Cashflow Tips For New Affiliates
Nobody Cares How Much Money You Make
From A Laptop In Thailand…

Cashflow Tips For New Affiliates

Forget the top payouts, best looking affiliate managers and networks with soaring reputations. For a new affiliate who’s just discovered profitability, cashflow is always king. It’s likely that to scale your business quickly, you’re going to need to make some sacrifices along the way. Handling your cashflow effectively is one of them.

No industry fills my ears with as many rags to riches tales as affiliate marketing. I don’t know if what we do is seen as a last gasp stab at financial salvation, or simply a popular way to spend your last 100 bucks. But many affiliates are faced with the challenge – even after stumbling upon a successful campaign – of being able to scale that campaign without clearing everything they have in the bank. Cashflow is the difference between riches and famine.

You’ve probably got a hundred different networks whispering in your ear, all desperate for your traffic. If you haven’t, rest assured this will rapidly become the case as you begin to earn more money. One of the biggest cashflow mistakes, and probably the easiest to make, is to spread yourself too thin.

In the search for offers that convert, it’s possible to end up sending dribbles of traffic to a dozen different networks. This normally results in you rinsing your bank balance, while not a single network sees you as significant enough to be paid weekly. When your bank hits zero, you’re left waiting on those dribs and drabs to be fed back in to your account by the various networks – many of which may be operating on Net 30 cheques as a form of payment.

Forget all the hype about the top payouts. It’s much better to be running a bunch of slightly less profitable campaigns on networks who can guarantee quick turnaround of payment. The quicker your bank balance grows, the faster you can scale. In an industry that changes overnight, you can’t afford to be left trailing in the dirt waiting on a bunch of cheques in the mail.

I read somewhere that a great idea for new affiliates is to invest in a credit card and blast your way to fortunes on the plastic. I can’t remember who said this, but they should be shot and hung out to dry. I can’t think of a worse idea than racking up a bunch of credit card debt on the principle that the “repayments are on their way”. The money isn’t yours until it’s paying for your groceries, so take “Pending Commission” with a pinch of salt and an eye on the worst case scenario.

There are circumstances where using a credit card to fund campaigns is acceptable. But you have to be in control of all the surrounding factors. Factors such as the quality of your traffic, the relationship with the advertiser and the exact promotional guidelines of the offers you’re running.

I’ve said it time and time again but by far the best way of managing your cashflow during the early days is to pick up free advertising coupons. I used to raid coupons for Google Adwords so that I could fund campaigns without having to compromise my own limited start-up capital. If you’re in the UK, snap up a copy of .Net magazine and you’ll receive a free Adwords voucher every month. Or go one step further like yours truly and simply rinse the entire pile in WHSmiths when nobody is looking.

That sounds incredibly trashy and unprofessional, but when I was getting started, I had little money of my own to reinvest. Coupons were like tiny Christmas presents to myself. Here you go, Finch. Have another Adwords account.

If you’re moving in to affiliate marketing from a wealthy background with money to waste, cashflow is probably a mere tickle on your balls. And in that case, you’ll find it a lot easier to succeed in faster time. Affiliates who have managed to build up healthy bank balances enjoy the luxury of being able to run campaigns on a lower ROI, and also work with the higher paying networks who refuse to pay any sooner than monthly.

Commission Junction, for example, is simply not a viable option as a newbie marketer investing in paid traffic. I enjoy promoting their dating offers because the ROI is nearly always higher than what I can achieve with a CPA network. But it comes at a price. That price being the need to float thousands and thousands of pounds on monthly payments. And the fact that you’re working with CJ, of course. A group of incompetent bumberclarts who should start addressing their support emails “Dear Mortal Below Us,” to show how they truly feel.

Another issue regarding cashflow involves budgeting in advance. Should you spend an entire monthly budget in a few days just because you’ve found a profitable campaign? Or should you split the advertising over a whole month? I would always say that if you find something that works, scale it ASAP and get the maximum bang for your buck while it’s on offer. From my experience, dividing your budget over a whole month can have the effect of dividing your workrate too.

Plus I find it’s a very good card to play on the networks you’re working with. If they see you’re sending a boatload of traffic in the space of a few days, and then that traffic suddenly dries up, they will sniff you out in a hurry.

“Hey Finch, I see you had some success with Offer X – how did it back out for you? What can we do to get more leads out of you?”

“Oh, well, I’ve got volume coming out of my arsehole on this one. But I’ve found a network that’s willing to pay me weekly on the same offer. So unless…”

And so you should be able to wrangle some weekly payments out of the equation very quickly. This enables you to refill that bank balance and get back in the game. The faster the turnaround on your balance, the more productive you’ll become and the faster you can scale. It really is a case of get money get paid.

