Charles Ngo is the foremost thought leader in an industry called affiliate marketing. With over 75,000 people reading his insights on the subjects of internet marketing and productivity. Charles Ngo has successfully built an affiliate marketing company that makes millions of dollars of profit each year. Charles Ngo has been invited to speak in front of large audiences all over the world, from London to Ibiza, Singapore to New York. His work has been referenced by some of the industry’s biggest sites; for example, Entrepreneur.com, Huffington Post, WikiHow and Yahoo Business. Charles Ngo has taught students to start their own affiliate marketing companies, with some of the more successful ones going on to reportedly earn $10,000 profit a day. I was excited to get a chance to talk books with Charles Ngo, as I know that they have played a big role in his life. Please enjoy my interview with the brilliant Charles Ngo…
How do you describe your occupation?
I’m an affiliate marketer, so my companies outsource their marketing to me. For example, I might run some Facebook ads for a new mobile phone game. If I get paid a higher commission from the company that owns the game than it costs me to run the ads, I profit. I also do courses and workshops teaching people and companies what I’ve learned from 10+ years in this industry and how they can apply the same systems and strategies to make more money in their own businesses.
My days are very structured and systemized. I have a morning routine that I follow every single day. Once that’s done I go straight “cave time”. This is where I work for 60-90 minute blocks (with 10-15 minute breaks every 4 blocks) 100% focused on the most important tasks of the day. Then lunch, then in the afternoon I work on more shallow work. This includes training, meetings, organizing and planning, thinking time etc.
What are you reading at the moment and what made you want to read it?
I’m re-reading The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin. I’m obsessed right now with the meta-skill of learning. How do we learn faster? How do we obtain mastery? I read it a long time ago, but I love re-reading books. I’m at a different point in my life now and can read the book with a different perspective.
Can you remember the first book you read by yourself?
Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. One of my co-workers raved about the book and I thought it had an interesting title. I was dreading the college – career route, and was looking for any tips I could find on how to escape the rat race.
Are you a page folder or a bookmarker?
Kindle. I rarely read physical books because I’m trying to be more minimalist. I move a lot and it becomes too much of a pain point to carry them everywhere.
If you could gift yourself books at age 16 and age 25 – what would they be and why?
Can you remember your first demonstration of entrepreneurial ability?
In high school, I played a game called Diablo 2. If you had a rare item you could actually sell it for real money. I remember buying a rare item off of eBay for $20. That $20 was worth maybe 10 “stone of Jordans” which were currency in the game. The 10 stone of Jordans were worth $5 each. I would buy the item for $20, trade for Stone of Jordans, and sell the Stone of Jordans for an overall $30 profit.
Tim Ferriss, Ben Franklin, Napoleon Hill, Robert Cialdini and David Ogilvy.
What was the last book you purchased, and why did you buy it?
The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky. I’m in a monthly book club with two other CEO’s and we chose this book. It was based off a recommendation from one of their friends.
What is your favourite thing about reading?
Learning something in 3 hours that took someone 10+ years to learn. It’s such an efficient use of my time.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 6 months?
I’ve been rereading quite a few books lately. Essentialism by Greg McKeown (see Greg’s reading list here) is one I’ve been loving and it’s helpful to almost anyone. It’s 2017, we all have a thousand things we could be doing. This book forces you to focus on what matters.
If you could insert yourself into any book, which would you pick and why?
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, so I could do magic.
When you think of success in the business world, who is the first person that comes to mind?
Elon Musk. I love how he gives his ideas everything he has. He knows that he’ll figure out problems along the way and he’s working on things that are so much bigger than anyone else is right now. Plus he does a ton with his life, he’s not just a businessman.
What is the book that you feel has had the single biggest impact on your life? What impact did it have?
The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. If I had never read that – I wouldn’t have learned about the potential for online businesses.
What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring entrepreneur?
1. Start today, something tiny. You’ll learn 1,000x faster by taking action than thinking, planning, strategizing etc.
2. What are you willing to do that others aren’t? You may not have money, but you have unlimited time and energy. Push harder than others.
Are there any books you haven’t mentioned that you feel would make your reading list?
I have a ton of books I’ve read but too many to list here. I mention a few of my favourites on my blog.
What’s the worst advice you hear given to young people looking to start their own business?
You need a business plan, start-up capital, mentors, and employees. There’s a video where Mark Cuban talks about this that every aspiring entrepreneur should watch.
Which book sat on your shelf are you most excited about reading next and why?
I only have one book on my shelf right now and it’s The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros by George R.R. Martin. It’s a history of the Game of Thrones world. I’m a huge fan of the series.