Starting Fresh. What Do I Do?

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#1
Hello Builders! I apologize if this is a long read but it is coming from my heart.

In January of 2016, I came across BuSo's Crash Course series and almost instantly I created my account. In all my years only, I have never encountered a community as supportive and special Builder Society. And that is why I am bringing this question to you all today.

Over the past several years, I have had ups-and-downs with my internet marketing projects. Unfortunately, all of my marketing projects had to be secondary to school (which led to all of them crashing and burning). I was a high school student living with my parents and anything less than straight A's was unacceptable.

Fast forward to now, I am attending the local community college. I made my decision of who I want to be years ago. I know in my heart that I want to either be an entrepreneur or a partner in a business. School is not the way to achieve my dreams. But right now, school is a means to living with my parents.

Ever since I got my hands on a computer, I began to learn. I wasn't interested in playing online games. I spent my time watching hours of TheNewBoston and similar educational resources and messing around with coding.

Through chance, I stumbled upon the affiliate section in my host, and I created a coupon code. I posted this coupon code on YouTube and got my first couple affiliate commissions. My view of the internet had completely changed. The internet is the ultimate way to make money.

Since then, not a day has gone by that I don't think about affiliate marketing. I used my allowances to purchase PPC ads on Facebook and Adwords and to pay for domains, hosting and autoresponders.

If I have to guess, since starting my internet marketing journey in 2013, I have invested $10,000 and have made back $10,001 in revenue.

But now here I am.

I like to think that I made progress. But when asked for examples of my work, I have nothing to show for. The dozens of websites I have built are now non-existent. I have a vast knowledge of PPC, but I have never had the budget to do proper testing, and so none of my campaigns have ever made it into the black. And the list goes on.

I am not asking for any handouts. I am simply asking for direction.

I have the drive, but I don't have the direction.

This is my cry for help.

I'm not expecting any overnight results. Not even results after a few months. But I don't want to get to the end of 2019 and be in the same position I am in today.

If you were starting fresh today, what would you do to start bringing in tangible results?
 
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#2
This is very basic, but stop trying to make money. Instead, figure out how you can help people. Start helping people learn, improve their health, earn money, save money, save time, or have fun. If you help people, the money will come. People pay to make their life better.

What special skills or knowledge do you have that will help people?

Affiliate marketing is really just helping people choose the right product for their needs.
 

Ryuzaki

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I was a high school student living with my parents and anything less than straight A's was unacceptable.
Yeah, me too. Japanese parents are hardcore about this stuff. An 'A' on a report card was a talking to. A 'B+' was a re-evaluation about how I use my free time and my distractions and all that crap. There was never anything lower than that, I knew better... Don't let this lead to an unhealthy need for perfection in your work. I battle perfectionism every day. It's as bad as being lazy, just on the other side of the spectrum.

School is not the way to achieve my dreams. But right now, school is a means to living with my parents.
Get your degree, regardless, if you're already in a program and making progress. It will be a safety net for you, because entrepreneurship and creating businesses is a tough racket. It's a gamble for most people. There's a much higher chance it won't work out than it will. Take that safety net and resume builder just in case. You'll learn some things about responsibility management and work ethic too, depending on what you're studying.

If I have to guess, since starting my internet marketing journey in 2013, I have invested $10,000 and have made back $10,001 in revenue.
You've officially beaten probably 90% of internet marketers then. Most lose their ass and then quit forever.

If you were starting fresh today, what would you do to start bringing in tangible results?
I'm going to treat this question in two ways, one is the common "I need money now" kind of question, and the other is "what's the fastest way to make money online" question.

If you need money now, then, in order of importance:
  • Get a day job
  • Start a service (create a day job)
If you want to start earning in internet marketing but don't have anything but your boot straps and elbow grease, if and only if you have the time for it, get a day job or start a service in order to make the money you need for your project. Otherwise, it's grind time.

I think my current advice for someone wanting results right now would be to start a site in a niche with a ton of traffic and easy to create content. "15 Bathroom Decoration Ideas for Toddlers," "18 Pictures Scientists Can't Explain," "14 Backyard Hydroponic Gardens Anyone Can Make," that kind of stuff. Sign up for a CPM (not CPC) ad network, like Media.net or Ezoic or someone that will take you, with "Auto Ads" where they slap the ads in for you. Adsense has this but it's not CPM. You'll have to research.

Now all you need to do is get traffic. Post on Facebook groups, Reddit sub-reddits, Voat, Twitter, forums, Pinterest, etc. Just get traffic. Traffic will be directly correlated to your earnings. You'll work for your earnings, but at the same time you'll build fans, you'll create momentum, you'll get backlinks, and your SEO traffic will start to accumulate if you're creating these posts around keywords.

