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Review of 2015

Not A Good Year For Me

christmas-greetings23aAs 2015 draws to a close, I’m sad to say it’s not been a good one for me in any sense – personal or business.

The main reason, which has over-shadowed the whole year has been the illness and then the loss of my dear Mum. You know it’s going to happen but that doesn’t make it any easier for those left behind.

Everyone did what they could to make her last days as comfortable as possible and I’m confident she was as well looked after as she could have been. She died peacefully in her sleep at home, as she had wished, on April 14th 2014. If she had survived until December 2015 she and my Dad would have celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary.

So as we head into the festive season – when family stresses sometimes run a little high – I urge those of you that still have loved ones with you to be thankful that you have your family around you. And please spare a thought for those of us – young and not so young – who are missing loved ones at Christmas.

Continuing on the bad news (there is good news ahead, I promise!)…..

Affiliate Marketing Didn’t Work For Me In 2015

Business-wise it’s fair to say that a year ago I was pretty much floundering in my online business and hadn’t found any real direction other than reviewing other people’s products in an unfocused attempt at affiliate marketing.

“Everyone” said I should become a product producer; so I produced a paid product of my own, supposed to be marketed by affiliates. More urgent family pressures meant production was delayed badly and the launch – on a non-VAT-compliant platform – was only a few days before the ill-thought-out VAT regulations relating to digital products. So I stopped promoting, rather than fall foul of the VAT-man. (Wonder whatever happened to that damp squib?)

I tried moving the product to a VAT compliant platform but technical problems and lack of time defeated me. Affiliates who had said they would promote the product didn’t, and all in all it was a BIG waste of time and money.

mistakes in affiliate marketing However, I always like to learn something from any failure and I learned a lot from producing my own paid product – mainly that it’s something I never want to do again! I’ve produced a few free products as lead magnets, and I genuinely believe some of them give more value than one or two paid products I’ve seen, but I’m not tempted to continue down the “produce my own paid product” route.

Watching other “players” in the affiliate marketing arena it was obvious that there’s a group of marketers releasing low priced products and all promoting each others’ products in an incestuous little circle adding bonus on top of bonus in an effort to outdo each other. The result is that a small player, such as myself, cannot compete with a low priced product because the big guys have huge lists just waiting to see which of their mentors will produce the most mega-mega-bonus of all.

I featured an article by an anonymous product producer from this little clique who was as disillusioned as I was by it all. Read here: Do Gimmicks And Best Sales Bonus Trump Product Value?

Some of these products are so good I couldn’t compete with producing anything similar and some are so bad as to be dire. Yet all are promoted with equal gusto to those on certain marketers’ lists. Some “stars” are made and some sink without trace, but I got so fed up of seeing the same people promoting new products, day after day, and launch after sickening launch that I resigned from all their lists except one – the guy who wrote the most entertaining emails. It saved me a lot of money as I stopped buying these $9.99 products, and their inevitable upsells!

My disillusionment with affiliate marketing and producing my own product led to a re-think and a return to my original online success, with network marketing (also known as MLM or multi-level-marketing). But first I needed to address – and solve – what had gone wrong with previous MLM ventures.

Which I managed to do! More info further down this post ….

So What DID Work In 2015?

GetResponse Free TrialThe most successful MLM I was with (several years ago) closed down abruptly, taking with it an income larger than my regular income at that time, plus the list of contacts that I had stupidly entrusted to its care.

So, to be sure that never happened again, I learned list building and email marketing. If you’re not already building your list, make that your 2016 goal and just DO IT!

For your auto-responder I recommend GetResponse – take a free trial here. And to learn your craft I recommend James McAllister’s List Building course here (with a bonus discount for my readers).

Part of the problem with my 2015 floundering online business was the revival of my 30-year old offline business! A customer who had just been ticking along suddenly came up with a massive amount of new work, and well paid work at that. So I did what any sensible business owner would do, and put my efforts where the best income was. Even going forward into 2016 I still have a full order book from this client.

