Why I Cheated On The Million Or Nothing Challenge!

Why I Cheated On The Million Or Nothing Challenge!

It was a cold winter’s morning in Darjeeling, a hill station called ‘the queen of hills’ just like every other hill station in India! At a boarding school on a beautiful hill side, a sleepy classroom of fourth graders was brought out of the daze, when the teacher announced a “surprise quiz” in math. In the shock and awe that was meted out, a particular young helpless child, who peeped into another kid’s paper, was pulled up by the ear and made to stand outside the classroom for the entire lecture.

I have hated math for the majority of my school life. And well, um.., let’s just say I do not remember who that kid was. 😉 However, what I do remember is that, this was one of my earliest memories about cheating and the outcome it has. Put simply, cheating on anything is bad.

Yet, I cheated on the Million Or Nothing Challenge and I’m going to tell you why. (If you don’t know what the challenge is, you can read about it here.) Also, I’m going to tell you why it is good to cheat on everything in life (but only in the exact way that I did!)

Here is the thing. According to the challenge, I have to get to $83,333 per month by Dec, 2017, starting from January 2017. However, the truth is, I started out earlier!

The idea has been bubbling up in my mind since November 2016. More importantly, I had decided on my first niche site as well as the first couple of Kindle books in December 2016. Also, I had started to earn the money that I needed to set up this blog and the other websites in the last week of December itself.

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Here are the three things that I did beforehand:

1. My first niche site: It is meant to be, more of an authority site than a niche site. Although I keep repeating this here on blog, that I am not an expert but I figured I do have experience in selling physical products online in India. That is what I built my first business on. We have sold over a million dollars’ worth of products on Amazon India and other ecommerce marketplaces in India.

So I thought I could share valuable tips and advice on the topic and actually help people build their own online selling business in India. The first thing I did was, I went to a couple of Facebook groups that had entrepreneurs & startups from India and posted about our own sales figures along with a screenshot of the graph showing the sales.

Just like I’d expected, it generated a lot of interest and comments poured in.

Seeing the response, the admin messaged me asking if I wanted to do a Facebook Live session to answer people’s questions. I grabbed the opportunity.

Event Poster

We did a 60 min Facebook Live Q&A session, on the 24th of December which had over three hundred views and I answered a ton of questions. After this, I was certain that there was an audience for this kind of information.

I then created a beautifully designed lead magnet, “Online Selling 101” and bought the domain sellcraze.com. I set up an email opt in form to collect subscriber’s details. (See it here: www.sellcraze.com) (As of now, with very promotional efforts I have a little more than 60 opt-ins.)

After this, the admins of the Delhi Startups group contacted me to do a 2 hour meetup on the topic. I agreed.

Around 25 people signed up for the paid event and all of them showed up. It was a great experience for me. I answered a ton of question & I learned a lot about what people wanted to know!

Sell Products online

This has validated my idea that there are people looking to learn about the topic. I have decided to create an authority website on the topic and maybe a course as well. I will go in to more details about this site in another post meant specifically for my first niche site project.

2. Kindle Ebooks: I have successfully published and made money from kindle ebooks in the past. I have a total of 11 published ebook and 10 of them were published in 2015 or earlier. Last December, when I had formulated the MillionOrNothing challenge, I was naturally drawn to Kindle publishing.

I created a brand new account with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and planned out 3 ebooks after basic research. I published the first one on the 21st of December to make the most of the holiday rush.

I have to say, things are pretty different from what it used to be a year ago. It is not as easy, to publish a Kindle book and drive sales. I had expected this and planned to use the first book to check out if the old strategies still work and spent the month of January testing the waters.

I received a little over $100 in sales with very little promotional efforts. Now, this is nothing spectacular and I have made far more than that in the past but what I want you to note is that I spent zero dollars on the book.

