Advice.lk is run by two brothers and below we will share our story & progress of digital entrepreneurship including goals of Advice.lk. Thank you for taking the time to read it!
Currently, the longer version only contains the life journey from the perspective of Alston, and Delon told me that he is busy and will write it some other time. (I hate him!)
My name is Delon, the younger one of the Anthony brothers. Along with my bro Alston, I work round the clock to make the Advice.lk website the one place for all things digital marketing & growth hacking.
My primary responsibilities in the site include content editing/optimization, digital research, marketing, social media management, and, last but not least, writing in-depth articles, reviews, and guides for the Blog section.
I will share with you the valuable experience I gained from being in the internet marketing space for years. All the failures, zero dollar earning months, massive ranking drops, losing money on fake websites/tools, I have seen it all! But, that doesn’t halt me from pursuing my goals; it only fueled the burning fire to become a successful online entrepreneur just like the big names out there.
The main reason why I started this website together with my brother is we wanted to help other people who are in a similar situation like we were 5-10 years back. Back then, they were no one to help us show the right way, so we had to learn the art on our own through trial and error.
That is why we felt today’s common man can become a tomorrow’s big name in this industry if he/she is around the right set of people reading their articles, following their tips, and experiment with what they learned.
Ok now, with formalities done and dusted, hurrah, if you are still reading, let me share the personal side of mine. I’m not a big-ticket celebrity, million dollars net worth person, who owns a fleet of supercars (though if you’re generous enough to gift one, I’ll take it with my both hands hehe).
But, instead, a simple, calm person who likes to stay most of the time indoors, keeps his surrounding neat & clean, talk less & work more, and do what he does best without throwing the dice at everything for the sake of it.
My inspiration came from one of the most famous quotes by Bill Gates, “If you are born poor, it’s not your mistake, but if you die poor, it is your mistake.” Of course, I’m not going to build another Microsoft (you can relax, sir).
I’m just kidding because, for a fact, I suck at coding. That’s why I leave the technical part always to my brother because he is so so good at it; thus, I can chill a bit and not go crazy after all.
Apart from work, my hobbies are sleeping (come on folks who doesn’t like a good sleep after hours of punching the keyword keys to write an article that will forever be an excellent resource), listening to songs (mostly Tamil ones because that is my mother tongue but not afraid to mix up occasional English ones), clean the house in and out (who said cleaning is not for the man it’s a great way to keep you fit without ever needing to go to a gym), and the list goes on.
I’m pretty sure you know more about me after reading this bio, and I have big plans for this website, so I want you to be with our journey and support what we do over here.
Show us some love at the social media, join our private FB group for more insider, and do not forget to subscribe to our email list so you can get notified whenever I publish a new post.
Stay safe & well in these uncertain times, and till then bye cya, it’s Delon signing off here!
Hi, thank you for your interest in reading my life journey.
This is up to where I am now as of May 11th, 2020 (I was writing this article on my birthday)
Family and background
From the day I and my brother born, both of my parents worked hard so it was a difficult time to find a job and, at the same time, manage a family.
My parents did not know what to do, so they sold “Idli & Dosa batter” from home and sold it for 1 KG for 50 RS (It’s less than a half a dollar), and every day they sold around 20-40 packets a day.
However, it was a challenging business because people will come anytime during the day to buy, including at midnight.
My mother was always grinding and packing.
My father always stayed front to handle customers and also will go out to buy the essentials and bring to the home where he will have to walk around 2 km with his unhealthy body (He has an not treatable spine problem).
Also, from the day I can remember, my mother took my brother and me daily to early morning mass at our church, where each day we listened to the kind thoughts and guidance.
Every day I saw how much my parents suffer & work hard to put food on our plate and made us get an education.
This is my starting point.
I studied until grade 8 in St. Anthony’s Maha Vidyalayam in Colombo, which is government Tamil school, which means there are no expensive fees and average education.
However, one day my class teacher Miss. Subshani called my parents and told, “Please do not waste his talents by leaving him here,” so my parents borrowed money and got me an interview at Oasis International School in Colombo.
When I visited the interview with my father, the principal tried talking to me in English, but I couldn’t understand, so they brought a Tamil teacher to explain it to me.
They told me it would be impossible for me to get into grade 8 with the Edexcel syllabus without knowing how to speak or write English. To further prove the point, they gave me a “General English” question paper, which was meant to use for grading “Grade 3” students, and I got 30 out 100 on it.
So the principal told my father, “if you want, he can join since it’s your money but since you come from a poor background, let me tell if you tried putting him in an international school with his current knowledge you would wasting your money,” so we returned home.
My mother told me, “I don’t care about what anyone else thinks about it, but you tell me whether you can do it or not?” I said YES, and I will.
The next week I joined the school, I had great friends there who did not bully, and my teachers treated me with kindness.
