When I started affiliate marketing, I never bothered to ask “can I make money with affiliate marketing?”. I just knew I could! It was absolute certainty, and my actions over the following years were based on passion, stubbornness, desperation and ignorance! After a while of failing, I stopped and asked myself that same question “Can I make money with affiliate marketing?”.
Can I Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?
Before I found affiliate marketing I was desperate to succeed with some self employed endeavour. I knew I didn’t want a job or a boss. I was juggling some self employment, some employment and attempting to earn money from the internet, back in 1995 when eBay was born!
Back then I had a dial up connection to the internet which was frustrating at times. I remember attempting to outbid someone on an eBay auction at the last minute. The dial up connection would cut off at the vital moment and I would lose the item! This was before I discovered a little eBay money saving tip which I share in my article how to start a profitable ebay business.
Leverage & Automation
After a while of buying and selling on eBay I realised there must be a better way of doing things. I bought an eBook which offered an eBay business system and realised the selling of the eBook was the key! It had automation and anyone could buy from anywhere globally. All the seller had to do was create the thing, and then list it – in theory anyway!
I spent quite a while attempting to replicate the idea of selling my own ebooks, but after a lot of struggle, the idea led me to affiliate marketing.
Basically affiliate marketing is the process of selling someone else’s product which can be delivered or downloaded automatically or by someone else. You don’t have to take care of any customers, deliver or handle any products or personally sell anything. You’re effectively a third party referrer who gets paid only when you successfully sell something.
But affiliate marketing sounded perfect to me. It meant I could work whenever I wanted and around other work and commitments. All I needed was a laptop and internet connection. I dreamt of working from my yacht in the Bahamas!
During all of the training and learning process I went through, I never thought to ask “can I make money with affiliate marketing?”. Nor did I look into how much money I wanted to make, or how I would do it. I was just enthused by the idea of affiliate marketing and I really didn’t know what it would take.
Can You Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?
There are people who make a whole heap of money with affiliate marketing. It’s the only source of income for many. But for the ones who ‘make it’ there’s many who don’t, and there’s many who struggle. Anyone can make money with affiliate marketing but it does take work. It’s definitely not a magic formula for success and riches. So the answer to “Can I make money with affiliate marketing” does depend largely on you.
What affiliate marketing has to its advantage is the digital economy and the ability to leverage the internet. Anyone can learn the skills to leverage the internet and sell other people’s products. They can then scale up their sales to reach an ever growing customer base. How they go about this, their levels of determination, their financial situation and their belief and desire, all have a bearing on the level of success they can achieve.
How someone goes about building an internet business is really down to their knowledge. Without the right knowledge, they can go down a number of rabbit holes and get nowhere. Without self belief, and belief in what they are doing, anyone can get stuck on the journey too, and give up before they have found success.
Why Most Fail
Most will fail because they are not prepared to function as entrepreneurs. Many employees come into affiliate marketing and give up long before they would see any results. That’s for a number of reasons. Perhaps it’s because they have been trained to expect reward on a monthly cycle? With affiliate marketing, you are paid on a performance related basis. It can be years before you start seeing the benefits of your efforts. Most aren’t willing to wait that long.
There’s other reasons people give up too early but mostly it’s their belief which gives up first. Once the will to succeed is lost, there’s nothing left to work for. If you can’t see any tangible results for your work, it takes a lot of energy to overcome doubts, fears and cynicism.
There’s a lot of work involved too. Consider learning affiliate marketing like getting a degree or going back to school. Only, with affiliate marketing the end result is financial freedom.
Stumbling Blocks To Affiliate Success
There’s also many stumbling blocks in the way of success with affiliate marketing. See my article 23 affiliate mistakes newbie affiliates should avoid. There’s a number of strategies which you can spend a huge amount of time on and see nothing in terms of results. It can take months before you’ve realised that your strategy is flawed. You then need to start again.
The people claiming to ‘help’ you can also of course be flawed in their teachings and in their intent. Are they really the ‘experts’ or do they really want to help you? Having this thought in the back of your head does nothing for your belief. Without trust, building an online business is so much more difficult. You have to contend with your own scepticism which sabotages your efforts, belief and action steps.
It’s also very difficult to determine what a realistic affiliate marketing income is, and how soon you can achieve it. With a good business model and by using paid marketing strategies, some people have managed to replace their income within 6 months. But that’s more rare than most. That’s if someone fully trusts a particular strategy, and goes ‘all in’.
Others can spend years barking up the wrong tree and wasting time on the wrong activities. But providing you learn from your mistakes and failures, and given that you’ll never quit, you can eventually succeed at affiliate marketing. To get there fast you need the right business model and a community of mentors. Going it alone is pretty much a receipe for disaster, even if you think you know what you’re doing.
