How to make 2K a month without knowing

16 replies
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A while ago, I decided to share my story with the community when I had my first month @ 2000 dollars, so here I am.

Two years ago my daily job went belly up because the crisis hit my sector very hard: I was fired from the job I just started and for which I just moved in a new European country.

Being a foreigner during a big crisis didn't help the search for a new job, and my son was expected soon which added up the pressure on me. My wife had a small job that provided an OK income, barely enough to cover the biggest expenses of the month, but the birth of the baby was expected to put an end to that revenue.

So, I was forced to go independent. I marketed my non-IT consultancy skills very hard, but the crisis put a halt to my sector (which happens to be accounting) and I could not find a single client. I contacted my former employee and my ex colleagues in order to see if I could do some temp job with them, but all my team was being outsourced overseas and lots of my colleagues had been fired as well.

After a few months with a zero-paycheck and zero success, my baby came and my nights got shorter. The new family responsibilities had a great impact on me, and I started to do what any clever and responsible father would have done if he was in my shoes: to waste 16 hours a day surfing stupid websites. I know. I - know. But hey, 6 months of cold calls and no luck at all can discourage more than one man. I was also shooting a few CVs from time to time, without receiving any positive feedback.

During my wandering on the useless side of the Net, I stumbled upon a great website which provided thousands of template documents. In a website page, they indicated which were the 20 most downloaded templates, and I had a good look to it: the #1 template was downloaded 8000 times a week, whilst the twentieth most successful template was downloaded 200 times.

I read The Long Tail a while ago and I understand the interest to have lots of files to provide to readers, even if plenty of them are almost never requested. However, my thoughts looking at the statistics were exactly the opposite: a specific page on the #1 file could generate LOTS of traffic, without the need to create and manage thousands of templates.

Even better, 8 files out of the top 20 were from the same narrow sub domains: complaint letters for ISP. Looking at the figures, a mind blowing conclusion came to me: if I built a site focused on complaint letters for ISP, I could generate half of the traffic of the huge site by providing 8 web pages and nothing more.

So, I decided to give it a shot since I had too much time in my hands. In three days, my site was up and running on a 10-dollar plan for name+hosting, contained 12 complaint letters templates and had three-backlinks-three from a couple forums in posts such as "Hey, my new site is here. Wanna have a look?".

After that, I did what every SEO real guru and every 297$ WSO will advise you to do in order to make loads of money with your website: I forgot the site and moved to do something else. Come on, a stupid site made of 12 pages ? And anyway everybody knows it, you COULD NEVER make a dime with it. I had already tried with a jokes website when I was younger: I wasted 6 months of my life on that and the advertising on the site totalled a whopping 70 cents.

So, I started again with cold calls for my accounting job, new CV and you know the story, things always change after a while. I had my first small contract with an accounting firm, then the contract was a bit bigger, then one of my former colleagues opened his own company and gave me one of his contracts, and in 5 month time I was working as an independent for 25 hours a week on accounting stuff, making enough money to support my family.

And then, one day...

The ISP which hosted my website wrote me a letter: "Dear sir, your bandwidth consumption is too high, please purchase the 20 dollar a year plan, best regards".
First reaction: who are these guys?
Second reaction: yeah, the 12 page website. There must be an error.
I dug up my access codes and I connected to the site: everything seemed normal. Then, I discovered the site provided a statistic page and I checked the reports: 800 unique a day. I was speechless. My old jokes website peaked at 80 readers a day after 6 months of hard work, adding new stuff three times a day, and this tiny site with 12 static pages had 10 times that traffic volume.

So, that shocking revelation generated such a great storm of ideas in my mind that lead me to the obvious next step: drink a beer, have a nap and forget it. However, after a week, that tiny site still bothered me. Could I do something with it? Well, I decided to give it a try.

First move, I investigated a brand-new concept I once heard about: SEO anyone? Three or four weeks on forums and I had an idea of what to do.
I put Google Analytics on it, I migrated it to a proper Wordpress installation, had a cleanup of the ugly design I was using, optimized the permalinks, opened three Yahoo answer accounts, guest posting, Market Samurai, SpyGlass, two WSO, OpenWire, bookmarks... all the hands-on job you know.

BUT, with a huge difference you probably never thought about: IM can be done in other languages rather than English, and this is what I did.

