I WILL make it!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


It's only taken me about a month to write, edit and post these articles. I have been the epitome of laziness of late - even worse than usual. But, they are done, with hopefully more to come. While these articles don't directly relate to my affiliate products on the travel site, I consider them complimentary articles that I hope the visitors will enjoy. And I HAVE been thinking (thank you Colin) about making this site more about travel in general than just travel accessories, so maybe the travel insurance article will come in handy one day.

Here they are, exciting as usual:

5 Best Camping Destinations in the U.S.
5 Best U.S. Honeymoon Destinations
5 Worst Vacation Destinations
Tips for Parents to Avoid Hearing The Dreaded "Are We There Yet?"
Tips and Tricks for Your First International Trip!
Tips for A Stress Free Vacation
Do You REALLY Need Travel Insurance?

I'd like to say thanks for the lovely comments I got on my last post. While I have to say thank you Jen, I cheated - that pic is pretty old. I don't have any decent, clear pics of me in the last 5 years :) I'm probably 50 lbs heavier now than in that pic.. lol And thanks for the tip J.R. - I'm even having problems with adding 1 hour a day, but I'm trying. I'd love to do 2, but my brain is so tired at the end of the day from working (easy but repetitive and sometimes complicated dealing with numbers like 231.476598 all day long) that it's difficult to motivate myself sometimes... or actually, every day. 2.5 months to go!! lol Liz, it's so nice to hear that my 1 off rants are appreciated - I sometimes feel a little guilty about them :) And yes, the carrot cake is awesome, much better than the chocolate, but still nowhere near as good as the chocolate mousse ;)

I just wish there were more hours in the day and that in 2006 it was as easy to make a living at this as 2001/2. Hearing Colin talk about the early days and his income really made me stop and realise that those days are gone. Reading his VEO Report probably made that even worse... but in a good way. I mean, it's a given that we can all still make money, but the easy SEO manipulation days are GONE. This means for us that while we can probably still achieve the "guru" level of income now, it's going to take a lot more work and really keeping up with what people like Matt Cutts (aka GoogleGuy on some forums, at least that's what most people suspect and even if not, a high level Goog engineer) have to say, and truly building sites for our visitors, rather than the SE's. Easier said than done though when everything you learnt says the opposite. But, that said, everything that Colin says is true, at least based on what I've been reading in the last few months. You should definitely check out his VEO Report, it's worth every penny. It will give you a great new jumping off point - ESPECIALLY if you're a James Martell follower, and even if you're not.

On that note, back to do a little more work before bed. Happy hump day!

Tara :)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Congratulations Vicky!

Did you call everyone you knew when you realized you'd made your first sale? I did! lol And hell, .58 or $58 - it doesn't matter, it's a SALE! Besides, better to start small and grow - my first commission was for $30 and I haven't hit that big again, I'm spoiled now! I was so happy to read that the other day, keep up the great work :)

Other than sharing Vicky's news with the world, not much has been happening around here. I have been really tired all week for no good reason. I went to bed early every night, even as early as 9:30 - and I only get up at 8:30 in the morning for goodness sakes! Maybe it's the job - I find just as I start to think I can handle 3 more months, something comes up that gets me thisclose to walking out the door right then and there. It seems that the company in general is run by monkeys (I'm being polite) and even immediate management are often pretty stupid. And the decision making process leaves a lot to be desired - if the issue requiring a decision hasn't gone through 12 different tries, it seems it's not valid. Honestly, there was one issue that changed 3 times IN AN HOUR. I'm all for adaptability (ok, no I'm not) but COME ON PEOPLE! My new mantra these days seems to be "less than 3 months to go, less than 3 months to go..." which would apply to the date the contract is up.

The reason I look forward to April 17th is based on what a former employee of this company told me... it seems that our "record of employment", which is submitted to Employment Insurance (otherwise known as unemployment insurance everywhere else) doesn't list WHY a contract ended, simply that it's over. Which is a qualifying factor to get it. They don't ask WHO didn't renew the contract (in this case MOI) so I will be able to hopefully get unemployment for a year - which of course means that I get to work on my sites for a year. Whooooooopeeeeeeeee! I have realized since going to Affiliate Summit that I will never be able to grow my empire to an income replacing level unless I work on it full time. This of course is just me - YMMV. I think this is reflected of late (or the last 3.5 months, whatever) in my "I just don't FEEL like it" attitude I've had towards my sites. I have TONS of fantastic ideas - I even registered a new domain this week, bad bad me - I just lack the energy and drive most days. This of course stems from the feeling that I ALREADY worked that day - at the stupid day job. Which doesn't advance my sites any, though I do try and get a little done at work when I can.

