30-Day Challenge #6 – No Social Media

Less Social Media, More Making
photo credit: Volthair via photopin cc

Previous 30-day challenges:

  1. Meditation
  2. Daily Gratitude
  3. Drink More Water
  4. Stretching
  5. No Caffeine

The Results of the Previous Challenge: No Caffeine 

On average, my monthly caffeine consumption was:

  • 30 cups of coffee (1 cup of black coffee each morning) 
  • 20 scoops of pre-workout supplement ( I work out 5 times a week) 
  • 8 cups of soda (I typically drink a can of soda twice a week)

This month, I challenged myself to not drink any caffeine. Things didn’t go quite as planned, and I did cheat a few times. This month, I consumed:

  • 2 cups of coffee (it happened during the first week when I was crashing from coffee withdrawal)
  • 2 scoops of pre-workout supplement (I was tired and wanted to get the most out of chest day)
  • 2 cans of soda (it was hard to resist having some coke with Korean Kalbi)

I am sharing this with you to show you I’m not super-human. I’m just like you and can succumb to temptation. However, I still consider my experiment a success because I consumed 90% less caffeine than I would normally. It’s a huge win because I made progress. 

You might be wondering how having almost no caffeine affected my productivity.

Well, the first 3 days were horrible. I felt like a member of The Walking Dead show (a zombie, not the Asian guy). I was sleepy throughout the day, and I didn’t have much energy for workouts. The good news is I didn’t have headaches, common in caffeine withdrawal. 

How do I feel now? God-like. I don’t experience the 2 p.m. afternoon crashes anymore that come with having morning coffee. Now I have a steady stream of energy throughout the day.

I have to admit: I miss the crazy pumped-up feeling I get before hitting the gym. Instead, I have to concentrate on my fitness goals and listen to good music to get in the zone. I was actually able to hit some new weightlifting personal records last week, so I know I don’t need my pre-workout supplement.

The biggest benefit of no caffeine is that I sleep much better now. I’ve always slept 7 hours a day. Even if I wanted to sleep longer than normal, my biological clock wouldn’t let me. But now I’m able to sleep 8-9 hours if I don’t set an alarm. My phone app also tells me I’m getting more DEEP SLEEP cycles than I used to. They increased to 45% from 35% on average.

Based on my experience this month, I am more productive without coffee.

What happens next? Am I going to give up caffeine for the sake of productivity? I’ve decided to give up the pre-workout supplement for good. Drinking it at 6 p.m. affects my beauty sleep. 

I’ll be going back to my 9 a.m. cup of coffee. I love the taste, the ritual, and the smell of coffee. I will, however, decrease my coffee consumption significantly and limit it to Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. 

This was a good challenge for me, and I’m glad I did it. Did any of you do the challenge as well? What was your experience? 

The next 30-day challenge

The next challenge is NO SOCIAL MEDIA for 30 days. No posting on Facebook, no checking out Jen Selter’s motivational quotes on Instagram, and no random rants on my Twitter page. 

I got this idea from reading Cal Newport’s blog. He doesn’t use social media at all. He argues that people who are doing truly great work don’t have time for social media. Great things are achieved when you’re completely in the zone and doing deep work. 

I’ve actually done this challenge once a year for the past few years, so I know I’m capable of staying away from social media. I also know the tremendous benefits it can bring. Join me in this journey. 

Why I’m doing a Social Media Detox

Most of us are addicted to social media, but no one wants to admit it.

Eating a meal these days means having one hand on your fork and the other on your smartphone. The next time you go out to eat, do some people-watching. Most of the couples are typing away on their phones rather than talking to each other. Some of us can’t even use the toilet without taking our phones for the ride to rescue us from boredom. 

Here are the main reasons why I’m quitting social media for a month. 

1. Time

The moments spent on social media add up. We don’t check just Twitter anymore. We make a “round.” First Twitter, then Facebook, then Instagram, then Reddit, then forums, etc. A quick 5-minute check could turn into one hour without you realizing it. 

Just imagine what you could accomplish with an extra hour or two in the day!

2. Our best ideas happen when we’re bored

I have a theory about how the mind works. We operate in 3 different modes:

  • Input: We are receiving information and digesting it with our brains. This could be reading a website, watching a movie, surfing Facebook, etc. 
  • Output: We’re in the creation mode. I’m in output mode as I write this blog post you’re reading. 
  • Idle: Neither. Some people see it as boredom. Idling happens, for example, when we’re waiting in line for something or walking somewhere. 

