Entrepreneurs Who Still Manage To Suck At Life
Racial Stereotyping: It Ain’t Cool But It’s Profitable
The Benefits Of Being A Lazy Disorganized Bastard

Entrepreneurs Who Still Manage To Suck At Life

I’ve just got done reading an article over on John Chow’s blog about why you suck if you don’t want to become an entrepreneur. I was left so cold by this relentless drivel that I felt compelled to write my own piece on the subject.

The basic gist of the article, when I break it down in to three points is this:

1. The farmer’s son will grow up to be a farmer, and the banker’s son will grow up to be a banker.
2. It’s the farmer’s fault that his son takes this “unsuccessful” path.
3. Everybody should chase the American Dream of being an entrepreneur since money and financial freedom are at the core of happiness.

And from these assumptions, I’ve developed my own assessment of the guest poster:

1. He thinks people without father figures have no right to grow up to be anything at all.
2. He doesn’t need farmers. I’m guessing he spunks in his coffee and eats his own bullshit brand cheeseburgers for lunch.
3. He’s young and naive, or young and shallow. I can’t decide.

There is nothing I hate more in an entrepreneur than the attitude that they’ve found the only path leading to happiness in life. It’s complete and utter bullshit. You don’t have to be rich, famous and wiping your arse with dollar bills to be considered a success. The sheer idea that quitting college and setting up your own business is the BEST option for youngsters just leaves me shaking my head and itching for a facepalm.

Personally speaking, that’s exactly what I’ve done. I dropped out of college at 16, quit my day job as soon as I could and started my own business. Well whoopty fucking doo for me, unfortunately my autobiography would never make for the soundest advice to other young adults out there. Because everybody is different and there are many ways to skin the cat we call life.

I know through answering emails that I have people reading this blog who come from vastly different walks of life to myself. I’ve spoken to other affiliates and entrepreneurs. But also to lawyers, web designers, journalists, car mechanics and even hair stylists. Many people are interested in getting in to affiliate marketing – or simply reading about it – but it doesn’t mean we as affiliates are anymore likely to end up happy and successful.

And yet many entrepreneurs, young and naive like this guy, will talk down on those hard working individuals who haven’t plied their craft in to building something for themselves. Most of the people I speak to about affiliate marketing don’t even want to! They’d just like to make a bit of money on the side while they chase their dreams of becoming a doctor, a musician, an actor…or whatever.

I’ve yet to find a qualified professional with a degree or an academic background who’s felt the need to turn round to me and say “Damn Finch, I wish I’d dropped out of school at 16 like you”. Or even better yet, as this guy seems to be suggesting: “I wish I’d studied at home on the Internet instead of going to university.”

He paints a picture of doom and gloom for any kid born in to a farmer’s family. And yet he completely neglects that a farmer’s son doesn’t grow up idolizing the corporate banker or the successful entrepreneur. He grows up proud to be what he is. His dreams and interpretations of success defined by those around him. There’s a little thing called “appreciating where we came from”. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a successful entrepreneur, there are people out there who are just as happy living under completely different circumstances.

Yes, we should all aspire to gain more “financial knowledge” or whatever this dude is smoking. But financial knowledge, or being sensible with money – as I’d like to assume he’s trying to imply – doesn’t depend on how much actual bloody money you have. I know people who have had thousands handed to them and they’ve blown it recklessly. At the same time I know people surviving on pennies and pounds who couldn’t be any happier with the direction they’re heading.

It all comes down to personal ambition and more importantly, staying humble enough to appreciate that your own journey isn’t the only one that matters. Or works.

The sheer notion of “money = success” is enough to tell me that the guy who posted this nonsense hasn’t really lived. It’s the juvenile talk of a young entrepreneur who understands how to make money, but has no understanding of it’s worth. I make more money than all of my friends but no matter how many notes I add to my bank vault, I’d expect my success to be judged by how happy I am in an empty room.

Some people are born to be entrepreneurs. Some people are born to be team players. But until you show me such a thing as a one man economy, it’s pretty clear that one can’t exist without the other. I don’t think it truly matters what you choose to become, only that you get up in the morning with a reason to be.

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Do you have a UK based blog covering similar themes to this site? I’m currently looking for guest posting opportunities. If you’d be interested in letting me post a piece for your site, please get in touch via email.

