WA Las Vegas 2020 - An Epic Adventure I Can't Wait to Do Again!
Vegas 2020 is over, but not forgotten. I’m back at home reflecting on what turned out to be, for me… a profound experience.
I’ve been to Vegas before. I’ve even had one of my trips paid for before.
I sat in on meetings during the day, socialized in the evenings and walked the Vegas strip at night. I even went home with some company swag.
But not once have I ever considered that trip (which occurred in 2006) to be a profound experience.
Memorable maybe, but not particularly significant in any way.
But Wow... last week’s adventure with Kyle, Carson and the other WA Super Affiliates!?
What makes this trip different? What’s so special about WA’s Super Affiliate Conference?
A Trip to Vegas Like No Other...
If you’ve been a member here for awhile, you know that every year, those who achieve 300 premium referrals (or more) are invited to hang out with Kyle, Carson, Jay (Magistudios)… and the other super affiliates in Vegas.
And it’s paid for…
I remember when I first joined WA, wondering what it would be like to be one of the "lucky" ones who made it (more on that word “lucky” in a moment).
I also wondered what it would really take to get there.
You’ve probably read the Vegas stories and looked at the pictures… so you know it works. But if you’re like I was, you're also wondering… “Can it work for me?”
I get it. I know the feeling. And everyone who made it to Vegas this year knows it too.
If making it to Vegas (and meeting Kyle and Carson) is one of your goals, but you’re not sure you can do it… you’re not alone.
Most of the time, I didn’t think I could do it either. I’m not even sure I can do it again next year. Or at least, I won’t count my eggs before they hatch.
And for me, that’s one of the reasons this Vegas trip was different than my previous ones. It was earned.
Despite the frustrations, the doubts, the countless failures and disappointments when nothing seemed to work; I somehow made it.
It wasn’t just a trip to Vegas, it was an achievement. And for someone who has a ton of regrets when it comes to quitting things (or not trying at all), it finally represents something I didn’t give up on.
And if there’s one thing that separates those who succeed in this business from those who don’t, it’s simply not giving up.
So if I can get to Vegas, you can absolutely get there too.
Do You Feel Lucky?
Of course, getting to Vegas and not giving up isn’t the only reason it was such an amazing experience.
The highlight of the trip was for sure meeting everyone, being in the presence of people you respect and admire, who know what you’ve gone through (and are going through)… and who are happy to share their years of experience and wisdom.
I was surprised by how nervous I was to meet everyone. It hadn’t occurred to me when Vegas was just a goal, but when it became real and the trip got closer, I must admit, the anxiety kicked in.
On the first day (before meeting anyone) my wife Karen and I had lunch at one of (the many) restaurants in the hotel. As we were sitting there eating, a familiar face walked by our table…
I leaned over and whispered to Karen some colourful language followed by, “It’s Jerry!”
Of course, she didn’t know who I was talking about, so I told her who Jerry Huang was and explained that much of the help and advice he’s shared (with all of us here) as well as his course on How to Hire a Writer are in part, responsible for us sitting there in Vegas. (I forgot to tell Jerry this story while we were there).
In fact, many of the people I was about to meet later that night played an important role not just in getting to Vegas, but they’ve played an important role in my entire online journey as well, which has completely changed my (and my family’s) life.
And I’m pretty sure many have played an important role in your online journey as well… which brings me to that word I mentioned earlier…
I think we’re extremely lucky to be part of this community. To have access to the people we have access to. We’re lucky that Kyle and Carson created Wealthy Affiliate in the first place.
Of course, I know “we create our own luck” and "success doesn’t come without a lot of hard work and effort"… blah, blah, blah, LOL... 😃
That's all true.
But we also have an opportunity and the help we need here. And while I can’t speak for everyone, I feel lucky.
If not for EddySalomon's advice monetizing my site for example, and help through some of the mental ups and downs that come along with this business, I might still be working a job right now instead of doing this full-time.
Without Littlemama’s Road to Vegas training, her sincere desire to help everyone succeed, and her unbelievable work ethic that motivated me to work harder every day, I might not have had the traffic I needed to monetize my site in the first place.
If Dylanrieger hadn’t helped me implement Jerry’s course on hiring a writer, I might have put it off until next year (or the next…), but instead he gave me the push I needed which turned out to be a massive step forward in 2019.
Nathaniell recently shared his experience in Vegas this year, Imagine if Elon Musk Was Your Buddy and what it would be like if you could chat with people like Elon Musk about your business. Ironically, that’s kind of how I felt when I was talking to Nathaniell in Vegas about my business.
That's how I felt when talking to all the Super Affiliates in Vegas about my business.
The countless hours of experience and accumulated knowledge... why was I not taking notes?
