I’ve labored 20 years in business. Two decades.

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And here is a simple lesson I learned the hard way…

The quick buck from shortcuts is a mirage.

I’ve dabbled in affiliate marketing, toolbar installs, online gambling, dating sites, and many perfectly legal, but questionably ethical endeavors.

Made millions on a couple, but usually lost my shirt and created heartache. Certain fields draw certain people. And soon you find what was supposed to be easy is now a complex mess with unsavory people out to cheat you.

We were doing over $80,000 a day in revenue selling questionable products on Facebook years ago. But eventually got shut down when Zuckerberg himself got mad.

It didn’t last. It never does.

I was at Disneyland with Neil Patel and Harrison Gevirtz one day. We were joking how we were making $10,000 in the hour that we stood in line for the Pirates of the Caribbean.


Even the 5 minutes that it took to go the bathroom and come back, well, that was about $500, you figure.

I bought our guys cars as bonuses.
Flew them first class to New York to celebrate.
Spent money on stupid things just to show off, like other teenagers with sunglasses and gold chains — I had neither of those, by the way.

The campaigns ran by themselves on Facebook pushing the IQ quiz and reared mobile offers. Totally legal, but still ethically wrong.

And I regret ever wasting the years playing in that space. I’ve made a number of enemies since then in the affiliate space. You can imagine what the various people said when I exited years ago.

How I cost some people a lot of money by writing articles about how spam works and consulting for the FTC. How I was holier than thou, but no better than them. That I was rich and deserved to be robbed or killed. I had death threats.

Not worth it.

Wrong industry and wrong people.
Learn from my mistakes.

So save yourself the pain. There are many ways to make a profit. Choose the right people and the right areas.

If you’re doing it for the money, that’s a sign something is wrong.

If you are trying to please someone else to be who you are not, reconsider what you are doing.

Ask yourself if your labors are creating wholesome value for people or if you’re tricking people somehow.

If you’re in the affiliate space, which is a mix of good and bad (like anything), it’s easy to just call it marketing and justify it.  Beer commercials promise the girl of your dreams while that free credit report isn’t really free.

But that’s not what I’m talking about.

The test is if you would feel okay if your grandmother or significant other clicked on your ad and bought.

Would you feel guilty?

It took me over a decade to realize that using my skills to teach young adults how to optimize digital traffic, then applied to sports teams, lead gen, and whatever, was far more rewarding.


Whether it’s more profitable in the long run doesn’t matter, since the pleasure is in being with good people.

In part 2, I’ll tell you about how I learned to do PPC, what tactics generated profits, and some crazy things that happened when I started my first business.

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