In the last post, I talked about the details of how I got my books published, in this one I will talk about the road that took me there.
My first “business venture” was in Berlin in the year 2007. It was really difficult to get a job there without speaking perfect German, so a friend and I set to collect empty bottles from the parks and what not, it was something like 20 cents for every bottle we returned to the shop, so it was enough to get by, then with another friend we set to collect and recycle abandoned bikes, when they were rideable again, we would sell them for about 20 euros a piece, not great, but enough to get by on.
After that, I took some farm jobs and teaching jobs for a few years, so there was not much risk involved, then I moved to Taiwan and started selling bicycles again, fixing them and reselling them on craigslist. Then I somehow got addicted to online poker and ended up losing a lot of money in pokerstars and partypoker. Ok, not a lot of money, but more than I was able to afford at that time. Most days I broke even, but that actually meant I had wasted 10 hours a day playing for nothing. So that was kind of my third failed attempt at entrepreneurship. By that time I still didn’t know how to succeed but I knew why I wanted to succeed and why I wanted to work for myself, it had nothing to do with capitalism, being a wage slave or having more time, money or freedom. I wanted to work independently because I had found that personal relationships were a source of conflict an I wasn’t capable of dealing with conflict in the way other people are. Really, I couldn’t even answer some simple questions like ‘how are you?’, if someone asked me that I just wanted to know in which sense did they mean it, so that I could give them a concrete answer. If someone complimented me I thought they had some ulterior motives and if someone wanted to become closer to me, I rejected them because I couldn’t deal with the burden of having to deal with someone else’s emotions.
Then some years passed and I got hired by a school in China and then got neglected by them, like, once I moved into a new city because they said they had a school there, it ended up being that the school didn’t have enough students or classes, but they had already given me the working visa and I had already found an apartment in that city, so I was supposed to stay there (oh, btw the city was Anning).
Because I was already there, had a place to live and didn’t need to worry about the visa for a while, my only option was private teaching, so I printed some business cards and went all around the city handing them over, it all ended well and I was able to make ends meet working just 3 or 4 hours a week.
A year later, I flew from Kunming to Argentina and started our walking trip with Bong Gu, in the one I sold some pictures of our trip just to make some pocket money. Then we arrived in EL Calafate and tried to start my own school, and then failed, all the students would cancel at the last minute, I would often get stood up, and many took the classes but in the end didn’t want to pay for them, they just said they would pay tomorrow but tomorrow never came. So then I ended up getting a job at a hotel so that I could have a stable income.
After that, we came from Argentina to Colombia overland, passing through Bolivia and Peru and trying to write every day while we were traveling. That’s how I finished my books and published them, and didn’t make any money out of them but that was ok, because I had never intended to in the first place, it was just something I needed to do for myself. I had the need to tell my story.
While I was writing my books, I got a job as a freelance ghost-writer for a company in Medellin, which name I’ve forgotten, and that was one of the most stressful jobs I had in my life, not because of the job, the writing was ok, but because they used this really horrible time-tracking software called hubstaff that records every activity you do on the computer and takes screenshots of it, records mouse and keyboard activity, so lets say you stopped typing for a minute and were thinking about what to write or about how to phrase something you had on your mind or about what would be the best way to rewrite something, the software didn’t know you were thinking about work, it thought you were lazing around, so you can imagine how that ended for me. Not that I was doing anything wrong in the computer, it was just the feeling of being watched and judged, the pressure to know someone didn’t trust me, like when you leave a shop or a supermarket and you have to walk through the metal detectors, you usually feel threatened and judged even though you didn’t steal anything, or maybe you did, but you know what I mean.
After that, I got a job as an interpreter at a local trade fair for a week, for an Indian company. The money was pretty bad because I got hired by a translation company instead of being hired directly by the client, so the company took 80% and gave the translators 20%. The job was sweet though, so when it ended, I went to the website of the company who organized the fair and checked all the companies that would be coming to Bogota on the next few months and emailed all of them to offer my services. None of them replied, so that was another failure for me.
After that, I started teaching English online to Chinese kids through a company called Waijiaoiyi but it was pretty terrible, the bureaucracy was exhaustive, the pay was bad and the teachers were treated poorly. That’s where I learned online teaching is great, as long as you find your own students and don’t need to depend on any company. So that’s how I started spamming craiglist, Rype and wyzant for a few weeks until I got some regular students, 6 of them which have already been my students for 5 months.
But still, I knew if I ever wanted to achieve financial freedom, teaching was not the way to go, so during the next few months (and up till now) I invested every cent I made teaching online into figuring out ways to generate passive income.
Because I had already used Fiverr as a buyer for the design and editing of my books, I decided to give it a chance as a seller, so I created some gigs and published them, thinking I could make some easy money, in the end, no one bought my gigs so I didn’t make any money, but it was worth a shot.
