Today I’m going to share with you a beginner’s American Dream website business success story.
As you’ll see, our featured reader isn’t an internet millionaire yet, but he’s doing a great job for a kid just out of college, and proud son of new immigrants to America.
He’s proving the American Dream isn’t dead – it’s just a little different these days.
About 18 months ago I noticed a new affiliate had started making consistent sales of my Turbulence Training fitness product. Whenever that happens, I’m grateful, and excited.
This young guy, Parth Shah, has a real-world American Dream success story and we’re going to share it with you today.
He’ll show you how anyone can get started with a website business. You don’t need a lot of money, just a never-give-up attitude and a passion for what you do.
Craig: Parth, let’s start with a brief background of your website business. How did you get involved in this business?
I began my website in college as a way to express my unique views on fitness in 2007. When I started out, I was bored with magazine workouts and did not enjoy going to the Campus fitness center.
Most of my training was done at home with a barbell, so I was talking more about working out at home with limited equipment, which is right now a pretty hot niche. You’re in it! But I didn’t start out with the intention of making money online.
I became interested in online marketing after seeing Mike Mahler (the Kettlebell guy) make money online. I read his story, and I started scratching my head. Here’s a guy who started out when Kettlebellls weren’t even popular and he made it big. Why can’t I do it?
My journey led me to Tim Ferris’ book, 4 Hour Work Week, and that just opened up my eyes to the possibilities of what you can do online. Here was someone who’s financed all his travels with an online company!
In 2009, I made about $198.72 per month on average. In 2010, my monthly income was $1372.41. That is almost a 600% increase (I think).
And that is just from affiliate earnings alone. In 2011 I hope to earn at least 300% more.
Craig: Cool, your story is similar to mine, starting all the way back in college. So what freedom and lifestyle benefits has this given you?
Both my parents are from India, so I’m first generation American. Anyone coming from an immigrant family knows that your parents believe there are only 3 ways to make money in life: become an engineer, lawyer, or doctor.
I wanted to become a screen writer. So, that was really hard to hear for my parents. I listened to my father and got a degree in International Business. Even after college, it was tough getting a job.
Partly because I graduated the same summer Lehmen brothers tanked. But partly because deep down I just didn’t want to work for another person. Writers, artists, actors, and all us creative people are free spirits. We hate being tied down.
So, I had already begun experimenting with blogging while at school. And right before I graduated, I had read 4HWW. It took me a while to really start implementing his principles, but I eventually found my way.
The biggest benefit is showing my parents that I can actually make money doing something I love. My dad is 100% on board since he owns a business. My mom, on the other hand, will take some more time to get used to it.
But I pay my bills, and help my parents out. To me, I’d rather give up some money then give up my freedom. And anyone who has ever worked for another person knows what I mean by giving up freedom.
Since college, I have not had a “normal” job, and I hope I never have to!
Craig: What were the most important things you have done “right” in your online journey to your success?
Learning SEO is one of the important things I’ve learned.
Some people call me an SEO expert. I taught my cousin the basics and he was like, “Yea, you hear about it, but you showing me one on one was amazing.”
He wants me start consulting, which will definitely be a future endeavor.
SEO isn’t difficult. But it’s something people avoid. They get too caught up on “tricks.”
There’s no trick.
It’s all about finding the right keywords – low competition, high search – and creating content around it.
The better content you create, the more people will come to your site.
The second skill is using your weaknesses as your strengths. I’m not a certified trainer. I do train people, but I do it more to have training partners and build relationships. Two guys I trained while I was in college are now warriors.
One of them approached me with a business idea, which we’ll be implementing in the summer.
But anyways, I’m an average joe. And my readers are average joes. That’s what makes them trust me. I’m not some fitness expert trying to pull a fast one on them. I don’t have six pack abs (yet), but I’m going through the same journey as they are.
For a while I hid myself behind a computer. But now I interact with all my readers on twitter and facebook. That’s what it’s all about. It’s a lot of fun.
