18 Months On From Quitting My Job…

It’s now 18 months since I quit my day job. I guess the cliche thing to say would be that it feels like only yesterday. Well it doesn’t. All those vivid memories of clearing my office desk, elbowing a small mountain of coffee cups in to the trash, and setting off to live the dream. They’re pretty distant to say the least.

It’s hard to explain the things that go through your mind when you say goodbye and take your final commute home from the day job you hope you’ll never have to live again. It’s a combination of optimism, luxury and – in my case, at the time – a slightly paralyzing fear of “Oh shit, did I just quit my job in a recession?”

For those of you striving to make that dream a reality, I won’t shit on your parade. The first few weeks of rolling out of bed and being your own boss are like a paradise. But if you’ve been following this blog and reading my own journey, you’ll know that I’ve never been one to hold back from posting about the downsides.

But then, I’ve been facing several battles with myself that probably neutered any sense of reality. Most people would drop their day jobs in a second to have this luxury. And it’s something that I’m slowly starting to appreciate after the post-novelty trauma of adapting to working from home.

The most important lesson I’ve learnt so far is the importance of establishing relationships in an industry where trust and respectability are hard to come by. There’s always the temptation to become a profit scalping recluse. The kind of bastard who moves from pseudonym to pseudonym just to survive on the traffic sources that want him banned for life, only to pop up on WickedFire every now and then asking “How can I get a new Adwords account?”

This is the kind of bridge burning that can cost an affiliate dearly. And it’s the type of relationship that I showed no respect for whatsoever in my early days. When I entered the industry, I didn’t give a flying fuck how many search engine TOS guidelines I broke, or how many people I mislead with morally dubious advertisements. And it’s through a minor miracle, and some extremely exhaustive processes, that I can sit here and say that I still have access to every ad platform I might need in the future.

Other affiliates aren’t so lucky. Many are banned from Google, while a who’s who list of ballers are indefinitely exiled from Facebook. And even though last year’s profits might suggest it was worth it while it lasted, I would beg to differ. If you continuously exploit your relationships with these traffic sources, you’re inadvertently placing a clenched fist up your own arsehole. I promise you, one morning it will begin to hurt.

There is so much more value to coexisting with the Facebooks and Googles of this world, rather than forever ducking from their crosshairs. Are you happy to spend the rest of your days wincing whenever your Gmail shows a (1) because you know you’ve been a naughty boy?

I know many affiliates live and swear by the argument “Hey! It’s easy to get back on traffic sources – even if I’m banned for life! They’ll never catch me with my mum’s credit card, right? Wanna see how Gerard got ripped in 300?”

Well, yeah, I guess it’s easy to tell a girl you love her and then screw her over again. Sooner or later she’s gonna tear off your balls for going to the well too many times. You shouldn’t keep fucking with Facebook or Google’s little heartstrings. As impetuous as they may seem, your efforts are probably better spent holding hands and taking the next guideline changes with a sour lemon face but a long term vision. It’s better to be with than without where traffic sources are concerned.

At some point in the last 18 months, I started looking at my work as a business rather than a money making scheme. A different attitude is required to each. And I’m not saying you should agree with my own decisions, because some people ARE in this for the quick cash. In fact, ten minutes with the average Internet Marketer and it dawns on me how those of us who are actually here to build a business are the grand fucking minority. It’s an industry dominated by retards chasing a dream.

I’ve picked up certain tricks and exploits that could have netted me an absolute fortune in this last year. But they compromise my relationships with networks, traffic sources, advertisers, and the people who’d be reading my ads. If I was running a money making scheme, I probably wouldn’t give a shit. But I’m trying to build a business, so I’ve learnt to think differently. It’s just not worth getting greedy and burning your bridges.

I’m actually really excited about the next 18 months, thanks to the pursuit of some new projects that I genuinely believe in. In drawing up my business plans, it’s dawned on me the true value in having traffic sources like Google and Facebook at my disposal. I’m lucky to still have that luxury, and I’d be getting my little titties in a twist if I didn’t.

If you’re going to burn your bridges, make sure you bank a hell of a lot of money to justify the sacrifice. It’s a reckless streak you might end up regretting somewhere down the line.

Connect to me, baby

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About the author

Finch
Finch

A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.

37 Comments

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  • Good read. I’m really working hard and looking forward to the day when I’ll have the opportunity to quit my job and work on my own terms as well. My work is nice though because it’s 2k a month and right behind a computer where I can learn and mess with AM if I complete all my work tasks.

    Anyway I haven’t burned any bridges so far – not planning on doing any PPC with google as an affiliate. Gonna save that for later when I start a real longterm business. For now it’s just messing around with social ads and PPV.

  • Personally, I feel affiliate marketing isn’t really the most stable of enterprises. Best to have all your eggs in different baskets, things change here more than lady gagas wardrobe.

