This could have been me had I stopped yesterday which by the way I wanted to.
This is me instead because I hung around longer.
I spent the past couple of days trying to optimize a new product launch. All metrics looked great. Every step of the funnel just as I wanted. I had low CPM, high CTR, low CPC, low CPATC, low CPIC, but.. also low conversion rate. For those who don’t know what am I talking about, I had low cost for everything, but the number of users purchasing were also low which was something I really didn’t expect to happen.
Due to this my cost per acquisition was higher than where I wanted it to be. Instead of making money, I was losing money until I launched the retargeting campaign.
For those who don’t know, retargeting is reaching warm audience or potential customers again. People who showed purchase intent but didn’t purchase. My retargeting campaign brought me really cheap sales. So cheap that it offset all the loss that other campaigns caused. Not just that, it turned the overall campaign around and made the product launch profitable.
This showcases two things. 1) Retargeting is really really powerful. 2) When you’re thinking of giving up, hang around just a little bit longer.
It’s easy to spot a yellow car when you’re always thinking of a yellow car. I read this a few years ago and I believe it with all my heart and all my mind.
We always see more of what we’re thinking about. It isn’t that certain things start happening more frequently in our lives than other things, we’re just able to see more of them because we’re more aware about them.
Everyday millions of objects, words, concepts and feelings are presented to us. We’re just more aware about some and less aware about others. We’re only able to see, hear and observe just a handful. The handful that we wanted to see more of.
If you only see negativity in your life, I’m sorry to tell you that that’s what you’ve been looking for all along. To see forgiveness in the world, you have to want to look for it and once you do you see it all the time. If you look for generosity once, you will start to see how much more generous is the world. This isn’t something I or someone made up, it has it’s backing in the science. It’s how humans work. They call it Baader-Meinhof phenomenon or more commonly the yellow car phenomenon.
You have to want to see things, and the things will want to see more of you.
You have to want to look for opportunities, and the opportunities will want to see more of you. It’s easy to spot an opportunity, when you’re always thinking of an opportunity.
I’ve a proven history time and again that when I go through an extremely negative experience which is negative enough to push me down for weeks, I bounce back the hardest and put out my best self at work.
While this may not work every time or with all kinds of setbacks, I believe negative energy isn’t bad in most cases.
When we go through a bad relationship or a breakup, financial setbacks, fraud, partnership dissolution etc, it can be overwhelming. Some setbacks would make you incredibly sad, while others may leave you angry or disappointed. While all of these energies could be used to make serious progress at work, anger, in my opinion has worked out the best for me.
With all that aggression that cooks under you, all it takes is the right approach to hit a home run. You’re already aggressive, all you have to do is channel that and use it against your competition, or for your growth. Let your anger flow into driving sales and results for you. Let your success be the answer to the people who made you angry or sad.
While this may sound a load of BS from a self-help textbook, I can’t stress enough how real this is. I can remember at least 2 memories when I used serious setbacks in life and accumulated a large amount of wealth and success in the coming weeks or months.
You could use all that negative energy to hurt yourself and the people who hurt you or you could just aggressively make progress. It’s a simple decision for me. What about you?
Some of what I am going to write may feel insensitive to some readers. I apologize to them, but I will still write about it because it is the truth.
Yesterday someone called me to ask that he wanted to sell merch in the memory of Kobe, the basketball star. May his soul rest in peace. It reminded me of a story and that is what I’m going to write about today.
During the early stages of my work, I was trying really hard to make any kind of revenue but I failed year after year. My co-founder on the other hand, whom I didn’t know at that time, dropped out of college because he couldn’t afford it anymore. My family’s financial circumstances were better than his, so for me it was just the hunger to make it work. But for him, it was the actual hunger, that comes from not eating enough.
To fulfill my hunger to make it work, I used all kinds of opportunities to make money including trying to sell merchandise in the memory of celebrities who recently died. I tried all forms of click-bait for content that didn’t exist and then locked the content until user performed a certain action such as provide an email or phone or zip, for which I got paid. I did fake-news of all kinds. I did it all.
I feel no shame in writing about it today, because I think that’s what people do when they want it bad enough and it isn’t working. I won’t do most of that today because I don’t have to and I only want to work on good opportunities. But I probably would do all that again if I had to start over. Of course, I’ve always drawn a line. I don’t want to scam people out of their hard earned money, but I felt no shame in capturing their attention or wasting their time for money.
My co-founder on the other hand started his journey by scanning Pakistani magazines commonly known as digests in Pakistan; including Khawateen Digest, Suspense Digest etc and then published them online. Of course, an act of piracy, but he complied with the requests of the publishers, and only made them available for overseas Pakistanis. Eventually due to the pressure from publishers, he closed the website completely. He also feels no shame in this. He did what was meant to be done to be able to live and it got him the kickstart.
My co-founder was hungrier than I was. His hunger came from his drive to win as well as because it was a survival game for him. My hunger came from the drive to win only. He did twice as good as I did. Because he wanted it twice as much.
