I LOVE blogging.
It’s my passion.
It’s my motivation.
It’s the love of my professional life.
Yes, I love blogging… buuuuuut it hasn’t always loved me back.
I have name and brand recognition, traffic, community of readers – everything I need, really – to make Traffic Generation Café a financial success.
Yet it isn’t… Still.
I’ve recently had the ‘pleasure’ of discovering WHY.
might want to hear this, so here it goes.
First of all…
How DO You Make Money Online?
There are plenty of ways to make money online, but most of them are a form of
- paid advertisement
- affiliate marketing
- offering consulting/services
- creating/selling products
The way an online business owner might choose to monetize a business will most likely depend on
- type of business
- personal preference
I know, this is very rough around the edges, but since this post is not really about making money online, it’ll do.
Affiliate Marketing Was ‘My Thing’
…or so I thought anyway.
Affiliate marketing seemed to be a natural fit allowing me to blog AND pay my bills.
I was happy to let others put their blood, sweat, and tears into creating products. Do all the heavy lifting.
And I was equally happy to take 50% of their earnings selling their products!
Doesn’t affiliate marketing sound dreamy?… Easy-peasy…
Yeah, right… it’s anything BUT easy to make a good living off affiliate marketing.
After all, marketers who make tens of thousands of $$$ promoting other people’s stuff DO EXIST! It must be doable…
Yes, it is.
At a price.
The TRUE cost of promoting marketing tools
Internet marketing tools won’t make or break your business, but they WILL help you create a successful business a lot faster.
Time is the one commodity you can’t buy, thus you have to maximize every minute you have.
That’s where internet marketing tools come in.
They help you make the most of your time.
Problem is… which tools do it best? How do you find them?
Truth is there are only a handful of them – a very select few that will absolutely propel your business – that you, a business owner, really need.
And there lies a problem for me as an affiliate marketer.
The fewer products I promote, the worse my chances are to earn a good living doing it.
As a result, more and more affiliate marketers step into the gray zone of ‘this looks like a popular product… I don’t really like it myself, but the commission rate is great!‘… then they do it again, and again, and again.
Soon enough, they ‘recommend’ every tool under the sun! Not much of a ‘gray’ zone, if you ask me…
If a marketing tool is not a ‘HECK YEAH!’, then it’s definitely a ‘HECK NO’, as far as I am concerned, and I’ve never stepped over that boundary in my blogging career.
And so, I have a short list of ‘Heck, yeah!’ internet marketing tools I use and recommend.
Unfortunately, that’s not enough to turn this blog from a hobby into a business.
The TRUE cost of promoting marketing training
Next, we have marketing training: courses, bootcamps, webinars, etc.
Learning new skills in the always-changing world of business is crucial, thus marketing education is a MUST for any business owner.
Don’t let marketing education become a form of procrastination!
I’ve met too many business owners who continue to learn new skills instead of using the skills they already have.
Education should be a pattern of theory and application – that’s when you are truly maximizing the effort (and the money!) you put forth.
Education doesn’t come cheap these days – many marketing courses run between $1,000 and $2,000. Thus there’s serious money for an affiliate marketer to make.
However, just like with internet marketing tools, when you say to your audience who trusts you ‘This is good stuff. Buy it‘, you put your credibility and reputation on the line.
If a marketing course isn’t a ‘HECK YEAH!’, then it’s definitely a ‘HECK NO’, right?
Well, here’s what happened to me…
How Affiliate Marketing Almost Cost Me My Email List
In October, I ran an affiliate promotion for a marketing course – about 7 emails sent out over a 2-week period.
There was nothing wrong with that course. It was probably a very good one.
- I didn’t really know the course creator, I only knew of him;
- I couldn’t take a look at the course before promoting it, thus I was pushing a product I had no personal experience with;
- without personal experience, I couldn’t really personalize the promotion;
- my Traffic Hackers (Subscribers to my free Bite-Size Traffic Hacks email series) got bombarded by me, plus a slew of other affiliate marketers, with all the same emails…
…and all along I knew, had I been in my email subscribers’ shoes, I would’ve unsubscribed from my list in a heartbeat.
How’s that for a stupid business decision…
My email list is my biggest business asset, yet I was willing to jeopardize it to build up another person’s business with no guarantee of a penny in return!
Ahhhh… the reality of affiliate marketing…
Personal Relationships Do Trump It All
Yes, I did subsequently lose quite a few subscribers.
Thankfully, there was an upside to all this. Actually, a few upsides.
1. I was willing to admit I was wrong
Asking for forgiveness is never easy, but always the right thing to do.
I wrote an email to my Traffic Hackers telling them everything: what I did, why, how dumb it was, and how terrible I felt.
Some might say I went overboard, it wasn’t that bad, but at that time, that was the true reflection of my heart.
Here is the email, by the way; judge for yourself.
2. They graciously accepted my apology
Turned out most of my Subscribers liked me enough to quickly forgive me.
Moreover, I got hundreds of emails in response to my apology… in fact, I spent a better part of the next two weeks just talking to my Subscribers.
It was wonderfully refreshing. I learned so much about them, their businesses, their struggles, their victories…
That intangible personal connection that makes you stick with someone for better or worse was restored.
3. They inspired me
It was incredibly wonderful and uplifting to get so many compliments, praises, and pats on the back, I won’t lie.
Sincere, genuine and yet lite. You have a gift.
I like your newsletters because they’re actually useful, they contain just the right amount of information without overwhelm, and keep me informed of things without me having to track everything 24 hours a day.
~ Rick Lowe
In a stormy sea of dubious and confusing information, your newsletter always offers sunny, solid ground. More than once, your headline summaries have clued me in to something important. You are a valuable, trustworthy resource!