All of this to say, of course, I need it to be April 17th please. NOW. Because by then I should probably be able to start going camping again, which I desperately miss. Especially after visiting the trailer today, on the way to going shopping across the border for impossible to find in Canada items, like any and all Weight Watchers' foods. Which I have decided to attempt again, based on my best bud's recent success with it. Those of you who have either seen recent pictures or met me in Vegas know that I need it... lol Those of you who HAVEN'T seen pics or met me, don't expect any, anytime soon. I'm the least photogenic person you've ever met, even when I was at a decent weight. Ok, now I'm just babbling because it's 1 am, which is past my new bedtime these days. I do apologize to the 2 or 3 of you still reading this. Of course, if you've read the description of this blog you may have noticed the "rants about everyday stuff part."

Ok, I'm really really done boring you to death now. Hope your weekend is and will continue to be fabulous, I'm off to bed now!

Tara :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hopefully the last you'll hear about the Summit for now...

Ok, so I left off Sunday night. Not much happened, I was exhausted and sore, so when I went to dump some stuff in my room after the networking and lay down to rest my back for a few minutes and woke up Monday morning, I wasn't too surprised.. lol I really needed the rest. You'd really be surprised at how even 3 hours can make a difference when it comes to jet lag!

Monday morning came around and I grabbed a bite to eat and went to the first session of the day, the Keynote speech by Corey Newhouse and a fabulous session with Anne Holland of Marketing Sherpa. Check out (there's still a day or 2 left) this link - it will show you the slides we saw and a lot of what Anne said at the session. Fascinating information about industry financials, email lists, untapped niches and more. Next up was Declan Dunn who was perhaps mis-scheduled for the first session since I think we were all still too tired for his boisterous but awesome presentation on how to create buzz marketing with blogs and podcasts.

Then it was lunch time with some lovely salads, cold cuts and cheeses (and some desserts which I didn't partake of) courtesy of the Summit. Much more networking ensued of course until the next session with James Martell. I was expecting to know quite a bit of what he was going to say already, but I was wrong. I knew all of what he said already. I found it a fairly dry session as well full of technical glitches. More useful for my friends who don't follow him than me.

That ended up being my last session of the day as the other ones weren't really useful to me. So after visiting with everyone at the Cafe Press booth, it was back to my room for a quick nap and getting ready for the Shareasale party at the Palms. It was held in the Celebration suite, and for those of you who are "The Real World" fans, this is where the Las Vegas version of the show was filmed. Also, if you've heard of the show "Inked" about a tattoo parlour (don't watch either of them myself) the Palms also houses this show and while we were waiting for everyone we got to see quite a bit of the show being filmed. Pretty cool stuff! The party was much more fun though. Seems there was some yummy food though I had just eaten downstairs so I skipped it, but the free booze was nice! We sat around and chatted for a while until I finally grabbed Colin's attention, which I've already told you about :) So after chatting and gambling for hours, most of us headed back to Bally's around 4-5 am (memory fuzzy about the time) and went to bed. Some of my new friends stayed behind to gamble till around 6:30 am so I heard - crazy shit!

I knew due to the late hour there was NO way I was making it to the first session - or the 2nd as it turns out - so I decided to sleep in a bit. After getting up to tell Eric about my night, I spotted Andrea online and sent her a huge thanks for bugging me to talk to Colin. At this point, she decided to call her friend Rob who's standing at a booth in the exhibit hall to tell him about me. HE then calls me and says, well, come meet me, John, Jim and Gary in my room. Knowing that he meant Gary ANTOSH (guru of web content, not just creating it, but buying it) and that John was someone from one of the forums I frequent, I RACED my way across the hotel to the south tower. At that point I entered an awesome, fantastic, amazing conversation with all 4 men, but mainly Gary and John (after Jim and Rob decided to go eat) that lasted probably around 2 hours. Wow, did I ever learn TONS of new ways to write articles - that will definitely help. Plus Gary gave me some great advice when it comes to hiring authors and using PLR articles (he gets 3 THOUSAND a month - see Chrissie, you're not that bad!!) that I can't wait to put into play!! Just as soon as I kick this damn infection, though I am writing this from work right now, I'm going to be getting back into my sites with full energy as I've got a BUNCH of great ideas for sites I want to get off the ground NOW.

