How Bloggers and Affiliates Can Stop Playing Small and Start Building Real Wealth

How bloggers and affiliates can stop playing small and start building real wealth

I didn’t write this article for Google.

What I’m about to share with you are extremely important lessons I wish someone would have shared with me about 10 years ago.

My online business journey started back in 2008 and if I would have known these lessons back then, it would have saved me from the stress and struggle I experienced.

I wrote this article for you. 

The human being in front of the computer screen, secretly hoping to find the key that will open the door that will take you to the promised land.

The human being with the dream to make more money and break free from the hustle to earn more and have more time to live more.

There is a big difference between making money online, and building wealth online.

Both stages are necessary, but both require a very different mindset and action steps to execute on.

Whatever level of mindset and execution took you to this point in your life and business is not the same level of mindset and execution that will take you and your business to the next level.

My goal with this post is to help you shift your day to day activities into building yourself and your business, differently.

If you have found yourself stuck… 

If you have been hitting monetary plateaus with your website(s), and you cannot see the light at the end of that dark tunnel, this is for you.

Whether you are working on a full-time job and working on your website as a side-hustle project and you find the lack of time to be a big challenge, this is for you.

This is based on 10 years of my own experience building money-making websites online. Most importantly, building valuable assets that engineer a crazy ROI.

So please, take what’s relevant to you and ignore the rest.

And before we get started, a word of warning:

This is a 4-part series. In this first part, I will cover what in my own personal opinion, is the most important part of the entire series.

However, as much as I love practical and actionable articles, part one is about setting the stage for the rest of this series.

Part one is about helping you see the big picture and helping you shift your mind for the next 3 parts (which by the way, are extremely detailed and actionable!)

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s take this journey together.

Ready or not, let’s go!

The shift about profit and cashflow

Someone tells you that making a profit is wicked. That making a profit is “money hungry,” and somehow, “you are just all about the money.”

I’ve listened to countless of people say stupid things like:

“I’m not in it for the money…”

That’s a bunch of crap.

If you are not in it for the money, then why the hell are you trying to build a business?!

For a business to be in integrity it must be profitable. 

If you’re not running a profitable business, then how are you going to hit payroll or outsource tasks so you can focus on what matters to you?

If you don’t run a profitable business, how are you going to pay taxes?

If you don’t run a profitable business, how will you deliver on what you’ve promised to your audience, to your family, to your team, to your community, to YOURSELF? 

If you don’t run a profitable business, how will your business expand from zero to $1,000/mo to $5,000/mo to $10,000/mo to $100,000/mo to $1 million per month?

entrenreneurship

When people say, “Eh, I’m not in it for the money” is when they are in one of two locations:

  1. When they are at the bottom and they got none.
  2. When they are pretending that they are at the top and got some.

Don’t be that type of a person if you want to build real wealth online.

In my case, I got to a point where the lack of money wasn’t an issue anymore. I had more than enough to live a comfortable life with my wife and son.

Money wasn’t my motivation anymore. I experienced a shift in my life and a higher level of awareness and purpose, but don’t get me wrong…

I wouldn’t have gotten to this point in my life and business if it wasn’t because I have built and sold several websites (assets), profitably.

Profit matters.

That conversation of profit is where we are going to begin today because once you make a profit, the question is…

What happens next?

Big money cover up

We’ve been taught that our target in business was to be profitable.

True, but what we were taught next was one of the most subtle lies that businessmen and women like you and I have ever been taught.

We were told to do something quite sneaky:

To invest all of our time and energy building our businesses and become profitable.

And then, once we were profitable, we were given an instruction, and the instruction was that we needed to invest.

And so, as a young businessman, I did just that.

But that’s not the sneaky part.

“Diversify,” they say.

broke entrepreneur

Here is a quick sticky note about diversification:

If you study the wealthiest men and women in the world, they did not create wealth by diversifying. They created wealth by focusing on ONE THING.

One business.

After wealth was created, then they leveraged smart diversification in order to expand their wealth.

Please, understand the difference between wealth creation and wealth expansion.

There are two good reasons why I’m saying this.

starting multiple projects

Reason #1

I have seen people trying to build 3, 4, and even 5 affiliate sites at the same time for years and none of the sites are generating enough revenue to even pay the bills.

It reminds me of the old saying, “He who chases two rabbits catches none.”

