Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale. A tale of a fateful trip…
Okay, this isn’t the tale of Gilligan’s Island and it didn’t start on a little ship. It did, however, start with a toilet and a picture and end with a geeky, friendless 15 year old making money. So pull up a chair, grab a snack and let me tell you a little tale. A tale about a girl and her…toilet. Or more accurately: a girl, her toilet, and her foray into affiliate marketing.
Before we get into the story, let’s discuss for a moment affiliate marketing. What affiliate marketing is, a brief history, and what it even has to do with this story. I’ll keep it short and to the point so don’t tune me out yet.
Affiliate Marketing. What is it and why should I even care?
Affiliate marketing is quite simply marketing done for you, your company, or your product by others who say they are affiliated with you. See? That wasn’t painful. At its most basic breakdown, affiliate marketing is nothing more than people promoting your company/product/website and receiving compensation to do so. It’s word of mouth marketing. People push other people to a website or product to make purchases and get a cut of the sale.
Another branch of affiliate marketing is getting traffic to a website and getting it to stay on the page as long as possible so that companies will want to pay you to advertise on your site via clicks or views, thus tapping into your traffic, and making you an affiliate of their company. Super simple, right? I told you so.
Now you’d like to know why you should care, right? This one is easy too.
Sometimes thinking outside of the box is hard. Sometimes making money is hard. Sometimes working for yourself, or becoming an entrepreneur is super hard. Okay most of the time it is very hard. But hard doesn’t mean expensive. I think people get those two things mixed up a lot. It is always hard to start up a business. It can be overwhelming with so many people telling what to do and what not to do. It can be confusing with all the information out there telling you how to begin and a lot of times promising you hollow instant success or filling your head with the enormous amounts of cash you’ll need to “successfully” start your small business online.
Listen, I’m here to tell you that the amount of money you spend to launch a business does not equal the level of your success in the future. It also doesn’t help with the quickness of your success.
If you take away everything else, success is only dependent upon two things.
#1: How hard you’re willing to work.
#2: Your willingness to think outside the box.
Sure, having money will always make things easier but true success has never been easy nor hinged upon startup funds. That I can guarantee you. So, now that you know what affiliate marketing is and why you should care and have been given the best advice you’ll ever need, what about that toilet, am I right?
The late 1990’s & My Infamous Toilet Cam Site.
In the late 1990’s. Eurodance, X-Files, Y2K, and so much more. But the late 90’s brought me my first dips into making money online and affiliate marketing. And that brings me to… the family toilet. Yes, you heard that right. In the late 90’s I was a fifteen year old geek with no friends, no money, and no business experience whatsoever. But I had a toilet. I had a way to take pictures and a sudden, stupid, but lucrative idea. Doesn’t it always start that way?
Here’s what I did.
First, I took pictures of my family’s toilet from an angle that would hint that it was a surveillance camera shot. I then created a package of twenty differently pixelated versions of that same photo and used them to create a looping gif so that the gif looked like a live cam was recording and updating in the toilet area. The next thing I did was to create an ugly website called “infamous toilet cam” and I uploaded the looping gif there along with a lot of banners. Finally, I visited every shady late 1990’s and early 2000’s internet forum there was and linked them to my website, driving a ton of traffic to the site. People would visit to watch the video for literally hours to see if someone would show up to use the toilet or not.
And that’s it. Armed with pictures of my family toilet made into a looping gif, an ugly website landing page, and no shame at all, I made money on my own through affiliate marketing. If a geeky fifteen year old with zero startup funds, no business experience, and dial up internet service can make money, I’m pretty sure you can too.
Now, let’s work together to destroy all those pesky little obstacles you have placed between yourself and finally getting started on the path of freedom by launching your own online business, shall we?
Obstacle #1- I don’t have enough money to start an online business.
Okay, let’s just put this one out of its misery because this is one of the most irritating excuses ever to people who have started a business while being flat broke. You don’t need money to start a business. You need gumption. Almost anything you could ever need for a business, you can get for free online with the power of elbow grease. & that means a lot of hard work, dedication, and mad googling skills. There are a ton of resources out there that will work just fine until you can afford “better”. As in free landing pages, free websites, free applications, templates, and platforms. Social media for marketing. Free images to download/use in your business, and so so much more. You can even start up free product-based businesses with free to use print on demand services. Literally you can start up nearly any type of business at all and almost no cost. And if there is a small cost, I bet laying off those expensive Starbucks drinks for a few days a week, or bartering, or selling stuff you no longer use could get that cash for you rather quickly.
Obstacle #2- I don’t have enough time to start an online business.
Oops. This one also doesn’t fly for me. In life, we make time for the things that are important enough to us. I can guarantee you that you spend some time somewhere in your life right now that you could sacrifice if you are serious about starting a business. Watch 1–2 hours of television each night? Browse 2–4 hours of Facebook each day? Take Saturdays off fully to yourself each week? Think about how you spend your time. Really think about it. I guarantee that you’ll find a few moments somewhere you could use to build up the future of your dreams.
Obstacle #3- I don’t have enough know-how to start an online business.
This one is one I could almost relate to… but not really. With the world wide web, google, and youtube at the tip of your fingers, hidden information and having to pay for a class in a classroom to learn something new is a thing of the far past. Just do a quick search of anything you’re interested in and you’ll be shocked at how much free info appears before your eyes. This obstacle is now obsolete. Booyah!
Obstacle #4- I don’t even know where to begin or what kind of online business I want to start.
So, this one is not an obstacle so much as a small hurdle. My suggestion is to sit down and get an old school notebook out. You know, the paper kind you have to use a pencil or pen with, and begin listing all the things you truly love to do. Maybe even the things you really want to do. Try listing the things you’re really good at as well. After you’re done, take a look at your page and consider what your likes, your goals, and your skills all may have in common on a business level and begin googling businesses that fit into all or at least one or two of those categories. And please don’t take the “what you’re good at” section too seriously. What you’re not good at today you may be good at tomorrow after a decent class or some real world experience.. If you're really considering starting a business and want to streamline your processes from the get-go, you may find this article on Zintego Professional Web Design Invoice Template particularly helpful.
I would say the first thing you may want to figure out is what type of business you want. A product-based business? An affiliate marketing business? Maybe you want to become a speaker and coach or guide of some sort? The possibilities really are endless. The more you write down about your likes and dislikes, and even your goals, the more ideas will spark into your head about what kind of business you may enjoy starting up. Trust me. You’ve got this.
Thanks for reading!
I hope my little story has helped you realize how much potential you have even if you were armed with nothing more than pictures of your family toilet. Don’t sell yourself short. And don’t wait for that elusive day when you have “more time” or “more money” or “more knowledge” to make a play to start up that online business you’ve been dreaming of. That day isn’t as important as this present day and what you do with it.