Kindle Sales Graph For January

Here is basically what I did:

  • I picked out a popular category where I expected sales.
  • I spent close to 11 days (3 hours a day) to write the book which is roughly 16,000 words and crafted a title and a description.
  • Finally, I created a cover on Canva.com for free and published the book.

I know it sounds too simplistic and I do intend to create a “Kindle Publishing from Scratch” blog post to explain every step of the way. For now, I would say I had mixed results. For the 35 hours or so that I spent on the project, I had a little over $100 in sales. However, the greater benefit lies in the book being able to generate $70 - $100 per month as passive income and hopefully more as I make efforts to promote it.

I will be sharing more details about the income generated form this, in my income reports but I have decided not to share the names of any of my Kindle books unless it is relevant and useful for entrepreneurs and readers of this blog.

3. Freelance Writing: If you’ve read the Million Or Nothing Challenge post, you know that the challenge requires me to start from scratch. However, as you may have realized, buying web hosting (Siteground), setting up this website, the niche site, and getting an email marketing software (Getresponse) costs money. So how did I earn that money?

The very purpose of starting this blog was to create a resource that could help anybody make money online. So I chose the simplest method I possibly could, to earn the money that I needed to start the blog. I went over to Upwork and Freelancer and created my profile, offering to take on writing projects. My profile on Upwork was not approved even after multiple attempts (it still hasn’t been approved) but I was immediately approved on freelancer and began to bid on projects right away.

I knew it was going to take time. I kept bidding on projects with very low asking prices but got no projects as I had no reviews on my profile but I kept at it. On the third day, I saw a post about a guy from India who needed to hire writers permanently to work from home. The rate he was offering was atrocious! ($3 for per 500 words)

I applied with a sample and got accepted. I looked around freelancer.com and found several people posting projects like this one. These people get projects from clients on freelancing websites and hire other writers to complete these projects at cheap rates and they keep a cut for themselves. You can find a lot of posts like this on freelancer if you take a look.

I negotiated for more money from the guy, saying the quality of my work was very good but it did not matter. What he offered me instead, were occasional “Higher Reward” articles for which I would receive $5 for 500 words.

How it works is that, I receive two or sometimes three projects every evening in my mail. These are usually 300 to 700 word articles. I complete these and send them in before midnight. I then receive the money in my Indian bank account within 2 to 3 days.

Emails Screenshot

For me, this is ideal. I cannot spend too much time bidding for projects every day, talking to clients, giving interviews etc. I dislike just the unpredictable nature of it especially when I am on such an amazing challenge.

I complete these couple of articles every evening and it takes me around an hour and thirty minutes each day. Most of these are “SEO articles” on easy topics like women’s health, hiring a lawyer etc.

My plan was that if I could make $6 per day, it would add up to $180 per month, which would be enough to pay for web hosting and other services that I needed to sign up for. However, sometimes this guy sending the articles takes Sundays off and on some days he sends just one article. Even then, I do get around 3 to 4 “Higher Reward” articles every week and I ended up making over $200 in January. I had started writing in December and made $86 in two weeks.

I am not going in to the income numbers in too much detail as I will soon be posting my January 2017 income report. I will post an income report for every month by the 15th of the next month.

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The lesson here is if you are willing to put in the time and work, no matter how much you get paid, you can find your way! I got the money I needed to start this website and will continue to do these articles for about a month or so.

Some people may think it is not the best use of time, but hey, if you have a better gig, just drop me an email. 🙂 If not, the fact is, I am willing to do anything to achieve the goal I’ve set for myself. 

So this is how I “cheated” on the Million Or Nothing challenge. I started preparing for it well in advance. This is something I truly believe in.

No matter what you do in life, whether it is a huge project at work or planning for your wife’s birthday, putting in the work, well before you “absolutely need to”, is a great idea. 

"You can never be too prepared for anything." 

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Leave a comment below to let me know what you think of my progress. Before you go, if you like what I am doing here, please take a moment to share this post on Facebook. It would be of great help.


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