I believe there’s something inside everyone that makes them want to be a better version of themselves, wants them to succeed, to stand out even. For me, the ultimate test was to start my tech startup for free with no capital and no seed funding. It’s been a rough ride to get there, but I’m now making significant progress, and I’m going to show you how I did it.
I know what you’re expecting. You’re expecting me to tell you it’s easy if you do as I say and that I can make you thousands if you buy my course or take my mentorship. But in this post, you won’t find a single affiliate link. All you’ll notice is the cold hard truth that starting a tech startup with no money is bloody hard work, but it’s worth it for that life-changing passive income lifestyle.
Firstly I have a confession to make. The whole passive income thing is a bit of a shady term. No matter what business you have, it will never be truly passive. If you own a web application, you’ll have to make bug fixes and add new features. If you make a website, you’ll have to add new content and market that content. There is hardly anything that is genuinely completely passive. But we can get pretty damn close.
Let’s talk a little about my own business, so you have some content once I start explaining the sales, marketing, and technology I used. About four months ago I started AMZ Link Checker, it’s a SaaS application that finds links on amazon affiliate websites that are costing the owners money. These are links that are pointing to items that are out of stock, moved, unavailable, or now have low reviews. If that link from their website to Amazon is making people less likely to buy the item from Amazon, then my system will find it.
So now you have a little bit of context here’s how I did it.
1. Know there is a demand BEFORE you build a product
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen talented developers, and even non-technical people create a business that didn’t need to be created. When you create a business, make sure you are solving a real problem, not just creating a solution for a problem that doesn’t actually exist.
Remember, just because its a problem for you personally doesn’t mean its a problem for other people as well. For my business, I knew there was a demand for my product/solution because I had people literally asking me to make it. I knew if I made it, people would use it, and if enough people use it, most will pay for it.
2. Only spend when you have to
In the beginning, you want to keep your costs as low as possible. So any profit you make you can reinvest into growth. Rather than buying an expensive dedicated server for my system, I used the Amazon ASW free for a year offer where they give you a free nano instance for a year. I also didn’t pay for an expensive website I used Twitter bootstrap to build an OK looking one myself, again always looking to lower the costs.
3. Learn to market
Once I had a basic product out there, I had this fantasy that as soon as I launched hundreds of wealthy Amazon affiliates would come and buy my product. That simply wasn’t the case, and it rarely is. The cold hard truth is that marketing is actually more important than the quality of the product itself. Consider this scenario, which product do you think will make more money — a fantastic product with zero marketing or an inferior product with fantastic marketing. The poor product with amazing marketing will always make more money. Getting your product in front of people without spending a fortune can be tricky because you are competing with a lot of other startups and large established businesses with deep pockets. Tricky, but not impossible, though. This is the strategy I used to do my marketing for free.
Search engine optimization : I started a blog helping Amazon affiliates; they’re my core customers, so I blogged just for them about making an Amazon affiliate website rank on Google, making the website generate high commissions. This brings me highly targeted web traffic every day for free. With regards to link building, people pay thousands for links when you can reach out to bloggers in your niche and write them quality content in exchange for a quality backlink.
Niche related forums : I spent a lot of time on internet marketing forums where Amazon affiliates hung out. This was great to see exactly how they think, and it really helped with my sales pitch, which we’ll come onto soon. On these niche related forums, I started Amazon-related threads and made deals with other members for promotions. These sites bring me web traffic every day for free.
Contact form posting : I used my software development skills to write a bot that would automatically find Amazon affiliate websites and submit an offer to use my software to them. I’ve sent thousands of messages so far, and every day I get free direct traffic from these messages.
4. Sell like a salesperson, not a developer
Learning to sell was a little tricky at first. As a developer, we make things very functional and often fail to appeal to people’s impulses and emotions. Over time I learned to phrase things differently to increase my product’s conversion rates. Here’s an example of my old developer sales pitch compared to my new non-developer way of selling.
Old: We find all your Amazon affiliate links pointing to out of stock, unavailable items, moved items, or items with poor reviews.
New: Stop throwing away commission! We’ve boosted affiliate’s commissions by over 50%. Get the commission you deserve.
There’s an old sale saying: “sell the benefits, not the features.”, and it’s so true. As soon as I started doing this, my conversion rate increased drastically.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post on how I started my little Amazon affiliate tech startup for free. It’s hard work, but it’s doable. You have to work hard, think outside the box, know your customers well, and believe in your product.