James Schramko Interview – Work At Home Dad, Dominating Affiliate Marketing
Blogging Inspiration – Work At Home Dad Makes 7 Figures
Back In February while waiting for my flight home to the UK from Yanik Silver’s Underground Online Seminar, I met James in Starbucks and we sat down to have a coffee. He shared with me how he was making a lot of money with email marketing and how I could be to. In March I started a new blog and earned over $4000 profit, this month I am on course to do $7000 and aim to do $10,000 next month. If you do not read every single word James has to say, then you are missing out big time! If you would like to learn how I earned over $4000 in profit from a one month old blog, check out my FREE eCourse!
I really like James suggestion about getting started with blogging:
“Turn off the television for an hour or two a day and start blogging or creating an Internet marketing business of some kind that helps people”
Note two things here:
1) Start of small — don’t give up the Day Job but rather use some of that time you may have ‘wasted’ to start creating a blog
2) It is about HELPING people. You help yourself by helping other people.
James also goes on to explain how ‘addictive’ this making money online can be once you start making your first few dollars. I can certainly relate to that.
This is our first audio interview, we have plenty more to come, below is a transcript of the conversation. If you enjoyed James’s interview then definitly check his personal blog out, his FREE Report and his membership site out, which helps 1000’s of people make money from the internet.
Enjoy the Interview and as always I look forward to your comments.
Very Best Wishes
James Schramko Audio Interview and Transcript
Press play to begin streaming the audio.[audio:https://www.incomediary.com/jamesinterview.mp3]
So, what’s the biggest thing you think people don’t get with email marketing?
James: With email marketing, I would say that they are, A, not doing it. That’s probably the most common one, because there’s a lot of focus on direct linking or driving affiliate traffic to offers, but they forget that that’s a sucker’s game. They really have to be building a list. Using affiliate marketing to build a list is the key to the whole thing. So, A, they’re not doing it. B, if they do it, they’re probably focusing on volume instead of quality or relevance or segmented lists.
Right. And do you think that a lot of people should be using email marketing for their blogs and their website, or is it only good for certain niches, or what?
James: I think they should only do it if they want to make lots of money. [laughs]
And how do you suggest people build their lists to make all this money?
James: You have to create something of value, so something that’s genuinely good, something that you could charge money for, and then give it away. That’s the easiest way I know.
When we were talking in Washington, I had been thinking about doing some type of ecourse. But, once we got to talking and you showed me just how much money you were making from one of the worst design blogs I’ve seen, and how well you’re doing, I straight away got home and I started implementing a couple of your ideas. And it’s worked for me. So I think the big idea is: should people be monetizing their websites with advertising banners and text links, or should they be just using it to build a list and then monetize the list instead?
James: I think you can do both, because if you keep creating valuable stuff, then people will come back. You only need to get them on the list the first time they come. So that way, when you do have links, and if you steer people into the path that you’d like them to take, they’ll select the path that suits them. So I think you can do both. You can actually get paid to build your list. Some people call it selfliquidating offers. But the great thing is it allows you to actually send paid traffic to your blog as well, not just rely on searchengine optimization.
Yeah, that’s what I found. When I created my funnel, there was nowhere else for them to go. The only way they’re going to leave the site is if they either press the X or if they sign up for my list and start checking out the things I recommend. So, definitely an opportunity for me to start trying out other advertising programs. So I think the main question I want to ask you is, you’re making this money, but what is the Internet lifestyle? It’s what everyone’s always asking. It’s like, what do you do with your money? What do you spend every day doing? What makes you tick?
James: Well, I would probably do the same sort of stuff that I do now, regardless of the money. For me, I like to sleep in and not worry about schedules too much, so I really don’t keep much of a diary. And I just do what I feel like, and spend time with the family. We’re about to go on a whole vacation. My four kids, my wife and I are all going over to Disneyland and Universal Studios, and then we’re going to go down to San Diego and go to SeaWorld and the zoo.