And like you said in your newsletters, show off your personality, and people won’t have to scratch their heads and think, “Am I buying from a real person? Or a spammer from Romania?”
(No offence to Romania, just read an article in Wired magazine that said Romania has the most cyber criminals.)
Craig: Yes, please, no hate mail from our Romanian readers, if we have any. So Parth, what lessons have you learned in terms of things you wouldn’t do again, or wouldn’t recommend to others just getting started?
Pay per click is one of the most dangerous things I’ve done as a beginner.
I literally spent $800 on PPC and only made a fraction of it back.
Especially now since Google really hates affiliate marketers, specifically Clickbank, your best bet is to stay away from it until you actually have some practice money to use on PPC.
I’ve heard some good things about Facebook, but even then, you can get really far with using Facebook as a social media platform as opposed to an advertising plaform.
Even the big companies can’t get paid advertising right (I’ve seen some really dumb campaigns to the point where you don’t even know what they’re trying to sell you.).
So overall paid advertising do it once you’ve exhausted the free traffic methods.
Craig: What were the big mindset changes that helped you make progress? And any advice to others on getting through “the dips” where things were really frustrating?
Not caring about what other people think about me, and not listening to my mom.
Craig: Uh-oh. Seriously?
I love my mom, but sometimes you have to just block out people you love because they’re standing in the way of your goals.
In college, when people were worried about getting a job, I wrote a feature length screenplay. It was read, and rejected.
But it showed me what buckling down and working was all about. It showed me how happy I was when I let my creative juices flow.
Ever since then, I’ve had this dream of living in some other country with a beautiful view, outside my room, and spending all day drinking Chai and writing.
That is my dream and I’m getting closer and closer to it.
To get past those dips, and I’m facing one now, you have to have that image crystal clear in your head.
Make it as specific as possible.
You have to have that attitude where you don’t care about what other people think about you.
When you’re facing a dip, people see you as a wounded animal. And they’re going to try and show you that, “Hey look. I told you! What you’re doing is stupid. Why not join me in my boring desk job and we’ll gossip about that guy who works next door!”
That’s not what I want. So it keeps me going.
But on the flip side, you need to be open minded. Talk to more people who are in your niche, or at least are online. For me right now I can’t afford to go to seminars.
So I learn from you from this website, and your newsletters.
Craig: Were there any big “a-ha” moments when you felt like you were really breaking through?
Last year there was a HUGE fitness product launch and that launch made me $1300, which is my current average monthly income.
That showed me the possibility of how much money you can make online.
I believe I made that money because there were few people promoting the product, and I had high rankings for his product already. The second time around I didn’t do so well because there was more competition in terms of affiliates promoting it.
That showed me that you can’t rely too much on product launches because after a launch you don’t do so good with the product.
You want to have certain evergreen products that will keep making you money for years to come.
Craig: And finally, do you have any networking, outsourcing, or technical tips that might make it easier for InternetIndependence.com readers?
In terms of networking right now for me is mostly online.
I am certainly more open to talking to random people about my business, but most people just don’t understand the online business model.
On the technical side, stick to WordPress. WordPress has evolved to a point where you can create an entire membership website with it.
In fact, I’m coming out with a membership product as a joint venture with an Australian trainer.
We’re using wordpress for our blog, membership site, and paypal to accept payments. There’s even a plugin that synchs with paypal and wordpress.
There are plugins that also synch clickbank with wordpress, but you have to pay for them.
So if you want a completely free website, or at least a low cost one, wordpress is the way to go!
Thanks Parth. I hope you enter our Internet Independence transformation contest.
And I hope you will as well. That said, I’m always looking for more success stories to feature in the daily email, so please contact me or post your information below so we can inspire others with your success.
Looking forward to your future success,
“If you want to sell many more products or services online, your success will always boil down to the all-important twin truths of Traffic Generation and Sales Conversion.”
– “Vegas” Jimmy Sweeney