I have been busy lazy… Just back to my blog after almost two years without posting anything (actually, I wrote some posts on the Youzign blog and YMB blogs).. I changed the theme and everything (using good old 2015 theme right now) but for real I am going to get back into that bertranddo.com blog and get some content rolling for you real soon… (touching wood)
First of all, thank YOU for taking the time to read this piece.
As I’m writing these lines, I am 13,000 miles high on my way back to Europe, flying home ..
This marks the end of a 6 months long trip that took me from the operas of Vienna to Times Square and Miami beach, via the beaches of Bali and the high-rise skyscrapers on Hong Kong.
And I come back with a good news:
ANYONE CAN DO IT.
You see my story is not exceptional.
I am not exceptional at all myself, I am just your average neighbourhood guy that’s chilling downstairs.
I don’t drive fancy cars.. I am not a multimillionaire.. nor do I care to be.
But I live a GOOD life.
A life where I am free to:
spend as much time as I want with my family
live anywhere in the world
have FULL control over my own destiny
And to be honest, I wouldn’t trade this for all the riches in the world.
This said, it wasn’t always that way.
Before being where I am at now, I did all kind of jobs that I mostly hated.
Cleaning toilets in English pubs (hugh!), stuffing envelope full-time (yes, there is such a job), being a receptionist for drug addicts, selling phone subscriptions to random people in shopping malls, answering to angry customers in call centres..
The list is long.
But 3 years ago I made a choice to take control over my life and make it happen. 3 years on, I can safely say that I am a fullfilled human being.
What my experience tells me is that ANYONE can do it. And in a series of articles that I hope to one day combine into an eBook (time will tell), I am going to show you exactly how.
So without further ado here is part 1, Love Money.
The foundation of a good business is build on two pillars in my opinion: you need the right mindset, and a basic understanding of how personal and business finance works. This post discusses how I stumbled across both.
My relationship with money has always been one of indifference.
I liked having some money, but I was pretty indifferent if I didn’t, as long as I had enough to have a shelter and food.
I always understood money to be a social construct which had no particular interest in the bigger scheme of things: after all it only represents worthless paper notes at best, or abstract digits in a virtual bank account with little footing in the real world.
In fact, at the time when I was starting up online with my first website, the WorldOfJah.com I was a Rasta, in other words my relationship with money was similar to that of a hippie. I hanged out with anarchist friends.
I wore long dreadlocks, became a freemasonry/antisystem expert and spent my days blazing and drawing hallucinogenic paintings while trying to make money online in my downtime.
Needless to say, I was constantly broke and never managed to save a penny at the time.
To me, money was pretty much useless: I didnt need it to live my life and always thought that making lots of money was for corrupt and greedy people.
I wasn’t greedy for a cent: I believed that I was going to change the world by working voluntarily for charitable organizations and the likes.
To me money was for the Madoff, the Rockfeller and the Al Capone of this world. I was toopure to need it, and therefore I was totally broke!
And I soon found out that I was not the only one with that mindset: I later learned that a lot of people in our societies seem to feel the same way about money.
Money is the root of all evil
Take some of the most common proverbs we can hear daily about money in the news, our educational system and virtually everywhere:
“Money is the root of all evil”
“A good name is better than riches”
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be”
“The best things in life are free”
These beliefs about money are deeply engrained in most of us, thanks to popular culture and our education. From cradle to grave we are constantly bombarded with the idea that money is intricately evil (and we should feel guilty about it), at least in Western (and Westernized) societies.
Now there is some wisdom in these sayings and I am not here to tell you that it’s better to have a bad name and be rich than poor with a good name.
But what if we could have the bread and the butter? Be rich and have a good name?
I can definitely attribute my relative success in business to the day where my understanding of money radically shifted along these lines.
In fact as a broke hippie, money for me was evil, useless, and not even remotely needed in my future.
But then something happened that led to the realisation that I should stop keeping money at arm’s length and should start accepting it more.
First of all, life kicked in. I realized that not having money was having several adverse effects on my life:
since I had no money I had to work in crap jobs that I hated and take orders from people I despised
since I had no money I was a slave to my employers and could hardly spend any time with my family
since I had no money some months were tough and I was always worried about money, which was draining me emotionally and therefore physically
since I had no money when I wanted to help someone I wasnt able to: I felt powerless at times
These simple, very common experiences forced me to understand that even though I didn’t “like” money, it could actually help make my life and the life of others around me a little easier.
When I saw people I loved around me who suffered, and I wasn’t able to help them financially I felt powerless and frustrated about it.
My real epiphany regarding money came from a motivational video I watched in mid 2011, which made me understand how my environment had conditioned me to hate (and unconsciously reject) money.