Internet is mostly English-speaking, but there are hundreds of other languages out there, spoken in rich and soon-very-rich countries. IM is a big thing in the US and the market is very dynamic, but that has ugly consequences : huge competition, great rewards for some happy few and almost nothing for all the rest of us. Wanna open another "get rich in 3 minutes" website, or a "forex for masses" blog? Good luck man, there are 50 800-pound gorillas in the arena, please don't waste your time there.

HOWEVER, do the same in German, or French, or Spanish, or Chinese (well...)! The competition is so small there you can be the #1 without big efforts. I did it, and I see the hurdles : there is no Fiverr and no Clickbank and no Xrumer for German-only sites and no Flippa and nothing - NOTHING your usual tools. Sure there is a Fiverr clone, but it does not work. Amateur market, I tell you ! But with great money...

So, what worked for me :
  • Yahoo answers : good for being known by real people
  • forum posting : good results, signatures with links work well
  • social bookmarking : poor results, waste of time
  • WSO I purchased : the ideas there seemed good (1 cent Adwords, self-generated traffic) but it did not work at all
  • natural linking : way the best ! I beat all the competition there. This is the single method to rank #1 in a foreign language. I never tried to do that in English, but the principles must be the same. Do you know what works in this ugly world ? Kindness ! I have a method to find interesting websites to target, four or five well crafted emails I use to contact webmasters, good communication skills and a bit of understanding on how Mr. Google works to obtain astounding results. One of my referrers is sending me 2000 users a month and he does not care about it ! This traffic only is valued by Analytics at 40 USD a month. Another one did not answered at all to my first two emails, then he answered to my third request by putting 10 deep links to my site and sends me 1000 users / month ! One advice for you: forget all the ugly spammer-like methods and go natural, that takes time but results are great.

So, to come back to my story: in two months of accounting the day and SEOing the night, results were there: peaks of 4000 valuable users per day for my 12-page tiny site.

So, phase 3 : make money with my site (opened in March 2010, money making strategy started in Oct 2010) :
  • Adsense: 50 dollars for the first half-month, then 200, then increasing regularly for 8 months up to 800 this month.
  • Tradedoubler: only with programs which are really focused on my domain (ISP and internet). Results are going up and down, with a maximum of 1600 USD in December and a minimum of 300 USD in February
  • external company: they print out my templates and I have a percentage on the sale : 300 a month in May
  • Tradedoubler again: I have been called by them since my site is on top SERP of plenty of interesting keywords, such as "change your ISP". One of their advertisers asked them to put a PPC ad on my site, for which they pay 45 cents a click. With a 4% click through rate on one of my best pages, that will pay probably 1300 USD alone in June.

And now, I have a big doubt: what to do next? The path to there was not so simple: lots of work has been done to obtain this result, since when you work with foreign languages everything is so complicated: no proper article writer market, no serious article directory, no good linkwheels, no easy guest posting...
And my personal situation has changed: my accounting job is finally doing great and I can make much more money with that rather than with IM, but that's less funny...

OR I can do what you are thinking about: make MORE money! I have developed a way to collect my reader's phone numbers (and they are happy to give it to me!) and I will probably try to monetize it since the money-making potential of that is huge.

I can write my story on WF and see if anyone wants to go for Europe market.

As I said, I am not interested in the English market at all, but I can duplicate your great US money-making machine abroad! Some niches will never work in Europe, but lots of them will. I am serious about this project, I can give references and sign NDAs or no-concurrence agreements if needed, but please don't keep your cash machines out of Europe, the market is almost untapped and... well, that's a huge niche !
#abroad #europe #knowing #make #money #month
  • Profile picture of the author palmer9999
    Great thread! Well done I agree. A lot of the time people focus purely on English not even thinking about other languages.

    Well done on making some money for yourself!
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  • Profile picture of the author niplag
    A great read. Thanks for taking the time to share.
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  • Profile picture of the author GoldFace
    so, any niche to develop in Europe there ?
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  • Profile picture of the author bigcat1967
    Very good post. thx!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kikos
    wow an amazing story
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    • Profile picture of the author GoldFace
      Originally Posted by strategic seo services View Post

      This is a great idea! Can you give us a clue as to what niches work very well for European markets?
      I can tell you what not to do : no ebooks, no weight loss niche, no SEO (yes, that is not very popular here). BUT affiliations are good.
      As I said : give me your niche, I will tell you if that works and we can do that together.
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      • Profile picture of the author Charlie A
        That's a great story. I've done a little bit in the European market, particularly Sweden because I can speak the language but the problem with that is that it's such a small market with only 9 million people. And you're right, the monetizing methods are a lot different, just a different mindset in Europe. It's too bad that there aren't more CPA offers for European countries because the few good ones that I have found and tried have done pretty well, especially stuff related to gambling and mobile downloads. Anyways, thanks for the story and good luck in whatever you do next.
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        • Profile picture of the author GoldFace
          Originally Posted by Charlie A View Post