Recommended This Week:

  • If you’re working in the dating market, check out Adsimilis. Definitely one of the better networks with a wide range of dating offers, all on high payouts, including lots of stuff in Europe and South America. I think you’ll like them.

  • Feel free to add Finch to your Facebook. Yes, this is the right link. My real name is not actually Finch. Also follow me on Twitter

Nobody Cares How Much Money You Make

There’s something about winter that brings out the worst in many affiliate marketers. Maybe it’s the snobbery of being able to relax in the warmth while office-working ordinaries slip on the ice outside. Or maybe it’s the fact that Christmas ushers monetary pressure on to seemingly everybody except your fat cat self.

I guess you realize how lucky you are to be working at home, and you want the world to know about it, right? So to display your Alpha Male bread-winning capabilities, you pull on some slippers, log in to Wickedfire, and proceed to castrate the crowds for “only earning $100/day”. It’s so easy that you need to be cashing a new villa every month or you’re just not doing it right. Bah humbug to any fool who hasn’t carved a fortune from the Internet!

The reality is that nobody cares how much money you make. Bragging about it is one thing. Dismissing the efforts of those who only earn a small income online is bordering on the ridiculous. I read this post from Browie a few weeks ago and I thought…whaaaaat?

Of course, it doesn’t matter who you ridicule as long as they stack less money than you. You could be mocking a hard working doctor who spends a lifetime helping others and just wants to find a side income to boost his paltry salary. Or maybe a father of many who works bone to the ground and knows more about the value of a dollar bill than you’ll ever appreciate in your lifetime. Anybody and everybody is fair game for the demeaning prick who thinks his ability to make money online puts him in the elite tier of high society.

I received a snotty email from an affiliate this week suggesting I go in to a partnership with him because he’d earned X here, and another X there. In fact, he’d earned so much that I was left wondering why he’d want to venture in to a niche where the absolute best results would act as no more than loose change compared to his bounty campaigning elsewhere. My blog was proof – to him – that I’d be a suitable match for his big plans. His pitch was proof – to me – that his greatest asset was an ability not to feel stupid when he reads back what he types and pushes “Send”.

By the time I finished reading the email, I was so turned off from the sheer arrogance of telling me how rich he had become in the last year, that I didn’t even bother to reply telling him that his idea sucked. So if you’re reading this now, there you go. Nobody cares how much money you make. People only care what value you can give to them.

There are a lot of posers and pretenders in this industry. Affiliates inflate their earnings in the same way that a sixteen year old inflates his profile of sexual partners. We’d hate to fall for inadequacy, right? Let’s be realistic. Affiliate marketing may be a lucrative industry, but don’t go putting your balls on a pedestal. There are bigger fish out there. And in fact, nearly every successful affiliate I speak to has little interest in becoming a multimillionaire arbitrage marketer.

Most successful marketers are using affiliate campaigns as the launch pad to bigger and better projects. As they should be. Any other attitude is bordering on the retarded.

But let me tell you, it’s not always in your best interests to parade yourself as the guy with the deep pockets. I make an effort not to brag, or even talk about what I earn. Partly because in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that impressive – there’s always somebody earning more. And partly because it attracts freeloaders.

I can often tell when somebody is bullshitting about the money they’ve made. Simply because most people who’ve been in such lucrative positions are aware that bragging attracts only the kind of people who are interested in taking you for a ride. If you’re rich, you don’t go rubbing it in peoples’ faces. It’s not cool to be seen as a walking ATM. Unless you’ve got an ebook to sell, of course, in which case your Clickbank stats Jpeg also includes an unusual sidenote stating you wiped your arse with dollar bills for the month of November.

I sure as hell don’t walk down the street singing “Look at me! Hear my pockets jingle with the coins you’ll never have!” If this is how you portray yourself, then you probably need a personality transplant to go with your weeklies.

It’s the same kind of naivety I see on display in Bangkok’s red light district (in my imaginary head, because I obviously never go there). “Ooh, I’ll just wander down Prostitution Boulevard with my wallet out and act surprised when some beautiful Thai girl falls hopelessly in love with me. Hey, that girl just winked at me!”

There are some things your money cannot buy, and a sack of common sense is one of them.

My Token Whoring Here Recommended Action:

* Likely to be bullshit

From A Laptop In Thailand…

Many Internet Marketers dream of leaving the concrete jungle to go about their work with laptops on sandy beaches. It’s the stuff those work from home jpegs are made of, right? Having stomached the first half of a bitter London winter, I would be lying if I said I haven’t been itching at the balls to fly out here to Thailand and kickstart my new life of luxury.

Even though I’ve only been in Bangkok for a week, it’s already clear to me that the quality of life is worlds apart from what I’ve known in the past. The people are friendly. They call Thailand the Land of Smiles, while my old neighbourhood was more like the Ensemble of Chavs. The food gets better seemingly every day, and my taste buds are on fire. Literally. Somebody should have warned me how the Thais love to douse meals in chilies. Of course, the weather here is bliss too.

