3 Ways to Invest in Yourself for Free

All the talk is about investing in business and making money but, all the money in the world is not going to be worth a single cent if you don’t take care of yourself, can’t take it with you! as they say, one of the big problems today as I have said on many occasions is that we are always rushing from one thing to another, hoping that our internal batteries will stay charged just long enough till we can make the next deal or lose the next 5lbs or we can work hard enough to just get this next certification, but what happens if it doesn’t ? well you fail not because you could not achieve the goal that you set for yourself but simply because you ran out of steam, and that is a bitter pill to swallow, believe me.

Imagine running a race, you have kept good pace and you have beaten off your rivals, the air is clear and you are feeling good, turning a corner you see the finish line but as you do your leg starts to cramp, it passes up through your body and you start to slow under the pain, but you still see the finish line and it is getting closer, so you push harder the pain gets worse and you drop to your knees, the line stops moving and you see your rivals come past and break that tape, of all the feelings that are running through your head at that time one will be that you will not let this happen again you will go away and train harder, sleep more and learn how to make your body go faster and longer, spurred on by the biting pain of regret you vow this how it will be.

As dark as that analogy was I would be prepared to bet that most of the people in that situation would then go on to smash the next race, but life unfortunately (until proven wrong) is not like that we have one shot at it and once we hit the floor near the finish line there is no more tomorrow, an no more races to make a comeback, so follow these three investments in yourself and take action now so that the last thing you think as you cross the line is “I Won!”

Sleep

Maybe not 8hrs a night as some people literally feel worse after sleeping so long, but find the right amount of sleep for you and stick to it where you can, the odd late night / early morning here and there are fine and you shouldn’t sweat it but consistent burning the candle at both ends, NO, a rested body and mind is a prepared body and mind, and when you are prepared you become more confidence, confidence + preparedness = success, there is nothing that you are not ready for and when it is thrown you can deal with it as you are switched on and “Present in the Moment”

Nutrition

You are what you eat, not strictly true but we all know what it is like to have a massive Carb filled meal and then try to go back to work in the afternoon or get a little more done at night when you just want to sleep, invest some time in yourself by learning about your body, what body type are you? are you sensitive to Caffeine ? is that latest fab diet the reason why you don’t sleep at night and your cognitive function is on the floor, investment in yourself is either free or the price of a couple of good books on the subject, learn to optimise your body and everybody will thank you for it, you will be happier more confident and have more energy.

Exercise

You don’t have to go to the gym and spend a fortune on Protein Shakes and supplements to get fit, There are plenty of good videos on Yoga, bodyweight exercises you can do at home, or make up your own, again the investment is reading blogs such as this one, or the world of information that is at you fingertips in the form of the Internet (I am sure you have heard of it), if you haven’t got time then wake up 30 mins earlier or carry workout clothes with you in the car, that 45 minute break that you would normally fill reading something like this or getting lost in YouTube spiral, making mountains of money for people that produce gaming videos and the like invest in yourself, go for a walk or some sprints, you will feel better for it.

Conclusion

Don’t expect huge differences overnight changing habits and body adaptation takes time but it is worth it, and the evidence is all around us, from the hugely overweight that start a diet and a week in to it still look the same to the skinny kid who gets laughed at at the gym until one day he steps on the Olympia stage, all the way to the guy that spends little money and studies investments without the credit fuelled frivolities of his peers, seems broke until he buys a huge house outright and starts travelling the world without having to ask for the time off from work, but you have to start, not tomorrow, NOW right NOW, literally changes like the above you can start right this second by deciding to go for a walk, or not have junk food at lunch, maybe get a book and sit down and work out why every diet you try does not give results. the best investment you can make is in yourself and it’s the only one that will add years to your life!

End of the Affiliate Journey – For now at least

Possibly not the update that anybody was expecting, but life has a funny way of telling you things, small signs here and there that the direction you are taking is not the best path, I have spent some considerable time now with the Affiliate Marketing and the initial idea, which was to use paid for Facebook ads to promote a product and use Clickbank to get paid for doing so.

