In the following report I will show you how much I earned through the DaDa referral bonus (referring new teachers through a referral link). This is report is from the month I was hired (June 2017), until the DaDa Hiring Freeze (October 2018).
Referral bonus is paid out around 1-2 months following the teacher being hired so the report will show up to November 2018.
I am displaying this information to inspire others to replicate what I did. I want to help others increase their online teaching income, as well as help online ESL teaching grow as an industry.
In this article you will learn:
How much passive income I made through DaDa online teaching referrals
How I did it without doing a single paid Facebook or Google ad
An easy method for you to earn referrals for your online ESL company
A much harder method with an increased likelihood of results
The final total is not a catastrophic number by any means, but it was enough to help me reduce my teaching hours and devote more time and resources into building this website and doing what I love…helping my readers learn.
So let's crack on!
DaDa Referral Bonus Earnings Report (June 2017 – November 2018)
June 2017 – August 2017
Nothing to report here as I was busy building up DigiNo and growing accustomed to my new online teaching job whilst working as a cleaner in a hostel.
I started building DigiNo as soon as I was hired after learning about the $100 referral bonus for recommending a new teacher…I didn't want to be scrubbing hostel toilets forever!
We got a live one!
My first referral. 700 RMB which after a quick Google conversion becomes – $101.46 (but we will just call each referral $100 to make life easier).
Why I Wanted To Try and Make Referrals Passively
I had spent around 2 months promoting on social media…without any luck. I messaged people on LinkedIn, made posts on Reddit, Facebook groups, Quora and even made images for Pinterest. All of it was unsuccessful.
This referral came right after I gave up on the idea of earning money through referrals…and instead I started focusing on being a great teacher and writing helpful content.
I had also started making YouTube videos to help people with the DaDa hiring process in August. So I'm unsure whether this referral came from the website or the YouTube channel.
Here's my first ever DigiNo YouTube video:
Maybe the referral in September was just a fluke?
But like I said previously, I had given up on this crazy idea to earn big bucks from referrals. I was teaching nonstop and picking up loads of cool tricks to share with my slowly growing audience…such as ManyCam!
I was concentrating less on writing content/making videos about getting hired and more about how to make online teaching fun and manageable…
…but I was still putting my DaDa referral link in each piece of content.
I remember this period very well…partly because I had just been dumped, was living off rice and beans, teaching long hours, whilst trying and failing to make it as a fantasy author.
But I also remember it for another reason…
Yes! Another one. Without any spamming on social media. I know it doesn't seem like much, but this was huge for me. It gave me belief that this idea could work.
It reminded me of a quote from one of my favourite books – The Alchemist:
“That's the way it always is,” said the old man. “It's called the principle of favorability. When you play cards the first time, you are almost sure to win. Beginner's luck.”
“Why is that?”
“Because there is a force that wants you to realize your destiny; it whets your appetite with a taste of success.”
The fact that I earned it a second time, showed me it wasn't a fluke.
So I carried on doing what I was doing…making helpful content.
December 2017 – January 2018
Maybe I was too hasty in getting all over-romantized with Paulo Coelho quotes.
Making helpful content wasn't enough…I needed people to see it.
This is when I got serious about SEO and optimizing my site.
And also when I wrote the article that changed everything…
This article ended up being an amazing keyword for SEO…and got my website ranking on Google in a big way.
DigiNo Page views June 1st 2017 – September 30th 2017 (4 months)
DigiNo Pageviews October 1st 2017 – January 31st 2018 (4 months)
Quite a jump! Even I'm shocked looking over these numbers again.
Thanks to my new direct focus on DaDa…and my efforts to create content that was not only helpful, but optimzed too…the website was flowing with more traffic than I ever thought was possible.
DaDaABC vs VIPKID still ranks on the first page on Google to this day…and it still continues to be one of my best performing articles.
So what would this huge boost in traffic mean for the referrals come February?
I was learning a very important lesson about online business…
…it's a marathon, not a race.
And it doesn't make any sense!
This time I really gave up on it. I stopped check my referral record. Before, it was my daily ritual to scan through my record checking for statuses to change from Pending to Signed…but no more!
I had also focused my energy to find more advanced ways to help teachers, such as the TransferWise article:
So who needs that dumb ol' referral bonus, huh?
Three referrals! $300!
I couldn't believe it. My idea worked! I dusted off my copy of The Alchemist that I had previously thrown in the bin (which was dumb considering I use a Kindle), and got back to work building DigiNo.
I love writing…but getting paid for it as well always adds an extra boost to the motivation.
I had no idea why this month randomly had three referrals so I just carried on as I was. I just kept on scanning the Facebook groups for frequently asked questions, and made content to satisfy those queries.