One pleasant result of this was that I was able to “sack” another off-line client who was causing me too much stress. That felt good, and I have never regretted the loss of the related income.

Blog Improvements

site-ground hostingHappily I managed to keep my blog going alongside the offline work, despite horrendous technical problems.

Some bloggers seem to enjoy solving technical problems. I hate them. I just want to write and get my articles out as fast as possible, without fighting gremlins.

To address some of them I moved my site’s hosting to SiteGround and experienced an upsurge in speed and superb technical support – that was definitely a good move.

Better WordPress Content from Thrive ThemesThrough 2015 I was still not completely satisfied with how this site looks and wanted to do something to improved that.

I tried a few different WordPress themes, Finally I decided to treat myself to the one I’d been hankering after for months – Thrive Theme and content builder. I have started implementing it on this site now, although I have yet to introduce some of the more advanced features, which I will do over the months to come.

Initial impressions – great! And I was particularly impressed to have received support with a technical problem over the holiday period.

As all this technical tweaking with my blog continued I was still keeping my eyes open for a replacement for the “product production and promotion” debacle.

MLM Problems Solved

In the middle of the year I was introduced to Premier Cashback and immediately saw that this solved all the problems I’d experienced with MLM in the past because:

  • A one-off purchase qualifies you for life from £50 + P&P
  • There are no monthly fees and no compulsory monthly purchases
  • Buy – as a customer – when you want to
  • Sell IF and ONLY IF you choose to
  • Passive members earn cashback eventually
  • Active members can take control of their business and earn faster

Because there are no monthly fees, and I can promote it as and when I have time, this is the ideal MLM to run alongside my busy offline business, because there WILL come a time when that work dries up, and I need to put in place a reliable method to make money online.

Learn more about Premier Cashback here. This is my number one business, for 2015 and onwards. I have written about it extensively on my blog in these articles.

I managed to introduce about nine people to Premier Cashback, which I was delighted with. However it quickly became clear that those nine weren’t having the same level of success that I had. So I needed to find them some tools and training to help them get started.

zukul affiliate marketing toolsHaving reviewed several different packages I finally settled on a tools and training system I could recommend, because it comes with a way to let the company get your business into a profit producing situation without you needing to divert your attention from your main business – whether that’s Premier Cashback, or any other business.

Whatever business you are promoting online, read more about the Guaranteed Signups System here.

How Was Your 2015?

I’ve shared with you, above, what did and didn’t work for me in 2015. Now I invite you to do the same in the comments below.

  • What did you learn from 2015?
  • What successful strategies will you repeat?
  • What will you do differently in 2016?

My 2016 plans are to build on:

  • My offline business – it would be mad to neglect a well paid freelance income that I actually enjoy
  • Premier Cashback – here for the long-term
  • Guaranteed Signup System for internet training courses- although making one social media post a day is hardly exhausting
  • A better Affiliate Marketing model, still under investigation! More info next time.

That brings me right up to date with 2015, and a sightly earlier post than usual, to enable me to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Please share
Joy
 

I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don't make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online. Think you don't have time? Can't afford the start-up cost? Can't meet sales targets? The businesses I promote overcome all the problems you may have had with Internet Marketing before. Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances.

James McAllister - December 23, 2015

Hi Joy!

Always sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. I really couldn’t imagine going through something like that. I know inevitably it will happen to all of us, but I hope I do not have to experience that for a long, long time.

It seems that while business didn’t go as good as you had hoped, it still has been a fairly transformative year. It is through the hardships we change and grow as business people I think. The problem is most people give up and don’t allow that process to happen. Took me so many years to finally figure out what worked.. couldn’t imagine what my life would be like if I had called it quits.

But hey, it sounds like you’re on the right track now, so 2016 has got to be a better year right?

Looking forward to watching our growth next year,

James McAllister

    Joy - December 31, 2015

    Hi James,

    Thanks for your kind words – I wrote that post in a fairly down-beat pre-Christmas-blues mood.