Things to consider when starting

  1. This is not going to be for free, Websites, YouTube videos and Guru’s sometimes try to push this message and it is fundamentally wrong, this business requires just one ingredient Traffic and this traffic needs to have some value, as in it needs to be directed, simply throwing 1000 unqualified leads at a landing page is highly unlikely to get any result, and traffic costs my friend, either in your time to build up a following on social media or in cash to by advertisements.
  2. The second thing is really an extension of the first point and was ultimately my undoing at this time, you will still need Time and quite a measurable amount too, think about it, you have to create landing pages, creatives and static ads (these can be done for free) and then place them and monitor the spending, as a side note you will notice that the majority of the success stories start with the phrase “I lost my Job” or “when I was eighteen” or some such other narrative that when you scratch beneath the surface implies that they started with a lot of time on their hands.
  3. Nearly all of the videos on YouTube are only half of the story, and in fact I would say it’s not even half more like one quarter, I promise that the curse of the blank page is nothing compared to staring at a video ad looping over and over and not knowing how to make it feel right and professional, and hiring somebody to do it is more money.

One of the conclusions I came to was this, the vast majority of the affiliate programs are centred around selling more affiliate training programs, I actually have a moral issue with this as it adds no value to peoples lives, These are nothing more than pyramid schemes in my opinion and ultimately although they can make money for some they do not for the vast majority of people involved.

I am not saying that affiliate programs are not viable in any way, I have links on this website to books that if anybody bought through me I would receive money, it would not make me rich but it would be earned simply as a by-product of something I enjoy doing, and as the reach of the website increases the scope for more people to see the links and click them also increases, this provides potential return on one time effort, and this is probably as close to Passive Income as it is possible to get.

Summary

In summary I feel it only right to say that the path to affiliate marketing that I started to take is best described as cynical, it would have worked with a larger budget and a smaller moral stance, quick money can be made this is true, but quick money is Small money, along the way I have spent time listening to giants of business and investing and a lot of their words have rung true with me, I understand the need for a side hustle if you have a day job as this is the only way to start on the road to financial freedom as all too often we start looking for money when we have grown out of our current income, and I also understand and would happily advise anybody that has the time and the freedom to dedicate every waking moment to affiliate marketing should do so, success stories are not always a tissue of lies to extract your hard earned money, a good amount of the time they are true and a reflection of what that person managed to achieve with their particular circumstances, just remember that their circumstances are NOT yours and you need to evaluate carefully what you can sacrifice in order to reach your goal, I am going to move toward the side hustle and will happily share any successes I have with you all on here, as well as getting on with the other side of the traineesuperhuman, the fitness and life motivation.

Till next time, run as fast as you can but make sure you have the right road!

Work this affiliate stuff out for free (or very little)

So after yesterdays rant, I thought I would continue in the same vein, it has really started to get to me the more I look at it that these millionaires charge so much money to teach our grandmothers to suck eggs! I mean for the love of god…..

So I have put together literally all you need to know about the first stage which is Clickbank, I say Clickbank because it is the one I have an account with and it is one of the oldest and it hasn’t been closed down by any government agency for being fraudulent, however for the sake of balance there is also.

Amazon Associates
Rakuten
Affiliate.com

The above are three of the biggest and all were found by a google search and cost nothing to discover, I would also venture that once you delved deeper they would also cost nothing to join and promote the hell out of whatever takes your fancy.

Menu on Clickbank

However, once you have signed up for Clickbank (I had already done this and I did not think to document it) you make it into your account area and after confirming your email address for what seems like the millionth time you are presented with a screen that has all the basic information you might require in it, and a menu running across the top.

This menu is extremely self explanatory and you should start to have a click around while here to get a feel of the site and how it works.

Once you have done this it is time to pick something that you want to promote so, if you click Marketplace you are taken to another page that has the different Niches listed along the left hand side and these contain the different sectors from which you can pick a product or service to promote, there is a something to be aware of here and that is the Gravity rating again this is a fairly simple concept as it basically is the higher the number the more people are promoting that product right now and making money from it, the internet it would seem does not favour the brave soul selling umbrellas in the height of summer and sun tan lotion in the deep dark of winter, so look for the highest Gravity and start with that.

You can see that in the screenshot above I have ringed the two options you are looking for, namely the Gravity (top left) and the promote button (top right in blue) this is pretty much much what you are looking for, other terms are outlined below.

