I love to daydream. One of my most common daydreams is to imagine myself going back in time with all the knowledge I have now. How would life be different if I could go back to 2013?
That’s when I start reflecting on all the mistakes I’ve made in the industry. I’m not talking about the small mistakes like setting my tracking link wrong or setting a bid at $10 when it should’ve been $.10. Nope. Those mistakes only cost me 3 to 4 figures. Read this post to find out what I learned along the way so you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.
I didn’t have a team
I was working 12 hours a day and getting burned out. I knew I couldn’t do this alone, and I needed to hire.
At 41-years-old, I had no clue how to hire people, and I had a fear. I was scared that if I hired someone, they’d take all my campaigns.
The best solution? How about I hire people I trusted? I was Frodo and went out looking for my fellowship. I hired friends, family, and old co-workers.
I taught people everything I knew. Within a few months, everything fell apart. People were running campaigns on the side. And the whole process caused me headaches and broken relationships.
It’s not that they weren’t trustworthy, but I didn’t understand the game the way I do now:
I had no leverage. Everyone has a price. Could you trust your friend to hold $1,000 for you? Sure. Could you trust them to hold $1,000,000 for you? Maybe. Maybe not. My point is everyone has a price, and I overvalued loyalty. I’m a loyal person, and I assumed everyone had the same traits as I did.
I didn’t make them earn it. The day they started, I gave them the keys to the kingdom. I didn’t make them work their way up.
This kept happening over and over again until I said, “No more.”
I decided that people couldn’t be trusted and I’d handle everything myself from then on.
I took my productivity to the next level. I hired virtual assistants. I handled everything myself because now I had trust issues.
For the next two years I was alone. I didn’t think anything was wrong because I was making 5-6 figures a month in profit. On top of that, being in my twenties, I still had endless energy.
I kept going through the same cycle: I’d burn out…take a weekend trip somewhere…and get right back to work.
Something changed around 2016. I noticed all my super affiliate friends were doing bigger numbers than me. Not only that, but they were working less! They had a life! How could this be?
They had teams.
That’s when I realized maybe it’s not that people can’t be trusted…maybe there’s something wrong with my process. Instead of blaming others, I realized that I was the problem.
I needed a better hiring process.
I needed more leverage.
I needed a better on-boarding process.
I needed to provide a better commission structure.
It’s easy to think, “I deserve almost all of the profits because I’m the one who started this. They should be grateful they even have a job.” But who would want to work for someone who thinks like that?
You have to create a system that’s a win/win for everyone involved.
I’m glad I figured it out now, but who knows how much more money I would’ve made if I had a solid team during those years.
I tried to be an advertiser
The grass is always greener on the other side.
Back in 2013, it seemed as if every affiliate wanted to become a nutra advertiser. I knew some of my friends were successful with it.
I mean, it made complete sense.
I knew how to buy traffic. Why don’t I own the offer as well? I’ll complete vertical integration and keep all the profits to myself. No affiliate networks taking commissions. No advertisers shaving or scrubbing me.
Then I started researching. I had NO IDEA how deep the rabbit hole was. Merchant processors, CRM’s, LEGAL ISSUES, etc.
For a few months, I was spending 16+ hours a day working. I was stressed out.
All in all, I sunk about $50,000 into the project before I decided to quit. The bigger loss was me not running campaigns during those few months.
Why did I quit?
The biggest reason is I realized I liked being an affiliate marketer. I made tons of money and had FREEDOM. I didn’t have a boss. I didn’t have customers.
My heart wasn’t in it. I just wanted to do it because I felt like I was leaving money on the table. But deep down I didn’t have any passion for it.
The grass is not always greener on the other side—it’s just of a different shade.
I was too cheap with the things that mattered
My company was doing a few thousand dollars a day, and my accountant suggested he start doing bookkeeping for me.
My first question was, “How much?”
“$150 a month.”
I then told him I’d rather do it myself to save money.
I also insisted on hosting my 5-figure a day campaigns on a $60-a-month LiquidWeb VPS.
I paid my first few employees salaries only and no commission.
Whenever we outsourced, I insisted on hiring cheaper virtual assistants (Dude, they’re in the Philippines! They can live like kings for $5 an hour!)
Being overly frugal cost me money.
Running on cheap VPS instead of a dedicated server meant my servers could crash overnight, and I’d lose thousands.
Spending time doing bookkeeping meant I wasn’t spending time running campaigns or finding time to relax.
Are there any areas in your life right now where if you spent more money, you could end up making more money?
I was too flashy with my lifestyle.
I should’ve hit things harder
How many of you have had campaigns in the past that you wish you worked harder on?
I’ve realized that affiliate marketing comes in waves. Eighty percent of your profit will come from 20% of your campaigns. Be able to identify what those big campaigns are, and hit them as hard as you can.
When you’re profiting and you have momentum…it’s not the time to chill. It’s time to conquer. It’s time to crush.
Don’t dwell on the past
I’ve talked a lot about all the mistakes I made, but don’t think for a second I’m full of regrets.
If I could go back…I wouldn’t.
Many of you want to follow my path. I’m just giving you a roadmap with all the potholes and warnings on it.
I like who I am. I like where I am. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Yes, I could’ve made a ton more money, but money’s not everything.
We all have a chance at a new life. It’s called tomorrow. Don’t waste energy and time thinking about the past. Let it go.
I want you to do an exercise and imagine where you’ll be 5 years from now. What WILL you regret?
The future and your destiny aren’t written yet.
I’ve shared with you some of my biggest mistakes. What are yours? Let me know in the comments below!