I passed my four year anniversary at WA a couple of weeks ago, and I only noticed because I got one of those notifications from Adsense about having used them for 4 years.

Time flies!

I was thinking back to the things I thought about when I first came in through the WA doors, which were very different back then, and how much of it lived up to my expectations.

Back then I was a 27-year old who was supposed to be a fully-fledged adult, but who hadn't really found his way yet. I expect in another 4 years time I will look back at my 31-year old self in a similar light though!

Finding wealthy affiliate definitely changed my life, hands down. However, I'd say it was a tool and a guardian that helped walk me through the journey in those early days. It certainly laid out a path as well.

Only I could actually follow the path and take those steps though. You get out of WA exactly what you put in, and by that what I mean is, you have to keep going, keep learning, and grow.

Don't get distracted by ambassadorship like so many of us do (I was rank 8 for a while, before I realized I was getting upset about my ranking slipping, and decided to just let it slip some more).

To be honest though, WA was like a drug in the first few months, and I think that's a large part of what keeps beginners going at such blistering pace. How many times do you see someone who is new here saying they're on their 5th article for the day? It's incredible, I can barely write 5 a week now, and I drag my feet about 5 a month.

Anyway, let's get some structure going to this post. I want to talk about some things I thought/hoped about myself, WA, and my internet marketing future when I first joined, and how much they lived up to reality.

Bear in mind this is just my reality and everyone gets a different experience.

I Thought It Would Be Much Easier

I remember the goals thread. I don't remember all the details I wrote, but I do remember that one of my goals was $1,500 per month within 6 months.

This isn't THAT unrealistic, but it actually took me 18 months. I mean, it took me 6 months just to really get a handle on what I was doing and for my sites to start gaining any real momentum.

I see people all the time in the goals thread setting all sorts of different goals. Some people make ridiculous claims (a million a month in 3 months working 2 hours a week), and others set ones that are more achievable, but actually somewhere short ($500 per month only).

Goals are great because it really is true that the act of putting your goals out there in the world makes them more achievable, but it can also be frustrating when you don't quite hit them, especially when you are a beginner and you're looking for proof that this thing works.

Equally, your income doesn't go up in a straight line. You could have an article on page 2 of Google after 9 months, but then on month 10 it hits page 1. Your income would jump up overnight with all the extra traffic you get, but in month 9 you'd have been thinking "This is never going to happen for me".

I think a recurring theme of my early months (years?) was expecting bigger results than I really got. Every time I found a new keyword with good search volume I'd imagine the buckets of traffic I was going to get, and I'd think about how much money I'd earn when 90% of that traffic converted.

Doesn't quite work out like that in reality. You can get big traffic, you can earn big bucks, but it's just going to take longer than you expect.

As an aside: The time it takes you is still a very short time. My company is only 3 years old and now on course for $500,000 in revenue in 2016, that's huge..I just thought it would only take a week back when I started.

Your Biggest Problems Will Be Internal

Leading onto my next point, I realized that most people's problems are internal. You might be focused on why your rankings aren't increasing yet, or why your traffic isn't earning you money, or why you can't write good content, or whatever your external problem is.

Dealing with these problems is fine in the long run because your content DOES get better, your rankings DO go up (sooner or later) and the money DOES come...as long as you can convince yourself to keep at it. This might mean trying something different, investigating better, and generally improving your skills...it doesn't really matter what you have to do as long as you can keep yourself doing it.

The internal problems you face are a lot more emotional and can be harder to overcome.

When you are frustrated about your rankings, what you are thinking inside might be...

....Am I really going to succeed at this?

....Am I actually a good marketer?

....Is my time being wasted?

....Will I have to admit defeat and deal with the inevitable crushing feelings of failure?

I know I felt these fears a LOT in the beginning, and even today I still sometimes feel like I'm just a guy who is playing at marketing rather than actually quite good at it.

This afflicts us all. I read recently that even Agatha Christie, after becoming one of the best selling authors of all time, felt that she was just pretending to be an author.

My suggestion for overcoming this fear is to collect all your little wins and keep them in your mind when you have doubts.

Like "six months ago I didn't even know what Wordpress was and now I can build a site in an hour" ...whatever you can use to remind yourself how far you've come.

Seriously, learning to address this fear/doubt/emotion is going to make you stronger..and not just in business.

I do the same when I have a bad day running. I might be frustrated because I didn't hit the time I wanted, or worse, I had to stop and take a breather earlier than planned. I just remind myself that a few weeks before I couldn't run anywhere near the same distance or time, and it's all a process of improvement.

I usually smash that time on the next run.