  • Initial sale – This is the average dollar value to the affiliate that drives the sale, so what you are likely to receive per sale.
  • Avg %Sale – This is the average or a sale including initial and rebill
  • Avg %rebill – The average total dollar value for rebill only

Once you have slid you sliders to where you want to start looking then you can hit the red promote button and be taken to this screen.

Hoplink (Affiliate Link)

This is your link that you must embed in your advertising for the system to track the sales that came from you, there is an option here as before selecting to get your hoplink to add an optional keyword to your tracking that would also be unique to you, this is useful if you want to create multiple hoplinks for the same product and track different advertising methods to see which perform the best.

Then crack on and create your advert !

Here is one I actually did, really quickly with GIMP editor and some free images, as you can see it really is not that good but I will explain why that is not important in a later post, you see it works as well, if you click it, it will take you too a paid survey sign up landing page (not mine).

Now this is literally all there is to starting on your journey, are you now rich, hell no and most certainly not with an advert that looks like that, by the way the advert above is the recommended Facebook dimensions of 1200×628 if anybody is interested.

It has cost nothing, GIMP is free, the image was free and my time at the moment is free, because there is nothing else financially productive I could be doing right now.

I will go into the various advertising programs and so on and continue my quest into affiliate marketing in future posts but for now, know two things, we can make this journey on our own and spend the thousands that we would on courses on advertising and traffic generation, or maybe just our kids and having a good time, and if your ADs suck ass like mine above your click rate will be pants!!!!!!.

Till next time..

Affiliate Marketing Guru – And Skint!

Only a quick update tonight, I have spent the last couple of days chasing down YouTube videos and reading blogs from some of the biggest names in affiliate marketing, and I have to say that I am far from impressed with what I see, there are some who say that affiliate marketing is dead and that it is almost impossible to make money from it these days, and there are some that say it isn’t, it is simply the effort that you put in that determines your outcome, and there are still more that quote affiliate businesses that make exceptional amounts of money 24hrs a day 7 days a week.

I, for the most part am a busy man, and when I am not busy I, like others am sleeping, my work takes up the vast majority of my time during the day and when I get home or finish for the day if I am working from home, I like to spend as much time as possible with my family, once the children are in bed I then return to the computer or go to the gym depending on which day it is, so if I am going to invest time in something, let alone money it has to be at least logical, and while I am happy to lose money while learning something it is important that there is the hint that the leap of faith is worthwhile.

This is where the problem comes in, and to demonstrate I will re-cap something I have said before, the gurus all seem to be selling the same thing, and as long as you can work out that you need to pull your pants down before sitting down on the toilet, you could work it out yourself and in the meantime save literally thousands of dollars (which is what this all works in) .

The Formula

  1. Sign up for an affiliate program
  2. Get social media accounts
  3. Find something to sell
  4. Create adverts or self promote through videos
  5. Sell your products

Oh and I forgot the most important part of this, go on to do this sat on a beach in the Bahamas.

My point is this, if you have 1.2million followers on Instagram or YouTube or indeed on WordPress, you Don’t need to find affiliate programs because you will have every company in the world that sells something to do with whatever you have done to get that audience kissing your ass, and probably a few companies that have nothing to do with what you do.

So what if you don’t have a million followers ? well you Pay for adverts and this is another point that I don’t think could ever be classed as a eureka moment, I mean do we really need to spend $1299 to be told to find a paid advertising solution ? hell no and if you have got that much money knocking about it would be better spent on a holiday to get over how skint you are (broke) or better still giving it to the one place that can help you sell stuff, number 4 on their 5 step plan…… wait for it………. Facebook or Instagram or YouTube, disappointed ? yeah thought so.

The more cynical people amongst us will start to wonder which came first the affiliate marketer or the guru ?

I have had two affiliate links on this Blog since pretty much when it began, for two books that I have read and they have received zero clicks, not a single one, why because the internet is a numbers game and the people that control the numbers control the money, I have 120 followers and so of that maybe only 10 percent will check out what I write and probably only 10 percent of them will look around and now I have run out of 10 percents, you get my point?

