It’s no big secret that I earn a full-time living (and a very good one) from affiliate marketing. I have also spent many, many, many hours creating this website trying to help people become affiliate marketers. However, I thought I would actually write an article about the main reasons why affiliate marketing sucks.
Many new affiliate marketers only focus on the positive aspects of affiliate marketing such as being able to set your own schedule, working from home, and the insanely low amount of start-up capital needed to get your business started. With that said, it’s a good idea to understand the negative aspects of affiliate marketing as well. This is obviously not an all-inclusive list, but these are some of the reasons why I think affiliate marketing sucks, even as someone who earns a living with affiliate marketing.
The Affiliate Marketing Industry Gets Ruined By Fellow Affiliate Marketers
Let’s face it. Being an affiliate marketer is just a fancy name for being an independent sales person. My job as an affiliate marketer is to sell you stuff. On this very website you’re reading, for example, I frequently promote a service called Affilorama. Don’t get me wrong, I think Affilorama is a fantastic program for new affiliate marketers, which is why I’m a subscriber to Affilorama myself, but the point is, I created this site to make money. If you want, you can check out my recent article on how this site makes money and why I promote Affilorama.
Unfortunately, this rings true for all affiliate marketers. Our websites aren’t charities. We create them to make money – simple as that. The problem is, the majority of affiliate marketers out there do not promote products and services they truly believe in. Instead of actually helping people, spreading free information, and promoting only the very best products and services out there, they just promote whatever they can, however they can. From email spam to comment spam to unethical and dishonest methods to sell crappy products and services, the affiliate marketing industry is simply riddled with sales people that make used car salesman look like saints.
So, one of the reasons affiliate marketing sucks is because you have to deal with a rather unethical industry. Just some basic research will show that affiliate marketers are not held in the highest light. We all have reasons to be weary of affiliate marketers because affiliate marketing is just downright shady. There are far more bad ones than good ones, but regardless, we all get a bad name because of it.
You Put In A TON Of Effort With Only The Possibility It Will Pay Off
How many courses exist on the Warrior Forum promising that you will learn how to make thousands of dollars per month with minimal effort? How many “automated systems” for making money online will you find? How many step-by-step blueprints for online success are there? I’d say just on the Warrior Forum alone there are 10’s of thousands of “training courses” promising this crap to you.
The truth is, affiliate marketing is not easy, it’s certainly not fast, and there is no “one size fits all” step-by-step system that will make you successful. In the end, everyone needs to find their own unique formula for success. What works for me might not work for you and vice-versa.
Affiliate marketing sucks because the only real way to find success is to find it yourself. You can go through all of the “step-by-step systems” you can find, but in the end, it will all come down to your own unique recipe. In order to find that unique recipe, you will likely have to fail a dozen times or more first until you determine what exactly works and what doesn’t. The ones who succeed are the ones who make it through those failures and keep pushing.
Even if you know what you’re doing, you still have to put in a TON of time and effort before you’ll ever start to see some success. With any job you get, you are given a salary, hourly pay, or at least the chance to earn some commissions on day one. That’s just not the case with affiliate marketing. I typically have to put in 6 to 12 months of work on a site before it starts to earn me any revenue at all. There have also been sites I’ve worked on for 6 to 12 months only to realize it’s never going to make me any substantial income. If you don’t know how disheartening that is already, you will soon learn if you plan on being an affiliate marketer. In spite of years of experience and all the planning I do on sites, the truth is, they don’t all work out in the end.
You Are Required To Wear Multiple Hats
As I said before, affiliate marketers are basically just glorified sales people. We earn our living through selling stuff. However, we have many other responsibilities as well. We have to be web developers, SEO experts, copyrighters, social media experts, PPC experts, customer service reps, photo editors, video creators and editors, and so much more.
