Graduation is Not the End it is the Beginning
Photo Source: Credit to Flickr user ukmcbo
The end of the Fall ’09 quarter here at Cal Poly is soon coming to an end. This means that I will be graduating! What’s this mean for my future? I’m not quite sure. My graduation ceremony is on December 12. A lot has been going through my mind lately and, quite frankly, I don’t know what my future has in store for me. But then again nobody does and that’s life, right? This relates to one of my favorite quotes by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
What the heck am I going to do? I always thought that I would be making millions by now (it’s great to dream big!), but that didn’t quite happen. It will, I promise you that. Anyways, as I mentioned earlier a lot has been going through my mind. Should I apply to jobs? If so, which company would I be most happy at? Which company offers the best working environment? Which company would best fit my character, personality, and determination to become successful? In the company as well as from a personal standpoint. Which company will I be able to learn and grow as a person–professionally and as an individual? I’ve been thinking about my interests, hobbies, work ethic, experience, and knowledge and I’ve somewhat arrived at an answer to what I will pursue.
Everyone says that you need to experience an industry before you go into business in that industry. To learn the ropes so to speak. I’ve been interested in Pay-Per-Click advertising for a while now. Have I been successful? Yes and no. I’ve made money doing affiliate marketing, but I’ve also put in more time for such little returns. There seems to be this hump that I just can’t quite get over. I’m also interested in eCommerce. Basically, any way you can make money online I want to be apart of.
I’d like to say that my knowledge of the internet and it’s components is more than the average person. I know the very basics of coding, how to register a domain, change nameservers, manage my way through cpanel, installing stuff such as a content management systems (i.e. WordPress, which is the backbone to GreggHawkins.com), how affiliate marketing works, how to track visitors and the importance of analytics, how to create PPC campaigns from scratch; creating ad copies, keyword lists, ad groups and implementing them into Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM!) and Google Adwords, how to track affiliate conversions, how to utilize and import data feeds (just learning these), and much more. Even though I’ve had some success online (explain later) it hasn’t panned out the way I thought it would. But I never give up and will keep trying until one day it pays off!
So I mentioned that I’ve had some success. Here’s one example. About three years ago my brother and I were lying in bed, just about to go to bed, one summer away from college and flipped on the TV to watch some MTV before dozing off. There was this show, Newport Harbor, that was airing and was on the third episode. As I was lying in bed I mumbled something to my brother, who was on top of me (don’t get the wrong picture) because we have bunk beds at home, about creating a fansite for this show. The entrepreneur in me saw an opportunity that we could capitalize on and make some money, hopefully. Keep in mind this is the summer my brother and I taught ourselves everything we know about the internet. We were newbies. So what was my reasoning behind the idea? The cast members in Newport Harbor weren’t celebrities and this was season one of the show. Cool! We could probably rank pretty high in search engines for the cast member names and the show’s title. The next morning we purchased www.NewportHarborFans.com. I just recently let this domain expire because the promised second season never occurred and it was an unnecessary expense since type in traffic essentially came to a halt and our two expenses, renewing the domain registration and monthly hosting expense, weren’t being covered by our fansite’s earnings anymore.
Long story short, we threw up everything about the show. This included cast member pictures, biographies, episode summaries, video, and featured songs. It took about three weeks before we ranked in Google and saw our traffic jump from under a 100 visitors to over 1,000 in one night. Gradually, traffic increased to a steady 1,000 visitors a day and when new episodes aired we saw 3,000+ unique visitors reach our site. We were ranking #1 in Google for many of the cast member’s names, rank #3 for the term “Newport Harbor,” getting traffic from image searches, and other various sources. In about two and a half months we made over $3,000 dollars from Google Adsense alone. The only other income source we had for that site was our LinkShare affiliate links to download the featured songs featured in the show. If only there was a second season and my brother and I knew how to optimize, promote, and advertise a site like we do now. It was a great ride and experience nonetheless.
Anyways, back to the point. I’ve decided that, since I’m going to be graduating with a Marketing Management degree, I want to either work for a marketing and advertising firm/agency or work for an affiliate network as an account manager/executive. I’d be happy with any position with a reputable marketing and/or advertising firm or an affiliate network. I don’t mind working from the bottom up–you appreciate your job more in the future by doing so. Having done affiliate marketing I think I know what affiliates are looking for and can relate to many of their struggles. At the same time I want to start a business with a friend my brother and I are currently talking/planning things out with.
Though I don’t plan on working for someone my whole life I have finally realized that I will benefit greatly by starting out. I’m an entrepreneur by heart. I sit in classes not paying attention to my professors because I’m thinking of business ideas that I want to pursue. I visualize my life in the future, ALL THE FREAKIN TIME, living in my dream home with my family, having a successful business with my brother and friends, and driving my Lamborghini Murcielago.
you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
I want to have the financial freedom to do as I please. I want to live free and be free.