Why I’ll Never Go Back To Chasing Quick Fixes & Magic Pills

Aurelius Tjin

I’ve been making a living as an online entrepreneur for the past 9 years and I’m soon approaching 30 years of age.

Reflecting back, I’ve been thinking a lot about where I want to take my business. In the past I admittedly fell for quick fixes. Yep, I’m talking about black hat methods and systems offering quick riches.

In this post, I’d like to expand on my thoughts and lessons learned from my experience with these short-term tactics.

How I Lost Almost Everything Overnight

As I mentioned, I fell for quick fixes and there were consequences.

Sure, what I was doing worked and I even scaled my site up to a point where it was making $1,200 per day and growing. Things were great until a competitor spammed hundreds of thousands of negative links to my site. Let’s just say that this competitor linked my website to totally unrelated sites with unrelated keywords that are too explicit to put on this blog.

As a result, my site was penalized by Google.

To put it into perspective, I had everything up to a point where it was all automated and I could freely walkaway knowing that I’d still end the day with a good amount of sales. I had a team of three staff who would fulfill the orders so I didn’t have to.

Little did I know, Google was about to slap me…

I Wasn’t Looking At The Big Picture

What I was doing was short-lived but a big lesson I learned. I was naive.

When I think about my mentality today compared to when I first started in 2005, it’s changed a lot. When I first started I didn’t even think about the future. I saw this “Internet thing” as extra cash I could make on the side without looking at the big picture. I didn’t want to plant the seeds, nurture it, and enjoy the benefits after long months of waiting.

Nowadays, I think about where is my business in 5 years time? 10 years time?

Today, the future is more important to me than making a quick buck or two. I want to start a family within the next 3-5 years and that’s something really important I’ve taken into account when building my business.

Just imagine having lots of responsibilities like paying the mortgage, a car to pay off and a family to feed. If your site goes down, where does that leave you?

This is not some sort of scare tactic. This is the reality, and it sure gave me the wake up call.

Tired of Fighting Google Animals

Google Panda, Penguin & Hummingbird

Back to the story of my site. It really wasn’t until Google hit my site with one of its algorithm updates that they penalized my site. Note: Google periodically changes its algorithms to serve better and more accurate results to users.  In my case, it was the Hummingbird update and Penguin 2.1. If you’re wondering why the “animals”, they are basically code names for major Google updates.

Most of my rankings disappeared and my site pages were no where to be seen on Google. Only a few pages remained with good rankings and still generate some sales.

Anyway, I spoke to a few SEO guys and they suggested to either get the negative links disavowed or start all over. The obvious choice was to start all over. Why? Because if I were to get the bad links disavowed, I would have had to contact each individual site owner to remove the backlinks, and I’m talking about HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of links, not a few dozen. It’s mere impossible to get removed unless you have nothing else to do or want to spend hundreds of dollars on a disavowing agent.

Don’t Rely On Google To Send You Traffic

This is another reason why you should never put Google and other search engines as your number one priority for traffic generation. You just can’t rely on it. One day you’re on page one and the next you could be on the 10th page.

I was anxious about not being able to control where my site and business was heading.

I’m not saying that you should never optimize for search engines, because any traffic that search engines sends you is always great, but you just can’t build sites and beg on your knees for Big G (Google) to say “Hey, you’ve waited long enough and we see your site has satisfied our algorithms. Let’s put you on the first page now.”

Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

Egg BasketMy site that was affected was in a highly competitive niche where competitors would stuff you over. Put all your effort into just one site and you’re doomed.

It was lucky that I had other sites and products that were making money otherwise I would have had lots of bills piling up.

This same rule applies with anything. For example, if you have a PayPal account, it’s at risk of getting compromised so you need a backup so that you can continue accepting orders.

Ultimately, you want to make sure you stay safe by diversifying your business.

Stop Chasing The Magic Pill

Magic PillMost of us want the easy way, no doubt. We’re only human. We would rather have a short-cut than to put in the hard yards. We want to see results right now, today. Not next week or next month.

