Currently on a plane and why not pass the time with a blog post. I am on my way to Las Vegas to Affiliate Summit West 2o15. In the past, I have never missed an Affiliate Summit and there are reasons why. In this industry, I have seen so many affiliates disappear and a lot thrive over the years.
My first summit has been more of an awe than learning. I met all the people I wanted to meet, such as John Chow for the first time, Joel Comm, Shawn and Missy, ShoeMoney, and just everyone I looked up to when I was in the industry. I was amazed and just a noob/beginner at that point. I made enough to catch a flight and hotel for my first big conference to expand my business. Now I am a business.
So in today's post I am going to explain how Affiliate Summit has helped me with my online career. I want to first Thank Shawn Collins and Missy Ward for having such an event. Every year it sells out! If it wasn't for them a the relationship I have with them, I am not sure what conference can compare and believe me I have bee to all of them when I first started out.
The Diversification of the Industry
When I first started going to Affiliate Summit, I just wanted to meet all the people I started connecting online. Jonathan Volk, Zac Johnson, the affiliate networks I was working with, forum friends, etc. I wanted to put a face to whom I was talking to on a day to day basis, even the blogs I was reading.
Honestly I am humbled to see the diversity this industry brings. Honestly Affiliate Summit was the hangouts for all affiliates, back in the day. It was a place to learn about new offers and traffic technology but more importantly networking.
It was a place where all forum members and bloggers got together and actually talk in person. It was amazing. I have never seen such a vast amount of people in one room from Europe to all of the US. I was excited. With everyone in just one room and just taking, it was almost a dream. Yes I was a noob, but I made enough to pay for my own flight, campaigns, hotel, and to also ball out in Vegas with everyone else.
I met affiliates that were google experts, seo experts, mailers, etc. Again, I was in awe. so much diversity in making money online via affiliate marketing. I wanted to learn it all.
The Opportunity to Speak
Shawn and Missy gave me an opportunity to speak for the first time in my life. It literally was my first time in front of an audience and I didn't know how to really act. I just spoke from what I knew then. This opportunity gave me the validity in the industry. From here on I was given opportunity to speak at other conferences and meetups all over the world.
This small milestone, though a big one, has helped me reach out to more people than ever before. I was able to share my experience with others. Not only did I speak from what I knew, I also explained reason why I did things and why I didn't know an answer to a question. It gave me full transparency and I think that is what the audience liked about my talks.
I don't try to fluff what I don't know. If I do not know, will say I don't know but will recommend them to a blog or post that has some sort of talk about the question being asked.
I got a lot of feedback and I learned a lot from it. I am glad I was put o the pressure spot but now I speak from true experiences.
Networking, Biggest Asset to Anyones' Business
With the huge diversification, came true mutual friendships. I have made friends with people I wouldn't of think I would be friends with. Robert Adler, Ad Hustler, Charles Ngo, Nicky Cakes, Rohail Rizvi (NJ Breed), Wesley Mahler, Network Owners, etc. It was just a place for everyone to chill and actually put a face to a handle name.
I have made huge businesses with people in this industry, even started some of my first partnerships from Affiliate Summit parties and networking events. It has produced me cash! Knowing people to help your business is crucial, just the affiliate managers alone are such a vital part of your affiliate business.
I have learned time and time again that the key to a successful business is to have people around you that can help you with 1% of your business. Everyone knows something and you don't know everything. If you can have 1 person help with 1% of your business, imagine the ROI on that 1% and all you did was hang out at Affiliate Summit or took them to dinner while at the summit.
After my first Affiliate Summit and realizing that networking was crucial, I decided to pay for a dinner in Boston at the 2nd Affiliate Summit I been to. This was purposely planned to network with the nest in the industry. I know I wasn't a the top of my game unless I put myself in front of people that made more money than me. You know what they say, you mood, income, attitude, are the average of the 5 friends you are with.
I wanted to change that.
Curation of Our Affiliate Industry
Overtime you start to see change and thats what evolution is about. Only the strong survives and how that holds true in our industry. Again I have been in this industry for 10 years, I have seen this industry evolve from making easy money to making easy money with more steps that usual.
With easy money comes greed, greed leads to other people putting their noses in, and that leads to investigations and lawsuits. With that said, the industry honestly gets cleaned almost every year. With this curation you weed out the real marketers who can evolve and the ones you want to consistently network with.
Curation isn't bad it is just bad for business, but all you have to do is just work your way around it. Imagine you are in a traffic jam everyday at 3pm, eventually you know the route you take at 3pm will be bumper to bumper traffic. You start to test side roads, eventually you find one that meets your needs. This is the same concept in our industry. Test and see where it will lead you.
The curation of the industry has lead to me to see who are the true survivors, who are the strong will, who are NOW business owners and not just affiliates. I even wrote about how to survive in our ever changing industry in Shawn's and Missy's magazine, FeedFront.
The curation of the industry has lead me to think and thinking is always good.
Affiliate Summit Evolution into Marketing
With all the curation, services and booths are now popping up that are not even related to affiliate marketing, but are a segment of it. For example, I have always been an affiliate marketer and digital product marketer. This means I broker offers for a commission and sell digital products.
Now that I am an advertiser, I see products and services at affiliate summit that do not even pertain to affiliate marketing but to a business as a whole. Mid into my 10 years into affiliate marketing, I started seeing more ad agencies attending, they were looking for affiliates to run unique offers because they are were an agency.
Currently, I see chargeback portals, product inventory, fulfillment, etc which does not pertain to affiliate marketing at all but as a business. The industry changes and so does the booths and people that attend. It is part of nature. They see affiliates evolving and they will utilize Affiliate Summit to market their services or products because it is still a hangout for the surviving affiliates.
This evolution will be ongoing. You will see new relationships being made and the fact that only the tough will survive.
I love Affiliate Summit, it has done a lot for me and I am grateful. I continue to gain business out of it ofcourse curating the meetings I have. Back in the day I would try to meet with everyone. Now I know who I want to meet with because in the end of they day it needs to result me with some sort of revenue. I will even meet with old friends because we have survived together and it is only fair we stick together.
This conference basically gave me to the tools to move, the people I needed to talk to, the owners I had to meet, etc. It is the reason why I was successful, even though it has gone through changes - it is for the better. It really has helped me grown. If you go through this blog, you will see multiple mentions of Affiliate Summit because it has helped and I hoped it will help you. Finally landing...
I want to give a shout out to Missy Ward and Shawn Collins, I am grateful they continue to grow this industry and their conference.