Most websites about affiliate marketing will tout how easy it is and how anyone can make money with affiliate marketing… If you buy their training program, of course. You’re not going to find that on this site.
Aren’t you also a bit tired of reading information from people who have never actually seen REAL success online? They may tout how they “made $50,000 selling Amazon products” but what they don’t tell you is they also spent $50,000 in paid advertising, content creation, or other expensive methods to achieve those sales. In the end, the majority of affiliate marketing advice comes from people who have almost no success with it and probably just want to sell you their own crappy training course.
Well, I’m a successful affiliate marketer and I NET (after expenses) well into the 6 figures. Sure, I’ve got a few affiliate links scattered around this site here and there, but I don’t have anything to sell you. This isn’t some teaser article just so I can get you to sign up as a member and I’m not going to pitch some automated software or training program. Everything on this site is free, and I’m not going to try to sell you on any product or service in this guide.
Here’s the truth most so-called “guru’s” don’t want to tell you… Affiliate marketing is not fast, it is not easy, and not everyone can do it. In fact, MOST people are not suited for affiliate marketing.
Even those of us who have been successful long-term have failed more than we’ve succeeded, just like most other successful business owners. Henry Ford bankrupted 7 companies prior to his success. Thomas Edison failed at creating the lightbulb more than 10,000 times. Steve Jobs was fired from the very company he founded at one point! Those of us who have succeeded in affiliate marketing know what it’s like to fail, but we simply use our failures as learning experiences. I’m not afraid to admit I have failed on many different projects, even as someone who has already seen great success in the affiliate marketing industry. So if you’re reading this article because you yourself have failed at affiliate marketing, please understand that this is just part of the process and journey towards success. This would be the absolute worst time to give up, because chances are if you’ve failed, you’re that much closer to succeeding.
What I’d like to do now is get into the top reasons why people fail at affiliate marketing and then give advice to those who still think it’s worth giving a try.
Failing Due To Unrealistic Expectations
If you have ever searched for affiliate marketer training courses on the Warrior Forum or places like Udemy.com, you’ll find all sorts of courses that promise quick success. But how many people actually succeed with those courses? Hardly anyone.
You have to understand that people who sell these affiliate marketer training courses are simply trying to market their product. Would you buy a product that says, “learn my ultra-slow and very difficult method to succeeding in affiliate marketing!” That type of thing doesn’t sell courses, which is one reason I don’t sell any of my own training products. On the other hand, someone else might say, “learn how I made $50,000 in one month using the Amazon Associates affiliate program!” WOW! Now that sells!
…Of course, once you get into the course, you discover that certain critical pieces of information are missing or it actually takes a ton of work or huge financial investment. There is always some barrier. Why? Like I said, affiliate marketing is not fast and easy. So, when you take one of those courses expecting to learn how to become an affiliate marketer fast and easy, you end up just feeling discouraged.
Before you sign up for any course that teaches you how to be an internet marketer, go into it with realistic expectations. Chances are, the course is being oversold and there will be many missing elements or barriers you’re not willing to tackle.
Failing Due To Shiny Object Syndrome
This sort of goes along with the failing at affiliate marketing due to unrealistic expectations. Shiny Object Syndrome sets in when someone jumps from trend to trend or course to course. They try a course on making money with affiliate marketing through Facebook ads, then when that doesn’t work, they sign up for a course about selling products through Amazon, then when that doesn’t work, they try a course on how to make money selling e-books, when that doesn’t work….
This basically occurs because someone gets really excited about some new “method” to make money online, then when that doesn’t work and they get discouraged, along comes another “method” to make money.
As I try to say over and over again, nothing is fast and easy. By moving from method to method, you never get to experience enough successes and failures to become an expert. Yes, you can make money with PPC advertising, but it will probably cost you thousands of dollars and a ton of experimenting before you find success. Sure, you can make money selling products on Amazon, but it’s not as simple as setting up a website and waiting for the profits to roll in. You have to fail before you can fine tune your business model for success. Just about any training course out there has some truth to it, but ultimately you must find your own recipe for success in whatever it is you’re attempting.