Over time, we got rid of our idle time. Smartphones make entertainment available to us anytime we want. We hate boredom and instead look for any activity that releases dopamine. 

I argue that the IDLE time is VITAL to the creative process. Have you ever been in the shower and had an amazing idea? When your brain is not busy with input or output, your subconscious has the opportunity to generate ideas. 

Social media is not the only enemy. It doesn’t make sense to quit social media if you’re also playing Angry Birds on your breaks.

Next time you’re eating alone or waiting in line, let your mind wander. Don’t busy it with a task.

Your brain could be dying to give you a million-dollar idea, but you’re not letting it. 

3. FULL engagement in our work

Sometimes I write a kick-ass or a controversial post on my Facebook page. Even though I have Facebook blocked when I work, I am wondering to myself, “How are people reacting?” Am I getting likes and comments? 

That means my brain is not 100% in the moment, and I am not fully engaged in my work. 

4. Emotions

Facebook gives me more negative feelings than positive ones these days.

It’s constant image-crafting. Everyone’s trying to out-do everyone else and make their lives look more epic than they really are. Also, some people write status updates that just annoy me. I’d rather take a break from it. 

5. Breaking the addiction

Did you know social media can actually change your brain for the worse?

You start getting addicted to the dopamine hits, and you start losing some of your brain’s gray matter (the stuff that controls your ability to focus). 

Everyone is having trouble concentrating these days. Actively honing my ability to focus gives me a huge competitive advantage in life. 

The downsides

There are a few downsides to not being on social media for a month.

  1. I’ll be losing a significant amount of traffic to my blog. I get a ton of traffic from my Facebook pages and Twitter. The only thing I will have is automated sharing of each new blog post. I won’t be posting my random thoughts anymore since I’ll be too tempted to check the replies. 
  2. Less interaction with my fans. I get a lot of messages from my fans, asking questions or looking for help, and I won’t be there to answer them.

Limiting my engagement with my fans does, however, fit with my decision to make myself less accessible to people. If you haven’t noticed, I removed the contact form from my blog last month. The number of messages I’ve been getting from people started affecting my day-to-day productivity.

It’s a matter of knowing what to leverage and applying the 80/20 rule. I want to spend my time crafting new guides and writing higher quality posts. Each piece of content I write can reach thousands and thousands of people. That’s much more scalable than helping someone one-on-one. Besides, half the people don’t even thank me or put my advice into action. 

Action Plan

  • Deactivate my Facebook
  • Remove social media apps from my iPhone and iPad
  • Make a small announcement of my challenge on social media. I need to let people know I’m deactivating my profiles so people don’t think I’ve de-friended them or that I’m going through personal issues. 
  • Hand over access to my Facebook page to my intern. He’ll be posting my old articles and moderating on my behalf, but I won’t be replying to any comments or questions. 

Are you interested in doing this challenge with me? Post a comment below. 

The post 30-Day Challenge #6 – No Social Media appeared first on CharlesNgo.com - Advancing Affiliate Marketers.

September 2014 Question & Answer Session [32 minutes]

I just finished recording this month’s question and answer session. Make sure you’re subscribed to my Facebook page if you want to ask a question for next month.

I answered 11 questions. I think this is the best one I’ve done so far. Sorry if I’m a little low energy on this recording (late night flight)

  • What are the best ways to keep employees motivated?
  • Which workout & diet plan gave you the best results for muscle growth.
  • Do you usually increase frequency cap, before increasing the bid if you want to scale it up?
  • How to deal with click loss? Do you factor that in the cost or do you ask for a refund.
  • Hey Charles, you recommend POF, Adult, or mobile as good traffic sources for newbies. The first two make perfect sense but didn’t you also say with mobile there’s a lot more variables to test? More variables means more moving parts and a bigger budget to test- wouldn’t that be overwhelming for newbies.
  • What are the pros and cons of SMARTCPM
  • How to Push a break even campaign into a profitable one? What elements to check like landing page, dayparting, etc.
  • Hi Charles, how do you keep your consistency? How can you sustain your mind and body to work whenever you want to? I have problems dealing with it. Sometimes my mind functions very well, but sometimes I woke up and I feel totally messed up. My brain seems “black & white”. How can you turn your switched to work mode so easily?
  • Hey Charles, where and how can I learn to create ad copies that actually convert?
  • Have you ever had an issue with an affiliate network not paying you out? How can we avoid the risk.
  • What are your expectations of your girlfriend? Does she have to be as successful as you?

