Biography: The Rise of Ngo: Chapter 1
Society focuses more on the product than the process.
I think a lot of people have a misconception about what it takes to be a successful Internet marketer. Gurus will tell you that you can make $10,000 in your first month of learning—but only if you buy their $1,000 course. Established guys will post pictures of their vacations and toys on Facebook.
Very rarely will you see people writing about the difficulties of the industry. It’s not a sexy subject, and everyone wants to paint themselves as a prodigy.
Everyone new to my industry wonders: what is it really like to go from a complete beginner to a super affiliate? (I hate using this word, by the way). For every guy that hits $10,000 a day, there are thousands of other guys who barely achieve any success.
What makes the difference?
I don’t know what the typical beginning is like for others. I can only share what I went through. I’ll do my best to keep it real as my goal is to share my experience so you can learn from it rather than to stroke my own ego.
What you’ll discover is I’m not an Internet marketing prodigy. Six years ago I was in the same position you’re probably in now: reading affiliate marketing blogs, losing money on campaigns, and wondering if this industry is even legit.
I don’t really like to get very personal on my blog, so I’m hoping I can inspire some of you to take action.
What’s my passion?
My story starts in 2007. I always had this feeling of frustration in college. I was a semester away from graduating from Georgia Tech, but at 22, I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. While others were applying for grad school or their first jobs, I was trying to figure out my path.
Everyone seems to give the same advice, “Just follow your passion…”
I wasn’t really passionate about anything. I mean, I liked playing Starcraft and going to the clubs on weekends, but I wasn’t really looking to make a career out of those.
I’ve always known I wanted to be a business owner of some sort. When I was a kid, I would use my Chinese New Year’s money to buy bulk candy at Sam’s Club and resell them during classes. Around high school, I had a CD burner. Factor in Napster, and I was selling custom “mix tapes.” I also made a chunk of change flipping Stone of Jordans and rare items from Diablo 2.
I didn’t have very many people around me with an entrepreneurial spirit. The few that were around did some shady stuff like trying to be pro poker players or selling weed. Or they were caught up in some multi-level marketing scheme (Amway, World Financial Group, Herbalife).
I didn’t mind getting a 9-5 job after graduation, but I couldn’t imagine myself doing that for 40+ years. What really ignited me was reading the book Rich Dad Poor Dad. It introduced me to the concept of the rat race:
- Get good grades
- Go to college
- Get a job
- Work your ass off for that promotion
- Get that promotion, upgrade your lifestyle
- New house, new BMW, debt
- Get another promotion
- Better house, better car
- Get old
- Look in the mirror and wonder what happened
I’m not a religious guy, so as far as I’m concerned, this life is it. I wanted to live a life that would allow me to die with zero regrets.
From my Xanga back in the day
I didn’t want to spend my life taking orders from someone else or making my boss rich. Also, traveling is a huge part of my identity, so how could I see the world with two weeks of vacation a year?
To keep my spirits up, I read books. I didn’t have much money at the time, so my Saturdays were spent leeching off of Barnes & Noble. I pretty much read whatever was on the top 10 list in the business section.
I knew I was smart and had a solid work ethic, but I didn’t have a direction.
The eBay days
My 22nd birthday was coming up, and I decided to get a present for myself.
I settled on a digital camera since I’d never had one before. I thought I should be taking some pics to remember my college days. Unfortunately, the Canon I wanted was $300, which was twice my budget.
My mom taught me to always try to find a sale or deal before buying something expensive, so I went to Fatwallet and Slickdeals. They have forums where people are constantly posting insane deals. Liquidation sales, price mistakes, coupons, etc.
I was able to find the exact Canon I wanted on sale. It was originally $300, but someone outlined a method to buy it for $140. I can’t remember the exact process, but it involved price-matching a competitor and then applying a coupon.
I went to Staples that afternoon and left with the camera that cost me $150. I was playing around with the camera, excited that I was able to beat the system. But then an idea struck me…how much could I re-sell this camera for?
A quick search on eBay showed it was selling for $270. I listed it on eBay, jacked the shipping up to $20, and made a quick $150 profit for an hour’s worth of work.
Why settle for $150? I went to every Staples in Atlanta and maxed out my credit card. I ended up buying around 10 cameras (with my $1,500 credit limit at the time) and flipped them all on eBay.
I was doing classic price arbitraging: buy low and sell high.
At that time, I was working at a gas station on the weekends for $8.25 an hour.
For 3 hours of work, I made about $1,500 in profit.
For 16 hours of work at a gas station, I made $128.
The next week, I went to the gas station and quit my job. I found an opportunity, and I had to go at it with full force.