How to sift through the noise
If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing. — Benjamin Franklin.
I’ve switched over from Wix to WordPress. Wix proved way too slow, and not user-friendly. It’ll take a while to transfer all my previous blogs.
Book about active duty military side hustling
I’m writing a book on the topic and plan to upload to Amazon by my upcoming 38th birthday in mid-October. I started in July of this year, 2019.
About a half-dozen active military and veteran hustlers offered to contribute their stories. Most of them found success through real estate.
Of course, there exist plenty of other opportunities in other areas, such as e-commerce (physical products), info marketing (or simply digital marketing), local business, and personal services (such as gigs) that grow into something much larger.
Affiliate marketing while on active duty
Starting as an affiliate marketer can prove extremely rough. Google and YouTube will eventually reveal great info, but only after sorting through mountains of bullshit: insincerity, scams; irrelevant content; or flat out useless info.
Digital side hustling appeals to the active military life in that it fits so well. Of course, the fit will depend on what you like and what you understand.
What makes it so appealing? Well, given how busy we get, a digital product requires less overhead both in terms of the product on hand and in terms of relocating (e.g., PCS or TDY or even on leave). It’s digital. It’s location-independent.
It’s confusing. Especially if you don’t feel inclined towards computers or connecting with digital technology. But even then, you probably use social media. So it shouldn’t feel too unfamiliar either.
To [very] briefly explain the typical affiliate business model: (1) Sign up with a vendor to obtain an affiliate link; (2) Promote that link by driving traffic to it.
Step (1) proves easy enough. Search for Amazon Associates, ClickBank, CJ Affiliate, for example. Or search Google for “affiliate networks.” Open an account and obtain an affiliate link in the form of a URL.
Step (2). If this came easy, I’d spend more time doing it than writing about it. Marketers shrug at the idea of driving traffic and instead frame it this way: identify an audience already a fan of the product or something similar, then present it where the audience already congregates.
Find, fix, finish, follow through
How do you find these congregations? If you search Google for “competitive intelligence tools,” you’ll find blogs that review websites such as Alexa, Buzzsumo, SEMrush or SimilarWeb. Some of these tools offer a freemium version – free, awesome, yet designed to encourage a higher paid version.
These tools let you analyze the traffic of a site you want to promote. Note that first, you must find something similar to your product. (Hint: Start with analyzing the traffic to your product’s website.) Use a tool like SimilarWeb to find similar sites.
From there, look for both the winners and losers. Find the sites with the best and worst traffic. Compare. Do more of what wins. Less of what doesn’t.
Ask how traffic found those sites. Some tools, like Adbeat.com, even show you the winning ads. Copy those. Well, not exactly; you don’t want to get in trouble. But you can find a freelancer through Fiverr.com or Upwork.com to create a similar enough ad.
Place your ad in the same places (the target congregations) that the winners do. There. You found what works, modeled it, and placed it where the data shows people are already viewing and engaging with it. No need to reinvent that wheel.
The typical model vs. long-term relationship
The front-end or short-term: If you setup ads that go to a sales page, with enough traffic, then you’ll eventually get a sale. The typical affiliate model ends right there. These sales will probably only occur one-time per consumer.
The back-end or long-term: Best practice in the industry consists of building an ongoing relationship; in particular, through building an email list. That means that as a consumer, you opt in with your email address in exchange for more.
Over time, the reader receives (hopefully) useful content, along with the occasional promotion. This allows a relationship to build. Trust to develop. As an entrepreneur and presuming that you are not an insincere asshole only trying to peddle useless garbage, the products you promote will prove relevant and helpful to the audience.
The affiliate program that I like
It took me a long, long while to find an affiliate product that I like and that would fit my schedule while serving on active duty. All of that above (setting up the front-end and the back-end), takes a lot of time and sophistication.
Yes, I feel dedicated enough to learn to do it. But what if I found an affiliate program that further narrowed my focus onto one thing. The program I found allows me (and will allow you) to focus on presenting to the congregation, or driving traffic. Full disclosure, these are two of my affiliate links:
For further transparency, the Ambassador Program, which I use, is not cheap. Along with it comes a suite of tools offered; also super amazing, but not necessary in focusing on traffic. No, it’s not cheap but it does fit my style and schedule, given my unpredictable work commitments.
It’s simple. But not easy. You wouldn’t want success to be easy anyway. It’s a great program. The business offers amazing training and tools that I also use.
If you think I’m full of shit and wrote this article only to serve as one long sales pitch, feel free to comment. =) And especially comment if you find better affiliate programs! We’re on this journey together. I’m open to better ideas.
Thank you! Love you, guys! Peace.