We get into this desperate situation where we would compromise anything to be able to get faster results.

However, if you really want a future for your business, then treat it like a real business.

The same can be applied in all areas of your life such as fitness and health. There are lots of fads out there that end up being yo-yo diet plans. It’s only a temporary solution.

I’ve Been Staying Positive – Here’s What I’ve Been Focusing On

Focus

I am going back to basics and focusing on building my brand and reputation.

My main aim is to build my platform, i.e. – my blog. This is the core part or central hub of my online business which allows me share & connect with my audience and build my brand.

More specifically, here’s where I’m putting most of my effort:

  • Content creation. I’m writing blog posts, recording videos, creating mindmaps, recording podcasts and offering other downloadable training material.

  • Email marketing. I’ve never stopped building a list of subscribers since I started. This is the most fundamental part of building a long-term, sustainable business. You always need a way to contact your audience at YOUR control, not anybody else’s or any other platforms.

  • Social media. I’m investing in Facebook Ads to get new leads and Facebook Fans. Other ways I’m using social media: Getting involved in forums, Google+ Communities, LinkedIn Groups, blog commenting, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.

    I don’t put all my content on social platforms like Facebook. You want to use these platforms to drive traffic to your main hub – your site/blog.
  • Product creation. I am always working on creating products around what my prospects want help with, whether it’s a short report or a complete video course, product creation is my way of giving extra value, and at the same time monetization.

  • Membership sites. I am a firm believer in membership sites. If your customers have purchased once from you, there’s a good chance that they’ll buy from you again. Like the saying goes: “It’s easier to sell to existing customers than to find new customers”. If you’re only selling one-off products, you’re leaving a whole lot of money on the table.

    The average retention rate for my membership sites is around 8 months. So on average, my customer lifetime value is about $100 (not including any further purchases they make). If I have 100 members who join, I know for a fact that I’m going to make $10,000 from those 100 members.

    So with that said, you should implement some sort of recurring offer into your funnel.

Okay, so this all sounds like a lot of work, but I’m simply sharing what’s working for me right now and what I’ll continue doing for years to come.

Not to get off topic but I’d like to mention that I’ve built a good team of A players who assist me in shaving off hours of my own time in doing all the work. You name it – designing, writing, administrative, support and programming.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t outsource my blog posts! Every word you’re reading now was written by me. Although I’m not the best writer, I would rather have my words written from my own heart than from someone else’s.

So that’s the future of my business.

But Don’t Listen To Me – You Be The Judge

We all go through our own paths. We try new things and learn from our own failures.

What I went through was based on my experience.

To this day I’m still implementing SEO, no doubt. Every Internet marketer needs to at least know the fundamentals of SEO. I just don’t rely on it as much as I used to.

As for black hat methods, I have nothing against it. Indeed it works. In fact, some people’s business revolve around just these sorts of quick methods. If a site goes down then they move on and create another site. That’s great for them but personally, it’s not for me and I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking to build a strong business.

It’s been tough to find out what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes you wish that someone should have just told you all about it.

I’m telling you now through my own story and experiences and do hope my message has either made you re-evaluate what you’re doing or to keep moving forward with your business.

At the end of the day, you decide what works for you and what doesn’t. You find out from doing your own experiments and build your skills and business from there.

I learned the hard way but I’m kind of glad I did. It’s brought me to where I am today. If I hadn’t gone through what I did, I would have kept chasing that magic pill.

Your Thoughts

I’d love to know what you think about the story I’ve shared.

Where do you see your business or yourself in the next 5 or 10 years?

Have you experienced a similar scenario where you site was penalized by Google? And if so, have you recovered?