But the point I want to get to is this...
As a WA member, you have access to just as many experts as I do.
You don’t have to make it to Vegas to learn from everyone who was there. They are right here on the platform (maybe even as you’re reading this) helping people. I’m NOT saying to bombard them with questions (please don’t as I know how busy they are), but you should definitely check out their content and learn everything you can from them.
Every one of them sincerely wants you to succeed.
Building an online business does require real time and effort, that's true... but a little “luck” goes a long way too, and we have that here at WA.
Here We Go...
Qualifying for Vegas is one thing, getting through your first night is another…
I wish I had a replay of the evening because it was such a blur.
Actually, the entire trip is a blur, but on the first night I do remember riding the elevator to the top floor and walking down the long hall to the very end (where Kyle and Carson’s 6000 sq. ft Skyloft was located).
Yes, 6000 square feet!!!
A full-sized house in the sky with this view (this shot is taken from the deck near the hot tub)…
I hesitated before ringing the doorbell (yes, a doorbell on the 29th floor) knowing that Kyle, Carson, Jay and some of the other super affiliates were literally on the other side of it, just a few feet away.
If you’ve been here awhile you can imagine what a weird feeling that was.
I have a background in outside sales (prior to becoming an electrician) and I’ve done many thousands of sales calls walking into businesses and introducing myself. Not once was I this nervous. But there I was… hesitating to ring a doorbell.
How many hours hammering away at these keys had led to this moment? How many landing pages that didn't work? How many posts that didn't rank?
I looked at Karen before pushing the button and said, “here we go…”
Peaks and Valleys
Vegas happens really fast. The meetings, the conversations, the dinners—before you know it, you’re back on the plane trying to digest everything you’ve just experienced.
You’re excited about making it another year before the current one is even over.
But as amazing as Vegas is, the work doesn’t change. Whether you’ve already made it to Vegas, whether your goal is to get to Vegas, or whether you’re in an entirely different niche…
… the work doesn’t change.
We’re all in the same boat, on similar journeys.
One thing that surprised me (but shouldn’t have) is that everyone I met in Vegas has the same worries and struggles, including Kyle and Carson.
Their journeys were not a straight line to success.
Everyone goes through similar peaks and valleys… whether it’s directly related to your business like Google rankings, traffic or conversions rates, or an internal struggle like complacency or lack of motivation.
As I mentioned earlier though, the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t, is that those who do, just keep going.
Of course, that's not just me saying that. BenjisDad touched on this in his post about Vegas as well (extremely inspiring and if you haven't read it yet, you need to).
He talks about focus and sticking with it.
It can't be said enough. Those who make it, do so because they stick with it.
And they all know the peaks and valleys will come but they don’t spend too much time worrying about them (that doesn't mean we don't worry at all) .
If Vegas is your goal, all the help and training you need is here. The examples you need are here as well - you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You just have to keep going and do your best to ignore the peaks and valleys.
Or at least realize that's all they are, just peaks and valleys. And when things are not going so well (like my traffic numbers as I write this, lol), this too shall pass.
So... when you do make it Vegas, what can you expect?
If you’ve already read some Vegas 2020 stories from others, you know our big event this year was the Las Vegas Golden Knights vs. the Washington Capitals game.
Being Canadian, it wasn’t my first hockey game…
… but it will definitely be one of the most memorable.
After the game, a bunch of us hiked the Las Vegas Blvd to the end of the strip and took pictures at the Las Vegas sign.
The following night we all met up at Craftsteak, which brings me to...
For a good part of the year I do my best to stay on the keto diet. No carbs, no sugars.
In December I took a break from keto to enjoy the holidays (and all the goodies that come with it). For some people though (myself included), adding all those delicious carbs and sugars back into your diet is hard on the body.
Not to mention the extra ten or twenty pounds that comes with them. You don’t want to go on and off keto too often.
But I knew Vegas was around the corner and I’ve read the posts from previous years. There was no way I was missing out on all that food.
So after the holidays I stayed off keto and took my extra twenty pounds to Vegas… adding a few more while I was there 😃
Aside from the most delicious steak I think I’ve ever had, something called Cinnamon Monkey Bread was the big winner for me.
I thought for sure it would be the Crème Brulee, which was also delicious… but until Vegas and I meet again, I’ll be thinking of you Cinnamon Monkey Bread (bottom left in the picture)
That was followed the next night with a Skyloft buffet and foods from various countries. I won’t even get started on the drinks…
Luckily I finished the night drinking water so I could survive the following morning (and our flight home).
It’s safe to say, if you make it to Vegas, you won’t be disappointed with the food.
Summer is around the corner though, so it’s time to get back on track and cut back on the goodies.
