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Progress Thread From DeadBeat Affiliate to Fastlane Practioner- Growing Pains

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by IlyaP, Jun 14, 2017.

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  1. IlyaP
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    IlyaP Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Two days ago I "cashed out" and sold one of my Amazon affiliate site for $20k, and I'm moving on.

    This post is long, so there's a TL;DR section at the end. :)

    If you're new to the forums, I recommend scrolling down to the "Amazing Resources" section and reading through the threads I've listed.

    The Quick Backstory
    I created the site 2 years ago to fill a real need in the marketplace: there were no real reviews of certain educational products used by many high-school students. The sites I found during my search promoted everything on Amazon no matter how bad it was.

    I talked to my teachers and got to work.

    The site started out slowly, but then I experienced my first $100, $500, and $1,000 month.
    The site is seasonal, and based on my data this spring was going to result in my highest income yet at nearly $4,000/month.

    ...At least until Amazon halved the commissions for my category and Google decided that my site deserved a 20% traffic cut.

    Ouch.

    I got front row seats to the play titled "Complete lack of control- here's why your business isn't fastlane and can collapse on itself at any moment." (Highly recommend that you guys don't go see it. The acting is terrible.)

    Anyway, I was planning on selling off the site at $40,000 at a 25x multiple, but decided to sell off now because of the uncertainty and because I somehow stumbled upon the Millionaire FastLane on my phone and reread it again.

    The Realization

    I realized that the affiliate business I'm in isn't sustainable, and that I've slowly been moving away from providing value to a more cookie-cutter approach with a general non-value based review site.

    That ain't good!

    I needed to do something that would actually help people so I recorded website testing videos on reddit for free.

    Then I got to edumacating myself.

    The Education and Mindset Shift

    No matter how much MJ makes fun of the Four Hour Work week and the "two dad guy," they were the ones who started me on this path of entrepreneurship.

    I've read a ton of books since then, but the Millionaire FastLane and Unscripted are definitely up there as the most real and true entrepreneurial books out there.

    I got a fastlane subscription and read through all the Insider gold threads and digested numerous gold/notable threads on the outside. I bought copywriting books after reading through Sinister's thread and after realizing that this is a skill I've been loosely practicing for the past couple years. I've struggled through AndrewNC's threads, took in Andy Black's videos, and kept trying to improve myself day in and day out.

    The Result

    I feel better than I ever felt and I'm currently seeing opportunities everywhere. Most of them aren't ones I'm going to pursue right now, but it's crazy how many business opportunities went by unnoticed every day until I let myself notice them.

    I've improved my relationship with my parents and girlfriend using the advice on this forum, but most of it boils down to this:
    • Be unselfish.
    • Love the people around you.
    • Truly listen when others talk.
    • And understand that no one is perfect and you also have numerous mental blocks, limiting beliefs, and other baggage like every other human being out there.
    Of course simply reading the list above won't do anything for you. You'll have to suffer, put away your ego, and repeatedly test yourself and improve, but even small changes can have big impacts on your life.

    My Plan of Action

    I have heaps of WordPress experience, and I've created a couple websites for a local business before, so that's what I'm going to do.

    I live in a different area now, ripe with opportunities for better websites and I'm excited to provide some real value to my community.

    This won't be a fastlane business to start out (and potentially not ever), but my ultimate goal right now is to help out business owners and see if they have any other problems that are going unsolved and then solve those problems and potentially turn them into a fastlane business. I'll be "vehicle blind," and "idea hungry" which means I won't limit myself to only looking for SAAS-based ideas, and focus on "problem-based" language.

    My "UVPs" for the website-creation service will be:
    • Quick and great customer service. Love your customers and they'll love you. I'm available nearly 24/7 except for my sleep time and gym time, but I can make changes even then if needed.
    • No more "nerdy tech guy" jargon unless they want that. I'll help them create a better looking website that gets more sales without them having to worry about "migrating hosting" or "changing nameservers" or anything like that. From my limited experience (and Fox's thread) it's better to say "I will move your website to make it faster. Here's what I need from you" rather than waste people's time with long descriptions they don't care about.
    • The business owner can easily change the website later without having to hire a tech guy if they need to. I'm assuming most people would rather hire someone, but these assumptions need to be tested.
    Here's what I did:
    • Downloaded a new theme (Divi) I will use to create websites for my clients. It's the most powerful theme I've every worked with, and so far it can do everything that I would ever need, but we'll see if that's true for my clients. If not, I have other themes I've worked with before that should work.
    • Set up my "I will create websites for you" website to learn the basics of the theme.
    • Read through half of Fox's thread on his website coding business.
    • Found the head of a local Meetup group to message a day before their next meetup.
    Here's what I'm going to do:
    • Create 2 amazing free websites. If the Meetup group doesn't work, I'll go through the local dentistry and industry websites and see if any of them need improvement. (I just had my wisdom teeth out last week, and my dentist's site definitely needs improvement.)
    • See if the amazing value I provide to my free customers will result in referrals and if they know anyone who needs a website done.
    • Transition to charging for websites. Provide incredibly value every time and make my customers happy.
    • Keep creating websites and look for reoccurring business problems that need to be solved.
    • Fastlane my way to financial freedom. Eventually. It's a process, not an event.