I call this my “deprogramming phase”; in short this is what I learnt in this very influential motivational video:
money is heavily associated in popular culture with negative figures (dictators, gangster, corrupt businessmen and politicians)
this negative association causes a lot of us to unconsciouly reject money and sabotage our own financial freedom
if we want to attract money we needed to get rid of these negative associations
and in fact, money is neither good or evil: it is simply a magnifier of our own strength and weaknesses.
Andy Stanley puts it better than me:
“Money is a magnifier: it only magnifies the quality or defaults that we inherently have;”
So if you are inclined to abuse drugs and love getting wasted, having tons of money will likely cause you to do more of that.
If you are good, generous person who only cares about helping others, more money will only allow you to share more of your goodness with others.
In other words, money doesn’t change people: it only magnifies what you already are.
Time to make that money
I can say that from the minute I understood that money wouldn’t turn me into an evil person and will help me help more people, everything changed for me.
It was literally a paradigm shift: the old me kept on unconsciously sabotaging all my efforts at making money, because of my deep-rooted beliefs that money is corrupt.
The new me broke all these barriers and starting accepting money for what it is.
This might sound like some Law of Attraction *BS* (I actually attended a Bob Proctor – The Secret event at the time too) but to me that mindset was really key in unlocking my business potential.
So now that I wholeheartedly accepted money in my life did I get rich right away?
No way José.
Actually, I got even more broke.
I thought to myself: “What the hell I’m doing wrong? I mean I got this positive mindset, I love money and I am trying to attract it in my life, so what’s up?”
Well a look at my balance sheet would have solved this in one line: I was “financially dumb”.
But that I didn’t know at the time.
Enter Robert Kiyosaki and the basics of business and personal finance, arguably the most important business books I read at the time.
Becoming financially smart
So there I was, constantly broke and pennyless and not having a clue why..
I mean I was ‘saving’ up some money like the system had taught me (couple $100 here and there, that I would blow up the next month), I had a decently paid full-time job at Google at the time, and I wanted that money..
So why was I always broke?
I could have spent a LIFETIME trying to answer that question..
And I am really thankful I didn’t have to wait that long.. There is a great video of Will Smith on Youtube where he explains that whatever problem you are faced with, somebody somewhere already went through it and probably has a solution for it.
So all you have to do to solution your problems is read books; I couldn’t agree more with this vision. $5 books on Amazon and borrowed business books from the library made my entire business eduction.
The $5 book that got me to understand the reason WHY I was constantly broke was a book by Robert Kiyosaki called the Cashflow Quadrant (similar to his bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad, but more practical).
That book pretty much changed my life, and set me on a path to start making some real money until I was able to quit my job and start a business later that year.
In this book, Robert Kiyosaki argues that most people are broke because they don’t have the financial know-how that rich people have.
So he sets to break down the financial strategies used by successful businessmen in a very simple and easy to understand way.
While there are tons of great tips in the book about wealth accumulation what really struck me is what Robert calls The Cashflow Quadrant.
The Cashflow Quadrant is a representation of a individual personal cashflow, and to me it was a picture-perfect representation how my relationship with money.
How a poor man’s cash-flow looks
Here is a cashflow quadrant of someone in poor financial health looks;
Here is how to read it. This diagram represents the flow of money in and out your bank account.
So in this case, the entirety of the person’s income (wages) goes into expenses (bills, gas, kids, etc) and out of the bank account.
There is no investment in assets. We could have added an arrow from the liabilities column (example: a mortgage) going into expenses (that’s how a home-ownling middle-call diagram would look).
This is the cash-flow model that 90% of the population is in. Living paycheck to paycheck and not getting anywhere from being financially free.
How a rich man’s cash-flow looks
Now here is a diagram representing someone who has a good cash flow:
Here you can notice that there is a few more arrows and a different dynamic to this cash-flow diagram.
In this case the expenses box is used to build assets. In turn the assets generate revenues that pay for the owner’s income.
This is the path that I decided to follow about 3 years ago. I went from having a poor man’s cash-flow to a rich man’s cash-flow literally overnight.
In fact these diagrams say nothing about the size of your bank account. What matters is how you manage it.
Let’s take a practical example.
Let’s say you decide that 50% of your monthly income (or savings) will go towards building your asset, systematically.
In my case I started to cut all my expenses and pour half of my salary into my asset, in this case my business.
By focusing on financing this asset (instead of wasting my money in mindless expenses), I was able to go from zero business to a thriving business in less than 12 months.
Once my business (my asset) starting to pay off, it started to actually pay me. So pouring all that money came back to me like a boomerang, now that my business was starting to pay for itself.