Today, we don’t have the same drive as we used to have. Despite having 15+ years of experience, we don’t perform on the same level as we used to do. We’re more knowledgable, highly skillful, more experienced, and less hungry. And we don’t do as good as we used to do. Hence, for me, hunger is the single biggest differentiator in killing it, or not.
It sounds surreal. A million dollar out of thin air? How can you create money out of nothing. You can’t. But you can create money without having any money. Like you do in an employment. Although, you probably can’t make a million dollar with employment. Then how can you make a million dollar without investing any money. Only a few people can imagine something like that. Let me assure you, it’s possible. Not just possible, I personally know dozens of people who have done it.
Let me assure you, I’m only scratching the surface here. If there are 99 ways to make money online without investment, I only know of 1. And I’ve written about what I know here. My brother recommended me this channel. May be you’ll find a lot more options to kick-start your internet journey there.
In summary though, there are hundreds of ways to make a living on the internet. Hundreds of things that need no capital to start. And hundreds of them that can eventually make you a million dollars. Sure, you’d most likely need to pivot at some point, but you can most certainly get there. Let me talk a bit more about the pivots below.
Suppose you start as a T-shirt designer on Fiverr. You sell time and skill to make money. Eventually you pivot and also start selling your designs on Etsy and use a print on demand to fulfil your orders. Once you get the hang of it, you now want to hit a larger audience or a global market. You pivot again and you take your designs to Shopify. You now invest a lot of money that you have made thus far in audience acquisition using ads on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest etc. You find more print on demand services in different countries so you can locally fulfil your orders. Eventually, you’re doing hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales. You have created a million dollar value-asset. All with sheer hardwork and no external funding or investment. You have successfully turned $1 into $1,000,000.
I don’t want to mention names here for the sake of privacy, but I know at least one millionaire in Pakistan from each of those categories: an influencer, a designer, a blogger and a developer.
The question is do you just like reading articles with a million dollar in the title, or are you gonna take actions.
A few weeks ago, I spoke of the benefits of building lazy portfolios that you can do so by buying certain indexes. That seems to be a good strategy at least while the over-all market is growing and not going through the bearish sentiment.
There are other types of indexes that we often can’t see. They are hidden in plain-sight and I think we all should be paying attention to them.
Yesterday, Saad RT’d this. And I couldn’t agree more. Both with the original tweet and Saad’s comments.
Stripe is a really great company and despite being a fintech company, it’s really open and inclusive. Fintech companies are driven by mega regulations and can struggle with innovation. And considering that, Stripe’s openness is a surprise for me.
Off to the original tweet, Stripe is not just innovative and inclusive, it’s also an index. It’s an index of all internet commerce companies collectively powered by Stripe. Have a look at how Stripe has grown over time
Shopify could also be an index like that. And as investors we should be paying attention to these indexes.
In the crypto sphere, Coinbase could be an index. However, since only private investors could participate in Coinbase’s growth and the IPO hasn’t happened yet, the retail investors can not buy that index yet. But there’s 1 crypto index, that you could still be buying, at your own risk of course. A few years ago I tweeted about it
$BNB is a native token of Binance which is one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world. And despite what direction crypto markets move in, Binance always makes a profit. And as $BNB holder, you can be party to that.
At the time of my tweet, the total market capitalization of all crypto assets collectively valued at $381 billion dollars. Today the collective market cap is $216 billion dollars which is almost 45% lower.
BNB’s market cap at the time of my tweet was $814 million dollars. Today the market-cap stands at $2.2 billion dollars. BNB has posted growth of 2.7x despite the over-all performance of the crypto-market.
So watching out for these proxy indexes can be a relatively safer way to grow your investments.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered legal or financial advice. To the maximum extent permitted by law, I disclaim any and all liability in the event any information, commentary, analysis, opinions, advice and/or recommendations prove to be inaccurate, incomplete or unreliable, or result in any investment or other losses.
My friend Zeeshan is a true awami person. He connects with people on a very unique level. He also has a rare ability to connect with people from all walks of life. I can’t do that. It’s a skill that I don’t have thus far. And I know very few people who can connect with people on this level.
His life story is very motivating for everyone because he didn’t just accomplish success in business. But he successfully defeated all life-struggles and hence everyone can relate with him.
I can only connect with people who are interested in internet marketing and entrepreneurship and even there, I probably only connect with a very small subset. But that doesn’t matter. Every person comes with a unique set of skills and everyone doesn’t need to learn to do everything. Individuality is the only thing that the world needs.
However, I connect very well with Zeeshan and he listens to me and gives value to what I’ve to say and if I can ever motivate him to do anything in life, he can do the rest for everyone else. So in a way my small actions, can have a large impact.
As long as we make our small contributions to the society, in our own small ways, they can go a long way.
