I get asked a lot of times on how I got my start in the Internet marketing world to generate an online income.
Well, that’s a story that goes back to 1996 when I was in my last year of college.
I remember my sister telling me about this thing called the “Internet” that was getting real popular.
I looked at her and said “Who cares, it’s just a fad…”
Yup, what a serious misjudgment of epic proportions.
I ended up getting my first email account a few weeks later through the college’s network and started to “dig” this new form of communication.
I started communicating with my college buddies and ended up getting jokes forwarded to me.
This was long before social media, so when you wanted to share something, you forwarded the email.
Long story short, I ended up on some guy’s joke list.
He would send out a daily joke to people who requested to get on to his list (it was all referral based and he didn’t even have an optin form).
Before you know it, he ended up building a list of over 100,000 readers (and this was back in 1996).
Then I noticed something.
He started to include a “sponsor ad” before each joke of the day and had a small blurb letting people know that he was selling ad space.
I inquired and asked him how much would it cost to sponsor one of his daily emails.
He told me the cost for one daily ad would be $300 (which I thought was very reasonable).
When I asked the owner to book me an ad spot for the following week, he laughed and told me, “Dude, I’m booked for the next 6 months.”
Now, it didn’t take long for me to do the math.
365 days x $300 = $109,500
This guy was making over six figures a year sending out a joke a day to his email list.
I was in my last year of college and to get hired for junior accounting position at a $26,000 yearly salary was like hitting the jackpot.
Yet, here was this guy making 4X that sending out a joke to his email list each day.
You see, this guy had built an audience.
He built his tribe of raving fans.
He probably would have made a lot more money promoting affiliate products rather then selling ad space to 3rd party advertisers.
But there were very few affiliate programs back in 1997 and advertisers were paying big bucks for advertising.
That’s when I jumped online and started my own entertainment email list, sending out useless facts to anyone who was interested.
In fact, I remember making my first $3 affiliate commission promoting a finance CPA offer to that list.
I walked into my job (that I had at the time) waving that $3 check telling my buddies that I was making money online.
They all laughed and couldn’t believe it.
Sure, $3 ain’t that much, but proof of concept was there.
Anyone could make money online.
It’s crazy how much has changed 20 years later, but one thing that has stayed steady is email marketing plays a vital role in most businesses online.
If you haven’t started building your own email list, your tribe… what are you waiting for?