What steps have you taken to ensure your business stays afloat?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below…

This Post Has 48 Comments

  1. Lots of good tips and knowledge here Aurelius. Wow almost 10 years? Well done.. and you’re still under 30! You’ve got just a couple of years extra on me! You’ve got it there.. a real business takes time to build up. It’s easy to see dollar signs with these latest fads and loopholes but once they disappear, so does your ‘business’. Best to follow your advice in the last few points and build some assets like products and sites that will live and survive. Love your work mate!
    Stuart

    1. Hey Stuart. Thanks a lot. Yea, 10 years felt so fast to be honest. Definitely building assets is the way to go. I hope all is well there in Japan!

  2. Aurelius, hi how you doing? I must admit that this is one of the most heart felt blog post I have ever read from among the rest. I truly am impressed and would highly recommend anyone to follow up with you. Great informative down to earth content besides the fact and truth you have express. I find that very positive. Keep up the great work young man age 30 wow. You are on the right tract to fulfill your destiny.
    May the Lord richly bless all you do.

    Sharon

    1. Hi Sharon. I’m well, thanks. I really appreciate your honest thoughts. I wouldn’t give up what I’m doing for the world. In 10 years, I’ve never lost passion in this business. It’s a continual challenge and one I look forward to.

      Thank you for dropping by and leaving your kind words.

  3. Nice post Aurelius,
    It’s amazing how many people want to take you down when you’re at the top, there seems to be this “win at all costs” mentality out there with no regard for other’s, no line in the sand, it’s the real ugly side of competition where dirty tactics come into play, now Im not saying everyone’s like that but it seems to be on the rise.

    It’s great to see you’re not giving up and still pursuing your dream because it’s the only way you can achieve your goals…never give up!

    1. Thank you, Daniel. It is the real ugly side of competition. Some people do get greedy and have no consideration of others.

      I like that attitude – never give up! Thanks man!

  4. Hi Aurelius,

    Great post!!! I do appreciate that your sharing your success and failures too, many people just give up. I do believe that people don’t realize that with any business venture you have your ups and downs.

    I myself been building a team of graphics designers and writers its just takes some time. Too many people what things too quickly in these times and don’t take things and a step at a time.

    So Aurelius thanks again and have a great day.

    Antonio Matos

    1. Hi Antonio. Yes, I don’t want to share just my successes, I think telling my readers upfront and personal gives a better idea of what does happen behind-the-scenes in online marketing. Not everyday is all blue skies. It’s a misconception, so I’m more than willing to share my failures and mistakes as well.

      I appreciate your continued support my friend!

  5. After reading this blog/article. I see that i am on the right track. I too had similar problems with Google and their algorithms. I’ve since taken time to learn as much as possible to keep up with their practices. One thing though. I don’t focus on using or pleasing their tactics. There are tools and tutorials etc. out, that teach you how to stay afloat. Well, i have taken it upon myself to learn what i need to do to sail in this highly competitive industry. I use most of these techniques in my business practices. I do admit. I need to increase in some areas.

    I like this blog/article. It opens my eyes to see that i am not alone, when it comes to the troubles of the internet and the competitors out there. Great subject. I wish you the best. And i’m pleased you have recovered from your challenges. Keep giving good sound advice. It is very refreshing.

    S. Thomas
    CEO/Founder
    Elygantthings

    1. Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts. I hope you recovered from the Google update. SEO does involve making sure you stay on top of the game. I still am utilizing it and will continue to.

      I appreciate your words of inspiration to keep going. Thanks!

  6. Hey Aurelius:

    Excellent article…thanks for sharing your success and failures. Having a successful online business and then one day losing it due to Google changes or even hackers is a painful thought. In the next 5-10 years I want to see my business grow to a point where I am able to help hundreds or even thousands of people.

    I have been working under the pressures of the current and not thinking about what I want in 5-10 years specifically so you have given me something to think about in more detail. 🙂

    I hope you continue to see success in the years ahead. Thanks again for sharing Aurelius.

    1. Heya Carl! It was painful and I was shocked to find out. Things like this you don’t see coming until it hits you.

      Yea, it’s easy to get caught up in your business and putting out fires. By the end of the day you wonder where all your time and effort went.

