As you guys know, I’ve been kicking some serious ass on the forums in the last few months – and like blogging, you meet some pretty inspiring people when cruising around.
One day, no different than any other, I was floating around the WarriorForum checking out some article prices, studying the latest sales copy from popular WSO’s and pretty much clicking anything that caught my attention (this was during some free time I had).
I came across a pretty awesome post by a chap named A.J. who gave a lengthy overview on the importance of value in any sales transaction or business relationship – and it really caught my attention. With that being said, you know I didn’t hesitate to compliment the great information and add my own 2 cents (which turned into $1.37) in hopes of sparking the existing thread into higher conversation.
Shortly after, I received a PM from A.J. saying that he read my reply and was very impressed by my use of the English language and wanted to know if I was interested in letting him do a guest post on the most awesome blog on the Internet, this one of course. I replied with “that’s sounds great, but…. you must agree to be my next 20 questions victim, because my regular readers won’t open arms to some random guest post – as it’s never been done before! If they can get to know you first, which they will after reading your interview, than they will have your back 100% when you put forth a super useful guest post – and if you suck, they will mail you flaming bags of dog poop.”
Anyways, that’s the backdrop on how A.J. and I hooked up! He’s an awesome chap from the U.K. who is making some serious moves in the world of affiliate marketing with he upcoming ninja launch AffiliateJustice.com – and as many of us still struggle to find that groove with affiliate based marketing, I thought it would be amazing to introduce you guys to A.J. rather than keeping all his knowledge and connections to myself.
Without further ado I give you 20 Questions With A.J. from AffiliateJustice.com:
1. Who are you and what do you do?
I’m AJ and I am an affiliate marketer and web publisher, which came about from me messing around and trying to make money online. I was always trying to make money as a school kid and even started a real offline design business when I was around 17 – I didn’t know a thing and only ever had 2 clients – it was a huge flop. Today, it’s 11 years later and things are very different, thankfully.
2. In 37,693 words or less describe how you made your first profit on the Internet.
Unlike many other people I know, I actually got started off with making good money online by selling my own product, and not as an affiliate. It was around 2002, and I was still trying to re-live a piece of my childhood and was looking for a rare street fighter game. I asked around on a few forums and was pointed towards someone who was selling it on eBay. And that’s where I became involved with selling stuff online.
I would buy dvd’s from a discount website and people would buy them at full price on eBay. I’d make a tiny profit on each sale, and I’d be working my ass off, keeping track of orders and running to the post office every day etc. But I did it because I needed the money.
At the same time I noticed people selling information about how to receive free electrical promo items.
I had no idea that such a thing existed. So I bought a few of the products and I realised that they were pretty much selling the same type of information – but it was sketchy and the buyer needed to do a lot of the work themselves.
So I decided to do some research and put together my own package and sell it onwards. This was in the days when eBay used a payment service called BillPoint, and Paypal was a competitor. I started making more and more sales and putting up more and more auctions. Before I knew it, I was making a full time salary while working 1 hour a day from home, whilst still attending uni. I put my uni on hold though, to concentrate on my business, and I haven’t gone back. I hope I do one day though.
3. I’ve noticed that you have a good reputation in the Warrior Forum. Through your experience, what would you say is the stupidest thing/thread you’ve ever read?
The thing with forums is that you have to be very careful about who you take advice from. It’s important to remember that forums are public places and yes, there are many people that can give amazing advice. But at the same time, the majority of people are probably learners and non-do’ers. And when you are new and getting advice from an armchair theorist who’s never been out there doing it for real, it can be a massive problem, because you’re basically getting crappy advice.
One of the stupidest things I keep reading is about how affiliate marketing is a big waste and it’s much better to have your own products. There’s a lot more to having your own product then people think. You’ve got the customer service, the website creation, the sales copy, the sales funnel, the promo materials, the marketing, the constant tweaking of all the above AND you have to spend ages making a product that is really good as well. I know this first hand because I actually have products on sale, and I only get involved when I know I can provide the user with something really useful – with zero theory.
