Stop and Smell the Roses

The first half of 2014 is already in the books, and so far it’s been a great year for me both personally and professionally.  But first I want to reflect on 2013, a year that had a few ups and downs, a lot of change, and ended up being another banner year for Aware Ads / Oasis Ads.

When 2013 began, we were essentially a health and beauty affiliate network with one full-time sales rep, one full-time affiliate manager, several people wearing a lot of different hats, and we were housed in a small office barely big enough to accommodate six people.   As the year progressed, the changes began.  We parted ways with a few employees, and welcomed several young, hungry and talented newcomers into the fold.   Later on we knocked down a wall, took over the office next door, hired a seasoned industry veteran, and put more emphasis on diversifying our portfolio.   From there we launched a new division of the company called Donkey Mob – our web and mobile development arm – and signed former Heavyweight Champion of the World, Evander Holyfield to an endorsement contract for an in-house supplement line called RDH (Real Deal Health).  We subsequently brought Evander to the Affiliate Summit in Philadelphia, and were the talk of the show as Evander was gracious in posing for photos with hundreds of industry people, many of whom were quick to post them on social media.

What we didn’t expect at that time and soon discovered, was that getting US merchant accounts when you’re a Canadian company is a big challenge, as US processors would seemingly prefer to do business with a US-based company with $12 to their name, than a financially stable Canadian one.  This turn of events delayed the launch of RDH for over six months.  Fortunately everything worked out and launched in the end, and 2013 ended with strong numbers, and a lot of optimism.

Through two quarters of 2014, things are better than ever for our little company.  Not only are we a top five network in terms of health and beauty, but we are also now a top five network in the dating and gaming verticals as well.   Donkey Mob is in full swing with several projects live (including RDH and NewAgeNumber.com), and several more in the pipeline due to be live by the end of the year.   We have a couple of joint ventures going with respect to diet and muscle trials that are doing very well.  And we just moved into our new office space that was fully renovated and customized overlooking Toronto’s Yonge Street.   And through all of it we have maintained a low profile to the point that occasionally one former client will say they’ve heard we’re struggling, while the next will say they’ve heard we’re crushing it.  We don’t post all over Facebook that we have available cap on this offer or that offer, because we don’t need to.  And sometimes people equate that lack of “presence” to financial peril.  But the good affiliates know where to find us or are referred, and the best advertisers are the ones that we’ve maintained business with over a long period of time, and continue to still to this day.

Personally, this year has been one to remember for me.  In the span of one year I will have gotten married, turned 40, and had my first child.  As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  I’ve put in a lot of years establishing myself in this business, and work harder now as a business owner than I ever did as an employee.  But I’m also now at a point where I am finally beginning to “stop and smell the roses” so to speak.

We look forward to the second half of 2014, which will hopefully be as successful, if not more so, than the first half.  And we look forward to seeing old friends as well as meeting new ones at the upcoming trade shows.

As always, your feedback is welcome.