The Affiliate Lifestyle – Categories – Finch Sells

Category - The Affiliate Lifestyle

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How Much Could I Pay You to Quit Affiliate Marketing?
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Melting in Dubai at Adsimilis Meetup 2014
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When Working From Home Becomes Hell

How Much Could I Pay You to Quit Affiliate Marketing?

There was an interesting poll up on the STM Forum this week:

What guaranteed monthly salary would you accept to quit affiliate marketing for a job in the corporate world?

Monthly affiliate salary

Just under 50% of the affiliates who replied said you’d have to pay them at least $500K per year to quit affiliate marketing.

That’s pretty remarkable.

Anybody who works in affiliate marketing knows that there’s no such thing as a fixed income.

To turn down a guaranteed bounty of $500K per year — plus a lifetime free of the aeons of stress-fuelled hair shredding — says a lot about the passion of those who turn to our industry.

Admittedly, yes, the figures are likely inflated by a sense of bravado and outward ‘who-can-grind-the-hardest’.

There’s a funny line that if you ask a man how many women he’s slept with, and then divide his response by three, you’ll be somewhat closer to the real answer.

Perhaps we can say the same for the price on an affiliate marketer’s head.

Regardless…

This poll, if even remotely close to the truth, reveals two stark realities:

1. Your competition is ruthlessly committed.
2. Affiliate marketing is more than just a business. It’s a lifestyle choice.

The Ruthless Competition

If somebody is willing to turn down a guaranteed income of $500K per year, what does that tell you about their affiliate business?

It says, either, “Hi, I’m insanely rich and 500K means nothing to me.”

Or, “I’m completely committed to making this work, to the point where not even half a million dollars is going to sway me.”

Whatever the case, this is your competition.

And that should be a call to arms.

These are the people, the pooled ruthless mindset, that you have to compete with.

Is it any wonder that the industry is so tough for a newcomer to crack?

A Lifestyle Choice

One of the things that struck me while reading the responses to the STM poll was just how many users had already given up six-figure corporate jobs in favour of affiliate marketing.

When you see a poll like this, your first thought is cynical:

“Somebody who already earns his millions in a glass-laden corner office probably isn’t going to be exchanging the view for affiliate marketing anytime soon.”

Except, that wasn’t the case.

I regularly speak to successful pros from all walks; from the finance arena, to the weary battle-hardened in law (the irony), and to unsatisfied executives.

It’s widely accepted that beyond a certain point, your salary ceases to add enjoyment to your life.

Once the basics are covered, and luxuries enjoyed, an extra 100K or 500K is pretty much irrelevant.

Time and burnout become the chief nemesis of happiness. Along with the political games that are so entwined with the corporate world.

And that’s why, for many people, affiliate marketing is not just a career. It’s a symbolic lifestyle choice.

Once you have enough money, you start looking inward at the value of your time.

Want to know the reason why so many affiliates put such high prices on their head?

Because they have something that people stuck in high-paying corporate jobs so desperately want:

  • The freedom of time
  • Self-determination

Once you have it, you don’t want to give it up.

This stubborn defiance to conform, even under the carrot of a fixed 500K salary, is what drives affiliates to be the best damn marketers in the business.

It’s the reason why corporations have to pay extreme money to attract us.

And if you want to carve your own career in affiliate marketing, this needs to be considered.

There simply isn’t room for the half-arsed.

The Price on My Head

Would I accept a fixed salary to quit affiliate marketing?

Are you shitting me?

Yes, of course I bloody would.

In a strange paradox, it’s exactly what I strive to achieve every single day.

But there’s a very big difference between working for any corporation, and working for one built in your own image through your own blood, sweat and beers.

For all the successful affiliates I’ve met, I can count on one hand those who wanted to stay middlemen in this same industry forever.

(And even then, I’m pretty sure half of them were rat-arse plastered at the time.)

We all have escape plans.

Affiliate marketing, the career choice, is 100% expendable in my eyes.

And yet the lifestyle and opportunity it represents comes at a huge price.

Is a 500K salary enough to fund that exchange?

To say there’s a yes or no answer would be to undersell the very Machiavellian nature of our industry.

To illustrate, I put this question to a friend of mine (who happens to be a newbie affiliate) and here’s what he said:

Guess I’d take the job. Hustle for a year. Demand a pay raise. I’d keep tabs on any useful data they had, any interesting connections. Try take on a few juniors to get some solo work done on the side. After 3 years, I’d leave with two Mil in the bank and blow up my own dick boost pills, or whatever’s flying at the time. Maybe Ebola. Fuck, when can I start?

And that, my dear scumbags, is why affiliates are not grown.

We are born rancid.