Affiliate marketing is much more simpler – bish bash bosh. You can be in multiple markets and be doing well within 30 days. And the earnings are unlimited – you can always make more money by finding a new promo, instead of being tied to a single product and wondering how you can sell more of it.
4. Give me a brief description of your home office?
My home office is actually fairly simple and messy as I’m just realising, as I look around right now! The first thing you’d notice is that I have a dual screen set up because I find it’s more productive for me. I also have a stack of books and manuals I’ve collected over the years, which I am always referring to. And a few 4 inch batman figurines which I use as paper weights. I also have an apple which I’ve been meaning to eat. Oh, I also see my goal list for 2009 on my desk. This is a stack of 5 sticky notes which have my top 5 goals for 2009 on them. Setting goals is really important I think.
5. Have you ever blogged naked?
Hmmn. Probably. Or if not, it’s fairly regular for me to be shaving in the bathroom and have an idea that I can use in my business. So I am always running out of the bathroom in my boxer shorts and jumping in to my computer seat to type away frantically, so I don’t forget the idea I’ve just had! Haha! I know it sounds really stupid, but people who are around me simply ignore it, because I’m just one of these crazy guys who does random stuff like that!
6. If you could have 15 minutes with any successful businessman, woman, or celebrity animal, who would it be and why?
Well I once went to Disneyland and had my picture taken with Mickey Mouse – he was real nice. Does that count!?!
When it comes to business, I like Michael Masterson and the stuff he talks about. The guy has clearly been through a lot in business and knows what you need to do in order for a business to be successful.
7. Early bird, evening owl, or midnight stalker?
Oh man, I’m a midnight stalker going into early bird hours. This is not a joke, the past few days, I’ve been up til 6am and 7am, working through the night. Sometimes if I’m on a roll then I just let it out. I’ll sit here editing the sales funnel and configuring the testing software so that while I’m sleeping a particular site will be receiving traffic and creating results. Then when I wake up, I can see the results straight away. If I wait till the next morning to set up the tracking, then I wont be getting any results while I’m sleeping – that’s how I my mind works.
I think it’s a lot easier for me to do stuff like this though, because I work from home full time and I’m always out partying late on the weekends, so it fits in with my body schedule. If I had a full time job I’d never be able to pull a stunt like that, so I’m actually really thankful.
8. Do you own any vinyl records? If so, which album is your favorite?
To be completely honest with you, I have only ever owned one vinyl record in my entire life. And even that one was a free promo, which I got off a cereal box. It was that teenage mutant ninja turtle song with ya kid k! The first ever album I bought was on tape and it was called ‘Simpsons sing the Blues’ and cost me (or should I say my dad) about $16! How embarrassing!
9. In your opinion, name 3 tools, services or bribery methods that are necessary to becoming successful at affiliate marketing.
Okay, well first of all, it’s really important to stand out as an affiliate. If there’s 20 people all promoting the exact same thing, and you’re person number 21, why should I buy with you instead of someone else? That’s a very important issue to overcome, from the get go, and I actually focus on this inside Affiliate Justice. For example, today many people offer a bonus or a bribe to get someone to buy through their affiliate link. And that’s all good, but there are ways in which you can take that even further. You can extract the value from the bonus you provide and actually gear it more towards the main product you’re promoting. The better you are at this, the more products you’ll sell and the more money you’ll make.
Another important area is when using PPC, don’t only focus on Google. Yes they might provide you with more volume but Google doesn’t always provide the best quality buyer. Test with other search engines. Even if you only use Yahoo and MSN, at least give it a try and then keep an eye on your profits, and which keywords are profitable for you. And if you’re not using ppc, at least track to see where people are coming from, and how much they are worth to you.
Finally, remember that ROI is not the most important statistic – profit is. A lot of people make this mistake and end up focusing all their energy on promoting the wrong statistic. I would rather spend $50 to make a profit of $50 and have a decent ROI instead of spending $1 to make $10 and have an insanely high ROI. Sure a high ROI is nice to have, but in the example I just gave you, $50 is more cash – a larger profit. You can do more with $50 instead of $10. Yes, I understand it’s different if you don’t have $50 to start with. But in that case you simply make $10 5 times, and then work on the $50 model!