And for me, that’s satisfaction and that’s freedom, to be able to do that instead of having to work. It’s almost a year since I’ve quit working fulltime, and it has been like a holiday.
James: If you could imagine just retiring. I know it’s hard for you because of your age. You haven’t spent a decade slugging away for someone else in grueling work conditions…
James: And you’ll never have to, either, with the skills that you have. But in my case, I worked my butt off in my career. Every year of my work was like two or three years for some normal person who wasn’t busting their chops, because I was in a seniormanagement role. I had a lot of pressure to be the sole breadwinner for my family for the last 14 years, and I support a family of six.
So I worked so damn hard, for me, this is just like absolute relief, to get rid of, I call it a lead backpack. It’s just like getting out the scissors and just chopping the backpack straps and letting that lead fall of your back. And you don’t have to worry. There’s no stress. You may put on a few pounds in weight…
James: But, actually, the lines in your face start to disappear, and you smile more and you can laugh, and you don’t get as angry as you might have gotten when things don’t go your way. You can just laugh it off. Because what’s the worst thing these days, if you can remove all the issues and worries that people have around money, and if you can remove all the stress factor involved around having employment?
I mean, I read some stupid magazine today that said the numberone asset in your life is your job right now, in economic hardship. What a crock. That’s like the numberone prison sentence, in my book.
If you’re dependent on someone else to hand you a check every week, then you have to get yourself out of that situation ASAP, because they control your life. So, for me, it’s about control and freedom.
Brilliant. And how did you make this transition from working all these hours, and then going from that to Internet marketing?
James: Well, I’ve spent a lot of time learning Internet marketing in the three and a half short years that I’ve been doing it. I spent hours every single day. Instead of watching TV, I would come home from work, make dinner, spend a little bit of time with the kids, and then I’d go up to my office and I would work until I’d fall asleep. And I’d wake up with “QWERTY” stamped on my keyboard in the morning, after the alarm clock, and then haul myself off to work for the day.
James: So, there’s no substitute for timing. With this one, there is a big learning curve, and you have to apply yourself in the beginning, and expect a lot of hurdles and roadblocks and technical issues to come up. And the other thing is, I just got my eyes around every single piece of information I could find related to this topic. I wanted to devour it and implement it and understand it and know how it works.
I think that’s what happened when we collided at Starbucks is, we pulled up our laptops and we had a very similar subscriber base. You had a very attractive blog, and I had a pretty ugly one. But my average customer value was stratospheric.
James: And I can still see the shock on your face. [laughs] It was a good moment there, that realization that no matter what you’re doing and I always work to this philosophy there’s always someone else out there doing a far superior job than you are. So you have to dedicate time to understand what that might be and seek it out. So that means reading a book or listening to a telecall or trying out new things. You’ve got to assume that there’s someone doing a better job than you are.
So, in my case, I realized that I could probably do a better job with the design. And while you’ve been implementing your monetization system, I’ve been running a design contest and coming up with themes, and I’m about to implement that.
So the thing is, we’ve both learned something from each other that will increase our profit, because we’ve been openminded to accept that there is someone else doing a better job out there.
And where would you recommend people look for better people doing better things, and so you can network with them, learn from them?
James: I think if they know their market, there will always be leaders in any market that are obvious and prominent, or preeminent, as Jay Abraham would say. You want to go and find out who’s preeminent and observe them, see what they’re doing not necessarily what they’re saying, but what they’re doing. And you can’t follow someone’s footsteps exactly, because everyone has a different personality and style. But I find people whose style that I like and whose business model that I think looks really cool, and I tend to follow them more than people that I don’t relate to or I think are doing the wrong thing.
I get a really strong gut feeling that a lot of marketers are taking completely the wrong direction, so I just abandoned all following of that. I don’t go down a path that looks like it’s a shady path. I look for people who I look up to and I think are doing a terrific job in their field, and then I’ll try and blend those skills into my stuff.
