Online Marketing Strategies - Money Journal

About Sam Oh

Husband, friend, and entrepreneur with an abnormal obsession for efficiency

Sam Oh

My name is Sam Oh and I am a 30 year old Canadian online entrepreneur from Toronto, Ontario. I have had the privilege of working from home full time since 2009 and have loved every part almost every part of my journey. I have been married to my beautiful wife, best friend and number one supporter since 2012 and have loved every part almost every part of this journey as well 🙂

I’m a simple minded man who loves, teaches, talks and does business with the goal to show the heart of entrepreneurship.

Through relentless work ethic, dedication and creativity, I have found a strange obsession for making life more efficient. From the very tasks of brushing my teeth to automating my income, I live for the grind to progress to success.

Money is not my life. It’s just a tool to relieve unnecessary life stresses which allows me to spend more time with my family and pursue the things that I really want to do in life.

As I take the plunge to share my story, I hope my education in health science with no business background and no money to start will affirm you that you too can make it as an entrepreneur in the online world.

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My Journey to Entrepreneurship

2006-2007 – Hustling to pay Tuition

scott-library

In 2007, I began a consulting company on campus.

People were focused on having the latest and greatest cell phones and would renew their contracts on a three year term at any price. To me, this was ridiculous.

Why would you pay an extra $1,500 over 3 years so you can save $400 now? I saw the knowledge gap and filled it with a rare skill I had.

Positive negotiation.

I became known as the “Wireless Consultant” on campus and started advertising my services via. online channels like school forums and classified sites. I would rent out a room in the library and meet with people privately in between classes. They would bring a copy of their last 3 bills from their wireless service provider and I would literally show them how I am going to save them a ton of money. Here’s an example of what their savings would look:

Average monthly bill – $60-$70/month (this is before data became a necessity in the market)
Total Paid over 3 years (before tax) – $2160 – $2520 less unexpected overage charges.

My Offer – 
$25/month with the same plan/features or more features.
Total Savings over 3 years – $1,260 – $1620 less my fee of 30% of your savings

My Guarantee – If I can’t get you at a rate plan of at least $25, then whatever I negotiate for you is free.

The reason why I told them $25.00/month is because it was something that I knew I could achieve in 15 minutes. But here’s the deal:

The more I save them,  the more I make. It was a win win for everyone.

It took me about 20 – 60 minutes to get the job done. I didn’t have an inside man, but I had a unique skill in talking to customer service representatives.

I knew wireless service provider’s discount systems better than they did. The rate plans I achieved for other students ranged between $16 – $25/month while providing more services to their wireless plan free of charge.

Call it a hustle, but this was when my heart for entrepreneurship first ignited. Making up to $600 for 30 minutes of time is pretty incredible for a poor, debt filled student.

2008 – Graduation, Confusion and Mixed Emotions

graduation-confusion-mixed-emotions

My First Real Job and Resignation:

I graduated with a Health Science degree in 2008 without a clue of what I wanted to do with my career. I knew that I was passionate about teaching, so I thought – phys-ed teacher or physiotherapist.

I forced these occupations into my mind because I wanted to make sure that the tens of thousands of dollars that I had spent would be worth the piece of paper I worked so hard for.

Instead, I decided to go into financial advising for a year.

I thought it was fascinating to learn how money works and moves around the world. What I didn’t like was that I would have the sole responsibility for people’s livelihood, their children’s education and in some cases, people’s marriage. I couldn’t live with the thought of playing with millions of dollars that wasn’t mine regardless of how great my payout would be.

Back to Craigslist:

I went back to Craigslist and started looking for things I could buy and resell. Going back into what I loved and knew, I began searching for cell phones.

I noticed that some of them were advertised as being “Unlocked” with a price tag of $20 – $100 more. I had no idea what this meant, and what the benefits of an unlocked cell phone would do for me.

I began doing some research and found out that an unlocked cell phone allows you to use SIM cards from other providers in your phone. It didn’t seem that appealing to me since I wasn’t planning on leaving my wireless service provider. The next morning, I read an article about someone who had been charged nearly $20,000 while using their cell phone abroad while roaming.

My Breaking Point:

It dawned on me that if they had an unlocked cell phone, they could have used a local carrier on a prepaid plan and paid maybe $50 for their services while travelling.

My jaw literally dropped. If a self-proclaimed tech expert like me didn’t know about this, then how many other people in the world are doing this?

I found out that phones are unlocked by using an 8-16 digit numerical code that removes carrier restrictions. There were tons of people selling these so I began looking for suppliers who would let me resell their codes. I sold them again on Craigslist and eBay for $10 – $50 per code.

With literally a few hundred dollars in my bank account, I began buying codes once the sale was made. I would e-mail my customer with the code and instructions on how to unlock their phone. I was making a couple hundred dollars a month, so I decided to build myself a website to see where it could take me.

The problem was: I didn’t know how…

2009 – 2012 – I am officially an Online Entrepreneur

Building my first website:

I found an online template and with the little HTML that I had learned, I was able to make the most basic of basic websites showcasing my services.

“No more Roaming Fees. Unlock your phone from your home.”

I began sharing my website in forums and blogs and started to get a few inquiries and sales. I was making money from home, and the best part was that I didn’t need any capital to start. I would use their money to buy the code from my trusted suppliers and then send them an e-mail with the code and instructions. I was now making about $1,500/month for about 12 hours of work per day.

But it wasn’t enough to support a livelihood here in Toronto.

With about $6,000 in savings, I decided to find out why I was getting so little traffic. I learned that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) allows people to find your website through Google, Yahoo and other search engines.