It is true.

My point is this:

Do not try to diversify from the very start. Focus on one. Build it right. Build wealth and leverage with one business, and once you have accomplished the goal, think about ways to expand your wealth within the same industry or business you know.

Once you have created enough leverage, the expansion of your wealth becomes a lot simpler. 

Notice I did not say easier but simpler.

Reason #2

In 2008, right before the economic crash, I ran out of money.

I was flat out broke. I had to make THE CALL.

I had to put my ego aside, and call my Dad.

My Father’s construction business was doing great at the time, so he gave me a simple job and that was more than enough to survive.

When 2009 happened, the construction industry around the world went to hell. We got our butts kicked pretty darn hard.

And so, I was jobless again, my wife couldn’t find a job and of course, we still had to pay the bills. In other words, I had to figure shit out, FAST.

You see, now it wasn’t just about my own struggle. My entire family was at risk.

It was a big deal. 

Traditional advertising wasn’t cutting it anymore for my Father’s business. This is when I decided I needed to develop my skills.

I needed to focus on building assets and new skills, not just making money.

Through research I discovered SEO, and I learned everything I could about it and went to work. Two months later, my Dad was getting between 5 and 10 solid leads every single day and his business started to grow again!

This was back in 2010, and he still runs this business and gets qualified leads from the website every day, profitably. Lack of money wasn’t a problem anymore.

But there was one big problem crippling in my soul.

I wasn’t HAPPY.

This is where the first distinction comes.

You see, I worked with my Father until late 2012 and I realized I hated physical work and to be honest, I knew I needed to do my own thing, and so I moved on.

KEY

I kept learning and improving my skills by executing on what I’ve learned. I see so many bloggers and affiliates stuck in learning mode but never executing on it.

No wonder there is such a thing as “information overload,” confusion and frustration. You end up “knowing” about so many strategies, but nothing to show for it. Learning isn’t enough. You must take the right kind of action, consistently.

In January 2013, I decided I was ready. 

I followed other gurus’ best practices and I got burned.  

I lost money and a lot of time.

But that wasn’t the worst.

The worst was that I ended up feeling like a total failure.

If you are not aware enough, you will start to lose confidence and so then, you decide that it is best to start thinking small or even worse, quit.

Honestly, I don’t know what’s worse: setting a small target and reaching it or quitting on your dreams and your potential to live life on your own terms.

Pay careful attention to the following…

Here we are, hustling to build our dream business…

  • Advertising
  • SEO
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Networking 
  • Systems
  • Fulfillment 
  • Team work
  • Leadership
  • Accounting
  • Systemization 
  • Optimization
  • Automation
  • Content creation 
  • Outsourcing 

…the whole game inside of our own businesses, and then when we make a profit, those sneaky $%%$#@@ in Wall Street, taught us what?

“Your business is simply a by-pass product.”

“Your business is simply a step-through.”

“Your business is actually to get cash and profit so that you can give it to us.”

“Put it over here,” they say. 

“Put it in a 401k, put it in this mutual fund and hedge fund.”

“Put it over here… in somebody else’s business.”

Because that’s exactly what putting your money in the stock market has done.

Look at the psychology and rationale behind this:

  • Work your ass off.
  • Bleed out of your goddamn eyes.
  • Build your profitable website, business, company.
  • THEN… take your profits and hand it to them.

Have you ever wondered what they do with them?

To buy stocks is to buy a small piece of another man’s company.

But why have you never considered that the #1 investment in your life was YOUR OWN business?

The magical ATM

There is an epidemic virus in this industry.

I see it every day. 

Many people are getting so easily distracted by looking for EASY “passive income” ATMs all over the Internet.

They think…

“There has to be some way that I can find to live the passive income lifestyle NOW, and inside of this ‘magical’ ATM, I will find salvation.”

“There has to be a place out there, where I could just spit my money into and simply do nothing, and earn rewards for life.” 

“Is there a magic box that I could put my money in and it will just continue to pay??!!”

You see, passive income doesn’t mean passive work. 

At least not in the beginning stages.

But most people don’t get passed it.

You’ve got to be committed for the long term, build the smart way and not think about quitting the first few times you face a challenge with your website.

I get it.

  • We get tired of hustling.
  • We get tired of grinding. 

Every damn day.

