Is Feeling Like A Failure Accurate?

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I'm starting to feel like a failure and it's really getting to me - A LOT. As I read about people in this group consistently hitting 5-fig and 6-fig months in affiliate, I begin to realize how much I've failed and in the biggest ways possible. Things started to really affect me when I found myself running stats saying to myself, "please be sales, please be sales." Then after seeing nothing, getting more depressed than I've ever been.

A little backstory for all and how I got to this point...

I've told my whole story here in my introduction thread. https://www.buildersociety.com/threads/nice-to-meet-everyone-heres-my-story.5523/ But I find myself still trying to figure out how the heck I'm going to get back from an algo hit that nearly crippled me.

Current state remains: - Lost all monthly IM earnings at one point and dropped to less than $2k a month due to rankings tanking and algo update aftermath.

I'm working on things to bounce back but it's a punch to the gut and a battered and bruised crawl up.

Although I've saved into the 6-figs in affiliate earnings over the years (peanuts compared to real earners here), I feel like a complete failure not being able to generate affiliate income lately. My earnings are complete shit today. Like a pile of elephant shit embarrassing. That's how big of an embarrassment and unsuccessful humiliation it feels like.

I've asked myself a lot of questions lately and made changes in order to get over this hump. Some of those questions are:

Am I not working hard enough? I wake up at 530am and work until 11pm. Aside from a Workout and an hour for some family time - I grind. That's about it. Then I get up and do it over again.

Am I trying to run too many projects? I've recently made a change in order to try and get more focused. Having 80 small sites live (out of hundreds of domains) worked years ago and the thousands I spent on domains and hosting may have been worth it, but when you look at the whole P&L overtime, that was a really fucking stupid idea. The assets are worthless and cannot even be sold given the niche and the quality of them. I've taken this to an entirely different level outside of affiliate too. Getting rid of things in my home (books, office stuff, clothes, random things I've not used in months, digital stuff) thinking that all of it is nothing but clutter and distraction.

Am I spending time doing the right things? This is a question I still don't have the answer for. In my head I'm always thinking, I can write that better or no one is going to do a better job than me or no one will care as much as I do about this. Although I outssource writing and a few other things, I'm beginning to think that I'm far too hands on here. Trying to touch everything when in fact I should be trying to touch less.

Did I make the right partner choices? The most financially successful projects that I've done (which have come tumbling down due to rankings) is in a JV approach. With myself or the partner having an edge and/or skill match that makes it a good fit. But looking back, I've put in far more sweat equity and equal money for those to be profitable. Many times it's because the partners have other successful projects where as I don't and I choose to put forth effort in that one or two with them versus my own.

Am I trying to accomplish something that's impossible in a niche? The level of spamming and blackhat in my most lucrative niche is unreal. Acquiring good links is very hard too. Like amazingly unreal to the point that it feels like Google could care less and just completely ignores it. Am I wasting my time spending hours trying to not only win in the niche but beat them at a game that cannot be beat? Going from $20k a month to less than $2k is emotionally and physically painful. But it's hard to walk away from something that once felt so great.

Should I try a new niche? I hear and read about stories of people printing 5 and 6-fig monthly checks in case studies in certain niches. I find myself wondering if I should shift entirely and give them a try. After failing in testing waters in a new niche (half-ass low-investment in CBD) I don't know if another new niche is worth trying to get into.

Am I wasting time trying to revive things? I'm doing everything I can to revive my best earning affiliate site based on @Ryuzaki kitchen sink plan. I'm only doing this because it was my biggest money maker. But, my partners could care less about the projects and they've pretty much checked out when earnings tanked. Keep in mind, it's largely because they don't have the need for the income, where as I do need and want it. They do not want it as bad as me. Not enough to put in the time and effort it seems.

Should I shift from a main SEO focus to media buying? I find myself contemplating jumping from SEO to focus on media buying instead to try and reach bigger numbers. But those are critical skills that I don't currently have a great handle on.

Do I not have enough processes in place? I feel I've largely dropped the ball - BIG TIME. The "I'll just do it" mentality as completely crippled me. For many years, I've done everything. Even those early days when I made 5-figs a month. I was doing this most of this myself with partners handling heavy tech and linkbuilding only. Did I screw up here by putting this off and not scaling quicker?

Do I suck at building links? I've come to the realization that I'm really not a good link builder. It's an area that I just don't put enough attention into and if I did a better/smarter job here would I have not failed?