I’ve waited a long time to live like a nomad. The biggest challenge now is to remain focused on my work while the sun is beating through my window. And if the last six days have been anything to go by, that’s something easier said than done.

I’ve always believed that your environment plays a big hand in your ability to achieve your targets. If you can’t turn your head away from the television, you’re going to miss tomorrow’s moneymaking niche. If your wife is trampling around your office telling you to do the dishes, you probably don’t want to be scouring through female dating pics.

To put it simply, your working environment dictates what you’re able to accomplish. Nothing affects an attention span quite as harmfully as a poor working environment.

I consider myself lucky to have found initial success as a young guy in my 20s, without any kids, without any mortgage and with relatively few responsibilities. It gave me the freedom of locking myself away in my bedroom and sitting at a desk throwing shit at the wall until some of it stuck. Many of you do not have that luxury.

Whether you’re working in Thailand or England, in a home office or at the kitchen table – you need to be able to cancel out the distractions of everyday life fucking with you. I’ve only just noticed since flying out to Asia how badly television can affect my productivity. How eating out can zap monumental hours out of my day. I’m still searching for a balance between work and play. And no, the equation doesn’t involve ladyboys.

Once you find a situation that allows you to focus properly, it’s easy to find a rhythm where to-do lists become yesterday’s waste in the litter basket. It’s what we call the grind. But it’s damn near impossible to slip in to that grind at the snap of your fingertips. We can become ruled all too easily by the environment around us.

So much of the success we enjoy as marketers is carved through momentum. I believe in the theory of 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration being the blueprint to success. Momentum is everything. If you don’t have an online/offline switch helping you to gravitate between work times and social times, it’s your work that will suffer the most. And probably your friends too when you explode with anger through the stress of knowing you’re not working efficiently and haven’t earnt your ticket out of the office.

There’s nothing I find more frustrating than being frustrated with myself.

I’ve become so tuned in to my former working environment that it’s truly a bitch to get my head down and work in a different climate. When I looked out of my window in London, I would see a stretch of grassy nowhereland and maybe – on a busy day – some dude being dragged along by his dog. When I look out of my apartment in Bangkok, I see a city waiting to be explored. The low hanging fruits of my work over the last few years, ready to be plucked and enjoyed.

How do you stay motivated when everything you’ve worked for is sitting on your doorstep?

I’m treating this first week as a holiday that I’ve earnt. Nobody can travel halfway round the world and expect to snap in to a working routine. So much of my success as an affiliate marketer has come from an almost robotic tendency to stay rooted to one spot and churn out profitable campaigns. It was the by-product of a mundane working environment, but a very effective one.

To get the best out of myself, I need to be in an situation where I have complete focus and concentration. As much as I enjoy working on laptops in the sun, a quiet office where I can shut myself away from the world is just the tonic I need to get by. Maybe it’s the snobbery of a guy who swears by his dual screen, but I’m finding it pretty difficult to function without seventeen windows at my disposal.

Laptops are suitable, I guess, if your entire job involves sending emails. Anything more and I need my Mac. Unfortunately it’s still in transit and my productivity has gone down the shitter ever since. I don’t like having to use my finger as a mouse and I’m acting quite grouchy at the idea of having to work out of my established comfort zone. It all comes down to that environment.

If you’re working from home, you need to become a master of your own work space. Maybe the ultimate goal is to one day pack up your bags and migrate to warmer shores. But even when you’re there, there’s no such thing as retirement for an entrepreneur. Understanding how to get the most out of your working day, and how to control your environment effectively, is a prerequisite to success.

So while I’m sitting here pissing around with a shoddy baby laptop and a failing Internet connection, take a look around the room and see how you can channel some extra focus towards your work. Maybe it’s a television that needs to be switched off, or a little white noise to cancel out the cars from the street below. Maybe you should throw your kids over the balcony. Anything to focus your energies where they need to be. Actually please don’t throw your kids over the balcony. Or at least close this window before you act on impulse.

There’s always a way to control your environment. But you can be certain that most of your competition are chained to their own. Working harder and smarter than the rest, with more discipline and more drive, will nearly always get you results. The problem I’m finding, is how I can maintain that level of focus with the allure of Thailand shining through my window…

Recommended This Week:

  • If you haven’t read it from front to back already, snap up a copy of the brilliant 4-hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. Inspiring stuff for any affiliate marketer.

  • If you’re looking to explore some very different but potentially very profitable micro-niches, take a look at ShareASale. It’s like a CJ that isn’t run by a bag of dicks.

  • Feel free to add Finch to your Facebook. Yes, this is the right link. My real name is not actually Finch. Also follow me on Twitter

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