And Finally...You Never Know Where This Will Take You

When I first started out, I just wanted to have a few affiliate sites making me passive income. I still like that idea, but I accidentally went and built a company with a growing team and growing sales.

I appear on podcasts, guest posts, various large websites, and I'm considered an influencer in my space.

Many friends have got into affiliate marketing because they've seen what I've created, and I like to think I've earned a bit of respect off the back of that!

I say this because building a business was the best thing I ever did. All the hangups and issues I had in my life suddenly seem very conquerable. I have more confidence in everything and I know that I can achieve a lot now because I've learned how to keep going and get better at something little by little.

I was getting so out of shape until I realized that going to the gym was so easy compared to building a business. In business, you have no idea what will work and what won't work.

With the gym, all you have to do is go! It's so easy!

So I think my final thoughts here would be that when I look back on my past four years, I think to myself "wow, didn't see that coming" and I definitely didn't see it panning out like this.

You will be the same when you look back at your own journey, whether it's 4 years from now or 4 minutes from now. You might not look back on your journey as favorably as I look back on mine, and that's ok, because the journey has twists and turns and we analyze it way too much.

I guess what I really want to say is that if you're here and you're working on this here business thing, understand the potential it has to change your life, your personality, and your wealth.

I've had a few hobbies before, this one is definitely the best.

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HoraceT Premium
Again, another great article. Thanks for helping all of us with your insights.
feigner Premium
Thanks for that Dom, i have come across a few of your other posts and thought - he's someone to follow but never did.
This time i will.
congratulations on your achievements, as you say half of the time it is a thought process that will cause you to quit. being able to get through this will help you achieve the goals you want.
i think i am at the point where i need to step up or step out, although i am paid up till year after next so....
with the help and support you get on here it can keep you going when times are tough
again thanks for the post
DavePage Premium Top 100
wow, what a brilliant read, so in your early days, how frequently were you posting ?
I guess at my most prolific I was posting 2-3 times per week across 2-3 different sites.
Me4TheWin Premium
Thank you, Dom! This was exactly the motivational article I needed to read today. I'm coming up on 5 months with WA, and still having so many internal struggles. It really helps to hear that this is normal, and to get some tips for turning my thinking around. Wishing you much continued success!

CoolCrazyDan Premium
Very Cool post.
Thanks, it was def. Worth the read!
Very Helpful!
VickiMB Premium
A very good post Dom, thank you. Feeling spectacularly demotivated at the moment and this was good medicine for that.
NEH Premium
Dom, this was just the best time I could have read this post. I find your blogs really encouraging and I really relate very much to everything you've said. It's funny, I've been at WA since August 2015 and I definitely thought it would be quicker, I think when I started I thought I could definitely make some reasonable money within a few months... slowly, the reality did start to come into focus - I was going to be in this for the long game. My journey started slower than it should have done, because I started on several sites over a few months initially - but it was all a learning curve and I'm still learning every day. Thanks!
Thanks for the positive share.
Ardjuna90 Premium
Such an inspiring post, thank you for sharing! I feel like you, when you started out. Optimistic ideas and ideals.. I haven´t really spent any time on WA the past couple of months and feel guilty for not doing so. Getting back into it is more difficult than I thought. Reading your story makes me want to put in the effort again. I will continue!
seanchase Premium
Wow is this blog is a real eye opener, to say the least. To go so far as how you did and the successes that you've achieved, that still remains a dream for so many. You set yourself apart from the rest by your actions and results. In turn you came back here to say in so many words if I can do it, you can do it too! Thanks for sharing!
BeMyExpert Premium
Fantastic insights, realistic expectations and I am still inspired I CAN DO it!

I don't care if I have to work my J.O.B. for 6 more years and when I am done I only have HALF the success you do (250K earnings in 2022)... I'll TAKE it!

Thanks for being frank about the work involved. I am committed to 3 hours per day 7 days a week. That's a lot with my other JOB but find you and following you is like finding a gold nugget on the ground:

I'm on the right path!

Thank you so much!!
NWTDennis Premium
Not sure if you meant this 4 year look back to be motivational or just an honest review of your path to success. Either way, your willingness to share speaks loudly to one of the hidden benefits of being part of this incredible training platform we call WA.

That is being a part of the WA community. Thank you for sharing Dom. Your insight and advice are definitely inspiring.
Swangirl Premium Top 100
Thanks for the encouragement Dom! It is nice to hear the long term outcome from someone who started just like us.
MAli1 Premium
Thank you Dom,
and congrats on your successful business.

This post will be on the must read for beginners like me.
many thanks for the insights and sharing.
JasonJF Premium Top 200
Thank you.