I love interviewing interesting people, and I haven’t heard of Alex until Gabriel St Germain mentioned him as one of the most honest dudes on Youtube that should have way more followers because the information he shares is pure gold and it works. So I started following Alex, and I was blown away by how massive of a Facebook Ad buyer he is!!! He spent over 50 million dollars in 2018 on Facebook Ads. He’s going to hit $75,000,000 this year running all kinds of white hat offers where he does not have to worry about Zucc banning him overnight.
Thought You’d love to learn about this inspiring guy, and hear how he went from a freelancer on UpWork to a super successful internet marketer!!
If you follow and trust my no-bullshit, to the point content – you know that I only recommend the best, the people that walk the walk. If you are looking for a guy that can help you figure out shopify you stop losing money testing products, and start finding winners you can scale to millions of dollars in revenue then hire this guy NOW! (he’s wayyy more affordable than those fake gurus re-hashing old content, and showing you rented lambos!)
Where Were You Born, How Old Are You, Where Are You Living Now, Family? Friends? Hobbies, Favorite Movies, Favorite Kind of Music… About You (nonwork-related stuff)
Born in Ukraine Soviet Union times. My family was poor, we have never been to vacation or seaside. My parents are great people, but they haven’t taught me about money, how it works and how to make it without busting my ass.
BUT they taught me about the value of hard work. I’m forever thankful for that!
The result: at 16 I was working the whole summer in construction, 14-16 hours a day. During school time continued to work 4-8 hours, missing some classes. I wanted to make money. I thought working LONG hours and dumb labor work is the only way to make it.
At 18 I got a job as a waiter in a popular night club in my town. The clients didn’t leave many tips so I decided to bring and sell my own alcohol in the club. I went from making $100 a month to $100- $200 a day. The first breakthrough 🙂
But quickly got caught bringing alcohol into the club. So got my ass kicked by one of the bouncers. And he took all my alcohol 🙂
I stopped doing that.
But shortly after that, I knocked out 3 of the aggressive clients who didn’t want to pay for what they ordered and tried to run from the night club. They paid for what they have ordered.
So they offered me a position of the bouncer. It was more high paying so I took it.
I was in some nasty situations in that position but somehow survived.
After that, I changed several jobs. My most notable was the position of a cookie seller for $100 a month. I didn’t do well, couldn’t feed my family.
My education wasn’t very useful for solving any problems for anyone. It was mostly a waste of time.
Decided to do freelancing as I’ve heard freelancers make $1-2K per month. For me that was a fortune! I wanted to get there.
I decided to go after American clients because they had more money than clients in Poland.
– Zero English (maybe 3-5 words I could speak)
– Zero skills (my accounting education wasn’t useful at all)
Decided to apply for work on Elance (now Upwork) and see what people are paying money for. At first, I was an SEO specialist, then Adwords, then content marketing. I would apply to many jobs during the day, at night I would learn English and the skill I was working on.
Eventually started getting better and better at it. I put 16-18 hours a day into mastering all of these skills for months and started to see some payoffs.
That year I made my first 6 figures as a freelancer. From my room in Poland, without speaking proper English. I would compensate for my not knowing stuff by simply overworking and putting more hours into it.
I wanted to master all platforms and channels: SEO, Adwords, content marketing, etc. And it wasn’t bad. I was working with small projects but they got bigger and bigger over time. But I’ve realized I couldn’t do them all very WELL. I knew I needed to focus on one of the platforms.
I was working mostly with lead gen projects but more and more potential clients started to come from the eCommerce industry. And they were specifically interested in Facebook ads. I promised them I’ll do it. And I did.
That’s where it started to get some momentum. We started to get better and better results, working with better and better clients. We dialed in on eCommerce and dropshipping space. Launched our own dropshipping stores and funnels based on what we’ve learned from clients and our experience.
I like action movies: Fast and furious, Avengers 🙂 and documentaries on Netflix that talk about the quality of food etc.
Music: AC DC, Led Zeppelin but also classic music, rap etc. I like variety in music I listen.
