it’s been at least a couple of years since i last wrote to you so i don’t blame you if you’re thinking “who the heck is this Jim Yaghi person and why is he emailing me?” Give me a few minutes and hopefully something in this message rings a bell and you’ll be keen to reconnect.
First off, i’m Jim, ppc traffic generation specialist and founder of YaghiLabs (site www.yaghilabs.com). Slightly older, wiser, and a bit worn and war-torn.
At some point in the past 14+ years of which i’ve been running an email newsletter for online business owners, you subscribed to my daily insights, tips, and advice. Specifically, you filled out a form at my website requesting to receive my newsletter, and/or you were one of my thousands of loyal, amazing customers.
Believe me when i tell you, sending this email is probably one of the hardest things i’ve ever had to do it’s been sitting in the queue for more than a year–waiting for me to get the courage up to send it. Quite frankly, i’ve been paralyzed by fear of failure and rejection from you.
I understand time moves quickly in internet years and a lot has changed in your life and interests since the last time you heard from me. But I’d love to know if you’re still actively operating an online business (or are thinking about getting back into it)?
Rest assured, if you are no longer interested, definitely don’t remember me, or are certain you don’t want to hear from me again, you can remove yourself from any further communication quite easily. I only ask that you CLICK THIS LINK TO UNSUBSCRIBE, and the deed is done.
The link above does nothing more than remove you from my email list, while retaining my impeccable sender reputation so messages continue to reach other subscribers who genuinely want to keep hearing from me.
please accept my sincere apologies for the long absence. I’ve been obsessed with a “small” project that took me in all kinds of different directions and some life changes. It was not my intent to disappear or abandon you.
You should know during my absence i’ve been actively doing traffic generation and internet marketing as a service for high profile clients and for my own projects. I’ve only been absent from writing about my work.
To help jog your memory, here’s a summary of what’s happened—some of which you may remember from the newsletter. I’d really love it if you would write back a personal note with some of your news too…
About 14 years ago, I started out as a rookie in affiliate marketing while doing a computer science PhD in Sydney.
I got a reputation for being a traffic generation prodigy and was quickly noticed by Mike Dillard and Tim Erway of Magnetic Sponsoring (now Elite Marketing Pro). We worked out a deal in which i sent traffic exclusively for them. Over the following months i used Google Adwords to send 100,000+ leads, tens of thousands of customers, and thousands of affiliates. Toward the end of my tenure with Magnetic Sponsoring, i authored the popular “PPC Domination” which was published and sold under their brand which set a sales record for the industry at the time.
I met Ben Settle when he was writing and researching the sales letter for PPC Domination. He had written or rewritten the bulk of Magnetic Sponsoring’s sales material (which converted the traffic i drove at the time). He later became an important influence in my marketing and someone i consulted with often on sales and business strategy.
Later, i moved from Australia to California to partner with David Schwind.
We released the Google Switch, a traffic report downloaded by a majority of the members of SEONetworker, MyLeadSystemPro, CarbonCopyPro, Numis, and Betternetworker to name a few. We built a remarkable viral campaign that dominated 6 or so traffic platforms and were among the first people in the community to profitably use Facebook’s ad network and even invented our own Twitter PPC.
That same year, we released PPC Supremacy, a comprehensive course for traffic generation on different platforms which we briefly opened for 24 hours and sold out.
Shortly after, i relocated to Jordan where i met and married my lovely wife of 8 years, Aya.
During this time, i started working on a pet project to develop a business model i named “Micro Business”. It was a solution for what i predicted of the future … the rise of the solopreneur.
Over the next year and a half, i developed that model while selling a number of online marketing services which were rendered by a team of about 20 relative novices (interns) who were able to simulate and scale the standard and quality of my own expertise. My Micro Business was largely based on Henry Ford’s model of business which essentially broke down complex tasks into repetitive tasks that were so small and simple they could be rendered by regular people with little or no expertise.
As a team, we built and managed 100 or so full marketing funnel, email, and traffic campaign builds in a service for which demand was so high that TWICE we stopped taking orders because the back-log of work was 6 months long.