Can I Make A Living With Affiliate Marketing?
When I started affiliate marketing, I wasn’t looking for making millions and driving Ferrari’s like many of the ‘guru’s’ suggest you should. I only wanted to be able to make a ‘living’ from it. This, in part, was a reason I failed so many times – (I’ll come back to this later). I was looking for a simple strategy to allow me to earn a ‘modest’ income. So I worked away at many of the tactics which were free to do.
One of these was blogging. Blogging is a cheap method of building website traffic which you can hopefully convert into sales. You can also use Google’s Adsense program to earn money from clicks on your adverts. However, you’ll need to build a good amount of traffic if you decide to go this route. This means creating a lot of content and successfully promoting it. Over time the goal of this strategy is to rank your articles and content on Google and earn some free, long term traffic.
But unfortunately it doesn’t always work this way. ‘Free’ traffic doesn’t always work and is incredibly time consuming. It can take years to get the kind of traffic you need to convert visitors into buyers. Your content needs to be good and well suited to your potential customers. It’s a minefield attempting to build an online business from a blog alone. Especially if you’re in a competitive niche. You need to become a master at promoting your content and your content needs to be good enough for people to notice and share it.
So, can I make a living or not?
My original intent of “I just wanted to make a living”, or even a part time income transpired into not very outstanding results. Really, my original intent was to be doing something I enjoyed and that turned out to be article writing, or blogging. Unfortunately, that’s also a very slow method of building up an online business. Even if your content gets ranks on Google, it is unlikely to get ranked for the most competitive and lucrative keywords because of the enormous competition.
So that means if your content does rank on Google, it will be for low hanging “fruit”, or the long tail keyword combinations which only get a few visitors per month. Still though, this is free traffic. If just one of your monthly visitors opts into your sales funnel, that could potentially turn into a sale every month! but equally it might not, and you’ve spent a long time creating and promoting your content for nothing!
With paid advertising on the other hand, you have far more control of the traffic. Only after a long time and lot of disappointment did I venture into using paid traffic. If I hadn’t found a mentor, I probably would still be solely focused on content creation.
Paid Traffic Vs. Content Creation
With paid traffic you can run a campaign and see very quickly whether it works or not. Within a few days you’ll know whether your campaign is creating any leads. Depending on your particular business model, you’ll know within a month whether your lead has converted into a sale. Once you have this data, you can make decisions on which campaigns are worth running and which you should discontinue.
With content, on the other hand, you could be spending several hours creating an article, publish it and market it, and still get no results. It can take months before your content appears in the search results on Google. Also, it might never appear. The time you spend doing all this could have been wasted, for all you know. If time is less valuable to you than money, this is a possible route to go down. However, if your time is more valuable and you have an income which you can use for marketing, the paid route is far quicker and more effective if you learn how.
Pay To Earn?
Part of this learning will be costing you money. You need to run adverts to understand which ones work and which ones don’t work. You also need a very effective sales funnel in order to recoup your costs. (See ready made sales funnel). This is perhaps another sticking point which stops potential affiliates from continuing down the path of an online entrepreneur. Spending money doesn’t make sense when you want to earn money for most. But for an entrepreneur, it does make sense. Once you are in position of spending $10 and making $20, you’ve learned a valuable strategy of scaling an income and automating a business. But this might take a lot more than $10 to learn.
This was a steep learning curve for me. When I started looking towards affiliate marketing, I had no money and so tried to do everything on the cheap. Once I was in a better position I was able to pay for better training and resources which allowed me to move forwards faster. Here’s another problem which I think many would-be affiliate marketers face.
Many see affiliate marketing as a cheap way to earn an income from their laptops. However, unless you treat it as a serious business, you won’t put the time, effort and investment into it. If you attempt to do things on the cheap, it will be much harder and take much longer! Hence why many quit.
Can I Make Money With Affiliate Marketing? Belief
Can I make money with affiliate marketing?
Whether you believe you can do something or not, you’re right – Henry Ford.
Belief is a self fulfilling prophecy. Affiliate marketing is a business like any other and requires work like any other. The difference with affiliate marketing is that anyone can attempt it and at a variety of different levels, with a variety of different strategies.
You can ‘dip your toe in’ with affiliate marketing and find the water too hot or too cold. You can equally put your heart and soul into affiliate marketing and fail! It’s whether you give up or not that ultimately determines your eventual success, or lack of it, and the path you take and learn from.
Whatever belief you carry about affiliate marketing (and yourself) can either taint your journey or help you to succeed. Your beliefs are based on knowledge and in some cases ignorance. Building your knowledge about something is a good place to start then.
Ask yourself “Can I make money with affiliate marketing?” now, and in a year’s time after you start learning.