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Racial Stereotyping: It Ain’t Cool But It’s Profitable

I was recently asked to troubleshoot the problems of a dating campaign where an affiliate had chosen to target single men in London. This was, to his reckoning, a “niche market”. But despite having very targeted London ad texts (“Meet Up In London”, “Looking For A Girlfriend In The Capital?” etc), he was still busting out with a low CTR and a mediocre conversion rate.

It’s not hard to diagnose why this would be the case. Anybody who’s ever lived in London, or traveled here, should be able to recognize that it’s one of the most culturally diverse and ethnically divided cities in the world. In fact, I’d have to say it’s probably one of the worst choices imaginable for a “niche city market”.

The whole point of segregating your market – or pinpointing a niche – is to find a common denominator in who you’re trying to sell to. It could be the fact that you’re marketing directly to single mums, black people, Japanese people…whatever.

If you choose to market to single men in London, you might think that you have a unique slant on your dating site. But it’s not enough. The composition of London’s single population is incredibly diverse. There are some regions in London – like Hayes – where I’ll get on a bus and feel like an alien from outer space for being white and speaking English.

Despite the ethnic diversity, many affiliates choose to use ad texts and images that represent their own demographic. Have you ever wondered why so many affiliates choose to promote dating offers to single men aged 25-35? It’s because that’s what they can relate to. It’s what they know. If you commit this error by stereotyping London as a white city, full of 25-35 year old single men who all share your personal taste in the fairer sex, well…have fun scraping the barrel for a profitable CTR.

White men are likely to click on ads with liberally dressed white women. Black men, surprise surprise, are more drawn to black women. You don’t need me to stress the importance that Muslim singles place in finding a partner from the same religion. You’re blowing an insane number of impressions on people who will never click your ads if you fail to filter the uninterested parties out of your campaigns.

You’re simply never going to get the most bang for your buck if you ignore these racial stereotypes. It’s just not going to happen, homes. And most affiliates don’t even get as far as to consider the stereotypes to begin with.

I’d strongly advise you check out this recent post on OKCupid about The Real Stuff Racial Classes Like. This is dynamite information that should set your mind racing for ways to target various races.

If you’re going to launch a Facebook campaign marketing to London singles, you should really be looking at the ethnic breakdown of each borough in the city. And even how rich each borough is. We have an instinctive attraction to those of our own class. You can then choose to run your “White blonde chick” creatives in only the boroughs where there’s a White Caucasian majority.

You can also avoid spunking money up the wall by filtering out the boroughs where Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities dominate the ethnic makeup. Or better yet, why not make some money by targeting them separately? This is where the low hanging fruit is waiting to be snatched.

I’m talking in UK examples, but every country in the world has variation in it’s ethnic makeup. Too many marketers have a “one size fits all” mindset. And while it can still be profitable, you’ll never know how much money you’re wasting.

Consider even a highly successful dating campaign with a 0.25% CTR on broad targeted America. When was the last time you took that campaign and divided it in to 50 smaller campaigns targeting each state? I would wrap my tail between my legs and fuck off never to blog again if you didn’t find at least 5 states where the ROI was dramatically different to your overall figure. These can be culled for more profit. Or you can research deeper in to the makeup of the state and produce creatives that more accurately portray the class of the peoples you’re marketing to. You know, whatever you want, whatever makes you money.

Geotargeting a campaign is a flimsy, wasted and overdone technique. It used to be like steroids for your CTR. But we’ve all been on RedTube enough times to realize that, actually, there aren’t THAT many slutty singles queuing up to chat to me from [insert your town here].

I can tell you now that 90% of affiliates out there won’t even bother to target deeper than the country of the user. If you’re slinging a “Work At Home” opportunity to the whole of America, do you REALLY think a housewife on some southern Texas ranch is going to respond in the same way as a city-savvy New York socialite?

Back when I was promoting bizopp rebills, the easiest way to improve my CTR and conversion rate was simply to target individual race classes.

A flog is essentially a marketing tool devised to make the reader think “Hold on, I can be like this”. Well, the flog is a lot more effective if the reader can relate to the social class and background of the person giving the testimonial. It’s logic that can be applied to any niche, anywhere, anytime.

Stereotypes exist for a reason, and for the most part it’s because they’re fucking true. Don’t be too politically correct to dare to exploit them. There’s plenty of us out there who already do just that and reap the rewards from them.

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The Benefits Of Being A Lazy Disorganized Bastard

My desktop is a barren wasteland. A derelict graveyard of broken down CPA campaigns, rogue index.php redirects and semi-pornographic dating imagery.