Many of us are still working a full-time job while trying to build an affiliate website (or multiple sites) on the side with the idea of earning extra income or with the goal of earning a five, six or seven figure payday when we exit.

I remember the first time I tried to build a money-making affiliate website.

enthusiasm

I had $500 saved up. 

I invested all of it into a solid article, a premium theme, and a domain name. Long story short, I lost the $500 along with a lot of precious time.

Yes, I failed. It sucked!

On the flip side, I learned from my mistakes and went at it again.

This time, a little bit wiser.

After studying the market of Amazon Affiliate websites, I started my own.

Yes, a new website from scratch in a micro-niche. 

I built it for less than $1,000.

Eight months later, I sold it for $8,400.

It changed everything for me. It expanded my vision of what’s possible.

Bigger possibilities ahead. A brighter future and a better life for my family and I, doing something I truly enjoyed.

What I did next was confirmation that I was onto something far bigger.

You see, I did not follow what most people tell you to do.

“Take your profits and put it away into someone else’s business, somebody else’s belief.” 

Hot stocks, Real Estate, etc.

Why would I take whatever amount of money and hand it to my private banker and put it into a “security” which is NOT secure, to manage it in industries and investments that I know nothing about?!

And yet, this is what we are taught!

  • “You dumb businessman!”
  • “You dumb entrepreneur.”
  • “You dumb blogger.”
  • “Go make all that cash with your business and put it in our magical ATM. Time will fly by and the money will show up.”

No! Instead, I invested in myself, my own ability to build something bigger, something that matters, something I understand.

And guess what? It paid off.

When I lost those $500 when I first got started, I lost money but I did not lose my skills and the lessons I’m sharing with you today.

The profit from my second try ($8,400), I invested it all into another site and this time I was thinking bigger so that my execution every day could match the outcome I wanted to engineer.

This time the site started generating solid income by month #6, and I decided I wasn’t in a rush to sell fast. Instead, I leveraged this new income to invest in launching new websites.

In April 2015, I sold the site for $51,900.

Not only that. 

Now, I still had a handful of websites producing low 5-figures per month in affiliate commissions. 

These were passive income (sellable) ASSETS.

The beauty of this business model is that you can sell your website for 30x (or higher) its average monthly profit. That’s a huge ROI.

The thought of knowing that the next one could create an even bigger ROI and leverage to expand was accelerating, to say the least.

Please, never get trapped inside this insane dogma, this idea:

  • That “what I’m building is not valuable.”
  • That “the #1 asset in my life is not me.”
  • That “the #1 investment in my life is not my business.”

When you bet on your own ability, your own skills and capacity to make things happen by investing in yourself and your business, magical things happen!

By doing just that, I was able to create even bigger opportunities and so can you.

I came down to recognize that no single individual in my life who had a higher rate of return on the money invested in any aspect of my life than me.

In 2016, we generated over $250,000.

In 2017, we generated over $1,100,000.

I few years prior, I was sanding hardwood floors at my Father’s construction company and barely had any additional skills.

andrej ilisin
Yes, this was me, 8 years, a lot of hair, and kgs ago 🙂

The point is, investing in yourself and your business again and again and again, is the fastest way to create wealth and a solid foundation for the rest of your life.

If I did it so can you. PERIOD.

This is why I love this shit!

It is a beautiful business model.

Your most valuable asset

By definition, an asset puts money in your pockets.

In other words, an asset is only an asset if it puts positive cash flow in your bank account every single month.

There are different types of assets in a business, but today, we are talking about the most valuable asset in your life and business.

It is not your broker. It is not your banker. It is not your assistants or your executives. It is not your partner, your email list, traffic, systems, etc.

It is YOU!

As a businessman or businesswoman, YOU ARE YOUR #1 ASSET.

No matter what anyone else tries to tell you… if you look back at the businesses you have built, everything you have created… It comes up from the back of what?

You.

  • Your courage.
  • Your clarity.
  • Your confidence.
  • Your commitment.
  • Your creation.
  • Your capacity.

But why, why would you and why would I devalue that so quickly just to hand our money to people that we barely even know?!

It will cost you certainty for years.

You’re your number one asset.

Your business is your number one investment.

And there is no investment in my life that has ever returned more money, given me more value, given me more cash than me and the business that I am in.

This piece is difficult for people to see because our society has looked at and defined assets as something else totally different.