Listen to the CharlesNgo.com September 2014 Question & Answer Session

The post September 2014 Question & Answer Session [32 minutes] appeared first on CharlesNgo.com - Advancing Affiliate Marketers.

Dominate Mobile: Get My List of 175 Mobile Traffic Sources

I have a spreadsheet of mobile traffic sources that I’ve been working on over the past year.

I was going through it last night and thought to myself, why not hook my readers up? Some of these networks are familiar to anyone who’s doing mobile. But there are quite a few hidden gems in here that I gathered from walking around conferences, networking, and searching online.

I left my notes off the file, but you should start adding yours once you get some experience.

What kind of notes? You can categorize some of these sources according to their specialities: push traffic, adult traffic, etc. You could also write down what operating systems and geos they have more volume in.

Do you promote a “shady” offer? Write down the traffic sources that you’re allowed to run in and which ones have it banned.

Get Your Free Report: 175 Mobile Traffic Sources

Need some affiliate networks with mobile offers?

Here are 3 recommendations.
Avazu
MundoMedia
ClickDealer 

The post Dominate Mobile: Get My List of 175 Mobile Traffic Sources appeared first on CharlesNgo.com - Advancing Affiliate Marketers.

How to use internal links to improve your search engine rankings

The links from other websites are a very important signal for Google's ranking algorithms. The links on your own website also influence the position of your web pages in Google's search results. This article explains how to optimize the internal linking structure of your website to make sure that search engines index your pages correctly.

How To Apply The “Kaizen” Approach Of Continuous Improvement To Finally Make Money From Your Blog

When I was 19 in university studying a business degree I recall learning about a concept called JIT – Just In Time. JIT refers to how companies can manage their inventory, keeping storage costs down by setting up a system that allows stock to flow into the manufacturing process “just...

The post How To Apply The “Kaizen” Approach Of Continuous Improvement To Finally Make Money From Your Blog appeared first on Entrepreneurs-Journey.com.

Make More Money with Faster Implementation

Speed racer
photo credit: Two Big Paws via photopin cc

When affiliate marketers launch a campaign, they only care about the bottom line – the profit. Although profit is always the goal, I also work on improving my operational efficiency. One way of doing that is focusing on the speed of implementation, i.e., how fast I can turn an idea into reality. 

How many times have you had a great idea, but you never actually did anything about it? Maybe you were excited at first, but after a few days, the enthusiasm died down, and the idea never got launched. Or how about that time you had an amazing idea, but someone else beat you to the market?

The world doesn’t reward the dreamers. Your reputation is based on what you’ve actually accomplished. 

Improving my ability to execute ideas has given me a huge competitive advantage in affiliate marketing, and it is a skill you should improve on as well.

Speed of Implementation in Action

Here are some examples of how I made tons of money using this concept.

A few years ago, I came across a new campaign that had potential. I asked my affiliate manager if anyone was running it yet.

“No, no one’s running it,” he replied.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because affiliates are lazy! No one’s running it because there are no landing pages or ads to steal.”

I realized I had a great opportunity and rushed to launch within six hours. My team groaned but hustled. After a few hours of the launch, they got addicted to refreshing the stats page. The campaign ended up doing $10,000 in revenue on the first day

The company running the offer had some limitations and wanted to take things slowly. They closed the offer down and made it exclusive to me. Not a bad advantage. What if I took a week to launch the offer? It might’ve gone to a competitor.  

Here’s an example of when the slow speed of implementation cost me.

I was excited to launch an offer. But for whatever reason, I was slow. I suppose we are more passionate about some niches than others, and this niche definitely didn’t excite me. 

It took me over a month to launch this campaign. Once I did, however, I saw that this was one of the biggest campaigns of my career. That’s when I proceeded to face-palm. I realized how much money I could’ve earned had I launched this campaign on the first day. I missed out on a whole month of potential earnings. 

How many potentially huge campaigns did you miss out on because you were too lazy? 

I use the speed of implementation on my blog all the time. I reported that Facebook banned dating affiliates before anyone else, and it ended up being my most shared post.

A few weeks ago, I woke up to an email from Voluum.com saying its affiliate program got launched. I knew I had to be the first one to announce it so I could have an advantage getting referrals. I rushed to write my guide on Voluum, and I ended up getting hundreds of referrals. If I waited a week, I would have gotten significantly fewer referrals. 

Another benefit of fast action is the speed with which I learn.

