About Me

You’re almost certainly here because you earn money online, or you’re trying to start an online business or develop an Internet presence.

 

You probably read my free newsletter (which is a real one full of what I hope you’ll find useful and interesting content, not the hyped up spammy promos, that blemish certain areas of the internet marketing niche) and just want to know about more about what makes me tick.

But if you’re a first time visitor and not yet a subscriber you should  sign up using the form on the right.

There’s no regular publishing schedule – I write it when I’ve got something useful or interesting to say. And even then it’s once a week max. Often it’s weeks between issues. And I never send out something that’s just a promo.

Sometimes though it’s months between issues if I’m ill (read about my weird medical problem here)

Anyhow first you should take a moment or two to sign up.
There’s no cost, no spam, no hype, and it’s one click to unsub if you ever get fed up of it.

This free newsletter is where I spit out most of my thoughts and advice and tips, about being self-employed and working from home on the Internet, and what it takes for you to see some online success. It’s about content creation, affiliate marketing, developing products, growing your social media presence, getting publicity in the media – and lots more.

Ok, just in case you’re new here or haven’t come across me before, let me tell you a bit about myself and show you how I can help you improve your online earnings. I’ll hold back and just make it a few bullet points.

  • People trust me, and have for many years. Look me up on Google.
  • I walk the walk, or talk the talk or whatever that silly expression is.
  • I’ve been running an online business for around 15 years now.
  • So I know what works, and I know what you need to be doing to bring in a regular income flow.
  • I don’t hold back, I tell it like it is. And I don’t spin b/s to sell you something that will line my pocket but not yours.
  • And above all I’m all about helping you make more money online – so I teach you exactly what you need to do to become successful.

Want to get in touch?

Use the contact page to write to me, or msg me on Facebook. I don’t give out my phone number online because I get too many calls in the middle of the night when people forget the time difference. And Skype rarely works because of my very slow wireless connection.

Short About Me Version

I’m from the UK (Yorkshire) but married an Aussie and moved to Australia 30 years (ish) ago, and live on top of a mountain overlooking the islands of The Great Barrier Reef.

Since school-days I’ve been working for magazines and newspapers as either a writer or photographer. In 1997 I began writing my online business newsletter and soon found myself making more money from the newsletter (and websites) than I did in my day job. And so it goes.

If you want to know more before trusting me enough to sign up for my free newsletter keep reading for a self-indulgent work in progress, with more personal stuff than you need to know, or it’s the norm to share :)

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My Early Life:

A happy childhood except for two things: when I was 7 we moved into a house haunted by a dead child who used to sit on the stairs and cry. After a while he didn’t frighten us, and talking to the neighbours my parents discovered the boy had died in the house a few years ago, and in the weeks before his death, and too ill to get downstairs, he used to spend a lot of time sitting on the top few steps. Very, very sad.

My other big memory is my deep loathing of school. When academic brains were handed out I found myself at the end of the queue and only got the brain that everyone else had rejected. I was hopeless at school, and hated it. All I did was daydream and write stories and poems in my head, and I skipped school as often as possible.

Then when I was about sixteen I teamed up with my close friend, the famous UK poet Ian Mcmillan, to write comedy sketches and start a poetry magazine. It didn’t last because I suddenly discovered that my long years of solitary writing had given me the talent to make money writing for magazines. So I gave up on the poetry and Ian temporarily stopped talking to me because I’d sold out.

That same year I taught myself photography to impress a girl. Discovering she had a boyfriend with a flashy camera and an E-Type Jaguar sports car I decided that must be the way to her heart. So not being old enough to drive, I bought myself a camera with my magazine earnings. Soon I discovered that I had the talent to sell my photo’s, and magazines start buying my offerings of the complete package of words and pics. It was only later that I realized it was probably the sports car that attracted her, and sadly we never did get together.

Even though I lost out on the girl, one good thing to come out of it, I guess, was that I’ve always been able to earn a decent income from my photography working for many magazines and newspapers both on staff and as a freelance.