If you go to your accountant, will you find yourself sitting as an asset in the asset column?

Your name is on your taxes, payroll, checks, and bills but when you sit down with your financial team, they will never tell you that you are an asset.

I dare you to try it and see what happens.

Imagine you are in a very nice room with one of those long and fancy conference tables with a, supposedly, professional advisor team looking to seduce you and motivate you to invest your money with them.

Imagine asking them, “Let me ask you a question… In this room, who is a bigger asset to me… you or I?” I bet you anything that they will look at you, confused by the question.

Imagine that you continue the conversation and say, “I’m not talking crap about who you are. I’m sure you’re very skilled in what you do but in my world, are you a bigger asset to me that I am to myself? Yes or no?”

What do you think they will respond?

Let me tell you this…

On my balance sheet, there are assets and liabilities and the greatest asset in my business is me, period. 

Your highest yielding investment

Imagine that you keep going deeper into the conversation of assets, and begin to look at the idea of investments.

And they ask you, “Well, so what is the number one investment in your world?” 

I want you to seriously think about this, right now.

I want you to pause. Stop reading and think about your answer to that question.

Then, continue reading. I cannot stress how important this is.

For me, the answer is very simple.

The number one investment in my world begins with me. 

The first place I put my money on is me because where my power rises and my capacity expands, my creation and also my productivity does the same.

And while my confidence expands with my creations so does my cash flow and my profitability.

And so, the first place I put money in is me.

The second place I put money in is my business.

Into my websites’ systems and content creation, for example.

Here is a simple scenario to put things into perspective:

Say I put $1 million into one of these financial advisors’ accounts.

What they can promise me in return for the million dollars?

The conversation will go something like this:

“Listen, based upon the fund we will put you in, you can expect a return of 4% to 10% per year.”

Say they can deliver a 10% return on my investment.

That represents $100,000 for the first year.

In that game, they can’t even guarantee that.

Let’s play a scenario for these advisors:

I will take the same million dollars that they want me to put into their fund (someone else’s business) and I’m going to drop it directly into buying 10 websites for $100,000 each and each site is producing $3,000 per month, consistently.

And here is what I’m gonna tell you…

That investment of $1 million will generate about $360,000 in ‘passive’ income for me in the first 12 months. That’s not even counting how improving the sites will boost the income every month and selling them for a hefty profit if I wanted to.

Can they match my rate of return?

Absolutely not.

The greatest wealth you will ever produce does not come from investing in other people’s business (unless building, buying and selling websites is your business), it comes from investing in you and yours.

What will get you the largest ROI

Investing in your business (e.i. website’s growth) is investing in a lot of things.

One of the biggest pieces is investing in the people who are part of your team (e.i. content marketers, content writers, Alpha Investors, etc).

In the beginning, this might become an internal struggle for you.

But you will get over yourself and go for bigger things.

Hiring your first team member may feel like an expense.

I can already hear you saying…

“I have to pay this person like $4k a month. It’s a huge expense… I’m nervous… I’m freaking out… I don’t know what to do!” 

Blah, blah, blah.

If you are the number one asset in your life and your business is the number one investment in your life… that means you’re first and then the business, and that means that your people actually matter.

What will get you the highest return?

  1. You stacking your money away into another fund or you investing in your people?
  2. You putting your money into something you don’t understand or you putting your money, time and effort into a new systemized plan inside your own business?

Over and over again, I’ve discovered the same truth to be the case: there was not even competition and it is not even an equal game.

Inside of your own game (the business you own, know and understand), nobody else can touch you. There is nothing that other investment vehicles can offer you that can beat the return you can get from your own business.

  • Do I have a problem with financial advisors? No.
  • Do I have a problem with bankers? No.
  • Do I have a problem with other investment vehicles? No.
  • Do I have a problem with Wall Street and what they do? No.

But I do have a problem with business men and women being lied to.

You and I were lied to.

There is a common misconception, “When you make a lot of money… when you build more wealth and gain more power, it comes without pain.”

The same story plays out over and over again…

A sense of unworthiness as a businessman or businesswoman.

Somehow, we feel we don’t qualify. Many of us weren’t highly educated. We weren’t going to Harvard and Yale. Somehow, we are not smart enough like these people from Wall Street.

And yet, we are the ones who hire these people. 

