The video is a supplement to this post and is not independent of it. Both should be read/watched.
Links Mentioned in the Video:
Making Money as an Online Affiliate Marketer – Introduction
Having been an active Affiliate Marketer since 1998 and being a natural educator who freely expresses my experience with anyone who will listen, I’m often asked “How do I get started earning money as an Affiliate Marketer?” The questions come in many shapes and sizes, but they all are asking the same thing. How do I tame this beast of Online Marketing and make an extra income…with the hopes of someday going full-time?”
The motivations are all the same and the degree to which they actually motivate the individual change over time.
I’ve taken several people under my wing over the years and went to great effort, expended a lot of energy, and time for some (even to the point of building out everything for them).
This post, and the accompanying video, will answer the where to start part of it and upcoming posts will deal with other facets of this complex business.
It (Affiliate Marketing) is a business and not just another expensive hobby.
That might be the first mind-shift you need to make. Although at times you will feel like you are a gambler running traffic to offers betting on the come…this is not gambling. It is not a hobby…although it may be for some.
If you are an Affiliate Marketing Gambler or Hobbyist I hope this post will change your mind and aid you in becoming a passionate die hard…who is fully committed to this as a business.
Step 1 Towards Making Money as an Affiliate Marketer – Establish your Lifestyle Cost Goal
I think the first step you need to go through is to establish some simple, but quantifiable goals for yourself.
One of my apprentices a couple of years ago (we’ll call him Jon) went through this with me kind of like this:
Dan: So, you want to make money online? Why?
Jon: I need to make money and I hate my job?
Dan: Ok. How much money do you need to make?
Jon: Well, a few hundred dollars a month would be cool.
Dan: Well, that’s not a number we can measure. How much do you need to make to not have to work the job you dislike so much? What would be a life changing number of earnings (profit) per month be?
Sidenote: I’m zeroing in on his lifestyle cost, or a figure he needs to reach to have financial freedom from a J.O.B. (Just Over Broke). Tim Ferriss did a great job explaining it and calls it “Lifestyle Costing” you can read about it by clicking here: Lifestyle Costing
Jon: Well, I need to make $1,500 per month to have all my bills paid and do the things I want to do.
Dan: Ok, so that’s $50 per day. No problem. (Notice I chunked it down to a daily goal, it makes it easier to digest and believe)
Sidenote 2: Tony RObbins talks a great deal about “chunking” and is probably where I learned this term from. I very quickly, and you should too, adopted the daily goals as my default. It’s easier for your brain to get a handle on those smaller numbers and helps deal with the fear that can hold you back. Before you know it, over time, you will be able to grasp earning $10,000, $50,000, even $100,000 per day. It’s gradual, over a long period of time, but did happen for me.
Jon: That doesn’t sound like a lot, does it?
Dan: Nope. We can get there in a couple of days.
Fast Forward: So, after a couple of days of training and cooperatively choosing a traffic source (Trafficvance in this case) and an offer (I don’t remember the exact offer, but remember it was a low payout (bounty) like about $3). I basically built everything for him, while he watched every step of the way. Within a couple of more days, he already hit his $50 per day goal. Within a week however, he lost interest and moved on to something else. I was bummed…
I’ve recently came in contact with him again and he’s jumped from one project to another and is yet again going after another. I think, for him, the thrill of the hunt is his demise. He currently has what I call Affiliate Casanova Disease which I wrote about curing in the post here.
To some extent, I think that he lost sight of the goal. To earn $50 profit per day. Maybe the goal was not exciting enough. It doesn’t matter. He set the number, not me.
I take full responsibility for my part in his failure. I personally robbed him of the joy of learning and struggling and fighting his way there. Having me cut through all the brush and pave a trail to the pot of gold robbed him of that.
So, being a consummate learner I will not do that for anyone again. I will point the way and tell you how and sometimes what you need to do, but you need to do it yourself. You’ll be a stronger, more Kickass Human Being when you get there than if I lead you the whole way there.
Step 2 Towards Making Money as an Affiliate Marketer – SWOT Analysis
I won’t go into too much detail on this, as you can visit the link above and do so yourself. One thing to note though, is that SWOT Analysis can be used for all aspects of your Affiliate Marketing Business.
