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My Life As An Affiliate Travel

Who Said My Days Of Travel Were Over?

Not me! I often lament the necessity for self restraint on the travel front. Not only is travel with kids SO much more complex than the sort of adventure Duncan and I used to depart on at the drop of a hat, but their school tends to get a bit antsy if you go on holiday all the time instead of sending them in.

But We’re Leaving… On A Jet Plane!

Actually, it’s going to be Ryanair so it may not strictly be an actual plane. Knowing my luck, I’ll have forgotten to buy the optional extra family pressurised cabin pass. We’re off to Catalonia for the next 3.5 weeks first thing tomorrow morning. This isn’t the first time since the kids arrived we’ve had an adventure, we went to visit my lovely friend out in Kenya a couple years ago. The highlight of that trip was taking them for a close up encounter with Sudan. The last Male Northern White Rhino on the planet.

The last male Northern White Rhino in the world, Sudan. Very special opportunity to meet him. He’s since sadly passed away. As you can tell from our presence in his enclosure – he couldn’t really stand up very well, and he couldn’t see us either.
Obligatory Equator photo opportunity!
This is what happens when you get a flat… in a place where lions live. Not so much “hold my beer” as “hold my extensive collection of weapons”. I was bravely hiding in our car with the kids.

It was on this trip it became apparent our kids really don’t get along that well on such adventures. It was a great experience for them, but not one we will repeat until they are much older.

Taking Another Try At Travel

After we got home from Kenya we bought a house, and it’s taken us this long to get back around to another trip that really helps us feel the fine breeze of affiliate freedom. 3.5 weeks in Spain should be pretty cruisy, and a great low stress opportunity to see what does and does not work for our mini affiliates these days.

I’ll pop a couple posts up while we are away hopefully. I’ve a few half written drafts, so with no actual work routine I might manage to pad them out a bit more.

Wish Us Luck Tomorrow

I’m a bit nervous truth be told. When we flew out to Kenya my youngest daughter nearly got us thrown off the plane for her strong objection to seatbelts. Duncs and I virtually had to sit on her during take off. This was a fair bit louder than the noise a plane makes when hurling itself into the sky as it transpired. The other passengers were fortunately very kind about it. They all seemed to accept my apologies. One of them hugged me and advised wine should be taken. Bless her. On the way home, I hid a full kilo of Haribo about my person and handed them to her when the seatbelt sign came on. Top flying tip from Mummy of the year right there 😉

She has promised faithfully that seatbelts will be worn without question this time.

I’ll let you guys know. Or… perhaps we’ll be on the news tomorrow night. Fingers crossed chaps!

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My Life As An Affiliate

Easter Fun with the Family

Bit of a blogging hiatus! I’m just back into the office after a 2.5 week break over Easter. I’ve long since given up trying to work during school holidays, and we booked a last minute cheapie for the first week just so we could get away for a change of scene.

One of the few downsides of the work at home lifestyle for me is that because my home is my office, it’s important to make the effort to get out for a change of scene during down time. I’ve found if I don’t, it can really affect my mood and mental wellbeing.

So we popped off to the Trossachs and enjoyed a blissful chilled week in a lodge straight outta the 80s. To my children’s horror, the wifi was also authentically 80s in that it was completely absent. But they soon adjusted and enjoyed playing outdoors and some family time.

Refreshed and Ready to Go Again!

I tend to get very bogged down by the slog of affiliate marketing. I love my work, but there’s a lot you have to do to stay competitive and keep the revenue flowing that fairly has your brains flowing out of your ears. As a PPC affiliate I spend way too much time bogged down in spreadsheets and fiddling about with ad accounts. If I don’t take breaks my productivity takes a dive. I am incredibly easily distracted and have to fight against my brain going “ooh look, a squirrel!!”. Just the task of staying focused on throwing out a days work is exhausting for me. These breaks are essential, although I often find them difficult to take if my productivity has already started to slip, as I give myself the most tremendous hard time when I don’t think I do enough.