Given that my ultimate goal is to hit a $50k month (maybe it's better to set this to $100k a month and I'll have a better shot at actually hitting $50k. Dan Pena would laugh at my goal.) and I'm so damn far away from that now that all of these things mentioned above make me feel like a total failure today.

I'm wondering how many people have been in this position/situation and what you did to overcome it. I will work as hard and long as needed even if I feel like a failure.

Eitherway, I will anxiously wake up everyday and do the work. Hopefully, a lot different though because something (probably a bunch of things) need to change if I want to be successful in the affiliate game. Thanks for listening to me today. Sometimes just talking about it helps.
 
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I've been there a few times. Even down to $0/month earnings. You can read -some- of my stories here.

However, I have/had enough saved up (same as you), so I never really got to the depressed state.
I think it's all in your mind, you decide if you are a failure and if you are feeling depressed you should take a break.
Also if you feel like a failure, it will bring your morale down and you will have a hard time winning again.

I'm kinda a workaholic, but even a weekend off, 2-3 days once in a while helps a lot.
Do something that you rarely do. Hell, even getting drunk with some old friends you didn't see in a long time once in a while helps a lot. Feeling human helps a lot.
Doing something like that once a quarter is enough for me. It doesn't have to be drinking, check out a new country once in a while, do something new, whatever makes you happy.

What I did and helped after I got to $0/month earnings. I had a lot of experience in hardcore niches, so I just started some new sites in easier niches. Started new "whitehatish" projects (there's no such thing as 100% whitehat IMO). Projects that I knew would be a lot more stable, with a lot less competition.
That makes me sleep better at night. I worked my ass off and I am on top in some of those niches now.

Now that I have some cleaner projects, I will keep scaling hard, but I will have free days too this year.

If nothing helps, I would think of the worse that could happen if I fail. Worst case scenario with your experience you will get a well-paid SEO job. But I wouldn't give up my dreams for a job. I never had a "real" job. But that's not how winners think.

Quit feeling like a failure, you accomplished a lot and you can do it again.
In the end, you decide who you really are.
If you keep thinking of yourself as a failure, you will become one.

Good luck!
 

bernard

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I've been exactly where you are.

I have a lab thread here chronicling going from $0, near homeless and physically ill, to +$10.000 /month within about 2 years.

What I can say with absolute certainty is that your quantity over quality strategy (80 sites) is a complete dead end.

You need a full mental do over, you need to fully get rid of the idea of hacking the system or easy money or whatever dreams you have about online income. I mean, try to be aware of what ideas you had when you began doing this thing.

Imo you need to figure out what your actual unique skills are.

You already have a lot of basic skills, such a creating websites, publishing, outsourcing, building links. but those are low level skills.

Where is your true edge in the world?

My edge is combining the ability to do strong, data based research, with a better than average writing ability. I know this is a real skill, because I can get my writings in actual newspapers and I studied economics in university and passed exams.

I know those are actual, real life, skills, so I leverage those to gain an edge, and then I look at the numbers and I figure out how do most efficiently do or outsource those basic skills, that you have from building 80+ sites.

What is your true interest in the world?

It doesn't have to be a great passion, just something you can stand doing and mastering. Mine is fitness. I am not close to an expert or Instagram star, but I do love to life and workout. I know most of the industry terms, I know the basics. It makes it much easier to understand, research and write content.

You need to do a full shake up.

Stop working on your sites. Take a long break. Don't work on it. Think, feel, understand.

Do a reset.

Dissolve your ego entirely from your past failures and your past victories. Get rid of all connections about feeling anything about your business. Your business is just a thing, a method, a way to make money. It is not you. What is you, is what you need to figure out. Then go back and work harder than ever for 2 years.

That's what I found helped me the most. Becoming completely detached emotionally from the specifics and the methods and just implementing what is taught here and being comitted to change and learning.
 
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Potatoe

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Just want to chime in quickly to say give yourself a little more credit...

If you're building up from 2k a month, even after your stuff CRASHED, you're still way ahead of the vast majority of people who ever decide to make a website, full stop. Most people who start will never get as far as you are right now, even after losing almost everything. That's incredibly impressive. I know this feather in your cap doesn't matter much after watching your sites tank, accounts shrink, but...

Remember: You've already done this, and better than most. You know what you're doing. Get out of your head, you got this.