My next idea was to try and promote my books on my own, so I first started by creating different ads in canva and running them on FB, IG and google ads, it was all waste of money and I didn’t sell any books but I did learn a lot, so then I tried to combined all the knowledge I had on poker plus the one I had on FB ads and try to resell poker books and I also failed, but I was ready for my next adventure: dropshipping.
I watched every youtube video on the subject for a few weeks and bought many courses (courses which I then also tried to resell , and failed, and got banned on reddit in the process). I learned about dropshipping every day, 10 hours a day and then I opened my own shoppify store selling travel gear, which I can’t link to because I also failed at that and closed it a month later.
So it had been 8 months in Colombia trying and testing ideas but none of them really worked, that’s when I discovered a website called black hat world.
There I found lots of opportunities for people like me, who don’t really like going outside and socializing but still need to make a living somehow. Lots of opportunities for people who don’t have a permanent place of residency so they need a job that they can do from anywhere. I started reading on and on in forums trying to find something I could be good at and finally decided to settle for Instagram CPA marketing, because I had already been using the platform for a few years and was confortable enough to try and escalate on it.
While trying to grow my own IG account I had many times tried to contact members to collaborate, make friends or exchange shoutouts, and that’s when I noticed 99% of those messages went unread and I later learned at least half of all IG accounts are automated that’s why no one had read my messages, they were botting and had many accounts on autopilot. I had always been good with computers, so I thought I could do that too.
I didn’t want to spend much money to start because I didn’t know if I could pull it off, so at first I decided to try using a free bot called instapy and I failed, every day I got some different error that I didn’t know how to fix so I then decided to pay for a bot, and after countless hours trying to find the best bot, I found that the best one is called Jarvee, but it’s also the most expensive one, so I couldn’t really afford it and I ended up settling for Instadub which is the second best, it has the best customer service, and it’s also the cheapest one, because they charge a one time fee instead of a monthly one, and as I was planning to be in this for the long term that would make a huge difference. Then I needed some proxies to run my accounts on, I settled for proxymillion because their proxies were 3 times cheaper than the rest while still getting the job done, and then I needed a private server to run my bot and accounts on, after analyzing all the options I chose turnkey because they are 4 times cheaper than all the others and I am very poor, so it was really not much of a choice actually, I just chose all the cheapest companies.
Then I needed some accounts to run my CPA offers on, for that I found a private seller on BHW, he is from Russia, because all account sellers are from Russia. I bought 150 aged accounts from him, aged means at least a few years old, because the new ones get banned quickly.
The next step was to set my CPA link, so I signed up for Max Bounty cpagrip, instazood ,IMonetizeIt Peerfly and ogads , because people in BHW said they are the best, so I started creating my content lockers and referral offers using their sites, I then bought some landing pages from a private seller in the forum and learnt how to make my own ones in blogger and wix.
I used getsmscode to verify the accounts with phone numbers and mail.ru to verify their emails, and then I realized the accounts got banned quickly when I added the CPA link, so I decided to just grow accounts and try to sell them when they are above 10k followers or try and sell shoutouts, because it wasn’t worth the risk of buying them, setting them up, adding pictures, bio, photo, creating the offer and the LP for the CPA only to get the account banned as soon as I added the link to it.
Growing IG accounts is like growing little plants, every day some will get sick, or some insect or animal will come to eat them, someone will try to steal them or IG will kill them because it didn’t like something about them.
I had many of those ‘what am I doing in my life’ kind of moments while completing Russian captcha, the Chinese phone verifications and trying to keep up to date with all the changes IG makes to prevent people from doing something they don’t like.
Up to now, and after everything I’ve tried, I am still barely making it, just making enough to cover my expenses and surviving the day, but, to wrap this all up, what I learned from it all, was to embrace failure, every time I start something new, I start it thinking that I will fail, yes, maybe that’s why I end up failing, but that’s also how I manage not to get disappointed or depressed or feeling as a failure every time one of my projects fails, I was secretly expecting it to fail, because maybe I don’t consider myself worthy of success or maybe I started the projects out of curiosity but didn’t have the patience and dedication to see them through, or maybe the reason I fail is because I was meant to fail, so that I will learn the skills I need to embark on a new project after this one, only to abandon it out of boredom once I have figured out the tricky part and it becomes a darg.
And something else I learned is to not be afraid of investing in myself, I understand life is a game, society is another game and everything related to money and economy is just a game inside a game, inside another game we humans play to avoid facing the scary reality of knowing we are going to die and all of our memories and experiences will disappear.
UPDATE: July 2018, I opened an Instagram services reselling website, for some reason.