After a small amount of research online, you’ll find a few recurring themes on the subject of affiliate marketing. First of all, you’ll find a lot of resources promising you could make millions with affiliate sales in a rather short amount of time. At the same time, you’ll see a lot of information saying that it’s nearly impossible to make any money at all with affiliate marketing. You’ll find tips, tricks, and advice both for and against becoming an affiliate marketer, but very few honest, down-to-earth articles that give the real truth about what it’s like working as an affiliate marketer. To give you a thorough understanding of the business, I’ve put together this small guide to the downsides of affiliate marketing and how to deal with them.



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It Takes Time To Become Established

Any guide will tell you that becoming successful with affiliate marketing is something that won’t happen overnight. In fact, it could realistically take months or even years before you start to see significant income from your efforts.

Furthermore, this is not money easily made. While the thought of earning money online with just sharing a few links sounds like the simplest concept in the world, that’s not the reality of affiliate marketing. The truth is you will spend a lot of time at the beginning without making much in return, and it won’t be until later that you’ll start to see your efforts rewarded.

So the bottom line is if you’re looking for quick and easy cash, affiliate marketing is not the best choice for you. But if you’re looking for something that can pay off after some great marketing strategies and a bit of hard work, then affiliate marketing could be a great option for extra cash or—in more long-term cases—even your main income. The best affiliate marketers:


  • Understand their audience and only provide affiliate links that are relevant to what their followers want and need. By pushing products or services that are not applicable to them, you’ll quickly repel customers and sales will dwindle. But if you promote things that you know they’ll find valuable, you’ll be their go-to resource for these types of items.

  • Are honest and don’t promote products or services just for the sake of commissions. It’s quickly apparent when someone is interested in just selling something rather than actually helping. Only promote the links for things that you would buy yourself.

  • Continuously release new content. Whether it’s in the form of a newsletter or blog posts, make sure you’re getting yourself out there. By being an ever-present part of your audience’s lives, you will build up their trust in you, making them much more likely to respect your opinions and recommendations. If you promote products or services sporadically, it will be harder to generate a solid and steady income from your work.

  • Use multiple platforms to reach their audience. The days of setting up a blog as the sole way to reach your followers are quickly ending. The best affiliate marketers truly develop a relationship with their followers through video, social media, podcasts, blogs, webinars, live-stream events, and in some cases even live conferences or local gatherings. At the very least, setting up a few social media accounts and creating some simple videos should be on the top of your list.

You Can Become Focused On Sales

Although you should put a high premium on helping your audience and giving them the most reliable and useful information possible, your final goal is always to sell products. While focusing on sales is not an inherently bad thing, it can feel exhausting or disingenuous at times. After all, it can sometimes feel like people are only inclined to buy things on their own volition and you may wonder if your opinions actually have any pull on them in the end. The process to sell affiliate products I personally use is called the CTPM process. You can learn more about the CTPM sales process here.

As an affiliate marketer, you will experience the most success when you promote services and products that you truly believe in. This not only feels good for you as the seller, but helps build up your reputation. If you consistently recommend amazing things for your audience, then they will weigh your opinion as more and more valuable over time.

Additionally, remember that all affiliate networks and programs have different terms. Some do pay you based solely on sales, but others base it on clicks as well. Some sites offer perks to shoppers that encourage them to purchase more items, so you’ll also have their marketing helping you out with sales as well.



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Your Paycheck Will Fluctuate

People like security and would sometimes much rather prefer a lesser-paying job that they can count on than one where their pay will vary. Affiliate marketing doesn’t guarantee you a certain amount of money every month, and this is an incredibly scary thing for many people to face. They must ask themselves if it’s worth making the leap and focusing their efforts on something that isn’t a definite amount each month.

The reality is that no job is ever a guarantee. You could have a great-paying job somewhere and for reasons completely unrelated to your performance—like company downsizing—you could be fired. We’re not trying to frighten you, but instead help you to understand that no job is a guarantee of a paycheck for forever.

The best way to secure yourself financially as an affiliate marketer is to use a few different affiliate programs to diversify your income. This way, if you make less money one month through one of the programs, you’ve at least got one or two more that will keep your paycheck fairly even. It also helps to track your links and observe which ones are performing the best. If you see a continuous, slow decline in one of the programs, it may be time to either step up your marketing of those items or to focus on other programs to maximize earnings. While your paycheck won’t always be consistent, you can make direct changes to your work and hopefully make the amount increase each month!