It's good to be humble and contemplative sometimes, to approach things as a beginner without letting your previous success or bias cloud you too much, but there's also something to be said about remembering that you're a hard-dicked fuck-dragon and the SERPs are filled with villagers trying to steal your gold.
 

Ryuzaki

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You're not alone in the ups and downs. That's how it goes for nearly every SEO, entrepreneur, business starter, etc. I went to $0 twice, including once about 1 week after I quit my job and went full time and moved to another city. Talk about shitting a brick.

I overcame going to zero twice (once fully visible on this forum) by keeping my ass in the saddle and putting in the work. A lot of this becomes about learning what not to do, which are the things that caused you to lose the earnings.

Hang in there. It's just another chapter in your story, one that will be interesting to reflect upon and tell others about. This will have changed your trajectory and direction in a positive way. It's just not obvious while you're in the midst of it.

There was a point in early Q4 of 2019 where I made a promise to myself that "whatever I'm doing got me where I'm at but it's not getting me to the next level. I have to do everything different, and wherever I feel the greatest resistance are the things I have to change the most." It worked big time.

Sometimes you have to reinvent yourself fundamentally like this, especially psychologically so you start to make better decisions and different ones too. The shift in viewpoint will give you so much clarity because it gives you some distance. You look at everything with fresh eyes and solutions start to pop up magically, etc.

Trying new niches is a good thing but going after ones that you stand no chance competing in is a bad idea (CBD, for instance). Trying to rank for CBD is a far cry from trying to rank for fashion or makeup and things like that where people still print major cash. It's all about the opportunity gaps, not necessarily the competition level. You can make gobs of money in the most mundane, boring niches and have a much easier time doing it than going for whatever hot shot thing on the market is.

If you're going to try to revive that project with the SEO Kitchen Sink plan, I'd try to negotiate a much higher stake in the project or buy it out right from the JV. I can't imagine the partners would disagree. They only have something to gain from it recovering, even if they have to cough up some equity to you for reviving it. I would go through with it for the massive amounts of knowledge and technical prowess you'll gain from doing it. That will be worth its weight in gold to you in your own projects.

When you're at a fork in the road, you have to fortify your mind. The easy path is to crumble and start a pity party in your head and lose your confidence. The successful path is to get fired up and excited because you have a new challenge to overcome and scoop up your nuts and find the dedication and determination to get passed this hurdle. It's just one more inevitable hurdle on your way to greatness. You don't get to walk around it, so just take that bitch at full speed and geeterdun.

But not first without a real session of reflection and "inventory taking". Don't bite off more than you can chew with ridiculous niches or giant projects. I'd settle for a low-to-intermediate win at first and then expand it into a big win. But rebuild the confidence with milestones and most importantly just adding some cash flow to your life.

Another $2k per month website that's a sure fire thing will do more for your wallet and confidence than a shot in the dark at making $50k a month in a market you aren't equipped to compete in. If someone offered me a choice between "GranniesKnittingEmporium.com" and "CBDShitShow.com" and I had to choose one, I'm building out a nice knitting site. Because I'm going to lose money on the other one, not because I'm not skilled at it, but because I can't possibly spend enough money to compete. A realistic win is better than a hopeful pie-in-the-sky naive loss.

My point is, it sounds like you're in a place in life and business and psychologically where you need to hit a grounder and get on first base, rather than potentially striking out while swinging like a mad man hoping for the home run. I could tell you which team wins the games and the championship, but you already know.
 
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Jesus. This place is addicted to feels.

I have been through more shit than I care to talk about.

Been scammed, bankrupt and fucked in many ways.

Guess what happened...

I kept fucking going.

I think @CCarter said one time most people won't try because they are not guaranteed success. Something like that anyway. Of all the gold in this place this is the titanium nugget that no one wants to accept because it hits home to hard for many people..

This is what you are doing.

Crying on a forum writing essays about "feeling" like a failure.

Crying because you are worried what you are working on might not make it.

Guess what - it might not.

Guess wuuttt - we all feel like this at some point.

My 7 figure exit story - how many times did I think this is BS and WTF am I doing writing nonsense for $0.15 a day..

The question you really have to ask is - what are prepared to do to overcome the idea that it might not?
 

CCarter

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Once a newbie flat out asked me "Can you guarantee me that if I read the DSCC I'll succeed?" (I don't just get this in DMs, I get this in text messages on my mobile too).