Melting in Dubai at Adsimilis Meetup 2014

September was a busy month.

I’ve just got back from the Adsimilis Dubai Meetup, which was bookended by two weeks in monsoon-lashed Krabi and Phuket.

A bunch of social commitments (or as I only half-jokingly refer to them: “going outside”) meant that by the time I reached Dubai, my campaigns weren’t so much suffering from banner blindness, but paralysed from the neck down by weeks of neglect.

The churn in this industry is absolutely insane.

Alas, I’m back in the trenches. Energised and motivated. Ready to tap in to brand new traffic sources.

I have to admit, meeting other affiliates is a great cure for a lost mojo.

It works in two ways.

First, we’re an industrious bunch. It is both enlightening and inspiring (and sometimes terrifying) to hear what other affiliates are working on.

Second, it’s nice to not be the biggest scumbag in the room.

Seriously.

If your guilty conscious ever needs a pick-me-up, find the nearest circle of affiliates, plaster them with alcohol and then ask: “So, what’s the shadiest shit you’ve ever run?”

I met one affiliate in Barcelona who had been engaged in marketing practices that can only be described as the ‘wrong side of borderline’. Those practices lead to his house being raided in the early hours by a SWAT team.

A fucking SWAT team!

More memorable than the confession itself was the sheer acceptance among the rest of us in the circle that, oh well, shit happens.

Followed by the inevitable, “So… are you still running the offer?”

(I’m glad to say he wasn’t.)

Besides the tales of insanity, it’s reassuring to get an idea of where the industry is heading.

Large scale meetups provide a nice general consensus of what works today, what is likely to work tomorrow, and more ‘what stopped working yesterday’ than you could ever hope to digest. A bit like a trip to the Warrior Forum.

The Adsimilis Dubai meetup was a great mix of affiliates: some just starting their journeys, others who have creamed several million in cold profit already.

There’s one concept that I think nearly everybody walked away agreeing:

Affiliate Marketing… is Dirrrrrty

Five years ago, ask an affiliate what he did for a living and he’d give you a blank stare.

“Well, um, I don’t actually like know, but it’s called affiliate marketing and it’s pretty sweet. Gotta run though bro, hookers waiting.”

Next year, ask the same question, and you’re likely to receive this canny slice of positioning:

“I’m a director at a performance marketing agency.”

There is a clear shift.

Nearly every affiliate I spoke to in Dubai was wrestling with the same dilemma:

How can we take this ugly twisted cousin of advertising — affiliate marketing — and rebrand it in to something that gives us greater opportunities moving forward?

Those megalomania days where affiliates took pride in loathing the status quo — the corporate desk monkeys — are no more. We’d rather pass through the wider advertising community undetected as mere ‘parts’ of respectable, 9-5 agencies. You know, guys who just might be up to something a little more honourable than lead scalping.

This can only be a good thing.

After all, if you want to build relationships with advertisers, you have to play the advertiser’s game.

And that means creating a perception that you are an agency built to last. Not just a lone wolf chancing his luck in his underpants.

Some takeaways from Dubai:

1. If you’re going to waste time on any social network, make it LinkedIn; network mercilessly.

Set up a company profile and fill it with recommendations from anybody who has ever worked for you.

Want to distort outside perspectives? Set up fake employee profiles.

There’s no doubt that scale matters at the negotiation table. The appearance of a full agency will get your foot in the door of the Advertiser’s World.

2. Refer to yourself as a “Director of Marketing” instead of CEO, President, etc.

Better to be a relevant department head than Top Dog with his fingers in too many pies.

3. Go one step better:

Actually build an agency.

Thoughts on Dubai

This was my first time in Dubai.

I’m still not sure what to make of the place.

As a committed Englishman, the concept of not being able to drink outside of hotels and restaurants — or indeed to be seen drunk in public — is, dare I say it, a trifle fucking troubling.

I struggle to see how a city can ‘meet in the middle’ with Western tourism ideals and still enforce the many punishable social offences that it does.

The reality is that if you are suitably rich, you can jump on a yacht, float a few meters off the coastline and commit just about any debauchery under the sun, all while remaining completely untouched by the law.

That, I find a little too pick and choosey for my liking.

But that’s not to take away from the immense standards of service, and general all-round friendliness.

Dubai is painfully hot in September, as I discovered on my first day:

Dubai Lessons

Thankfully Adsimilis laid on a coach to get us around the city.

I had an early flight so I didn’t descend on any Dubai nightclubs, but the restaurants and happy hours were great fun.

And more importantly, the people first class.

NUI: Networking Under The Influence

Read too many forums and you could be forgiven for tarring the affiliate community as a cold bunch.