Vegas wouldn’t be complete without WA swag.
As I mentioned above, I’ve been to Vegas before (with a company I worked for many years ago) and they sent me home with a bunch of swag.
But here's the thing...
My office at home was already full of company swag. My customers’ offices were full of company swag. I had boxes of swag in my shed, in my car, and around the house…
It had no value. I could barely give it away fast enough.
When you get your hands on some WA Swag though, you’ve earned it.
I’m not saying you should spend countless hours online chasing a WA coffee mug, but when you finally have one sitting on your desk, it’s a daily reminder of what you’re capable of, and how far you’ve come.
A clean bed, a washroom and a door with a deadbolt would have been fine, but that’s not how Kyle and Carson do Vegas.
They put you up in an executive king suite…
It's a lot bigger than it looks in pictures (it also has 2 sinks and 2 showers).
The Future (of Wealthy Affiliate)
The primary topic of our meetings was the future of Wealthy Affiliate.
Obviously there’s not a lot I can say about the exciting changes Kyle and Carson have planned for Wealthy Affiliate.
What I can say though is that I’m looking forward to them and like a kid on Christmas Eve… I can’t wait.
I also don’t want to steal Kyle’s thunder because he actually shares quite a bit with you here.
I'll show you the secret documents though 😉
How You Can Get to Vegas
There’s a ton of training, tips and advice right at your fingertips, especially if you are a premium member.
Of course, you should start with the bootcamp training if you haven’t already.
You should also check out Littlemama’s Road to Vegas Training Series.
Dylan offers some incredible insight, and even if it doesn't pertain directly to Vegas, the content here from all the Super Affiliates is loaded with many years of wisdom and experience.
One thing to keep in mind though, is that there are no “secrets”. Most of us in Vegas made it using different strategies, or at the very least, variations of similar strategies.
We've all failed countless times and through trial and error have discovered different approaches that have worked.
We all have different things we’re good at as well (and things we’re not so good at).
My biggest weaknesses (among many) are poor time management, I get distracted easily, and I write painfully slow.
Some people can knock out a blog post in an hour or two, I take a full day (or two, or three).
It doesn’t matter what you’re good or bad at, the important thing is that you’re consistent and keep going long after everyone else would quit.
Some other suggestions that may help...
Choose the Right Goals
I know I said earlier that Vegas was one of my goals, but honestly, it’s a terrible goal.
What I mean is, there are goals you have control over, and there are goals you don’t have control over.
Vegas (especially if you’re aiming for a specific time frame) is not a goal you have control over.
What you do have control over though, is when you get up in the morning and what time you go to bed.
In other words, you control what you do in your spare time, how much you spend on your business versus how much time you spend on other things.
Focus on goals you can control.
Goals like writing a certain number of words each day, spending a specific amount of time each week on keyword research, or publishing X amount of posts per month.
This business is a lot easier when you focus on the things you can control and let the results take care of themselves.
It’s no different than getting in shape.
All you can do is get yourself to the gym, put in the reps, and make better food choices each and every day. The results will come.
They probably won't come as quickly as you’d like, but if you set the right goals and stick to those, they will come.
Play the Long Game
This is just a suggestion…
There are definitely quicker ways to get to Vegas. Buying traffic for example, or reviewing certain products that come and go quickly…
These are not necessarily bad strategies, and you can combine them with longer term ones.
But getting to Vegas is not a race either. Don’t be afraid to lay down a solid foundation even when you know it might not pay off right away.
Most of the posts that qualified me for Vegas 2020 were written in 2017 and 2018.
As I write this today, my top 3 posts (over the last 7 days) were written in April and May of 2018, and one is from July 2017.
I also have a lot of posts that took me many hours (even days) to write that have never ranked well or received traffic at all.
Oh well, you win some and you lose some… As I mentioned above, there are some things you have no control over.
Focus on the things you do have control over.
Help People... Don't Sell Them
Depending on where you are in your business, the following quote may or may not resonate with you. It did for me...
“It isn’t what you want that determines what other individuals will buy from you—it’s what they want. And that answer can only come from them, not from you…
“Probably 99 out of 100 salesmen try to motivate their prospects. And that’s their mistake. You’re not capable of motivating anyone, no matter how persuasive you think you are…
“Everyone is already motivated. The only question is ‘By what?"
"Your job is to find out what it is that motivates your prospect. And then show him or her how they can get what they want through your product or service. Only then will they buy…"
- Quote by Harry Browne (from The Secret of Selling Anything)
I didn't realize it at the time, but prior to reading the above quote a couple years ago, I just assumed it was our job (as online marketers) to sell. To "convince" people to perform a certain action online; to click a button or a link, leave a comment, or buy something.