    So I decided to actually dare to check up on what I’d set as my goals for 2015 and see how I’d fared.

    Funnily enough, I had actually had a better year than I’d thought – given all that was going on in my life, and my “Goals for 2016” post, that followed, was (hopefully) more cheerful and positive!

    Making mistakes, and fixing them, is how we grow and improve – and I actually did quite a lot in 2015 to improve on 2014, and set me in a better direction for 2016.

    Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year, Joy

Edward Thorpe - December 23, 2015

Hi Joy,

Losing loved ones is probably the saddest part of life. And, the longer we live, the greater our odds of doing so.

Like you, Joy, I learned in 2015 that I’m one lousy affiliate marketer.

But then I haven’t looked hard enough for products that I’d buy, so I’d be guilt-free to pimp them to my target market. (Still gonna look closer at your main squeeze, Premier Cashback.)

I’d love to talk about successful strategies I’ve used this year. However, I’m still testing…

I’m getting kinda bored with my present blog, and might look for a different business model. Not sure though, because I really dislike doing all that work & just kicking it into the wasteland of the universe and everything.

Anyway, the holidays are a great excuse to enjoy our family and clear our minds.

Have a super holidays and may ’16 bring you all the success and peace you can handle.
Edward

    Joy - December 24, 2015

    Hi Edward,

    Yes, we’ve both had a sad year Mum-wise, haven’t we 🙁

    Oooh, I’d be really sad not to read your blog in 2016. I really missed it when you paused for your move.

    Way too much work to cast aside, especially as you’re starting to get more visitors via PAC! Even if you shorten your posts a little to reduce the work involved, I do hope we’ll continue reading it in 2016 and beyond.

    If you want to know more about the health products in Premier Cashback just let me know – I have a series of emails I could send you.

    Yes – lots of head-clearing to be done here, although with my two grand-daughters here not sure how much of it will be achieved!

    I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and 2016. Success and peace to BOTH of us!

    Joy

Jim McCullen - December 23, 2015

Joy,
Thanks for sharing so much information with the community. It sounds like you are positioned well for a successful and happy 2016. Wishing you all the best.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Jim

    Joy - December 23, 2015

    Hi Jim

    Good to see you on my blog again, and thanks for the mention on your site.

    I’m having a pretty work-free Christmas break, then looking forward to bringing lots of plans to fruition in 2016.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family, Joy

Timothy Gagnon - December 24, 2015

Hey Joy, Sorry to hear about your mom. I like reading these kind of posts because they’re honest, not many people talk about their weak years or months.

This year was rather strange for me, I started my new website to advertise my writing services, but other then that I haven’t made much progress. This month has been better for me because I started focusing on networking and publish in-depth blog-posts. It really helps when you have the support of other people leaving thoughtful comments on your articles. Makes you feel like the work was worth it.

So, my plan is to continue publish articles, networking and writing as much as possible, I want to push myself and improve as much as possible next year!

    Joy - December 24, 2015

    Hi Timothy,

    Hoping that 2016 will be better for us both, and I look forward to reading more of your articles.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family, Joy

Sonal Talwar - December 25, 2015

Hi Joy
Losing your Mum is the biggest loss.

I guess after all these losses you know where you went wrong and this will help you get into a better position in 2016.

Wish you all the success and a Merry Christmas!

    Joy - December 27, 2015

    Thanks Sonal,

    It’s hit me very hard – especially going through all those “first time ever without her” events, like Christmas and my birthday.

    Nothing I can do but try and move forward positively in 2016, while supporting my Dad as best I can.

    Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year, Joy

Neena - December 26, 2015

Hi Joy,

If ever there was a silver lining, yours is that you seem to have a strong plan going into 2016.

Thank you for sharing your trials with us. Many of us – myself included – go through those entrepreneurial ups and downs. It is so easy to lose focus and direction as we try new things in search of our path. Sometimes it is very isolating.