          That's a great story. I've done a little bit in the European market, particularly Sweden because I can speak the language but the problem with that is that it's such a small market with only 9 million people.
          Good remark: the market size !
          Don't expect such a huge market as in the US (apart if you want to go to China...) but there are some good sized countries here as well : 4 or 5 countries over 60 million people. And the real money is in the fact that there are no competitors there.
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          • Profile picture of the author luckyroco
            Great story! This is something that I have been thinking about for a while. I am German, lived and worked in Spain for many years. I was thinking of targeting Spain. Pm me w/ possible interest.
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  • Profile picture of the author TryBPO
    Interesting idea....

    I had a question, though. Did you give multiple language options on the one site itself or did you create alternative sites in different languages?

    How are your rankings in the SERPs for those other languages?
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  • Profile picture of the author Stephen Gilbert
    It seems like all the long term money is in a combination of SEO and email marketing. I really have to get into this :/
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  • Profile picture of the author WealthWithin
    Create similar sites and double your earnings.
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  • Profile picture of the author markowe
    First, will someone shoot the guy who just replied with a one-liner, quoting the entire OP.

    Second, great story! Tell me though, did you hire a professional agency to do the translation work (please, oh please don't tell me you used Google Translate!!). Hmm, maybe you should make your niche etc a LITTLE less identifiable - you don't want the WF hawks stealing your ideas!

    Who says you can't earn money as an eBay affiliate any more? My stats say otherwise

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    • Profile picture of the author GoldFace
      Originally Posted by markowe View Post

      Did you hire a professional agency to do the translation work (please, oh please don't tell me you used Google Translate!!). Hmm, maybe you should make your niche etc a LITTLE less identifiable - you don't want the WF hawks stealing your ideas!
      sorry but I don't understand the question. I didn't translate anything at all! I am German and the site was done in German for the German market, with original content that I wrote.

      And my market niche can be disclosed, since that is another important point: you cannot take your US site, copy/paste it in Google translator and wait for the money to come, but every site must be tailored for the country's specific needs and with local peple.

      For example, my ISP complaint site cannot be easily translated in English : I tried to focus on the UK market, but it never worked. Why?? Because in England companies are fairer with clients ! You call them and they accept complaints, returns of purchased products are accepted easily, without discussing ! So, no niche there, and that's not because of thee language: that's because of people!
      There's a UK-based website called : they print personalized postcards. In every other country that site will probably sell no more than 2 cards a year, but in the UK that's a multi-million business. Cultures are different!

      And if you want to go Polish with a site equivalent to mine : good luck ! How you will translate it? OK, a cheap guy will do the trick. Crappy quality, and you will not be able to tell! And for backlinking ? Impossible to do if you do not understand the country and the language. So, forget your great Filipino linkbuilder, since he will have no idea about how to create natural linking in Polish. And your great linkwheel tool ? Sorry, does not work: it will post your links in US forums, so the language difference will indicate that the link is just a spam.

      The real niche I am talking about here is NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING PEOPLE, which is 80% of the world population...

      So, my proposal is still there : wanna try your niche abroad ??? Niches must be cherry-picked: ebook sale cannot be the revenues model in southern Europe, since people will never buy it! And so on.

      So, to make money abroad, choose a great associate (your favorite Goldface) and work with him!
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  • Profile picture of the author markowe
    Ah, OK, gotcha, sorry, I thought you meant you took the original successful site and duplicated/translated it for other markets.

    I quite agree, there is a mass of untapped markets out there, though of course the Western, English-speaking ones are far from exhausted as yet!

    If I have any great ideas for approaching the German market I will know who to contact! Although I agree that the same products do not necessarily work in other markets, I also think that there are many great products just waiting to be translated/localised with the minimum of adaptation. For example, finding best-selling, self-published Kindle books or Clickbank products (obviously only those which you know for sure would work in your market) and offering the author a translation/publishing deal for your market. Proper, professional translation is quite expensive (OK, VERY expensive) but if the cost/benefit ratio was there, why not...

    Who says you can't earn money as an eBay affiliate any more? My stats say otherwise

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