~ Ando Mierzwa, SenseiAndo.com
You are the right person for all beginners. Do you know that for the past 3 years i’ve being struggling to generate traffic, and your simple strategy is the best i’ve come across. You have turned on the creative engine within my marketing spirit. You’re awesome!
~ Obed Projects
Very impressive email, Ana. Extremely personal and vulnerable. AND you made a valuable takeaway point.
One of the best emails that I’ve read in a while, it’s one of those emails that I file away somewhere in my brain as a great example of “voice.”
Your stuff is among the best.
~ Barry Feldman, FeldmanCreative.com
As a matter of fact, I told my Subscribers in my next email “Had I known you’d be so awesomely wonderful, I would’ve turned your inbox into a confessional a looooooooong time ago!”
But… there was something even more precious in your emails than praises (imagine that, right?!!)
Your willingness to HELP.
It’s like the entire Traffic Hacking community came together and said “You’ve got a problem. We want to help. Let’s sit down and figure out what the solution might be.”
I was down with that… after getting over the initial ‘are you really trying to tell me what I should do?‘ reaction. ? ?
I can tell you are sitting on the edge of your seat right about now… relax. There was no revelation. You didn’t say anything I hadn’t heard or thought of before… OR DID YOU?…
And now, after some 1,500 words above (I had no idea I could write that much in under 2 hours!…), I am finally getting to the point of this post. Phew!
My A-HA! moment
I knew that the best way for me to make money online was to create products.
Unfortunately, creating products happened to be the last thing I wanted to do…
So much so that in 5 years of publishing Traffic Generation Café, I have not ONE product to show for it. Not even a miserly $7 report of any kind.
So when my dear Traffic Hackers unanimously told me I should be creating my own products, I wanted to stomp my feet and scream ‘no, no, nooooooo…‘
And then something amazing happened… I actually listened to what you were saying. To be more precise, I listened to whom was saying it.
My most loyal readers and followers.
The people who gave me their email addresses trusting I wouldn’t sell them to thousands of direct marketers and spam the heck out of them.
(I did that very well on my own during that last promotion, thankyouverymuch!…)
The people who seriously want to learn how to drive serious traffic back to their websites.
My Loyalists. My Heros. My LIST.
They told me exactly what they wanted me to teach them and that if I did create such a training, they’d buy it.
Sure it was inspiring to know you had more faith in me than I did in myself… however, there was still an iceberg in front of me I had to navigate.
On the surface of things, I childishly refused to do the one thing that could actually turn this blog into a true business. That’s a stupid excuse though… even I can see that.
But what’s underneath all this?
The answer came to me in a few days – took some sleepless nights, but was very worth it.
For a very observant and insightful (if I may say so myself) person, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before.
Fear cripples, incapacitates, undermines, discourages
It’s scary enough to start a business… and then we have to make hundreds of decisions, big and small, on a daily basis, that could make or break that business!
We struggle with…
Am I good enough?
Who am I to teach, give advice, speak in front of people?
What if I can’t master the skills I need?
What if I am not creative enough?
What if I don’t have what it takes to see it through?
Will I be laughed at if I fail?
What if…The only failure we should be afraid of is never doing it at all.Click To Tweet
Truth is we’ll never know… until we do it.
The fear of failure is worse than failure itself
If you are struggling with the fear of failure, you might like to know you are not alone. Far from it.
(By the way, I was blown away to find out there’s a scientific term for the fear of failure. I was just trying to be clever and come up with my own ‘phobia’… turned out the fear of failure was waaaaaaaay ahead of me!)
According to this list of top 100 fears, Atychiphobia – the fear of failure – takes #15 spot.
Atychiphobia (comes from the Greek phóbos, meaning “fear” or “morbid fear” and atyches meaning “unfortunate”) is an irrational fear of failure that might affect an individual so strongly that they refuse to do anything that they can’t guarantee their success in.
However, in that definition of Atychiphobia hides the good news, if you read it closely enough.
Most of our fears are irrational – they make no sense, in other words.The fear of failure is worse than failure itself.Click To Tweet
Fear is a part of business as it is of life
Fear might never go away, but we have to take away its power over us.
Love this quote from Life of Pi:
“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
Name your enemy. Shine the light of words upon it. Express it. Fight it.
O Ana’s fear, what is thy name?
What was I so afraid of?
…enough to keep myself away from the true financial success all these years?
It wasn’t really the fear of not being good enough.
False modesty aside, I knew what’s sitting inside this head of mine was GOOD. Awesome, actually.
I put it to work for my business. I taught a few blogger-friends to do the same for theirs. So I KNEW it worked.
So what was I so afraid of?
I was terrified of feeling responsible for someone’s lack of success!
“What if people don’t achieve success following my methods?…”
Since I knew my methods worked, the only way to make them work in another person’s business was… to do the work for them.
Hmmm… I was starting to see why my fear of being held responsible by people who weren’t successful was an irrational one.
What if those people fail because they fail to do the work?
What has been your most effective monetization technique, and why?
My most effective monetization technique is the hard work I do every day publishing, syndicating that content, engaging, building relationships… and framing/extending my personal brand.
What has been your least effective monetization technique?
The least effective monetization technique I have found is hoping others will do that work for me.
Yes, yes, YES!
? ? ? ❤️, Ted!
Had I dealt with that fear about 4 years ago, I would’ve had an extremely successful consulting business right now… That’s how I made money off Traffic Generation Café back then and did a LOT better than I’ve ever done with affiliate marketing!
Of course, there was another ‘little’ problem getting in the way… ? ?
Telephonophobia (also telephobia, phone phobia) – the fear of making or taking phone calls.