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.

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.
  • Network Marketing – a model that has been kind to me in the past. See the sidebar of my blog.
  • A better Affiliate Marketing model, still under investigation! More info next time.

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