We may receive commissions for affiliate links included in this article. This is a sponsored post. Future Sharks makes no warranties about the statements, facts and/or claims made on this article. These are the opinions of the author. Read our advertising and contributor disclosure here.
Yannick van den Bos is a 26 year-old Dutch entrepreneur leveraging the power of digital marketing to generate millions of dollars in affiliate sales, all in his spare time.
With all of the success that Yannick is having with his online business, he was able to pay off his mother’s debt and travel the world.
In this interview, I picked his brain to learn how he does it and others can too.
City where you’re from: The Hague, The Netherlands
Hobbies: Entrepreneurship, Internet Marketing and Basketball.
Favorite quote: “No matter what my world looks like today, the world that I live in tomorrow is the world that I create.”
Hey Yannick, why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
Yannick van den Bos: My entrepreneurial journey started back in April 2008 when my mother brought me to a network marketing meeting at a hotel.
I really didn’t want to go, but half-way into the presentation I was quite intrigued by the ability to make money from the same computer that I used to play games on.
I then went on to start different ventures. I started looking into how to make an income through an online webshop (e-commerce), building websites, social media consulting, dropshipping and affiliate marketing.
At the time, I did not know how much my life, and that of my loved ones, would positively transform…
Who were your biggest influences? Was there a defining moment in your life?
Yannick van den Bos: The biggest influence in my life would be my mother, as she was my main motivation to get started in the world of Entrepreneurship. Had she never taken me to that network marketing event, I’m not sure what I’d be doing today.
Seeing my mother suffer with two jobs, and my father losing his job due to the Great Recession, was what drove me to build a highly successful online business.
My mom’s struggle was my ultimate encouragement. It reminded me each and every day to work hard and strive for more so that she would no longer have to be the main provider for the family.
Paying off my mom’s debt was the biggest defining moment in my life. The feeling of giving the one you love the most a fresh new financial start is what inspired me to help more people break-free from the rat race and help them create the life of their dreams.
What are you working on? How did you come up with this idea?
Yannick van den Bos: For the last few years I’ve been focused on affiliate marketing. It’s not something I personally came up with. In fact, it’s one of the oldest form of marketing. Here is how it works:
An individual or business has products and the infrastructure to sell these products. They then allow people (known as “affiliates”) to promote these products. Then once they are sold, the affiliates get a commission on what was sold.
For example, let’s say you’d like to start a business and start researching the internet for terms like, “How to start a business,” “How to make money online,” etc.
You will start seeing different web pages, banner advertisements, and videos all recommending different programs.
Now let’s say that you land on this specific product:
It’s a business system that teaches people step-by-step how to make money online. The price point of the course is $47. A big chunk of this goes back to the affiliate.
All you need to do is advertise the already existing product via a done-for-you sales page. When people buy, you get paid. Easy, right?
Personally, I’ve been an affiliate for multiple different niches, such as workout programs, dating sites, potty training programs, erectile dysfunction treatments, and most prominently into the business opportunity and education space.
How is affiliate marketing different than other opportunities to make money online?
Yannick van den Bos: What makes Affiliate Marketing different is that most of the heavy-lifting is done for you.
- You don’t need to come up with or create a product.
- You don’t need an inventory.
- You don’t need to do any technical stuff (build websites, funnels, etc).
- You don’t need to worry about customer support.
- You don’t need to handle billing and all of the other hassles that come with creating your own product and selling it online.
All you need to focus on is advertising — putting the right people in front of the product — and you will get paid a commission for every purchase.
What’s your dream with your affiliate marketing business?
Yannick van den Bos: Initially I just wanted to create the life of my dreams, but soon I realized that my satisfaction came from paying it forward.
Now that I have secured a dream lifestyle for myself and loves ones, I want to teach other people how they too can build an online business with affiliate marketing so they can live life on their own terms.
We’re still in the prime stages of this new Internet Era and there are a lot of opportunities for people to build a profitable online business from scratch, be it with affiliate marketing, e-commerce, social media, dropshipping or the many other ways to make money online.
How do you successfully advertise?
Yannick van den Bos: Successful advertising all comes down to a few key things:
- Research: Before getting into any affiliate campaign, it’s crucial to do your market and product research. Who is your audience? What are their pain points? How do you solve them? What products are out there? Who is already advertising? For how long? What ads are they using? Etc. Find as much information as you can and start documenting this.
- Test: When you have done your extensive research the next step is to start advertising and test different advertisements and pages. Testing is so important because it will show you what’s working and what’s not working.
- Tweak: Then, once you have data from your different tests, you can start tweaking; keep running what’s working and remove what is not working.
- Scale: Once you’ve completed the previous three steps, it’s time for the fun part — scaling. At this point, you know what advertisements and pages are making you money. This is where you start ‘printing’ profits.
Now, I have to tell you that not everyone will be successful in their affiliate campaigns and the main reason is this: many people will either skip Step 1, or give up at Step 2. It reminds me a lot of this image:
Sometimes you’re so close to reaching success (far closer than you might think), but you fail because you didn’t follow through with what you set out to do.
