Today, we are having an interview with Stephen Montagne where he will give us some affiliate marketing tips and tricks on how to earn your first $10000.
A lot of people are interested in knowing more about you. So, can you tell us who is Stephen Montagne?
Hello, I’m Stephen Montagne, a 28-year-old internet hustler, I say internet hustler and not affiliate marketer because I do a lot of things online and I don’t really categorize myself as an affiliate marketer especially not a super affiliate.
What can you share about yourself that is not already on the internet?
For example along with affiliate marketing, I also do a lot of AdSense arbitrage these days, have my own courses and sell my own products and I still run my video animation company.
I first started making money online about 12 years ago, when I was 15-16 years old by building websites for myself first and then started doing them for school projects and after that I became a freelancer and created a lot of sites for different companies around the world for a lot cheaper than others where charging at that time.
A little known fact about me is that I don’t attend any affiliate conferences, part of it because of my social anxiety with large groups of people and another one being the time I have at my disposal, but also since affiliate marketing is not my main focus and strategy online, I’m not that big of a name in this particular industry.
Did you ever work with Google AdSense and what made you work there?
Yeah, moved on to making sites for AdSense and affiliate products, because I hated dealing with clients that were constantly changing their minds and they always came up with new ideas and wanted me to always change their website, that drove me nuts, and decided to stop working for other people for the rest of my life (sounds kind of dramatic I know, haha).
What did you do before online marketing?
Nothing, I was in high school when I was getting started, so I didn’t really have time to get a regular job. I also briefly owned and ran a café bar with my brother when I was about 17-18. It didn’t work out that great and I quickly realized that all the money that we invested into the cafe would have made me a fortune if I was instead investing it online, sadly though I realized that too late.
What inspired you to make the first step towards online marketing?
Like I mentioned previously, the ability to not have to deal with bosses or clients. I like the freedom that it gives you, no one controls your work schedules or what projects to focus on, etc.
For me it was never about the money or getting rich quick, I just wanted the freedom and to work for myself no matter how much money I made, even at the beginning when I was making a lower amount than a 9-to-5 job, I was still happy because I was working fewer hours and did not have to deal with anyone.
You also get to spend more time with your family and friends, travel and enjoy life, while making money at the same time.
In your opinion, do you think making money online has become more difficult than it was 10 years ago?
This is a bit tricky to answer because these days there are so many more opportunities for beginners to start making money online than it was before like 10-15 years ago, with all these new social media networks and popular apps like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc., that people can use to market products.
But in the same way, I feel that it’s also become a bit harder if you’re dealing with paid traffic specifically since there are so many more rules put in place now on places like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and a bunch of other popular ad networks that affiliates like to use.
So many accounts are getting banned these days, and if you plan to heavily purchase traffic from these sources for your affiliate marketing, then be prepared to deal with a lot more trouble than before.
I remember many years ago when people were running diet and make money online offers and products on Google Adwords and it was OK, try that now and you might have the “luck” of getting insta banned if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Sorry to interrupt, can you also tell us how SEO has changed over the years?
Yeah, of course it’s way harder now to do SEO than before, when all you had to do was to have an exact keyword domain name of your niche, and a few keywords stuffed in the footer, and you were golden, and easily get to the front page, if you also got a few backlinks. Try that now, and not only will you not reach anywhere the 1st page of Google but your site might get de-indexed altogether.
So in a way, I can’t really give you a direct answer to this one because I feel both ways, while it can be easier due to the many more ad networks and new social networks and different ad types such as native ads and push ads, I also think there are a lot of rules put in place that might make the process a little bit harder than before, especially for a beginner.
What inspired you to create NetHustler?
I got fed up with all the BS “get rich quick” blogs and products out there. I wanted to try and give my perspective over the millions of other blogs in the same niche. I also like to sometimes go “against the game” if you know what I mean.
For example, I wrote a post about why dropshipping sucks, and why it’s not really a good pick-up for a beginner in internet marketing, and what do you know, a lot of people where getting mad at me for ruining their dreams or for saying that I’m not right, and that the only reason why I wrote the post was because I was not “successful enough” in my dropshipping business.
The part they forget to mention is the one where I said that look, dropshipping can be good for more experienced people but, for beginners, having to deal with actual real customers, orders, shipping, etc, it’s a little too much, and also the profit margin is not that great after you cut down the cost of advertising, product, (shipping in some cases even though it might be free sometimes too), PayPal fees, Shopify, etc… it all adds up.
You don’t have to deal with any of that with affiliate marketing, that is why I recommended them to start affiliate marketing first.
Is there any particular reason why you publish negative articles?
I try to publish posts like these on my blog from time to time, just to “spice things up” and see the reactions of my readers and other peers in this community.
At first, I also wanted to add a “black list” of bad ad networks, affiliate networks, CPA companies that don’t pay, etc… but in the end, I realized that too much negativity might not be that good in the long run, so I decided against it.
While I don’t post a lot, (think about 1 post every month or 2 months), my posts are all incredibly detailed, and they can easily reach 10-15k words. So I like to focus on quality over quantity.
I would definitely like to write more, but running so many different projects takes a lot of my free time, but I plan on streamlining a few things in the future and make the blog posts a lot more consistent at about 1-2 per week, so stay tuned :)
Did your experience in web developing and video animation help you become successful?