But trying to convince people (and change their minds about something) is hard. It's time consuming, exhausting, and it rarely ever works.
It's WAY easier to just figure out what they ALREADY want and help them get it.
If you have any doubts about this, check out Dale's post. He says one of the most important things he noticed in Vegas is that all of the affiliate's have a true passion for helping people and the money came secondary.
It's no coincidence that those who make it have a passion for helping people get what they want.
And how do you know what people want?
This goes for ANY niche. Read what people are saying in forums, blog comments, YouTube comments, Facebook groups, Reddit and so on...
What is the intent behind the keywords they are searching?
In come cases, it's obvious. If someone is searching for "best coffeemakers under $50", they probably want the best coffeemaker under $50.
In other cases it's not so obvious.
The intent behind the search term "how to make money online" is not the same as "how to make money blogging" or "how to start an online business."
Everyone I know wants to make money online, but very few want to start a blog.
Not everyone wants to start a business.
Everyone wants to make money online... but that doesn’t mean they all have the same frustrations, worries and desires.
It doesn’t mean they have the same goals, or fears keeping them up at night.
Some people want MORE money and they want it now. They'll gladly work every waking hour to get it.
Others might be happy with LESS money if it means they can stay at home and be with their family.
Everyone's situation is different. Some have more time and resources than others, and the perfect solution for one person might be completely inappropriate for someone else.
Some people chase money for status, some for peace of mind. Others might want it so they can give their kids more opportunities, or to take care of their parents later on in life.
It's hard to help them if you don't know what they really want.
And it's a lot easier to help someone get what they already want than to sell them something they don't.
Connect with Other Wealthy Affiliate Members
Before Vegas, Karen knew very little about Wealthy Affiliate or what I did. She’s always been supportive, but this thing we do here at WA wasn’t necessarily “real” to her (although the money was real).
But online marketing wasn’t something she was particularly interested in and it wasn't something I could really talk to her about.
Having her in Vegas, meeting everyone, and sharing that experience with her made it real. In many ways it instantly changed our relationship (in a good way) and I’m so grateful that Kyle, Carson and all the Super Affiliates were so welcoming of her.
She now understands what I do better, but not just from my perspective, from the perspective of others as well.
And that's why it's important to connect with other members...
If you really commit your time to this, you may find you're having a similar challenge with your friends and family. Even if they do support you, they probably won’t be overly interested or understand what it is you're doing.
Building an online business is for the most part a solitary experience.
What’s great about Wealthy Affiliate though, and what separates it from every other platform I’m aware of (and I’ve reviewed a lot), is the community.
Other programs and courses may have a Facebook Group or a forum and those are great, but I’ve never come across one with the same level of activity, help and support as the one we have right here.
Staying connected with people who are going through the same things you’re going through is extremely important. It might not feel like it at the beginning, but as the weeks, months (and years) progress, you realize how crucial it is.
And learning from those who are little further along the journey can save you years of frustration.
Vegas is awesome, but if this niche is not your passion, I’d encourage you to go with something you love.
There’s good money in this niche, but money alone will not be enough to motivate you to get up early every day or stay up late every night if you're not also interested in the topic.
So, what’s your real motivation?
I doubt it’s a new Lamborghini because that’s not why most of us end up here at Wealthy Affiliate. I mean, a Lambo (or any new car) would certainly be nice, but I'm pretty sure that's not your primary motivation.
I had many reasons for building my online business but by far the most important was to spend more time with my family. To be home instead of working up north and living in camps.
Whether it’s your family, travel or just doing more of what you love… I’m sure a big reason for you being here is more time. More independence and more freedom.
And I can tell you it’s worth it.
It’s not necessarily easy and it won’t happen overnight, but it’s worth it.
One final story…
A few years ago, when I was working out of town and rarely home, we were having some difficulties with our youngest daughter at school.
She was rebellious and not always getting along with others, especially her teachers.
We really had no idea what to do. It was frustrating and we were especially worried about things getting worse as she got older, and how we could possibly deal with that.
Because of this business I’ve been home full-time now for awhile (it was a gradual transition). Yesterday, I had a meeting with her teacher. Nothing urgent, just a scheduled parent/teacher interview.
Her teacher said she loved having her in the class, loved her sense of humour, and loved the way she was so helpful and generous with the other kids.
At home she’s completely different as well. She used to be defiant and angry a lot of the time, today she’s a sweetheart who loves to joke, laugh and cuddle when watching movies.
Now, I have no idea if me being home is a reason for such a dramatic change, but maybe, in some small way, it has helped.
So, Vegas is cool (and I can’t wait to go again), but the other stuff you get from building an online business and being home full-time is really cool too.
Wishing you success in 2020!