5 Years at Wealthy Affiliate. What a Journey!

Last Update: September 28, 2020

Well... It's been 5 years since I joined WA. What a ride!

There are 3 things I want to start off with today:

1. Consistency and persistence matter. If you're not taking action, you won't see results. Simple as that.

2. This journey can be tough! I can't begin to tell you how many times I thought about giving up or selling my site(s). Hell, I still have thoughts like this EVEN THOUGH I had a consistent 4-figure monthly income this year. Burnouts happen.

3. You should listen to yourself/consider your strengths, interests and likes. For example, if you ABSOLUTELY hate writing and would prefer video instead, then it's only logical that you pursue a career as a YouTuber, right?

Before I continue, I want to thank Kyle, Carson, Jay and this super helpful community. You guys are awesome! My life has changed thanks to you. 🙏

Ok.

Get a cup of coffee, it'll be a long (and hopefully interesting) read :)


My Journey: The Chronology


2015:


- Graduated from uni in April 2015. Already made up my mind that I won't go to law school and decided to search for online opportunities instead.

- Around that time started my online journey as a freelancer. Even though I was flexible with time and space, I actually hated it. I felt like I was running after people to give me a job I was paid very little for.

BUT... that experience and new connections helped me realize that people make money with blogs/websites, so I started researching and stumbled upon Wealthy Affiliate in September 2015.

- After finishing the first 10 free lessons of OEC training, it was a no brainer for me to become a Premium member.

(Note: Things weren't serious for the next 2 years but better late than never 😂)


2016:


- That year I was no longer freelancing and started dabbling with websites.

I made the typical newbie mistake of NOT going through the entire WA training from A to Z and building too many sites at once... If you're new, do not make that mistake!

- I believe around summer 2016, I almost fell for DA shiny object, a company that was later cracked down by the FTC. The only reason I didn't get scammed was because I didn't have so much money to invest in the program 😂

So, another tip right there...

Don't fall for shiny object syndrome and there's no such thing as getting rich overnight (or in 3-7 days). I hate to break it to you, but you WILL have to do work to succeed online/in life.

- In general, I wasn't consistent with website(s) and I wouldn't say I did any good work, so I never made any decent income. Yeah, I made money here and there but not enough to even call it part time side income.


2017:


- That was the worst year for me in my entire life.

Those WA folks who have been here for a while likely read my story, but basically I went through an emotional pain (heartbreak) AND a physical pain (15 broken bones/surgery).

I was literally in pain for several months straight and couldn't walk for about 1.5 years.

(Don't let that smile fool you... I was going through an unbearable pain and was just happy to be back home in Canada after 3 months in a different country.)

Just to be clear:

I keep sharing this story not for pity, whatsoever, but to let you know that getting to where I am now was NOT easy.

And I would never want you to think that building an online business is easy, regardless of what life circumstances you face now.

I also keep sharing this story to show you that you CAN build create an income-generating website in SPITE of the negative events in your life, should you experience them now.

Envying other people's life is silly. Focus on your life and your journey. Don't wait. Don't fear. Take action... TODAY.


Anyway...

One night, being stuck in 4 walls, crying of pain (and still a WA member for whatever strange reason), I read Dylan's @dylanrieger post here, on how to build a successful website using the 'best of' strategy.

(And I had a light bulb in my head moment.)

I thought, if I don't wanna go insane, I needed to at least use my brain, so I might as well give it a try and start a new niche website. Through pain and tears, slowly as a turtle I started producing the 'best of' content.

Note: By 'best of', I mean creating articles in following format "best [product] for [year]"

- So, end of October 2017, I built my first (successful) website. My hard work paid off and in 2018 I started seeing first and rather decent results.


2018:




That year I was literally stuck in 4 walls and had nothing better to do than to work on my site if I wanted to come out sane after the surgery/post surgery recovery.

I posted a lot of updates about my progress that year. You can read below:

Even if you don't read the posts, you can still learn what kind of milestones I achieved based on the titles.


2019:


In 2019, I started feeling a little better and slowly started walking and recovering and trying to enjoy life as much as I could. (Who knew the pandemic would hit in 2020!)

Anyway...

Thanks to the money I made through that site I built in 2017, I was able to treat myself with some trips, see my friends in the US etc. It felt AMAZING.

That feeling that your hard work paid off and that you finally realized what you came to the Internet for... the flexibility with time, space, earning passive income while travelling.

Even though I wrote a post on one trip, I actually made several trips happen that year...

Twice to Washington DC to visit my bestie, New York to visit another friend and Dominican Republic for vacation.

Having an online business made it happen. When you make it happen for yourself, you'll feel AWESOME.


2020:


It's a crazy year for sure...

Thanks to stupid corona, my 2.5 month trip (plus language school) to Rio de Janeiro was cancelled. The September Las Vegas conference for video influencers that I was supposed to go to also ended up being virtual.

Yep, there are a few things I wasn't/still am not very happy about.

But...

It was also the year I finally broke through:

And then... After writing $3.75/mo post, there was a Google update in May. Lol.

Talk about ups and downs!

This Google update was a truly messed up one (good sites lost rankings, crappy ones were up and lots lots of social media posts on the first page).

My website was no exception and I lost 50% of my traffic because of it.

Now...

People's first 'knee-jerk' reaction is to get disappointed and stop publishing and hope things will get better. I took a different approach.

With the money I made prior to that, I decided to hire a writer and started publishing MORE content and MORE regularly. Investing in my business.

Basically, I had to keep posting even more content to increase my chances of Google rewarding me when they release a new update.