Summary

I am not saying that affiliate marketing is dead, or that you can’t make money from it, I intend to keep looking at it and I have found plenty of places that you can make videos to upload to YouTube and quite a bit about YouTube and Facebook ads, Instagram is still a bit of a mystery to me but I will look at it, no, my point is this, back in the old days of the Gold Rush, many people came to prospect and most lived their whole life to find Gold, ultimately dying alone and hot under the desert sun without a penny to their name, and some turned up went out in the afternoon struck gold and went back to their families millionaires or more, but each and every one of them had to buy picks and shovels, this blog and the reason for this slightly down beat post is simply this, I think it is the right of everyone to live their life happy and free from pain, if that means that you only want enough money to get by or you want to be a billionaire then so be it, it is in the power of everybody here to achieve wealth and happiness just like they can achieve physical fitness, and I have no issue with paying for knowledge, after all if it is true knowledge then it is worth every penny, but life is too short to be dragged in and rinsed by people, which given half a chance they will.

The gurus you see are almost all millionaires, and the ones that claim they are while sat in a bedroom, with bad audio and grainy webcam are just laughable, but you can’t get rich ripping people off with their image because they have already done it, however the fact that they keep going means that there is enough new people coming onto the net to support us all.

Takeaway

Perhaps we should all sell picks and shovels ? disagree with me or are you making loads of money online ? I would love to be proved wrong please comment below.

Wednesday – Half way there or half way back?

So we are half way through the week and how have you done? have you sat on everything that you said you were going to do and it is still there waiting to be picked up?

Humans suffer with what I call drift, in my industry we have an issue with logging, devices log events and issues and the logs have a timestamp on them, this then allows us to go to the log collector and search for events around a certain time to see if we can work out what device may or may not have failed, problem is that you can have 10 switches or 6 routers all made by the same manufacturer and all identical with the same chips as their stablemates, and unless you synchronise the clocks with a central source, in this example an NTP server, the times will drift, and when this happens it makes it much harder to work out when an event actually happened and if there is anything significant in the logs.

In human terms this is best summed up by saying that, when we have an idea or we formulate a plan, we need to see the end result to get truly excited about it, in fact when you attend seminars and watch motivational videos this is literally what we are told to do, I am sure I have said this before and I will bang on about it in the future, think back to the last lottery ticket you bought, I would be prepared to bet that you had the money spent before you even got home, but then you have to wait and waiting is boring right? damn straight it is, and what happens when we get bored, we become disinterested we start to look for things to entertain us, and we move on, in 2012 “The Telegraph” a newspaper in the UK reported that more than £1.4 Billion of lottery prize money had gone unclaimed in the 18 years since the competition began, because in the short time between buying the ticket and the draw, the owners of the tickets had misplaced them of forgot to check and the ticket had been thrown out or put through the washer, the world has taught us to demand instant gratification and anything less it would seem is to boring to contemplate.

So we start with our idea, our plan and we run at it, we start watching YouTube videos about what we are going to do or if it is sorting out our lives we start making phone calls and talking to the people we need to solve our problems, then guess what ? Nothing happens, maybe a few quick wins, a debt cleared here or an account opened at Amazon associates, but other than that it all stops as the next part of any dream starts, the hard work for absolutely no return, and it stings, and it hurts and you get all upset and start whining to the Mrs or Mr, ultimately you stop, because it’s been a week and you are still not a millionaire, or you are still drowning in debt.

Sounds like I have an idea what I am on about? that’s because I do, even this blog I am writing now had this particular logic applied to it, I was really excited about starting and got it setup, tried a few different things and earned 18 cents so far ! where is my Corvette, my Mustang and that really cool house in the hills ? still very much in the showroom and the estate agents window that’s where.

I left it behind for a bit and got out of the habit of writing, then got out of the habit of thinking about writing and ultimately instead of sitting down and building the blog, I just had a Chicken breast or can of Tuna and sat in front of the TV doing absolutely sod all about my future, and I have only been doing this for around 4 months! then I watched a video and it triggered me (mostly by anger and jealously) and I wrote again, this time with a little more vigour and with a little bit more of my personality coming through.

If I had started my Blog and WordPress had sent me a Corvette and the keys to the house as part of the welcome package instead of a blank page and a credit card bill I would have been all over it because my dreams and my goals were realised, at that point I am not trying to change my life, my life has changed, and the time to build has been bypassed, I am no longer bored I am fulfilled.

