Jason grew up in Hong Kong before moving to Dubai in 2007 to start his online business. Jason was a university student in Dubai who took a year’s sabbatical to start his offline company in Bangalore, India. Due to Jason’s studies in Hong Kong this summer, he has shut down his office in Bangalore, however plans to start back up in the future.
How did you start making money online ?
I actually starting making money online without trying to – my initial goal was to become a journalist and I started with writing work. The pay was pitiful ($2/500 word article) but it let me learn a lot about how online business worked. I stumbled onto domain flipping – after selling a freshly bought domain for 500% more than what it cost – and I was hooked. I slowly moved onto website flipping, blogging, outsourcing amongst other things… all of those teaching me different aspects of business that added to my ability to reach greater heights.
What lesson did you learn in the beginning, that still sticks in your mind today ?
I learned two things after way too long that I’d pass on to anyone starting out fresh today as they’ll save a lot of time and effort.
The first lesson would be to outsource everything that is possible (assuming you have the money, of course). I’d suggest to try everything once yourself, if only to understand how it works, but after that – outsource anything you’re not skilled at. Apart from having a decent level of English and the computer capability of your average teenager, I have no real online skills – I can’t design, any kind of computer language makes me blank out and I struggled a lot at the beginning trying to learn things I was never going to be able to master. Rather than struggling yourself, focus on what you’re good at and let others take care of the rest. 🙂
The second lesson I learned would be to build a connection with someone as soon as possible, to continually network with people at all levels of experience and ability. When I started online business, I built up a lot of ‘friends’ online – that I could bounce ideas off, trade help (or advice) on projects that we were working on and this definitely saved a lot of time and money being wasted. It’s always good to have an unbiased third party look over something you’re doing, and the people I networked with helped inspire me to new levels. I also believe partnering up on projects starting out is a great way to cut costs – as an example, starting out I would team up with someone that could design and coupled with my writing ability we could put a product/website out that was a lot better than any of us could do individually.
Can you tell us about your online business in Dubai ?
My online business in Dubai was solid but unstructured – it was basically me working on projects that were ‘fun’ but not necessarily for financial or business gains. Although I saw a reasonable amount of success, I’m not the most organized person so found it difficult to grow the business myself.
My Dubai business consisted mainly of website flipping, blogging and taking advantage of outsourcing, although I tried almost every possible (and legal 🙂 ) way to make money online. I wanted to try and take it to the next level, a level I wouldn’t have to do any work at, which is why I started my offline business in Bangalore…
Can you tell us about your offline business in Bangalore ?
Basically, I had a small startup running out of a two bedroom flat – consisted of three full time employees (with me managing them, of course). The main reason for starting a physical office was wanting to expand my business to a level where I did not have to work anymore – it’s always been my goal to retire young :).
Although I faced a lot of difficulties – dealing with employees that were older than myself, the culture shock and the hardships and immense work that goes into starting up an office, the experience was definitely worth it and I was able to grow it somewhat successfully.
Unfortunately, due to starting university this summer in Hong Kong, I had to shut down the physical office – however I still work with the three employees I trained on a freelance basis and plan to come back to a physical company sometime in the future.
What are the top 3 affiliate programs to work for ?
Personally, I like to focus most on traffic generation – because once you have the ability to generate solid, converting traffic, you can try out as many affiliate programs as you like and work with the ones that make the most money.
The top three I’ve worked with over my relatively short ‘career’, though:
Hostgator – everyone with a website needs hosting and the commissions are great. As they supply things like coupon codes, banners and so on, they make it very easy to sell it. There are two ways to promote Hostgator for profit – the first being their standard affiliate program (where you get paid $100.00 for every person you refer that renews twice); the second being buying a reseller account and reselling hosting. Something I did in the past was sell hosting to offline business – a hosting account costing $24.95 per month can be turned into a multiple thousand dollar per month revenue stream.
Clickbank – Probably the largest collection of products online. Although eBooks are still relatively new, more and more people are starting to buy them and there is a wide variety of things to promote in almost every niche. On a targeted niche website, an in depth guide on ‘how to do X’ can sell very well and most top CB products provide you with all the tools you need to sell – banners, sales copy, videos and so on. Basically, Clickbank is an online marketplace of digital products – on every product you sell, you get a commission. As the products have no marginal cost, usual commissions tend to be 50-75% which is quite decent.
Neverblue – Neverblue is an affiliate network which has hundreds of CPA (cost per action) or CPS (cost per sale) offers. For example, one of their offers consists of a form offering a free car insurance quote – if someone fills that in through you, you get paid $X. I like affiliate networks like Neverblue (other favourites are Market Leverage and Copeac) because they have many offers you can experiment which. Again, each offer tends to come with tools to make selling easier.
It’s harder to join these networks from places like the U.A.E. (I hear it’s almost impossible from India) but outside those countries it should be fairly easy. They generally provide you with a personal affiliate manager who will help with any early problems you have.
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