =)
During that time I experimented with some adsense sites and throwing up a few affiliate links, but nothing really major happened. Fast forward to the end of 2009 when I was laid off from my day job and couldn’t find work in my field until 2 years later. During that time, a friend of mine helped me start my own SEO business. I’d already been trying my hand at SEO for the few sites that I owned, and it seemed like a perfect fit. Plus I was desperate.
Those two years were both the best of times and the worst of times. Back then SEO was easy, you created backlinks with the same targeted anchor text and you rose up in the SERPS. All it took was some elbow grease. Even article marketing was still a viable option! At one point I was grossing almost 3k a month, although take home was only about 40% of that. It wasn’t enough to pay the bills, in fact, it wasn’t even more than what unemployment paid. Even though I reported my income to UE, they still paid me a little bit each month since I wasn’t making enough. Of course, if things had continued on that path, I would eventually have had enough clients to pay the bills. Unfortunately, Google shifted algorithm gears and the house of cards that I had built previously went tumbling down. At almost the same time, I became gainfully employed once again as a programmer. Now I had my bills paid, but I did not have enough time to keep on top of Google’s constant Panda/Penguin/Pain-in-the-butt changes. So I folded. I kept one SEO client through the end of 2013, but the rest I cancelled at the end of 2012.
It’s now 2014, and my plan is to create “passive income” sites. Not that there is really any true “passive” income models. Everything takes constant maintenance of some sort, either adding new content, or just keeping up on updates to wordpress. While a service business like I had with the SEO business is a great way to make money and help people in the bargain, it’s simply too time-consuming for me, and I also don’t want to be beholden to someone every month for a certain set of results. If I build my own affiliate sites, I can build them on my time. If it takes 6 months to build and six months to rank, that’s no big deal.
Even though the last few years have taught me quite a bit about internet marketing, and I’ve purchased thousands of dollars in shiny objects educational courses, (WSO’s/JVZOO/VDEOS/ETC), I still consider myself a noob at affiliate marketing. Why? Because my SEO business was a service to make money for someone else, not a “passive income” model like most people think of when they think of making money online. I’m not making a six figure per year income selling a million units of my own product, or someone else’s product. At least not yet. =)
Also, despite the knowledge that I have accumulated, I still approach the internet marketing game as a “noob” with an open mind ready to learn. And so should you. There is no one-size-fits-all way to make money online, there is no push-button program that will drop $$$ into your bank account. There is no substitute for hard work and the act of doing. Reading about making money will only take you so far….
You need to apply what you learn. Focus on what works, put your own spin on it, and then rinse and repeat.
That’s the direction I plan on taking my business this year. I hope you’ll join me on the journey. =)