As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I take a look at my life and realise…
This isn’t my song, what am I doing here?
Ah, yes – I was in the middle of telling you a story.
If you’ve come this far – I really appreciate your time, this is a difficult story to write… the journey has been long, and I have a long way to go down this winding road. I’m yet to meet any scarecrows, tin men or cowardly lions – but I’m hopeful.
If you haven’t come this far – perhaps you’ve found this page and would like to learn more about my story – you can do so by reading parts 1 & 2 here:
We have a lot to cover – but first, a quick recap…
In part 2, I talked about how terrible I was at marketing – I talked about how I’d snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, and outlined a plan to help you from doing the same.
If that portion of my life story was a sales page – the headline would read:
Discover how a complete newbie made a million dollar product and earned a few thousand bucks in less than a week!
Looking at it that way – I’d buy that product, but I didn’t learn any lessons at the time. I did learn the lessons, but it took a long, long time.
I was sitting on a small pile of cash, thinking I’d cracked the code.
Want to learn how to bring yourself down to earth after a small success?
1) Quit your job spectacularly
2) Go away on holiday
3) Spend the few thousand you made online
4) Spend the few thousand you had stashed away
5) Spend the few thousand you have available on your credit card
6) Realise you no longer have any money
7) Wonder what the hell to do next
So I wondered…
And wondered some more…
Then I bought some ebooks…
Then I bought some more ebooks…
Then I bought even more ebooks…
And I took zero action.
By now I was in massive debt with no income at all.
Enough was enough – either I’d have to find a job or I’d have to start making some money.
Want to know a funny joke?
I started writing a “How to make money online ebook”…
Flat broke, no experience, massive debt, and I had the balls to think I could teach people how to make money online…
What was I going to teach them?
How to make a little money, blow it all, rack up huge credit card debts and then go get a job?
That’s the only experience I had – and I wasn’t about to share that with anyone.
Then, I had a brainwave!
I was good at design – I could probably scratch out a living writing and designing, while trying to build up a bigger business making my own products.
I didn’t have much experience working as a freelancer, but I knew enough about Photoshop to get by…
Ever since I was a little boy, I’d been interested in designing…
I created my own comic book characters
Created artwork for exhibition stands
Made new levels for computer games
New packaging for products
Recreated company logos
I even made my own fonts
I had a passion, but I never followed it professionally – NOW was the time, I had the need, the opportunity and the motivation.
There were also a lot of very, very bad designers out there…
Let me tell you how easy it used to be to become a freelance ebook cover designer…
1) Download cracked version of Photoshop
2) ‘Borrow’ some photos from Google
3) Post a special offer online
4) ‘Borrow’ someone else’s designs, change them a little.
5) Make money
Now, steps 1, 2 & 3 involved ripping people off…
Your customers aren’t going to like you very much when they get a letter through the post explaining the ins and outs of copyright infringement.
I chose not to do that, I wanted to be the best and look after people – you can’t grow a business by shitting on your customers.
I got talking to people on Warrior Forum – discovered who the best ebook designers were, and watched them closely.
I wanted to be like the superstars:
Design Guru Ryan
These guys were head and shoulders above everyone else – their work stood out, they clearly knew how to get a good reputation and keep it, and they were paid well for their work.
Anytime there was a conversation about sales page and ebook cover design, their names came up…
I was determined to be included in the same conversations.
I started taking on ebook cover design jobs, for free, to build a reputation.
I treated people well, produced my best work, developed new skills and worked hard.
I started creating sales page layouts (a.k.a. mini sites) so I could offer the whole package.
I began charging, a little at first, but over time and as my confidence grew and my work improved, I had to increase my prices – I was turning away clients as I couldn’t keep up with demand.
Around this time, I was contacted by a guy asking if I wanted to take part in MiniSite Wars – a head-to-head knockout competition where two designers work on the same project in order to move to the next round. Real clients paid for the privilege of having designers competing to produce the best design, a little bit like 99designs.com, but with only two designers per design.
I liked the idea and said I was interested, the problem was, MiniSite Wars was a showcase for designers – I didn’t have a portfolio or my own website – I had to think of a name fast.
eCoverNinja popped into my head, I checked GoDaddy to see if the name was available and bought it right away.
I worked through the night to put up a basic portfolio and never looked back.
MiniSite wars came and went, I didn’t do too badly, certainly not bad for a guy who didn’t know much about the ‘mini site’ industry.
After competing in MiniSite wars, I picked up a few new clients and started to grow eCoverNinja.
I worked hard to build a solid client base and over time had more money coming in than I knew what to do with…
Within a year or so, eCoverNinja was one of the most recommended designers on Warrior Forum – I felt like I was at my peak…
That’s where life took a very strange turn.
I’ll have to save that until the final instalment of this story – I hope you have enjoyed the story so far.
In the next part, you’ll discover how fame, fortune and bad choices led eCoverNinja down the path of ruin, and how you can avoid the same mistakes.
Until then, whatever you’re doing, enjoy!