I would see all the lessons as exciting stories, and when I came home, I did not meet with friends, did not go out to play, no girlfriend, did not watch cartoons or TV.
I will help my parents to sell when a customer visits home to buy, and the rest of the time, I will be in front of the computer revising school lessens or learning English or learning how to make money online.
I followed this every day for the next three months and came in 10th in the class for quarterly exams, and the principal noticed this and asked me to bring my father.
When I brought him to my principal, she stood up and held her hands together (Gesture of respect or forgiveness) and said that she is sorry for saying that it will be impossible for your son to study in English medium and that she will never underestimate anyone ever again.
From that point, my routine was studying, became a prefect and sports captain, and when I came back home, I was back at my computer learning.
College degree education
While I was doing my O-levels in my school, I wanted to get more knowledge in IT, so I signed up for a part-time Bacleours IT program at ESOFT in Sri Lanka.
So from Monday to Friday, I focused on school, and on Saturday and Sunday, I focused on my bachelor’s degree.
Also, I was the youngest student in the class at my bachelor’s program.
So for the next two years, I studied my bachelor’s parallel with my school education.
During exams for both school and degree, I never memorise or study. All I will do is just read everything one last time before the day of the exam, and I write from my personal experience.
Example: In economics, if there is a question on supply and demand, I will use the experience where what happens when “Idli and Dosa batter” get unsold at home.
There were even times where I had exams back to back where as soon as I finished school exam, then I would immediately run to my degree exam then run back again for the next exam in the school.
After finishing school, I took all the remaining subjects in my bachelor’s degree in one semester, which is not recommended since it’s challenging. (Basically, I reduced the time required to finish a degree from 4 years to 2 and a half years)
Masters MSc education
This where I have started earning money from the Internet. I will talk about my earning story below, so now, let’s just focus on education.
I wanted to get my master’s degree from the United Kingdom just because no one in our family has done such a thing.
Also, it was one of my goals.
So with money earned by my brother and me and also using money my parents borrowed.
I applied to the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom, and I got in.
Still, they requested me to complete ILETS and come soon as I can since the program is already started (Introduction tour for students is over).
So that day I went to inquire about ILETS exams from British Council and told there is an exam in the evening. Still, without any training, the exam will be difficult since they will be testing our English academic skills.
However, I told them I could do it, and they gave a one-day library card to check any resources available there, so I stayed there to look around everything I can then went to exam and scored 9/10. (Later I discovered some students had to go through 6 months training to pass this)
After that, immediately, I got my visa, and I was in the UK next week, and it was a completely new world for me.
For the first year, I was staying with my friend Desmond at Croydon, and I had to go to Greenwich every day.
I got lost a lot in subways and buses, had to walk when trains and buses got cancelled, had to eat low-cost meals because good meals were expensive, and I even got lost when trying to find my class at the University because it was so big.
One time I even cried alone because I wasn’t sure I was able to do this, but whenever I thought about my family, I got back.
I made a map, wrote down the routes, made walking into an exercise, started to enjoy the low-cost meals, and also took one whole free day and visited every classroom, corridor, and floor in the University and memorised everything so that I won’t miss another class.
I completed my Masters with distinction, and my dissertation project on “SEO Management System for Beginner” was awarded one of the exciting projects of the year.
I got a lot of opportunities to work there with a work visa, but I couldn’t stay because I knew the hardship my parents faced for us.
I wanted to live with them, care for them, and do my best to return what they have done for us.
So I returned to my home country and made them stop work and got a luxury apartment for rent for 70,000 LKR with an elevator, pool, automated gates, and much more and spent my time with them.
Online money making journey
How it started
As you already know from my family background, it was challenging to earn money, so when I came back from school, I was on the computer trying to make money.
As I told above, I did not go out with friends, nor went to play & no girlfriend. I wanted to get my parents out of this life and place them in a respectable position.
How I got scammed (multiple times)
When I started looking for all ways to earn money online, I fell for so many fake programs, and some examples include fake pay-per-click websites, paid to visit sites, paid to play programs, pay per download sites, and survey sites.
Here is one such example website. (The system told I earn 100$ dollars after two months work, but the payout never worked)
I also tried all those fake gurus internet earning programs. Please note there some good ones out there, but over 90% are bad who use fake screenshots and try to grab money quickly from beginners like me.
My father and mother said, “Son, you have LKR 55,000 ($300) in your savings in the bank, and it’s what we have saved for your after years of hardship, and it’s for you so do what you with it”.
I used it buy tools, even PayPal money generators, ad auto clicker, WSO courses, and also make money internet courses. After six months, I exhausted my entire savings fund.
I was devastated to know that I spent all my parent’s hard-earned money like this.