  • Appreciate this post, and your candour on the negative sides of being your own boss. I’m taking the leap this year (will be handing in my resignation on 1st Nov) to go full time. Commuting in to Reading each week sucks (not as bad as Slough, but it’s still not on my top 10 places to work), and the politics of the workplace are a drag.

    So, come 1st Feb 2011 (3 months notice to work, bugger) I’ll be my own man. Will probably be hitting you up for moral support and general chit chat.

    So true about not burning bridges – same in any industry though. I work in telecoms, and it’s so incestuous, it’s a wonder we don’t all have 11 fingers and call our mums our sisters…

  • I agree with you about trust building and taking care of the relationships you are building with other companies. But I strongly disagree with the part about retards chasing a dream.

    Dropping my day job was one of the best decision I ever took, but also one of the scariest. The strongest motivation to invest all my time in Internet Marketing was because of the dream.

    I’m chasing the dream and I can promise you that I will end up catching it!

  • I don’t mean to sound like an ass but teach your girlfriend better seo, stuff she does in comments is no good ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great article btw, I had my account banned on AdWords once but I am back on there with my own name and my own credit card. The only thing I can’t get back to is AdSense, I was banned from there when I was 16 years old and didn’t know shit, but I guess it’s good because I would probably never move to more advanced monetization and still had those lousy adsense checks.

  • @Pavel – Haha I was the one who told her to start commenting on blogs. From my experience, blog comments are only going to help your SEO efforts. And it’s important for building a brand, although she’s got high hopes if she wants to develop a fashion brand on a bunch of affiliate scumbags like us ๐Ÿ˜‰

    @Ste – Good luck chasing that dream. But it doesn’t change my opinion that only a small percentage of Internet Marketers are likely to succeed turning a hobby in to a full time business. It’s not easy. I hope it works out for you one way or another.

  • @Finch irrelevant nofollow links won’t help her much, get her scraper and teach how to find relevant and indexed entries. and don’t put many different anchors to the same destination it’s also useless. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • @Pavel your attempt to sound like you really know SEO is funny.

    I make thousands a month because of irrelevant no follow links.

    Keep thinking SENuke is the answer. ha ha

  • Enjoyed this article, Finch. Thanks for being honest and realistic about everything. It helps those of us (like me) looking to make affiliate marketing a full time gig keep our expectations in check.

    Like you, I’m amazed at how short sighted many affiliate marketers who have had some success early on can be. The girlfriend analogy was spot on. In a year or two I bet there will be a lot of people back at an 8 to 5 with a bunch of regrets because they exacerbated their Big G bans by using the name and credit card of every friend and relative that would trust them trying to squeeze every last conversion out of their acai and muscle builder campaigns.

    Affiliate marketing can definitely be a blessing to long sighted and a curse to the short sighted. I don’t care what you’re doing, $15/hr won’t compare to the 24/7 income they took for granted.

  • Hey Finch – You hit on a real key to long-term success in affiliate marketing. Thinking about it as your business, rather than just a way you make money each day. It may not seem like a big deal, but that mindset switch does get you thinking about building long lasting partnerships, creating marketing assets, and other initiatives that will help you grow your business and make even more money down the road.

  • @Pavel – It’s all about the volume and the linking scheme you have in place. From what I’ve seen with my own link-building efforts, a shit load of no-follow links can be extremely effective. Regardless of the principle behind “nofollow”.

  • its great that more affiliates are talking about a sustainable business model instead of the quick buck; I definitely agree that many currently work in an ad-hock environment and would like to get out of it, especially if you are doing this for the longterm, fulltime.

  • @Ernie if you jump to conclusions after seeing a 1 year old banner on my god forgotten blog is going to give you all the information on me then you certainly have a problem with perception reality.
    I bet you my sweet ass that your website won’t get decent ranking in a few years without consistent high quality links.
    Really what is you niche? Rubber ducks? You won’t stand a chance with massive no-follow blog comments or forum postings or whatever the fuck you use (scrapebox,xrumer,own shit) in self respecting long-term niches like hosting, mortgage or real estate. And until you prove me wrong shut the fuck up.
    Arguing on the internet is not going to bring anyone to truth especially when it comes to seo, but insulting me because I told that making 4 anchor nofollow links to the same url from irrelevant page is not going to do the girl any good.
    If I noticed her links on many other fashion related blogs I wouldn’t say a thing, but it looks like this is the only place she will get this kind of link especially if she will leave comments like that.

  • @Pavel – Go back and read her comment. It’s obviously tongue in cheek. I’m pretty sure she knows leaving a single jokey comment on my blog isn’t going to boost her rankings through the roof. She left that comment because we’d had a conversation earlier in the day where I’d told her about my own experiences of blog commenting being very effective for improving rankings (and marketing in general).