The learning curve with affiliate marketing never, ever ends. As a new affiliate marketer, the first thing you’ll need to learn is the basics of affiliate marketing. After that, you’ll need to figure out how to build a website. Then you need to figure out how to write great content that attracts a lot of visitors. Then you’ll need to figure out how to turn those visitors into paying customers. Then you’ll need to figure out how to diversify your traffic with social media or PPC advertising. Then you’ll need to learn how to rebuild your site to work properly on whatever new devices come out in the future. It just never, ever stops.
You Become Reliant On Others For Your Business Success
As an affiliate marketer, you must reach a targeted audience that you can advertise to. Most affiliate marketers, myself included, focus on developing websites that attract lots of free traffic from search engines. The only search engine that really matters right now is Google. So, if this site were to receive 3,000 visitors per day from Google, then one day Google decided it didn’t like my site anymore and that traffic went from 3,000 visitors to 200 visitors per day, there really isn’t a whole lot I can do about that. It would kill my business, just as it did for so many others when Google released the Panda and Penguin algorithm changes.
This holds true for other traffic sources as well. Facebook advertising policies and Google Adwords policies change all the time. A couple years ago, Facebook even changed when it displays posts in peoples news feeds, resulting in FAR less traffic from Facebook for most website owners. No matter how you drive traffic to your site, and as much as we all try to diversify, you will most likely end up becoming reliant on one main source of traffic for your business. This is not fun, and it’s one big reason why affiliate marketing sucks. On a personal level, I can tell you that Google is responsible for sending me enough traffic that it converts into $10,000+ per month across my sites and Google can turn that off overnight if they really wanted to. That’s scary, but it’s an aspect of affiliate marketing that you’ll have to learn to manage.
Your Friends And Family Will Hate You!
I didn’t want to end on a bad note, so before I close out this article, I wanted to close off by showing that even though affiliate marketing sucks in some ways, it can still be totally worth it for the right person.
Yes, if you become a successful affiliate marketer, your friends and family will hate you. Well, maybe not you personally, but they might hate your lifestyle (because they are jealous!). Most of my friends and family don’t even really understand how I make money or how much I make. All they know is I’ve been cruisin’ around the USA in an RV for the past couple years making money from wherever I want. They also know that I have no boss, set my own schedule, own my own company, and make more money than I ever did as a security guard, Account Manager, or Truck Driver (my former jobs). I take vacations whenever I want, I love what I do for a living, and I never have to deal with the daily grind they have to deal with such as commute times, dealing with crappy co-workers, etc.
Let me tell you, when you make some good money doing a job you love without any boss and you get to set your own schedule while you work from anywhere, it creates some jealousy and envy.
When you’re a full-time affiliate marketer, people you are closest to will begin to look at you a little differently. In some ways, it’s good. We all like to be the envy of our friends and family. We all like to be looked at as successful people. Who doesn’t love to tout they earn a full time living online?
However, when this happens, you suddenly aren’t allowed to have a bad day. You become a little less human. “Oh, you’re not feeling all that great? What do you care! You get to set your own schedule you big wimp!” Sigh.
Some Final Thoughts
The biggest misconception about affiliate marketing is that it is fast and easy. Even if you know all the right steps to take, affiliate marketing is NOT fast and it is NOT easy. Being a full time affiliate marketer is just like having any other job. Some things are good and some things are bad. You just have to determine if the sucky aspects of affiliate marketing are worth the benefits of affiliate marketing.
Now that I’ve given you some reasons why affiliate marketing sucks, let me tell you that I personally wouldn’t want to do anything else. I absolutely LOVE affiliate marketing. It suits my personality and lifestyle perfectly, plus I have been able to be an affiliate marketer (glorified sales person) in a totally ethical way while only promoting stuff I really believe in.
However, that doesn’t mean it will suit YOU and YOUR lifestyle perfectly. If you’ve tried to start an affiliate marketing site but you’ve just discovered it isn’t all that fun for you, there is another way that you can earn a good living in a way that you can become passionate about. Follow that passion. In every profession, you’ll find people who love what they do and you’ll also find people who hate what they do. It all comes down to you.