From then on, I’ve always had this cash-flow diagram in the back of my mind. I strive to minimize my expenses and maximize my investments into assets.
Money is an emotionally-loaded topic, and whether we like it or not we all have positive or negative associations with money.
In my case it was overwhelmingly negative so it took me a while to deprogram myself and start accepting money for what it is, a kind of magnifier that magnifies the qualities or defaults we already have.
Finally, as someone with no formal business background, understanding the very basics of personal finance and how my cash-flow was at the time helped me tremendously in making the right choices in the way I manage my money.
Let me know in the comments what you think about this post, I’d love to hear from you…
Do you think money is evil and not necessary, or is it simply a tool that can help us achieve greater goals?
Alright so in IM most people are like check out how I made “insert X number of $ here” in “insert X number of days” and so on.. But really for every success story that we might come across there must be at least 10 failures behind it.
I am constantly taking MASSIVE action and trying out new things, some of them blow and work real good while others are utter failures. I usually dont talk about these a lot (not my proudest achievements) but well I hope that by learning about these you’ll avoid doing the same mistakes I did.
So here are my top 3 IM failures of 2011:
1 – Handing 40 Bucks to the Sitepoint Market owners
On Boxing Day last week (one day after Xmas) I tried my hands at driving traffic to a squeeze page using the SitePoint Market place. I created a listing for a free offer (see the 3rd listing on the screenshot below) and paid a hefty $39 fee to get featured on the front page!
I got a grand total of 1 (yes ONE!) subscriber from this campaign. So does spending 40 bucks to get 1 sub qualify as an utter fail? I think so.
Let’s move on to the next one…
2. Making BuySellAds.com $120 Richer
A friend of mine who is a pro at PPC (he’s making $5000/month) advised me to get into it… I had some experience with Buysellads (I actually made a profit from it in 2010) so I thought Ill give it another try with his help.
What we did was to set up a campaign on Buysellads promoting a iPad give-away CPA offer via Peerfly (a CPA network). We created a number of creatives (some animated, some static with various layouts) in order to improve our CTR and get a decent number of clicks (see some of the creatives below).
The campaign started around November 1st and it has now run for exactly 60 days. To be honest I already kind of lost hope on that one about 30 days ago.
The best CTR I managed to get with this campaign was a VERY poor 0.03%CTR. In total we received about 400,000 page impressions and only 136 clicks (since the CTR was low). Here are the exact traffic and click statistics taken from my BuySellAds dashboard:
So how many of these 136 clicks converted into dollars on our CPA offers?
The grand total is 1 (yes that magic number!).
We spent about $120 over two months and made $1. Can ANYONE beat that kind of ROI?
3. Contributing $177.69 to the bottom line of my Ex-employer
Admob is a mobile advertising platform own and operated by Google. A few months ago I got myself a WSO which claimed that you could get INSANE amount of traffic for dirt cheap from Admob, so I thought I would give it a try.
The idea was to create a squeeze page, then buy traffic from Admob to drive to that squeeze. This seemed like such a good technique that I poured in over $170 in Admob in the space of a week and got quite a few page impressions.
Now if you know about PPC, having a CPC of $0.01 is extremely good! And I was chuffed to bits by the number of subs I was getting for such a low investment, see the screenshot of the two lists I grew using Admob below:
So for $177.69 I got about 657 subs. So that’s a subscriber acquisition cost of $0.28, which is amazingly good in my books.
Anyway it was going very well… Until I looked deeper into the stats.
Ready for it? I sent a few promo emails to that list and noticed that I made NO sales every time and got a whole lot of replies from Nigeria and India (?). I went into my Aweber stats and analyzed where do these subs came from:
More than 80% of the list came from either an ‘Unknow’ country (not a good sign), Nigeria or other developing countries.
Now the problem with marketing to developing countries is that most people do not have Paypal and can’t pay online, plus Nigerian subscribers are very high maintenance (they kept on harassing me with dozens of questions or asking me for financial help for every mail I sent).
The only way to monetize this kind of list in my opinion would be to use some kind of low paying CPA ads, but I haven’t got my head around it yet as I am sure this won’t generate much revenues.
So this 630+ list is now dormant, I should delete it really but I haven’t had the courage to do so yet (it would be like admitting I have wasted $177 for nothing!).
Conclusion: Failing is GREAT!
The great thing about these failures is that now I have learnt a great deal from each of these tests. And among the failures some of my experiments worked very well and are now bringing me revenues systematically, since I have perfected some of these processes.
I think that if you are starting out in IM or not making a full-time income online it is best to have a day job, so that you can invest some of your day-job money into your IM career. This way you’ll be able to test systems until you find a way to make money out of paid traffic. Then you’ll be set for life.