Brilliant. And another question for you is, when I started my Make Money Online blog, there was hundreds, maybe even thousands of other blogs just like me. And when I looked at all the top blogs, I found they were all just using the same advertising programs and the same monetization techniques. So would you say you shouldn’t always copy people; you should just maybe think out of the box or find other ways?
James: Yeah, sometimes you have to take the blinkers off. I mean, that’s pretty much what happened between us, isn’t it?
James: Because you’re in the blog scene, so you’re doing what bloggers do. And they put banners, and they have the same sort of layout and everything else. And I really reject the whole notion of taking sponsorship from other companies, because I know that if they’re prepared to pay me to put their thing on my site, they must have a profitable back end. So I look to do what’s called vertical integration. I go and figure out what it is they’re selling on the back end, and I try and join them directly as an affiliate, so that I can partner in that second and third sale, if they’re on a recurring situation, or I’ll create my own product.
In the case of my Internet Marketing Speed blog, I actually just created a report that was original, and it was exactly the system that I was using to break free from my job, and then I just published it for free, even though I could probably charge seven dollars or whatever. But it did differentiate me.
I was offering something different. And my monetization system is not as obvious to visitors. However, it’s highly, highly effective.
Yeah. I understand what you’re saying there. I mean, when people come into my sites and they see, “Hey, there’s no adverts,” it’s like, “How has he made a few thousand bucks from it in his first month?” I mean, people don’t always understand exactly how you’re making money. And that can be a good way… I mean, you don’t directly sell to them, and if they think you’re more of your friend, then I think you should play on that sometimes.
James: Well, not even just play on it. I think you should be that. I really think you should set about just to create value and to help people, and the rest will take care of itself anyway. Now, if you’re picking big problems to solve, then the solutions cost more money, and your consumer will accept that.
And they’ll actually give you more credit for helping them with a bigger problem, even if they have to pay a higher price, because, as the price increases, the value that you’re offering to them increases as well, because you’re helping them take a bigger risk by advising them properly.
That’s gold right there. [laughs] That’s exactly what I think I should be doing. I mean, I’ve started doing it, and all my readers should be doing it. We shouldn’t be always just going after the small bucks. You should give everyone a solution. You should work with the end in mind, work with passion, and the money just comes most of the time. Especially, that’s what’s happened to me now. So I think that’s a good idea.
James: There’s no doubt you’re passionate, and you’re helping people at that entry level. But what we did is that exercise where we look at what comes after whatever they’re buying from your site. What comes next? Can you help them get to the next stage and then the next stage after that? And that’s really where building a relationship comes into it with your list, because you can step them through the next situation.
So, what you’ll find is that the solutions you’re offering increase in price, but they also increase in reward, but the relationship gets stronger and stronger.
And as your clients pay a little bit more each time, their loyalty to you will increase, and you’ll actually be able to offer them even higherpriced solutions because they trust you more, because you haven’t let them down.
We touched on the recession and business. Do you think people, if they’re working a deadend ninetofive or something like that, should they be looking for doing some parttime blogging or some Internet marketing?
James: Well, I can’t tell people what to do, because everyone will have their own idea. And somebody has to drive buses and serve food at McDonald’s because, otherwise, when we go there, there’d be no one there.
James: For some people, that’s what makes them happy and comfortable and secure. But I would suspect, the majority of the population, if you surveyed them at any point, are unhappy with their job or they don’t feel secure. So, I would suggest, if they were looking to break out of that, one of the very best things they could do is start doing Internet marketing on the side. They can do it as a parttime thing, instead of watching television.
Just turn off the television for an hour or two a day and start blogging or creating an Internetmarketing business of some kind that helps people. And they’ll actually start making money. And then I think they’ll get the bug, like I did and you have, where it gets a little bit addictive.
Well, I don’t actually face the payments anymore. I’m more interested in other things at the moment, which is catching up on the buzz of the community that I’ve created, or finding out what people are up to on Twitter and that sort of stuff’s pretty exciting, when you move past just the money side of it.
Do you think everyone should be on Twitter? Should people be using it for business and Internet marketing themselves?
