The reason for this article is to give you an idea of how I have arrived at this point in my online marketing career. Its to give you an idea of the ups and downs, the highs and lows associated with making a living online and hopefully give you some inspiration as you start your journey online.
How It Began
My career as an online marketer began in February 2008 which means I am now into my 10th year of living from the income I make via the internet. Back in 2008 I was living in Paris, I had no knowledge about anything online beyond emails, I had no laptop, no internet and certainly no smart phone.
The trouble with being in Paris is they expect you to speak French, WHAT!! and at that time my French was non existent and finding a job was proving difficult.
So this led me to searching online, initially looking for a job but when searching on Craigslist which is an online classifieds site I found a small add promoting a biz opp in the personal development industry.
Did I know What I was Doing?
I answered the ad and left my details and a day later a Canadian lady rang me back and invited me to a phone meeting where the company and opportunity would be revealed to me and a few others. I have to say I was all a bit skeptical and decided not to call the meeting (yes I wasted her time, not my best trait)
The next day the lady called me back and asked what I thought, I explained I had not rang in and she persuaded me to try again (Women!!). Well this time I did call and I was intrigued with what they were saying. After the call the Canadian lady introduced me to her boss who answered all my questions and I said I would join but only at the free option.
Well to cut this part of the story down, I did get started but on consideration I came in at the first paid level of the business (£1500) rather than the free option. Paying this fee basically meant I would start making an income from the word go and apparently nobody in the history of the company had made money starting from free.
The business itself was all about selling personal development training courses and seminars plus enrolling others beneath you so that you got a cut of any sales they made. You can call it Network Marketing come Multi Level Marketing (MLM).
A Green Horn, A Newby, Wet behind The Ears
Now remember, I had no online experience, no laptop and no internet connection and this new business was an online business and I was £1500 into it, hmmm, good call Nick.
So the only thing I could do was take action and action I took. I got my self down to the nearest internet cafe who fortunately did good deals if you bought blocks of time rather than paying by the hour. I could also make calls from the cafe to any prospects my biz generated in the UK.
I would spend around 4 hours a day in that cafe, who incidentally had no toilet I could use, the keyboards were filthy and most of the clientele came in to either make really loud Skype calls or watch hardcore porn, yes I am a man and yes my eyes would wander.
Give Me Quality People
Well I started working the business which mainly meant getting people to the company website and getting people on the business calls so that they could either be a part of the opportunity or purchase one of the products.
The hardest part of all this was generating leads online. It was difficult to get sufficient amounts of enquieries that I could call up and put on the calls. If I had 10 leads to call, 4 would never answer, 4 would be brain dead leaving me with 2 who hopefully would be interested in going on the call.
Now to say I was an overnight success with my business would be slightly stretching the truth, in fact you would need to check in on me several months later before I could report on any income made.
But the great thing about this particular business I was in was the compensation plan. It only took one sale to recoup my initial investment and one more sale to cover any biz costs such as advertising fees up to that point.
I Was Making Money
The fear I had before I did make a sale was the thinking that if it took me 3 months to find one customer then I was only going to make about 4 sales a year.
But here is the thing, when I finally did make a sale and I proved to myself that I actually could make money online my belief system changed from one of not sure if this really works to one of Hell yeah this really does work and having this attitude changed my whole business.
I started generating a lot more leads that were of higher quality people which in turn created more frequent sales and sign ups.
Fast forward 20 months and I had become the No.1 income earner in France and one of the top 5 in Europe. I had won an award, I was traveling to company events all around the world and I could see no end to this success but you know what I am about to tell you now.
The Times They Are A Changing
Yep thats right, the success was about to end. Not through any fault of my own I might add but rather to the fact that one of the American business owners decided to leave and the remaining one lost the plot.
Overnight this guy changed so much about the business that it stopped working. The products, the compensation plan, the websites all changed and nobody knew what they were doing.
The compesation plan was now so complicated that it became impossible to break it down to potential customers because I did not even know how it worked.
The company had thousands of associates all around the world but within a space of 2 to 3 months this number was down to several hundred. Nobody was making any money including myself so before long I jumped overboard and swam to the safety of shore.
Painful Endings Are Often Happy Beginnings
It was now 2010 and to be honest I had not a clue as to what I was going to do next. Yes I did look at similar type MLM business to the one I had just left but nothing was doing it for me. I was a bit jaded just making leads, putting people on calls and collecting decisions.
My partner and I had also left Paris for a while and were now based out of Strasbourg in eastern France as well as living in Lisbon, Portugal. Both of these towns I might add are well worth a few days visiting if you get the chance.
Not knowing what to do and without realising it the second phase of my career as an online marketer was about to begin. It was at this time I began messing about with a system called WordPress which is basically a free open source piece of kit that allows you to build websites. Although at the time it was still really only known as a way to build blogs.