Friends: Very interesting topic. I have few friends from school I still maintain good contact with. But generally I want to upgrade my friends every year. I know it sounds mean. But I want to have friends and I have friends that are 10X – 1000X more successful than I am. I have friends that have their private airplanes. I don’t feel comfortable with them because they are so much ahead. I want to compete with them, I want to push myself to be at their level.
Show me your friends and I will show you your future. I believe this. And I think that’s the only way to grow. Otherwise, you get comfortable. You make 100X more than your friends, you satisfy yourself: Oh, I’m doing alright. No reason to push myself, work long hours, invest in the business, look for new business opportunities. I’m set. This mindset is the beginning of the end. You get complacent and some hungry kids eat you alive in business. They will take your clients, your business apart.
Family: I love my parents but they have no idea what I do. You probably know how difficult it is to explain what you do to others if you are in our space 🙂 So they don’t go to my territory, I don’t go to theirs. We maintain great relationships by not bothering each other.
I would teach them some skills that would take their life and income to the next level but they aren’t open-minded, unfortunately. And until they are ready I can’t help. I don’t hire family members. I don’t think it’s a good practice. That ruins relationships typically. There is plenty of great talent without them.
What was the secret to getting a lot of big clients?
My group on Facebook and personal connections. I also have created some guides on my website that have attracted people to it. I had speaking engagements where I have acquired some clients too. Overall it’s comprehensive approach aimed at growing personal brand, at the end of the day.
Ideally, the best clients come from personal connections. I think growing personal brand is a huge part of that. What other competitive advantage can I have other than that?
See what Gary Vee has done. He disrupted the whole dinosaur, 100-years old Madison avenue space with what he personally does with his brand. And now he’s stealing budgets previously dedicated to TV and radio and gets brands to spend it on social.
What were the most interesting things you learned from their successful drop shipping stores?
Simplicity is the key. Brands that do the best focus on fundamental stuff: Products with huge markets and demand so they can scale up to 8-figures, they do great angles and ads, and focus a lot on creative. They invest in good customer service, give refunds and returns easily. They play long-term game.
The typical dropshipper makes few $$$, takes money out of business, buys Lambo, gets his ad account shut down because of low feedback rate.
So you see the difference in thinking. Some of the stores we’ve worked with, built massive youtube channels educating people about their products, entertaining, great content. They started few years ago. Now they drive 100,000s of visitors per month from that effort, without ad spend. They advertise on top of that obviously, but the competitive advantage they have in their niches is just incredible.
So long term, brand building thinking is what differntiates stores that kill it from those that will never be acquired or sold for massive amounts.
How did you take the knowledge you learned and used it to your advantage?
We’ve emulated a lot of stuff. Seeing what happens from the inside in 7,8,9 figure companies, knowing who makes the most money and how is the powerful knowledge. You literally can’t sleep at night once you know it’s not that difficult to do.
Then it comes to the execution. Ideas aren’t enough. Everyone has ideas. Actually implementing ideas is what makes the difference.
We’ve sold similar products we’ve first hands seen working, we’ve built similar funnels we’ve seen working.
Now all of those funnels, products are available to anyone. You can take adspy or any other spy tool and there they are. But I think what makes the difference is the belief you can do it. Tech stuff is secondary.
You might have all the knowledge on the planet but if you don’t believe in yourself, you won’t do it.
So if I had to do all over again, I would work on my self-esteem and confidence as much as I would have worked on my skills.
Particularly in Eastern Europe people are suppressed, the moment you start showing up or thriving for better, you have dozens of critics and naysayers.
Most people never get through these initial barriers. They get smashed and bury their dreams.
Getting involved in sports, doing cold shower, meeting new people even if it’s not comfortable expands your self-esteem.
And with that, whatever information you consume, tactics you learn, you are more likely to take action and get results. It’s a constant feedback loop. Do something good, become better, get better results, do even better.
If someone is starting out in drop shipping right now in 2019, the word on the street is you need to test 100s of products to find 1 winner. Problem with this is that most people don’t have lots of money to test. To test 100 products when you have 1 video ad, and you are testing 2 thumbnails you need $200 per product, that’s $20,000! Most people do not have that. They have MAYBE $2000 max. How can they try ecommerce with $2000 and find their first winner?
Fuck that word man. Even with 100 products you have no guarantee it will work out.