Failing Due To Lack Of Interest
I’m a firm believer that we should all do what we love in life. When I first graduated college, I took a corporate job because I thought that’s just what college grads were supposed to do. Well, for 2 long years, I was miserable. When they finally laid me off in 2008, I decided to do something drastic. I become a truck driver. Not because it paid well and not because it was a great place to put my college degree to use, but because I wanted to. I wanted to travel, I loved (and still love) driving. I thought it would be a cool lifestyle to try out. I was right!! Driving a truck was just what I needed and in a strange turn of events, driving a truck is directly correlated to me finding success online. I won’t get into the full story here, but you can read more about how I became an affiliate marketer on my about page.
The point is, I’m an affiliate marketer because I am absolutely passionate about this business. I love writing, I love creating websites, I love helping to promote high quality products and services, I love selling, I love teaching others, and if I won the lottery today I would still continue to be an affiliate marketer.
The problem is, many people view affiliate marketing with blinders on. They think, “oh man, I can work from home and be my own boss! I gotta do this!”
Yeah, well, that’s only part of it. Do you enjoy writing? Are you good at writing? Are you willing to create videos and promote your site through social media? Are you willing to work your butt off for 6 to 12 months without getting paid in the HOPES you MIGHT make some money later on?
What about the topic you choose to tackle? Do you really love the topic your affiliate marketing site is about? As I said, I’m very passionate about the affiliate marketing industry and I’d like to think it shows thorough in the content I produce, such as this article.
If you don’t actually enjoy affiliate marketing and what it takes to become a successful affiliate marketer, your success will always be limited. Even if you do succeed, if you don’t like doing it, what’s the point? There’s something else out there for you.
So you have to decide how much passion you have for this industry. How passionate are you about your topic, about the products and services you’re promoting, and about working from home and being your own boss? Be honest with yourself here.
Failure To Plan Ahead In Affiliate Marketing
Let’s pretend, just for a minute, that you want to start your own restaurant. You’re putting your life savings into starting the business, so if you fail, that basically means you will have to work for the rest of your life. Goodbye retirement.
Would you purchase an e-book or training course online and blindly follow what’s in there? I’d hope not! You would want to research everything as it relates to your specific business. What type of food do you want to serve? Who is your biggest competition and where are they? What locations would be best for the business? What type of furniture will you have? How much will you charge? Who will your distributors be? There are hundreds of questions you’d need to reason out and it may take you months or years before you ever open the restaurant due to the amount of research and planning needed to succeed.
This is why banks require business plans before they will ever even consider giving someone a business loan. They want to see your plans, how long it will take to start making a profit, how you will acquire new customers, your revenue and expense expectations, etc.
Affiliate marketing is a business that needs just as much planning. From niche selection to how to develop a site to product promotion to competition analysis… all of those could be intensive training courses in themselves.
But how many people actually create a business plan before starting their first affiliate marketing website? Most new affiliate marketers just pick a topic they like, start creating content, then give up in 6 months when nothing is happening on the site. Don’t expect to sign up for a training course and automatically be able to build a successful business.
With that said, the best way to learn is to just start DOING. Fortunately, affiliate marketing doesn’t take your life savings to get started, just your time. So take some courses but expect to fail. Anytime you fail you can learn something and start over. Maybe it will take you a year or longer of failures before you succeed, but that’s ok. Your failures are just a part of your research while you fine tune your business plan.
Failure Due To Assuming Affiliate Marketing Is More Profitable Than Any Other Business
With just about any small business, it will take years to start making a profit. A restaurant owner will need to spend 10’s or 100’s of thousands of dollars (sometimes millions of dollars) before a restaurant even opens its doors. The majority of small businesses only start to see profits after 3 to 5 years.
New affiliate marketers, on the other hand, expect to read some e-book and then start making $1,000 or more per month. Oh how I wish it was that easy.