    Thank You

    Thank you to @Andy Black for the amazing videos and the unreal amount of value that you bring to this forum day in and day out.

    Thank you @SinisterLex for your videos and posts. They are more helpful than you realize. You provide both inspiration and as close as you can come to step-by-step advice without literally opening my mouth and spoon-feeding me like a momma bird. Thanks mate :)

    I'm halfway through @IceCreamKid's secrets thread, and the amount of mindset shifting information and pure LOVE in there is unreal. (ICK. Words can't describe how helpful you've been in my journey. Thank you man...)

    Thank you @AndrewNC for showing me my limiting beliefs and forcing me to push through the pain with your most recent post. Your laziness post in the "frustrated you're not feeling any success" thread especially resonated with me, and I want you to know that your threads and videos have truly improved my life.

    Thank you @Fox for documenting your website building progress and leaving not even breadcrumbs, but pretty much a map with coordinates for people like me to follow.

    And an obvious thank you to @MJ DeMarco for creating this forum, writing the books, and showing me what's possible.

    If any of you are ever near Ann Arbor, MI, let me know and I have to take you guys out to a bar, coffee, restaurant, whatever you're feeling like at the moment. It's the least I can do to thank you for the incredible value you've provided on this forum. (Or if you're in New Orleans this summer before August).

    TL;DR
    Sold an Amazon affiliate site for $20k. Now going to create WordPress sites for local biz while looking for pains business owners have. Thankful to a lot of people. :)
     
  2. IlyaP
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    IlyaP Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Amazing Resources
    This section is dedicated to all of those people who don't know what to read, what to do, or how to start.

    I recommend reading all of the Gold Threads you can find, but these are the ones that I think are complete must reads for anyone starting out on this journey. All of the might not be relevant to you, but they will get your blood pumping and make you think.

    You should also obviously read the Millionaire Fast Lane and Unscripted, but that should be a given on this forum.

    Mindset

    Hustling and Freelancing

    eCommerce/Real Estate

    Self Publishing

    General Business Advice
    I also recommend reading through all notable and gold threads, and getting an Insider subscription (just skip your avocado toast ;) ) and browsing through there.

    The amount of info on this forum could be packaged and sold as a $100,000+ seminar and even then it might be too cheap.

    Thank you! :)
     
  3. Nate L.
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    Nate L. New Contributor

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    Good luck with the new venture! Divi is an awesome theme that I have used on quite a bit of projects. Although this sometimes gets a bad rap, since you are new maybe you can take a look at some BNI groups in your area and see if there are some web design spots open (they only allow one profession per group). They have a very cultish feel to them but can deliver good results and get your name out to the local area pretty fast. I would not stay long term but going in for a year and running through everyone in the group for their web design and marketing needs, as well as other referrals is a good way to get started.
     
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  4. Fox
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    Fox Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Reach out if you want to Skype! I love connecting with action takers. Impressive post man and glad I could help a little.
     
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  5. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Likewise, happy to have a chat. Rep+. Great post. Thanks for taking action, and leaving breadcrumbs.

    You may find a need most local business owners have is ... more customers. (Just a hint to not ignore the obvious in case you're focused on uncovering other needs ... aka idea extraction or whatever it's called).
     
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  6. IlyaP
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    IlyaP Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Very interesting, thank you for the heads up! Apparently you can't miss more than 3 chapter meetings every 6 months, so I'll use the free site+referral/cold email/call method, but will try out BNI once I get back to my college town. :)

    Thanks for the connect! A little is a huge understatement. You've basically laid out your entire business on the forum without the expectation of getting anything back. You've provided huge value mate

    It's the simplest ideas that are forgotten the most. Thank you for the info! :)


    The Struggles of Action Faking
    I messaged the head of the Meetup group today. He also owns two businesses in the area one of them being a co-working space, so I think he might have some leads who want a free website. (After all, who doesn't want a free website?)

    After sending him a message I went into hardcore action faking mode.

    I played around with the theme some more, "worked" on my portfolio website, and read some threads on this forum.

    After a couple hours of this nonsense I had this thought: WTF am I doing???

    There's no point in waiting for the guy to respond, and the only way I will actually get leads and business is if I find people to email or call.