      I wish you luck in reaching your goals and do also hope you continue growing your business!

      Thanks Carl.

  7. Thanks for the information. You seem so focused and I have trouble getting it together. It’s great to have suggestions that I can take one at a time.
    I’m happy to be on your list!
    I’m way past 30 but hope to be going for a few years yet!
    Have a great day!
    Eleanor

    1. Hi Eleanor. Yes, once you have a goal set very concrete, everything will be very clear. I appreciate your loyalty 🙂

      Thanks Eleanor!

  8. Hello Aurelius , I always admire you ,I really enjoy reading your post ,it is just awosome you are a super ,gifted ,very open and kind person I ever met .Like I told you last time I am still not there on online business I wish you are close by so you will teach me easly. I wish you the best in every thing you do .May God bless you and your families .I feel bleseed knowing you and I love you.Almaz.

    1. Thank you Almaz! Your kind words mean a lot to me. I wish to help as many people as possible. It takes time but don’t stop learning. It’s your best bet to growing. All the best and hope to see you again soon.

  9. It’s good to share one’s experiences for others to learn. I like what you have shared. Speaking about spamming with negative links, is there a way to prevent this from happening? So far, I have not faced with this problem yet. But I know it will happen one day when you got a lot of traffic.

    1. Thanks Michael. It’s my purpose to share my experiences with my readers.

      Unfortunately there’s no way to prevent negative SEO. It happens, especially in big money niches. In my case, I was on page one for a 40K per month exact search term. You can only go through the process of disavowing links if it does happen.

  10. I remember finding you about 9 years ago. This must have been when you first started. The internet game is changed a lot since then. It’s seems the gurus are stills pitch Same shit they have been the last 5 years. I personal found that it’s better to focus on other ways of making money other than selling info products to the crowd. I feel like only the frank kerns and Eben pagens will be able to survive and even those guys aren’t we big we they were 5 years ago. Time to catch a new trend and build a real business not more or the same of the past. Just my 2
    Cents

    1. Woh, you’ve been around for a while! Yes, 9 years ago was definitely somewhere around when I started.

      Indeed, back then you could easily sell hundreds of copies of $47 eBooks, not these days.

  11. WOW! This was a great post. I devoured it. I really love your integrity and openness!
    May I ask how we can protect our site from the fate you experienced with the links?
    Also, when you talk about other traffic, are you talking about the list? How do we get a list of real people (plenty of spammers out there) without SEO? Do you like solo adds?
    I have given up for a couple of months and I want to come back and make this work. BUT, I want to give very “valuable stuff” while keeping the sites safe.
    and that has been confusing how to do that.
    Always love hearing from you, Mary

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Mary.

      I explained in another response regarding prevention of negative SEO. There’s no prevention unfortunately. Can people send these negative links? Indeed.

      Personally, I wouldn’t let it stop you from doing what you need to.

      You build a targeted, responsive list by providing lots of value. People will want to hear from you again by making that your purpose. Promoting too often to your list will eventually lead to lots of unsubscribes. You just need to find the right balance.

      Solo ads have worked for me in the past, however, I do not do it now. I know some friends whose business solely revolves around it.

      As long as you’re not doing anything black hat, you’ll be fine.

  12. Wise words, Aurelius.
    I had a similar experience a few years ago. But slightly different. I focused on building up traffic to my website and then started to monetize it. I became so good at driving traffic to the website that my webhost suspended it for overloading then offered to change it over to dedicated hosting at 15x the price of my current hosting. I hadn’t finished monetizing the website and simply couldn’t afford the pay for dedicated hosting at the time. So had to abandon that web-hosting and move elsewhere. Moral of the story: Monetize your website first.

    Cheers,
    George.

  13. Aurelius
    Great story of your personal online experiences, very well written and from the heart.
    You’ve got 9 years of experience my friend and alot of knowledge to share and only 30. There’s a big generation coming up behind you and they will need internet leaders.
    Get your IM Trustworthy Badge from Omar Martin and your set for life.
    Continued Success!

