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Thanks for stopping by. This is where I let off steam and talk about affiliate marketing, promotional codes, freebies, Apple stuff and anything else which motivates me to post (which judging by my track record isn't much)...

Monday, 6 April 2009

Is Skiing Skiving? Affiliate Marketing Jollies...

Skiing in Austria
In my ongoing quest enjoy life more I've come to realise affiliate jollies are vital research.

My latest jaunt was a week in Austria with Prezzybox organised by Barney Edwards. Barney is Zak "The Mighty Box" Edwards' younger brother and shares the same "Joie de vivre" and easy going nature which immediately put us all at ease. I was chuffed to learn Gulshan, my roomie from last summer's Barbados trip, was also coming along so we shared a room again and picked up the banter and drinking where we left off! It was also great to meet Luke, Ben (The Ginger Ninja) and Andy (The Machine) who keep us amused with CB radio chat.

The skiing and boarding worked out well because Barney and Luke were both good skiers, Gulshan and I signed ourselves into ski-school and Ben and Andy hung onto the slopes as best they could.

After my ski-trip to Whistler last year I knew I needed more lessons so ski-school was perfect for me and Gulshan and I joined an intermediate group and as we worked our way up the slopes our gang developed a great team spirit - it turned out most of us were staying at the same hotel, Hi to Helen and Pete, Andrea and Hennrik and top ski instructor Stefan.

By the fourth day we skied from the top to the bottom of the HartKaiser mountain on blue and red ski runs which was an achievement I'm really proud of but the highlight of the trip was stopping for lunch up a mountain at a tiny place run by an elderly couple who still cook traditional Austrian food on a wood fired stove right next to our table. I think we all really enjoyed the food, drink, each others company, ambiance and exhilarating (OK, scary) ski trip back to basecamp through whiteout conditions on the mountains.

As the feelgood factor wears off I think I've cracked a rib which is a souvenir I could have done without BUT I've just found out Barney broke his wrist on the trip so respect to him for carrying on - he's hardcore! I suspect we'd both still do it all over again though so no complaints from me.

So What Have I Learnt About Affiliate Marketing From This Trip?

Affiliate jollies throw into sharp relief the difference between working from home and my working life in general. I always find sitting at my desk after affiliate trips and get2gethers a real struggle. I'm pretty sure it's the routine rather than the tasks themselves and sitting at my desk does focus my mind so perhaps it's a necessary evil - I'm still having an internal dialogue about it and I'd be interested to learn whether other affiliates can get by without a desk.

I've learnt I can run my business from a laptop in a bar with a beer in well under an hour a day. For a business that's paid me a decent salary for years I'm still impressed by that. However affiliate marketing is a fast moving industry so to maintain a decent income going forwards it's important to spend, at least, some of my "free time" working - doh!

Research and creative thinking are both things I've always done, paid or not, so from my perspective I'm just playing at work which means I don't really have a life-work balance as such - there's just life and striving to live it the way you want to live it.

I've proven to myself again that all I need is a laptop, an internet connection, something to play with - snowy mountains or waves preferred - and some company to share the experience with.

Living life the way you want to live it sounds a bit selfish on the face of it because we all have responsibilities and I'm mindful and content with mine but I do wonder where the person that owns a house full of possessions and craved all the latest gadgets went?

My "tai chi journey" is part of the answer. Tai Chi has improved my health and spiritual well being, it's something I do together with my wife, Deb, and it's given me the inspiration to take on new challenges, appreciate my family and friends and be open to new possibilities.

Several months on from the blog post where I talked about "letting small bad things happen" here's an example which also ties in nicely with my "black box approach to affiliate marketing" blog post. Before I set off for Austria I turned off my last remaining Adwords campaign so I didn't have to worry about site downtime while I was away and of course, me being me, I forgot to turn it on again until I had a site outage a few days ago and went to turn my Adwords off and they were already off. Great, I thought - I'd been meaning to black box experiment whether Adwords was adding anything to my profit margin but I couldn't bring myself to turn them off for an extended period to find out.

The black box result is I'm leaving my PPC ads off - for now. I could analyse the stats and improve the campaign but black box me says put it on the back burner and if times get hard then will be the time to take another look at it.

I appreciate this laissez-faire approach wouldn't be possible if I was starting my affiliate business today but for now I'm content to settle for a little less money, a little less hassle and have some built-in slack to fall back on.

So where next? I'm off body boarding the week Existem have organised their beach party which is bad planning but I am meeting up with the IWOOT guys later this month so the next affiliate jolly is just around the corner.

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