Go after 1-3 winners. Reverse engineer like hell. We sell the same products every else is selling and making 8 figures in sales. Identify that product, focus on creating better ads, better creative, better funnel.
Focus on what works, model. You can innovate later.
Figure out how to sell what’s already selling instead of guessing.
When Did You First Touch A Computer?
I think it was when I was around 6 years old. My mom was working as an accountant so she had a huge computer in her work.
I liked to play the games on it 🙂
I haven’t considered a computer as a means to make money until I was 23 years old or so. Till then I thought it’s made for social media and playing video games. My favourite was GTA. My computer was too slow to play it though.
How much money did you spend on Facebook Ads in 2018?
I can’t upload the full stats because I believe it’s too much data for Facebook. I got lucky once and loaded it close to the end of the year.
With all other FB business managers, it was close to $50 mil. In 2018. And we consulted on probably the same amount without being involved in management.
That was a profitable ad spend. We are performance marketers and don’t spend a dollar without getting 2,3 or 5 dollars back.
Out of the 50,000,000 adspend how much was your own projects, and how much was clients projects?
Roughly 7-10% in my estimate. We haven’t done it for a long time because we didn’t have balls like most agencies. When you spend your own coin, you learn much much faster so I’m glad we did. The rest for clients.
How can you screen before you start working for them which clients are good ones to work with, which ones are going to be trouble
Good clients:Already generating revenue, proven offer, serious approach to customer support / business, can afford our fees. These are good qualifiers. If that’s startup that hasn’t figured out their marketing yet, has no money and want you to it for them, prepare for a hell.
Clients that KNOW everything and treat you as a replaceable human being, aren’t good either.
At the beginning I used to work with such clients who didn’t respect my work and time. Sometimes I would work for days or weeks and won’t be paid at the end.
Learn to position yourself properly in your marketplace with the content, association with industry leaders, your own community and you will attract great clients.
When clients ask you to run their ads, what do you charge them? What terms?
$10,000 is the minimum monthly fee that makes sense for us as an agency. So we find a way to make client pay that amount or more and still be profitable. Typically it’s a retainer + % of the ad spend based on ROAS or other performance metrics.
Some clients we work strictly on are strictly performance basis because they have offers that can be scaled to the moon and are proven.
Do you use facebook credit lines and then pay monthly?
We are just starting with that as our company is established in Asia and Europe and we haven’t had access to that. Some of our clients-partners in USA have access to the credit lines.
We don’t do it. We have some partners that do it for our clients. I have a very generic idea of how it works now since wasn’t on it for the last 5 years or so. And Google ads are so sophisticated platform! Just trying to get as much from FB and Instagram.
Being focused on 1 platform really helps.
Any other traffic sources?
Instagram influencers are very good for e-commerce. We have partners who arrange all of it for us. We specialize in paid FB and Instagram.
Biggest clients you ever worked with?
We consult for some Fortune 500 companies. Most of our clients are fast growing 7-9 figure businesses though.
Is it easier to run ads for big brands like these? What kind of KPI’s do they want? How do you track success of a campaign? What’s important to them?
Yes, these are great to work with. Obviously there is a lot of reporting but KPI’s aren’t as strict. Mostly it’s engagement, impressions or other generic metrics.
They require a lot of reports, spreadsheets but other than that they are great. They pay much more than small businesses and react to personal branding more than anything. That’s why Gary Vee is so heavy on this.
Also, how did you land these clients?
Same old: Connections, my community, content.
Connections/ community /content. Magic triangle 🙂
Ever done any affiliate marketing?
Yes, we’ve done some aff marketing. I couldn’t make it work when I was starting out because I wasn’t very good I think.
Then I worked with some black hat hitters on Facebook. We’ve done over 8 figures in revenue for them. But I wasn’t a partner so I couldn’t leverage it as good.
I since then realized that money isn’t in setting up campaigns. It’s ALL IN A DEAL MAKING. Putting a deal together where you can’t lose and payouts are big enough to cover your expenses even in worse case scenarios.
So for example if payout on affiliate networks is $45, we were working with $60-70 payouts because the deal was direct with the offer owner.