    I remember Fox was saying how he gets almost no business from his portfolio site, so the only point of making my site beautiful is to do some "theme practice," but I can do that with a client's site also.

    Why was I proctasturbating?

    I'm scared of contacting other people because I feel that they'll think I'm annoying and that they'll be mad that I'm wasting their time. I'm not sure where this comes from for me, but I know that this is a mental block I need to be aware of and get over because I am providing value, and I am helping them.

    Whenever you're procrastinating or not working on something you should be working, ask yourself why. The answer might hurt, surprise you, or be completely obvious, but it might spur you to action.

    Anyway, I went on YellowPages and looked for the biggest ads that were local businesses and not DirectTV or other national bizs.

    The very first person I found gave local helicopter tools, but had a pretty solid website.

    However, I searched for the same term in Google and the #1 result had a website with a half-broken contact form, broken links, broken images, and a broken booking system.

    And somehow they still had very recent client reviews on both Yelp and Facebook.

    Either way, I messaged the guy through the contact form using the following script:
    Subject: Free Website For Bob Joe Jimmy
    Body:
    Hey Bob Joe Jimmy,

    I'm a student from the University of Michigan looking to expand my portfolio by creating free websites for local businesses.

    I checked out XXXXX on Facebook and Yelp and noticed your commitment to great customer service.

    I would love to create a website for you completely for free that will help you get more customers and help you share the joy of flying with more people.

    We can discuss the details of course, but I wanted to know if this is something you'd be interested in.

    If so, let me know and I'll send over a few ideas for improving your site and the next steps we can take. I'm in XXXXX for the summer and I'd be happy to meet you locally to discuss your business and your site.
    The outline sort of follows Ramit Sethi's recent email, but I tried to add some personality to it.


    The server sent a copy of this email to me and it ended up in my spambox. I'm going to wait for a day and then contact their Facebook page using the same approach.

    Took a break to type this post and now back to looking for and contacting businesses! Goal is to get 3 "clients" by the end of this week.

    Let me know if there's anything I should change! :)
     
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  7. IlyaP
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    IlyaP Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Quick notes on how I'm finding potential businesses to contact and how you can do it too:
    1. Go to YellowPages online for your area
    2. Pick a letter to start with or simply start with A. I started with H.
    3. I'm currently targeting businesses with a website that don't have a great site, but many of the businesses you see who don't have a site and simply have a phone number can be potential clients. (Albeit harder to convince that they need a website.)
    4. Look at the guys with the biggest font/ads in YP and see if their site is good or bad.
    5. Go on Google and search for the industry you're looking at. Open up the top 10 results if they're local biz sites and see if you can greatly improve on the design or the flow of the site. EX: New York House levelers, New York house raising, towing New York, etc.
    6. Bonus tip: Go to the URL of the Adwords ads at the top of the page (but don't actually click the ad because that'll waste their money). Many of those sites have very old sites, have landing pages that are non-existent or terrible, and can be improved greatly.
    So far I've found 34 businesses to target after going through 5/402 pages of YP.

    How many of them will say yes? I don't know, but I will find soon.

    I will look into a couple of them tomorrow and see if they're still 100% operational and see when their site was last changed using archive.org. My thinking is that a biz owner won't want to buy a new website if their website was just changed last month.

    If the free site guys don't get back to me, I'll create a front-page mockup for 5 of the sites and send them out with my pitch to see if that gets any responses.

    I feel like I'm posting too much so I'll try to keep it to once per day max. Once I get going I'm sure it will be much less than that. :)
     
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  8. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Admin Post
    Congrats and thanks for posting some great summary links. Rep+
     
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  9. ZCP
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    ZCP Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Continue learning for 60 days. Then PM me. I will give you an opportunity with one of my companies.
     
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  10. Argue
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    Argue Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    This is what I'm talking about. A layout roadmap for neophytes looking for direction. Should be marked notable.
     
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  11. LateStarter
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    LateStarter Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    Yup. As much as you think people might need a better looking website, think about the underlying value to each potential client.

    Many service businesses (dentists, realtors, cleaning company, etc) operate on word of mouth and networking; not online presence. So a fancy looking site may not be worth the investment in their eyes. For some, their site is an online business card with contact info as a reference, nothing more.

    Think about how you can integrate social clout, reviews, and bringing potential 'connections' with other customers to light (like LinkedIn does) to act as virtual referrals. Then use SEO, keywords, and retargeting to drive conversions through frequency.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk
     
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  12. IlyaP
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    IlyaP Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Honored to see you pop in and check the thread out. Thank you! :)

    Will continue learning and providing value. Added to my calendar, thank you for the opportunity!\

    Thank you! :)

    Great point! I completely agree, and I'm not focusing on just making a site look better, but also making it convert better and having better calls to action.

