About a month ago, I posted in one of my inner circles on how much can be accomplished in a month’s time.

At that time, I had just finished writing my first draft of what I thought would be my personal finance book.

It was quite a feat. 20 something thousand words (or was it 30… I don’t remember) in one month’s time.

And it was only possible because I knew exactly what I needed to do each and every day (write).

When I got closer to finishing what I wanted to write about, I started thinking about the promotion strategy. It was going to be a free book. But I still wanted to grow my facebook group, my email list, my website brand.

And that’s when I realized that I no one would read it on mobile, and I wouldn’t be able to use it for SEO purposes, so I repurposed the content to become blog posts that were easily over 4000 words long each.

It worked wonders.

I posted what I thought would be the top 3 most popular sections of the book: credit scores, student loan and saving thousands a year. And after some initial promotions, I had over 50 shares on my credit score piece.

Within a month.

But that was the climax.

After that, things started to fall apart.

My posts still weren’t coming anywhere near the top 100 search results on google. I was still lacking backlinks and so I started hunting for places that would make sense to get backlinks from.

I somehow got my credit score and student loan pieces on the government of Canada’s website, as they have an initiative to improve financial literacy across the country.

That’s two quality backlinks.

But more importantly, that was validation and leverage that I could now use to reach out to other non-profits that I felt I could guest post for.

And so I reached out to a dozen or two non profits. Almost no one got back to me. Those who did didn’t really give me a yes. Granted, I haven’t done what I’ve learned to do from my sales background: follow up.

I was also checking google webmaster tool to see if they’ve picked up my backlinks. It wasn’t showing.

And then I lost my drive to pursue backlinks.

I also didn’t know what to write about anymore on my site.

I knew I wanted to continue to grow my readership, and started going down the marketing route. If I could break even with basic affiliate sales (on services that benefits my readers), I could pump money into that.

Which was what I started to do.

Over the past few weeks (hasn’t been a month yet), I’ve been looking at things I can promote. I’ve also been looking at facebook ads. At google ads.

I’ve created cheap landing pages. I created blog posts. I looked up the best performing ads on facebook (did you know that one of the most successful sites for personal finance in the US employs 70 people, has over 18 million visits a month, and has close to 70% of their traffic come from social media? WOW). I created dozens of similar ads, and closed most of those down.

I had probably close to 100 people click on my ads and 0 converts.

At the cost of about $175.

Where was I going wrong? Why was none of this working?

And for some reason, I realized that I fucked up.

I shouldn’t have been sending them to landing pages for a specific product / service / blog post.

I forgot the ultimate rule in marketing – the money is in the lists.

I should have been collecting their emails and putting them into a DRIP campaign.

And so I switched it up.

I started writing emails for the campaign. I continued creating cheap landing pages. I tried facebook’s new lead gen offer. I got leads and I placed them into the campaign.

Then I got told from Mail Chimp that I couldn’t do that.

They weren’t a big fan of terms like making money or any sort of affiliate sales.

I understood their situation. There are probably a lot of scammers out there and it’s not good to be associated with something like that.

But that also meant that I would have to go elsewhere. Which was what I did three days ago. I went to getResponse.

And over the past three days, I’ve averaged 4 people signing up through my Facebook ads.

I was hopeful (well, I always am hopeful) that this would work out.

The first day came and left. No new sign ups.

The second day came and left. No new sign ups. But what was weird was that the email states that people are clicking on the links, but my tracker on the other side wasn’t registering those clicks.

I tried the links myself. It was not redirecting me to where I wanted it to go. Instead, it gave me an error.

It turned out that my google tracking was adding additional text to the url which was then not triggering my 301 redirects.

In other words, people were interested in what I was suggesting. But they couldn’t complete the sign up through my emails.

I took out the google tracking last night and when I woke up this morning, I had my first successful referral.

After close to $200 spent on ads, I had finally made $2!

But this $2 is important. It’s showing that I’m making progress. After all, this $2 is only the first suggestion of the dozens I have lined up (not all of the suggestions are referrals) so I still don’t know what the average value of a email subscriber is just yet.

I also did my usual routine and checked google webmaster to see if I was ranking for any search terms. Nothing new. But when I checked the backlinks section, I saw the government of canada website. The links have been successfully registered!

Although from a results perspective, I did not get as much done as I did with the writing of the book, I have started seeing some progress.

And it’s the progress that makes all the failures in the past turn into stepping stones.

Now let’s hope this progress thing can build upon itself and become an exponential path.

Until then, it’s time to continue the grind.