The Affiliate Life with Martin McGarry, Part I: The Beginning

The Affiliate Life with Martin McGarry

Hi, my name is Martin McGarry and I’ve recently set out to start my own affiliate business – statschecker.com.

I was chatting to Lee-Ann about my new venture and we discussed the opportunity to make this a public story. Thus, ‘The Affiliate Life’ – a live feature brought to you by AffiliateINSIDER – was born!

You might think I’m deluded by launching an affiliate business in the midst of COVID-19. So, you’ll want to follow along as this pipe dream implodes in on itself. If nothing else, it will provide a bit of light-humoured entertainment to your weekly digest. And perhaps you’ll get to see the other side of affiliate marketing if you’re an affiliate manager right now, or you may even be thinking “good on you – let’s see where this goes”. 

Either way, there’s a story to follow here. It’s my story – the one of how I intend to build this affiliate enterprise, without selling a product or service, without signing people up to a subscription service and by simply giving away free football data to those who want useful betting stats! 

Every month, I’ll be bringing you the nuts and bolts of what it takes to launch an affiliate business – as well as the trials and tribulations associated with this endeavour. Hopefully you’ll follow the journey and learn along with me.

Who is Martin McGarry?

I’m 36 years old and I’ve been in iGaming and SEO on the peripheral as a quiet bystander for about 10 years now. A small selection of people in the industry know me well and I’ll be leaning on you guys in the future to help me flesh this out, as we tell the warts and all story of how this business is going to be built! Like the name says – you’ll be getting an Affiliate’s INSIDER view on how to launch, scale and grow a successful affiliate enterprise. I hope you enjoy the show!

How I’ve been doing this month… 

I’m fresh off the back of a private message spat with Oliver Cookson, the guy who “Bootstrapped MyProtein from £500 – £58 million in under seven years with 100% equity”. 

That lingering LinkedIn one-liner he issued is starting to grate on me, like Carl Froch repeatedly reminding the world about how he knocked out George Groves in front 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium. Well done Carl, it was a sensational fight… but my god did he go on about it!

Oliver name-checked me in his podcast, so I asked to grab a coffee and have a chat with him. After all, he used my question to form the basis of his entire second broadcast. I thought that was a reasonable request. You don’t ask, you don’t get, right? 

His response was: “I’m not sure why you think I should make time for you, for your project and not the other 99 people that ask each week?”

I wasn’t asking for free consultancy, nor was I going to get in the queue and hang around for soundbite scraps and loose entrepreneurial titbits that these mentors tend to toss out to keep us all salivating and captivated by the entrepreneurial dream!

By contrast, In the same week I sent Richard Moffat – CEO of OLBG.co.uk – a similar request. He’s a very busy man.

His response: “Absolutely, more than happy to have a chat”.

Here I was, up for a second LinkedIn spat. My fingers were ready to bitterly batter the laptop keyboard, after yet another high-profile let down. But sadly, Richard politely replied with good grace and evident enthusiasm to help me out. 

So where is all this heading, you’re probably asking? 

Well up until recently, I had no clue! I was too busy smashing out woeful WordPress affiliate sites with no traffic, hanging on to the old ad age of long tail SEO to fuel my self-obsessed ambition of becoming a self-made entrepreneur, whilst drooling over GoDaddy’s “buy it now” auctions for tenuous exact match domains that I didn’t need. The type that contributes to a yearly bill in the thousands for parked sites that I’m doing nothing at all with like, onlinebettingoffer.com, and stuff like that.

See where I dropped the plural off the end to try and sneak into EMD search queries, hoping that Google’s BERT lets me off for having shit sites with dubious content? I have spent more time registering domains than actually working on them. But no more! 

I’m no mug. I’ve seen what affiliates do. 

I’ve developed SEO strategies for companies and organisations whose inbound traffic and revenue have gone from thousands to millions. But I’m stuck in that employed matrix where people often ask you “why don’t you do it for yourself?”. It requires a commitment that is likely to eat up your spare time and for many who start out in the affiliate game, that can be overwhelming if you already have a career and family commitments.

You come home from work and cook your evening meal, spend time with your family and kids, go to the gym, fix the door hinge that’s been hanging off the frame for three years (or stand there staring at your past DIY disasters, working out if you should fix them or just give up and sell your house). All before losing yourself in the latest Netflix addiction that you know is about to consume at least 12 weeks of your life if you get hooked. 

You find you’re too busy to fully invest in a side project, so you waste your time thinking smaller side projects are the way to go and end up busy doing nothing! I’m the problem here… my inner critic is the problem! It’s a disapproving demon-whispering criticism, downplaying my potential, demotivating my desire for change. 

It’s an ensemble of the real critics, those touch points in your life where people close to you have said “You’ll never make any money off the internet”, “People like us don’t make it mate”, or “You’ve got nothing, you work for someone else, you’ve got nothing”. I’m both blessed and cursed by these inner voices, these are real interactions with real people in my life that I’ve stored up as a reminder. A reminder of how people have doubted my potential without even giving me a chance, assuming my uneducated past will inevitably lead to a low-skilled career in labour or production-line professions. 

These daily reminders are supposed to fuel ambition; they’re supposed to galvanise your drive to change. But their sentiment still lingers to your own detriment and you can’t help but be reminded of their origin. With such emotional anchors, ambition can easily distort back into self-doubt and the imposter syndrome kicks in. Its crippling if you don’t believe you deserve success because of where you’ve come from. 

I needed to change that first!

So, I’m building a single website! 

Finally, the point of this article! I’m doing it properly, no more five-star betting offer reviews with copied content and FREE BETS keywords stuffed in all over the place. I’m attempting to do the lot from the ground up by building a wholesome, useful, football data-driven website that I would actually visit and potentially use myself.

I’m targeting genuine “power affiliates” scale here.

This is not just a side-hustle for a passive income. 

I want ownership over an entire market, to be recognised as an influencing brand in my niche and that journey is well under way. And guess what… I’ve got literally no budget, so I’m presently bootstrapping the whole venture. There it is again, Oliver! This could change you know; I’m not put off by investment, it’s an option that could fast-track my goals. Call me if you want that coffee later on!

But for now, I’m coding the site myself with self-taught knowledge of PHP, SQL, APIs, JavaScript, jQuery, etcetera. 

I’m doing the creative for PR and links (there are so many creative ideas in the football niche, there’s enough for all of us and it just keeps giving).

I’m going to build a social strategy, CRM strategy and acquisition strategy. I’m going to have to get a grip of my social anxieties and put myself online and say some private things – related to my business –  in public. 

I’m going to let go of that inner critic and believe that I can actually do this. 

I’m going to have to deliver on promises, and tell the truth – because that’s the arrangement I’ve made with Lee-Ann. I’m going to share my story so others can learn from it and see the inner workings of what it truly takes to create a successful affiliate business. You’ll be invited to join in, watching as this story unfolds each month and I go from a basic start-up to next-level affiliate enterprise. 

Stay tuned… And thanks for reading this far!

Watch out for next month’s installment and an update on what’s been happening as Martin shoots for the stars in his quest for world domination! You’ll receive the article in our newsletter, which you can sign up to here.