In 2014, my life became a near-constant barrage of questions. From the perspective of our friends and family, the sudden transformation that my wife and I experienced made little sense. One moment I was an overworked business owner with failing health, the next we were bouncing around the globe on a permanent vacation. Everyone wants to know how I did it, so here it is. This is the story of how I used a blog, of all things, to go from hospital bed to hammock in eight weeks.
The adventure begins…
I sit, in a daze, listening to the monotone voice of a man who has repeated himself one too many times. “In the unlikely event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the panel above you.” I peer at the overhead panel, wondering if any other emergency might warrant the use of oxygen masks.
We’ve sold almost all of our positions, said good-bye to our friends and family, and bought a one-way ticket to Bali. My wife grips my hand nervously as the enormous aircraft meanders its way towards the runway. We are both wondering the same thing: “What the hell are we thinking?” The next couple of years will be far from ordinary: Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and then, who knows?
This new way of life will be quite an adjustment. It has, after all, been just a few months since I spent the bulk of my time working like a crazy person and looking forward to my weekly panic attack. From my seat on Flight SA316, this 10-year period feels like little more than a bad dream. Who would have thought that I, of all people, could achieve such a dramatic change so quickly, or easily?
The hospital bed…
I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.
Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey
I grew up in an entrepreneurial family and started my first business at the age of 13. By the time I was 25, my companies were serving the likes of Virgin, Old Mutual, and HTC. If you’ve ever worked with listed corporates, you’ll know that it’s about as fun as getting a colonoscopy. Around this time, a particularly unpleasant “panic attack” put me in the hospital, and the ominous warnings from my doctor forced me to have my mid-life crisis a little earlier than most:
“The world is overflowing with beauty, wonder, and adventure. There is more to experience than anyone could hope to fit into a single lifetime. Yet here I am, trading the best years of my life for a paycheck.”
As I considered my predicament with a fresh perspective, the truth became inescapably clear; something needed to change.
The first step was obvious; my wife and I needed a clear picture of the life that we wanted to live. So, we sat down and started to list everything that we wanted to do, see, learn, and give. Nearly two weeks later, and after much soul-searching, Amy and I each held the first draft of our bucket list.
The lists were diverse and, by most standards, totally unrealistic. In short, we wanted to stop working, earn seven figures per year, and become full-time global adventurers. As for my list, after years of hard labor, I wanted to try a bit of everything so that I could figure out what I wanted to do with my life.
Dreams in hand, we lacked just one thing: a way to finance them.
The eight weeks…
The path to success is to take massive, determined action.
Tony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within
First, I wanted to find someone who had already achieved what I dubbed the “professional vagabond” lifestyle. Suffice it to say, I was shocked to find not just one or two individuals, but an entire professional vagabond sub-culture; a group that Tim Ferriss calls the “New Rich.” Within a week, I had identified almost 100 perpetual travelers and, as I continued to dig, found that the vast majority of them had achieved income automation through online business.
Blogging, I decided, would be my vehicle.
I had no idea how to monetize a blog, so I decided to start by reverse engineering the examples that I had collected. I went through each business, one at a time, and figured out how it worked. I examined their websites, opted-in to their email lists, bought their products, studied their ads, and trawled through their social media. Piece by piece, I deconstructed each business and, as I did, a pattern started to emerge.
I realized that, whether they knew it or not, almost all of the blogs that generated more than six figures per year used a variation of the same model. I was shellshocked! Once I had seen it, I couldn’t unsee it. The model was everywhere.
Kayla Itsines, from KaylaItsines.com, used it to sell my wife an exercise programme. Marcello Arrambide, from DayTradingAcademy.com, used it to sell me a forex course. Robert Kiyosaki, from RichDad.com, used it to sell me tickets to a real estate conference. Spotify even used it to sell me their music app.
The answer to the question “How do they do it?” became so clear that I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t seen it sooner.
It was time for action.
First, I set up a simple proof-of-concept blog in the cycling niche. Then I used the model that I observed to create an automated marketing workflow. The setup process took less than a week and, when I was ready, I posted a couple of social media ads and paid for them to appear in front of potential customers.
Money isn’t the goal; money has no value. The value comes from the dreams money helps achieve.
Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Together with my partner at the time, I launched Buy Cycle Safety in April 2014. When we launched, we had no staff, no warehouse, no stock, and almost no overheads. The entire business, from the display of ads to the delivery of products, was either outsourced or automated.
