There’s More To Life Than Affiliate Marketing

I’ve been doing affiliate marketing for over a year now. In that year I’ve earnt more money than I made in the rest of my working life. I’ve quit my day job, gone a long way to securing my future, and made a lot of good contacts in the business. All a few months shy of my 22nd birthday.

But is it really worth it?

How much money does a man need before he’s finally happy? Everywhere I look, I see bloggers throwing out tips for how to make more cash. How to turn thousands in to tens of thousands. It’s great if you’ve got your back against the wall financially. But what is the end goal? What really makes you happy?

I’m tired of working 16 hour days, six or seven days a week. It’s gruelling. I’ve paid the ultimate price for it. I’ve lost something that actually matters.

I thought I’d get a lot of happiness out of running my own business – and I do. But it’s not what I want to be thinking about when I fall asleep at night. There’s more to life than affiliate fucking marketing.

So pro tip of the day: Take a break.

Go see the kids. Tell the wife you love her. Enjoy how far you’ve come. Whatever.

Just don’t be sitting there ten years from now with your only happiness being that split second it takes to refresh stats. I think I need to take a break and reconsider what I’m trying to achieve with my career. You don’t really hear much about it through the industry blogs – but if you’re sat at your 9-5 right now dreaming of a brighter future, this path isn’t always the right one. The life of an affiliate marketer is generally lonely.

I’ve been reading a book called Awaken The Giant Within by Anthony Robbins. Now I don’t normally buy in to the self-help bullshit that most of America seems to adore. But there’s a metaphor which is pretty fitting for what I’m trying to say:

Most people live what I call “The Niagra Syndrome”. I believe that life is like a river, and that most people jump on the river of life without ever really deciding where they want to end up. So, in a short period of time, they get caught up in the current: current events, current fears, current challenges. When they come to forks in the river, they don’t consciously deide where they want to go, or which is the right direction for them. They merely “go with the flow”. They become a part of the mass of people who are directed by the environment instead of by their own values. As a result, they feel out of control. They remain in this unconcious state until one day the sound of raging water awakens them, and they discover that they’re five feet from Niagra Falls in a boat with no oars. At this point, they say “Oh, shoot!” But by then it’s too late. They’re going to take a fall. Sometimes it’s an emotional fall. Sometimes it’s a physical fall. Sometimes it’s a financial fall. It’s likely that whatever challenges you have in your life currently could have been avoided by some better decisions upstream.

I remember interpreting that passage as people not taking a chance on their ambitions and one day realizing that they’ve achieved nothing. But there’s a different meaning when the river is money.

I used to think that making thousands of dollars every month would make me happy and open up the doors to chase opportunities that would otherwise be closed. It turns out, most of the things I was chasing were there all along.

Stop posting your links on Google and go do something worthwhile for the day. Better than living in regret.

About the author


A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.


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  • Coincidentally, I *am* sitting at my 9-5 job right now and “dreaming of a brighter future” with Aff Marketing… 🙂

    This is a great post and definitely something to keep in mind for anyone in the AM biz – whether full time or part time with the goal of going FT.

    I think what you’re suggesting can be best achieved if income is generated by stuff that’s all or mostly ‘fire and forget’, and/or if a person has multiple streams of income that include that type of affiliate marketing.

    i.e. niche sites that make money can often be left unattended, or with prewritten entries set to post at future dates, for a week or two (or more) with hardly any drop in income.

    Making your cash from PPC may mean not creating any new ads, and just spending a few minutes a day quickly checking stats to ensure no huge losses – and hopefully with a portfolio that includes some long term campaigns that chug along with consistent ROI every day.

    Like most other jobs, setting some cash aside and getting away from AM for a couple weeks or so a year may be the way to go, as well as for weekends and holidays too.

    Best of luck!

  • Should one be satisfied with being able to pay the bills while spending more time trying to experience life? Or should the goal be to make as much money as possible now, and then retire with riches later?

  • Steve:

    If you’ve got the passion to do it full time and make a living in this industry, I’d definitely say go for it. It’s just important not to get sucked in to only living for your work.

    I’ve had to deal with some incredible stresses and strains recently. When I tell my friends that I’ve been busy with work, they think I’ve stayed at my desk until 7pm or some shit. The reality is more like eyes peeled at 3am and still replying to one last email.

    The dream of money rolling in at home isn’t really a dream – it’s relatively easy to achieve with some knowledge and initiative. The hard part is knowing when you’ve achieved enough for one day and switching off.