That's what I'd recommend in 2018. Direct marketing where the conversion is nothing more than "open the page and load the ads."
 
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#4
I want to extend my thanks to both @Ryuzaki and @mikey3times: had I create this thread at any other forum, I would've been shot down and disregarded. You both took the time to share valuable your perspectives on somethings I've been contemplating for a long time now. Thank you.

This is very basic, but stop trying to make money. Instead, figure out how you can help people.......

.......What special skills or knowledge do you have that will help people?
Mikey3times, your response was the final nail in the coffin to my 'blackhat' CPA promotion. I've been selecting CPA offers not because of the actual value, but by the value that I could trick people into thinking they had. I would promote offers such as "Win a Free Amazon Gift Card" knowing that nobody would ever get one. I was simply chasing that elusive $1.50 form submits.

I have this strong passion for fitness that I am going to chase, write blog posts about, create YouTube videos, and build an ACTUAL customer base.

Thank you.

Yeah, me too. Japanese parents are hardcore about this stuff. An 'A' on a report card was a talking to. A 'B+' was a re-evaluation about how I use my free time and my distractions and all that crap. There was never anything lower than that, I knew better... Don't let this lead to an unhealthy need for perfection in your work. I battle perfectionism every day. It's as bad as being lazy, just on the other side of the spectrum.



Get your degree, regardless, if you're already in a program and making progress. It will be a safety net for you, because entrepreneurship and creating businesses is a tough racket. It's a gamble for most people. There's a much higher chance it won't work out than it will. Take that safety net and resume builder just in case. You'll learn some things about responsibility management and work ethic too, depending on what you're studying.



You've officially beaten probably 90% of internet marketers then. Most lose their ass and then quit forever.



I'm going to treat this question in two ways, one is the common "I need money now" kind of question, and the other is "what's the fastest way to make money online" question.

If you need money now, then, in order of importance:
  • Get a day job
  • Start a service (create a day job)
If you want to start earning in internet marketing but don't have anything but your boot straps and elbow grease, if and only if you have the time for it, get a day job or start a service in order to make the money you need for your project. Otherwise, it's grind time.

I think my current advice for someone wanting results right now would be to start a site in a niche with a ton of traffic and easy to create content. "15 Bathroom Decoration Ideas for Toddlers," "18 Pictures Scientists Can't Explain," "14 Backyard Hydroponic Gardens Anyone Can Make," that kind of stuff. Sign up for a CPM (not CPC) ad network, like Media.net or Ezoic or someone that will take you, with "Auto Ads" where they slap the ads in for you. Adsense has this but it's not CPM. You'll have to research.

Now all you need to do is get traffic. Post on Facebook groups, Reddit sub-reddits, Voat, Twitter, forums, Pinterest, etc. Just get traffic. Traffic will be directly correlated to your earnings. You'll work for your earnings, but at the same time you'll build fans, you'll create momentum, you'll get backlinks, and your SEO traffic will start to accumulate if you're creating these posts around keywords.

That's what I'd recommend in 2018. Direct marketing where the conversion is nothing more than "open the page and load the ads."
Ryuzaki, you went above and beyond with your response. I don't think I could ever fully express my gratitude for the wisdom that you showed me.

For the past few months, I've been struggling with too much introspection. There have been times where I would be doing school work, but my mind was somewhere else pondering different ideas. Your response has given me the clarity that I've been searching. There are still decisions to be made, but now I am able to write down solid ideas to really compare them empirically.

My current list is:
  • Degree in Computer Science
  • Job
  • Build fitness brand around myself
  • Niche Site with CPM and traffic leak like there is no tomorrow (sell guest posts once stats are desirable)
Thank you once more Ryuzaki.
 

Steve Brownlie

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#5
Hey buddy,

It's tough getting going. And actually having had a job in some kind of B2B selling capacity makes 'getting off the ground' as an entrepreneur a lot easier so don't despair if you end up doing something like that for a year or two after you finish your college course. You're just putting some knowledge and skills in the bank that you'll use every day for yourself one day.

I've had the 'pleasure' of losing everything and starting again. It's getting to be a while ago now but I outlined the plan of action I took here:

https://www.buildersociety.com/threads/i-need-to-earn-a-fast-1k-what-would-you-do.3856/post-39486

Alternatively if making some immediate money like that to start spending on your PPC plans and testing isn't the goal you can take advantage of being in college, living at home and not needing the money etc.