See the screenshot below of my May-Sep search performance:


As you can see, in September 2020, the traffic levelled off.

Which I certainly am happy about and hopefully it'll have a positive impact on Amazon earnings as well. (During the pandemic months, my sales dropped by 5 times).

This year I also created another website to diversify my income streams.

And started a YouTube channel.

Even tried paid ads.

After Amazon cutting the commissions and a messed up Google update in May, it became even more evident to NOT keep eggs in one basket.

I still put a lot of focus on my main site but by slowly diversifying, I'm protecting myself against any unforeseen events. (And you should too but only AFTER you've built an income generating website, IMHO.)

Anyway...

It feels pretty vulnerable to be sharing my 2020 income here but I'll do this one last time.

I remember how I passionately read all those WA success stories and they REALLY motivated me to do work.

So, I'm giving back to the community.

Here's a screenshot of what I made this year so far. To make it easier for me, I combine the income from all the websites and YouTube channel, no matter how small:

I'm fairly certain I'll make over $3K USD ($4000 CAD) this month because there are still 4 more days of September to go.

Proper guidance, hard work and persistence pay off!


My Final Thoughts


Don't forget...

It took me years to get to this level.

I've made mistakes along the way.

I was lazy.

I was distracted.

I was even broken (literally).

But all those struggles and experiences made me stronger. Made me push through. Helped change my mindset.

So, don't give up, folks.

I also have a new mantra I keep saying to myself and I encourage you too:

Don't wait. Don't fear. Take action... TODAY.

And last couple of points I want to wrap this post with:

  • If you don't have any serious reasons setting you back, DO THE DAMN TRAINING!
  • TREAT YOUR WEBSITE AS A BUSINESS. Work on your mindset, it matters.

Any thoughts or questions?

Share in the comments below, I'd love to hear from ya!

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Recent messages
DWindsor Premium
Thanks so much for all these details about your time on WA so far. I'm a newbie and building my first website. No sales yet but I'm continuing to post add internal links as well as affiliate links I think I might also look at hiring a writer as I'm not too confident my material is all that engaging.
Your journey inspires my continuing involvement. Thanks for sharing.
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Zarina Premium
Be VERY selective with hiring a writer! And I'm glad to motivate folks here to keep learning and growing.
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DerekMarshal Premium
Wow! You broke 7% of the bones in your body!

That must have been the most traumatic time for you such a an amazing story of resiliance. I find your traffic story very encouraging (mine dropped lately! (75% drop) just getting on with it and keep on creating content.

Hiring a writer is a great idea to get more out!.
Reply
Zarina Premium
I may be a little off with the # but I think it was 15 lol. It was unreal, man. I'm sooooo glad the worst is behind me.

Yeah, I'm glad I decided to hire a writer for my main site, not WA site as per Grace's advice. With combined forces, I was able to publish the posts faster. She's part time and I do a lot of editing myself but I guess for now this arrangement works.

I hope your site bounces back soon, too!

Thanks for stopping by Derek, appreciate the support.
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ParthaB Premium
Hi Zarina,

I've followed your journey ever since I first read your success post in April this year.

I've scanned through your previous blog posts from time-to-time, felt your heartache, felt your elation, and I have grown to appreciate the "adventure" you've been on.

You've come through a lot, stuck at it, worked hard, and now you're reaping the rewards.

Truly inspirational and thoroughly deserved.

Can't wait to read your next update (end of the year perhaps).

Partha
Reply
Zarina Premium
I try to be as real as possible, beginners need to be realistic about what it takes, that sometimes life gets in the way, that sometimes you need to adapt/pivot...

Thanks for your support, Partha!

P.S. I'm not going to publish a lot here but if I have some special milestones achieved, I might :)
Reply
Roybretton Premium
Hello Zarina,

Congratulations on your five year anniversary at Wealthy Affiliate, it looks like you have come a long way.

Thank you for very inspiring and helpful posts that will others to keep going. I wonder how many of us have fallen for shiny object syndrome, it really is a nasty disease! I am one of these people who have suffered with shiny object syndrome in the past!

Wishing you a great day and more success.

Roy
Reply
Zarina Premium
Hey Roy, tell me about it! Shiny object syndrome is REAL. I'm sure even super affiliates have fallen for those at the beginning of their journeys.

Thank you for your support, appreciate it!
Reply
Roybretton Premium
Thank you for your reply Zarina, it's appreciated.

I wonder what the percentage of new Internet marketers with shiny object syndrome is? My guess is that it could be in the 50 to 60% bracket or even higher! I put my hands up that I have been in the stats!

Wealthy Affiliate is a great place to support and encourage each other with our online journey.

Have a great day.

Roy
Reply
etseil20 Premium
Zarina,

Congrats on 5 years at WA! I enjoyed reading your post, and good reminders for those starting out or struggling (such as myself).

You’ve come a long way since. You've had your bad moments and struggles early on, but you persisted and worked hard. You deserve it. Your income earnings and traffic numbers look stellar. It is motivating for people such as myself.

Keep up the excellent work- you’re one of the best examples of a successful WA member.

All the best on your website and Youtube channel (I love the videos you put out- I’ll do my best to leave comments and help you out with the YT algorithm- you deserve it!)

Anyway, congrats again!

-Eric
Reply
Zarina Premium
Hey Eric!

Man, yeah it's been quite a crazy journey, life upside down, business ups and downs, getting back up and making it work... Myself hardly believe it at times.

I truly appreciate your engagement on my YouTube channel! I also try to respond within the first 24 hours for the algorithm too haha.

Thanks so much for your support!!! I wish you good luck on your journey too! :)
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