As stated on Wikipedia, “A SWOT Analysis can be carried out for a product, place, industry or person“.
You are the first thing that you should analyze assuming you’ve already come to the conclusion that the “industry” (Affiliate Marketing) passes your SWOT Analysis already.
So, run a SWOT Analysis of you. What are your strengths, what are your weaknesses, what are the opportunities, and threats.
I’ll talk a little more about this in the video in this post when I answer some of the questions of a recent (yesterday) organic (thank you Google) visitor to KickassMarketer.com
Hopefully you get the idea though. You should analyze you, the Affiliate Offers you want to promote, the Affiliate Networks you want to work with, the Traffic Sources you want to work with. But, YOU should be the first place that you start analyzing.
Step 3 Towards Making Money as an Affiliate Marketer – What’s your exit strategy?
A wise man once said “Don’t start any business without knowing your exit strategy!”. Another way to put this is how Steven Covey says it “Begin with the End in Mind”. You can visit him here.
Are you starting a business you can sell, a lifestyle business, a replacement job for your JOB?
The most important thing here, is that you at least have a long term goal in mind. So, when you get lost in the details and grind of running the business day-to-day you have this to come back to for a renewed perspective.
For most Affiliate Marketers, myself included, when they start out…they desire to have a lifestyle business. One that frees them from having to show up to a 9-5 job. One with the inferred promise of more income than they are currently earning at their jobs. One with an unlimited amount of potential for increased income…which is absolutely still true to this day about Affiliate Marketing.
Another exit I want to address here is “When do I leave my job to pursue Affiliate Marketing Full-time?”
When you’re ready is the ambiguous answer.
For some it means they have 6-12 months of their lifestyle costs saved in the bank. For others still, it is right now.
I would personally recommend that you stay in your job until the time you have sufficient funds in the bank to cover your personal expenses (that supports your current lifestyle) and that not leaving your job just doesn’t make any sense anymore. A mentor of mine once told me, “When the cost of doing nothing exceeds the cost of doing something…you will do something!” That’s when I left.
I was earning six figures per year from my employer at the time. I was making great money. The Affiliate Marketing Business I started on the side began making 5 figures per day. I was literally earning more in a day than my employer could pay me per month. I was friends with that business owner and told him so. As a friend he let me leave with his blessing. The rest is history.
Step 4 Towards Making Money as an Affiliate Marketer – What’s your passion?
I wrote about this in greater detail in this post Affiliate Casanova Disease – How to Cure Yourself! Go read that now and come back.
The main point of the post was “Find what you love…and do it!”
You have numerous loves along the path of life, but you must focus on one at a time to ever fan the flame of love into something that becomes an unstoppable passion. If you were entering into a new relationship with another person, you’d want to find out everything you can about that person. You’d spend sleepless nights thinking about him/her and finding ways to spend more time with them whenever you could.
You need to build your love for Affiliate Marketing that same way. I’m not suggesting you go learn every little traffic niche of Affiliate Marketing whether it be:
- Google Adwords
- Media Buying
- Plenty of Fish
- Pay Per View
It would be helpful for you to read all you can and learn from other people’s journeys. Learn from their successes and failures. Learn all that you can to the point you can put together a SWOT Analysis of each and then pick one to focus on that you’ve found an affinity for. But, once you do, commit to it. Don’t be an Affiliate Casanova.
S0, you have to focus on building your love for Affiliate Marketing by learning all you can, which brings me to the next step…
Step 4a Towards Making Money as an Affiliate Marketer – Join an Affiliate Marketing Community
I’m a paid member of all the Affiliate Marketing Communities (that I know of) and some very expensive paid Masterminds (Think $15,000+ entry fees).
There is one community, above all others, that I would recommend EVERY Affiliate Marketer be part of. That is AffPlaybook.com. I will give you a private sneak peek behind the magic curtain in the video above.
I wish there was an AffPlaybook around when I was a new Affiliate Marketer. There wasn’t. Most of the courses around at the time were about $1,000 to get in and didn’t have even 1/10 of the value that this has. There are 4,555 paid members of that forum and some of the top names and 8-figure Affiliate Marketers (me being one of them) that not only frequent it, but also help out newcomers to the Affiliate Marketing Industry.