I met Zeeshan aka ZSM nearly 10 years ago. I met him after reading this article. He just had his 100th story get on Digg’s front-page which was a very big deal for me since I hadn’t had my first at that point. For people who joined social media later, Digg was like Reddit, only bigger.
To put things in numbers, 1 story getting popular on Digg would roughly mean 50,000 unique visits. 100 popular stories would approximately mean 5,000,000 visits. Assuming an RPM of $5, which is quite low, this should have generated $25,000. In 2008. By a 17 year old. Before Facebook, Twitter & YouTube were a thing.
Zeeshan also happens to have a rare disability called ‘rickets’ that has caused deformation to almost all the bones in his body. But I’ve found him more ‘able’ than most other people I know, including me. Since he doesn’t talk a lot about his disability anymore, I’m not going to do any further talking either.
Zeeshan’s story is extra-ordinary. What he achieved was special. Way more special than what anyone else I know achieved. But Zeeshan in the last couple of years, was very ordinary. He was ordinary because like most successful people, he had found his comfort-zone. He seeked happiness in things outside of work, which I completely understand. But once you do that long enough, you become very ordinary. And somehow, I feel special people shouldn’t be ordinary. They can be ordinary for themselves, but not for the rest of the world. And the world deserves to see more of Zeeshan.
Today, I think would be the first day of that happening. Zeeshan has just started his YouTube vlog. His challenge to himself is 1 vlog a day for at least next 365 days.
My predictions for his YouTube channel are below.
He will cross minimum 250,000 subscribers before year ends, without a Rupee in ad-spend.
He will have minimum 10,000,000 views before the year ends.
At least 1 of his videos will hit 1 million views. There’s a 50% probability that this will happen. But if he gets married in last quarter of 2020, there’s a 95% probability of this happening.
All these predictions will only come true if he completes 365-day challenge.
I’ve recently developed a habit of making public predictions. They can be embarrassing if you’re awfully off. But they are fun and challenging. They also improve my chances of predicting better in the long run.
Do you know when a butterfly flaps its wings in South America, it can cause hurricane in North America. A butterfly can cause a major catastrophic event in a different continent. This is known as the butterfly effect. Although it is called the butterfly effect for a completely different reason, but the example narrated is real. And the takeaway is that tiny decisions you will make today will have huge consequences on your life.
Let me explain this further. I became a tech entrepreneur by accident. I encourage you to read how that happened. Had I not landed on a random web page that day which happened completely out of accident, I might not even be in this industry at all. If I weren’t in this industry at all, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. And if I didn’t write this blog, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.
Because you’re reading this right now, the outcome of your life has already changed. If you weren’t reading this, you could have been doing something else, that would have had a different outcome on your life. But this article has already changed your life and when I said I wasn’t click-baiting you, I meant it.
I can remember many examples of how small actions had massive affects on my life. I’m going to share another one below.
In 2013, our Adsense account was disabled. We lost so much money there, I don’t even have the right expressions to describe it. In 2018, someone launched a class-action lawsuit against Google inviting all other parties to file their claims. Who could have thought a simple form that my co-founder filled in under 3 minutes would mean we’ll be getting paid for everything that was held 6 years ago. That we’ll be winning a case against Google. Without ever hiring a lawyer or ever thinking to file a lawsuit against them. By simply filling a form digitally.
A simple digital form and a huge amount of money. It sounds unreal, even to me, but it isn’t. It happened because of a small action that had a major impact on our lives. And so if you’re not taking actions, you are playing with the outcomes of your life.
So go ahead and make the decisions that you want to make because down the line they will not only change your life, but those of thousands of others.
Life seems chaotic. But chaos has order. Chaos is deterministic but it’s also very unpredictable. It’s unpredictable because often we don’t know the initial conditions and actions. But if we did the unpredictable chaos becomes very deterministic. And so if you take the right initial actions today, you are quite likely to have a deterministic future, no matter how chaotic life may feel.
I started this blog on 7th of November. I promised myself to write here at least once everyday. And I’ve done that so far. Today marks 1 month of me doing that. With that, I wanted to showcase something very important: streaks.
If you want to do anything in your life, anything, its unlikely that you’ll be able to do it if you’re not consistent. Many businesses are not rocket science. In fact most businesses are not. Most businesses require that you run them just long enough, and everyday, to bear the fruits. And streaks, set the perfect stage for that.
Writing here daily is more important for me than it is for you. I think not even a single reader of this blog has read all of what I’ve written so far. But I’ve still written daily because if I don’t, then I may just stop writing at all. Streaks aren’t just helpful in businesses, but in anything you want to do in life.
My brother lost 20 KGs in last 2 years. He didn’t go on a crash diet. He didn’t starve himself, but he went on a streak. He counted calories using MyFitnessPal everyday for 2 years and in the end he got desired results. Had he taken just 1 day off after 6 months, there was a very high probability of him stopping altogether.
And so I highly recommend to you that you introduce streaks in your life.