And I helped get Nigel Parry, one of the world’s top celebrity photographers into the game.

You’ll probably recognize all the faces in Nigel’s pics. His older brother David was my best mate, and so Nigel, who wanted to be an artist, used to borrow my photographs to do paintings of them. Then I showed him the basics of photography on his little Olympus camera, and it didn’t take him long to leap way past me. Check out his celeb pics, and others, on his portfolio site.

Looking back I guess the village we grew up in must have been quite a creative place after all, which is surprising seeing the ambition of most people at my school was to work in the local coal mines, or get unemployment benefits.

The Roaring Twenties

When I was 23, I photographed Lundy, a remote island off the coast of southern England for the British Tourist Authority and loved it so much I told the island manager I’d like to live there. (click the image for a larger version) Months later he sent me a letter offering me a job as ‘an islander’ and I packed in everything to live there with just 27 other people. Sadly within a year I found myself banished from “The Kingdom of Heaven” as the locals called it, because the Queen of England came for a picnic and (how shall I put this?) I had ‘a bit of an argument’ with her and the rest of the Royal Family.

My return home to Yorkshire didn’t last more than a few days before I had to flee to France, to escape the attentions of the monsters of the press pack and TV crews, and also the royalists who abused and threatened me in the streets of my home village and threw rocks through the windows of my family home.

France was, and still is, lovely. Even though I couldn’t speak more than three words of French (the words were oui, non & bière) I immediately fell in love with the country and had some fabulous times. I’ll scan some of the photographs one day and get them up here somewhere.

With money in my pocket, from a pay off I got for photographs I’d taken of the Queen, and money I’d saved from working, I settled down to write a novel and got nowhere with it. France held too many distraction. Like champagne and French women. Preferably together.

My lasting memory of those times, deep in the wilds of the French countryside, was becoming drunk at a champagne festival, and getting my leg stuck in a hole-in-the-ground outside toilet when I accidentally put my foot down the hole I should have squatted over. It was the middle of winter, deep with snow, and I nearly froze to death before friends came looking for me.

That and a meal with a farming family who slaughtered a pig in my honour, and at dinner gave me a pile of its brain with an eyeball on top. I had to burst the eyeball with my fork to let the juices flow down over the brain. Wish I had a photo of the eyeball staring at me, but it freaked me out too much to take a pic of it, and seeing I was the one with the camera this is the only photo I have of the meal. To this day I don’t know whether they did it for a laugh or if I was really supposed to eat it :)

Back in England, deciding to devote a year to writing a novel, I went to stay with my friend Ned, who was also trying to write a book, and found myself living for a while in the country house of his half-brother, a well-known punk rock star, in the year that his band had one of the biggest UK hits of the decade. We hangers-on lived a decadent, indulgent time of music and staggering back from the country pub a long half mile walk down the winding road. They were hazy days and the novel and time drifted far away.

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Then things began to change. Somehow, somewhere, I fell in love with a lovely Aussie, and we went off travelling around Europe. French vineyards, Swiss mountains, German beer festivals, Croatian castles…the whole works, before ending up in Athens then spending six months living in a tent on Moni, a really tiny Greek island, where apart from the taverna owner who ran the small campsite with his sister, I was the only man and had to endure around twenty naked, or semi naked, women who all looked like Swedish super models. It was one of the greatest adventures of my life. And not just because of all the women :) Sadly we had to leave the island when the campsite closed for the winter, and I’ve read that the island is now uninhabited, visited only by people from passing boats.

Moving to London with the Aussie, I quickly landed a job in Soho working for Keith Johnson, a really cool multi millionaire, who did things like hire a castle for his Christmas party and fly us all to it by helicopter. He had lots of celebrity friends and I spent many a Saturday lunchtime drinking champagne with Mick Jagger and a swag of other famous people. Striking it lucky with the people I was meeting, I started shooting pics and writing stories for music mags. My favourite from that time was Mick Jaggers ex-girlfriend, Marianne Faithful, who was adorable and looked a 1000 times nicer than in this photo. On this job I did the interview, not the photo. So if you’re a fan don’t blame me for the bad pic.