I recently made the decision to invest in a new dual screen setup for my Mac. The idea being that with two screens, I’d have one for my emails and one for whatever I’m working on. Well, it didn’t really pan out like that. Blessed with twice the space, I now hoard twice as much shit. There are icons and folders scattered all over the shop. I have landing pages tucked away in places where your computer probably doesn’t have places.

One of the benefits of having a gigantic hard drive is that you rarely need to spare a thought for your disk space. I’m not much of a digital hoarder. I have the discographies of Radiohead and Of Montreal, a slowly expanding library of The Wire, and not much else. I don’t have much reason to empty my trash can. So I don’t.

It was only last week that I took a sweeping glance over said trash can. I’d imagine I was probably young enough to still be growing in to my chest hair love rug the last time I dared open that shit. Somehow on this nostalgic voyage in to the unknown, I rediscovered every single CPA campaign I’ve ever created. All the way back to late 2006. Considering I have an output of creating a campaign on most days of the week, most weeks of the year…it was quite a collection.

It’s really dawning on me, in the time it’s taking to sort through this shit, that we can be pretty rash to disregard good ideas and interesting concepts if we fall at the first hurdle. How many marketers out there test new campaigns and then ditch the creatives that don’t turn over a profit? It’s almost instinctive and I’m guilty as sin.

There’s no such thing as a perfect landing page. Some of the creatives I’ve been familiarizing myself with took me a whole day to put together, and about five minutes to disregard. Let me tell you how my usual house maintenance goes.

The brain wave strikes and I harvest a bunch of landing pages to sit on my desktop. I upload them to my server and setup campaigns. They either fail or succeed. Most of them fail.

The next day, I’m hung up on a new concept and the previous day’s work gets unceremoniously dumped in to a folder called “To Sort”. A couple of weeks later, “To Sort” becomes “To Sort From August”. Give it a few more days and “To Sort From August” finds itself clicked, dragged and subchilded inside a new “Seriously Finch, Sort This Shit Today” folder.

What happens next?

Yep, I throw a hissy fit and it gets dumped in the trash. Never to be seen again.

Today I have been slowly and meticulously restoring each and every failed landing page in to an archive. This is the sort of task I would only normally embrace if the other items on my to-do list were building backlinks or some other lame shit. But it’s actually great for finding inspiration.

When I first started affiliate marketing, I judged the success of my campaigns on whether I could choke a positive ROI from them on Google Adwords. Well, that ship sailed and so did the optimized – and actually quite effective – landing pages that I had at the time. But for all the hours I’ve spent preaching about building assets in this industry, surely every single landing page you create is an asset that you should store and reserve for the future?

Why trash your hard work? Even if a campaign totally bombs on Facebook, it could still make a killing on POF or PPV. The traffic source and targeting are where your profit is normally made. But you wouldn’t throw your toys out of the pram and never market to “25-30 year olds” again just because targeting them once didn’t work, right?

Sure enough, a few of these old campaigns were retarded from the get-go and never destined to pay my council tax let alone make me rich.

I opened an old dieting creative and almost choked on my coffee when I saw the strapline:

“Be Honest, Love, You Can Afford To Lose A Little – Can’t You? …Don’t Be A Fat Bitch”

Vintage marketing. Offend the masses.

But in all seriousness, I’ve found some great inspiration and some excellent concepts that I was far too green as a marketer to ever make work at the first time of asking. I’m slowly working through the lot and screen-capping every landing page.

Two of the biggest stumbling blocks for new marketers are:

1. Giving up on campaigns too easily.
2. Lack of creativity.

Think twice before you disregard your failed efforts. Maybe when a new traffic source opens up, or when a new offer lands – they will suddenly become relevant again. You should remember that not many campaigns succeed at the first time of asking. If you trash everything that isn’t an overnight success, yes, you will have room for more porn on your hard drive. But you probably won’t be very rich.

It’s important to learn from your mistakes. And it can be tempting to mass delete work that ultimately flourished like a damp squib. But don’t do a Finch and bury your one moment of inspiration six folders deep in July’s “To Sort” pile. Sort that shit and keep it for future reference! You might make money from it someday.

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Clearly the moral of the above post is that you’d be a retard if you didn’t follow me on Twitter.

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I’m trying to think of more shit I can ask you to do, but I’m pretty much out of ideas until I get an ebook. Stay classy, affiliate marketing.

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