In Bangkok last December 2018, Benjamin Yong interviewed the Affiliate World Asia affiliate panel that was comprised of three highly successful solo affiliate marketers: Maor Benaim, Mike Long, and Ralfs Smilšarājs. They shared their thoughts and strategies to scaling as a solo affiliate in the industry.

This post, “AWasia’s Affiliate Panel Discuss Scaling As A Solo Affiliate” first appeared on the AWC Facebook Page

AWasia affiliate panel share their challenges of being a solo affiliate

Wondering what the BIGGEST challenge is to scaling as a solo affiliate? 🔥 Benjamin Yong finds out from #AWasia's affiliate panel.Ralfs Smilšarājs:🎙️ "I don't really see any issues with scaling as a solo affiliate. It's just that whatever your goals are, they have to be physically possible for ONE man to manage." 💪Michael Long:🎙️ "The reality of things is that if you want to build a billion dollar business, then you've got to do an IPO or startup. If 7 or 8-figures of profit in a single year is sufficient, focus on smart investment, solid annuities, and you should be good to go." 🚀Maor Benaim:🎙️ "Stop believing all the BS. Most offers aren't going to work and most affiliates are going to crash. So you have to want it and you have to grind." 🐺🎬 For more video content, subscribe to our official YouTube channel: awc.li/youtube

Posted by Affiliate World Conferences on Monday, January 14, 2019

 

AWasia Interview with the Affiliate Panel: Maor Benaim, Mike Long, and Ralfs Smilšarājs


Why Did You Choose To Be A Solo Affiliate Marketer?

Benjamin Yong:
🎙️ So we have three gentlemen here with us today. We have Maor, Mike, and Ralfs. And the three of them are known as lone rangers, because they do not have a team and they just want to run campaigns all by themselves, going solo, which is a very rare case, especially now in 2018.We have also seen the growth of agencies but what is the main reason you guys choose not to go up this path? Let’s start with you.
Maor Benaim:
Well, the main reason I choose not to is first of all, historically, every time I got employees, I got the team to scale basically, I found out that I managed them and all of the time that was free, basically was reallocated to just managing those employees and just having the operations keep moving and as I said onstage, I think that there is a certain type of business and a certain point in time where you want and need to scale, but I truly believe that if you know a lot of stuff like you know a bit of coding, you know how to network, you know how to design. I’m talking about the essential stuff, you can do a lot by yourself and you can scale accounts on both or a lot of platforms except for Google and Facebook, I almost forgot that there are more platforms – without a team.
Benjamin Yong:
🎙️ How about you, Mike?
Mike Long:
What I like to tell people is that in life, you build or you beg. The begging route would be you go to school, you beg for grades, you beg for a job, you beg for pay raise, or not to lose your job for a vacation and all this crap. And it’s a very low quality of life. Or you build something of incredible value that people really, really want.

You know, 20 years ago, it wasn’t possible for somebody with high-calibre skills to necessarily build a 7-figure income or 8-figure income for themselves outside of maybe a franchise, which is very, very risky. These days with the internet, skills rule, and if you have, what Wolf was saying, the right kind of skill set, the skills that are really, really in demand, my favourite involves free traffic, so either getting affiliate marketers to promote my offers or me promoting other people’s offers as an affiliate marketer with my email list or with search engine optimisation with free traffic from Google and organic and there’s these guys who run these paid ads are wizards that are amazing. They’re to my left and right. But when you have this powerhouse skill, you’d be surprised that so often, bringing somebody else on who doesn’t bring something blockbuster to the table, is so much like a security blanket that it can really turn into a straight jacket.

So I’m really just a big, big believer in building and not begging and that really involves letting your skills shine out, acquiring those skills that are just badly, badly needed and that’s how you write your own paychecks.

Benjamin Yong:
🎙️ What about you, Ralfs?
Ralfs Smilšarājs:
I think for me, it’s one of the reasons why I’ve been working alone is my personality. I just like doing stuff on my own, maybe that’s a bad thing but that’s one of the reasons why I’ve always been a one-man army. The second thing is that I’ve always had goals that I want to achieve and so far, I’ve been able to achieve all of the goals of working alone as a one-man army, maybe when it comes to a point that I cannot reach my next goal, when I said it’s so big that it’s not possible to do it working alone, then I’ll consider building a team and going to the next level.

Financing Your Business

Benjamin Yong:
🎙️ So how do you manage to finance your business? Or like, when you partner with someone, the costs are going to go up and everything so how do you actually manage the finances? Do you have investors or use your own savings?
Maor Benaim:
When I started, I had maybe, I don’t even think like 10k in my account, to be honest, and I just started as a service provider so I did some consultations and I was like working at this digital agency and then when I had a bit of money, like when I got to 30k or something, it wasn’t that much – I started like really pushing diet products and those kinds of stuff so I just rolled with it and really pushed hard with payment terms and those kinds of stuff.

So I never needed extra or third-party financing, but I think that what Mike said onstage, advertising online, paid traffic, is one of the biggest opportunities there is right now. If you’re not doing it for your business, if you’re not doing it for a client, for someone, then you’re wasting that opportunity because it’s going to be properly priced moving forward. So it’s really about taking that advantage and taking it and squeezing whatever you can out of it.