Yet in person, there’s a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect that rarely translates online.

I guess networking is just a million times easier face-to-face.

That’s not to say you can’t make a prat out of yourself.

On the first night, whilst sipping Carlsberg in the merciless desert heat, the discussion turned to Voluum and ZeroPark.

I turned to a guy I hadn’t spoken to before and asked, “So, Voluum… you use it at all?”

(Note to single affiliates: A cracking chat-up line. Yours free of charge to abuse over the weekend.)

Said chap smiled in confusion, and pulled out his business card:

“Bartlomiej Dawidow
CTO and Founder of Voluum.”

Cue howls of laughter as I stood there, copping the flak, thinking “Well there goes my bloody discount.”

I also met Robert Gryn, CEO of CodeWise who took great enjoyment in asking repeatedly why I was crying over dinner. I wasn’t. I was sweating.

Fucking Dubai.

For the first three years of my affiliate career, I never took meetups seriously. And that was a big mistake.

While the speeches at this event were a good rallying call to action; inspirational even; it’s the one-on-one conversation with fellow pros that pays for your plane ticket.

When the booze kicks in, so does sincerity in the shit that falls out of our mouths.

The truth is that you can learn more from a drunk affiliate than you’ll ever learn from a lifetime of readings blogs like this*.

*Unless the writer is drunk, careless or stupid.

Thanks Adsimilis

adsimilis-meetup-dubai
(Photo jacked from Ian Fernando’s blog where you can read his write-up of the trip. There’s also a post by KJ Rocker)

It’s always a pleasure to catch up with the Adsimilis crew.

Cheers for keeping us all fed, watered and safely insulated from the wrath of Shariah Law.

Special thanks to Sean for smuggling a mini-bottle of Champers in to my ‘party bag’, which I promptly and rather indiscreetly popped against the hotel fucking ceiling, no less. And to Eleah for tranquillising me with Scotch before my panel.

London Adtech is just around the corner.

If you haven’t been before, I suggest you keep it that way.

Unless, of course, you enjoy the sterile wasteland of middle management blabber and beaming rent-a-pitches; most of whom think ‘performance marketing’ stands for who can shove the most coke in their face whilst still talking coherently about whatever marketing buzzword has captured the press pen and/or Twitter.

What’s that you say?

It’s all about ‘earned media’ now, is it?

Earn my balls, you gobshite.

Now that’s not to knock AdTech itself.

I’ve heard great things about the NYC show. But if you want to get value for your time in London, skip the show, avoid the snootiness, and head straight for dinner.

If anybody is in town and wants to meet up for a pint before or after, hit me up.

Otherwise, see you in Vegas at Affiliate Summit West!

When Working From Home Becomes Hell

I just read a blog post from Mark Rofe, fellow Internet Marketer and creator of the ingenius Wank Sock, who has just made the decision to return to work.

It’s an interesting topic.

(Although I bet you’re now thinking about wank socks).

Is the 9-5 really such a bad thing?

Is there a time to forget the false paradise of working from home happily ever after?

I think Mark has made the right decision based on it being his career, his life, his happiness. Nothing more and nothing less.

There’s a small subset of the Internet Marketing community that believes you have to be earning big bucks from home whilst trolling the working class, or you’re doing it wrong.

There’s an even larger subset of the population that believes this myth before trying it for a single day.

Let’s forget about what goes in to running a successful business.

You can do this from home, from work, from a beach, or from a park bench.

Is working from home for everybody?

No, no and NO.

I divide the Not Working From Home majority in to three subsets.

  1. Introverts who want to work from home.
  2. Extroverts who want to work from home.
  3. The rest of the world who doesn’t want to work from home.

Why introverts and extroverts?

I believe your natural disposition here will determine the challenges you face working on your own.

But first, everybody else.

Internet Marketers can be guilty — myself included — of viewing the world through rose-tinted glasses and thinking everybody should want to do what we do. It’s the entrepreneurship argument.

“Why wouldn’t you want to earn a fortune on your sofa? What better way to live?”

The rebuttal is Purpose.

Not everybody wants to be an entrepreneur, and many people are just fine following somebody else’s orders.

This should be a relief.

An economy full of entrepreneurs would have a lot of great ideas that never materialised.

For most Internet Marketers, purpose means maximising income whilst finding more time for pleasure. Usually from the comfort of home.

It’s a captivating pursuit for those of us who live by it.

But many people don’t.

And it’s not because we know something they don’t. They simply don’t want to.

They’ve seen what we do, they hear what we do, and still it’s not for them.

They are right.

Collectively as an industry, we should get over ourselves and appreciate that.