But the truth is that what is right for one may not be right for another. And every mistake made is a lesson learned.

So here’s looking forward to a fabulous new year!

    Joy - December 27, 2015

    Hi Neena,

    I had a lot of personal and “other business” stuff going on in 2015, so I’m not going to be too hard on myself for the things that went wrong.

    But as you say I have learned a lot from what I did and will be writing more about my 2016 plans in my next post.

    Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year, Joy

Erika Mohssen-Beyk - December 27, 2015

Hi Joy,
I know how it is to deal with the sickness and loss
of a mother,I have been there as well. Sorry for your loss.
No wonder the business suffered in that time. But to find
the good in the bad, I think at least you found out what
does not work for the business and can make adjustments
in the new year.
All the best for 2016
Erika

    Joy - December 28, 2015

    Thanks Erika,

    Sorry you’ve been through it too, and thanks for your kind words.

    Yes, I’ve learned a lot from the last year and look forward to putting it into practice in 2016.

    Hope you have a good one too.

    Joy

Chery Schmidt - December 28, 2015

Hello Joy,

So sorry to hear about your Mom my friend! I still have both of my parents and not sure how I am going to deal with that.. Yikes. We know it is inevitable yet, not sure how one is to prepare for it.

On a better note it sounds to me like you are on the right path going into the new year though! Congrats..

Wishing you a Prosperous New Year Ahead..
Chery :))

    Joy - December 28, 2015

    Hi Chery,

    It’s been a tough old year – and even more tough for my poor Dad who’s completely lost without Mum. He’s in pretty good health (for a 93 year old) so I’ve told him he has another 10 years with us at least.

    I have my plans and goals set out for 2016 – wishing us both / all a happy and prosperous 2016.

    Joy

Elise Cohen Ho - December 28, 2015

First and foremost, I am sorry for your loss. I empathize with you in more ways then you could possibly know.

I also want to thank you for such an open and honest post. Your transparency will help so many, including myself.

Here is to an amazing 2016!

    Joy - December 28, 2015

    Thanks Elise,

    Although I know Mum would want us to carry on the traditions she started for her “little girls”, it’s been tough. If I hadn’t had my granddaughters to stay I think my Dad and I would have just shut up the shutters for the couple of weeks. But we’ve passed on what good cheer we could summon up for the next generation.

    I like to be honest with my readers. So often people put on a “front” as if they’re making millions and I’m the only one who isn’t – but more and more I begin to feel that others aren’t doing quite so well as they make out.

    But hoping for better things in 2016 after lessons learned in 2015.

    Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year, Joy

Atish Ranjan - December 28, 2015

Hello Joy,

Belated Merry Christmas, and Advance wishes for the brand new year ahead.

Sorry for the great loss, but it is destined to happen. We all are mortal.

Not every year goes well, so I would say keep the learning what you had in 2015, and try to make 2016 better.

To me aff. marketing turns out to be great this year.

Thanks for sharing these details with us.

    Joy - December 31, 2015

    Hi Atish,

    I’m pleased you’ve found affiliate marketing successful. Clearly it DOES work. And with the lessons I have learned in 2015, I should be better placed for 2016.

    Thanks for your kind wishes – and the same to you.

    Joy

Enstine Muki - December 29, 2015

Hey Joy,
Even without you doing this post, I can remember you really had some tough times because I constantly check your blog and often, we’ve been writing to each other.

All I can do is pray that 2016 makes up for all the delays and losses of 2015 so you’d better be ready for explosive success this coming year.

One thing I plan to do is get even closer to my readers and friends this year. They have been the reason behind my success. You and many others did buy products based on my recommendation and that paid me commissions.

so I think while expanding this year, I’ll try my best not to drift away from current friends 😉

2015 was not bad for me. I had a couple of products in the market and Affiliate Marketing was not bad either. I just want to step up this coming year, starting with another product in the market.

Thanks for being one of the first to jump on it. I hope it does better for us this coming year.