I’m not going to write down any other details about my lifestyle during those years, or give you any juicy gossip. But buy me a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, when we meet up somewhere and I’ll spill the stories. The one with the Queen seems to fascinate people.

Life and the Internet in the Land of Oz

So…moving on… at 29 I moved to Australia, got married to the Aussie, found a job as a copywriter/publicist/marketer for a major charity, bought a car, bought a house, had a daughter, settled down.

Spent a great year learning how to write successful copy and blending it with my journalism skills, But I was itching to get back into photography and landed a job which involved a lot of travel as chief photographer on a motoring magazine. After a great year, where I photographed two books and countless magazine stories, and saw more of Australia than most people born here, I got fired after spending a week at hospital when my daughter was born with a serious illness. Worried sick, and needing money, I took the first job I could find and for the first time in my life found out what hard work really meant, putting in 10 to 12 hour nights as a welder’s labourer in a furniture factory. I ended up stuck there there for nearly a year, but after 9 or 10 months I managed to find a second job, working mornings as a newspaper photographer on a weekly paper. Not sure how I kept awake, never mind take good pics, but a few months into the job I won a big photo-journalism award and landed a full-time job, soon moving on to become chief photographer on a daily.

And I loved newspaper work, won lots of awards, met more celebrities than you’d see at a night at the Oscars, and had tons of fun. It was a dream career that many people envied, and one that was hard to give up when I became successful online.

But then the Internet appeared and I quickly realized it’s potential for reaching a mass audience and making money

Now I’ve been in this game a long time, making a great income since 1997 which is the year my remote town got connected. So for many years now I’ve been lucky enough to be living the Internet dream lifestyle, living in a great house high on a mountain range looking over the Pacific Ocean in Australia, towards the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. It’s a magical place of sun and sea and light and peace.

work-from-home

possums-on-deck-small1There are only four downsides: I get a lousy Internet connection that often drops out or slows to a crawl making online work difficult at times. Sometimes the animals (like this mother and baby possum on my deck) living in my garden and the national park which surrounds my house, get really noisy and wake me up in the middle of the night; clouds keep drifting into the house (which sounds cute, but the reality is they’re cold and wet) Take a look at my mountain photo page to see the amazing views.

Just occasionally though, the isolation gets to me and I get itchy feet and fly to Brisbane, the nearest big city (which is nearly 8 hours away by car), or pack my bags and head off for a few weeks overseas (usually England, France, or Thailand, though in the past few years I’ve also been jungle trekking and caving in Borneo, eaten my way around Japan, photographed market stalls in Malaysia, been hospitalised in the United Arab Emirates…well actually the list goes on and on). That’s what the freedom of earning money on the Internet can bring you.

Now and again, I fly over to the USA and meet up with my famous Internet marketing buddies like Rosalind Gardner, Marlon Sanders, Willie Crawford, Jim Edwards, Dr Mike, Keith Baxter, Armand Morin, and Yanik Silver.
philandgurufriends

Though the UK’s where I usually hang out when I’m not at home, and I usually manage to fit a workshop or seminar in. And even if I’m there at Christmas and there’s no seminar action, I always meet up with good friends who earn their living online: Martin Avis, Paul Smithson,Tony Shepherd, Harvey Segal, Pearson Brown, Matt Garrett, Alex Jeffreys, Chris Freville, Robert Puddy, and many more.