It seemed like an impossible feat, so I decided to look for a local company to do some work for me. I found a company that ranked high in the search engines for the keyword phrase “Search Engine Optimization Company” out in Montreal.

They were great sales people…

They guaranteed me number one Google rankings for $3,000. Yes, I was naive and stupid, but I didn’t know any better.

I drove out to Montreal, Quebec and met with this company. They welcomed me in and I transferred them the $3,000. They told me to wait for a month and the project would be complete. Yes, you guessed it…

I spent 50% of my savings and got absolutely nothing.

I was infuriated. How could someone take thousands of dollars from me while lying through their teeth?

Even worse, how on earth did I fall for this?

I decided to channel all of my anger into learning the ins and outs of search engine optimization. I spent months relentlessly researching on how I could rank my site for specific keyword phrases that people were looking for. With great success, I started to get some search engine traffic.

But wait, why are my sales only increasing by $500/month with more than quadruple the traffic that I had before?

After separating myself from my pride of building a website from scratch, I knew that my website looked like a donkey had taken a crap on it. The truth hurts.

I knew that some changes had to be made. I decided to look into a web design company, but they were all charging upwards of $30,000 which I did not have. The ones that were charging $3,000 had donkey poop websites themselves, and I didn’t want to fall victim to another online scam.

I found a free e-commerce platform called Magento and began to learn how to customize my website using this. People would now be able to pay directly through my site without being redirected to PayPal. The slightly new design and more user friendly platform increased my sales to a solid $2,300-$2,600/month.

The problem problems:

The problem with Magento was that it required further backend programming knowledge to make the customizations that I wanted to make. I knew at this point, I had to learn PHP (server side programming language) and MySQL (Database). I bought a book and started running through some practice examples. I was now spending about 16-18 hours a day, including weekends and holidays to process orders, work on my site, market my site and learn 2 new languages all for $2,300 – $2,600 a month.

Running my own business didn’t seem like much freedom at all. With about 8 months left until year end, I gave myself a deadline.

If I don’t start seeing some real tangible results by the end of this year, I’m done with this.

While learning PHP and MySQL, I saw some relationships between the functions of the code, my suppliers’ websites and my passion in efficiency. The order processing was quite redundant. Here’s what my order processing looked like:

  1. I would receive the order.
  2. I would have to compare IP addresses with credit card address validation for fraud
  3. If the order seemed suspicious, I would send an e-mail to the customer for more information. If it looked good, I would click the “capture” button to receive the funds into my PayPal account.
  4. I would copy and paste the data provided by the customer into my suppliers’ websites
  5. I would wait to get an e-mail with my customer’s unique phone unlock code.
  6. I would send an e-mail to the customer with the code and instructions on how to unlock their device.

Each order would take me about 5-10 minutes of working time to complete and I was getting an average of 3-5 orders/day. The good news was that my marketing tactics were paying off using a combination of paid ads, SEO, social media and good old guest blogging.

The problem now was that my processing time was taking a whole lot longer. I was making more than $3,000/month, but more time was going into processing the orders than building and marketing my site. I decided to use the skills that I had been learning over the last several months and began developing a streamlined process for my website to handle these redundant tasks. It took me about a month to build out, and three months to perfect, but the process now looked like this:

  1. The order would come in.
  2. My system would use an algorithm that I created to check for fraud.
  3. If the order seemed suspicious, my system, would send an e-mail to the buyer requesting more information. If it looked good, it would automatically capture the funds into my PayPal account.
  4. My system would communicate with my suppliers’ system and send the inputted values from the customer into their system programmatically.
  5. My system would now wait until my supplier’s system had said, “the code is ready”.
  6. My system would now send the buyer an e-mail with the code as well as instructions on how to unlock the phone.

My entire system was running on auto pilot now, making a real passive income.

ga sales

Making Passive Income:

All of my attention now went to marketing. I would now spend about 3 hours a day focusing on getting found, recognized and reaping the rewards while my system would do the rest. With all of my energy focused on marketing, my site was growing faster than ever.

I was making $4,000, then $7,000, then $9,000 then $12,000, then $15,000, then $20,000+ each month for less than 4 hours of work per week now. I had a fully automated system that would do all of the grunt work for me 24/7. It would eliminate possibilities for my own human error and I had more time to spend with my family, friends and to pick up the new love of my life – Golf.

My new life:

After getting married in 2012, I decided to sell my website to a tech company. I felt like my time was over in this niche as there were speculations of new provisions from the FCC and I had no interest in digging deeper into the field. The last paycheck I picked up was about $9,000 while I was on my two week honeymoon. I worked about 3 minutes a day to answer some questions in the morning and then would explore the beautiful island of Maui.

I took a couple years off playing nearly 100 rounds of golf in one season while exploring new ventures for my next career. With some capital, I explored the import/export industry, created ad revenue sites, built multiple six-figure businesses on eBay and Amazon and attempted a viral social media campaign.

I now have this…

Present – Joining you in your journey to entrepreneurship

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My goal for this website is to help you find your system that will help you generate revenue from home. I would love to teach, inspire and be inspired by your success stories. I’ve made way too many mistakes trying to build out my web businesses and I’m glad I made them. I hope that as I share my mistakes, successes and new learnings, that you will be able to use them to your advantage and build out your career as an online entrepreneur.

To communicate with me, you can sign up for my mailing list.

I find it a better way for me to get information to you quick. I personally don’t like getting spam from newsletters, so I promise that I won’t send you any junk. If you’re like me and skeptical of joining a newsletter, hit me up on FaceBook and feel free to introduce yourself. I would love to get to know you.

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