Interview with Super Affiliate Wendy Shepherd
Wendy Shepherd : Hi guys!
Shawn Collins : Hi Wendy!
Lisa Picarille : Hi Wendy!
Wendy : Happy New Year!
Shawn : Happy New Year to you! Thanks for calling in.
Wendy : I have the first one of the year?
Shawn : Yes, we're very excited to have you on here.
Lisa : Not only the first one of the year, but our first live interview so far.
Wendy : Oh really?
Shawn : Yeah, we've been playing it safe just having these prerecorded ones, but we figured we'd go out on the limit here with you.
Wendy : Oh yeah. [Laughs] No, it sounds fun.
Lisa : So, I'll let Shawn start it off and ask a couple questions, and I'm going to jump in.
Shawn : OK, I guess one thing that's for the benefit of the audience here, I know all about you Wendy, but if you'd just give a really quick re-cap of what you've done, and sort of who you are , Over the last few years with affiliate marketing?
Wendy : Yeah, okay. I first started off making a website. It was just out of things of interest, and then found out that people liked what I put up there, and decided to try some different things that were coming out back in those days. Like MSN was offering "free to make money" without even having to like officially have an advertiser, they really were not sponsoring you, but that was sort of when I noticed what we know of course as, "affiliate programs" came out and That I can make money "per click." It was like.25 cents per click back then.
Shawn : How far back is that?
Wendy : '97 – '98.
Shawn : Wow.
Wendy : Somewhere around there. And I decided that I would just keep learning more about it, and see what I could do. I found out that it was better to have a website that was a domain name – a dot.com. So I went ahead and got my first ".com," and started making a little bit of money then, and it's gradually increased over the years.
Shawn : So was that first domain "Tipz Time," or was that a different one?
Wendy : Yeah, Tipz Time.
Shawn : Is that spelled Tips with a "Z" – Tipz Time?
Wendy : Yeah, I actually own both now.
Shawn : Oh, you do?
Wendy : Yeah, I have one that forwards to the other one. But now I have lots and lots of websites.
Lisa : Wendy, the last time I talked to you was a little over a year ago. Revenue Magazine was putting together their special anniversary issue for two full years, and you were in the very first issue of the magazine as one of the Five Who Thrive.
Wendy : Right.
Lisa : We went back and revisited those folks to see where they were, you know last year, and one of the things that you said were working on was a, "top secret, really unique project." And I never heard exactly what came about with that so, did that come to fruition, and what was it?
Wendy : It actually has not yet. The expense to get it going is a lot more than I expected, so it's sort of on hold still. All the ideas are there, I keep building on the ideas. It's a big start-up cost for it, so when it does happen I'll let you know.
Lisa : The other things you talked about were you said that, "You were contemplating writing some books in the future." I surprised if you had done that as well.
Wendy : I started, but yeah, it's been a busy year, as home-schooling and being a mom they sort of cut into my time off and on. But, yeah I have started on this so you know they're in the process still. I've also been changing a lot of things, reorganizing where my focus is, getting back into focusing more on affiliate programs than doing services like web design. So, by freeing up my time, I'll be able to work on those two projects more.
Shawn : So for the books you mentioned, do you looking to self-publish, or get some kind of deal with the publisher?
Wendy : I'm going to self-publish, and I have talked to a publisher that Joel Comm has worked with.
Shawn : Oh yeah, yeah he did very well with his AdSense Code Book.
Wendy : Yeah, I talked to one of the publishers and he liked what I had to say, so I got encouraged to go ahead and start, so I did.
Lisa : And is this going to be sort of a "how to get started" sort of thing, or talking about "your success?" What's maybe the focus of your project?
Wendy : A lot of the focus is – trying to help people get started, mostly. Because I get questions all the time on how I do what you do, how can I get started, and how do you do this. And I can not always answer everyone's questions in a lot of detail. So the best thing to do would be to do some e-books first, and then eventually turn them into some books.
Shawn : That will probably be helpful for a lot of affiliate marketers, because I know even after doing this for about 10 years; I still have to re-explain it to my family each year at the holidays.
Lisa : You know speaking of family, I'm wondering you're going to include just sort of practical business advice about how you get started, or are you going to include any of the human stuff which you seem to always talk about, which is You know – home schooling and kind of trying to balance your family, and your work-life, and all of that?
Wendy : I want to include a little bit of everything. Yeah, I mean because it just brings a more human thing, you know to it. You know a lot of things that we read out there when we first start, even when I first started learning, it was a lot of technical talk that I had no clue about. So, making it more basic is going to be a lot easier for some people to learn. They're also looking for a lot of very detailed step-by-step information.