The faster you take action, the faster you learn. It’s how people become world-class experts. 

  1. Take action.
  2. Get feedback. 
  3. Adapt.
  4. Repeat. 

This feedback loop is always churning. The faster we spin the wheels, the faster we learn.  If I add a strong team and optimized systems, I can learn ten times faster than the average affiliate. I don’t want to be slightly better than the competition. I want to crush it.

That’s why I always preach innovation and creativity. If you’re always copying what others do, then you’re always five steps behind them. 

(If you want to be a more effective affiliate marketer, read my classic article.)

Ways of Improving Your Speed

I hope by now you can see the benefits of improving the speed with which you take action. Most people will think, “If I want to move faster, I need to work harder.” That’s not how Super Affiliates think.

We examine, analyze, and focus on our leverage points. 

Find the Bottlenecks in Your Campaigns

I visualize my campaign process like an assembly line in a factory. Each step of building a profitable campaign is a different department. What I’m looking for are the limiting steps that are slowing me down. 

The next time you launch a campaign, I want you to write down your process and the time it took to implement each step. Once you see what is taking you the most time, think about how you can do things faster. 

We can’t figure everything out by ourselves, and that’s where the power of networking comes in. I don’t like asking other affiliates what traffic sources or campaigns they’re running since it’s sensitive information. However, I love looking at other people’s processes to see if I can use them to improve mine. 

A few years ago I was advertising heavily on Facebook, and submitting ads was my limiting step. I asked a few guys to see if they had any solutions, and someone shared with me his technique. As a result, I improved my speed by 3x. How valuable is that?

Here are some freebies to help you improve the speed of your campaign launches. 

Ways I have improved my campaign launching abilities:

  • Getting a custom landing page built could take two days. Instead of building landing pages from scratch, I have landing page templates. All we need to change are the pictures and the landing page copy, and we’re ready to launch. I can launch a new vertical in a few hours to get some initial data. 

  • I have employees and virtual assistants. Imagine telling an employee “launch x campaign in y country in z traffic source” and having it done in a few hours. While other affiliates spend 5 hours launching a campaign by themselves, I delegate and use those 5 hours on bigger stuff. 

  • I use software, tools, macros, and automation. Instead of spying on ads manually, I can use tools such as SocialAdsNinja (Discount Code: “CharlesNgo” for 15% off) and WhatRunsWhere to speed up the process. My friend is a programmer, and he dominated certain traffic sources because he designed his own bidding software. 

  • I always ask myself, “How can I do this better? How can I do this faster?” I’m always in the state of mind of kaizen. My brain is wired to seek improvements. 

Remember that there is always a better way. 

Minimum Viable Campaigns

This is a concept I got from the Lean Startup movement (I highly recommend you read it). 

It means not to waste your time and energy launching campaigns that no one cares about. Because time and money are limited, we want the biggest “bang for our buck.”

I have seen newbies spend days creating landing pages, angles, and ads and then launching the campaign. Their enthusiasm dies out once they see how horrible the campaign is. 

“Okay, the theory sounds great, Dr. Ngo, but how do I actually put this into action?”

Here’s an example of what I did a few months ago.

A new campaign accepted 10 countries, but I didn’t know which countries were the most profitable. I could just ask which one’s making the most revenue, but that doesn’t really tell me which one would work best for me. Maybe the best country is not in the top revenue bracket because no one’s tested it yet. 

What does the typical affiliate do? He spends hours setting up the campaign for a random country like Belgium. Why did the affiliate pick that country? Who knows. He will spend days thinking of angles and designing a landing page before finally launching. It does horribly. He gets demoralized and moves on to the next “hot” niche. 

I tested the 10 countries and found two that broke even. Once I added landing pages and optimized the components, I had another winning campaign. 

Do you see the difference in my approach? I make data-driven decisions like a scientist.

Conclusion

Anyone can come up with a great idea, but ideas alone don’t make you rich. 

Being a great affiliate is about a speedy execution of ideas. Instead of focusing on how much money you make with each campaign, start analyzing your processes and improving them. 

Being able to execute ideas faster than your competition is a huge advantage. 

 

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Nathan Williams: Professional Poker Player Turned Blogger Earns A Full Time Income Selling 200+ Ebooks A Month

Nathan Williams is a professional poker player who specializes in “microstakes”. This means he is very good at winning when the amount required to bet is small (we called him the featherweight champion of poker during this interview, an apt description). [ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud...

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