All my friends and neighbours were consistently saying that I would fail, and also, there is no such thing making money on the Internet, and anywhere there is, they have tried, and it could not be possible.
There were times I used to go to church and sit alone and prayed to Mother Marry and Jesus and Father.
The first success
The first success happened after one year, where I discovered something called sharing files to downloading.
I found out since I was downloading apps and kept on seeing the file download links, so I researched it.
It is where when we upload and when users download through our link, we get money, but nothing big usually like for 1000 downloads I get 2$.
So I was working for something called HotFile.
I worked hard for six months to earn the minimum payout of the threshold of 15$.
I withdraw it as cash cheque since Payoneer was not available during that time. It was pending for 20 days, then one day I got a signed post cheque, and I was shocked because both Bank of America cheque and envelope had my name on it!
It made everything official, and I was overjoyed, and I took my father and went into the People’s Bank in sea street and showed the manager the cheque and explained.
She heard what we said and saw the cheque and told it is fake because it’s unrecognizable in her 25 years’ experience, and I got shaken again to my core.
She saw what it meant to me, so she told me to leave the cheque with her, and during lunchtime, she would call the head office and ask about it.
I still remember how my father was trying to be supportive when we were walking up to the house saying, “Don’t worry son you can work in the city with your computer skills” and when I came home I went straight to my bed and didn’t even have my lunch.
Around 4:00 pm, my father got a call, and it was well past the bank’s closing time, and the lady told my father to come to the bank.
Dad and I again went to the bank, and it was closed, but security there allowed us inside after the lady gave permission.
As soon as she saw we were coming, she apologised to my father and said, please, I am sorry to have said this cheque is fake because it’s not.
It is a real cash cheque, and this is the first of its kind People Bank in Sri Lanka that has been handled in the history in Colombo.
I almost cried then there when I heard that news.
The reason is that even though it’s just $15:
- I saw the look of amazement in the bank manager’s eyes
- I saw how happy my father got when I heard it
- Now I have proof for everyone who said that you could not earn money online or it’s fake
- The moment when I told the news to my mother and how she proudly smiled at me because she never lost faith in me. Even when my father doubted me when spending all the money out of my saving, but my mother told me I could do it, and I will
At the point, I even became great friends with the Bank branch employees that they will ask me to repair computers in the bank & their personal laptops.
How I achieved my first 100$ income
After years of trying out, I had earned 15$.
Just think for a moment I did all those hard work without knowing whether it will work or not, but now I had proof it does.
So during school, intervals, and PE sessions, I always thought about what I can and how I can do it.
After school, I will sit at my computer and work up to 11 pm. After three months, I achieved my second 15$ threshold, and the requested cheque submitted and got paid within 20 days.
It is when something clicked on my brain because there was no longer any doubts, and I built so many websites, forums, and uploader at so many sites.
I learned to automate some of the stuff and buying services to make the work easier but always invested my full time on it.
And made my first 100 dollars on the Internet in the next three months.
How I made my first 1000$ income
I worked a lot in pay per download niche. I used so many websites like FileServe, Filesonic, Hotfile, MegaUpload, etc. (Now all of them are shut down)
I was even selling graphics on a community called Wjunction, where typically, I would charge $1 to 5$ for work.
Locally using my graphic designing talent, I decided a few works for my neighbours, such as the “First Holy Communion” invitation card for LKR 1000, and my mother still has that currency note in her locker since it was the first work I did in offline.
I became a computer repair guy for people in Sri Lanka, where I would go and install anti-virus or install windows XP for them, etc.
After that, I switched to another file host.
Within the next six months, I was one of the super affiliates, where I made my first 4 figure income.
People who discouraged me had to go into routine jobs like sales staff (paid around LKR 12,000 per month (75$)) or customer support or mechanic, etc.
I was living life because I was earning what others were making in one year in one month.
How my business got destroyed
When DMCA got strict and there something called SOPA, and it went after the pay per download sites hard.
It sued the companies I worked for and made it to close down without paying the remaining commission lost around 2000$ there. Here some references for it.
One day I had everything, and the next day I had nothing.
My second chapter in making money
This time I wanted to be making money in a fully legal way and did not want to stop suddenly.
So I researched and studied a lot.
Then I got started in Google Adsense.
I got started with making micro niche websites like below, where I found very low competition keywords and tried to rank in Google.
Below is my first Adsense micro niche site I started in April 2012.
I ranked well, but I asked my friends and families to click on the ad for me, which was a massive mistake because Adsense can detect these and banned my account.
Then I was researched and started promoting digital products from Clickbank, MarketHealth, Sell Health, Etc.
All ten sites which I built were failed, but I took all that knowledge and experience and applied it to my next projects.
I succeed in promoting specific products from weight loss and muscle building categories.
Here is one of the video model I hired to do a promotion product I was an affiliate with.