Anyway, back to the Summit. The only session I really attended on Tuesday was one that was supposed to be with Rosalind Gardner, Super Affiliate, and the one session I REALLY wanted to attend the entire summit - but for whatever reason, she cancelled and was replaced by Joel Comm. I have to admit, I wasn't happy when I heard that, but I was pleasantly surprised by the presentation that followed. Joel was a very entertaining and informative speaker and I have to say I was impressed at his openess by picking apart both the back and front end of one of his sites. We got probably full access to everything about that site. Which of course is not to say I'm going to go out and recreate what he did, but there are certainly bits and pieces that I can apply across my own sites. Really cool stuff.

After that I headed back over to the CP booth for a while, hung out with Warren and eventually sat at the back of the ballroom with Matt, Jen and Adam (truly, check out their sites, they've got some awesome products, some of which I'm buying myself!) just discussing things we'd learned and the people we'd met. Good times. After that it was basically run and get ready for the Chocolate party at the Wynn hosted by oneNetwork and PartnerCentric (2 great companies) and then off we went. Awesome party with fantastic open bar, chocolate like I've never seen and a good band. We all got a little too drunk I think (or at least I got WAY too drunk) and when the party was over we headed to a bar in the Wynn where I stayed until the room started spinning and headed back to Bally's. All in all, I had a phenomenal time, much better than I had hoped for even! The only part I could've done without was the disastrous flights home I had (every plane I LOOKED at was delayed, even after being re-routed because I was going to miss my connection and we got home 3 hours late) but even at that, not enough of a negative to not go again... just not for a month or 2 ;)

I can tell you the thing that I look the most forward to when I start making some real money is traveling. I LOVE traveling. And I can't wait to take Eric to Vegas, with or without a reason, because I had such a great time. I can NOT stress it enough though to all of you conference noobs - start saving your money NOW. If I can I'm going to try and go to CJU in September. I don't know if I'll be able to do both the Summit in July AND CJU and if I can only do 1, that's fine. But CJU is a little cheaper and it will offer a different perspective of people and place that I'd like to experience. No matter what though, I GUARANTEE that Affiliate Summit West '06 is not my last conference, only the first of many to come. I hope I'll see all my blogging buddies at the next one, whichever/wherever that may be! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me or leave me a comment. Now this entry is quite long enough, so that's it for today, hope you've enjoyed the chronicles of my trip!

Tara :)

Monday, January 16, 2006

A little more to tell

Ok, well, I'm still feeling like shit (to put it mildly I think the next time I cough my lungs may suddenly come flying through that new hole in my ribs) to the point where I stayed home today, so please don't expect anything resembling Pulitzer Prize quality. Thank you all for the well wishes, hope they start rubbing off really soon! Here goes. I thought if I went step by step it might be easier than remembering things out of order.

Other than arriving way too early at the airport everything went very smoothly in terms of the flights, though there was a hairy moment in Newark where I had to go through security again (changed gates) and I thought I might miss my flight, but other than that, we even arrived early in Vegas. For those of you who haven't been yet, I doubt you'll ever see an international airport closer to the downtown area. Honestly, I'd probably vote Las Vegas' downtown area as most likely to be crashed into -- even on the ground it's about 5-7 from the airport to the strip. Very cool! Oh, and if you end up going, check and see if your hotel allows check-in at the airport - I had my room key and got early check-in, all I had to do was go straight upstairs! (If you stay at Bally's INSIST on the rooms in the North tower. I saw both N & S tower rooms and it's very true that the North ones are much nicer.)

So upon arrival in my room, I sat down, hooked up the net, let Eric know I hadn't died or anything and called Debbie from Cafe Press. I headed down to her room where I met all those people I told you about in the first entry and we went for a champagne brunch. Bad idea on an empty stomach as you never get to see the bottom of your glass until you leave the restaurant! I think almost all of us were tipsy to outright drunk! lol Our waitress was funny also, hiding people's food on them and stuff :P

After that we hung out in a lounge for a while at which point I decided to go take a nap for a bit since I was pretty much running on fumes at that point. When I got up and got ready, it was time for a bit of a nosh, at Nosh, a sandwich joint in the hotel and then gambling time. We started by gambling at Bally's until Debbie got back from a show which is when we hit the Stratosphere hotel. This is the one with the rides on the top. Check it out - you couldn't PAY me to ride the rides or look out off the roof, but then again I'm terrified of heights :) After that we hung out at The Top Of The World (restaurant and bar) until we closed the place and then it was off to the Palms (which is where the show Inked is filmed) to gamble more. I did quite well for a while but then lost it all - but I had a blast so that's all that counts.

