I’ve often heard the question “how long does it take to make money with affiliate marketing?”. It’s a difficult question to answer so I thought I’d put aside some time to answer in in a post. For me, it’s taken years! However, I’ve seen other people start earning within months. It really depends on a number of factors which I’ll break down here:
- Motivation – Some people are just motivated more than others. This might be because you’re absolutely nauseated by your boss, fed up with having no money, or simply because you have no time to actually enjoy or appreciate your life anymore.
- Life Situation – Your situation can be different to your motivation, so I’ve included this as a possible reason here. You either have no time or no money. Affiliate marketing can help out both, but they require different paths. If you’ve no time, you can spend budget and get things going faster than if you’ve no money, which might mean taking the longer route of content marketing.
- Your resolve – This is different for everyone. Lets say 10 people are given a gym membership and told to build their best body in 5 months. They will all look different. Those with the strongest resolve won’t necessarily have the best looking figures either. It depends where you’re starting from. But it’s your resolve which will determine whether you stick the course at all!
- Mental Blockages – Any conflicting beliefs and attitudes around money and the business model you choose in your affiliate marketing journey can hold you back from success.
- The Path You Take/Products – This is probably one of the most important reasons why an internet business can take years or months. I started looking online for an income many years ago. I took several wrong turns though and never had any money. This set me back. You can do it quicker than me! The product/s you choose to promote has a great deal to do with your success.
- What marketing Strategy Will You Opt For? – Your marketing strategy will determine to a large extent the time it takes to build your online business too. Paid advertising can be expensive, but it’s much faster than creating content. Content creating is a cheap method of building traffic, but it takes ages to get any tangible results.
Motivation – What Creates Success Online?
You can think of affiliate marketing like joining a gym. Just because you buy a gym membership, you shouldn’t expect to get great results. Some people will only go to the gym once a month. Others will not go at all! The people who get the most out of a gym, work hard and regularly for a long enough period of time to see the results they want. They eat right too and cut out distractions and habits which would get in the way of their progress. Not everyone has the motivation and discipline to keep doing this through life’s ups and downs. Many will quit before they even start seeing results at all. Affiliate marketing is the same – don’t expect your ‘gym membership’ to do the work for you!
My motivation for starting out online came from a need for both direction and income. I was struggling with low paid jobs and attempting to build a stunt career! I’d had a few professional stunt performing jobs for TV and film but the career was a patchy one to say the least! I needed something to subsidise my passion for the stunt career. The internet was my ‘way out’ of menial low paid work and was something I could do in-between jobs. My motivation was patchy at best and I was ‘split’ by a number of other hobby jobs including a passion for Kung Fu and for stunts! Perhaps this is the reason it took me such a long time to actually make it work.
Cordelia, a member of the community I belong to online has gone from having a full time nursing career and 3 kids to being a full time online entrepreneur in around 6 months. She was absolutely focused on getting the result she needed to get out of a career which left her with no time for her children.
Dan is another member of the community who is now a huge earner online. He left his job to pursue an online business full time. It took him around a year to transition to full time online after burning through a budget he had left from a high paid job which left him no time to pursue the things he wanted in life.
Life Situation – What Limitations Are Holding You Where You Are?
Your life situation can in some ways determine which strategies you will use as an affiliate marketer. I started out will no job and a very sporadic income. Some affiliates start out with a high paid job but no time to really enjoy their life or spend how they choose. Both situations call for a different strategy within affiliate marketing. I used my time to learn all the free strategies to build my affiliate marketing business up from scratch. Initially, I tried various systems and strategies and made a lot of mistakes on the journey.
I focused on free strategies which took a long time and much of which didn’t work at all. It took me several years to find both a strategy of affiliate marketing which worked, and a strategy of traffic generation that worked. I’ve saved you the time of failing as much as I did by recommending the best courses and mentors I have found on my journey!
Your life situation may determine how you go about marking an affiliate business, or on which path you decide to go down. I recommend using a high commission affiliate program for a number of reasons:
- You can earn larger amounts more quickly than with low cost affiliate items
- Earn from multiple strategies
- Get ongoing commissions from subscription based products
- You can use paid marketing strategies and recoup costs more quickly and easily
Not everyone is in the position to afford the best training and education online. I chose a cheaper route and for years struggled with low value courses which didn’t help me. You can read about some of them here.
Your Resolve – How Bad Do You Want To Be Free?
A lot of people start down a path and give up too early. Affiliate marketing is no magic bullet and you won’t get the results you’re after without a stubborn determination and stead-fast mind to succeed. You’ll have many set backs on the journey too. I struggled for years with affiliate marketing trying all sorts of courses and strategies. If I had given up, I wouldn’t know the ability to work for myself, create an income from home and be free of the fears and anxieties which dogged me for years. But it came at a cost. I worked for a long time to understand affiliate marketing and eventually I found a business model which worked.
Only something like 3% of affiliate marketers who start down the path actually continue and turn it into a real income. For those who do stick it out, there are great rewards. You can use automation and a global audience to sell digital products. You can work from anywhere and scale up your business to earn a fantastic income. But first you’ll need to overcome a lot of barriers and potential set backs.