An authority site with 300 LRDs will be easy to monetise. So say you have 3 years left of college. Take 2.5 years (say 125 weeks), reread the crash course, and start putting up really good content in a niche. Do outreach (my chapter yay!) and build 2-3 links per week for 125 weeks. Do what @Ryuzaki says and do basic monetisation out of the gate.

Final 6 months in college... start taking monetisation seriously and get proper affiliate deals up on high ranking page, put up your product review pages (you'll be amazed how these long tails just pop when you have so much authority already) etc.

I've talked a little about this 'reverse strategy' and who has been killing it in the 'wild' with it (build the authority first then monetise vs just put up loads of reviews, build 50 links and pray you make money which lots of people do/advise):

https://www.buildersociety.com/threads/double-down-on-what-you-are-good-at.2009/post-21446

It's quite common in spaces like that to make the site totally informational at first and then gradually ramp up the aggression including a complete homepage change once all the linkbuilding is virtually done to where the competition is in your sights. It's easier to build the best links when it doesn't look like you have a small affiliate sniper site.

PS - 300 might not be your number - I wrote a little bit about how to work out what your 'target authority' might be here: https://www.brandbuilders.io/analysing-beating-link-building-strategies/ over at Brand Builders.

Good luck whatever you decide to do!
 
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#6
One benefit of this forum is that there is proof of concept in abundance here. It's also a small forum, where only a few posters seem to stick around, so the dreamers get filtered out.

What I mean by this, is that you can get actual personal advice, from people who really want to make stuff happen.

You can follow the Lab reports, which is great for holding yourself and others accountable. I have one of my own, currently I make $1500 month, and I started with legit 0$, just 1 year ago, I aim at growing that to $5000 before next Juna. I can also only work 3-4 hours a day due to previous illness. If I could put in the 8-12 hour days, I'd like, wow watch out! Instead, I try to outsmart the competition, by applying what these winners on this forum tell me. I know, that the chances of having access to similar great minds anywhere else, is non-existent.

I followed the Digital Crash Course, more or less to a point. It works, it's all you need. Do it, keep doing the stuff in it, every day, trust the process, when doubt hits you, keep chugging along. Always incrementally improve.

Most important, don't delude yourself, don't let ego cloud your working process. Look objectively at your site, is it good, does it deserve visitors. Have someone, preferably outspoken, critique your site. If you feel anger, feel hurt, when someone critiques your site, then your ego is still in the way. This is serious business, not playing around, take criticism from people here and apply it. Don't explain away, don't rationalize, be confident in yourself and the process.

I guess this is a bit of a ramble, what I'm trying to get at is to be more non-attached, while simultaneously extremely serious about your project. What held me back in the past, was this merging of the process with my dreams, ambition, fears, desires. This forum has taught me to objectively judge my own ability and apply it. To not try to cut corners. That's something I get from your post, you're ready to humble yourself and that's a great beginning!
 
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#7
Thank you for all of the advice thus far!

I have around 13 domains in my registrar account right now. When I would start a new project or need a domain for a FB campaign, I would look through expireddomains.net to make the job of find a quality domain easier. This past year, I have accumulated a good amount of domains that are just sitting around.. and so I went through each one and checked the PA/DA of each. Most of the domains were just sitting at 1/1 for PA/DA.. but one of the fitness related domains had a PA of 13 and a DA of 13.

After looking through this particular site of the free Moz search, I found that most of the referring domains have Moz spam scores less than 15%. There are a few links I'll disavow, but this will give me a very nice boost to start.. plus, the domain is very marketable and will be incredibly useful for my own fitness-related business I plan on starting. (Following the advice of @Ryuzaki and @Steve Brownlie for this project)

(If anyone could help me out and run some more thorough backlink checks with paid tools to this website, I would greatly appreciate it.)
 
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#8
I'm not by any means an expert, but if I were in your position I would write down a gameplan and stick to it.

Create one website, write down goals that needs to be achieved every month for the next 3-4 months and then evaluate. Stick to it, treat it like a real business. Be professional with your own time and what you do, when you do it. Be intentional with your actions when you work.

Also I wouldn't be stressed with getting results right away, it will only demotivate you sooner or later and you risk making foolish decisions.

I would never ever start a fitness or health related website after the medic update. I have only been doing IM for little over a year and two of my main sites were in health. I had a nice, fairly stable income, then it all went downhill. I would say it's quite risky starting in those niches at this moment in time. I've read about sites that lost about 10 million organic traffic.