And of course…kept adding in my referral link hoping for the best. I didn't hold out much hope for getting the same amount next month…
Here is when I started to get big dreams. I had the belief that I could make DigiNo so much bigger. Maybe I could teach less and still afford to pay rent and work on my blog so much more?
But that would mean relying upon a volatile passive income to pay for food and shelter…which is something I never recommend.
Or, what if I went somewhere where I wouldn't have to spend as much on rent and food? Then surely I could afford more time to work on DigiNo?
This is when I began researching digital nomad locations…and jumped on a plane.
And as with anything I research or learn about, I share it with all of you:
It dropped, but I didn't care! I was earning referrals month-by-month.
And the best thing…it was passive! It was all coming from my articles and videos. And I wasn't paying a penny on Facebook ads!
Also, my decision to travel had allowed me to start making travel videos in better locations than just my room. Here's an example:
This was helping to boost my views on YouTube…as well as boosting the eyes on the DaDa referral link in the description and article.
And it was working! This is roughly $900. But don't worry about keeping count, I'll have it all in a table at the end of the article.
Exactly one year after I got hired. I took the time to reflect on how I used to stare at my empty referral record. And how stupid I felt for thinking this idea would work.
But by June 2018, I was starting to get between 3-10 people apply through my link a day!
The possibilities seemed endless.
This was starting to feel like my regular income and not a bonus. But I had to keep my feet on the ground and my head only partially in the clouds.
I had to focus on what it was I was doing that was producing these results.
I needed to level up my data science skills.
The summer was when I put a lot of time into YouTube and making travel videos.
But it was taking up a lot of time. So this was when I started to take a step back from creating vlog content and started using Content Samurai to make informative videos.
I did this so I could focus more on developing the website…which was struggling to stay afloat with all the traffic it was receiving:
$2200. This was getting real.
It was time to pull the trigger. It was time to upgrade DigiNo.
October was the month I completely slowed down my content creation. I shut myself away and started completely reworking the way DigiNo works.
I did this to ensure the site was much more organised and as helpful as possible. I also did it to keep the revenue flowing so that the site could still exist.
Why was I worried?
I had just had another awesome month for referrals. Surely there was no reason to worry about income?
However, for a couple months now, I had noticed some stirrings in the world of DaDa. A lot of changes were happening.
Very significant changes…
Why the drop? Was it my new site design? Was it my sudden focus on all online teaching companies and not just DaDa?
Unfortunately not…as those would be things that I could control.
Remember those “very significant changes” I mentioned previously? Well..
…DaDa had just entered an Ice Age:
That was that. No more new teachers meant no more referral bonus. The ride was over.
What a ride though…but it couldn't last forever. It is a shame that the DaDa hiring freeze happened just as my referrals were building up huge momentum…or maybe I caused the freeze – who knows!
But the important thing is, I learned so much along the way in that fun little experiment.
And here's a little quote I made up that helped me out with my disappointment:
Building a Sand Castle
“If your sand castle gets washed away by the tide…it left you with the skills to build something better.”
And that's what I knew I had to do…
DigiNo Partnered Companies
But it remains to be seen if the next fun little experiment will have the same success as the DaDa Referral Bonus saga.
Speaking of which, here's a table with all the results from each month and the total amount I earned…
(For ease of conversion, I've counted 700 RMB as 100 USD, which is a rough conversion. Therefore the final USD amount won't be the exact figure…but it will be pretty damn close either way).
DaDa Referral Earnings Total
|DATE||# of Referrals||Bonus in RMB||Bonus in USD|
Why am I sharing this? Because, despite the hiring freeze ending the DaDa experiment (for now), there are still plenty of other online teaching companies out there…and plenty of referral opportunities!
(Update – The DaDa Hiring Freeze ended in February 2019 – here is the DaDa apply page open once again!)
Earning referrals isn't easy. I thought that having thousands of visitors each month would give me thousands of referrals, but it takes time to build something that profitable.
But I know it is possible…because I didn't think I would earn a penny when I first started,
So I want to give you the chance to replicate what I did.
And we can do this the easy way, or the hard way…
How You Can Do It Too
The Easy Way
Use DigiNo as a Referral Platform
To earn the referral bonus, you can guest post for DigiNo reviewing your company. I've tried to turn DigiNo into one of the best referral sites…for everyone!
This is basically like having your own apply page ranking on Google…without having to make your own website and learn search engine optimzation…as well as millions of other digital skills.
More information on how you can do this below:
The Hard Way
Make Your Own Blog or Channel
Or you can try and replicate what I did and create a website about your online teaching company. This is a lot of hard work, but the potential profits are drastically better than the easy method.
Don't worry, I've tried to make it as easy as I possibly can for you. Get started by using my guide below:
Thanks for coming on the ride with me.
Be sure to join the DigiNo Community below for extra help along the way!