People will always moan about tax hikes, bills, outgoings and their financial responsibilities. It’s tempting to throw back the ‘You should have been an Internet Marketer‘ line.

Except it solves nothing and changes nothing.

That’s not what they chose to be, and their choice is always right.

The world simply cannot function with 7 billion Internet Marketers working from home.

Introvert vs. Extrovert

Now, for those who do decide to work from home, there are two distinct personality types:

Introverts:

  • Very self-aware
  • Thoughtful
  • Enjoys understanding details
  • Interested in self-knowledge and self-understanding
  • Tends to keep emotions private
  • Quiet and reserved in large groups or around unfamiliar people
  • More sociable and gregarious around people they know well
  • Learns well through observation

Extroverts:

  • Warm
  • Seeking novelty and excitement
  • Gregariousness
  • Assertive
  • Cheerful
  • Talkative
  • Enjoys being the center of attention
  • Action oriented

As with any personality type, these are generalisations. There are extroverts who keep their emotions in check, and cheerful introverts who live for novelty.

Which category are you?

There’s an easy way to tell.

Extroverts gain energy from frequent social interaction, introverts lose it.

That’s not to say that social interactions aren’t enjoyed by all.

Rather that while some extroverts will thrive on the ‘banter’ of a typical work day, an introvert will be looking pretty bruised and battered if he feels he can’t escape it anytime soon.

The Best First Day in the History of Work

The happiness (and productivity) you get from working from home is largely a combination of:

a) Your personality type
b) The environment you inflict upon it.

In Mark’s returning to work post, he touches on the sore spot that seems to have led his decision: isolation.

Nobody likes isolation. It doesn’t matter what personality type you are.

Isolation is used as a form of torture for good reason.

It eventually hurts.

But I’d argue that introverts are better equipped to deal with working in isolation.

And this is the point I’d make to any extroverted reader who wants to quit his 9-5 and work from home:

For a while… it’s going to be fucking great.

Seriously, you’re missing out on the best first day of any career in the history of Man.

But there’s a catch. Many of them.

Once you’ve cashed in the novelty of “Oh shiiiit, I’m doing work in my boxers with only empty packets of Popchips and my balls for company!”, the only way to share the grotesque image is to post it on your Facebook.

(Which many of us do, extroverted or not!)

If you need the social interaction of a thriving workplace, then the echo of your thoughts racing around an empty house will probably not suffice — not in the long run.

Staying Somewhat Sane

I am introverted by nature

I enjoy catching up with friends and meeting people who are interesting. Keyword: interesting.

I simply don’t have the capacity to enjoy being around people for shits and giggles. And I highly doubt they’d enjoy being around me. Not for any extended period of time.

I like the comfort of my own space and I protect it in the only way I know how:

By making a shit ton of money online.

Whether you are introverted or extroverted goes a long way to deciding if you will enjoy working on your own.

Yet it’s important to distinguish this question has nothing to do with running a successful business.

It’s possible to be a badass super-rich affiliate with any personality type. (Which makes it all the more baffling why so many choose to be bags of dicks.)

Knowing your own characteristics will do much for increasing your chances of happiness along the way.

My tips for extroverts:

Bear in mind, I’m not one. I could be very wrong. Please offer your own suggestions if these suck.

  1. Consider a shared office space with like-minded professionals. There are plenty of these springing up in major cities. At the very least, get a laptop and hit the road.

  2. Use your social wings and network, network, network. Many affiliates struggle at this, so cash in the advantage and use it to get ahead of us.

  3. Leverage the many online communities at your disposal, become a connector and embed yourself in the industry.

  4. Work shorter hours and join local clubs (sports or otherwise) with scheduled meets every week.

My tips for introverts:

  1. Make sure your friends, family et all respect the boundaries of your work space and work hours. Lest you go insane.

  2. Build a small circle of masterminds and use it as your eyes and ears. Focus on the quality of your contacts instead of quantity. A Skype group is a good start.

  3. Work out exactly what form of social interaction wears you out the least, then arrange a lot of it. For me, this is a quiet pub and several pints. Fight, fight, fight the urge to get lazy, which is so much more of a danger to introverts.

  4. Get a dog. Like me, you probably believe they’re better than humans.

  5. Separate your work space from your living space. If you spend a lot of time at home, you need to disconnect part of the house from your work activities. That’s why I’ve bought a LazySpa and created a reading room with beanbags.

I highly recommend the LazySpa:

Lazy Spa Finch

My tips for those who aren’t sure if they want to work from home:

  1. Try it for three weekends in a row. Are you still sane?

There, probably, is your answer.

If anybody needs to fill a vacancy for a creative, hard-working individual with a lot of wank socks in his wardrobe, give Mark a call.

Copyright © 2014.