Missy Ward Interview – Co-Founder of Affiliate Summit, FeedFront Magazine and GeekCast.fm
Today I am very pleased to introduce you to an amazing Female Internet Entrepreneur that runs several really unique businesses — Missy Ward
Missy is the Co-founder of Affiliate Summit which provides educational sessions on the latest industry trends and issues and foster a productive networking environment for affiliate marketers. Missy has kindly set up a Coupon Code which will give you 10% off if you would like to attend Affiliate Summit 2009 East. The Coupon Code is: IncomeDiary
If you want to read more about Missy, then I recommend you check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.
Could you describe what you do and how you earn your living Missy?
I earn my living doing what I love – marketing. I am the co-founder of Affiliate Summit, Feedfront Magazine, GeekCast.fm and I also run a handful of affiliate marketing sites. My personal blog is MissyWard.com.
Tell us about your biggest project, Affiliate Summit? Why did you start it?
Just six years ago, when people thought about affiliate marketing conferences, it was generally a negative connotation. At the time, the reigning conference was Affiliate Force, an annual cruise around the Caribbean.
Shawn Collins, and I helped to coordinate those conferences, but we thought there were ways it could be done better. To make a long story short, Shawn and I offered out our opinions and were dismissed by the owner of that conference. Shortly after the April 2003 Affiliate Force, Shawn and I decided to create an alternative. The purpose of Affiliate Summit is to provide educational sessions on the latest industry trends and issues and foster a productive networking environment for affiliate marketers.
Why do you think Affiliate Summit has been such a huge success?
I truly believe that Affiliate Summit’s success lies in the hands of our attendees. They’ve really helped us craft our agenda, and shape our networking events. Through a lot of surveying and listening, we find out what they want out of the conference, and do everything possible to deliver it to them. I also think that it helps that both Shawn and I have been affiliate marketers for years, which gives us a good sense on what’s going on in the industry as a whole.
I understand that in past events you have had huge stars attend and present including Gary Vaynerchuk, how would you suggest approaching big names in your niche, weather it is for an interview for your blog or to speak at an event?
Over the years I’ve found that the best way to approach a big name is simply ask them. For instance, I run a weekly hour-long podcast each week called TheSpew.fm. It’s a podcast for women in online marketing by women in online marketing. Each week we feature a special guest who can offer their opinions on topics that we’re talking about that day. I’ve had folks like Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com and Peter Shankman of HARO come on the show simply by letting them know that I consider them an expert on the content that we’re covering and would love for them to share their thoughts. Let’s face it, it’s important for big names to continue to keep their names in the forefront as well. I haven’t been turned down yet, but I’ll let you know if there’s ever a first time 😉
What’s involved in hosting such a large event, what advice would you give someone who is planned to host their first?
Wow, there are so many intricacies to holding an event for 3,000+ people that has a large tradeshow floor and a 4-track session for 3 days – I don’t even know where to begin. Shawn and I (along with our employee Amy Rodriguez) actually handle each part of it on our own – everything from the meeting planning, to creating the agenda and recruiting the speakers, to the marketing of the show. My advice to someone starting out is to get themselves a good meeting planner if they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s a handful.
You run a whole bunch of successful websites including FeedFront Magazine, GeekCast.fm, ShipToTroops.com and on top of that you are a mother, how are you able to keep up with so much stuff? What’s your top tip for getting more done?
My tip for getting more done is to love what you do. I breathe it. Because of that, nothing I do feels like work, even when I do it for 12-16 hours a day. I’m also very lucky in the fact that I have a great husband who is supportive of me and doesn’t give me grief for working late every day.
What would you say to other female Internet entrepreneurs trying to make it in online business?
I would tell any female (or male for that matter) the same thing. Love what you do, be persistent, and be yourself.
Running an Internet Business gives you choices and freedom to do what you want, when you want. What would you say the Internet Lifestyle is for you?
Well, I’d love to tell you that you can find me on a beach somewhere with a laptop in one hand and a margarita in the other, like they show in all those “make money online-Guru-sites”, but that’s not the case. I spend a lot of hours trying to make my companies successful. But, running internet businesses does give you the flexibility to create your own schedule which is great for me. I can stop anytime during the day to do things with my family and then pick up where I left off when they go to bed.
What would you say is the biggest single reason for your success?
I could sum it up in one word, “chutzpah”. It’s a Yiddish word, which loosely translated means “gutsy audacity”, in a good way. Whether it be in my fundraising efforts to stop breast cancer; coming up with a new way to grow my businesses or working on a new project, I give it my all. I don’t stop until I reach my goal – whatever it may be.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what advice would you give yourself regarding making money online?
I would have told myself that I shouldn’t skimp on the basics. Money was tight back then and because of that I made some stupid decisions. My biggest one was using a free hosting company that closed up shop about 6 months after I launched a site that was finally starting to make good money. My site was down for days because I didn’t have a local backup. Stupidity at its finest.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Growing up, my Dad always told me that the only way to really enjoy life is to be who you are and love what you do. It didn’t mean much to me when I was a child, but I listened to it. He was right.
Thanks very much for the interview, Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
As far as business goes, my business partner and I are launching a new book publishing company called Velocity NYC Press. Its focus will be on helping online marketers get their books published in their specialties. As far as lifetime goals – I guess that would be to do my part in help eradicating breast cancer by the time my step-daughter grows boobies. 😉 As I said before, I am an active fundraiser for organizations that support breast cancer research, treatment and community programs. I help to raise about 50k per year for foundations such as Susan G. Komen and the National Breast Cancer foundation. Each year, I organize a team of Affiliate Marketers to raise money for these foundations by participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-day/60-mile walk. You can read about our efforts on AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com. I’m just putting the final details together for this year’s walk, which will be taking place in Los Angeles in September.
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