Becoming An Affiliate Marketer
I messed about with WordPress for a few months and became quite proficient at making websites. The thing with WordPress was and still is to most people is that it seems quite complicated to install. To be honest its quite easy especially these days but like anything, if you dont know then you dont know.
So what I started doing was offering a free service where by I would show people how to install WordPress. I would guide then over the phone exactly what to do and where to go in order to install WordPress.
Now let me track back a few steps here. At the same time as me learning how to use WordPress I also became very interested in a business model called Affiliate Marketing which is where you can promote a companies products via an affiliate web link and any sales made through this link would result in you being paid a commission.
The great thing about this business model is you do not need to handle the products or deal with the payment side of it, the companies you are promoting do it all for you and there are literally tens of thousands of different products you can promote for free.
So going back to the free WordPress install offer I was promoting, yes it was free but in order to use WordPress you do need a hosting account that enables you to install it to the internet. This where I made my money. I was an affiliate of a hosting company who paid me from $50 to $125 for every sale I made depending on how many I made each month.
The more sales I made the higher the commission they paid me.
The Golden Arches To The Rescue
The hosting at the time was only costing the client about $7 a month but I was getting paid up to $125 in commission and I was doing all this from McDonalds using their internet. Yes by now I did have my own laptop but no regular internet connection except for the Golden Arches.
The problem with McDonalds is the lack of electrical sockets, you had to get in early to secure a socket and then people would ask if you would unplug yours for a while. So eventually I began bringing in my own extension cable with multi sockets, this way there was always a supply of power although it was a bit hairy when you needed the toilet as I half expected to return to my table and find all my stuff stolen.
Having said all that these days of working from Mcdonalds were some of the happiest times I have spent so far as an online marketer there were even other like minded people using my extension cable that I became friends with which sounds quite funny now.
Call Me Coach
So now I was back in business, I was making a steady income helping people install WordPress and I was officially an Affiliate Marketer and the biggest buzz of all for me was the fact I could make an income almost anywhere on the planet and this business was all my own.
No American owners could tell me what to do although this did not mean that I was completely immune to the proverbial F Ups.
But as time went on I realised I could be offering more to clients plus I could be earning more. And this thinking lead me onto the next phase in my career as an online marketer.
I decided that I would offer a complete package where by I would teach people how to set up and run an online business as an affiliate marketer. Basically I would offer a coaching service teaching them exactly what I was doing but the difference being they could have a business in any market they wanted.
I would still include the WordPress install part but I would also show them how to create their website, how to add affiliate products so they could make commissions and finally show them how to advertise their business.
Initially I placed adverts online such as employment websites, I would then call back any leads and explain my service as well as emailing them all the details and a few days later they would give me a decision. Once they said yes I would have a series of 1 to 1 Skype calls with them going through each step of creating an online business.
I Was Cheap As Chips
I first priced this service at £99 which was super cheap but I was also getting the $125 WordPress commission on top but as time went on and as my service improved I slowly began increasing my prices and offering different packages. Eventually I had three options ranging from £450 to £700.
And for a while I was happy with this coaching service and so too were my clients which was always the number 1 priority. But the issue with 1 to 1 coaching is it is very time consuming and you have to be available when the client has time for a training call and a lot of the time the client is working during the week day.
My Coaching Goes Online
So this lead me onto the main focus of my online business today. Instead of me offering just 1 to 1 coaching I would also offer an online course that people could purchase and work through it themselves. I was still around for any support if they needed it but for the most part they would do the work.
Having people use the course freed up a lot of my time. Yes I was and still do offer the personal coaching but most of my advertising was cussed on selling my online course. The course also had the added benefit of being cheaper than my coaching which some people could not afford.
Initially the course sold for £39 but that was a few years ago. Now days the course sells from between £300-£350 and is way more in-depth than when I first created it. But essentially the basics are the same meaning the course teaches you how to create and run an online business and comes with phone and email support.
Whats Happening Now?
Location wise well I am back in Paris as well as a home in Surrey, UK. The last 10 years working online have allowed me to live in many parts of the world, Portugal, France, Spain, South Pacific.
Business wise, well I class myself as a full time Affiliate Marketer who provides coaching and courses for people interested in making a living online. The important thing being is I practice what I preach. I actually do the things that I then teach others.
And along this career as an online marketer I have learned a few things away from the actual business side most notably persistence. Plenty of times I could have given up and said it wont work and I probably would have been justified in doing this.
But life is not always about taking the easy option, life is sometimes about rolling your sleeves up and going for what you want. So many times over the years I have seen people give up too soon only to end up going back to exactly what they were doing before and then asking themselves “What If”.
Nick Squires-The English Entrepreneur