Sunday was get up late day (around 11 am) but after I got up we hardly stopped as we set up the Cafe Press booth for the show most of the afternoon. I had just enough time to take a quick nap, shower and eat before it was time for the conference to begin at 8 pm with Speed Networking. Now, I signed up for this and put names of people I wanted to meet like a good girl and I'm assuming others did the same with me because I had 8 names on my list. Of those 8 however, 3 showed up. I also blew one off but because I had 2 meetings set up with the same company (I did that just in case I didn't get matched with one of them) and Jen had someone interesting on her list in one of my redundant spots. I asked the 2nd guy to offer my apologies to the first at least :) Kind of annoyed me though when I SAW at another meeting one of the people I was supposed to meet and she acknowledged it and subsequently didn't show. Some people have a lot of nerve.

On the upside though, I met someone very interesting at all the no show tables and even 1 FANTASTIC contact for a new merchant that I never would've met otherwise. I mean, I met the PR guy who kept chasing me the next few days so I could properly meet the Aff Manager - which I did finally on the last day. (He was also on my plane but wasn't sitting near me.) Their stuff will fit across several of my active and upcoming sites which is awesome - plus the aff manager hinted that a better commission could be negotiated for some products where there is a better margin. So if their stuff does well for me (and it will from the sounds of it) it could pay the cost of the trip right there!

On that note, this entry is quite long enough again, so I'll leave you with, next installment will include details of Day 1 and Day 2 sessions, though by day 2 I wasn't attending much anymore.. lol Hope you're all having a better day than me!

Tara :)

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A day or 2 more

Sorry for the delay in posting more about the Summit, I have spent most of the last 18 hours in bed with a fever of 103 and a scary, scary cough. Needless to say, I'm in no shape to write intelligently. So please be patient!

Tara :(

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wow, I cannot wait for the next Affiliate Summit!

To all my readers – start saving NOW for the next Affiliate Summit. If you can’t manage to go in June, I just read today on Affiliate Tip that there will be another one early 2007 in Vegas again. If you’re a Vegas virgin like me, make a point to go to that one – Vegas is a trip!! Except for all the flying (I’m typing this on my last plane of the day, that’s a whole other story) I would go at least once a month – now someone just needs to figure out teleporting for me.

I think if I cover even just the really high points it will still take me a few days to cover everything, but I’ll do my best. First and foremost I have to thank Deb Carney from CafePress.com who introduced me to a bunch of great people, some of whom have now become friends, like Jen, Matt and Adam – last names removed to protect the guilty ;) I spent most of my awake time with those four and honestly, I KNOW it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without them.

What I learned at the Summit has to do a lot with who I met. I mean, there were a couple of great sessions (Joel Comm replacing Rosalind Gardner at the last minute was very cool) and some not so great sessions (James Martell’s was full of glitches and he seemed nervous and it was repetitive for a student of his) but the best stuff I learned was from informal networking. I think the best contact I made (who’s now a friend!) is Colin McDougall. If you’re a JM follower you probably know that Colin is one of James’ original live class students. Andrea who knows him quite well, as well as BJ both, have told me that Colin is a super nice guy and Andrea urged me to go say hi at the Summit.

I didn’t actually see him till the ShareaSale party Monday night and only around midnight but after he was done chatting with JM (I was 10 ft away from JM most of the night but I didn’t talk to him) I screwed up the courage to go say hi to Colin. From word one he was the friendliest, chattiest and most gracious person I’ve met in a long time. We ended up talking about the business (and other random Canadian stuff since we’re both Canucks) for somewhere around 4 hours, give or take. (Much alcohol involved also so memory slightly fuzzy.) As it turns out I now can ask Colin a question anytime – with his permission. One great thing we were talking about was his new gameplan which is to help people. And the product of that is a great ebook called the VEO report. This is not an affiliate link but still, I urge you to go pick up Colin’s stuff!

There’s so much more to tell, but at this point it’s so long and it’s almost time to start thinking about putting away the laptop. So the continuation of this will be tomorrow… or today, depending on when I get a chance to post this. Please send me any questions you might have about the Summit or anything else I’ve left out, I’ll answer them in the blog. Good night!

Tara :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

It's now 4 am on day 3 of the summit and this was written before I got on my first plane... I was hoping to blog more, but I have barely been in my room but to sleep. So enjoy this and more about the summit when I get home!