It definitely helped me a lot, and I really do mean a lot. Specially the web developing part. I was able to set up sites in 30 minutes while other affiliates were searching and waiting for people on Freelancer and Fiverr to get their website done. Not to mention they had to pay for it, and it didn’t always come up as they wanted.
Back when the “Google sniper” method was popular, I was able to make about 1 site a day (complete with articles, social media presence, a few backlinks, otherwise it wouldn’t have taken me that long), for a bunch of different niches, and yeah it worked amazingly.
For others, creating a website sounds too difficult and time consuming not to mention costly if they have to pay for someone else to make it. For me, it’s pure fun, and I enjoy the process a lot, and I also know that I save time and money and I get it exactly as I want.
Is there no other way to create websites then learn how to code? Many people find coding challenges.
Yeah for sure. Luckily, these days, you can create a website in about 15-30 minutes, or even faster, with so many platforms out there that have website builders with templates and everything integrated, so I don’t really think that you need to learn web developing anymore in order to get started with affiliate marketing.
In fact you can also just direct link your traffic to the offers (although in 95% of the time you will need a landing page), but there are many CPA companies out there that also have a pre-lander for their offers, so you really don’t need a website or a landing page, just copy the link and create an ad campaign in your favorite ad network and you’re golden.
Video animation also helped me a bit when I tried some Youtube marketing, but in a funny way, I don’t do any video marketing these days… For me, video animation and web developing were a way to get bills paid and also cash to invest more into my internet marketing projects.
Will you advise others in the industry to acquire those skills?
Of course, if you learn one or both of these skills will make your affiliate and online marketing in general much easier and profitable, but they are not really required anymore.
People can just 1-click install WordPress in a few minutes these days, select a template, and they are good to go. Back in the days, you had to actually know HTML, CSS, PHP, etc. now it’s not necessary anymore.
Can you share with us some tips and secret hints in getting traffic and making money online?
Hah, I once had created and sold a book with over 600 of these secrets, it’s not really up to date anymore though, but I still know some of them will work even to this day.
For starters, for traffic think about the new ad types that have become popular in the last few years like native and push ads. They will only get bigger, while banners will slowly fade away (at least in my opinion).
1. Test and try different offers and ad networks.
Also, don’t be afraid to test or try out some new offers and ad networks that you might have never otherwise considered.
Especially if an ad network has a low minimum deposit like $50-$100, you can just test things out and you never know when you find a gem of an ad network that can send you a lot of quality traffic that generates sales and leads.
I learned this the hard way… I knew about a specific ad network for like 5 years, and never tested it out, since I heard/read somewhere that they were not that great and had some bot traffic, etc… well one day I’ve seen an ad from them on some forums and decided to try it out, and I was shocked how well it converted and how fast the campaign process and approval was.
I don’t know if linking to my article is allowed here, but I wrote an extensive guide for cheap traffic sources, that has a lot of ad networks with low minimum deposits that your readers might enjoy reading. Link >>
Trying out offers out of the regular diet/make money/dating categories can also work great.
2. Track your data.
I’m sure that some of your readers might know about this by now, but in any case for those that are new, not knowing this can be detrimental to their affiliate marketing journey.
Always use a tracker more so if you’re using paid traffic, to track the conversions that you’re getting. You want to know everything about the user and the sale, you also need to know how you’re ad network is doing, if they are sending you bot traffic or if they have sources that don’t convert and you need to immediately block them.
Not going to name trackers here, but I’m sure you can do a quick google check for some affiliate marketing trackers and get a bunch of results.
3. Go for different GEOs.
You can also try out targeting different countries instead of just focusing on the US. Most of my profit these days is not coming from US traffic (which is the most expensive traffic you can buy) by the way.
I see too many affiliates going for the US traffic because they are scared that no one else will convert, but what they don’t know is that sometimes non-US traffic converts even better, since they haven’t been inundated with so many offers all these years like the US.
What advice can you give to upcoming internet hustlers?
My biggest advice is this: try not to get discouraged. In the past, my advice was: Focus on one thing at a time, but I believe that not getting discouraged is more important.
You should know that most of the time, in whatever you do online, whether it’s affiliate marketing, Adsense, selling your products or dropshipping, the biggest thing that can impact your journey is fear.
When some things don’t work out as expected, it's in our nature to just drop everything and move away to other stuff.
But with online marketing it’s not that simple, because if you want to make it, you need to give it your best and always try to figure out what went wrong and why that particular CPA offer or affiliate product did not work, how can you fix it, what to do better in the future, and also how to prevent that from happening again.
Sometimes it’s not even your own fault, things might go wrong for different reasons, a CPA offer has just been paused and you need to find another one that is not converting the same way, an ad network has gone down permanently and it was the only traffic source you had, etc.
It’s easy to get discouraged when you read so many forums, blog posts, buy the latest ebooks on how to make money online, yet whatever you try and do nothing works out for you. I know that feeling, and I’ve been through it before.
The only thing that changed was my mentality, and basically I figured out early that it can’t all be BS out there, and that some things must work, otherwise no one will be making any money online, and whatever else happens I must keep on digging until I find my diamonds.
So when things don’t go the way you wanted, don’t give up, always try to learn from happened, analyze your data, and try to improve it and it will get better, I promise you.
Wish you best of luck,
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