My two health sites still bring in pocket money, but I had to put focus elsewhere. So I have now started 4 new sites where I am pumping content to. I write it all myself, so it takes time. But I am dedicating a lot of time and energy into it, so hopefully it will give me results later on.

My point is that you should think twice before jumping into a health related niche.

This is my first post here and it's a really shit one. It feels like I am just pooping out words that didn't need to be said. But maybe it gave you something. :-)

Cheers!
 
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#9
I'm not by any means an expert, but if I were in your position I would write down a gameplan and stick to it.

Create one website, write down goals that needs to be achieved every month for the next 3-4 months and then evaluate. Stick to it, treat it like a real business. Be professional with your own time and what you do, when you do it. Be intentional with your actions when you work.

Also I wouldn't be stressed with getting results right away, it will only demotivate you sooner or later and you risk making foolish decisions.

I would never ever start a fitness or health related website after the medic update. I have only been doing IM for little over a year and two of my main sites were in health. I had a nice, fairly stable income, then it all went downhill. I would say it's quite risky starting in those niches at this moment in time. I've read about sites that lost about 10 million organic traffic.

My two health sites still bring in pocket money, but I had to put focus elsewhere. So I have now started 4 new sites where I am pumping content to. I write it all myself, so it takes time. But I am dedicating a lot of time and energy into it, so hopefully it will give me results later on.

My point is that you should think twice before jumping into a health related niche.

This is my first post here and it's a really shit one. It feels like I am just pooping out words that didn't need to be said. But maybe it gave you something. :-)

Cheers!
Hey Olov, this is actually a perfect first post. Super insightful. I haven't been following SEO closely for the past year or two, and so the medic update went over my head. This has me thinking of some other potential niches that I could focus on.

Unfortunately, one of my main interests in life over the past few years has been health and fitness. I've spent around 2-3 hours a day for the past 4 years running miles and delving deep into the history, news, and science of long distance running. Maybe the running niche hasn't been hit as hard by the medic update?

So I might be back to the drawing board. I'm trying to find a niche/industry that's is in the intersection of my personal interest, as well as a community that I can profit from. Possibly long distance running? But then again the medic update and existing competition make that very challenging -- huge health publications with thousands of employees dominate that area.

(Everything I wrote right now is just me rambling haha)
 

Calamari

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#10
If you know that much about running then I'd attack that topic from 100 different angles, and then quadruple down on where you get good traction. If there is a lot of heavy competition then it simply means there's money to be made. I'd go for it.
 

CCarter

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#11
Not everything is about Google guys, if we at SERPWoo had waited for google rankings we wouldn’t have enough customers to pay costs let alone turn a profit, even after 4+ years. You have opportunities all around you, most likely you are part of a community for the niche you are interested in and therefore can exploit that. Think outside the box, as if there is no box.
 
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#12
Hey Olov, this is actually a perfect first post. Super insightful. I haven't been following SEO closely for the past year or two, and so the medic update went over my head. This has me thinking of some other potential niches that I could focus on.

Unfortunately, one of my main interests in life over the past few years has been health and fitness. I've spent around 2-3 hours a day for the past 4 years running miles and delving deep into the history, news, and science of long distance running. Maybe the running niche hasn't been hit as hard by the medic update?

So I might be back to the drawing board. I'm trying to find a niche/industry that's is in the intersection of my personal interest, as well as a community that I can profit from. Possibly long distance running? But then again the medic update and existing competition make that very challenging -- huge health publications with thousands of employees dominate that area.

(Everything I wrote right now is just me rambling haha)
I know what you mean. Health topics are one of my main interests as well.

I don't know if you are allowed to link to other sites and forums on here, but if you want to do research about the update it's normally called "YMYL" (Your money your life) and "Medic update". The general idea is that Google are much harder on sites that write content about things that is about your health and/or finances. So who knows, maybe long distance running is not even under that umbrella.

Since it's a big interest of yours, I don't want to shoot down your idea. But I advise you to do some research about the update so that you don't get disappointed in a few months if nothing happens.

Just an idea to get the ball rolling. If long distance running is a big hobby of yours - maybe you can start two sites. One about long distance running and one about something completely else. Write 10-15 articles for your LDS-site and then start working on the other site. Follow the rankings to see if anything happens. If rankings start appearing - then you can continue pushing for more articles on the LDS-site. If it's N/A in rankings for months, then maybe it's not the best idea to continue.

Just to minimize the risk of working hard and publishing every day for 4-5 months and then not being able to see any improvements at all. But then again, it would be a shame not to give it a try at least. :-)
 
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#13
Focus on building a brand on any niche. SEO traffic is not a business plan! If you are building a real high value business, do not count on SEO.