Restoring Attention

As an aside, I’m fairly sure I have some kind of attention disorder. I was that “daydreaming” kid in class at school. My school reports are all total horror stories. I was unable to learn how to tell the time, or tie my own shoelaces (that’s made me laugh writing that as I still have to tie them like a kid would!). I remember when I gained entry to uni. A classmate of mine was the son of one of my primary teachers. He gleefully let me know just what a pathetic case she thought I was, and that she was shocked I’d achieved a uni place. I can’t even begin to describe my smug levels when I think of her 😉

But in typical style, I digress. I feel it’s important to know when you need a break, and thankfully affiliate marketing pays me to do it. That’s a huge luxury, and it’s worth fighting hard to maintain.

Right, onwards and forwards. I’ll be updating my 4 hours a week PPC challenge in the next day or so. I’ve kept a note of what happened on a weekly basis and have been back working at it this week. It’s all progressing nicely, and I am surprised at how much I’m enjoying doing it. Onwards and forwards!!

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My Life As An Affiliate

Lighting a Candle in the Darkness

There’s no better way to restart a long neglected blog than with an old proverb. So there it is. I’m lighting a candle against my own darkness, or rather my silence!

How Affiliate Stuff Got… Stuffed

The blog fell victim to a house move about 18 months ago. The day we moved to our long awaited purchase and about three minutes before my internet was due to be switched off, my hosting provider told me the site had been compromised and that I needed to do something or my whole account would be suspended. I told them to delete it. I just had time to rescue my post database before getting my move on. Subsequently we not only had to get a very run down house fit for habitation, but my kids had the worst run of sickness EVER. My eldest had no less than 40 days off school in her first year of Primary. Gastro, colds, fevers, and my absolute personal favourite – Chicken Pox followed right up by Scarlett Fever. Mmmmm… Victorian themed illnesses.

Fighting Back Against Isolation & Demotivation

Although the affiliate business is going *great* in the sense that I’m earning more than I ever did in the “good old days” (more on that in future installments), I have been struggling with isolation and demotivation. The move from Australia has been really tough. I loved it there, and it was a total wrench to leave. I had beautiful friends. A great lifestyle. Here… I’ve been struggling to feel at home and haven’t really felt the “blog vibe” as a result.

Sometimes a Positive Grows From a Negative

BUT. Recently I’ve been looking at results that have been more than I could EVER have dreamed of. At the same time I’ve just had a few years where there’s been a void where my usual effervescent enthusiasm should be. So how the hell have I seen a business shoot through the roof when I’ve had a terrible dose of demotivation and unproductivity?

Doing What is Easy

Hah! Look at me! I’m a lazy business genius. I could hardly drag myself out of bed in the mornings, I sat at my desk contemplating my navel and knew I needed to do something. But what? I did what I could do without thinking about it. All the millions of ideas that affiliate marketing can sprout in an enthusiastic mind… were all gone. I just concentrated on my unimaginative instincts. The results have been WOAH. This is something that John Lamerton talks about in his book Ambitious Lifestyle Business – concentrate on your key strengths for greater success. I recommend you read his words if you’re interested in Affiliate Marketing, or any form of self employment cos he’s built a very successful life and business from his affiliate roots. I do suspect he didn’t *really* mean you should do it because you’re too fed up to do much else. Nevertheless though, he’s right.

I’ve Not Really Been Sure What I Had to Say!

I’ve been feeling cut off from Affiliate Marketing. I don’t have that connection with like minded people any longer. When you don’t have that discourse with like minded people, and you’ve pared back your areas of operation to the bare bones… it’s difficult to come up with inspirational and useful content for a blog. That’s not to say I haven’t had ideas at times though, I have thought about writing again just about every day. Often I’d be mentally composing a post and having that “conversation” with my blog readers without being able to actually sit down and write it. Fortunately, I have written what I thought were good ideas down as I went. Lets see what I think when I read them again, hey?