"No, I can't guarantee that you are not a dumbass, so no. And by asking that question means you'll give up the moment a small obstacle gets put in front of you." Fucking next.

Here is one of those posts about: guaranteed success

@mrpotato I'm a bit perplex that you just now recently learned about Dan Peña cause 5 years ago I quote him the most in the DSCC's Day 14: Mental Strength

I feel like that might be a day you guys might want to read, it's strategically in the middle of the DSCC for a reason.

Failures

Everyone goes through failures on their way to success. EVERYONE. Fucking Elon Musk has 2 rockets blow up on him at the launch pad, Tesla was going bankrupt and he had to put it on the stock market to raise funds. Elon has a nervous breakdown, or near, when shit was going bad. AND for both Tesla and SpaceX he only gave himself a 5% chance of either succeeded. He pulled the trigger on BOTH.

Steve Jobs got throw out of Apple in the 90s - he invested in a small company called Pixar, they made a small movie called Toy Story, and Jobs became one of the biggest shareholders of Disney before returning to Apple.

Bill Gates didn't have hit software until 8 YEARS into Microsoft's creation, 8 fucking years he sat there with a mediocre software company.

Bezos - they laughed at him 20 years ago, selling fucking books on the internet. Now he's the 2nd richest man on earth, behind some African that's #1 at the moment (I wonder if anyone realizes I'm referring to Musk there).

Thomas Edison - imagine 9,999 failed experiments, until that last one created the light bulb. What if he gave up?

Built

I go back to @built cause he's the visible in terms of number since he created multiple journals here, CC9 was over, he wanted to learn traffic leaking - he studied everything we taught publicly and for 6 months, every fucking day for 8-12 hours a day he tried to traffic leak and eventually started mastering it. Next thing you knew he can command 100,000 visitors a day to websites. All he did he was read the content that was already on this forum.

Satvrn

Then there is @Satvrn - my nemesis, the archenemy, the hero to my villany - he sat there for 1 years 4 months did nothing but create campaigns for 10-11 hours a day. From going from nothing to $500 a day campaigns. Fast forward 5 years later he's making $100K a month and joins CC9. Fast forward another 5 years, and now he's nearly $300K a day in profit/revenue - enough to have a nice day at the very least.

That is a lot of time and dedication and there was no guarantee that he would get out of that PPV digital mine. @Satvrn talks about his story here: Stop fucking around.

I would imagine 99% of the audience would be satisfied with being 2011 Satvrn at $500 a day. Maybe 0.9% of the rest would be satisfied with 2015 Satvrn at $100K a month. Even at his $300K a day record now - I'm pretty sure the remaining folks would stop. But that's not even $110 million a year.

"If you're not a billionaire you failed in my eyes. That's it, that's the only people I keep track of." - Dan Peña

For a psychopath like me Satvrn is a stepping stone. A a small stepping stone, but still an obstacle in my way. Anyone that knows me and has talked to me IRL knows I believe everything I say down to the depths of my bones. You can think I'm crazy and delusional - that's fine, but I'm never going to give up.

But even if you pick $500 a day Satvrn as your model, that's the completely wrong way to approach business.

Add Value

You aren't trying to add value to end users. You are approaching it from a "how can I make them most money".

Jumping from niche to niche means you don't actually care about the end users and that translate to the content you wrote, the copy, the images you use, the instructions you give your writers, and throughout your business.

Outside of NetScum - can you name any business that can survive and thrive without the adding value to the end user? Even at AT&T at their worse I can still make a phone call. Comcast, no matter how bad their customer service is, at some point the internet is there. So even bad companies with the worse reputation can make money: by adding a clear value to the end user.

Now you are in affiliate marketing, okay. How does the content you are writing and putting up really benefit the end user? That value should be what you bring to the table. When you do that - the way your content flows, the messages, and everything clicks, then people are more wiling to open their wallet and therefore you make affiliate sales.

But if you can't make that connection no one is going to buy anything from you or through your websites. And I feel that is what is happening with your approach to your business.

And @mrpotato, one thing that is dangerous that you are trying to do is "Recreate a Moment" as GaryVee would say. You are living in the past trying to recreate past glory. Most likely the fundamentals of businesses or the path to success have changed, especially on the internet that is rapidly changing.