While there are plenty of ways to make money out of thin air online, the good old saying “money makes money” still applies in IM. It’s far easier to make money by investing money online than to do everything without spending a dime, but that you probably already know.
I will end this post with a quote I often come back to when I feel like I am not taking enough risks and I am not ‘failing enough’ : )
‘An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a very narrow field.’ — Niels Bohr
Have an awesome New Year’s Eve,
P.S. Feel free to leave a comment about some of your own unsuccessful IM experiments of 2011 below if u had any!
Alright so today, instead of talking about me let’s do something different and talk about YOU for a change…
Too many times us as marketers can make the mistake of engaging in a one-way conversation. What’s the fun in it? How better would we feel if we constantly communicated with our visitors in any niche we might be in?
For a starting point, as part as the Mind Warrior WSO launch this Friday morning, let’s run together a community experiment where we share some of our experiences together.
The objective is that if we see that many people are in the same situation we are in, we can feel like we are not ALONE. I remember that when I was starting up I was alone with my PC thinking it was ‘me against the world’, while we are thousands (if not millions) in the same business.
So today I wanted to ask you:
[headline_arial_medium_centered color=”#0099cc”]What are the top 3 things you are going to achieve with your online business in 2012?[/headline_arial_medium_centered]
It doesn’t have to be massive projects, it can be things you have been planning to do for a while but you haven’t had a chance to achieve just yet.
Way to formulate it: “in 2012 I am going to /make my first $1000 a month online/start a new email list/create my first website …”
By writing it down you will turn your goals into self-fulfilling prophecies (trust me, it works)!
This exercise will fit perfectly with an awesome free gift I’ll be sending you tomorrow. It’s going to be a GREAT year for you.
[headline_arial_small_centered color=”#0099cc”]It’s your turn: share YOUR goals in the comments section below.[/headline_arial_small_centered]
Hey so as usual at the beginning of each month I do myself a little 4 weeks action-plan and I give myself clear objectives.. Do you?
Having clear GOALS to aim for is probably the best tip I ever got.. Since July this year every month I decided on what I wanted to achieve, and everytime I REACHED my goals!
July => I decided to get my first WSO out by August. It was a big flop but I got it out there (which was a big step for me)!
August => I wrote down that I will get 1000 subscribers in the IM niche and in the Learn Jamaican niche by September 1st.. I did!
September => I decided I will reach 3000 subs in both niches again.. I did it by September 30th!
October (last month) => I wrote down that I will DOUBLE all my lists size in every market I am in.. For some niche this meant going from 20 to 40, while for other it meant going from 3,000 to 6,000.. and guess what.. I DID IT!
My big brother told me once that you got to WRITE DOWN YOUR OBJECTIVES, otherwise it’s like navigating on the open sea without a map..
Since I decided to stop messing around and write down all my goals and DON’T SETTLE until I get where I want to be I was able to:
-quit my job
-double my income
-become financially free
So for the month of November, here is my statement..
“I am going to DOUBLE my income by December 1st.”
Since you are here to hear my goal, I want to do the same for you and hear
your goal to..
Think about it one second, write it down and let me know:
What is your MAIN goal for the month of November?
Where do you want your business to be by December 1st?
If you can answer and write down these questions then you are in for a hell of a ride 🙂
So today’s reality check is about failure… You know that good old feeling that you screw up somehow, and things are not working the way it should. Maybe you are struggling to make your first dollars online? Or you want to help your loved one financially but can’t seem to hit the big bucks idea?
Failure is part of the learning curve. Fail and learn from your mistakes. And never ever give up.
Probably the best advice I ever got.
Here is a little video to remind ourselves that whatever we set our mind to we can achieve.
Leave a comment below if this inspires you and you want to share your words of wisdom,
What is it that drives us to promote, JV, create products, broadcast emails and backlink like hell?
Behind each of our action, there is a soul-deep drive, something that inspires us.
In this series of articles I would like to share some real stories of people who have overcome immense adversity and who can serve as inspiration when we are struggling to achieve our goals.
“At a fund-raising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:
‘When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do.He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?’
The audience was stilled by the query.
The father continued.
‘I believe that when a child like Shay,who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.’
Then he told the following story:
Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’
I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.
I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’
Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.
In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again.
Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?
Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat.
Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly,much less connect with the ball.
However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.
The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.
The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay…
As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over.
The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.
Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.
Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all team mates.
Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first! Run to first!’
Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base.
He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.
Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’
Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.
By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball . the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.
He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too,intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman’s head.
Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.
All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay’
Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third! Shay, run to third!’
As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’
Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team
‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’.
Shay didn’t make it to another summer.
He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!”