To be honest, i did not enjoy running services, primarily because i do not manage people effectively. The businesses we built campaigns for, while diverse and varied, bored me to no end. And while the model was beautiful on paper, it had some issues in practice that i did not have a solution for until years later.
After a painful year of managing people in a service business, i relocated my Auckland-based online business to Dubai.
Aya and I had our son Adam. He is now five years old, speaks, reads, and writes three languages, and is a delight and pleasure to watch grow up every day. He’s obsessive like his father and very, very persistent. He’ll probably feature often in future emails from me haha.
During my time in Dubai, i began selling information products again. At first, a coaching program, “Done With You Traffic” and then several micro products including 90 Minute App, 90 Minute HTML, the much beloved Traffic KickStart, Googly Website, Monthly Launch Formula, and so on.
Selling micro products was an interesting model with lots of promise. It was remarkably effective, the products were popular, and were fun to produce and deliver.
But it was not quite what i was looking for in terms of intellectual challenges.
I’m a computer scientist, not only by training, but by birth. I came out of the womb clacking away at a computer (truthfully, I’ve been programming computers from the tender age of 9). And my dream since 12 was to found a “dot com”, before that was actually “cool”.
So while in Dubai, a thriving economy that quickly embraces new technologies, i co-founded eSaraha a customer satisfaction management software as a service solution primarily for restaraunts–with a plan to ultimately expand into other service businesses.
eSaraha required most of my focus, so i retired all existing information products from the market and replaced them with an ambitious single product called the “DIY Super Traffic Machine.”
It was originally planned to be 8 manuals, delivered monthly, containing step by step instructions to build a complete affiliate marketing business from scratch, following methodology that we developed in the Micro Business model phase of YaghiLabs. It in fact turned into an impressive 11 books that i am until this day truly proud of and that continue to sell despite no special marketing effort on my part for years…and that people as recently as this month call or write to rave about what the course has done for their business.
Like i said, i needed to focus on building the new “dot com” business which got off to a roaring start–we built custom solutions for international food giants Americana, Hardees, KFC, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Burger King–all were talking to us ready to go.
Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), i had a falling out with my partners in the “dot com” and left the business only three months later.
Meanwhile, i got behind schedule in producing the Super Traffic Machine series of manuals. While our customers (perhaps you were one of them) were extremely patient and forgiving, it turned into a nightmare of battling technology and trying to keep track of subscriptions and so on.
This is around the time i went down the rabbit hole…
You see, for some time i’d been fighting the primitive limitations of popular service providers Aweber, 1ShoppingCart, PayPal, Clickbank, and Kajabi which are not really built for the kind of custom things i needed to do. They are designed, honestly, by frustrating assholes who seemed to think MY data is theirs, making it difficult or even impossible to change platform without losing large chunks of the data.
For example, after 5 years with Kajabi as my primary membership solution, i had enough with their lack of improvement on old problems, poor customer support, and primitive API. The last straw was when the credit card i used to pay for Kajabi was lost overseas and thousands of my customers were locked out of their purchases. I spent over a week trying to get a response from their support staff to help me update my payment method.
I wanted out.
But i had built enormous volumes of business assets into their system including videos, text, and customer data. They did not offer a proper way to export all those assets in full. I literally had to hack their system to get everything out and i’m not even sure i managed to get everything.
In fact, some of my product assets have been permanently lost (unless i can find a back up on one of the pile of old hard drives i keep around)
Similarly, Aweber and 1ShoppingCart force you to double confirm your email leads–including customers–even when moving them from one mailing list on the same platform to another. It’s like they put you into some baby pen so you don’t hurt yourself and accidentally hurt them in the process or something.
Paypal, which i have always loved for payment processing, has no way to adjust or change a recurring payment profile without forcing me to ask existing customers to sign up again for a product they already decided to buy once.
These limitations drove me crazy much longer than they actually became a serious business problem. So i got this little idea…which was a bit bananas…
Why don’t i build my own platform and keep my data to myself so no one can hold me hostage to their platform again?