    Most of the sites I'm looking are ranked 1-5 in Google for their respective keywords, so there's not much SEO needed.

    Some potential things to try if you're doing the same thing as me:
    • Use www.mail-tester.com or something similar to test the spam score of your email and make sure it doesn't end up in spam. (My IP was blacklisted on 2 sites even though I've never cold emailed or anything before.)
    • Try contacting businesses through Facebook if they have a biz page.
    • If you're emailing, spend time trying to find the email of the business owner. Use the info@blahblah.com or the contact form as the last resort as it usually doesn't go to the owner. Hunter.io works well, and sometimes googling business name + email can get you the email of the owner on biz listing websites.
    So far no emails back or sales. Even the free website guys aren't answering yet. Sent out only 9 emails/Facebook messages so far, but I feel like a spammer if I send out more. I know it's not enough though. (3/9 messages got opened so far.)

    I completely built out the front page for one site and sent him another email showing him what it would look like.

    Reading up on cold calling now. Going to try doing that on Monday. Not sure if sending emails on the weekend is a good plan or not, so I'll test it out and see if I get any responses or opens.
     
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  13. NFT
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    NFT Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Great progress, keep it going!
     
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  14. IlyaP
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    IlyaP Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Just had an amazing call with Fox. Even though I read his thread fully (and reread many parts), I feel like a 30 minute talk with him cut my learning time by 3 months or so... Crazy.

    If you have the opportunity to speak to someone who's where you want to be, or even someone who's ahead of you, but doing something different from you, take the opportunity because you'll learn a ton and hearing someone say something is very different from reading it and going like "oh yeah, I read it so I somewhat understand it."

    Anyway. I have 1 free "client" so far: a 5 page portfolio site for a copywriter who's written copy for McDonald's and some other random businesses. Not an unsexy business by any means, but a great way to learn and get the experience of setting up a site for someone else.

    Should be an interesting test of my abilities. I'm getting more comfortable with Divi, and I'm doing a refresh of CSS and doing a responsive design course on 2x speed. So much to learn, so little time. :)

    Of course I'm still sending out emails to local businesses and this time they include my local phone number and I let them know that I will call next Monday to followup.
     
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  15. IlyaP
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    IlyaP Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Finished the sites for 2 free clients.

    Copywriter guy is over the moon with the site, and I'm happy cuz I designed everything from scratch and now understand Divi very well.
    The 2nd guy is a marketer who gets people contacting him about doing websites from time to time, but he has no one to "go to." I let him know I'm looking to go into this full-time at $500-$2,000 per site, and he said he'll send over work my way when he gets asked about it.

    Put the local outreach on pause as I'm going on a pre-planned vacation in 3 days. Will be emailing and calling obsessively once I get back.

    Read Grant Caldone's Obsessed and the 10x Rule. Realized I haven't been working nearly as hard as I should be. Highly recommend ya'll to read his books if you haven't already.

    Next update will come when I get my first sale.
     
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  16. Mckenzie
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    Mckenzie Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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  17. IlyaP
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    IlyaP Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    With all of the great stuff I've listed above, my mindset still wasn't where it needed to be.

    After reading Billy's post about the apple tree empire on ForeverJobless I realized I was following the money without understanding why I'm doing what I'm doing.

    I saw Fox making money with a web-business, and instead of fully understanding why he got to where he was, I saw the results and thought that if I followed his exact path I would succeed. (However, in this case the path didn't include the mindset that he had.)

    What I'm Working On
    I'm not focusing on web-dev anymore as that's not where my strengths lie & I was unable to provide the desired amount of value to my customers.

    I tried out some copywriting gigs on UpWork a-la SinisterLex style, and almost scored a 5 figure email rewriting gig for a fairly large company.
    I did the "you-focused" proposal & was truly focused on delivering maximum value to them. At least up until I sent over the pricing info.
    I got greedy and hiked my prices so high that I scared them away.

    Now my main focus is explainer videos. I currently have 1 customer that LOVED the first video I created for him and asked for 4 more right away w/ the goal of publishing 1-2 videos per week for the upcoming months. (He also referred me to 2 of his business partners so we'll see where that leads.)

    There were 15 other bidders on the project, and many of them bid much lower than me. However, I was able to win the client over by calling him, actually figuring out his goals with the videos & his business, and providing as much value as I could based on what I learned about him.

    Using his words: "my channel looks lonely with only one video. Would you be able to create 3-4 more this week?"

    And:
    Me: "Here's the video. Would you like me to start working on the channel intro video ?"
    Him: "Please"

    Even though I thought I understood the principle of providing value, I fell into the trap of providing value based on what I thought was valuable to the customer instead of providing value based on what was valuable to them.