I run a social media based deal aggregator that I branded as “JasonsJigs” in 2018 that as of today has a little under 24,000 followers. I earn revenue via affiliate marketing on a per click or per action basis off the traffic I send to websites. It’s scary knowing that in an instant, Twitter could suspend me and drastically change my life.
The account used to be my personal account and I had a few thousand followers. It was primarily used for interacting with other users in a circle we collectively knew as “Sneaker Twitter”.
Towards the middle of last year, I decided to push into affiliate marketing, something I had minimal experience with in the past.
I was very aware at the time that I needed to rebrand as my existing username wasn’t going to cut it. My decision on the new brand name, JasonsJigs, came from an affinity of alliteration and a desperate need to remove, what was at the time my full name, off of what I knew would become a very public and searchable account.
I took a look at the landscape of similar accounts, and settled on the very simple three lettered “Jig”; which to me was a more casual and on brand way of referring to a great deal, life hack or some sort of pricing error found on the web. I rolled with the new branding and hadn’t looked back — until today.
While I found positive aspects to my inclusion of the simple three lettered word in my account name, it rapidly took on a much different tone within Twitter; specifically within circles that I was once a part of and was fervently trying to escape. “Jig” accounts starting sprouting like weeds, with each permutation seemingly sketchier, promoting ludicrous offers of retail store reward accounts for pennies on the dollar. I’d open my Twitter page to post a $20 off coupon to come across yet another account offering enough food delivery app credits to feed an army for the cost of a Venti latte, which by the way you could also buy for about a nickel or two.
I completely understand how and why these types of accounts got support; as a society, we’ve proven to be pretty OK with fraud and theft. Where there is money to be made, there is always going to be someone willing to cross the line. But what always left me aghast was the amount of people that were either so naive , so stupid, or so willing to excuse what was really taking place that they would engage in legitimate fraud. I can recall someone trying to tell me that buying a Playstation 4 via “discovered” rewards accounts was akin to finding money on the floor of an empty parking lot. No thought was ever put into the terms of service of a website, consumer protection, or even the real basic concept of morality — just a conscious walk down an ends justifies the means path.
Earlier today, information regarding a case in the state of Wisconsin was released. This referenced a Twitter account, its pair of operators, and their ability to pull rewards dollars from a retail stores online database and sell it at deep discounts. I won’t even touch on any more details, as I really don’t care to. I have a lot of money and time and money invested in social media. I also now have a fear that is palpable and authentic.
Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook don’t care about me. They have become so devoid of authentic human interaction from a customer service standpoint that if something were ever to happen, even as small as a brief suspension, I have no idea where to go or if I would get a real person at the end of the message. The frequency at which people tag me in posts that contain other accounts, who can only be described as thieves, is something I can’t ignore. Unfortunately, my name puts me in a category with the worst of the worst. It’s on me to make sure my current and future audience knows who and what I am. They need to know what this means to me.
To comment and offer an opinion on today, without telling why I’m even here, would be an incomplete story. My Twitter account is very, very important to me.
I am 29 years old, from a Cuban father and American mother. I work in sales and I do a lot of dreaming and conceptualizing of new business opportunities. My wife thinks I don’t clean well (true). My mom thinks I can be combative (also true). I used to ride bicycles a lot, but not anymore. I keep a small group of friends, but will open up to anyone about anything.
Outside of my beautiful, supportive, amazing and recently miraculously impregnated via IVF wife, JasonsJigs is one of the most important things to me.
My day job is one that many would dream of; I get paid well, have tremendous amounts of freedom, supportive bosses, and a family like atmosphere. Like with all jobs, there’s issues that I could and maybe should overlook.
The problem with it is that my entrepreneurial nature keeps pulling me away. As success outside of traditional channels grow, so does the force of that pull.
Growing up, I never really had anything that I aspired to be other than successful (whatever that really means). I can recall selling bootleg DVDs of Spiderman in middle school and trying to get a dollar for individual Airheads I pulled out of a Costco mega pack at home.
At one point I bought a sewing machine and tried to make cycling caps (they were REALLY bad).
I created graphics to print on cycling water bottles and sold as limited edition releases.
I skipped a mandatory work meeting to fly to NYC and pick up a pair of auto lacing Nike HyperAdapts, only to lose money on the entire trip.
Making money, financial freedom, fulfillment, being my own boss, answering to no one, and really embodying that entrepreneurial nature have been goals in the background that only really have come to the forefront with this most recent venture. In the past, they were just a means of making some extra money. These days, they are driving me to really build something meaningful.
Last year when I decided to use my social following to engage in traditional affiliate marketing, I was mainly shitposting online about self employment taxes, NBA games, and the recent obsession with Adidas Ultraboost. Making money online wasn’t a foreign task to me — I had once sold thousands of Kylie Lipkits on Amazon on eBay for massive profits.