By the time I post this I’ll be in Las Vegas, but it’s right now 5:33 in the morning and I’ve just gone through the security screening (with flying colours) and I’m now waiting to board – which only starts at 6:05. You may think that a half hour isn’t that long, but I’ve been at the Burlington airport since about 3:40 a.m. – 3 hours early. Oops. But when you’re driving over 2 hours to get to an airport in mostly rural-ish areas in January, you leave EARLY. So now, I figured I’d blog. Well, at least, I’m typing this entry in Word… lol No wireless ‘net here sadly. Otherwise I’d probably be playing poker ;)

So, other than being exhausted (so forgive any spelling or grammatical errors) and so very excited, there’s not much to tell. I still can’t wait to quit my job, and truly get back into this full time, hell, even part-time. This week there was just no work going on. No time between laundry, packing and shopping for the trip. But I have a bunch of great ideas and I’m sure I’ll just be bursting with more by the time I get back. So here’s what’s going on at the conference:

Saturday, meeting and hanging with Deb who I met at EcomXpo and some of her affiliates and friends. Sunday I’ll be helping her set up her booth, then there’s a speed networking session which I’m totally looking forward to. Monday and Tuesday it’s session after session with a couple of networking sessions/parties thrown in. Wednesday is fly home time. If you want to see more details, visit http://www.affiliatesummit.com – maybe it will inspire you to save your pennies and make your way to the next one. I’ve heard a few rumours that it will be in Orlando this summer. I’ll be moving heaven and earth to go again, I can already feel what a good time I’m going to have and how much I’m going to learn. I’m also REALLY hoping to attend CJU this year. We’ll see where I’m at this summer.

Well, I’m sure I’ve bored you all to death by now, so I’ll stop, but keep an eye out for some more posts from Las Vegas, I’ll try and make time to tell you a little bit about my day every night. Take care, cross your fingers for safe flights for me and have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Tara :)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Forgot to mention

December's total - just under $500. Not what I was hoping for, but still my best month. Here's hoping that Dec '06 brings another zero to that total - for all of us! :)

Tara :)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Thank you Chrissie, and Happy New Year everyone!

Ok, so that thank you is kind of double edged - but only jokingly. A very sincere thank you is sent out to Chrissie who was kind enough to share some of her wondeful new idea for making more money. One or two I'll share with you since you can find them anywhere - but the rest of them I must keep secret about as I promised. The joking part about it not being a real thank you (which it truly is) is because now I have SO MANY ideas to build up current sites and create some new ones that I now don't know where to start! Seriously though I've got months of work ahead of me and I can't wait - I just need to stop being so tired and lazy after work and just GET TO IT instead of slacking off.

So here's one big idea that might help some of you who don't troll the forums all that much. Those who do, sorry for the repeated obvious :) It's called PLR articles. PLR stands for Private Label Rights. This is how they work: generally, you sign up to a website with a monthly membership fee - the cheapest I've seen is $24.95 and the highest (that I would consider) is $67. There are more expensive ones out there, but I think you might be paying more for the name that is running them. For this fee, the site gives you a guaranteed number of articles in a set number of niches every month. Some might be useful to you, some not - but you keep the ones that aren't immediately applicable to your sites for perhaps future sites. And since you get so many articles (usually from 100-300 per month) it literally works out to pennies per article.

What I like about the idea (and when I get back from Las Vegas I'll be joining a couple) is that even if I can't use everything right away it might trigger some ideas for new sites. And the BEST thing about these articles (which was a concern of mine when I first read about them) is that you can do virtually anything you like with them. Obviously you'll rewrite and tweak them somewhat so they aren't like the other people's version of the same article, you can compile e-books, you can submit them to article directories (if you change them enough) and so on. And some of these PLR sites even offer niche products like graphics included in the price. Here is a list of a few I am considering joining: (no final decisions yet)


If you look closely you'll see which one Chrissie recommended most to me :) There were a few other suggestions and ideas she gave me, but those are closely guarded secrets at her request. Do some searching around the net though for products to help affiliates - there's so much out there you'll find yourself drooling over everything! lol

So, besides that, not much else going on... we had an interesting New Year's Eve - we decided to go out for dinner before going to a party, but didn't realize that we had signed up for a 7 course meal to be served over many hours until we had opened our bottle of wine. There went the party! Great food, huge bill, but worth it. We got home in time to have another glass of champagne (one was included with the meal) and watch the ball drop. Then we played in a poker tournament until bed time - mine was 2:00 since I fell out rather early, his was 3:30, finishing in the top 30 - but no money :( Not necessarily how I would've planned it, especially with the bad cliche dj/kareoke singer they had at the restaurant, but not horrible :P Hope everyone had a lovely night, and I wish you all nothing but your best year yet - health, wisdom and wealth :)

Tara :)