Missy Ward isn’t talking to us today about affiliate marketing, but about her personal journey in the business world.
She tells us that she’s actually an introvert, which I wouldn’t have guessed before, but listening to her now, I can tell.
The brain of a parent with a successful child:
- keep their expectations high
- maintain healthy relationships
- push efforts, not perfect results
- it’s better to try and fail than not to try at all
Missy tells us about how her parents weren’t necessarily like that. Her dad was fresh off the boat Irish back in the 1950s. He helped the family earn money by collecting money for the Irish Mafia, aka beating people up. He became a raging alcoholic like his father before him. Her mom wasn’t necessarily the best mom, but she put her kids in preschool early. Missy picked up reading really quickly, and she skipped kindergarten and went right to first grade.
But then her teachers started complaining that she was forgetful, not organized, flipping pencils in class, fidgeting, etc. She found out years later that she has ADHD & OCD. She couldn’t get a notice until she was an adult because they didn’t exist in diagnoses. (Missy, I’d love to talk to you about this. You’re part of the doubly gifted club.)
Suggested diagnosis and treatment plans were horrible, from cutting out sugar, to spanking, to possibly going to jail. Her parents couldn’t believe it. “But her IQ is 135 and she’s a straight A student. What’s the problem?”
The school suggested skipping her through grades, but this didn’t help her social growth at all. She turned to food for her anxiety and gained a lot of weight.
Missy had earned a full tuition scholarship to Duke University at 15, but her parents didn’t care. Her dad actually forbid her to go, and her mom said there wasn’t money to pay for her room & board anyway. So she cashed in all of the gifts she’d received for her bat mitzvah, etc. and collected enough to pay for room & board for one semester.
Tip 1: Don’t let the ignorance of others turn you into someone you don’t want to be.
With no real money at college, she ate as cheaply as possibly and supplemented her income by working at the makeup counter at Eckerd first, then as a waitress at a restaurant that became a nightclub on the weekends.
She was really depressed, and the freshman 15 was a freshman 40 for her.
Tip 2: There will be many chapters in your life. Don’t get lost in the one you’re in now.
“There’s nothing so bad that it couldn’t be worse. So stop your bellyaching or I’ll give you something to cry for.” – Missy’s Grandma Mary
At 19 years old Missy made $70,000 doing accounting. But after three months, she realized that her job was slowly crushing her soul. She had a conversation with the boss after he stumbled in drunk one night to check on her. He asked her if she was okay, and everything came out. She loved working there, she told him, but she hated her job. He offered her the chance to intern in the marketing department for three months, and if she did well, she’d be offered a job. The problem was that internships don’t pay, and she had to move home.
To fit in her with chain smoking coworker who never at anything, Missy stopped bringing food to work, and this ended up helping her lose her extra weight.
Layout was done by hand, and she often burned herself with hot glue. When PageMaker came out, no one else wanted to learn it. They liked how they’d been doing things. So PageMaker was pawned off on Missy, and it really helped boost her career.
Tip 3: Find work that you love or die trying.
She’s not suggesting that anyone quit their jobs tomorrow, throwing their lives and families into chaos, but to work on finding that job that will make you happy.
After getting promoted to a real marketing position in that company, people started getting laid off. She was never actually laid off, but she walked out of the building with the owner when the company went belly up.
Then she ended up working with a startup company. The owner learned about Amazon’s affiliate program one day and wanted her to learn about this thing where people promoting the company’s products only got paid when they made a sale.
About this time, Missy married husband #3. There were no books about affiliate marketing, no gurus to learn from, so she joined the Amazon affiliate program with her site on Geocities. She joined other affiliate programs that I remember joining back in the day.
She gave birth to her very hefty baby who was actually a few weeks early.
She went on her first affiliate cruise and thought it was a great experience. She had so many ideas for how to get more people and bigger brands to come along, but the guy who organized it didn’t want to listen to her ideas.
She and Sean ended up talking over their ideas over (many) drinks and deciding to host their own event. That’s how Affiliate Summit came to be. But neither she nor Sean had any seed money for this, and they both had families to support as sole breadwinners.
Missy hates the phone as much as I do. As business partners, she and Sean worked really well together.
After bringing Affiliate Summit on land, she married husband #4.
- 37 conferences
- FeedFront Magazine, Geekcast.fm, AffState.com, Revenews.com, ad invests in affiliate marketing related companies.
- Helped raise $650,000+ for organizations that fund breast cancer research, treatment, and commnity pograms through AffiliateMarketersGiveBack.com
- She’s no longer broke.
- She’s stayed married to #4 for 11 years and still going strong!
Tip 4: Choose the right business partner.
Missy trusts Sean with all her stuff, even more than husband #4. Ask tough questions before getting into any business partnership. Partnerships are like marriages that can start out hearts and flowers and end up in messy divorces.
Tip 5: Acting like a baby will make you successful.
It takes a lot of effort for a baby to learn how to walk. There’s lots of getting up and falling down before they finally succeed. As adults, most of us give up on things we have not yet succeeded at.
Tip 6: Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune.
Teach yourself how to do new things.
Tip 7: Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people that just get you.
(Type-A bloggers in the house!)
Tip 8: Let go of struggles. Focus on strengths.
Procrastination is a vicious cycle. Missy points to her last-minute efforts to put together her PowerPoint presentation.
Tip 9: Having money is better than not having money.
Duh. She knows what it’s like to live not knowing if you’ll not have enough money to eat next week.
Tip 10: Learn when to pull out.
Obvious joke turns into giggling from the audience. But know when it’s time to “let it go” like Elsa.