SEO in 2010: in 2-3 months you can take over a niche. In 2021, it can take you 2-3 years for the exact same effort due to the sophistication of not only Google but your competitors. Your competition now knows what SEO is... did they 10 years ago?

--

Guys, what the fuck are we doing here?

The purpose of a community, in my mind, is to come together with great ideas, make a ton of money, make each other a ton of money, and grow together, stronger.

But when shit goes hard and people start crying and bitching THAT is when everyone comes in with their sad story like anyone gives a fuck. Negativity AND positivity rubs off.

Poorness, weakness, cuntness rubs off.

Hanging out with people that are high performance rubs off too.

Hanging with people that are better than you makes YOU better since you strive to catch up or beat them.

That's what a community should be about. Frankly I only like reading the success stories, cause there are 8 billion people on earth and reading each of their sad story about how unlucky they are, or how life dealt them a bad hand - there is no way that can help me, nor would it be mentally beneficial.

What do I gain by reading "I was born poor and I am still poor and had a hard life?" There are 8 billion people on this earth that seem to have the exact same fucking story.

And the most important thing, probably the greatest thing about capitalism is: No one gives a fuck.

They only give a fuck if you can add value to their lives. The seconds you do not add value you are useless and gone. AND knowledge you should use to your advantage in your business. That's the most critical piece of information on winning in IMO.

By anyways...

If one of these business legends from the past or present doesn't inspire you, okay. But if the story of @Satvrn and @built, Bezos, Henry Ford, Gates, Zuckerberg - they ALL have the exact same fucking lesson: "No guarantee of success. Go 1000x all in, and NEVER give up!"

There are no fucking shortcuts, no Tai Lopez tips. Just "Hard work and the courage and determination to never give up."

I would love to hear more from Satvrn - but realistically what else can he say? "Pick a project and go hard. Go through all the heartaches, problems, and rollercoasters - AND you might fail, in-fact there is a 95% chance you'll fail. Go all in or go home."

That's it. That's the only lesson that Satvrn can teach - and he wrote is 5 years ago for ya'll.

My question is, not necessary to OP, but for everyone looking for a guarantee, what's the fucking alternative?
 

Sutra

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Yup, as other have said, it happens, hah. I've been there too. Got buttfucked hard - with no vaseline - in 2018. Went to $0 overnight. Couldn't sleep for a month. Felt like I was gonna throw up every day when I thought about it. But after that initial month of feeling like crap I cleared my mind, decided to go harder and fuck shit uuuup. Made a plan and went forward.

You got dis, mayne.
 

Satvrn

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I would love to hear more from Satvrn - but realistically what else can he say? "Pick a project and go hard. Go through all the heartaches, problems, and rollercoasters - AND you might fail, in-fact there is a 95% chance you'll fail. Go all in or go home."
Yes
Things started to really affect me when I found myself running stats saying to myself, "please be sales, please be sales." Then after seeing nothing, getting more depressed than I've ever been.


This is a list of my projects, the most recent ones at the top. Green is a money maker, orange is positive but not worth the hassle (so basically a failure too), red is loss. There are hundreds, sometimes thousands of hours in one project. Some projects had to be written off as a full loss so that I can move on. I'm not a fan of jumping niches or projects but sometimes you have to admit defeat to pull your self out of a hole.
Should I shift from a main SEO focus to media buying? I find myself contemplating jumping from SEO to focus on media buying instead to try and reach bigger numbers. But those are critical skills that I don't currently have a great handle on.
If you are already getting depressed by not getting any sales, wait til you spend 1k on Adwords with only one sale. I'm not saying don't try paid traffic, but it is another beast and you will most likely start from scratch with a lot of setbacks.
 
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Thanks for the responses here. Sounds like there's absolutely nothing wrong. The only thing wrong is that I'm taking too much time worrying about what once was instead of focusing on how to get back there with something I can deliver value in and not just try to "make sales."

And qow, this place might be the best real fucking forum worth anything that I've ever used. Thanks to all for the experience shares. Going to keep on keeping on. Make some mind and strategy adjustments and rock things out.
@mrpotato I'm a bit perplex that you just now recently learned about Dan Peña cause 5 years ago I quote him the most in the DSCC's Day 14: Mental Strength
I only joined the forum recently and before that had never heard of him, really - not once. As for DSCC I read Day 14 - it's amazing and I've completed up to Day 30. Looking fwd to diving into the Exp threads this week.