An End To Feeling Helpless

Recently (as in the last year) I’ve started to spread out the old wings again. I took on a developer to do some interesting things with an API for me, then I had to do that again when the first developer got fed up of me. Well, either that or he changed jobs. You decide. I still can’t 😉

Collaborating with someone has kick started my brain again. Having to implement some new tracking, solve problems with landing page performance, look at user experience, and guide someone through the requirements has woken me up a bit. One of the issues with sitting in a room working on your own is that there’s nobody there to prompt you on to new things. My decision to outsource was the catalyst for another large jump in money coming in. I got my total web design and development investment back in two months. The rest has been pure profit.

Hopefully now I’ve dipped a toe in to outsourcing once more I can use the momentum to keep on going. I’m still not sure what direction the blog will take but it’s always done me so much good writing my thoughts down and opening conversations with other affiliates, or beginners. I never tried to monetise this blog before, because I always felt it more than paid me in knowledge and contacts.

Next Steps

I’m going to buzz through all the old posts, and put back up anything that is still relevant or I feel should be kept for posterity.

Anyhow, here’s a before and after pictures of new house stage one and two. Speak soon chaps x

A Few Months Later…
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My Life As An Affiliate

So This Happened.

Quiet round here again, I do think about blogging a lot but the ideas don’t make it into print often.

In my defense I had a “bit of a do” back in June when I had to sadly evict my tenants from my old flat due to the fact they thought it was entirely reasonable never to clean, and that their children were entitled to use every wall and door in the place as an artistic project with the old felt tips and crayons. Oh, and they thought it’d be just *lovely* if they got the kids a wee dog.

Duncan and I decided to take care of the refurbishment ourselves. So we just casually drove up to Stirling (3 times) and gutted out an entire flat whilst my Mother (who has now stopped answering the phone to me) looked after our children for two or three days at a time. We saved ourselves around £3,000 doing that, and also got a much better result on the finish and quality of the work. This is one of the fabulous things about affiliate marketing. We were able to take care of the refurb, and still earn money. Just for scenic value, here’s the view from my old flat. So much love for this sight.

At The Same Time…

Things kind of went a bit mad with my affiliate business. I don’t think I have the words to describe what happened next, but I was pretty immersed for a while there. I wanted to come on here and share with you guys, I really did. But I was mainly feverishly working, and in somewhat of a state of disbelief.

Because This.

Of all the people this could have happened to… I’m not going to lie – I really wanted it to be me.

So when I wasn’t scraping old chip fat off the shattered remnants of my former home, I was battling to keep up with what I had to do to make sure that curve kept heading in the right direction and that none of my spends got out of control.

The Secret To My Success…

Yeah, I’d love to be introducing you to my brand new and foolproof e-book about how to make your fortune. However, about all I can say is that this is 50% pre-existing project that I’ve managed to analyse and optimise this year, combined with the merchant having improved their on site experience, and 50% a new PPC project someone gave me a heads up on. To my very great surprise it wasn’t the couple of hundred quid a month I thought.

Will it last? No it will not. The line up there isn’t going to be some infinite climb. That right there is a peak. The peak of my freaking life, and more money than I’ve ever made in a month EVER.

Was it joyful? No. I was so stressed I couldn’t sleep. I spent a lot of late nights refining PPC campaigns and honing things to maintain my earnings. Still a good problem to have I must quietly confess. Unfortunately I went on holiday in our Caravan in early July (see even further upward insanity on graph) and I was forced to buy a large data bundle and work quite a lot during what should have been quality time with my kids. So to anyone who heard “Mummy is so sorry kids, but I need you to give me time to work just a little longer” from a caravan in Yorkshire. That was me being a really shit mum, and a really shit-hot affiliate.

I’ll Try, I Really Will

Affiliate marketing isn’t something you can repackage and sell, so my ebook has to wait. However, I do promise that once I have “calmed the f**k down” I will spend a bit of time trying to work out how I can put helpful things on this blog. Because my apparent coyness annoys even me. Truly 😉

OK, I thought of one. If you made it this far… more than half of this money came from Bing PPC. I’ll just leave that there.