Back in 2015 I created an account with VigLink, an affiliate network and platform. I used it to generate links and subsequent revenues from a limited edition collaboration between Target and Lilly Pulitzer, known as Lilly for Target. Between then and 2018, the only other time when I posted affiliate marketing links was a limited release of Pepsi Perfect release on Amazon. Both instances put a few thousand dollars in my pocket. Which was awesome.
For whatever reason, I didn’t make the connection to continuing on and building out a legitimate online marketing business, even while I watched an account in FatKidDeals grow from a similar to point to hundreds of thousands of followers.
In June of 2018, I decided to go ahead and make an attempt at posting affiliate links on my Twitter account. I was pretty much done with being a part of Sneaker Twitter by this point, and no longer cared about potentially annoying followers with advertisement style posts.
It started with a few things for sale on Amazon, and grew pretty damn quickly when a big box retailer was clearing out their TV selection and I compiled a list of what was available in store and online.
Within the two months of June and July, I had over 100,000 affiliate clicks and over $13,000 in my pocket.
It was also not a coincidence that those months allowed me to make a secondary income; I had taken some time off from work to help my wife who was battling mental health issues due to fertility struggles that we experienced over the years. This extreme low paralleled with the high of discovering I could make $5,339.02 in a week (on top of my existing work salary) created a dichotomy that I am still fascinated with today.
Through the rest of the year my followers grew. So did revenues.
My salary at work grew. So did responsibilities and stressors.
The infertility situation experienced by my wife and I also grew. So did the separation between what was a real, measurable, successful business and happiness in the rest of my life.
The year closed out in the same way as it had progressed — tumultuously. Towards the end of summer, my wife had a miscarriage. Not long after, I lost an uncle to cancer. I didn’t celebrate much over the Holidays, as I battled with family and loved ones over misunderstandings. My wife and I were dealing with the world around us while trying to choose between trying to hide from or deal with the struggles that only we knew the depths of.
2019 came along but didn’t start much better.
I found myself in dark places experiencing depression and anxiety — two things I had never felt before, and quite honestly ones that I am not even really sure I have conquered.
My job was becoming more of a nuisance everyday. I work in a very old, stale industry that doesn’t necessarily see eye to eye with a 29 year old. In fact, according to my job, I’m a “millennial”; a “problem with society”.
On days when I’m in my 9–5 office, I commute 50 miles each way. A less than pleasant 3 hours behind a windshield.
What would seem like a great job to others, was a nuisance that squandered my ability to embrace entrepreneurship whole heartedly. I started counting down the days to a deadline that didn’t exist. One where I could leave my 9–5 and focus completely on the professional side of my life that I enjoy, rather than the one I feel obligated to continue.
As of today, I think I have a roadmap for the future, but it changes frequently. While most successful business owners would tell you that a major risk needs to be taken, I am trying to calculate and minimize that risk — for good and for bad. I keep telling myself soon, to just hold on for X date. Some days I trust myself and know I will get to where I want to be in adequate time. Others, I feel I should just say fuck it and jump in head first.
As I said previously, this social account means a lot to me. Not because I have some weird attachment to a Twitter profile, but because it represents an attainable future in self employment and business.
Over the last 12 months I have made more money on Twitter than I have working a traditional job.
My follower base grows more every day and the addition of new accounts focusing on travel, credit cards, and automated deal feeds have added new revenue streams that are on perfect growth trajectories.
A new “Alerts” account where I’m curating only the best of the best deals and posting once is seeing engagement rates 25 times the industry average.
I recognize I am on the right track, but I also need to make sure this train doesn’t get derailed by negligence and stupidity of others. I’m putting this out there for my own followers to read and to build this business with me. Without them, I have nothing.
I also want to share this with as much of the world as I can — letting anyone know that the internet is a really cool place where tangible living wages can be earned.
I would love for a Twitter employee to catch wind and realize how important something like Verification can be to a small business owner like myself. I’m also not alone in this — there are accounts making hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenues, with hundreds of thousands of followers, that are just as susceptible to an overnight disappearance. I’m not saying social media businesses are the only ones at risk of losing everything over night, but the way and speed in which lives can change on the internet is insane. I’ve felt it myself at times where my Amazon FBA account has been locked — causing revenues and profits to come to a screeching halt.
Last week I shared a thread detailing a snippet of the infertility journey my wife and I were on and was blown away by the response. I have always appreciated interaction between myself and my followers, but it really reinforced that my growth in the space can come from being different and not just from trying to be better or faster. There needs to be a real person, with real feelings, behind each post I make on social media. This is an extension of that, and a start at doing more than telling you about yet another Vizio TV that just dropped in price.