Hi, I’m Max and I’m an internet entrepreneur, I’ve been making money online for the past 11 years using a variety of methods but these have focused around affiliate marketing, content marketing, SEO and ecommerce. I’ve run my business through years at school, while partying at university, while exploring Asia with friends, while living in London and while remotely working and living in Thailand and Indonesia.
The internet has become such an important tool in our lives and I’m lucky enough to be able to make a living from it, I’ve learnt everything the hard way by reading forums, blogs and trial and error but essentially people from around the world shared methods, reviews and more which I’ve been able to learn from and it’s now my time to give back everything I’ve learnt and discovered to you.
My life story
Born in the UK in 1989 my childhood was spent in the 90’s when the internet was first coming about, I still remember the days when I’d spend hours chatting to friends on MSN messenger, having to get off the internet as someone wanted to use the phone and slowly starting to realise the internet was pretty cool. I showed a little entrepreneurial spirit in my early years, I remember setting up my own area of a car boot my Mum was doing and selling my beloved Pokemon cards and other items and making more than she did, however it wasn’t until my later years when it fully kicked in.
While others were getting paper rounds I had started to explore eBay, buying items and trying to sell them for more, although profitable it wasn’t earning me much more than my friends were making delivering newspapers in the early morning. It was around this time when I was around 14 that I started playing around making websites, Geocities was around then which allowed you to do it for free and with no knowledge of coding/html. So I made sites that were never monetised and were just for fun, while doing this I started buying and selling mobile phones on eBay which earned me a bit more money and it was then that I stumbled across a company who provided white label (a full functional website just with your own logo on it) mobile phone comparison sites which compared phone contracts.
Starting to make some actual money
The mobile phone site that I now had, simply had my own logo but was run by the company behind it, they then gave me a cut of the commission if I sold a phone contract through it (later I learnt this was the basis of Affiliate Marketing) and I proceeded to market the site as best as I knew, this involved me spamming forums with me signing up and posting a link to my site telling people to get the best deals. Yes not the best method but eventually after learning I needed to make posts on forums which were actually useful I started to make one or two sales a week, now this translated to something like £50 a week which in comparison to a paper round which paid around £1.5 – £2 per round (£10-15 per week) was pretty good!
I started to look into getting more visitors and this involved doing some advertising on Google PPC (pay per click), after lots of reading and learning I launched a campaign and eventually got it to be profitable and I started to make sales every day. I also started to look into other affiliate marketing companies and quickly found I could market other items online and get paid a commission too.
I did take up my one and only job during this time which was a pot washer in the kitchen of a local pub, although it was sometimes fun as I worked with mates I quickly realised that I was making much more from my websites so that only lasted 2 or 3 months. By this time I was making a nice side income, enough that as soon as I turned 17 and got my drivers license I was able to buy my own car outright (be it a lovely Fiat Punto) and pay for the insurance (which was nearly as much as the car!).
Finishing school & university
I never really thought much about not going to university, it was the next step after finished school, I wasn’t making enough to just live off my websites and I had the grades to go to a good university and so I applied and ended up going to the University of Manchester to study Management. I loved the student life, meeting new people and partying and my sites were starting to pick up and life was good, my course itself I wasn’t as fond of but I quickly realised as long as I did assignments, coursework and revised enough at the end of year exams I didn’t actually have to turn up to many lectures.
It was around this time when I was 18 that I set up a little niche website (website specific to a certain area), it was about 5 pages big and simply advised people where to go online to get a product for free, the companies giving this product away for free paid me around £1 ($1.40) per person who got this free item. I did well from this and at one point I was making anything from £60 – £100 a day ($100-150) which was lovely especially as I was working around 3 hours a week on it.
As with most stuff at this time it didn’t last forever, competition increased and eventually I got a penalty from Google which dropped my site and it went from £100 a day to making around £5. This was a big wake up call for me that as kind as the internet can be it can also be very cruel.
During this time at Uni I also started reading and learning a lot as well as experimenting with new methods, tools, strategies etc. A big part of this was Google Adwords and PPC, it’s was quite scary when I was spending £1,500 a month and not getting paid till 3 months down the line!
The rest of Uni & Graduating
For the rest of my years at Uni I ran various websites all monetised via affiliate marketing but also dabbled in using Google Adsense to make money, it was lovely to make money with little effort and in 2011 I graduated with a 2.1 which I was very pleased with. It was now crunch time, what to do with my life! Most friends had either got graduate jobs or gone back home to work while they searched for jobs or saved up to travel.
I decided to stay in Manchester and work on my sites full time, looking back I didn’t do nearly as much work as I should have and spent a lot of time messing around, it got to around 10 months into my year after Uni and a couple of friends were heading out to Asia to backpack and it didn’t take much for me to decide to meet them out there. I had already been given the taste of Asia from visiting with my parents and so I planned 3 months which quickly turned into 6 months in which I visited Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Macua and Hong Kong.
After returning I carried on working on my sites for a few years but had started to diversify and this is when I looked into actually selling products myself online!
I want to keep my visitors!
In affiliate marketing, you get a user to your site and then send them off to a company who then take them as a customer, you get paid a commission but then essentially don’t deal with them again (unless you have them on an email list). Now this is all good said and done as you don’t have to deal with customer service, products, payments etc but you do lose a lot of control and the ability to remarket to them.
So I decided that I wanted to try my hand at ecommerce, as with other ventures I spent a lot of time reading up and learning and eventually choose an area in the gift market, I set up a site on Magento (an ecommerce platform) and built the site, I decided on dropshipping as a method of delivering the customers products as essentially it involves you sending the customers details and orders to a company and that company dispatching the goods as if they were coming from you. It has all the benefits of ecommerce without the hassle of holding stock, returns, production etc.
While building the site and learning I decided that as with all my sites I’ve always had them set up so all I need is a laptop and internet connection to run them, therefore I could work remotely and from anywhere in the world! I decided to opt for a month in Chiang Mai, Thailand and then a month in Bali in Indonesia with an additional month for exploring, I chose these two places as they had good co-working facilities where many digital nomads (people who work remotely) work from as well as being in two destinations I had previously been to and loved.
So off I went and worked remotely on my business out there living the dream for 3 months, something I’d highly recommended to you if you can!
It’s now been over 2 years and I still run several ecommerce stores which provide me with an income, I taught myself everything there is to know about ecommerce and at the same time I brushed up on my SEO (search engine marketing skills) as well as everything else needed! I moved down to London as it’s a city i’ve always wanted to live in for a while and it fitted in nicely with other things happening in my life.
I’ve also started to diversify and get involved in other businesses and have recently invested in a subscription box company!
I continue to learn new things every week and with this blog I plan to pass on my existing knowledge and new things to you, just like others did for me in the beginning. The internet opens up the door for anyone to start a business and make money online as long as they are prepared to put time into it, there’s no such things as ‘getting rich quick’ no matter how many promises a website may tell you!
I hope I can help you in some way, feel free to ask me any questions below and follow me on Twitter