  14. Hi Aurelius
    I really enjoyed reading your post. I have been in this business for 7 years now and have met with many stop gates also which prevented me from reaching my goals. I found that the biggest problem was information overload from those Black Hat products which lasted just as you said. Here today and gone the next day.

    Now that I have joined your site, your words of wisdom and directions to build an online business is an invaluable treat for me and my family. I’m 61 years old and looking forward to a relaxing and rewarding retirement, while building my online business. I wish I started at 30, but at thirty the internet was not where it is now….Wow…We came along way baby. Thanks Areulius you are the bomb man.

  15. I have been following you and also purchased some of your products, the information that you supply here and the videos how to install your plrs yourself, are also well needed information. thanks for your efforts.

  16. Hi Aurelius
    I really enjoy your openness and what you do to help others. You are a real inspiration to me and I am hoping to build my business in the same way so that you can be respected within the industry.
    Keep it up because it is great to have a source of training and exemplification of how things can be approached and build respect and authority.

    Gordon

  17. I hope to have my business up and running from what I learned. Staying away from some of the noise out there. Have not had any dealings with google and hope not to. Try to keep it simple and keep learning even from my mistakes. Thanks for the post and will try to apply what will help me.

  18. Hi Aurelius, I loved your article. Looked as if you were talking to me. I’m trying to learn affiliate marketing to make some money online and your article has filled me with courage to proceed and never give up. I do not want quick money, I want continued income. If you have a look at my website, I’ll accept all your comments and suggestions. I have just finished building it. I have to promote it now. Maria

    1. Hi Maria. Yes, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of finding quick ways of making money, but at the end of the day, it is short-lived. You’re doing great with your website. I see you have an opt-in form! Good to see! What I would recommend is to just have one offer on your page if you’re trying to build a list.

  19. Hi there Aurelius, you’re such an amazing individual and being so inspiring to others like me you will be creating more ideas, wisdom and tactics to get more acquainted in sharing to likeminded individual who are also willing to undergo process of achieving success. I believe in you to have more blessings in your way as you spread the good things in you. Keep up the best lessons you have and give us the secret of it, so that we might not lead to where you fell when the time you got up. More blessings to you and always have a good health..

    1. Hi Benjamin. Your words means a lot to me. I appreciate you!

      Thank you for the blessings and hope to see you prosper, too.

      1. As you have reiterated in your emails to me, I will take my success as my responsibility as it really should be, if many of you could achieve success why few of us like minded individual can not? I will take your good wisdom as my challenge. And someday I will be proud presenting to you what the chances are made by simple email like this. Thank you bro for meeting up even in this world of cloud server, but sooner or later we can possibly meet if god permits. More power to you. God speed!

  20. The bitter pills of experience can be hard to swallow sometimes, but you’ve done a wonderful job of encapsulating your experiences ina way we can all take a huge benefit from.

    The long and slow way may be hard, but it’s nowhere near as hard as the quick and easy way. Thank you so much for bringing us some excellent points to ponder over the next time we see a ‘quick fix’ offer in our Inboxes.

    Regards,

    Steven Lucas

  21. Muito interessante a sua história Aurelius. Eu estou há 2 anos e meio no Marketing Digital e já percebi que as coisas mudam rapidamente. Eu tomo muito cuidado com conteúdo, procuro fazer tudo original. Eu gostaria de saber se posso fazer uma postagem colocando você e sua história como exemplo para as pessoas que estão começando no Marketing Digital aqui no Brasil porque acredito que esse é o caminho certo.

  22. Aurelius you’re a genius. You will succeed because you have no greed. You give good advice and you seem to be nice. The comments here back me up. Happy New year!

    I’m an old timer. Started before there was a Netscape. Retired. Now back for the final curtain. Tools today are amazing compared to when I began.

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