You have to halt the drift, regardless of what you do to make this happen for you it is going to take time, and you are going to have many many frustrations along the way, but if you are completely honest with yourself about what your goals are when you get there it will be like heaven and it will be better than you ever imagined, and I don’t mean you have to shoot for billionaire status, or owning skyscrapers, if your dream is financial independence and freedom, you will know when you get there and you finally hand your notice in at work, if your dream is simply to get in shape and be able to run around with your kids at the park, the effort and the sweating and nearly passing out in the gym will not even be a memory when you see the smile and hear the laughter from your children as you play in the park.

Own your Dream, fix it in your mind and if need be tell me your dream and I will send you reminders every week or month or day if you need it just to keep it fixed there, because if you are focused and if you truly believe you will make it and you do not forget why you are doing what you are doing you will make it, if you forget to chase your dreams they will fade and you will stay exactly as you are now, keep enthusiasm and enjoy the journey.

Should Privacy Be a Right?

A bit of a departure for me, but something that is very close to my heart, Privacy I don’t mean people not knowing what I look like on here or the fact that I choose to put pictures and my opinions on the internet for all to see, I mean the data that I do not choose to share, the buried tracking cookies, the carefully worded “terms and conditions” that essentially boil down to you agreeing to being tracked and profiled in order to use a service, and when that service is Google or Facebook, it is difficult to make the decision to not agree and to walk away from the service because they have become so ingrained in our society, life can genuinely be difficult without them.

I want to deal immediately with the first argument that people come up with when faced with this point “if you have nothing to hide what is the problem?” the problem is that I do not want to share ever aspect of my life and if you think about it I bet neither do you, secondly I want to choose what I allow people to know about me and my family, and third I want to know what information is being gathered about me and how much care the organisations that have that data are taking over it.

I work in network security and as such have always been one of the “tin foil hat brigade” because when you understand the nature of a thing you see just how powerful it actually is, that said the event that triggered my latest rant had me baffled as to the mechanism in the background that allowed the transfer of data, and it concerns the setting up of an account with the same avatar that I have on here, I like a lot of people run Plex media server at home, it is run on a local server not in the cloud and has three accounts on it, I will not name the site that this happened on and have only named Plex as it is important to understand that this was a local server, I created an account on the other site and added the avatar, the next time I went to log into Plex it had updated my profile picture (previously blank) to the new avatar, there is no discernible connection between the two and to this day the way it pulled that information is a mystery.

The Giants of the tech world log and track our lives By Default removing our ability to be in control of our own information, they use this information to shape the world we see and as we become more and more dependant on social media and devices to run our everyday lives algorithms are working in the background make sure we never see something that doesn’t interest us, but think about that for a minute, if we never see anything that they think would not interest us and the knowledge they have is only built from things that we have searched for or looked at previously then where is the diversity? where is the random nature that makes humans so interesting, all our visual cues while online will be similar and our browsing experience will be shaped to appeal to what the system thinks we want.

Computers like uniformity, they thrive in a binary predictable environment where an action equals a programmatic and logical response, and of course it is a marketers dream, consistent advertisements, news stories suggested feeds and search results that all point to a single direction will ultimately push an individual into a course of action even if the only reason is frustration at the seeming lack of options.

The boom in devices for children that require an account to tailor the results and media to the younger audience simply means that this cataloguing of the human race begins earlier, and our children provide information without a care in the world, a slightly more sinister way of looking at is with the ability to shape the content that they consume it is not a major stretch before you arrive at the ability to condition and influence an individual or in the case of YouTube and Facebook, a generation effectively allowing tech companies to provide the generation of the future, and the Best case scenario for this is that they shape consumerism, the worst case doesn’t even bear thinking about.

So the question really isn’t about privacy being a right, or about the ISP knowing what websites we are going to, it is far deeper and more fundamental than that, it is about the right to live your life as you see fit, to have the ability and the information at your hands that makes you equal to your fellow man both in freedom and opportunity, it is allowing your children to grow and choose their paths through their own experience and curiosity not through a pre-programmed journey based upon an unseen authorities view on what they should become.

