Whenever I see people who have failed miserably with affiliate marketing, it’s often easy to see why. Everyone is entitled to have their own reasons for getting into this type of work, but that doesn’t mean it will be bound to work out. Surprisingly, making money online as an affiliate marketer requires a lot of work and isn’t the glamorous, jet-setting lifestyle that earns you hundreds of thousands—even though there are some out there who will try to convince you otherwise.
It’s important that you have realistic expectations of what it’s like to be an affiliate marketer, because you certainly don’t want to waste the time trying to make it work if it’s actually not the right thing for you. Here are a few signs that you will struggle to make money online as an affiliate marketer:
1. You Have A Hard Time Giving Honest Opinions And Reviews
Being an affiliate marketer doesn’t mean giving rave reviews of anything and everything you promote. Of course, you shouldn’t promote a product or service you outright dislike, but you should share an honest opinion of it.
Think about it: even with items you love and use all the time, you likely wish you could make some tweaks and changes to them. You might adore your hair dryer but wish it were just a little bit lighter. The food delivery service you use is amazing but they might not be the most vegetarian-friendly. Your baking pans are perfect except for the fact that the grip feels a little strange.
People who take your recommendations want to know what they’re getting into. They’ll appreciate knowing the not-so-perfect aspects of what you promote for two reasons. First of all, it means they won’t be faced with any surprises. The fact that the hair dryer is a little heavy or the food service doesn’t offer many vegetarian dishes might not matter much to them, but it’s certainly nice to know before making a purchase.
But more importantly, an honest opinion (rather than a rave review) will make your readers trust you. By reading about the pros and cons, they’ll understand you’re not just advertising things to make money, but that you’re on their side and wanting to help them with whatever they need. In a world where people have a hard time finding honesty, it is incredibly refreshing to come across someone genuine.
PERSONAL EXAMPLE: The best personal example I can show is my website DogFoodInsider.com. You’ll notice that I use the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program which allows me to promote just about anything sold on Amazon. That means, I have the freedom to truly promote the products I like as well as warn people about lower quality products. The reviews are 100% unbiased, honest, and yet I still earn commissions every single day from my reviews.
2. You Want To Set It And Forget It
If your vision of becoming an affiliate marketer is setting up a website, putting some links on it, and sitting back as the money rolls in, then you’re in for a surprise. As we mentioned, affiliate marketing requires some real work. You need to determine your niche, get a site (or social media, email marketing, YouTube channel, or other avenue) set up to promote links, and you need to keep new content coming out regularly.
That’s why I get a little annoyed when people say affiliate marketing is a residual or passive income source. On some level, they are correct. Sure, I wake up every morning and the first thing I check is how much money I made overnight. However, the only reason I earn money while I sleep is because I work hard while I’m awake! Affiliate marketing is not some type of investment strategy – it’s a BUSINESS!
By generating new blog posts on a site, you not only constantly give readers something to check out, but you’ll rank higher in the search engines by having positive SEO. SEO stands for search engine optimization, which entails using certain strategies to get your site ranked higher in search engine results. The higher your ranking, the more people who will discover your content—and the more people who find you, the more money you can potentially make.
If you’ve ever visited a site that’s not been updated recently, do you tend to see it as the best choice to refer to? Probably not. People want to rely on information that’s up-to-date and current, so your job as an affiliate marketer is ongoing, actually.
3. You’re Doing It (Just) For The Money
Too many people get suckered into affiliate marketing because they think they’ll get rich quick. Remember the old saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it is”? This definitely applies here!
Affiliate marketing certainly has the potential to earn you a significant amount of money, but that is true with any type of business. Even if you do see early success, it will be pocket change. If you have visions of grandeur and think that three months will pass and you’ll be vacationing in Tahiti without a care in the world, you’re more than likely only going to disappoint yourself and give up.
Affiliate marketing isn’t the best way to make money quickly, but it can be a useful way to make an ongoing stream of money that lasts for a while AND provide you with a ton of freedom. Yes, I work hard, but I also get to work when I want from where I want and take days off just about whenever I want. It takes work to get here though.
With that said, we all started affiliate marketing with the intent to make money and that’s ok. However, money should be secondary. Do you truly ENJOY affiliate marketing? Is it fun and exciting? Do you have a niche topic you’re passionate about to constantly create new content teaching and informing people? If so, you’ll be able to ride out the tough months (or even YEARS) before you start earning an income from it.
Making money as an affiliate marketer can be rocky at first. It’s not terribly consistent and it might not be as much as you’d like. But if you have the patience, tenacity, and drive you can actually do well, and that’s what people sometimes expect when they just get started.
Nothing amazing will ever come from sitting around and doing nothing, and if you intend to make hundreds (or more) from affiliate sales, you’d best be ready to hustle. This means regular blog posts, newsletters, ads, or YouTube videos. A lot of your time will be spent looking into the products and services that suit your niche and are a perfect fit for your audience. You’ll also need to research your field regularly and stay on top of the news, current events, and latest products. If that type of work doesn’t sound appealing to you, then affiliate marketing may not be for you.