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My IM Success Story - What works for me

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by ryanjm, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. ryanjm

    ryanjm Junior Member

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    My success story:

    I figured I would share a little bit about what has worked for me and things I've learned over the past year. I've only been in IM for one year, but it's been going really well so far and I've been full time with it for 6 months now. It was a post on the Warrior forum that got me started, so this is my way of paying it forward to those who are new to the game and struggling to figure out what to make of all of this IM stuff.

    One year ago:

    I was recently graduated from law school but knew I didn't want to be a lawyer. You would think it's all roses and wiping your ass with hundred dollar bills, but the reality is that being a lawyer kinda sucks. It's long hours and tedious paperwork. Unfortunately I figured this out after I was already in law school and had too much invested to drop out. I can't even count the number of my friends from there who either ended up not practicing law or hating their job.

    Anyway, I tried instead to work with my father who owns a home building business. 2008 was probably the shittiest year ever for that type of business, and so I tried to help by building him a better website and figuring out how to get it ranked higher. I already knew how to create websites and work with photoshop, so this helped, but I knew nothing about SEO. I remember thinking that websites got ranked according to how popular and "big" the business was. :D

    I started doing more and more research until I eventually stumbled upon the Warrior Forum. Jackpot! People were talking about making money and all of this cool stuff I was interested in. I was very lucky to come across this thread: http://www.warriorforum.com/main-in...ultimate-virtual-real-estate-added-links.html

    I thought that idea was brilliant, and so made it my own and ran with it. Since then (November 2010), I've gone on to make a full time income with this, moved to Colorado to enjoy skiing this season and being outdoors, and my income grows every month. Right now I would say I'm "living the dream." I make my own hours (which are around 40hrs a week now, but will be less during ski season), I can take vacation time whenever I want, and I can afford the things I like while doing what I enjoy. I actually enjoy my work (for the most part), and don't feel that dread I had when I was working a lot of other jobs--that feeling you get when you know you have to be at work in an hour and it's going to suck.

    What I do:

    My income comes from 3 things: 1) Affiliate marketing with my own product review websites for physical products on Amazon and independent businesses w/their own aff program; 2) SEO services on forums; 3) Offline SEO for a local web design company that outsources to me.

    If you can afford to work your job and do IM part time, then building up your affiliate sites is the least headaches and best way to build a long term income stream and build assets that are worth a lot. For me, I wanted to be full time IM as fast as possible, and so it made sense to diversify in order to weather any ranking problems with my affiliate sites. Once I understood how to rank sites well, I felt comfortable offering my services to others. That provided the stable platform to feel comfortable doing things like signing leases and making car payments, etc...

    My top 10 tips (or at least, 10 good ones):

    1) Learn how to create websites. If there's one thing I've learned in running SEO services, there are a lot of people with shitty sites out there who will spend a lot of money to rank them highly, but almost nothing on making them look nice and giving good information. If any of you read the leaked Giggle quality ranking manual from last week, you'll notice that a GOOD affiliate site is generally not going to be penalized by a manual review. But a 5 page slapped up default install with no graphics and a shit article is going to be hammered if it ever ranks well and gets a manual review. Learn how to use photoshop (youtube tutorials). Buy a custom WP them ($35 on themeforest). With just those 2 things you will be able to create sites that are better than 90% of the junk people spend months trying to rank well and clutter up the Internet with ugliness and garbage information. There's no law that says you can't make a great looking professional affiliate site AND make money. It's not all a scam/hussle.

    2) If you don't understand how the idea works, don't waste time doing it. I've seen tons of posts on the forums from people who say stuff like, "I've been in IM for 9 years, had to start over." Or, "I've been doing IM for 2 years, making $1/day now." If that's you, you're doing it wrong. When I read the thread posted above, I immediately knew it was a brilliant idea and could make a ton of money doing it. I was right. Similarly, I wouldn't try some weird idea that I have no idea how to execute or if it has potential to make money.