I know David Ford personally (he owns, operates, and actively manages the forum) and he’s an honest, generous, and loving person. He’s built something very special and you can tell that the people there are all like minded and support one another.
There’s over 112,000 posts in that forum for you to gobble up and learn from. It’s literally like an online encyclopedia on everything Affiliate Marketing.
AffPlaybook.com is quite literally an online encyclopedia on everything Affiliate Marketing- Dan Matejsek
Again, I’ll show you in the video more, but if you are not a member of this forum at an measly $67 per month than you just aren’t serious about Affiliate Marketing as a path to your financial freedom.
Click the link below and meet me over there:
Step 4b Towards Making Money as an Affiliate Marketer – Pick your Traffic Source and your Affiliate Network
Assuming you took my advice and joined APB, the next step is diving in head first (or feet first if that suits your fancy). Read everything you can over the next 30-60 days. The success stories, the follow-alongs, the lessons, the tips.
It will be overwhelming, I know.
The purpose is to consume enough information that you can build your SWOT Analysis for the Traffic Sources & Affiliate Networks and begin to zero in on the one of each you are going to commit to.
Run the SWOTs and choose one Traffic Source and one Affiliate Network.
Once you have a network, then you need to find an offer or two or three to test.
Now here’s where the passion part comes in again. If you can’t at least develop a slight crush for the offers that your Affiliate Manager (note you have to ask them personally) told you are performing well on your chosen Traffic Source than move on to the next.
I’ve found that if I can get excited about an offer and I’d buy or participate in the offer (and be willing to let my Mom do so too), the excitement is contagious. I will be building campaigns that are exciting to the consumers and they tend to be full of more value (and more likely to succeed) than if I was sending people to an email submit that I know in the back of my mind is just setting these poor folks up for SPAM for the rest of forever.
So, find an offer or two you can get excited about and commit to them. You are going to give them your best shot and make them work.
Same with the Affiliate Network you chose. Your SWOT told you to choose them and now you are committed.
Don’t jump ship from your Traffic Source or Affiliate Network the first time you hear smack said about them or your offer. That is just smack and not your personal experience. YOU ARE COMMITTED.
Step 5 Towards Making Money as an Affiliate Marketer – Rinse & Repeat!
There’s a popular principal that I’ve used my entire adult life and most likely you have too without even knowing it. It’s called the Pareto Principle. You can read more about it on Wikipedia here.
You can apply this as your Rinse Cycle for all aspects of your Affiliate Marketing Business & Campaigns. The key here is to use it. It will become clear over time that 80% of all you are doing is a waste of your time and 20% is where 80% of your results come from. So, it is critical that you recognize the Pareto Principal when it reveals itself to you and take action.
When I had my own full-time Affiliate Marketing Company, I trained my in-house Traffic Brokers (that’s what I called them) to launch 10 new campaigns a day. That could be as simple as 10 new offers on one traffic source targeting very targeted keywords. My in-house terminology was the Spaghetti Method. Throw Spaghetti against the wall every day and see what sticks (converted to dollars of any kind).
The next day they would see Pareto at work in their Affiliate Marketing Campaigns. Of the 10 new offers, 2 would be profitable. 2 would be complete total losses, and 6 would be somewhere in-between. Their job then, was to kill the two losers. Optimize the the 6 in-betweens and scale out the 2 winners.
Funny thing is that that even the 2 winners would have Pareto at work. They’d soon find out that 20% of the keywords were generating 80% of the traffic. Of the ones generating the traffic. 20% were generating most of the revenue and 80% were not.
So, you’ll find you are in a constant state of Rinse & Repeat…kill and scale…fast forward that and over the course of a year my team an I had 2,100 offers running profitably. Find that 80% early and get rid of it. It’s dead weight and will slow you down.
I’ll likely touch on other aspects of Affiliate Marketing and how you can earn a full time income with it, but my parting thought for you is:
Financial Freedom through Affiliate Marketing is absolutely, still a real possibility for you, if you want it and you are willing to work hard and fall into a committed & loving relationship with it.
For more of everything Affiliate Marketing I’d suggest you join us all over at AffPlaybook.com and join today.