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The Sky’s The Limit ... Making Money From Home

GotDot.com profiles Alan Zunec a former insurance agent now making money from home, far surpassing initial financial goals and achieving life work balance on his terms, not the boss’s. He is the boss.

Most people take traditional jobs to earn a living. It’s a by product of the industrial revolution, when people were pulled off farms, and sent to school. School prepared workers for the routine of a 9-5 workday. But somewhere along the way, people found the courage, to make the jump seeking their own fortune, their own business. For most people, like Alan, that dream, the quintessential American Dream, came in the midst of working for someone else.

Dissatisfaction, diminishing drive and passion, limited income, and loss of opportunity are all factors leading to the dream. With some dreams you wake up, the lucky ones, you get to live: experiencing the sweet joys of seeing a dream blossom into reality.

To put things into perspective let’s go back to the 9-5 scenario. When you have a job, there’s a set salary, the earning potential is limited. It’s like the old saying, if you have a roof on your house, there’s a restriction. Remove the roof and the sky’s the limit. Alan says, “If you believe there is a limit you’re cheating yourself. You’ll lose 110% of the opportunities.”

In Alan’s prior profession as an insurance agent, he gave the job 100% but, reached the point where passion and life balance disappeared. Without that, no amount of money mattered. Alan realized, if you don’t own it, or sell it, time is someone else’s, but, when you find something you love you’ll give it a 110%.

At 30 years old Alan set a goal for obtaining work life balance and found it. With affiliate marketing, the sky’s the limit; the income potential is that phenomenal. As a former analyst at first Alan didn’t believe it, he needed proof. He found out, that proof is in the pudding and in the process discovered a whole new way of life. Now Alan has time for the good things in life. Like Alan says, “I’m Peter Pan, a big kid. Now I have time to play golf, go to the gym, walk on the beach, watch a hockey game and visit with friends. I have the financial independence to do it all.”

Anyone can make a success with affiliate marketing. Listen to Alan’s story and you’ll learn how. As Alan says, “Most people get stuck in a job they don’t like. You don’t get time back, it creeps up on you, and before you know it, it’s gone.”

What is affiliate marketing?

By now most people have heard all about the success of Amazon.com. What they may not know is that Amazon spawned an Internet industry in 1996, by allowing independent website owners to earn commissions by referring paying customers to them. This is known as pay-for-performance-advertising or affiliate programs.

With affiliate marketing it’s important to remember, that there are three primary roles consisting of the merchant, the affiliate (publisher) and the third party (Commission Junction). The merchants (advertisers) pay a commission on sales generated by customers, which the affiliate (publisher) sends to their sites. Commission Junction (third party) pays affiliates on behalf of the merchants and provides a tracking system. The merchant handles all order processing, shipping, and customer service.

Visit Commission Junction to see a partial listing of their top-notch merchants offering affiliate programs.

How Alan Zunec, prepared to make the jump, leaving a secure job as an insurance agent

The first thing Alan did was find mentors, whose messages resonated. He read Bill Gates’ book Road Ahead, and Henry Dent’s, the Great Boom Ahead and Roaring 2000. Those visionaries talked about global changes and the new wave of doing business on the Internet. And Alan discovered James Martell, an entrepreneur, and successful affiliate marketer with over 70 specialty shopping sites, and the author of the James Martell’s Affiliate Marketers Handbook and the host of the Affiliate Buzz, a popular audio newsletter for affiliate marketers.

At first, Alan says he was a bit skeptical, so he did his homework and contacted affiliate managers asking such questions as: if it works for everyone, can it work for me, what is the potential, what is the life span, how long will it be around? He got the answers and heard nothing but accolades about James Martell. As Alan says, “James is a real doer, a lot of people walk the talk, not walk the walk, but with James it’s the truth. The amazing thing with affiliate marketers is that, there’s a real sense of community. What ends up happening is, you want everyone around you to succeed, you help them and, they help you.”

How Alan got started in affiliate marketing

Alan not only read James Martell’s handbook, but also attended his training in Vancouver. Alan says, “The biggest thing about James’ training is how easy it is to understand. If you follow what he tells you to do and look at the examples it works. James provides the vehicle with his 8-step-system for affiliate marketing. It’s up to the affiliate marketer to keep the engine running. It takes work, but the payoff is there.”