Do have a wonderful last week of 2015

    Joy - December 31, 2015

    Hi Enstine

    I was feeling very “down” when I wrote my review of 2015 – but I’d actually written it without looking back at my expectations for 2015.

    When I finally looked at 2015 objectively, it was better than I expected – all things considered. I wanted to, and did, put my family first and I’m sure no-one would beat me up for doing that.

    Looking forward to 2016 goals (my next post) was a whole lot more cheerful.

    Sadly one of the casualties of my reduced time availability has been time spent on friends’ blogs – especially yours. I’m sure you’ll understand, and I’ll get there as often as I can while juggling everything else.

    I haven’t yet made in-roads into your product because with my family visiting it’s all I can do to keep up with blog posts and commenting – but it’s sitting here in an open tab “calling to me”.

    Enjoying my family’s visit for the last week of 2015 – it’ll be back to (almost) full-time work next week. My son is staying longer with me, although my grandchildren will be back to nursery etc.

    Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year, Joy

Camaro - December 31, 2015

Hi Joy,
Thank you for sharing so much information with us. Are now included in the new year 2016, hopefully in the new year you are more successful and happier with the family. Wishing you all the best for.
Happy New Year 2016 !!!
Camaro

    Joy - December 31, 2015

    Hi Camaro

    Thanks for your good wishes. I have posted (below) about my plans and goals for the new year.

    Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year, Joy

Adrienne - January 7, 2016

Hey Joy,

I too am sorry about your Mom’s passing and that was on my sister’s birthday. I know losing a loved one is hard and hitting all the first time holidays and celebrations without them is difficult. As you may remember, I lost my uncle back in May unexpectedly and that hit us all pretty hard too. Life goes on though right!

Even though you didn’t exactly reach some of your goals I think they were lessons learned. I’m sorry you had issues with your product but I wouldn’t give up on that if I were you. You just had a lot going on at that particular time and I had the same thing happen to me actually. ALL of those people who promised to promote my product disappeared. I don’t want empty promises although I still did rather well in sales. It’s just that’s to be expected.

I also definitely agree with you about all those people who have those clicks promoting each other’s products. A good bit of them are horrible while some are awesome so how do you compete with all the darn bonuses people are giving away. I’ve found that most people never even looked at any of that but it’s hard to get your foot in the door when some of them have been doing this for quite some time.

I’m glad you found something you really enjoy promoting now and I have a feeling that despite how busy you are offline that you’ll do really well this year.

I just want to wish you the very best my dear moving forward and I’m eager to see your new theme. I had bought Thrive as well and played around with it but didn’t like it. It took me forever to find one I liked and could easily work in so I wish you the best with that one my friend.

Happy New Year Joy!

~Adrienne

    Joy - January 10, 2016

    Hi Adrienne,

    Thanks for your good wishes and encouragement – as always.

    Yes, it was a grim old year – and I remember you losing your uncle not long after I lost Mum.

    Although the post you read maybe seemed a bit “down”, I perked up a bit when writing after Christmas, and things didn’t seem so bad after all.

    I’ve left behind the “who has the biggest bonus” crowd, because I neither can, nor want to compete. I’ve realized that they were just depressing me, and who needs that when there are so many other great people in blogging land?

    Yes, somehow I still manage to fit a bit of online business in around the offline work – mostly at times when sane people are sleeping. But if I sit in front of the TV I fall asleep – so blogging etc keeps me happy and interested. Apart from the terrible challenges….

    I’ve implemented the first phase with the Thrive theme, but not really got the look I want yet, and haven’t got any of the features I bought it for working yet.

    Before Thrive I wasted a lot of time with OptimizePress that I know many people swear by, but I just couldn’t get on with it. I’m happier with Thrive, and their technical support is good, so I shall plough on further with it. Love your new theme 🙂

    Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year, Joy

waystoskinny - January 12, 2016

Thanks for discussing so much details with the group. It appears like you are placed well for a effective and satisfied 2016. Hoping you all the best.

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