James: Only if they want to make money.
Yeah? Actually, speaking about Twitter, most of Income Diary’s traffic comes from Twitter. And I find that it is, by far, the best type of traffic you can get. I get twice the amount of time spent on my website than Google, and about 20 times more time spent than social networking and bookmarking sites. So, definitely, the best place to be right now.
James: It’s good of you to actually measure your traffic sources, because that will help you identify where to continue pushing the traffic as well.
Twitter is dominating. And I don’t remember who said it, but you’ve got to think about it like opensource mailing lists, everyone’s followers. You can tell, when you notice someone you like, for example, if you went to your follower list, that’s thousands of people who are interested in Internet marketing and what you’re doing.
And so, if I went and added them now, I’d have now a list of people who love you. Well, they may come and see me and love me as well, and buy from me as well.
James: I’d say they probably would. You’re far more handsome than I am.
James: You’ve got more hair.
Thanks. And for not very long, I have a betterlooking site. [laughs] I love your new site design. I hope you pick the one with the pictures at the top.
James: Well, the readers are picking the design for me, thankfully. I’m actually in the process of collating nearly 200 responses. So I’ve created a little bit of work for myself and the designer, but I think it’ll be worthwhile. And that’s really part of where I want to take this. I’m handing this blog to the community that I’m building, and I think they enjoy it, too. It makes me want to give them more stuff.
Yeah. You’re always mentioning how you ask your community, like if you want to promote something, you ask them, “What do you want me to promote to you?” and “What do you want the site to look like? What do you want me to mention on the site?” So, should everyone be asking their readers what they should be doing on the site?
James: I mean, I did some research with guys who are very strong in communitytype sites. They have a real tribe. People like Tim Schmidt and Craig Ballantyne both have very strong, loyal subscriber bases, and they’re both highly successful Internet marketers. So I’m taking their cue there. I think it is a good idea to have buyin from your audience. It would be too arrogant, I think, just to keep posting what you want and ignoring your customer base. So I think it’s good. It’s nice to have that.
Ultimately, if a decision has to be made, it’s up to me. [laughs] But I’m never closed to the fact that sometimes my readers might want something that I haven’t thought of. So, usually, the best suggestions come from them. You don’t have to be highly original to be able to create value, you just have to be able to ask questions.
You’ve been hanging out with some real big names. I know you go to Yanik Silvers underground, and that you network with all these great people. One question I ask all my interviewees is, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
James: I would say that, to look for breakthroughs, rather than to worry about trying to optimize what you’ve already got. And to look for the constraint. What ever is constraining you, find out what it is. There’s usually one point of weakness that is holding you back. If you can identify it, and then really put efforts into leveraging it up, then usually, you’ll get massive returns of huge breakthroughs.
Like 1, 000 percent increases are quite possible if you eliminate the constraint that is holding you back. Because every system has a constraint, and usually, if you think about it terms of a factory or something, there will always be some machine that slows down the production line, or some supply issue that limits how much the factory can produce.
If you go and find out that weak point, and then just eliminate it, absolutely annihilate it, destroy it, then you can see massive, massive changes in results. So that’s probably the biggest idea that I’ve had this year.
If you had to start all over again, you get in a time machine and go back a few years, what would you do differently?
James: I would immediately start creating my mafia plan. Which is like a 10layer stepbystep business. It’s an entire business revolving around completely owning a market and having it, at several levels, feeding itself with different profit systems. And I’m up to about level eight now, but I could very quickly reproduce it in a new market, or do it from scratch if I had to.
When I go to look for affiliate products, probably every one, we always want to find a better product.
We want better conversions; we want better pay and etc. But, where can we go to get these affiliate products you’re promoting, and in different niches, how do you find affiliate products to promote?
James: That’s a great question. Well, firstly, there’s no excuse for promoting crappy products, because there’s so many good products. Don’t waste your time on weak products. Secondly, you want to be able to find something, and you’re talking about affiliate promotions here?
