When you first hear about affiliate marketing, it sounds like a pretty good deal. Done well, affiliate marketing can become the sole source of income for someone and lead them to make some of the best income of their life. That’s exactly what happened with me. I went from an in-debt long-haul truck driver to being a debt free affiliate marketer earning more than I ever have in my life. Affiliate marketers make their own hours and work from home.
VIDEO: What Is It Like To Be A Full-Time Affiliate Marketer?
Since I made the above video, I’ve recently settled down in San Diego, California and love working from a coffee shop, a beachfront cafe, from home, libraries, or wherever else I’d like to be on any given day. And all it entails is simply promoting products and services I like. Easy, right?
Well, not so fast. Sure, that sounds great, but every job has its downsides and its difficulties. Lawyers and doctors have prestigious jobs, but they must spend years — usually over a decade — in school (which isn’t cheap, either!). Kindergarten teachers shape the minds of the future, but they also have to deal with tantrums and the downfalls that come with teaching for a living. Construction workers get paid well but can also count on a lot of physical labor on the job as well as safety concerns.
Successful affiliate marketers sometimes glean over the negative aspects of the industry in hopes to sell you their own guides and courses to learn the trade. They make it sound amazing. And the truth is, affiliate marketing can be an amazing way to make money online, but there are a few important things you should know before committing fully.
Pay Can Be Great, But It’s Not Necessarily Consistent
An affiliate marketer doesn’t get paid a salary; instead, income is based on clicks or sales from a link. This means that one month, sales could be incredibly lucrative and then dismal the next. Like any business, my affiliate marketing business has seen it’s ups and downs. There is nothing worse than putting in a ton of hard work only to see sales decreasing. With that said, over the long-term, my affiliate marketing business has seen steady growth and even exponential growth at times.
For established affiliate marketers, they’ve got their bases covered so that even when the paycheck fluctuates, it doesn’t mean the difference between being able to afford a vacation or having to scrounge through the sofa seats for pizza delivery cash. But many people place a high value on consistency and stability, and affiliate marketing doesn’t deliver that in the way that most think about it.
In the video above, you saw that I was traveling around in a 31ft travel trailer. I also mentioned that I earn a 6 figure income from affiliate marketing. However, if you looked at my lifestyle on the surface, you’d never know it. Even though I’ve settled down in San Diego and don’t do as much traveling, I still live in my travel trailer and pay just $600 per month to live in one of the most expensive places in the World. I am also debt free, drive a used vehicle, and I keep my expenses to a minimum. While you don’t need to be as extreme as I am, don’t rush out and buy that new yacht when you start earning an decent income. As an affiliate marketer, it is very important to save money for the rainy days that WILL come.
While you might not be able to count on the same amount of money coming in each month, you can have a strategy that maximizes sales and gives you plenty of leeway if sales through one affiliate marketing program are down. By having multiple streams of income, you won’t even notice when you sell fewer products through one of your programs. Pay attention to trends, seasonal events, and your ideal client to decide how to best maximize your profits.
My goal for the past few years has been to diversify my income streams and I will continue to do so. I put money back into my business by outsourcing tasks to freelancers which gives me the ability to create more sites and diversify. This should ultimately be a goal of yours as well.
It’s A Lot Of Work For Not A Lot — At First
When you see affiliate marketers who are making hundreds and even thousands of dollars per month, it’s easy to get carried away and start dreaming of life as an affiliate marketer. But the reality is that those really successful people put in a lot of time and effort at the beginning that is just now paying off.
You won’t simply set up a website and be making thousands your first month. In addition to setting up a website you’ll want to start an email list, publish useful content, create ads, and more… and that’s the bare minimum. As people begin and start to put in the hours as an affiliate marketer, they quickly become irritated to discover it’s not as easy as they thought it was. Additionally, many people think that once an affiliate site is set up, it will just “run itself.” Not so. While it might not require constant work, you can’t just set up a bunch of links and forget about it while the money rolls in.
A lot of people say affiliate marketing provides “passive income” but that’s not really true. Sure, I make money while I sleep. Every morning when I wake up the first thing I check is how much money I made overnight. That’s pretty cool. But I also work on my sites almost daily. Affiliate marketing is a long term strategy and will take time before the “passive income” begins.
The best thing you can do to make money online is to truly love what you’re doing. If you’re reviewing jeans, then you’d better really like wearing denim! If you want to share ingredients and products you use to make delicious meals, you’d best enjoy a good recipe. If you’re rating cars, then you need to already know a lot about them. The point is, your interests will help inspire the way that you make money online and make it seem like less of a chore—especially at first, when there isn’t as much payoff.
I often see “competitors” attempt to enter the same niche industries as I am in, only to see their sites abandoned after 6 months. Well, when you’re going up against people who actually LOVE what they do such as myself, you’ll never win. I don’t claim to have the most popular sites and blogs in the world, but my most successful sites are those I am the most passionate about.
READ MORE: How Long Does It REALLY Take To Earn A Full-Time Living With Affiliate Marketing?
It’s For Anyone
No matter how old you are or how young you are, you can be an affiliate marketer. Really! Sometimes people forgo creating an affiliate site to make money online because they think the internet is a young person’s game or that they don’t know enough about computer programming to start a website. There are a staggering number of people who use the internet and are over the age of 35, so don’t convince yourself otherwise. You also don’t need to know ANY computer programming. I didn’t know any when I started and I hardly know any now. Additionally, our society seems to think that success can only come after years of hard work and suffering on a small paycheck. If you’re able to operate a website or at least work online in some capacity, no matter your age, you can become a successful affiliate marketer. You can also start your affiliate marketing business with less than $100 in start-up capital and you can work on it part-time by setting your own hours. Pretty cool. With that said, there is one main personality trait that is required for affiliate marketers and that is PATIENCE! Most people do not have the patience to see success.
It’s A Business
A lot of people consider affiliate marketing as just another way to make money online. And while this is true, the most successful affiliate marketers consider their work a business. This thought can be incredibly intimidating to people. A business? A business requires a business plan, an accountant, employees, a storefront, and—as we know—many businesses fail within their first year. Well, if you want to have a successful affiliate marketing business, you better have a business plan, do market research, and learn what it takes to succeed online before you even get started. Don’t worry, you can get all the help you need with these free training videos.
Luckily, this type of business is much less riskier than starting a traditional brick-and-mortar one. You don’t need a storefront, you don’t need to hire people, and you don’t need a lot of the traditional business needs. More than anything you need the drive, patience, and desire to put in the hard work to succeed.