Sure, i could probably whip up something in about 3 weeks. And actually, i did. The trouble is i couldn’t rely on it to be robust and to scale. For the entire next year, i worked obsessively on this platform, which i literally built to serve ONE. Me.
I completed the Super Traffic Machine book series eventually, way behind schedule, and informed customers via the Facebook product page how to get the remainder of the series. But had to manage the entire thing manually…and again i’m sure a lot of subscribers missed the message. (btw, if you were one of our old customers for that, please let me know if you’re still interested in getting the rest of the series, it’s been sitting here but i didn’t know how to reach you with all the mess).
Anyway, there i was working on getting all my data out of the various services i use to manage my business…when i started to notice some patterns in the data that i had NEVER seen before.
I mean, crazy insights that i’d missed out on because like most online business owners, the different software services we use to manage and run our businesses…each owns a piece of our data but doesn’t want to share it very well. And i just thought about all the missed opportunities in that data to know simple things like …
who are your top most valuable customers … (perhaps you can call each of them and sell a high-ticket offer)
who is your most loyal (longest time, most frequent buyer)…
how much is a customer really worth over years of their lifetime…
Not only that, but i started to imagine an automated, intelligent, dynamic machine learning software that would actually take all that insight and turn it into action without my interference. And i got this idea to create adaptive sales and follow-up campaigns that could see the patterns a normal human can’t…and could use those patterns to figure out how to sell more product to more people, faster.
And i thought jeepers, this is it.
THIS is the kind business i want to own.
After some digging around, i found a professor in Germany who was interested in this area of research, and offered to “intern” under him as a researcher and a doctoral student. He accepted. And i spent the next year going through the tedious visa process to move my family to Germany.
Which brings me to today.
I am writing to you from my office in Germany, ready for the next phase of business and research. This email is being delivered to you from my platform–it may have some bugs that need ironing out still–The platform i’m building will probably revolutionise marketing and is at the bleeding cutting edge of tech. Right now, it’s a purely academic project but the plan is to turn it into a commercial service that others could benefit from.
Would you be interested in being my “guinea pig”?
I’d like to write you daily emails again, with insights, advice, and tips on marketing and online business. The topics are probably going to be more mature than they were before. We will talk about business models, finding investors and funding, crowdfunding, building a business for scale, hiring, company culture, and so on. I’ll pass on a lot of the experiences i’ve gained recently and as i go forward.
Not only that, i’m still very much a PPC traffic expert and you’ll still hear about traffic and conversions.
For the past few years, i’ve taken on an exclusive handful of big budget clients and singlehandedly managed massive ad campaigns for them in some of the most brutal, highly regulated, and competitive markets. So i can still pass on lots of those traffic generation insights you’ve grown to love over the years. There are new ideas and breakthroughs i’ve had, which i’ll tell you all about.
Plus, you’ll hear about my personal stuff—travels, overcoming struggles, health, family, and mindset.
The emails i write you and your interactions with them and with my site, sales pages, and products will be collected and anonymized (for legal reasons) and this will constitute data for the machine learning algorithms i’m developing. For all intents and purposes, you won’t notice anything different but i do promise to share with you any interesting developments i find.
If all of this sounds totally boring to you, i will completely understand if you decide to unsubscribe.
Otherwise, if you like to join me on this journey, the most obvious things you’ll notice are that i have some fine-grained feedback mechanisms in place such as the “Cheer” button on posts at the site, and the “not interested” link in the footer of emails where if you keep hearing about a product you’re definitely not interested in, you can silence it while remaining subscribed to other updates (if you like).
There’s a few less obvious things maybe you’ll notice or won’t…but it’s all part of my vision.
The website is still a great big mess and i’ve got a bunch of stuff to figure out. Bear with me while i sort it out, but i’m going to try to keep in better touch from now on.
I’d love to hear from you your news…So write me back a line or two and tell me what you’re working on these days 🙂
And if you have not done any internet marketing for a while and are looking to get back into it, i really suggest you take a look at the DIY Super Traffic Machine. It’s a comprehensive internet marketing program that takes you through every aspect of setting up a sales machine online, step by step, to the very last detail.
Read more here…
Until next time,