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NOTE: I’m still working on this page, rewriting it, reorganizing it, so there’s some duplication below. It will be fixed soon

I GOT SUCKED INTO THE AFFILIATE GAME BY MAKING MONEY ON AMAZON

Like I said, I’ve been making money on the Internet since early 1997, which was when the ‘net first arrived in this remote part of Australia. At first all I coud get online was basic email (on a very poor dial-up line) and I just used the Internet to distribute the syndicated newspaper computer column I was writing at the time. But as soon as graphical web[pullquote align="right"]sticking an Amazon affiliate link in my column changed my life[/pullquote] browsers appeared, and Amazon launched their affiliate program, I realized the huge potential of the Internet, and sticking an Amazon affiliate link in my column changed my life. That week I made more in affiliate commission, for sales of a book I recommended, than I got paid for the column :) Everyone was happy except for my editor who told me off and said I shouldn’t do it again.

By August that year I started my ‘Letter From Phil’ ezine, which got over 500 subscribers in a few days and made money the very first week. After that the syndicated computer column soon fell by the wayside. I had more interesting things to do, and more money to make. One early issue made me over $13,000 in affiliate commissions when my weekly wage was barely over $1000.

One early issue made me over $13,000 in affiliate commissions when my weekly wage was barely over $1000

In those early years I called the ezine “All the Secrets” – as if I knew any :) – and it quickly started to earn me much more than my day job as Chief Photographer for a daily newspaper and a freelance writer and photographer for numerous magazines.

Here’s a pic of me hard at work :)

Yep, I was a photojournalist, starting off as a freelance in England, and landing the chief photographer on a Australian motoring magazine a year after I moved here (a great way to see this amazing continent). Fired after taking a week off when my daughter was born with a serious illness, I moved back into newspaper work, won lots of awards, met more celebrities than you’d see at a night at the Oscars, and had tons of fun. It was a dream career that many people envied, and one that was hard to give up when I became successful online.

A few years into my new found online life I self-published a book called Mini Site Profits about building affiliate Mini Sites (which is where the bulk of my income was coming from) The first draft, written by hand in a paper notebook, took 3 days. Typing it into my computer, making revisions as I went along, took a further 4 days. Another day putting up a site and writing the sales letter. Quickly launching it with an email to my list, It made me the equivalent of a couple of years wages in the first month, and went on to make much more. (Badly outdated it’s no longer on sale, pending a major revision that will probably never happen).

Thanks to that book, and my newsletter, I met people with a lot more technical know how than me, and I moved full-blast into the Google Adsense game swamping the Internet with thousands of auto generated websites. They were really successful, and each morning I woke up to overnight earnings far more than most people in jobs earned in a week of hard work.

Here’s one of my early cheques from Google’s Adsense program, before my income from it really took off. The only reason I have a photo record of it is I forgot to bank it, and had to send the original back to Google to be reissued. It wasn’t long before I was doubling this amount.

This is the first time I’ve written all this down, and I don’t usually talk about income with people, because long ago, in the first flush of excitement at the way money was pouring in every day, I talked about it with my friends and neighbours. Not boasting, I was just excited. But I quickly found that, naturally, they didn’t much like to hear about my new found wealth. And one day I got very humbled after having morning tea at a neighbours house. “So how much have you made today, Phil?” he asked. And when I told him he called out to his wife who was baking in the kitchen “Phil’s made $1200 so far today, and it’s only 10 o’clock”

“That’s nice dear,” she said, obviously seriously under-impressed. “Would you like another cup of tea, and perhaps a biscuit?”

Later that day I discovered that they were worth around a $100 million, but never talked about it or flaunted their wealth.

And after that I resolved never to talk about the money I made, and I haven’t until writing this. And by the way, not many months later, I woke up one morning to find I’d only made $2. Google had banned all my sites.

Serves me right doesn’t it :)

It took months to get back to similar earnings, and again it didn’t last long until they did one of their infamous ‘updates’ and wiped out my mass built sites.

Now, way forward from those heady 2004 days I play their game and only build sites with the quality content I can create. Not that it’s perfect of course, but what is?

If you’re not bored of reading about me by now have a quick read of – Smashing Times: my life as a stuntman photographer (a stupid photographer more like)

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