Here is my free blog I built to promote a digital weight loss product. At its peak, it received 3865 visitors.
Here is my first Amazon self-hosted WordPress website in July 2012.
This is the time I started on Amazon affiliate marketing websites too.
During this time, I built around seven Adsense websites, five Clickbank websites & 4 amazon websites.
I drove traffic solely from Google by using GSA Search Engine Ranker, Ultimate Demon, Senuke, and Scrapebox.
My third chapter on my money making
For people who don’t know what it is, it’s a google search engine update to remove low-quality websites or websites which had bad link profiles.
So all my websites got hit by the update, and the only one site survived, and I still keep that site alive even though it doesn’t earn me much due to sentiment purpose.
It is was then I started to learn about building authority websites, content which user values, and marketing strategies, which are whitehat.
This was a turning point in my life because even the next five sites I built for various networks failed, but the experience gained from them helped me to build authority websites.
These websites survived all updates, and also link building was easy because I made professional relationships and used natural link building strategies (Hint: when you create amazing content, people will automatically link to you).
So after owning over 100 plus websites, I became a kind of expert, and these projects continue to be the best side income source.
How 9-6 job was not for me
After I return from the United Kingdom, my parents told me to apply for a “REAL JOB.” Hence, I sent one application to a digital marketing company in Sri Lanka for the position of “Digital Marketing Manager.”
I got selected since SEO, and Internet Marketing is kind of in my blood and veins.
The founder of the Company is an excellent understanding person, and the team was very supportive too.
I worked a total of “1 MONTH” there, but I started noticing:
- That I wasn’t able to sit one place for all-day to work
- Travelling to business took about 2 hours for a one-time trip.
- After the UK, I got into a different habit of eating, and
- I did not like restaurant foods near the office.
- Each day ran very fast.
- Each day became a daily routine.
- I also realized that I am working for someone else’s dream and not mine.
SO I QUIT MY TRADITIONAL JOB.
In my life, even if the salary I make is less, I wanted to be my choice and fulfilling my dream and goal. Also, I wanted to spend as much time with my family as possible.
How we started a company
So after quitting my job during a discussion with Deepashika Gunasekara (BCS Regional Manager), where she suggested, why not start your own Company in Sri Lanka to help fellow Sri Lankan.
So my brother and I opened our own digital marketing company in Sri Lanka and named it Maxinium, which meant for Maximum Results in Minimum Time.
There we took projects for small startups to help them succeed on the Internet and also helped few friends projects such as Desmond’s DFT bedding business (He is the one who helped me when I visited the UK for my studies and gave me a place to stay).
We made our parents to open the office and made them sit at the desk first.
Below is the picture of me when we founded our company.
And this how my brother Delon setup his workspace.
Maxinium employees’ workspace when it started.
We were doing fantastic work for clients:
- Getting results quickly
- Targeted PPC so leads came in from the first day
- Amazing web designs
- Stable White hat SEO to increase the ranking
- No minimum duration contracts
- Transparent service as possible
After that, we didn’t like where the Company was heading because we realized that we were still working on other’s dreams.
We didn’t fully want to depend on our clients.
It is where we decided to stop taking external clients with the exception of selected few or struggling startups since I always liked helping them.
We started to build in-house projects where we will total control, and we wholly own it.
So bye-bye reports, meetings & formal dressing and welcome to the life of working on what I want, where I want and whenever I want.
We built several projects targeting the Sri Lankan audience and also projects for a worldwide audience.
This way, we didn’t work for someone else’s dream, but we are working for our own.
This where we are right now.
Why we built Advice.lk?
There are multiple reasons:
- Numerous friends & family members have approached us from a low-income background asking help on how to make money online.
- We want to document all our growth, what we learn, what we succeed, and also what we fail.
- We don’t like to keep our faces hidden from the rest of the world.
- We wanted to show anything is possible where it does not matter where you are from or who you are.
- Help others not to fall in traps we fell in when studying how to make money online.
- Help startups SaaS founders by helping to showcase their products to their target audience.
- To have the self-satisfaction that we will know that we helped at least one next-generation digital entrepreneur.
- Sharing our knowledge, which doesn’t reduce it; instead, it increases.
- Finally, helping you to get started on making money as fast as possible.
- It is also one of the digital projects of Maxinium.
I know that no one likes to read a post, which is over 4000 words long, but if by any chance, if you did, thank you so much because it meant a lot to me.
Don’t ever regret your life, and every second is precious, just go to the hospital to see how many are fighting for it.
Live life with your family and live it the way you want.
Treat your friend, colleague, or stranger how you like to be treated.
When you are having a bad day, know that someone else is having a much worse day than you.
Don’t think of all things which you don’t have; instead, be thankful for your life you are living, beautiful family, and things you own.
With Best Regards. Alston Antony