In the beginning Alan set a target for making money in six months, but by three months, the business proved itself as a viable financial entity. Alan says, “The learning curve was very difficult at first, partly, because my internal skeptic prevailed. I spent weeks with four hours of sleep a night, just building the sites, and wondering how is this working, and getting blown away by the visitor numbers. In the early days of the business, I just didn’t understand the power of search engines. But the light bulb went off and there’s no turning it off. The sky’s the limit. And the checks keep rolling in, they really do.”

The convincing factor proved to be search engine optimization. By following James Martell’s formula for choosing keywords, visitors came to Alan’s website in droves, verified by reports from a tracking program, known as Hit Tracker.

Keywords as explained in James Martell’s Affiliate Marketers Handbook are the search engine building blocks. Marketing on the Internet is all about placement and being seen. To be successful you need the keywords people use for queries on the search engines, that’s how your web site will be found.

How web traffic translates into making money

Alan’s niche markets are credit cards, cell phones, and satellite TVs. Monitoring the number of visitors coming to the site is critical. You need traffic and conversion to make affiliate marketing work and to make money. It’s like sales’ law of averages the more people you talk to, the more are going to order.

Commissions paid on average are 7-10%. Credit card companies pay $30-50 for an approved application. Cell phones companies pay $20-70. The satellites companies pay $35-70/satellite. Here’s an example of the money making potential, let’s say: you have three web sites with a 100 visitors a day and a 1% conversion (equivalent to 3 conversions a day), that’s equal to $110 U.S. per day ($30 cell + $50 satellite + $30 credit card). By the end of the month that’s a return of $3300.

Alan follows the same methods for web site construction developed by James Martell. These principals are incorporated into Alan’s successful series of specialty shopping featuring: cellular phones, satellite tv and credit cards.

Got Dot: What kinds of financial goals did you set?

In the beginning, Alan set a goal of making 300 Canadian dollars per site, which is equivalent to ten dollars a day. In no time at all Alan surpassed that target, and moved up to 50 a day, then 100, and more. The bar keeps getting raised.

Got Dot: What’s a typical day?

Alan’s days start early before 7AM and are divided between writing articles, building web sites, talking to merchants learning what’s new, and examining new web partners like Commission Junction, LinkShare, and any affiliate program offering a good fit.

Alan says, “Any time I get tired of looking at the computer, I step outside. In Vancouver it rains a lot. I love the smell of rain. Sometimes I play golf in the middle of the day, take a walk on the beach or catch a hockey game and there’s no boss questioning my priorities. The time is mine and I love it.”

Got Dot: In these recessionary times, what advice would you give someone looking to make a change?

The first thing Alan says is, “What recession? With affiliate marketing, the door is open twenty four hours a day. James Martell provides the vehicle, learn how to drive it, and you too can make money. Take the plunge, move forward, and don’t be afraid. The only person holding you back is yourself.”

Here are Alan’s tips and techniques for success:

  1. Make a plan -- Determine what you're looking to accomplish and how much money you want to make.
  2. Create target goal note cards and place them around the house. Visual markers on the refrigerator, in the bathroom, and in your wallet can be really empowering.
  3. Conduct a test market. Build your web site and see if your goals are realistic.
  4. Pick an industry niche you like. You don’t have to pick one that everyone is doing.
  5. Follow your conversion rates. Commission Soup, Commission Junction, and LinkShare offer great reporting.
  6. Speak to affiliate marketers and find out how they’re doing and see what insights they can share.
  7. Ask questions. If you are interested you have to ask questions and keep asking. There are no dumb questions.
  8. Study the search engines. Understand how they work.
  9. Buy James' affiliate training manual and be sure to subscribe to his affiliate buzz audio newsletter to stay up-to-date.
  10. Remember the business is yours. You are responsible for your actions.

Alan says, “With affiliate marketing you can earn more than the average American three fold or Canadian and that’s making money from home: forgoing the corporate grind and achieving life work balance. You have to work for it. There will be countless hours where you just keep revamping and fine tuning the vehicle, but if you want to drive and be your own boss, that’s what it’s all about. The sky’s the limit.”

Alan followed a simple 8-step-system™ for affiliate marketing created by James Martell, entrepreneur, successful affiliate marketer, and developer of over 70 specialty shopping sites with topics that include; cellular phones, web hosting, and DSL access; and also offers training for those interested in making money from at home using affiliate programs.

Got Dot is a freelance writing firm profiling successful affiliate marketers.

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