A Journey From Employee to Media Company
A long time since my last post. I'd like to share what's been happening since then, to show you how I used the skills I learned at WA in a completely different way than expected.
Some time ago I wrote a training guide, creating a roadmap to applying what you learn at Wealthy Affiliate to become your own boss. Since then, my path diverged from that of most affiliate marketers and led to some results I had never expected when I first joined WA.
This is how I went from being an employee to owning a small but profitable media company. I hope you enjoy.
My background was in retail sales, then B2B sales and account management, but my passion was brewing beer. In my late 20s I was pretty much "checked out" of my work, but still good enough at it that I was unlikely to get fired. Just going through the motions and producing enough results to keep getting paid. I took a weekend job in a home brewing store and spent my sick days and holiday time volunteering at local breweries. I was ready to hang up my suit.
I eventually took on a brewing job at severely reduced pay. I learned a lot, but I needed to earn more. I wanted to start a brewing franchise, but I was earning minimum wage. I had to rejoin the white collar workforce.
2014 - Taking Steps
I knew a lot about brewing but I wanted to learn about business. I took on a job with a media company as a Business Development Manager (a fancy name for a B2B salesperson) specialising in Franchise related media. This led to some interesting developments - I accidentally learned a great deal about digital marketing along the way, and I enfded up starting a tiny business.
It was time to break out again. I wanted to go to Japan. I got a tourist visa and negotiated a deal with my boss: I don't take a salary, but I operate as a micro-business, and invoice them for a nice healthy cut of all sales I bring in. Perfect!
Except that it wasn't perfect. When you are an employee, you have a whole lot of procedures in place, and these procedures protect you from the business world. I was effectively still an employee, even though I operated as a business. Except that I was invoicing and had no salary - my monthly invoices were unstable. Some high, many low. Not to mention, I was now at the mercy of the accounts department - there were times when I didn't receive payment for 3 months in a row!
2015 - This Has to Change
I was making money for the company, bt I wasn't getting paid regularly. I needed income. I remembered in my early 20s I had seen some success selling online, which I stopped after the headaches outweighed my results. But I had no capital to invest, I was going to have to drop ship. I started researching how I could exeed previous results.
That's how I learned about affiliate marketing. Unfortunately, everyone giving advice appeared to be an MLM or a scam! But, with a little more research, I found Wealthy Affiliate. Let me tell you, the number of affiliate sites promoting them really made me suspicious! Nevertheless, a free trial is still free. What did I have to lose?
In late 2015 I went through the initial training in just a few days and signed up for premium membership. My first website was all about brewing and beer. Unfortunately, this meant I wasn't focusing on my sales, so income dropped that month. I had to change my schedule: 5 hours of sales, then nothing but training and content marketing. By the end of 2015, I had a fully functioning website, getting traffic.
2016 - Take Off
In early 2016, I was doing great on traffic but no sales. At the same time, I had been offered an amazing opportunity overseas, but I'd been burned before. Time to make some choices. I returned to my home country to fire my boss.
First, I needed to be financially secure. With my previous sales and newfound digital marketing experience, armed with the tools I'd developed at WA, I hired myself out as a freelancer. SEO, content, marketing, sales... I found some good gigs, some bad. I spent 3 hours a day on freelance jobs, which replaced the income of my previous "client" (employer). It was also at this time that my first website became profitable.
Just as I fired my boss, I landed a freelance client that was an excellent fit. They came from a very similar marketing background and we just clicked. It developed into a permanent arrangement, taking a maximum of 3 hours per day, with unlimited earning potential and guaranteed base income.
I accepted the overseas offer and kept my new client.
2017 - The Grind
At the start of 2017 things were going well with my business overseas and my "digital nomad" business running side by side, but I had to drop other freelance clients and stop working on my websites. THere were plenty of challenges too: Financial, personal, logistical and time-based problems. Nonetheless, I was my own master and felt good about it.
Local business rose and fell over and over again, but my online income saw me through all of it.
2018 - It Falls Apart, It Comes Together
2018 was a rough year. Projects failed, businesses failed and even my major client decided to sell up their company. We had been working together for around 3 years now, so I was saddened by this news. But this got me to thinking.
I already knew the business had revenue, because I was making it for them. I knew their niche, their clients, their operation - I could pretty much run the company if I had to. So why didn't I?
In October we formed and agreement and we signed in November. There have been far more challenges than I was expecting, but it's amazing. I have a business partner on board with me, plus a writer and a web developer and instand customer base.
As 2019 draws near, I am very excited about the future of this small company. Currently we operate as a very trusted and well-known news source within our niche and we charge companies for sponsorship and advertising rights. We have plans to add revenue streams, all from different forms of advertising. We also plan to automate and outsource as much work as possible as we progress so that we can continue to add to the company.
All of this was possible because I took a chance, learned some skills, gained some tools and trusted my online income. All of this was possible because of what I learned at WA.
Oh, and because I'm very, very lucky.