To me, there is nothing more important then the amount of actual real full dollars you can return. The more the merrier!
10. When’s the last time you ate cheese whiz?
I live in the UK, and actually had to look up what cheese whiz was! We don’t really get over here but we have something similar which is a cheese spread called Dairylea. The last time I ate that was like a year or two ago – it’s been ages.
11. Did your mom ever cut your hair as a kid? My mother destroyed mine.
Yes even worse – both my mum and my dad cut my hair together, with some electric clippers. I can remember them, partly being in shock and partly finding it hilarious because of how uneven my hair was.
12. When it comes to making money online, do you believe in magic buttons?
I don’t believe in magic buttons, but there are certain frameworks and certain tactics that I know will work for sure and will generate affiliate commissions. I actually give one of these away on the Affiliate Justice homepage because I wanted people to benefit from a real affiliate tactic, even if they just visited the page. The reason I know this is a working affiliate tactic is because I use them myself. And that’s the type of stuff I’m about – real working material with zero theory.
13. Robin Williams, Robin Leech or Batman and Robin?
Batman rocks, ever since I was a kid. Like I said earlier, I have Batman stuff in my home office. I actually was interested in buying a 6ft high version of a carving, but it wasn’t in the style I like. In case anyone is wondering, the style I really like is the Batman ‘Hush’.
14. How important is value with regards to attracting customers online?
Value is number one. There is nothing more important than value and that goes whether you are an affiliate market, a product owner, a graphic designer or anyone who wants money. The amount of value you provide and the number of people you provide it to, is directly related to how much money you have in your bank account. The more value you provide, the more money you will have. Think about rich people you know of or even famous rich people, and you’ll see what I mean.
15. To be, or not to be. Is that really the question?
No. The real question today, is think about who you want to be, then think about how you would be that person, then do what the person would do and hey presto, you’ve become the person you wanted to be!
16. What are some of your absolute favorite affiliate networks right now?
I usually work with Clickbank because they are a network providing digital products, which means the percent of commission which you earn is very high compared to physical goods.
I also have a deal with a private UK clearing house, which provides loans and debt management services for people in the UK. This is huge are for experienced players, and you can make a lot of money by only being a small fish.
I have also set up private deals with product owners where I will buy an item from them and see what their services like. If it’s a decent product and they are a good company, then I will e-mail them and tell them what I do, and then ask them if they are interested in more sales. Of course they will reply and say yes, and I will set up a deal with them. I have also taken a regular product, then positioned it as a premium product and sold it for more money than the original company does (where the company drop ships the item for me and sends all invoices to me).
If you have a little imagination, you can do anything you want to.
17. In 676 words or less explain why most people fail to generate profits online.
Most people are just not expecting to get kicked in the mouth as many times as they will. Yes, I understand it’s not a nice experience to get kicked around online and mess things up, but it will happen, and when it does you have to learn to live with the temporary discomfort until you get it right. Not a lot of people want to do it, but the will to keep on going will get you anything you want in life, in most cases (I’m talking a better body, dates with the hottest girls and all the good stuff and more)!
18. Do you think eating dirt as a child will cause any serious side effects later on in life?
I certainly hope not, because I have it on good authority from my mother that when she used to leave me alone as a kid in the garden, she would come back to find me with a mouthful of mud, and crap from the grass all in my hands. When I asked what she used to do about it, she laughed and said ‘I used to beat you up’!
19. Star Wars or Spaceballs?
Spaceballs all the way. I’d rather laugh then do anything else – always. Ok well almost always…
20. Why did you accept this interview?
Because I thought it would be fun – and it has been! I’ve actually laughed out loud when putting together some of these answers! You didn’t come across as a boring type of guy, and when you said this wouldn’t be any old interview; I wanted to do it even more!
And the other reason is thought it would be nice for people to see a different side of me. I’m usually talking about marketing or affiliate marketing and generally a lot of business and profit related stuff. So I hope that this interview today, has let you see a different side of me, and lets you know that I’m just a regular guy, who wakes up late, has a messy office and a crazy sense of humour. Believe me when I tell you, if I can make it in affiliate marketing, you can DEFINITELY make it in affiliate marketing.