Because you and I have the one thing they don’t: 

BIG BALLS.

In other words, COURAGE.

Courage to put ourselves on the line.

Courage to search for things they will never find.

Today, I have hundreds of projects under my belt so I have a good sense of how to mitigate and avoid risk.

I have learned how to hire, how to fire, how to manage, negotiate, buy, sell, etc. All necessary skills to build successful and wildly profitable businesses.

Over time, you will develop very similar skills that will allow you to build bigger and more exciting things and become a part of wealth creation projects.

The powerful trifecta

So, while Wall Street may be perfect for the guy with a job and a 401k may be perfect for the guy that works somewhere else and while many of the hedge funds we know about may be fantastic for others — for you and me as businessmen and businesswomen, they’re the worst place we can ever stand.

And so we sit in this trifecta with two of our answers already uncovered…

Inside of our world is a triangle with 3 main pillars.

We have already covered the first two pillars of this triangle:

  1. The #1 Asset is you
  2. The #1 Investment is your business

If you don’t believe in the first two, it doesn’t matter what I try to teach you, it doesn’t matter what anybody says, you will keep falling prey to your own blindness and keep looking for the magical ATM somewhere else outside yourself and your business… only to find out that there are only hollow promises on the other end of this.

Your #1 strategy

If there is such thing as your #1 asset and your #1 investment… then… 

  • What is your number one strategy? 
  • What do you actually do to pull this off?
  • How do you actually operate to make this happen?

Well, if your business is the #1 investment and you are the #1 asset, then this means there has to be a deliberate and conscious effort to focus on the front stage of production of your business.

This means that from the tip of that iceberg:

  • Your advertising
  • Content creation
  • Marketing and branding
  • Your sales systems
  • The fulfillment of your products, services, and experiences
  • Accounting and management
  • Systems in automation and sequencing
  • The leadership you demonstrate in the marketplace
  • The seduction and packaging of that entire business moving forward

All of this is part of the strategy.

Like I mentioned above, this is the front stage of the strategy, which is actually the making of the money

This is what everyone wants to know, “How can I make more money,” which is why that keyword phrase is been exploited online for many years.

The second stage of the strategy is how to keep it

I have a friend who just like many businessmen and businesswomen out there, found himself in a vicious pattern:

  • Build, Burn
  • Build, Burn
  • Build, Burn

Over and over and over again.

Why did he do this? 

He didn’t know.

He didn’t want to build and burn over and over again.

Yet, something inside of him constantly found himself building to the max and then burning to the ground.

protect your business

See, the last piece in the equation that he’d forgotten is protection.

While he was all about finding power, and he was all about linking that to production and he was all about linking that production to his profit, what he’d never considered was that he should actually KEEP what he was making.

It wasn’t until his mid-30s that he said to himself, “You know, Andrej, you should probably keep some shit.”

I don’t know what it is about being a businessman in your 20s, you think you’ll live forever. And in your early 30s, you still have the same feeling.

But by the time you are in your late 30s and your 40s start to come, for the very first time you start to think:

“Shit, why do I continue to do this?”

Protecting what you build: Stop burning

He was getting a little more tired. He was hustling for 10-20 years.

What if he just stops burning?

What if he actually gives a damn about protecting what he built?

It’s like building a sand castle.

You build it and the waves come in and destroy it.

Instead of thinking to yourself, “how do I build this in a place where I can protect it from being destroyed?” you go back to building because that’s what you do.

You build again and then the waves come in…

You already know what happens next.

Do you know how exhausting that is?

One, two, three, four, or five years of hard work burn to the ground again… all because we think that our #1 strategy is to produce when it should be to protect.

What ways have you thought about protecting yourself and your online business finances?

In the second part of this 4-part series, I’m going to show you how to build an unshakable business. 

We are going to dive deep into how you can protect yourself and your business for long term wealth and success.

The next 3 parts are going to be actionable articles:

  • Part 2 – How to Build an Unshakable Business (protecting yourself and your business finances)
  • Part 3 – Advanced Affiliate Marketing Strategy That Will Increase Your Website’s Income (Never Sell The Box. Instead, Sell The Intelligence That Can Run Any Box)
  • Part 4 – How to Build a $10,000 Per Month Online Business From Scratch in Less Than 90 Days (what I would do if I had to start all over again)

I’ll see you in part two.

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