It's never too late to say happy new year. I wish you the best for this year and every year thereafter. I must say that 2015 was a great year for me and the icing on the cake was with the birth of my firstborn. I never knew until now how great it feels to be a father. I know every parent says this but my son is the cutest baby I've ever seen. He is too adorable for words. I'm on cloud nine, my wife and I have truly been blessed. With that said this year started off well and God willing this year will be amazing as well.
The title of this blog post is starting anew for many reasons. It's a new year, My wife and I were blessed with a new addition to the family and I've decided to start over with my online business as I had a few bumps along the way. So I created my very first product and I will share that experience with you later on in this post.
As you may already know last year was groundbreaking for me as I generated over $50,000 in revenue online. There is a short interview about that on a previous post. This is great and all but what you don't know is that I made a lot of mistakes along the way. If I had remained focused I would have easily made a lot more and possibly doubled my income. I will go into details and explain exactly what happened but first I would like to start from the beginning.
How It All Started
After years of struggling with article marketing and creating blogs in hopes of making a decent income online, I decided to try a new method. I went on the warrior forum which at the time was one of my favorite places to frequent. It's a community of internet marketers from all different levels. Everyone from beginners to experts go to the forum to collaborate, give advice, help someone or sell their services. On this forum I read a lot of testimonials about a specific marketing technique. This technique is to sell ebooks online. The concept behind it is simple, you write an ebook, or buy the rights to an ebook and sell it in hopes of making a profit. I didn't want to take the time to write an ebook so I purchased the rights to one. I actually purchased an entire funnel. I believe it cost me about $100.
I received a squeeze page, sales page, an up sell and an email series. I paid to have it all installed on my server I don't remember how much exactly but i didn't have to do anything technical it was all done for me. All I needed to do was purchase traffic and make sales. If I recall the front end of the product sold for $17 and the up sell was $27. I started buying traffic without really having all the necessary tools in place. The most important thing being a tracker to track my results and evaluate the traffic. This was my first big mistake as I later learned that some of the traffic I purchased was junk. I used a free tool to track my incoming traffic I believe the service was goo.gl. This tool is a free URL shortener that counts the hits you receive on a specific link. I used that free hit counter so that when I purchased 200 clicks I could tell if I was in fact receiving those 200 clicks, but could not tell if those clicks were automated robot clicks which some were and I did not track my opt ins and sales. I kept buying traffic and hemorrhaging money as honestly my product was not converting well. I think I made a sale after ever 500+ visits to my sales page and that is horrible.
New Direction - My road to $50k
One day I purchased traffic from a vendor called David (the guy who recorded my interview). I was impressed at how fast he delivered the traffic and he quickly became one of my go to guys when I needed to buy traffic. I gradually started socializing with him and shared with him my experience. He explained I was doing things all wrong and shared some tips with me. Not only did he share some tips but he showed me his numbers and I was blown away. You see David showed me direct payments he was getting, I don't believe he showed me a day where he made less than $500. I knew then my numbers could be so much better. We spoke extensively and he offered to take me as his student for a fee of course. Alas at the time I couldn't possibly afford it. I would have jumped at the opportunity if I owned a credit card but to this day I still do not own one. After a few more talks we had an agreement. I would lease his funnel and just drive traffic to it. This was a fraction of his coaching price but still very expensive for me. I didn't hesitate much because I saw his numbers and I knew it was a good investment for me at the time.
I really mean blast off. The investment was well worth it. I blew my budget by a lot and I really got tired of sending money and not making anything worth while but this new funnel made a huge difference. I was now making two or sometimes even three times more than I would invest in traffic. Unfortunately my inexperience did not understand what I had. This had to do in part that I would have to wait 4 to 7 weeks to get paid. It would take time for me to be able to reinvest into buying more traffic. A month is a long time when your goal is to generate revenue especially when your main goal is to make money. The other problem is that I did not have all the tools in place to track my numbers. This is by far one of the worst mistakes one can ever commit.
Think about it like this. I love racing and would love to race cars. Unfortunately I'm broke, have no money and work at a pizza oven for a living. So I decide to build my own car because I'm determined and know that if I put my mind to it I can start racing with a car I built with my own two hands and be proud of it. So the first step was good I got me a little go kart. A small engine and some wheels that moved. This was exiting I knew I was going in the right direction but still needed more. Better technology, more power and some sponsors so I can be just like a pro.
I get lucky and some stranger leases me an engine that works great. I just need to buy fuel to get it going. I place the engine in my car and buy just a little bit of fuel. Now we're getting somewhere. Instead of working on getting better tires, better suspensions, reducing the weight to increase my speed and accuracy, I focused on getting the cheapest fuel, and planning to make millions at the end of the race. I didn't realize I was sabotaging myself and my engine.
This is why you need a mentor to keep you on the right track. I would not have wasted my time on things that were not helping my business. The good thing for me is that I was making money, and building my email list while I was doing it. I gradually learned more about what tools I should get and how to use them. I spent some time researching email marketing and just when I started understanding the power of my funnel I got slapped in the face.