This comes back to your reasoning too. If your life is currently alright, just how it is, you might not be prepared to go through what you need to do, in order to make if better. Many who are desperate to escape their current circumstances are far more prepared to take giant steps out of their comfort zone in order to get the result of time and geographical freedom.
Just decide never to quit and you’re half way there. You’ll have good days and bad days, but if you never quit, you’re already there in many ways. It’s not an easy journey and it’s not paid like a job is every month, regardless of how hard you work. Affiliate marketing is performance based. But before you can perform well as an affiliate marketer, you need to learn what to do. Only after a lot of failing, can you know how to excel. Once you do though, you can continue to grow your business using automation and the ability to scale. See also on resolve why affiliate marketing does not work.
It’s also worth talking about any mental reservations you might have towards really creating some financial freedom in your life. What comes up when you imagine living a life of financial freedom? I tried this exercise as I was having difficulties moving my online business forwards at one point. I imagined having more tax worries, greater demands on my life and more stress! Funny how the mind can work! How do you think this affected my ability to make my affiliate business work for me? Many of the blockages to moving your business forwards and creating more income are mental in nature. Unless you uncover them within your self, you’ll sabotage your conscious efforts with unconscious beliefs and negative programming you’ve picked up from your past.
What beliefs do you have about making money easily from the internet when many people work really hard for it? Do you have any of the following beliefs about money:
- You must work hard for money
- I must suffer to make money
- Money is the route of all evil
- It’s greedy to want more than you need
- I’m satisfied with what I have already
- Wealthy people are lazy
We can also prevent ourselves from living a more pleasant and bountiful life for other reasons:
- What duty must you do in order to feel ‘right’
- What are you trying to be right about in life?
It’s worth thinking about your inner world of beliefs and attitudes because they can hold you back and cause you to take much longer in generating money from your affiliate business.
The Path You Take – How Long Does It Take To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing
The path you take can be a major benefit or a major obstacle to your online success. I took several routes to learn affiliate marketing, many of which were complete red herrings. After completing several online courses and trying out many strategies including:
- Keyword researching
- Niche website building
- Google Adsense
- Ranking websites on Google
- And many more…
I finally got lucky and found a fantastic online business community which had a great business model. The business model included:
- high ticket items
- Up-sells for which you can earn commissions
- A built in sales team
- Multi-tier sales
- Subscription products
In short, the business model does a lot of the selling for you and you can earn ongoing commissions by referring a customer once. Most affiliate models only pay you once for the referral. They then get the customer who may go on to purchase again for a lifetime, but you, as the affiliate, don’t get any further commissions. With this business model, you get the benefit of potentially lifetime commissions from a single referral.
Obviously you need to make sales first though, but you can also access an online community who will help you do so. This is a massive benefit and a huge help, especially if you don’t have a clue what you’re doing. It’s much harder to get things moving with an online business if you don’t have the support of a community and a step by step procedure for getting things done.
Your Marketing Strategy
Your marketing strategy will be a large determining factor in the speed of your online business success, or lack of it. I started out using only content marketing strategies and it’s one of the reasons it took me so long. Content marketing is a slow process of building and promoting content and attempting to get it seen by as many people as possible. There’s many ways to do this and many attempts I made to get my content ‘out there’ really just plain didn’t work! Probably less than 10% of the content I created got some traction. If you throw enough ‘mud at the wall’, some of it will stick though.
I created ebooks too as well as doing a lot of blogging. Here’s a couple of the books I created:
You don’t need to do this of course. People have far faster results that I have had simply by following a simple route using paid marketing strategies. Paid marketing, although costly, is far quicker at generating traffic than content marketing. Most of the top earners have figured out paid strategies and leverage it with high ticket affiliate programs. Unless you have a program which offers the benefit of high ticket, up-sells and monthly membership (subscription) commissions, you are more limited in what you can spend on advertising. Low value affiliate products can limit you to cheap advertising platforms and content creation tactics. This means you progress will be slow, and that’s only if you put the work in consistently for long enough to produce a result. Many give up before they see any results at all.
Training And Education – An Ongoing Process
As another factor in determining how long it takes to make money with affiliate marketing, I’m including your training and development. Unless you surround yourself with forward thinking entrepreneurs and continue to develop your business, and yourself, it’s easy to fall back into old habits which don’t move you or your online business forwards. In particular, well meaning friends and relatives can hold you back from achieving the result you would like.
Connecting with other entrepreneurs has been a vital part of my marketing and mindset development. If you don’t get results quickly in your business, which is very likely, it’s easy to dismiss it as something that doesn’t work. Until you get to this point where you see results, it’s possible that you will quit. If you have a community to go to with your problems and concerns, your chances of success are far greater.
You need to keep going for the long term and overcome the various difficulties which you will definitely find on your journey. An internet business isn’t something which is built in a day. It takes time and you need to keep going even when your belief is very low. Connecting with others on the same journey is hugely important for your growth. An internet business can make your life easier in the long run because of the automation involved. Keep putting it together peace by peace and eventually it will work for you! Keep taking small steps and never stop!
If you’re ready to take the first step, join an online business community and start building your online business today! Access a FREE video series, and an online community I found a few years ago which helped me on this journey.