You can overspend everyone who’s buying traffic on the same platform easily and put them out of business with this difference in margins.
So while we all operate online and do our magic here, nothing really changed in terms of how to make real money. It’s all in a deal-making. You need to find people with money who are ready to pay for what you have to offer, whether it’s your affiliate marketing skills, advertising skills or anything else you can bring to the table.
That’s quite interesting, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard people say this. In my experience when offer owners want to work direct it’s because they don’t want to pay a middle man, and they want to save the money the CPA networks take. WHY did these guys want to pay you way more? What was the biggest benefit that you gave that a CPA network could not?
Affiliate networks from what I know make good margins on offers for organizing that infrastructure. We provided volume and infrastructure for their offers. So they could get a big volume of sales directly and pay very similar to what they would have paid to networks.
If you have a distribution platform and can organize selling process you can charge a LOT. That’s why Amazon rules online sales. They have the distribution, You either work WITH them or UNDER them and get trumped (if you sell generic products which most people do).
So we need to get out of our rooms, go to events, meet people, establish trust and build relationships. No amount of technology will replace that.
Zuck built FB into a monster not because he had the best technology but because few people with influence and money believed in him and his idea. The same with Uber, Taxify or any other unicorn.
So first you do make some money, you establish some cash flow going. Then you move, meet people that can make the biggest impact on your business and career. You have to constantly evolve. If you are doing affiliate marketing or dropshipping/ eCommerce today on the same level you’ve done 3-5 years ago you’ll be destroyed by businesses that evolve, building more sustainable long term business models and infrastructure. Hiring people, investing in technology, top people you can afford, investing into building relationships with top players in your field and others.
Those are fucking uncomfortable things. Typically marketers make money, take the money out of business, buying houses, cars etc. And that’s ok. But there’s a point where you have to make a leap.
You are absolutely true, I see a lot of affiliate marketers gave up because cloaking Facebook ads became so hard you can’t get any money of out it. They have the Lambo sitting in the garage, but they are too ashamed to drive it because they can’t even make $1 per day since it’s so hard. They are stuck because they got too used to the rip and run celeb angles approach and Facebook’s A.I. is into them, way before they even launch Oprah or Dr Oz ads. One of the biggest problems why it’s more easier said than done to establish cash flow, then meet people who help take it to the next level is because when you are an affiliate, thing income can stop tomorrow at random and you never know. So most affiliates have nothing to offer.
My question is, what do you think an affiliate could do to build something of value where they could then leverage the power of networking to grow and evolve?
For affiliates that want to grow and transition into more leveraged and consistent businesses: I assume they have accumulated some $$$ by being affiliates. I would identify the niche where they could either launch eCommerce brand with high margins or operate as a consultant assisting other businesses or people even with affiliate marketing programs etc.
And then proactively fighting to get recognition in that space. Sooner or later every market catches up to easy money schemes and value becomes more important than anything.
Now affiliates might have some very useful skill sets they have accumulated throughout their journey. So again, identifying:
– WHAT CAN I BRING TO THE TABLE? How can I utilize my existing skills to add value to other people?
– What do these people actually want? What would they pay for? Do they have money? Who has the most money in my market that would pay me for what I know?
– How do I get their attention and sell to them?
Just like that you’ve started working on second stream of income and cash flow. So you have your affiliate offers and consulting now.
From there it’s accumulating capital and building either brand for your company or your personal brand. These seems like the best investments for any company or person nowadays.
For me personally, I had that moment where one of our biggest clients at a time left us. We’ve helped them to grow to $20K per month in ad spend to $500,000 per month in profitable ad spend, consulting them on how to blow up their company.
They did. But we hadn’t had a piece of the pie. I was kidding myself I was building a business but it was dependent on a few clients, we haven’t had a piece of the upside.
It was basically 9–to-5 job and I got fired. I decided to build a real company. Where everything is built for a long term and like in the airplane, every element is replaceable. If the client leaves us, we have a process for replacing that client. We have processes for fulfillment, delivery of results, building a process for producing creative for ads, etc.