James: You want to be able to find something that you can easily build a list off. Something that has a second or third market to it. So, find things that go really deep. That way, if you get a little feeder product, you can focus on that, but you can acquire the customer’s name. And then, you can sell him the second or third product yourself, rather than letting them, whoever you’re selling the product for, sell it.
James: So you could aim for the selfimprovement type market, you could pick a product in there. If you could sell one selfimprovement product, like a book or a course, then there are more things you could go into mind programming, or appearance, fitness, relationships. You can dig quite deep into a market like that. Same as sport, if you can get in, sell one product in a golfing market, like a pair of shoes or a holiday, or whatever, you still got equipment or lessons, or clothing, or vacations, the whole bit. Satellite TV’s, so they can watch their sport, magazine subscriptions.
So you can really dig a niche like that out, if you pick something in there that has room for you to move. The worst thing you could do, is pick something that has no runway.
My last question here for you is, when we were sitting in Starbuck’s, and you shared how much you were making through your blog, and how much I was making, and we compared traffic. And you were getting half the amount of traffic I was, and you’re making so much more money. And so many people don’t realize, you look at all the top bloggers and how much they’re making, and some of the smaller bloggers, but they’re doing it right. What would you suggest to people, to convert people more, and to make sure you’re building a list of buyers and only send people to your blog that really want to spend money and make you money.
James: Well, I think you’ve touched on one of the most important things, right? It’s all about conversions. So traffic is only a part of the equation. There are really two sides to this. There’s getting the traffic, and then there’s converting the traffic. So, what you saw with my blog, is that my traffic is incredibly targeted. And I have a very strong relationship with them. In fact, a lot of the people who come to my blog have already bought one of my products. Because I back end my blog from my paid products.
So there’s a big secret. If you have a, I call it like a broad niche, broad type scenario. So my whole business model is laid into broad, then niche, then broad. So they go from a niche product, through to a broad product that captures them all again. And then they niche out again into niche products. And then they go back to a broad product.
So you can actually have a customer navigate through your whole system, but always feel like it’s highly relevant and highly specific, because you’ve identified what they want and you’re delivering options for them.
So, in my case, I’ve got an Internet marketing related blog, but I have niche products in specific regions, like PaperClick, or website building, or search engine optimization, or affiliate marketing.
So they come from these specific products, back to the main general product. And then, they go into more specific products again like traffic secrets, et cetera, where they’re able to use those.
And then, they go back into a broad thing again, like the super fast results forum, where I have coaching for all Internet marketing related topics. So, broad, specific, broad, is a really good formula. And that way, you’re going to maximize your customer value. Because you’ve got something for them at every level.
Brilliant. So keeping it, sort of personalizing it for your readers to make sure everything is perfect for them. You’re not like, say it’s a sports site, and they’ve only come for the blog, for a football, and you’re not promoting them into the basketball niche.
James: Well, let’s say you did pick something in the basketball niche. But you could have your main basketball blog, and then off that blog, you could have a product that trains basketball coaches. Like parents, who want to be a coach, but have no idea what to do. You could have products that teach kids how to be the next NBA super star. You could have products that show skills and drills, or whatever they’re called. I’m not a basketball, you can probably tell.
James: Then, you could have specific ones on how to do an alley oop, or whatever. And then, you could have a little product line of retro Nike’s and Reebok’s. So, you could have little, specific rivers that run away from that blog, but then they may come back again, to a membership for basketball, which is a general one again. So you could appeal to a broad range, but you’ve got specific products for each person that falls within that market.
Brilliant. That’s some great advice, right there. I just want to thank you, James, for coming along and doing this interview. Is there anything else you want to share with us? Business or personal, about your future plans, goals or lifetime goals?
James: No, I’d just say do it. Just get out there and have a go, that’s the thing. You’ve got great opportunities out there right now, where there are a lot of people with problems who need someone to help them solve it. And I think what you’re doing is great. You’re very inspiring, because you’re just getting out there and rolling the sleeves up. And I think if people could follow your lead, then they could do far worse.
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