    3) Specialize. In order to make a lot of money, you really need to specialize in one thing and do it really well. If that's building a list, build a list. If that's offline, do offline. But trying one thing for a few months and then going to another thing is a recipe for failure. Luckily, I've been able to cut bait when I've tried something that isn't working. An example is offline--I hate selling, and trying to explain to a business owner why spending $1,000/mo for SEO for his law practice is worth 10 times that in value just annoys me when they don't get it. Now, I can pretty much guarantee that if I spent a few more months refining my sales pitch and other aspects that I could succeed, but in the month or so that I tried it, it was way harder than I thought it would be. Which leads me to:

    4) Write down your goal and make sure whatever you try has the potential to get you there. One of the things I realized with offline is that it was leading me down a path I didn't like. I don't want to answer support calls and deal with clients on a daily basis. I don't want to "sell" people on something that they should be knocking down my door to get from me. I want to be able to travel any time I want and not worry that I have to get back to the office soon. So that led me to the realization that even though offline would supply me with another source of income, I didn't want it. Don't trap yourself into a job you don't want if it moves you away from your goal, whatever that is.

    5) Stalk people online. And by stalk, I mean once you find people that are clearly making a ton of money online, check up on their posts every once in a while to see what they are doing or what they share. I've found tons of good information by checking up on people I know on WF who really know their stuff. This saves time from sorting through the shit posts that clutter most forums.

    6) Know how to do everything your pay someone else to do. This is especially true when it comes to building links. One my first mistakes was completely relying on a provider on WF to rank my sites, and when they couldn't do it I was out a few hundred and a couple of months. You need to understand what it is that the person is doing so that you can have realistic expectations of what your sites will do with their service, and how to continue boosting your site when they are done.

    7) Word hard AND smart. At the beginning, you will be forced to do everything yourself. Eventually you will be able to outsource the things that are tedious and take no skill. But at the start, you better be willing to work hard. None of this "press a button and make $10,000!" That's a pipe dream for suckers to buy WSO's. If you aren't willing to work hard, you don't deserve to succeed, and probably won't.

    8) Take the time to really learn about the product you are offering to people. Is it really a good product, or is it just a piece of shit with a high commission that you want to get? If you really do the research for people to find exactly what they're looking for, and you're honest with them, you will see conversions increase.

    9) Learn to write good reviews. A good product review will start off with a bullet point list of the features and specifications of the product, followed by a detailed review and perhaps a comparison to a competing product if applicable. Learn the difference between pre-selling and selling. Pre-selling you will point out some of the weaknesses of the product (but said in a way that makes it not that bad) to make your review more credible and not sound like a sales pitch. For example, if you are selling a high end microwave, a negative might be that it's expensive, BUT that's not really a negative if it has features that make it worth it.

    10) Start in a niche you know something about. It will be easier to write good articles and you might even know of suppliers with their own affiliate program. For example, you will generally be around 6-7% with amazon, but some small businesses that are tech savvy might have affiliate programs paying out 15-20% for physical products.

    Hope this helps some of you out there.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 24, 2011
  2. Tatsuya

    Tatsuya Junior Member

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    Thanks OP is always inspiring to hear a success story and how you achieve it
     
  3. ilovechucktaylor

    ilovechucktaylor Regular Member

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    That's simply amazing ..

    First of all congrats on your success ..
    This is such an inspirational story for me and I believe that it will be for everyone else.

    Every member should see what it took you and how long it took you to achieve your long-term goals. You've proved that "IF YOU WANT IT, GO AND GET IT, PERIOD"

    Everything it's achievable and nothing is impossible .. as long as we're willing to reach it :)

    Best wishes once again ..
    Keep working ..
     
