I didn’t know it at the time, but deciding to lose all the money I had was the best decision I ever made.
I’d run at a loss all through that first month, but I’d learned many things about affiliate marketing along the way. With every dollar I lost, I got a little better at tracking, writing ads, optimizing and making landing pages.
Through that trial by fire, it had turned into a decent little campaign with lots of potential.
So on the first day of the next month, when I turned the campaign back on, it was breaking even or making money right away.
Paying My Tuition
Some people would say that continuing on an idea that had lost $3000 in it’s first month is crazy. But what I realized was that I had basically put myself through college in the first 30 days.
It was my tuition for a degree in what not to do. I’d paid heavily for this education… why would I throw it away?
Armed with the lessons I’d learned and a willingness to lose all my cash I started making progress right away.
From day one I was breaking even or slightly profitable at $150/day spend. That consistency gave me the confidence to raise my budget higher, to as much as $500/day.
Now I was getting data 10x faster than I was in my first month (with a $50/day budget) so I learned faster and faster. Each lesson I learned help the campaign a little more.
By the second week I was making steady profits. At first it was $70/day. My affiliate manager congratulated me on cracking the code. I was jumping around my apartment with joy because $70/day would pay my rent and bills.
I was going to be free!
I had picked up a few freelance web design clients in LA and was so distracted by my campaigns that I wasn’t making any progress on their jobs. And can you blame me?
They had paid me $3000 for a job that was going to take three months and I was on the verge of making that much every week… every day, or every hour.
I kept progressing and by the end of the month I had profited in the high 4-figures ($x,xxx). It was WAY more money than I needed to get by.
I fired all my clients. I sent them their files and refunded them 100% of their money with a note to never contact me again. Now, I could really focus.
The next month, profits tripled.
Now I had the campaign optimized and profitable. I had been receiving regular payments from the affiliate network so I felt comfortable spending more money per day and I started flooding them with traffic.
In the beginning I was doing one or two sales a day, then two a day, then ten a day. Now I was doing 50–100 sales a day. The affiliate network gave me a higher payout, so my ROI went even higher.
I was killing it.
By now, I was fully immersed in the game. It was all I did. The outside world had completely disappeared.
I’d been reading a few forums and had found some new affiliate networks.
Remember, I had only worked with one network from the beginning. I had no idea there were more networks out there.
I was doing a tremendous amount of sales per day now, so I had to find a network that could handle it.
I contacted a few networks and talked to some reps. One network told me they had a different version of the offer I was promoting, but theirs converted better and paid $10 more per sale.
I signed up, split their offer against the original network’s offer and my jaw hit the floor. They were right! Their version paid more and converted almost twice as much!
My profits exploded again! I switched all my traffic to the new network and the numbers just started piling up. I was a higher level player now so the new network rep invited me to meet him at a conference called Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas.
I was hesitant to go to the conference. Remember, my whole life had just crashed and burned. While all of this marketing stuff was happening, I was hiding out in my apartment completely alone.
The thought of a huge social event gave me panics, but soon I agreed to go and booked the flight to Vegas.
He invited me to a mansion party that he said would be full of huge advertisers that were doing gigantic numbers. He’d be there as well and would introduce me to a few people.
When I arrived at the Mansion Party I was blown away. The place looked packed. It was really loud, music and screaming. I walked around the house 3 or 4 times. I almost left several times.
Finally, I got my courage up and texted the affiliate network rep. He said he was in the kitchen with some big players and would introduce me.
When I walked inside, the place was packed. Hundreds of peole were there drinking bottles of expensive champagne and liquor. Music was blasting. Gorgeous women wearing cocktail waitress outfits carried drinks around to all the different rooms.
The entire Mansion felt like it was rocking in the wind.
I made my way to the kitchen and found my affiliate manager. He greeted me with open arms and introduced me to four or five guys who were doing the same stuff I was doing.
They were all pretty drunk and I was completely sober. So as they drunkenly talked about what they were doing, I pulled out my phone and started taking notes.
At one point – one of the guys asked me how much money I was making. I told him and he looked kind of surprised.
Then he asked me how many keywords I was bidding on in my campaign. I told him the truth.. I said “about eight”.
He almost spit his drink out.
He put his arm around my shoulder and said “Look, the key to this thing is to get huge volume. You can bid on every keyword in the English language. My campaign is bidding on about 500 keywords right now.”
This information blew. my. mind. I had never even considered bidding for words that weren’t directly related to the product. I was only bidding on eight words!
We talked for about two hours and exchanged our information. It was getting late and I was excited to try his tip on my campaign so I raced back to the hotel.
Before I went to bed, I added a big list of new keywords to the campaign (that was killing it by now). Then I went to sleep.
The next morning I woke up and couldn’t believe my eyes. The campaign had made so much extra money over night that it paid for my entire trip to Las Vegas. Flights, hotel rooms, everything.
Now the numbers were coming in faster than I thought possible and my profits were higher than I ever dreamed they’d be. I was bidding on eight keywords before, now I was bidding on 100.
By the time I got home from the conference, I was a new man.
I talked to my affiliate manager every day. Me and the guys I met at that party formed a group and started meeting every week or so to discuss new ideas and opportunties. All of us got better and better.
I ate, slept and dreamed marketing – I took no breaks. I just kept cranking along, trying to double my numbers week to week and month to month.
I had no employees and no offices. I woke up, made coffee and started working. When I was too tired to continue I’d go to sleep – then wake up and do it again.
By the fifth or sixth month I was a blazing fireball. The $3000 I’d lost in the first month was laughable now. It had seemed like such a huge amount of cash back then, but now it was a rounding error on my daily revenues.
If I had quit when I was down, I would have never seen the other side.
I branched out into several different traffic sources and quadrupled the amount of traffic I was getting. I was doubling my net profits every week. It was crazy.
Soon I was controlling a firehose of traffic and sales. The volume was ridiculous.
I signed up to several networks that had similar offers. This way, when one network told me to stop I could just switch the firehose to another network and keep going. Sometimes I’d max out five networks a day.
One day, I applied to a new affiliate network and started drilling them with traffic right away.
My affiliate manager freaked out and called me on the phone. She thought I was sending a bot attack at their network. The sales were coming in so fast she couldn’t keep up.
I just laughed – – – and said “it’s real”
She panicked and called the CEO of the company. A few minutes later he had me on a conference call and told me to turn the traffic off until he could figure out what was going on.
I told him “if I turn it off, it’s not coming back on”.
He looked at the numbers, swallowed hard and said “Okay… let’s do it”.
Then I drilled them with sales as hard as I could.
The same affiliate manager called me a few days later and said “You know what? You’re hands down the biggest marketer I’ve ever seen here… in fact you’re probably one of the top affiliate marketers in the world…”
And you know what?
She was right.
< / the end >