Years ago I did a lot of pay per click affiliate sales using Google Adwords.
For reference, the most I ever spent in one day on ads was nearly $10,000 (something like $9,800; Jan/Feb 2008 Adwords screenshot for just 2 campaigns during this time) and I always had a daily positive return on investment. If you weren’t profitable day-to-day then you weren’t doing it right.
I wasn’t the best – most of the game was simply testing a lot of offers and related ad, keyword, and landing page combinations – but I was pretty good.
Getting to that level (“pretty good”) was straightforward. It was all based on a few years I spent learning boring stuff. How to edit an image in Photoshop. How to create a landing page. How to make a website do this or that. How to do keyword research. How to do market research. How to write a good autoresponder e-mail sequence.
In those days I got lots of e-mails from people asking how to do what I did.
- “Can you teach me?”
- “What do I do?”
- “If you had to start from scratch, where would you start?”
I was always happy to answer these e-mails, because the beginning was to learn the fundamentals, learn the boring, and I was well-versed in that. This was the stuff most people wouldn’t learn because they expected to jump right into huge ad spends and profits like it was some kind of magic.
The way to learn the boring for this particular business was to go through Google’s own free Adwords training. It was long and thorough and it gave newbies a perfect framework to build off of if they were willing to take the time to learn.
This was the great filter. (I love filters. This whole website is a filter.) I could legitimately help everybody who asked (“Learn this and e-mail me for Step 2 when you’re done.”) while simultaneously not waste my time helping people who didn’t want to help themselves. The magic bullet golden ticket types.
This Adwords training – which could quite literally change a person’s whole economic future – could be completed in a focused weekend, with a little time left over for watching cartoons and slacking off on facebook.
I recommended this training to dozens of people. I can’t even imagine how many because I didn’t keep track. I knew I’d never hear from most of them again.
Do you want to guess how many people went through and learned the boring?
It took me a good hard think to come up with just two people. Maybe there were more, but I remember two who e-mailed me. One of whom went on to generate $XXX,XXX/year using Adwords. (The other did well, but not quite in 6 figures.)
If you want to excel at anything one of your first steps is to learn the boring.
I’m all for the whole “do what you love find your passion travel the world sip margaritas” idea. But the truth is it’s never quite like how others sell it to you. Anybody who you respect is working their ass off. What you don’t see is what goes into it. You only see what they want to show you. You don’t see them working nights. Working weekends. Hustling. That’s the the stuff that makes them successful.
It’s tempting to skip this stage. It’s even very easy. Especially if you have some disposable income to spend on Elance. For many people that’s not a great option. Which means your options are either getting nothing done or doing it yourself. And we both know getting nothing done is for losers.
More than anything, learning the boring is about not being helpless. If there’s anything that proves you’re an adult it’s being self-reliant and learning the boring is about becoming self-reliant. There’s an unparalleled sense of pride that comes from cooking a nice dinner from scratch for the first time, or building a website, or even from writing your very first “Hello World!” script. These are all signs of self-reliance and all come from learning the boring.
Interestingly, happily, when you begin learning the boring you might not find it boring at all.