  4. futuremills

    futuremills Regular Member

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    great story, pretty similar to mine. after i got my bachelors i almost thought about going to law school because i thought that was the way to go. All my college friends were either in law school, masters programs or something that is the norm. After almost falling into that trap i read a couple books and the rest is history

    i think 5,6,7 are most important for any noob starting out
     
  5. kaooo

    kaooo Junior Member

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    Your post give me some motivation again.
    I really apreciate your share
    Your vision is certainly the good one
    Thanks
     
  6. ryanjm

    ryanjm Junior Member

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    Thanks guys, glad you liked it. ^^mills- It's crazy how many people just automatically go to college and grad school, racking up huge debt for a job they might hate and/or might not be in high demand. I think many people place formal education in too high regard for what it actually gets you.
     
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  7. shoaibahmad9999

    shoaibahmad9999 Power Member

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    One of the best post :)

    Very inspriational and motivating.

    I hope you don't mind if I ask few questions.

    1- ) Are your all sites monetized with affiliate offers ?
    2- ) Do you mainly target product related keywords, e.g product + reviews ?
    3- ) 1 product 1 site or multi product ?

    Thank you and +rep given
     
  8. ryanjm

    ryanjm Junior Member

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    1) Yes.
    2) Generally, yes. We focus on the general niche, and also the specific product. Our main focus is on the general niche though, so we would try to rank for "best microwave" or "microwave reviews" and then all the different models too plus other variants like "cheap microwaves" etc... This makes it so you have a site that will never have problems once a new product or new model comes out, since you are ranking for the niche keywords and not just specific products.
    3) Multi-product. What ends up happening is each of our sites have one target product/niche, and then there are usually a bunch of related products that are worth putting on there too. It's easier to rank a side-page on a site with a lot of link juice than a brand new site, so we use the existing site to get the ranking for the related term. Some of our sites are also setup to be "authority" sites with 30+ pages.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  9. shoaibahmad9999

    shoaibahmad9999 Power Member

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    Thanks mate,
    I am also doing affiliate marketing with few affiliate networks though I have only 1 website making me some money.
    Can you suggest me anything please ? I'll take it by heart :)
     
  10. JasonG

    JasonG Regular Member

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    Awesome work and great points - this is a thread all Newbies should read 10 times and memorize before starting their IM journey.
     
  11. BassTrackerBoats

    BassTrackerBoats Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

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    My IM Success Story - What works for me

    He found what works for him; now find what works for you.

    Great Post, OP!



     
  12. ryanjm

    ryanjm Junior Member

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    ^ and ^^ thanks guys.

    Just stick with it and make sure your product(s) you promote are really the best that someone could find. It's better to go after keywords that get 1,000 searches/mo that are laser-targeted than to go after 30,000/mo general information terms. So if you research a niche, read forums, etc... and you KNOW that a product is the best, exactly what they need, etc... then that will convert well. Product selection is very important.
     
  13. northsouthpaw

    northsouthpaw Newbie

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    You make a good point about law jobs. I have a lot of friends who find being a lawyer tedious and stressful. The only one who seems to enjoy it is a public defender, and she has some pretty exciting stories to tell ;)

    Your IM story is very motivating and inspirational. I hope you have managed to pay down your law school debts some:) I can't wait to start making my first sites and to see them produce. At the moment I am trying to learn enough so that I don't make costly mistakes, either in money or time. I also still have to work a full-time job, so my time resources are limited.

    Anyway, thanks again for the thoughtful and informative post. Long may your success coninue!
     
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  14. teeniegenie

    teeniegenie Supreme Member

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    Its good to see another attorney around the forum! Congrats on your success OP!
     
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  15. KHer0

    KHer0 Senior Member

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    Yeah , Same Story but I figured out that my College won't be able to achieve my dreams be4 u ( Luckily me I hope ) . 3rd Year Architecture School and I love Architecture but I love IM a lot more plus I know that Architecture wouldn't take me where I want Specially when compared to IM.

    GREAT POST , THANK U :)
     
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