Monday Mail #9

Affiliate Links, Morning Brew, Dark Patterns

Happy Monday!🙋‍♂️

I hope everyone is staying safe and enjoying the warm weather (at a respectable distance).

As per my last email, I promised to report back on setting a goal for myself on making at least $1 in a week.

“I'm going to change that this week. I'm challenging myself to make $1(at least) on the internet and will report back in the next newsletter the results of my experiment.” - Andy one week ago

To kick it off, I started the week by making a list of potential options to achieve this:

  • Freelance work (e.g. Fivver, Upwork, Personal Agency)

  • Ads (e.g. Youtube, Podcasting, Blogs)

  • Affiliate Links (e.g. Amazon etc.)

  • Products (e.g. Courses, ebooks, SaaS)

After coming up with this list, I then narrowed down my options based on the limited amount of time.

  • F̶r̶e̶e̶l̶a̶n̶c̶e̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶ ̶(̶e̶.̶g̶.̶ ̶F̶i̶v̶v̶e̶r̶,̶ ̶U̶p̶w̶o̶r̶k̶,̶ ̶P̶e̶r̶s̶o̶n̶a̶l̶ ̶A̶g̶e̶n̶c̶y̶)̶ ̶ decided against this because it takes time to find a client and then to build. Will be working on this plan in the future

  • Ads (e.g. Youtube, Podcasting, Blogs)

  • Affiliate Links (e.g. Amazon etc.)

  • P̶r̶o̶d̶u̶c̶t̶s̶ ̶(̶e̶.̶g̶.̶ ̶C̶o̶u̶r̶s̶e̶s̶,̶ ̶e̶b̶o̶o̶k̶s̶,̶ ̶S̶a̶a̶S̶)̶ decided against this because it takes time to research and build a non-shitty product

This left me with two options: either use ads to make my first dollar or use affiliate links. I ended up going with the affiliate links route because it seemed less invasive to those who viewed it and I could make roughly the same amount as ads.

With my mind made up, I signed up for the Amazon Affiliate Program (which takes less than 5 minutes to set up) and posted an affiliate link on my public site. Amazon's affiliate link is cool because once someone clicks on it, I get a small percentage of the purchase if the person buys anything within the next 24 hours.

Here is my weekly result:

In one week, I was able to make $14.46 though affiliate links. 💵

I was genuinely surprised how easy this was considering the only real effort I put in was signing up for my affiliate account and putting up a link on my website.

If there's any lesson learned from this exercise, it’s that there are so many low-hanging fruits to create income. You just gotta be a little creative :).

P.s. I'll keep tabs on this and report on it if anything significant changes.

P.p.s I might be making a new Newsletter that documents/describes my entrepreneurial endeavors similar to this post. It will probably be article-styled and far more in-depth. If you are interested or would read it (😭), please let me know.

Onto the highlights:


😊My Highlights:

Gritty & Curious Podcast 24 w/ Josh Kaplan - Head of Podcast Strategy @ Morning Brew: This week's Gritty & Curious Podcast was a special one. We had the opportunity to have a conversation with Josh Kaplan, the man in charge of Morning Brew's various podcasts -- Business Casual, Founder's Journal, etc.

For those who don't know about Morning Brew, they're one of the most popular business newsletters right now with over 2 million subscribers. In the podcast, Austin and Josh talk about the future of audio, Morning Brew's Podcasting Strategy, and more. If you want to take a listen for yourself or read the podcast highlights I wrote, click here!

📖 Reading Highlights:

Roth 401K vs. 401K: Which is the Better Option?: Yes, I've reached that age where I need to care about these kinds of stuff. But even if you aren’t this old, it's still going to be useful to know sometime down the line. So what is the difference?

In a TLDR sentence, Roth 401K's are funded with post-tax money whereas traditional 401K's are funded with pre-tax money (which is to say they will be taxed later when you want to withdraw your 401K $$). If you want a more in-depth answer, I highly recommend checking out the linked article, and if you don't know what a 401K is, click here lol.

UI/UX No-no: Dark Patterns: Have you ever actually read the Privacy Policies for Facebook and Instagram? I know for certain I haven’t. But if you did, within the fine-prints, there are a lot of policies you are consenting to without even noticing (one being the release of your data). This is known as a Dark Pattern-- where companies intentionally seek to deceive by creating UI/UX that are hard to understand on purpose. The sad part is that most companies do this. In fact, Facebook does it so well, the act of releasing more information than intended is now called "Privacy Zuckering". Do your part by recognizing dark patterns and seek to prevent it!

The Future of Education looks like Y Combinator: With COVID-19 shaking up the current education system, there's a lot of discussion of what the future of education may look like. David Perell's tweet puts into words a lot of the things I've had in mind. The Future of Education Looks like Y Combinator:

📱New Apps Highlight:

Hey.com: If you've been on Tech Twitter recently, you'd know Hey.com has been all the rage. What is Hey.com you ask? It's a new email platform that's focused on decluttering your inbox and removing all the friction to getting you to the holy "Inbox Zero". For a more detailed manifesto, you can check out their site in the attached link. After trying it out for a week, I can say it's not a gimmick. It really works. If you want to email me, you can at andygao@hey.com :). (But fair warning, first-time emailers are put behind a inbox-screen).

📷Picture Highlight:

Here's a pretty picture of flowers taken by Amy:

Final Notes:

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed Monday Mail thus far, I’d be forever grateful for you to share it with a friend or two by clicking the button below!

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If you would like to support this Newsletter and my various endeavors, feel free to do so here!

And finally, if you want to get in touch, you can DM me on Twitter. I'm the most active there.

Until next week,

Andy


Fun Fact: The first spam message was sent over the telegram in 1864.

QOTW: “To read is to inhale. To write is to exhale. So breathe.” -@GlennonDoyle