How Does An Affiliate Marketer Get Out Of Bed?

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.

About the author

Finch
Finch

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.

19 Comments

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  • I feel ya man. I actually recently ended my relationship because all I care about is work as sad as it may be to say. But it’s the truth and I am not going to be in a relationship with someone I am constantly ignoring because all I do is work. I feel like crap for doing it but I did it for her best interest because she deserves much more.

    I have no idea when I will make enough money to say I’m happy, probably never…it’s the journey that is the most exciting.

  • A damn fine read.

    “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.”

    When I read that I instantly got the image of Mark from Peep Show saying it 😀

  • Love your posts dude! I’ll tweet a link to here in a bit. Interesting to get an inside look at how you motivate yourself and keep on moving. For me, being passionate about what’s in front of me is my biggest bringer of motivation.

    Sorry to hear about what happened between you and your now ex. Everything is a learning experience and if one keeps hustling, they keep achieving.

  • Came here via @MikeStenger

    Whatever you need to keep yourself motivated man, ride it. A pain not unlike yours has driven me to some success in the past. It’s okay to use that negative energy for drive, but know when you’ve taken all you can from that. At the end of the day, we all know there’s more to life. Business can be cutthroat and you’ll definitely win by the sweat of your brow, but if you aren’t doing what you love you’ll burn yourself out.

    In time, I’m sure you’ll find more positive sources of motivation. For now, ride that wave of anger – it’ll make you hustle till your ears bleed.

  • damn bro,

    u r the shizzle.

    bookmarked.

    anytime i feel sorry for myself, i will pull up this page.

    u have some serious potential finch.

  • I seriously think you should commit these to some sort of paper and send them to various publishers. Your writing is brilliant to read.

  • Days off are a sliding slope. They’re necessary, though. Finding a balance is important.

    I get out of bed thinking/dreaming about the day I won’t have to get out of bed if I don’t want to…

    “Hard work is the vital ingredient of every affiliate who’s ever made it and stayed made.”

    Preach it, brother…

    -kpaul

  • Great post dude, and I can relate in many ways.

    That’s why lately, I’ve been going easy on the affiliate stuff and decided to launch an e-commerce site again. Sometimes fulltime affiliate marketing can feel worse than the rat race… Sure we don’t have set hours, but alot of us work a helluva lot more than 8 hours a day.

  • Great post, I hate it with the sleepless nights. When I want to shut off and get some rest, its impossible and if I do find some time to nap, I dream of affiliate marketing and stats.

  • You’re right on the money, Finch! I’ve been talking about this over the past year or so, and your post sure did my heart good. Ultimately, it is always the INTRINSIC motivation that turns regular affiliates into power players. “The final destination” in your head, the past regrets that charge you up to go the extra step… yes, affiliates are truly the masters of their own destinies, and this goes FAR BEYOND income. Other, much deeper, and much more fundamental needs get satisfied as one succeeds as an affiliate.

    Thanks again for that post, and thanks to Linda Buquet for blogging/tweeting about it!

  • It’s funny ’cause it also took a break up for me to get my shit in gear.

    We all have a reason why we work our asses off. We all got our own fights. Mine is to be able to rid myself of financial worries so I can do the things that I love to do, like art and play guitar. Or even just waste a day walking around SoHo without thinking about how I’m gonna put food on my plate tonight. Just looking forward to the day when I can is enough to get me going.

    The shitty thing about the grind is that you start feeling bad about doing things that used to make you feel great. You always feel like you should be doing something productive every waking moment, and you feel guilty as shit if you don’t, causing depression and other bullshit.

    But then again, if being depressed and in pain is what it takes, then so be it. There’s a sense of joy being in misery, if that makes sense. True genius’ in our world weren’t exactly happy people either.

    I’ve been trolling your blog for a while and man, keep it up! Good stuff you got over here.

  • Oh jesus! I almost thought you were going to whine about a girl.

    Anyways, remove the pictures and get over it. I’ve come to realise that if something causes me deep pain, then I go rectify it. If it causes just a little pin prick, then I don’t dwell, ever. Cold? Maybe, but I don’t give a shit. There’s work to do.

    So which is it Finch boy? Is it causing you deep pain? If so, you’re just being a pussy – go fix it now and do whatever it takes to keep it fixed.
    Is it just a little pin prick? Then quit being a pussy and remove those fucking pics and get over it. Don’t ever think about it again.

    Ignore the ass kissers above who just want a link to their pathetic websites. Man up. And please don’t give me any psycho babble about memories and the human experience or anything like that – there’s time to reminisce when we’re rocking in our chair eating jello.

    Now please Finch, give us another good post.

  • New Zealander here … and I hear what you say.

    ” … 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…”

    Very interesting way of doing it – sounds painfully familar. Went through a patch like that.

    Look after yourself

    Jonathan

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