Shawn : I think one of the neat things about your story is the fact that you were able to sort of leverage affiliate marketing to help earn money while you were home schooling and raising the children, and everything. I think it's a neat dynamic of the industry.
Wendy : Yeah. You know, I've tried a lot of different things. I've tried some drop shipping. I've tried creating my own products and so forth. But, the best thing that happens is affiliate programs that are set up in place in different areas of the websites that consistently make money when I'm not there. [Laughter] And, that is a key for a family that is busy all the time.
Shawn : So, as the kids are getting old are you finding more time for affiliate marketing?
Wendy : Actually, not with them home all day. I do have my oldest son, he just turned 13. [laughter] Now, I have a teen in the house. He actually is showing an interest in learning what I do, too. So, I do take a little bit of time now and then to teach him.
Lisa : And, what sort of things? I mean, are you just sort of starting with the basics? Is he helping you out to actually do any of your work?
Wendy : Actually, he wants to do his own. [Laugh]
Lisa : Wow, that's great!
Wendy : Yeah, he wants to do his own thing. He's learning HTML and how to put a web page together now. They have to start somewhere. [Laugh]
Lisa : And, when's he going to be up and running so we can check out his site?
Wendy : [laughter] I'm not sure. Maybe this year some time.
Shawn : So, what do you see as far as some, back when you were getting started, was very content type sites that were affiliated. So, what kind of things are you doing now? Are you looking at all in Web 2.0 kind of things to be affiliated with these days?
Wendy : A lot of the social networking out there is going on whether we have the ability to put it on our own sites or not. So, the best thing for me to do is to tie it into my own sites.
I think it was you who indicated at first that affiliates and affiliate marketers should be on MySpace. It's not just for teenagers and kids. It's amazing how you can easily network with other people and find people that you could not before.
Just being able to plug in that and relate it to your sites in some way, even with one of my sites, Chart Jungle, I set up an area for people to contact me easily. They, for some reason feel more comfortable if they see my picture there and they can contact me without their email address being disclosed or anything. And, you can also look into their life by seeing their family pictures and so forth. It's really just a nice way to connect.
Shawn : Another thing with MySpace that I have found pretty valuable is that, for whatever reason, I get definitely substantively less views there for my blog than I do in my main site's blog. And, what I do each time is whenever I've read a blog is I post it all so it's a MySpace area. The people are more engaged there for some reason. I get comments there fairly frequently in my blog where I generally do not get really any at all in my main blog, which has a lot more traffic. So, it looks like there is actually community feeling there.
But, I guess also, MySpace, for all its virtues, I've met a lot of really interesting people in there from around the world that are into affiliate marketing that are also sort of a haven for all of the scammer-type of affiliates , Junk sites.
Wendy : [laughter] Yeah. I keep running … It's funny. You know, when you sign up for MySpace, in their terms, they specifically state that you can not use affiliate links on your page. And, I see it all the time.
Shawn : Do you have any examples of any stuff you've seen?
Wendy : Well, I'm not going to name specific ones. I get solicited by them a lot on MySpace.
Shawn : A lot of times, I see, if I add somebody as a friend, some people will constantly, in the little bulletin area, they'll post all kinds of offers that have nothing to do with me.
Wendy : Yeah. I had to turn off HTML comments for that very reason.
Lisa : Does having a teenager help you navigate through any of the new social networking stuff?
Wendy : I actually do not even let them on there. There's too many weird things for them to see. [Laughter] I do not know.
Shawn : So, what do you think would be maybe for you, or in general, the future is for affiliate marketing in terms of … Before you can on here you were talking about maybe doing some video and mobile phones. Do you see yourself going in that direction at all?
Wendy : [laughter] I've thought of it. But, I think I'm a little too shy for it [laughter] maybe some audio.
Shawn : Do not want to keep you too long here. Hit the little ten minute mark. So, really appreciate you calling in here and giving some great information. I'm excited to see where everything takes off for you.
Wendy : Yeah. I'm excited to see where you guys, even on TV? [Laugh]
Shawn : Yeah. Maybe.
Wendy : You never know. That's how much it's growing.
Lisa : Yeah. I think that it'll be just the "Shawn" show.
Wendy : Well. You know Lisa, you do a great job. We would miss you.
Lisa : Thank you. I'll look forward to hearing about your new projects. And please keep us informed when you get your book and all the other stuff that you're doing. We'd love to have you come back and talk about that.
Wendy : all right. Thank you.
Lisa : Thank you.
Shawn : Bye, Wendy!
Wendy : Bye!
Lisa : Bye, Wendy!