Mike Long:
I’m a huge believer in advertising, like Wolf said. What I’ve done is I’ve focused in on free advertising and so for example with OMG, we’ve collected $45 million. The initial investment was about $2,000 in cool looking cartoon artwork.
Benjamin Yong:
🎙️ $2,000?
Mike Long:
$2,000 that’s correct. To this day, our number one expense is $1,000 per month for AWeber. Our second biggest expense is $300 per year for our Vimeo account, and I don’t even know what the third biggest expense would be. So we have no fixed cost, but again, that’s one of the strengths of free advertising and of course, that can scale with agencies and so forth. But I want to point out that what these guys are doing is exceptional in the sense that if you do have that money to begin with, and I’m a big believer in paid advertising, it’s something that I recommend people do very often, you can scale very quickly and that’s one of the real powers of it. That’s how you’ll have someone who’s 24 years old, do 8-figures, which I think is absolutely amazing so I love both paid and free. The strength of free and the thing I focus on is being able to boostrap just a little bit easier.
Benjamin Yong:
🎙️ Right, and what about you Ralfs?
Ralfs Smilšarājs:
Well you know how the song goes, starting from the bottom, now I’m here. I literally started with $0 in my bank account, I used free tactics as I said, I started with I was 16 years old, that was back in 2010. I used SEO, I used YouTube advertising, I mean just uploading the videos for free and slowly, I started building my cash flow and then I transformed $1,000 into $2,000, $2,000 into $5,000 and so on and that’s literally what I’ve been doing ever since and right now, for a long time actually, I haven’t had any cash flow problems. One of the reasons is of course, that all the ad networks that I work with, they give me huge credit that I have to pay only every month, so it’s net-30 payment terms basically.
Benjamin Yong:
🎙️ I think that’s actually a very big advantage being an affiliate marketer, that you are actually leveraging other people’s cash flow instead of using your own money to fund the campaigns.
Ralfs Smilšarājs:
That’s true, yes. I agree.
Benjamin Yong:
🎙️ So actually, whoever is watching, you do not need a lot of money to get started in paid advertising. Like look at these three gentlemen beside me. They had no money, they didn’t get any investment fund, they didn’t even borrow money. They all started with their own money so this is the power of paid marketing.

Outsourcing Smaller Roles

Benjamin Yong:
🎙️ The next question, so do you guys have a person to help with at least one of the administration? Like do you outsource some of the smaller roles that do not require a full-time contract?
Maor Benaim:
So yeah, I outsource all of what I call the “copy-paste” kind of jobs. So everything related to reporting, everything related to maybe setting up or duplicating stuff, that’s what I like to outsource basically. I do recommend that anyone that is outsourcing to a VA, install a software inside his computer that allows you to monitor them. Most of the times, these guys are going to make some mistakes, that’s why I like taking students, maybe guys that I know. I don’t believe in working in an office. I don’t really measure employees or partners or even VAs by time, I just need that specific task to be done and to be done correctly.
Mike Long:
So in fairness, I do have a long-time partner from 15 years, David Mills, who I met in my Magic The Gathering playing days and we’ve worked together for years. Between the two of us we have no employees, we’ve never outsourced. David’s wife does all our accounting, which is significant. That’s no small thing. But outside of that, one of the things I’ve been able to do for example is really get explosive EPCs, along the lines of 10-30x or 100x more than a lot of people in my market space. And I really have incredible list retention with my email lists and activity from those people, and I think that so much of that comes from doing my own customer service literally from reporting back on the success that people are having for products that they’ve gotten from me and also travelling to events like this, I really recommend travelling. I think that that’s really kept me in touch, so doing those supposed small tasks, I feel like really keeps me connected.
Ralfs Smilšarājs:
So I’ve never hired anybody but the only thing I have outsourced is translating the landing pages because obviously, I can only speak so many languages.

Biggest Challenge To Scaling As A Solo Affiliate Marketer

Benjamin Yong:
🎙️ If not building a team, what would be the biggest challenge as a solo affiliate marketer to take your business to the next level?
Ralfs Smilšarājs:
So I don’t see any issues with that, it’s just that whatever your goals are, if you really want to run hundreds of different offers at a time and have hundreds of different campaigns that it is not physically possible for one man to manage, then I think you definitely need to consider building a team and open up an office and focus on the big scale.
Mike Long:
I think that the reality of things is that if you want to build a billion dollar business, then you’ve got to basically do an IPO or startup or something like that and that’s not really the game that I’m in at this point. There’s millions and millions in profit. We’ve proven that, again and again. If millions and millions in profit isn’t enough for you, which I totally respect, then probably the biggest mistake you’re making is not understanding the importance of annuities but outside of that, again, if you really need to get outside of that, then at that point you’ll probably have to build some sort of an IPO situation and I have no expertise with that whatsoever but I do know that type of affiliate marketing that we’re talking about here can absolutely make you 7-figures or even 8-figures in a single year.

I’ve never made 8-figures of profit in a given year but I’ve made millions of dollars for many years and for me that’s been sufficient and again, if you focus on smart investment, solid annuities then you should be good to go.

Maor Benaim:
So most offers aren’t going to work and most affiliate marketers are going to crash. So wanting it is like one thing and you do have to want it, okay. It doesn’t change that but you need to understand what you’re seeing here. People tell stories, people want to look good, that’s one of the biggest things. Facebook, Instagram Live, okay so, doing it is possible, it takes a hell of a lot of hard work. So you have to grind and following your question, basically when you want to scale, I think that’s a really wide subject and it really depends on that specific project that you are in.
Benjamin Yong:
🎙️ Absolutely amazing, thank you gentlemen for being here today.