Interview with Martin Osborn aka “Finch Sells”

Name, Title, Location.

My name is Martin Osborn, better known in the affiliasphere as Finch. I’m 23 years old from London, England. I write regularly at FinchSells.com and FinchBlogs.com, and I run my own business from home in the comforts of miserable Greater London suburbia.

How long have you been in affiliate marketing and how did you get involved?

I guess my affiliate marketing career is the love child born from my enjoyment of spending time online, and a fondness of making money. Looking back, you could call it the natural progression of an Internet addiction. I started posting on forums when I was about 12, had my own forum by 14, and learnt to monetize it when I was 16. My hobbies slowly escalated in to believing that there was money to be made online. As soon as you develop that appetite, it doesn’t take long to stumble unwittingly in to affiliate marketing. My first taste was with Clickbank selling shoddy language learning kits and making next to nothing. I spent a lot of energy doing very little but wasting my time, which is how I like to think any affiliate should pay his dues. It keeps your expectations reasonable! In the space of about 6 weeks, I discovered CPA marketing and suddenly my monthly earnings shot up from £1500 to £10000. Literally in the space of the two hours it took me to set up that first lucrative campaign on Adwords. I don’t think I looked back from there.

Give us a little glimpse into what a typical day in your life looks like.

For the last year, it’s been kinda strange. I’ve been using the job to travel around Asia with my girlfriend. We’d spend half our time in home offices at either end of our apartment, and the rest of the time drinking smoothies on beaches. It was an awesome 8 months. Now that I’m back in London, work life is a little more settled. I fight with myself like any true affiliate marketer. It takes a lot of discipline to stay motivated and keep churning out good work, especially during those times where your campaigns are steady and banking money. I once got so pissed off at my own lethargy that I literally deleted every single campaign in my portfolio and started from scratch. Sometimes you need to slap yourself as a reminder that what you have is very temporary.

What are your hobbies/interests/passions?

Traveling Asia gave me a real taste for becoming more of a worldly person. I love my work and the freedom it brings. So I’ve set myself the target of visiting every continent in the next 2 years. That should keep things fresh in my mind and keep me feeling motivated to push my business to the next level. I don’t spend my money extravagantly or blow it on the type of vanity lifestyling that a lot of us Internet Marketing bloggers are associated with. I live a pretty ordinary life. It sounds sickly cliché but one of my passions is for helping other people who are on the same path as myself, and I use writing as my outlet for that. I love to write.

There are already so many affiliate marketer and bloggers out there. What makes You different?

I don’t know. Maybe the difference is you won’t find me at ASW Las Vegas with my face wedged between some titties in an Alpha Male display of ballin’ness? That’s not my style. I don’t really involve myself much with the affiliate marketing or blogging circles. I guess the biggest standout difference from my perspective is that I blog because I love to write, and not because I want to be an industry figure or leader or guru or whatever. It’s just a natural outlet.

What kinds of traffic generation methods do you focus most of your on? (PPC, SEO, SMO). Do you use any tools that you can recommend?

SEO sickens me. I routinely despise it. Just the thought of adapting an entire business model to whatever Google feels like rewarding is enough to turn me off. I’ve always run a mile from SEO, and I have much more of a brand-centric mindset. CPA campaigns are different, of course. I rely on paid traffic for those. It’s normally a combination of Facebook, Plentyoffish and the various PPV networks. Mochi Media has been good to me lately, although I’ll probably get slapped down for ‘outing a source’. I’ve also branched in to adult traffic sources but that’s all far too scandalous for anybody other than Ryan Eagle to be bragging about publicly, right? As for tools…eh, I don’t use many tools. FTP, notepad and some initiative are all you really need.

Are you currently looking to work with other marketers? if so what are the criteria for other marketers to be considered to work with you?

I usually work quite independently, and haven’t collaborated on any affiliate projects in the past. I often get emails from readers of my blog asking about joint ventures but it’s always a tough option to weigh up. Unless the brains and funding is truly 50/50, it’s often people asking for more than they’re willing to contribute themselves. Christ, it’s not rare for people to ask me if they can simply hand over the money and get a return on it after I’ve ‘done my affiliate thing’. We do get lumbered with an unfortunate reputation as some kind of mythical stay-at-home money launderers. But in reality, it’s never as simple as putting money in and getting more money out. A lot of the joint ventures that have been proposed to me were by marketers who didn’t really bother assessing the risks. Which is fine, if you’re blessed with eternal optimism (I’m not). I’m always open to great offers. I just haven’t received any that have captured my attention yet.

For those who are interested in working with you – What’s the best way/time to reach you?

Probably to send me a really long and tedious email that’s so never-ending I’d feel guilty if I didn’t reply. Nah, any time is good really. I’m not hard to find with my 7853 blogs scattered around the web.

What are the keys to building successful relationships between Affiliates?

On an affiliate-to-affiliate level? I think it goes back to being 50/50. Nobody is going to tell you shit about their most lucrative campaigns if you’re not willing to tell them something worth knowing in return. This is why I think it’s so important for new affiliates to actually take the plunge and get busy creating campaigns, or building sites, or doing just about anything that isn’t begging for scraps of advice on forums and blogs. Nobody will be willing to engage in ‘knowledge share’ mastermind sessions if you don’t bring some knowledge and experience to the table. Even if that’s your endless series of failures, hey, that’s better than simply waiting for somebody to hand-wrap a profitable campaign for you. You’re not going to get a chance to build those relationships if you don’t put in the hard yards to prove to other affiliates that you’re more than a knowledge-leeching bum. It’s the people who don’t take action that end up wasting their wallets on the many ‘one button profit systems’ that are designed to be so attractive for somebody who sits on his arse all day.

What do you think about where the industry is going? Where you and your company may be going? What advice would you give to affiliates to keep up the pace?

The industry is definitely changing and getting more competitive. It’s not possible to add a couple of zeros to your pay check overnight anymore. I think the affiliates who thrive moving forward will be those who understand how important the relationship is between affiliate, advertiser and customer. That relationship has become compromised through scammy offers, bad marketing practices and a whole bunch of renegade affiliates that only care about their bottom line. The industry will correct itself. It always does. And when it does, those affiliates will be the ones to suffer. I think the best way forward is the logical way forward, which has always been to deliver quality websites or to be the middleman who puts the right customers in touch with the right products. There’s little else to it, and that’s where I’m positioning my business to be.

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