To raise your chances of being more successful at advertising, it’s very important you execute all four steps. It works for me, so it should work for others as well.
What were your biggest learning lesson and biggest success? What did you learn from them?
Yannick van den Bos: As with most lessons, I found out the hard way. I tried to figure out all by myself how to make an income by starting my own online business, which not only overwhelmed me, but provided me with serious information overload! After spending precious time and money buying endless courses, I realized that the fastest way to achieve success would be by getting a mentor.
Think of it this way — an information course is made for “everyone,” meaning, it’s not unique to you. It is not tailored to your own personality and needs; these courses are meant for the general public. You very well may need certain topics to be explained differently in order to have complete comprehension of the subject.
Therefore, my biggest learning lesson — and piece of advice — is to get yourself a mentor, no matter what you want to learn. A mentor can make you a blueprint that is tailored to your situation specifically, and will always be someone in which you could turn to with questions.
Whether you’ve realized it or not, you’ve always had some form of a mentor throughout your life — parents who taught you to walk, athletic coaches who helped you improve your skill set, teachers who prepared you for the real world, etc. It’s no different when starting a business: a mentor can help you achieve success at a much faster pace.
My biggest success is that I paid off my mom’s debt. I know I’ve mentioned this a couple of times already, but it really was the biggest motivation for me to start my own business; it was the greatest feeling when I was able to give her a financial reset. Aside from this, it’s exciting to realize that I have been able to live in the most exocitc places — Phuket (Thailand), Johannesburg (South Africa), Shanghai (China) and Playa del Carmen (Mexico) — thanks to the location freedom that my business allows. It’s pretty amazing when I think about the fact that I took 96 flights last year alone!
Teach us something about how people can start their own online business with affiliate marketing?
Yannick van den Bos: Open up your mind. Write down your top 3 passions. Now that you have your top 3 passion written down, it’s time to research which products you can promote within that niche.
My recommendation is to sell ‘Digital Products,’ as typically you will receive larger commissions than with ‘Physical Products’.
The biggest marketplace for ‘Digital Products’ is Clickbank. Now, since there are a lot of products within their marketplace, you can use research tools like CBEngine, which lists the top selling products.
Select a few top selling products within the niche you chose. Once you’ve done, that it’s time to start your marketing and promotions.
There’s many ways to do this. You can choose the path of 1 ) Paid Advertising or you can choose the path of 2) Social Media.
What do you think you do better than most people?
Yannick van den Bos: Tricky question! I don’t like to think that I do things better than most because that would limit my mind in learning from my surroundings. But if you forced me to answer this, question I’d say that I’ve an insane amount of ambition and hustle.
In my years as entrepreneur, I’ve been obsessed with creating life on my own terms. In this economy, the only stability is your own determination to create the life you want. This motivated me to make the difference, to walk the road least traveled, to ensure my family and future family will never struggle financially. Find your “why” and go create the life you want for you and your loved ones.
What should an entrepreneur focus on?
Yannick van den Bos: In my years of being an entrepreneur, I have seen people succeed and people fail. I have seen my endeavours both take off and tremendously fail.
There are two important characteristics that I personally feel every entrepreneur should focus on to become highly successful:
- Clarity: Before starting any endeavour, it’s absolutely crucial to know WHY you’re doing it and WHAT you have to achieve to fuel your WHY. For example, my big why was to pay off my mom’s debt, and this is what motivated me daily.
Now, in this example, the next step would be to know exactly how much she was in debt, and how many affiliate sales it would take to pay off that amount.
Then, once I figured out those details, it was just a matter of breaking this big goal into smaller goals and having a daily action plan to achieve these.
Without clarity, it would be like stepping into a car and not knowing where you’re going. You’d get frustrated not knowing where to drive, you’d run out of fuel, and be stuck in the middle of nowhere. No one wants this to happen to their business.
- Discipline: Being disciplined when building your online business or any entrepreneurial endeavours is very important.
As an entrepreneur, you no longer have a boss that tells you what to do and when to do it. You now have to motivate yourself to get things done on a daily basis.
Without clarity and discipline you will most likely not be able to see the success you want within your business.
What are some of the best books you’ve ever read?
Yannick van den Bos: The best books I’ve ever read are:
- “Ca$hvertising: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone” by Drew Eric Whitman,
- “How To Win Friends And Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and
- “The Science Of Getting Rich” by Wallace D. Wattles.
The movie “The Secret” also played a big role when starting out, I watched that movie over 50 times. It’s also available in book format.
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years?
Yannick van den Bos: Starting my own online business has truly blessed me with the life of my dreams. I’ve crossed a lot off my bucket list. One thing that is very near and dear to me though, that I have yet to achieve, is building a school in Africa.
Not just because I want to build a school, but because I want to make a change. With my mother being from West Africa, I feel a strong connection to the culture and know I want to pay forward what I’ve been blessed with.
This school will truly benefit African millennials, as it will provide them with educational programs that will help them become entrepreneurial. Ideally, this will cause a ripple effect, and the millennials will be inspired to pay it forward to their community.