I guess that for the most part this post is really “my two cents” but I urge anybody that has even a passing thought that I may have a point, to just look at the videos and content that is popular among your children, or take more notice at the lack of deviation in advertising on social media that you see as well as the difficulty in trying to search for a topic outside of your normal interest on Google, look past the inconvenience and think about the long term consequence.

You can't hit an invisible target so how do you expect to reach an invisible goal?

So the first thing that I started to think about was “what makes a Superhuman?” and here we have the first of many questions that are completely personal in their reply, however there is a certain amount of commonality when considering this question, it is easy to say that a Superhuman has some extraordinary power or trait that sets them apart from the rest of the human race, but as we are nearly all slaves to the Hollywood machine that is about as far as it goes, they can usually fly and see through walls and lift cars as if they were toys,

as tempting as this was for me to be able to aspire too I was painfully aware that I was never going to fly without a plane wrapped round me and I am far to old to start trying pick up cars!

No I had to dig deeper into the question, for me (and it will inevitably be different for most people) a Superhuman had several traits, physical fitness, a caring selfless personality and financial freedom enough that they could live their life without the stress of money and enrich the lives through education and security of our children and loved ones, and it should be noted that at the beginning of this journey I tick none of the boxes.

More History

I realised sometime before my first catalysing event that I had to change my life but I did not look any further than the need for more money, what I didn’t realise was that I was looking for the wrong commodity, you see money in itself is pointless, money unspent is simply paper at most and a number on a screen at it’s least, if your figure is only double digits and you are unhappy then unless you change your environment that figure can become ten digits or more and you will still be unhappy.

I wandered from business idea to business idea with no direction and no idea of what I was looking to achieve as a result I gained nothing, sure I did get a better job but due to lack of purpose or goal I simply grew quickly into the increased income with no change in environment and thus stayed unhappy.

One observation that I did make at the time was that I never had any idea if what I was doing was getting me anywhere or not, progress through any scheme wasn’t quantifiable, I have now realised in retrospect that this was a direct result of having no end goal, ask yourself this, if you set off out of the house with no destination in mind how do you know how close you are? simple you don’t ! and I didn’t and so I wasted years just aimlessly existing and making no progress at all.

Time to Stop the waffle and make my point!

So I sat down and actually looked at my life, took stock of what was making me unhappy and used that to formulate my goals, they were as follows

  • Physical Fitness (I was hugely overweight)
  • Financial Security for me and my Family (we were broke)
  • Time with the people I love and for myself (I spent most of my time working for a pittance and trying out ideas to make a million)

The way I worked this out was to start at the top, what life would look like if I could wave a magic wand and change all that was wrong overnight, then slowly methodically working back from the top identifying what life needs to be before I can move onto the next stage, the process was long but I eventually had the issues in the brackets above, and the goals without brackets.

Now, there is no magic wand, no five minute montage to inspirational music, and here’s a real kicker nobody is going to help you (at least not for free)

So I encourage you to do the same, and before you start remember some key points to help you keep motivated along the way,

Concentrate on moving Forward

Anything in the past is in the past, this is true of any event that has gone before, agnostic of it being positive or negative we cannot turn back the clock we can and should only ever move forward, sometimes that will clearing up mistakes of the past, and that is perfectly fine, in fact the lack of courage to admit past mistakes is what holds a lot of us back, and of course facing the pain of whatever we need to do to fix the mistakes, I tell you something, it certainly kept me back for a lot of years.

You have not failed

A person can only be regarded as a failure if they do not get back up, on your journey, as in mine there will be things that do not go exactly as planned, that is life not a reflection of your effort, and it affects as us all, you have already begun to fight back by looking for an alternative to your current situation.

Don’t forget the cliche

You get out what you put in, it is old and far from original but it is true, 100 percent effort will give 100 percent return, careful though cos 1 percent effort will give 1 percent return, be vary wary of people offering quick fixes to all your problems.

Quick reminder

I am sharing my journey because I fell into every trap and went down nearly every rabbit hole before I learnt how to start putting my life back together, while I will never charge anybody directly for my musings through subscription or such, I do fully intend to make as much money as possible from advertising and affiliate schemes, and I completely encourage anybody to do the same.