Anytime I start a website, I do not expect it to make any money at all for at least 1 year. I expect the sites to slowly increase from there until I really start making some decent money around the 2 to 5 year mark. This may seem like a long time, but welcome to being a small business owner. It’s like that everywhere and affiliate marketing is no different.
Sure, some people get lucky. They find a niche at the exact right time and basically find something that is profitable in a short period of time very quickly. But guess what? If you ask them to do that again, they probably can’t. Affiliate marketing is a long-term business.
Failing In Affiliate Marekting Due To A Failure To Diversify
When you’re just getting started in affiliate marketing, you will have a very tough time diversifying. In the beginning, that’s ok. When you find something that is profitable, you need to throw as many resources as you can at it. At some point, though, you need to diversify.
Back in 2011, a large number of affiliate marketers went out of business because they relied entirely on Google for their website traffic. When Google changed the search algorithm, lots of affiliate businesses were destroyed overnight. Within your first 5 years in business, you should try to have at least 2 or 3 sites that draw not only Google visitors, but also traffic through paid advertising, social media, and other traffic sources. You should also have several different affiliate partners across 2 or 3 different industries.
Perhaps the best way to diversify your income is to begin developing your own products and services. If you’re able to earn profits by selling other people’s stuff, why not try to develop and sell your own stuff?
The internet is a fast changing place, so the only way you can really help to solidify your business is to diversify your revenue streams as much as possible. While this can take many years to accomplish, it is a long-term goal to strive for.
Still Want To Be An Affiliate Marketer? A Few Tips
It’s Ok To Fail! – Yes, failing sucks. I know the feeling well. You get really excited about something, put your heart and soul into it for months or even years, and then one day your get that sinking felling when you know it’s just not going to work. You’ve failed. It’s ok to feel bad for a little while and get it out of your system, but then, dust yourself off and turn that failure into a learning opportunity. You will not find a successful individual who hasn’t failed. When you fail consider yourself lucky to have gotten a failure out of the way. You’re just one step closer, baby!
Keep It SIMPLE! – Listen, affiliate marketing is not complicated. It’s actually very easy to understand. You don’t need to be trained on how it works, because I’m going to tell you what you need to do right here, for free. First, you need to find a niche that you have an interest in. Then, you need to find a problem that exists in that niche. After that, you find an affiliate partner who offers a solution to that problem. Once you’ve done that, you need to create a website, which anyone can do these days. Finally, that website needs to be filled with awesome articles, videos, and anything else that can be helpful for people in your target audience. The content part is the hardest part, because it takes a long time to create a resource helpful enough to a good sized audience. With that said, you don’t need any special traffic getting sources and you don’t need to read the next big promotional strategy. If you create high quality content, they will come. It’s that simple (notice I said simple, not easy).
Have Patience! – Affiliate marketing is one of the only industries where we are expected to work our butts off for 6 to 12 months or longer in the HOPES we might start making money in the future due to our past efforts. Unfortunately, far too many affiliate marketers give up way too soon. In too many cases, affiliate marketers will put in a ton of work for many months or even years, then give up, right before they were about to see success. Why shouldn’t you give up? Because when you do start to profit, it’s residual. All that hard work you put in pays off month after month after month. The first thing I do in the morning when I wake up is see how much money I made overnight while I slept. It’s a wonderful feeling, so stick with it!
Some Final Thoughts
I really hope this article helped to show you why affiliate marketers fail and what you can do about it. I always tell people that I’m not afraid of affiliate marketing becoming oversaturated, simply because most people out there don’t have the time and patience it takes to succeed. Everyone is looking for that quick buck without really providing much benefit to others.
If you don’t have the patience for affiliate marketing, be honest with yourself. There is no reason to force affiliate marketing to work when there is probably a career that is better suited for you. However, if you do have the patience and go into this with the right mindset, it can be an extremely rewarding career. I wouldn’t want to do anything else at this point!
Have any questions? Agree or disagree with something I said in this article? I’d love to hear from you! Go ahead and post a comment and I will get back to ya.