The Paypal Slap
Paypal is a great service they allow you to make transactions online for a low fee. All my traffic purchases were done by means of Paypal. The funnel that I used at the time was designed to accept papal payments. If a customer became interested in my offer the customer would send me a payment via Paypal. Now I should mention that I offered a free trial. My customer would subscribe and agree to try out my offer for 14 days and then submit a payment of $27 once and a second time 14 days later. Since the product was priced at $54 it was easier to break it down in that sequence and that did invite more customers. The funnel had two up sells ranging from $37 to $199 and they also established with the same payment structure. At first I was afraid that some customers would just try out the offer for 14 days download all the lessons and not pay when it came time to make a payment. Well that's exactly what happened. About 30% of my customers ended up making at least a partial payment of $27.
Even though I was losing 70% of my customers the money was flowing in and thanks to my funnel I was making a positive return on my investment. Now you know you have a good funnel when you're able to earn more than you spend on traffic when you lose 70% of your customers. Not long since I started driving traffic and making sales I started also getting a few refunds and a crazy amount of charge backs issued by the buyers. Refunds are fine but charge backs are dangerous. A charge back is made when a customer doesn't recognize a charge on their account and call their banks to file a complaint. While filing this complaint they state they either don't recognize the charge, did not authorize the payment or didn't receive what they paid for. I understand that can happen but the funnel was setup in a way that the buyer would receive the purchased download automatically and if by some miracle it failed, I created an automation that sent them an email with access to the product. I initially didn't pay too much attention to those. When I saw them I decided to refund the buyer immediately. I didn't understand those who claimed to not have authorize the payment. I was perplexed. How can someone see my offer, decide that it's something they want, then go find some random person's Paypal account details, log in by entering the username and password, buy my product and walk away. That is very unlikely. So a lot of my "customers turned out to be liars and crooks". The sad thing is that it was a big percentage, handling these false outrageous claims cost me a lot of revenue and Paypal protected the buyer while knowing exactly what was happening. This was admitted to me by two different Paypal customer reps. They could not protect me as the vendor because I was selling a digital product. This whole ordeal cost me more than $8000 in loss and caused My Paypal account to be closed because I was deemed a high risk client.
That was devastating to me. Here I am trying to make an income online and I get swarmed with crooks who buy a product they cannot afford only to claim they didn't authorize the claim. They do it because Paypal will refund their money. It's sad because even when they acquire the product they still won't apply anything taught in it and say it didn't work for them. They end up costing the vendor surplus charges and wasting their time.
The After Math
My Paypal account got shut down, and after communicating with other vendors and noticing a trend I decided to stop using the funnel. I built a list of 30,000 subscribers so I used that list as leverage to promote other products as an affiliate and have not looked back since. Towards the end of the year I decided to give it another try and started creating my very own product. I didn't realize the amount of work it would take to create a product. It takes time to come up with the content, I created some screen capture videos as well and that was hard to do with the baby waking up all the time. Then it came time to create the webpages and tie it in with the my tracker so that I can track the incoming traffic, optin rate sales ratio and etc... The funnel is still incomplete and I have much to add to it but I decided to release it on Jvzoo and see how things will go. I decided to sell the main offer at $27.
So here are the results from my mailing.
I'm split testing my landing pages and I've sent 2000 clicks to my funnel and as a result built a list of 1229 subscribers. The traffic came mostly from my own list and from some some Jvzoo affiliates. The overall optin rate was 61.45 % and I generated $243 in sales. Two of those sales came from affiliates and they earn a 70% commission. The results are ok, they're not spectacular by any means. If I had added some up sells I'm sure my revenue would be roughly around $400 but this was a test and I know I still have more to do in order to improve my numbers. As I expected, I received two charge backs and a refund. The reasons for the charge backs this time were because the transactions were unauthorized. There could be many reasons why this would happen but I would suspect that this the scenario of someone who wants a product for free and prefers not to pay for it. For each charge back my merchant account charges me $14. If the buyer simply wanted a refund that would save me the cost. I've contacted those two customers and politely asked them for clarifications and expressed that I will process a refund. I provided proof of delivery, a time stamp and Ip address. It's been a couple of weeks now and I've yet to receive a response. It's weird. I know who they are as I have their information and they are on my email list, I don't understand the dishonesty. It's quite a shame.
One person did ask for a refund and she was kind enough to explain why. I replied with some explanations and I truly do appreciate ad respect this customer for doing so. My goal is to show what I'm doing and not to take my customers money. Now the results so far are not so good but 2000 clicks from cold traffic resulted in $243 in sale. Most of this will go into my pocket.
Speaking of which if I had purchased the traffic at 50 cent per click it would have cost me $1000. My revenue is $243 so I would have a losing campaign. However with a list of 1229 I can send a couple of emails to my own offer and affiliate offers and make more revenue in the back end. This is why having a list is great.
The next step for me would be to improve my sales funnel and get more traffic mostly from affiliates. I will also be testing out other offers to promote.