    If there’s one mistake I regret, it’s ignoring the things that actually matter in my life. You can’t buy happiness.


    Everybody’s gotta pay the bills. I used to think that the best way was to make as much money as possible now, and then enjoy the riches later on. But if I’m being honest, I’m already rich now. I’ve just spent too long chasing the extra dollar, the extra mile.

    Everybody needs to be able to switch off and appreciate the freedom that this job gives them. Otherwise, what’s the point? It becomes a prison.

  • I started 6 months ago, have made soem good money, but I am now focusing my attention on starting an importing company. I want something more reliable, and with more depth than advertising+optimization.

  • This industry, more so, the aggressive paid portion of it, i.e. PPC, Facebook, Media Buying etc. will swallow you whole!

    There are so many hotshot AM’s out there right now that are living to work, not working to live.

    I’m a SEO guy, I like to build niche affiliate sites, get ’em ranked high, and let them sit and quietly, passively earn money. I build assets.

    Great post, Finch. Hopefully it will open some AM’s eyes.

  • Thanks for this post Finch. I will most certainly help others put things into perspective. I hope you and ya girl can patch things up. When you find contentment, be sure to pass the notes my way.

  • I completely agree with everything, kinda feels like I am reading my own thoughts.

    I first got serious into making money online so I could have capital to start a real business. Now that I have the capital I have lost all desire it feels like because sitting on my ass is just too easy–yet sometimes depressing.

    It’s pretty messed up but it’s true what they say…money NEVER brings you happiness, I don’t care what anyone says…it’s true.

  • Go ahead & do something else then. My goal is to generate enough riches and then I am going to study medicine or becoming full time volunteer somewhere else, or maybe an evangelist, whatever it is, I just want to work for pure non profit. But I am still far from that goal sadly

  • Affiliate marketing isn’t really the sort of thing you dream of doing as a kid. I wanted to write, hence this blog, but work is work. This business can be incredibly empowering if you use it in the right way. Chasing numbers in the sky gets old real fast though.

    If you only ever work hard towards an increase in turnover, you’re gonna burn out. I feel privileged but at the same time extremely burdened.

    No matter what people say, it doesn’t get any easier as you begin to make more money. Becoming successful and staying successful are two completely different things.

  • Have you tried outsourcing tasks? I have managed to reduce workload and increase growth / momentum through outsourcing. Instead of working at a day-to-day operational level, I now operate at director level which is less stressful and gives me a bird’s eye view of my business.

  • I’m cracking up as I read your post because it’s 6am and I’m reading affiliate marketing blogs. Guess I need to get a life – and some sleep. Your advice is right on time. Thanks for a great post.

  • “I used to think that making thousands of dollars every month would make me happy and open up the doors to chase opportunities that would otherwise be closed. It turns out, most of the things I was chasing were there all along.”

    Wow man, that’s totally like what Buddha said to his wife and kid who he’d left behind 13 years back, at the time he had just resolved to scour the world in search of enlightenment.

    You know how the story goes — having just fulfilled his inner quest, he then rushes back home and begged his family for forgiveness: “what I’ve been looking for all this time, I could have found regardless of my location. However, home was the best possible location I could have chosen; I was unfortunate in having chosen the most difficult path, and I will devote the rest of my life to making you up for it”.

    And you know what? He sure gets a second chance, and henceforth commits to doing a heavenly job at keeping his family happy!

    Just remember: are you not enlightened regarding your chosen path, after all these struggles? You would better not let that go to waste, and embrace the best from your job just as you embrace the best from your family! It takes two sides to make a sappy old coin, you know that? Get out there and MAKE millions of dollars, and moreover MAKE your family happier by the million-fold while you’re at it.

    Are you really certain it’s too late? I bet you’re just dizzy from having fell through the Niagaras, but keep in mind there’s a whole wide lake down here, and the wide stream goes on towards the horizon. And THEN there’s the sea, but see… that’s a different matter. Just make sure you’re not still getting carried away in your own inner turmoil!

    Geez, try to keep positive. It’s tough for everyone, you know? And some of us are still further back in this glorious path of Internet Marketing utopia, and you don’ t see us complaining! By the way, the link I’m trying to slip by along with this comment pertains very first affiliate campaign (I’ve also had my share of personal life-changing epiphanies recently); hopefully you’ll be so kind as to approve this comment, and kinder still if you concede submitting your opinion on what I’m doing there. You have my e-mail, and I’d very much enjoy getting some feedback!

    All the best,

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