Funny you mention this, because I experienced a lot of the same, but not just with clients leaving one of my brands but with employees that live under the belief that they are irreplaceable. What a lot of people will wonder is you say build a process to replace the client, build a system — how did you learn how to come up with this process? What would you tell an affiliate that always gets banned on Facebook, how should they come up with a system to counter that so they can continue seeing great profits?
By process I mean taking what people do randomly and getting results, breaking it down and thinking: How do we actually do this again?
So with clients, once we acquire them, we think: How did we get those clients?
Let’s say it was post on FB. Ok, so let me do more posts.
Then you see some of the posts work better than others. Ok let me do more posts like that.
And eventually hiring help to fulfil on all those things you want to do.
So first you figure it out yourself, get proof of concept and then systematizing it.
For Facebook the process for black hat (although I don’t recommend it):
1. Buying ad accounts from other people. Finding contacts that facilitate that.
2. Setting up prepaid credit cards.
3. Setting up business pages.
4. Using team viewer to access the account everytime etc.
I don’t know the exact process now as I don’t do it and we do WH only. But that’s where I would start at least and overtime refine the process, see the weak spots etc.
It’s an evolution. There is NO point where it’s like: That’s it. I’ve made it. The moment you think it you are done.
You need to expand, add dream team members to your team. Because when shitty times come, and I promise you they will, you will be ready. It’s easier to find a solution where there are 10-100 killers working for you than if you are all by yourself.
If you know people in your industry, respect, name, you can solve pretty much any problem. One phone, one connection, one meeting. All can be life-changing.
Another shift happened for me when I realised some killer FB ads skills and trained my team of assassins but because we could only serve 10-15 clients at any given point with high budgets we operate, our upside was limited as well.
So we expanded into eCom stores and funnels of our own. The upside is much higher with this model and the skills needed to make it work are very similar to what we do for clients. So we’ve created this hybrid model of agency and eCom business, operating millions of dollars in ad spend for clients and ourselves.
One is definitely a better profit margin business and another is more volume game. But combined it comes down to some interesting numbers.
How much do you think is needed to find a winning product in ecom these days?
I recommend $2-5K minimum to be safe. With a proper research (or you can get lucky) it can be decreased. But it wouldn’t make sense to start with $100 and constantly worry about ads not being profitable right away.
There is a learning curve 100%, there is a rick 100%, but at the same time, the barrier of entry is so incredibly low.
You can’t start many other businesses with this capital. Want to open a Mcdonalds – $1MM, retail store – $100K or more.
So, I believe that’s one of the greatest opportunities today if you can commit to this.
Alex, Thanks so much for taking time to answer my questions. In conclusion If you had just one piece of advice to affiliate marketers looking to get to the next level, what would it be?
Next level means there is something you must let go off. Whatever is holding you back. If it’s an attachment to old habits, friends, place, business model, it must go, you must abandon it. There is a price to pay for the NEXT level and you need to be ready to pay it.
For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to be the best bodybuilder of all times. He didn’t stick in his Austrian village and wait for his trophy to come there. He abandoned his family, friends, habits, location and moved where he needed to be to achieve that goal. He sacrificed a lot of stuff to do it.
He met people he NEEDED to meet, he TRAINED the way he needed to train. He paid the price.
So whatever that next level is for you, know there is a price to get there. You have to pay for your ticket. And often it’s dropping a lot of things you got comfortable with: income, friends, places. YOU can’t have both: Have all you had before and go to the next level.
For me it was changing countries, leaving my parents, friends and family behind, working more hours than I could, not buying expensive stuff, dropping bad habits and investing everything back into the business. And that’s not it. There are a lot more sacrifices to come. I’m constantly evolving and the old version of me must die in order for a new one to appear. They can’t co-exist.
What is this sacrifice for you? Think about it.
So my advice will be: If you are ready to go to the next level, if you really mean it, go there, surround yourself with whom you need to surround, do what you need to do. Just be ready to lose yourself in the process, sacrifice and evolve into a new person, because that’s THE ONLY way to grow.
PS: Want to hire Alex to teach you how to get to his level and spend many millions on Facebook ads without getting banned? He’ll work with you 1 on 1 for only $997 – that’s a no brainer since fake gurus out there charge you 10x more for bullshit that’s outdated and doesn’t work. Click here to order his consulting!!