Biography: The Rise of Ngo: Chapter 7
Quitting my job
The day I came back from Affiliate Summit East, I was ready to quit my job. I was extremely nervous because I’d seen some co-workers quit before, and it turned out ugly. I think that was because they were leaving for a competitor, and, well, I was leaving to work for myself.
Fortunately, the boss was understanding, and I was able to leave the company in two weeks without any issues.
If you’re going to quit your job, do it properly, and don’t burn any bridges. You never know if you’ll have to enter the 9-5 world again, and you might have to get a reference.
Two weeks later, I was my own man.
Adjusting to the new schedule
It felt weird to wake up on a Monday morning and not have to be anywhere: no classes and no work.
I remember having friends in high school who were straight A students but failed in Georgia Tech.
They worked well with strict supervision and schedules, but they couldn’t handle a life with too much freedom. When you’re in college, no one forces you to go to class, and you can be in bed anytime you want. It can be hard to study for your final exam when your friends are telling you to go to a party or to join them next door for a Super Smash Bros’ all-nighter.
This phenomenon is what happens to many new affiliates once they quit their jobs, and it’s what happened to me. It was harder than I thought to adapt to having complete control over my own decisions.
My initial thoughts were if I can make this much money working 5 hours a day, I can make way more money working 15 hours a day. It’s not that easy.
My motivation levels plummeted. The past year my goal was to be my own boss, and now I finally achieved it. I had 5 figures a month coming in from doing nothing. It was hard for me to work when the next room had my TV with Netflix and Xbox 360 waiting for me.
I didn’t know anything about productivity back then. All I ever did was rely on my motivation and willpower, but they weren’t there when I needed them.
Shit hits the fan
I woke up to an email from Neverblue telling me I had to pause the gaming campaign.
The advertiser found the creatives I was running where I compared their game to an extremely popular FPS at the time. They were scared of getting sued, and if I wanted to keep running the campaign, I had to use in-game screenshots and get all my creatives approved.
Creative approval and a $.75 payout? There was no way I could’ve made that profitable.
I did my best, but the CTRs were horrible. If before I was paying $.03-$.08 a click, they now skyrocketed to $0.25 CPC because I lost my best ads.
My dating campaign in Australia was doing a few hundred a day in profit. A few days after Instant Action got axed, I received an email letting me know that now they only wanted female traffic in order to keep their men to women ratio balanced.
Anyone in the dating industry knows that the dating for women niche is extremely difficult. We can’t entice women with boobs, and there’s way more competition in general for this type of traffic. Campaign #2 died.
I was running a few more campaigns at the time, and they all died for various reasons. Even the campaigns I ran outside of Facebook were gone.
A month earlier, I was making $3,000 a month at work and $10,000 a month with affiliate marketing. A few weeks later, I was down to zero.
Losing $200 on a new campaign is not a big deal when you’re bringing $500 a day, but the psychology completely flips when you have no money coming in.
The losses hurt more: instead of making data-driven decisions, you let your emotions take over. I was stopping campaigns before I had enough data. I was slowly losing confidence in my abilities to optimize a campaign. The losses started piling up over the next few weeks—ten campaigns launched and over $5,000 in losses.
I just stopped running campaigns. I was burnt out and didn’t want to feel like a failure anymore.
I started distracting myself to stop facing reality. My cousin and I started playing poker at shady places around the city; I played video games all day; and when things got too depressing, I just drank myself to sleep.
I felt like shit every time someone congratulated me on my success because I felt like a fraud. I avoided seeing anyone and told them work’s really busy. I just wanted to sleep all day and pretend this was all a bad dream.
Welcome to affiliate marketing: one moment you’re at the top of the world, and the next it can all be gone.
It’s hard to revisit some of these memories, but you need to know what it’s really like.
On Facebook, you’re only going to see pictures of cars, vacations, and fancy dinners. It’s a place for image crafting and showing only the best side of yourself. No one likes sharing their failures, despite it being a normal part of the business.
Don’t believe anyone who says this industry’s easy; they’re just trying to make money off you.
Next on Rise of Ngo: Fall down seven times, get up eight.