    Nobody’s going to argue that the comment above is unlikely to change much. But if you’re saying that blog commenting in general isn’t effective, I’d have to disagree strongly.

    There are guys out there spending thousands of dollars on this kind of link building and the fact that they’re still spending the money would tend to suggest that they’re doing okay for themselves…

  • @Finch there I go again,
    I said that irrelevant links like that won’t help her much. As for a comment being “tongue in cheek” it was obvious but it also looks like mockery if it was left by suspecting person, but her comment looks like she is over-impressed by the whole concept of anchor text.
    Also keywords she uses are not that lucrative in the first place and her blog is not even optimized for those.

    When doing seo you either have to provide shitload of good and unique content to attract long-tail keywords and “word of mouth” links from other webmasters and social media (what you are doing with this blog) or you need to take linking matter in your own hands, choose keywords, look where does competition get their links and do the same kind of linking but on a bigger scale.

    What our ernie the thousand dollar man is doing (with his irrelevant nofollow links) works just because other sites in serps are there either by accident or are simply doing the same thing, because no self-respecting person would want to sell rubber ducks, only spammers.

    Everything depends on what the competition in your niche is doing, you don’t have to be super smart to understand that, just google some viagra keywords and see how people are getting their rank there.

    Again I don’t want to offend anyone here, especially you Finch, because I like to read your entries. But sometimes people just get too cocky (ernie) once they start to get more money than they have seen in their life by selling penis enlargement pills and think that something(nofollow links i.e. spam) is answers to anything(rankings on rubber duck seprs i.e. THOUSANDS A MONTH!!! wow).

    I have spent a lot of time looking at serps of highly lucrative keywords (hosting,real estate,viagra etc.) which are populated by online, offline businesses and spammers and can say that there is no universal answer on what links you need to climb on top of the results, but you are always better off doing same as competition but in bigger volumes.

  • Interesting discussion going on. Pavel raised some great points here on seo. Have to agree that without a bunch of authority links it’s impossible to be in top serps for established competitive keywords.

  • I’m definitely not going to dispute the importance of “authority links”. If you check the previous post, it was an entire rant about the subject.

    But I think the guy who focuses only on authority link building is just as likely to be out-ranked as the guy who focuses only on high volume lower quality links.

    One of Pavel’s points I did agree with was that it’s always more effective to do everything your competition is doing and then more. And that speaks for itself. I think the most effective kind of SEO is a blend of both worlds.

  • I enjoyed reading the article and agree that quality is important in the affiliate space. It will definitely pay out in the end and surely working together with the networks, affiliate programs etc. (instead of working again them) will get you much further.

  • @Finch – why do you feel the need to swear so much in your posts? It makes you come across as a marketing amateur.

  • @Rasp – Ironic considering I have a long line of marketing companies queuing up to work with me.

    How you choose to judge marketing amateurs is up to you.

  • Quick win’s can only get so big – Long term positives can grow a lot bigger and repeat for a lot longer, but yeah it often takes a walk to the dark side to learn the line ๐Ÿ˜‰ keep posting man, its good to read reassuring shit in the AM.

  • Great penmanship! I really enjoyed reading how you quit your dayjob and started living entreprenial lifestyle. I felt pretty much the same when I left my job. One morning I was sitting in one of those “what-the-fuck-is-the-purpose-of-this-meeting”-meetings. During the meeting realized it’s time to resign, and the next day I left the building last time. Man, it felt so good.. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Leaving your job to do afilliate marketing! I left my job in May 2010. I was earning 50K with one of the major UK energy companies. I just had enough of my job and decided to give advice on switching suppliers through the internet. Oops, I didn’t do enough research. It was later, that I discovered only 13% of the UK population regularly switched Their supplier through the internet. I ended up having to add other products to my site. I didn’t even know what afilliate marketing was when I started, I just made an agreement with one of the energy comparison sites. To my great dismay, I struggled for the first so many months, and its only now that I am receiving regular income. I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn. I am ranked highly for energy products, but I suspect most of the queries are coming from People who have already done a comparison and looking for a second opinion. I reckon most of these People just go back to the origin of Their comparison and switch there! I wouldn’t recommend anyone to pack Their job in to do this, but start on a part time basis. I was lucky that I had some money to start with, but that quickly diminished!

  • It really takes a lot of patience to succeed in this industry and sometimes you have to take risks such as quitting your job to have more time to work online. I quit my job and there is no guarantee that I can make it in this business but and if ever I fail, at least I’ve tried.
    But I will work hard because I won’t entertain failure.

  • i think the only reason why affiliates get into doing blackhat is that its easy money.. much easier then busting your gut along the straight and narrow path. the dark side is always tempting for those with a high appitite for risk.

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