The results were astonishing!
Within six weeks, our proof-of-concept business went from a cold start to over $1 000 per day! I was utterly gobsmacked. During this period, I nearly developed carpal tunnel syndrome due to the number of times I clicked “Refresh” on my PayPal account. Just a few months after our first $1 000 day, Amy and I set off on an epic bucket-listing adventure that is still going strong.
Over the years, I have become obsessed with the art and science of monetizing blogs. Traditional wisdom dictates that to monetize a blog, you need to create loads of content, optimize your site for search, sell advertising space, and pepper your posts with affiliate links. In my opinion, this is all excellent advice for anyone who wants to be tired and broke.
I don’t do any of these things yet my primary blog, TheProfessionalVagabond.com, generates seven-figures per year. This makes me, to my knowledge, the highest paid blogger in my niche.
How is this possible?
Fighting the Wrong Battle
If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.
Most bloggers are obsessed with organic traffic. Why? Since the average blog generates just $0.01 per visitor, the only way to make a profit is to attract masses of free traffic. In most cases, this equates to hard work, slow progress, and low pay.
I am entirely uninterested in organic traffic. Like any other business owner, I focus on return on investment (ROI). For a price, anyone can use social media ads to attract millions of qualified visitors to their site. That is why, in my opinion, blogs never have a traffic problem; they have an ROI problem.
Let me explain…
If I can spend $5 on Facebook Ads and make $10 in sales, what would happen if I spent $100, $1 000, or $10 000 on ads? Sure, this scenario is somewhat simplistic, but I have applied the principle to great effect on my blogs.
We started our proof-of-concept, for example, by spending $5 per day on targeted social media ads. At first, we lost a few dollars per day but, after a series of small adjustments, we started making a profit. Once we were profitable on a micro scale, hitting that $1 000 mark was a simple matter of increasing our advertising spend.
Simply put, if you want to automate your income, you need to spend less time thinking about cost per visitor and more time thinking about value per visitor.
The Five-Offer Funnel
You will be paid in direct proportion to the value you create in the marketplace.
T. Harv Eker, Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind
So, how do you increase your per-visitor income? I didn’t invent the model, but I did take the liberty of naming it since, as far as I can tell, nobody else has done so. I call it the “Five-Offer Funnel,” and it is the secret sauce that makes everything possible.
Before I explain the Five-Offer Funnel, there are two foundational principals that you need to know:
Principle #1: You get paid in proportion to the value that you deliver.
You must have something of value to offer to your audience. Publishing affiliate links and displaying ads is only a good idea if your goal is to help other companies make money. If you want to set yourself free, you need a product of your own.
Principle #2: People buy from people that they know, like, and trust.
I’m going to assume that you’re an honest person with a genuine desire to serve your fellow man. When strangers land on your site for the first time, however, the reality is that they don’t know, like, or trust you in the slightest.
With that in mind, the idea behind the Five-Offer Funnel is to focus on the lifetime value of your customers rather than the value of any single interaction. Simply put, I would rather earn $10 000 from 10 000 customers than $20 000 from a single customer. Why? Because, for me, 10 000 customers equates to roughly $1 million per year in follow-up sales.
That’s what the Five-Offer Funnel is all about; it automates the relationship-building and sales process by making five specific offers to your audience, one at a time, in order of value. As individuals progress through the offers, the value that they receive converts them from strangers to acquaintances, acquaintances to fans, fans to customers, and customers to regular buyers.
Below, I have listed the five offers by name, together with an indication of their selling price:
|1. Authority Offer||Free|
|2. Opt-In Offer||Contact details|
|3. Micro Offer||$7|
|4. Core Offer||$99+|
|5. Continuity Offer||$9+ p/m|
Much can be said about the purpose, composition, positioning, presentation, and timing of each offer. With a bit of insight, though, you can use the model to monetize your blog in a way that you can’t even imagine.
Just do it!
Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it…
Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek
So often, we cling to our day job because it’s comfortable. We trade the best years of our lives for a paycheck only to realize, decades later, that our time is priceless. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be true for you. Millions of people have automated their income, and their very existence proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is possible for you, too.
So here’s the deal.
There was a time when I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life; this is no longer the case. While walking along a beach in Amed, I found my purpose.
My mission is to help a million ordinary people automate their income through online business. If you would like to be one of them, and you’re willing to learn a few new tricks, I invite you to take a deep breath, click here, and join me on what promises to be a most exciting adventure.