Michael is a british, 20-something year old, entrepreneur and blogger who’s making a solid 6 figure income yearly through several websites such as Retire At 21, Income Diary, Site Profit Domination, Popup Domination and several others.
There are many reasons why I appreciate the work of Michael and they include that he is successful despite his young age, he is dyslexic, and he is a college drop-out. If that is not adversity, I don’t know what it is! Instead of giving up on his life, Michael decided to face all the difficulties standing in front of him and tried to reach success no matter what.
Michael’s will to become an entrepreneur goes a long way back into his childhood. When he was only 5 years old, to the question “what do you want to do when you grow up?”, Michael would reply “I want to own a shop (a large superstore like Walmart)”. (Whether this story is a legend or not is still a mystery to me)
Michael Dunlop: It All Started With Ebay
I heard a lot of stories of online marketers which started through Ebay… Michael is one of those. While he was in his early teens, he was already selling on Ebay everything he could find. This allowed him to make tens of thousands of pounds that would be used as seed money for his later projects.
Michael Dunlop: Selling Runescape Gold on Ebay
The first market he really got into with Ebay was selling Gold for an online game called Runescape. At that time it was still allowed to sell virtual items such as ingame gold on Ebay and he used that to his advantage by making several thousands of dollars on Ebay.
Michael Dunlop’s first website: ShoutGFX.com
After getting out of Ebay business, Michael decided to start learning Web Design. It all started on a forum called GameRenders which had a very specific model: every time you posted on the forum (new post or response), you would get one point. The forum was including a marketplace where you could buy, sell and trade with your points being the currency. A great way to make people stay active.
Michael decided to copy this model by creating his own forum on the domain ShoutGFX.com. He got his forum up and running then he managed to grow it to 70,000 posts and 2,000 members in 6 months only by networking with people on other forums.
Long story short, his forum got hacked, and since he didn’t have a proper backup, he lost the site.
Michael Dunlop From WebDesigner Forum to WebDesigner Website
Since he had some connection in the WebDesign industry and had acquired quite some experience when operating his own forum, Michael transitioned from a design forum to a design website: Webdesigndev.com. He hired a very young programmer (13 years old) which added a CMS to his website to make it easier to add new content, a newsletter and a forum.
He started monetizing his website right from the start with Adsense and managed to make $5 – $10 per day. He was quite happy to be able to make money from his website but he wanted to increase his earnings so he studied his competition and tried to understand how they were placing their ads to optimize earnings. He quickly jumped from $10 to $50 per day.
Then he expanded to other monetization channels by buying around 2000 PLR website templates for £5 and setting up a sale page on his website. He designed his first ad to drive traffic to his sale page and managed to quickly increase his daily earnings to over $200.
Webdesigndev.com grew to over 100 tutorials and 200,000 monthly visitors in weeks and Michael was managing $1000 advertising deals – all at the age of 16.
Michael Dunlop and RetireAt21.com
Retire At 21 was started in December 2006 by Michael with the goal of networking with other entrepreneurs. Retire At 21 is a complete success: it has been visited by millions of visitors and it has been featured in magazines, books, newspapers… In the end, the main goal became to be able to achieve financial independence.
Michael Dunlop and Webdesigndev.com (again)
Pumped up by the recent success of RetireAt21.com, Michael decided to relaunch Webdesigndev.com. He relaunched it using old tutorials and it quickly grew to more than 35,000 monthly visitors. The main issue he was facing was regarding monetization since he was banned from Adsense for using shady techniques on another website.
Michael Dunlop and IncomeDiary.com
Since Michael had been able to take 2 websites to a high level of success, he soon found himself overwhelmed with requests to teach people how he created Retireat21.com and WebDesignDev.com. This is why he decided to create a guide to explain how to create a successful website to people: IncomeDiary.com was born.
It is interesting to see that Michael took an angle which is quite original in the Make Money Online niche: he doesn’t sell advertising space on his pages. He calls that the “No Leakage Rule”. Instead of selling banners, he focuses only on promoting affiliate products.
Basically the no leakage rule means, don’t have advertisers, don’t link to other websites in your sidebar, basically making sure the only way they can leave your site is via an affiliate link or closing the browser.
Michael Dunlop’s Popup Domination
Just having a form in your sidebar generally isn’t enough to get people to subscribe to your email list since it can easily be overlooked. Popup Domination allows you to deliver a unique lightbox right in your blog readers face.
From what I read this tool is so efficient that it does outperform Aweber lightboxes by 200%! The lightbox by Popup Domination is set up to convert extremely high and it delivers.
Michael Dunlop’s Site Profit Domination
Site Profit Domination is a coaching course that is designed to help bloggers turn their visitors into buyers. It does this by focusing on 6 modules: locating a crowd that is starving to buy from you, exploding your email opt-in and open rates, making a webpage that can turn a reader into a buyer by giving him an easy and clear funnel to convince them to buy and a lot of other interesting stuff.
Michael Dunlop’s Way of Life
Here is a highly inspiring quote by Steve Jobs that Michael Dunlop really appreciate, and it perfectly explains the way he thinks:
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary