How many affiliate marketers hit the snooze button in the morning? It’s easy to go back to sleep when you’re not gonna have your balls ripped off for no-showing the 9am office start, right?
Motivation is a rare commodity that comes and goes. You can be rolling in money and still feel the need to work that extra campaign with just one more split test before you call it a night. Likewise, you can be struggling badly and for some reason still find it impossible to break the pattern of procrastination.
Finding the necessary motivation to keep pushing forward is something that can’t be taught, and yet needs to be found. One of my friends asked me the other day why I was so hesitant to give myself a night off, and to be fair, it was a pretty logical question. One night off isn’t going to break a business. Unfortunately I’ve trained myself in to such a hyperactive mindset that even a night off is riddled with subconscious brainstorming for tomorrow morning’s project. I instinctively check my phone for new emails even though I know I can’t reply to them (my phone is a piece of shit).
I recently tweeted that anybody who works as an affiliate marketer for more than 10 years is a wild savage beast who needs to be put down. Judging by the responses, I’m not the only one who’s felt that strain.
Since September, my mind has gone to another place. When I broke up with my ex-girlfriend, I lost a lot of the immediate strength that was holding me together through a difficult time. We’ve exchanged about two text messages in the time that we’ve been apart and there’s a gaping hole in my life where something so sure used to be. I’ve seen my attitude towards work take on a completely different life of its own.
Here’s a true story. I didn’t give up my day job because I was ready for the challenge. I gave it up because I was in a distance relationship and I felt that the best way to make it work was to give myself the freedom of self-employment. How naive does that sound? I pretty much took the plunge in to full time affiliate marketing for reasons totally unrelated to work. Money has never been, and will never be, my motivation.
When that relationship disintegrated – very suddenly – in the space of 24 hours, I found myself staring in to the abyss somewhat. Work had taken a stranglehold over my life, friends had become mere faces, and I felt as if I was drifting out to sea on a raft I couldn’t steer.
I’ve always been very honest about my aspirations. I don’t love affiliate marketing. I’m passionate about running my own business but you won’t see me on Twitter swooning over how many dollars I’ve stacked or how many zeros are on my next pay cheque. Towering riches mean very little to me.
So where does the motivation come from for affiliate marketing? We all have to feel a sense of achievement to be successful in this business without growing depressed. A musician enjoys the thrill of producing art, an actor has the pride of re-watching a movie he’s starred in, a fireman has the joy of saving a life. What the fuck does an affiliate marketer have to justify the love for his profession?
I enjoy what I do, but I don’t love it. If there’s anything I love about my job, it’s the lifestyle that it’s supposed to afford me. And even then, I work longer hours than every single one of my friends. So isn’t that just a fantasy? I could be earning less money and living in more comfort. A slave to the system, maybe, but sleeping at night.
I think the ultimate motivation is the final destination in your head.
When I get out of bed every morning, I look at my to-do list and it reads like a fist up the arse.
Every affiliate marketer has a unique image for what being successful entails. My motivation used to be to break free of a 9-5 job that dictated how I would live my life. I wanted to spend time with my girlfriend, having already promised her that I’d find a way to make an awkward relationship work. I’m not for divulging my private life any more than I already have, but needless to say, I failed.
It was quite surreal how it all happened. I posted this outburst, took a couple of days away, and then went back to work with a completely different mindset. I realized that I was being a weak little bitch and that the only way I could possibly move forward was to set a new goal.
My goal was to work so hard that my original decision to quit my job wouldn’t have been in vain. I’ve said a number of times that affiliate marketing is an extremely lonely business when you’re doing it from home. I’m sure I have readers who open up their RSS at work and wish they could be sitting on the sofa with a laptop and a beer in one hand. But when that novelty wears off, reality sets in. The magnitude of responsibility weighs down and you realize that it’s time to sink or swim.
The shock of a broken down relationship was enough to get the sirens ringing in my head. I felt how vulnerable I’d allowed my life to become and I wanted to achieve something that was mine, and only mine. I’ve seen friends stumble out of university with less direction than they entered with. I’ve seen close family chained to the daily grinds of life in jobs they hate.
If ever I needed motivation for affiliate marketing, it’s that I can escape those realities. This is a unique industry where YOU are the master of your own destiny. Success is a question of how good at your job you’re determined to become. I’m not going to preach some guru bullshit that you can be earning $XX,XXX in 30 days. Hard work is the vital ingredient of every affiliate who’s ever made it and stayed made.
I’ve made up my mind recently that I want to move to America and face the challenge of setting up a business abroad. Coming from a sleepy town where nothing much happens, those are some tough targets to achieve. My motivation is that I want to break free of everything I’ve known so far. I don’t want to settle for the 14 hour working days or the very short sleepless nights.
One of those popular inspiration tips you hear mentioned is to surround yourself with visions of your future. Pin shit on the wall, change your desktop to a tropical island, remember to smile in the mirror four times a day. Whatever.
I work in the opposite way. On my wall, you’ll find pinned a collection of memories and photos that bring back pain and regret. I’m not a sadist, but for me personally, pain is a greater motivation than some nice sunset wallpaper which has an emotional attachment of precisely jackshit in my heart.
Having to stare at some of the biggest regrets of my life is the only way I know to move forward and work hard enough to slowly erase them from my mind. If I ever find my attention lapsing during the day, or my mind wandering, I focus hard on those memories and use them to kick on. It’s easy to find a reason to put in that extra hour if it takes you one step closer to escaping the skeletons in your own god damn closet.