There seems to be a sub-culture in affiliate marketing these days. It’s the by-product of a super competitive crowd, all working hard to stay one step ahead of their rivals. You’ve probably seen it splashed across your Twitter feed.
“Hey Joe, I can’t come out tonight. I’m busy grindin”
“I just dumped my girlfriend. She didn’t like my grind.”
“Forced to choose between the grind and playing with my balls, I choose the grind.”
Check out Ryan Eagle’s Twitter for more classic examples.
Affiliates seem to fail or succeed by virtue of “the grind”. The ability to work like a slave – through the night, through the morning – deaf to distractions and entirely committed to the art of getting shit done.
Everybody needs to be working at least 22 hour days or they’re just not working hard enough, right? I’ve been sucked in to this competitive mindset in the past, and I’m doing my best to wriggle my way free. The grind is only cool when you know how to stop.
I was sitting downstairs in my lounge the other day, vegetating like some kind of unshaven grizzly bear. It’s very rarely that I allow mindless police chases on budget Bravo TV to distract me from work, but I truly miss the days where I knew how to lounge around and do absolutely nothing.
That sounds like a step backwards. If you’re successful, why would you want to waste your energy on television while the opportunity of time passes you by? For me, it’s become an issue of retaining my health and limiting my insanity.
It’s very easy, as an affiliate marketer working from home, to get sucked in to working these grueling 16 hour days. And if like me, you enjoy what you do, the lure can be even harder to resist. During the earliest days, I built some kind of elitist dream where putting in those hours somehow made me more likely to be satisfied with my progress. It made me better than everybody else because I was somehow more committed or more in control of my destiny.
But if you don’t know when to stop, you’re not really in control, are you? You’re more of a prisoner than you ever were in your 9-5 when there was a clear beginning and end to your day.
One of the things I’ve discovered is that no matter how much money you earn, there will always be somebody earning more. If you fall in to the trap of pursuing this relentless grind, unable to dictate when your work day ends, it’s only going to be you that suffers. And I know personally because I’ve already suffered. My health has suffered, my moods have suffered. My ability to appreciate rare moments, simply festering on the couch with absolutely nothing to worry about – those have also suffered.
I went for a laser eye surgery consultation last week and somehow ended up referred to the hospital instead with skyrocketing eye pressure, pounding headaches and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue.
Ironically, I’ve always figured that my problems could be solved by money. My bad vision being one of them. I thought if I could afford to throw Â£5500 at surgery to correct my eyes, it would easily justify all those hours on the grind. But there are some things money can’t fix, so grinding for 16 hours straight isn’t always the answer. Even if affiliates are being systematically brainwashed to believe that’s the case.
Over the last week or so, I’ve been working to reverse the trend. I’ve been slowly lowering the number of hours I allow myself to spend in front of a computer screen and trying to work in productive surges. I took some advice from lenstrom on Twitter and have been trying to integrate these health measures in to my day.
The biggest challenge for me is to learn that whatever lands on my desk, whatever lands in my inbox…it doesn’t always have to be acted on now. I’ve already caught some fire and some contrasting opinions on the matter.
Just two days ago I posted on Twitter: “Tomorrow…tomorrow is the day where I get back on track.”
These words seemed to raise some strong opinions from various affiliates. Apparently it came across as a sign of weakness. Why wait til tomorrow? Why not act today?
Well, that’s the attitude I’m trying to overcome. It’s not always in my best interest to act today. Everybody has to have an off switch, and the ability to resist the temptation to grind or work hard at every waking hour. It’s just not healthy. That I’m only 22 years old, and feel like I have the mental wear and tear of a 42 year old…surely can’t be healthy.
Yet everywhere you look across the affiliate marketing landscape, grinding hard is the cool thing to do. I read a forum topic a few weeks ago with the title line “How much do you earn in a day?”
A guy, admittedly with his head somewhere up his own arse, had wandered in bragging about his $1000/days. He promptly received a bunch of criticism that he was small-time, a little fish in a big ocean. He had no right to be smug. It got me thinking though.
Would I rather be the “big time” affiliate who’s torturing himself to add the next zero on his pay cheque? Or simply the smug dude who’s perfectly content with his $365,000/year? As far as I’m concerned, that’s not small time. Look at the average annual earnings in the United States and it’s anything but small time.
This industry seems to judge affiliates by the flash cars, the fancy mansions and the number of Americans they’ve convinced to shed the pounds with acai. It all boils down to money, and yet money is only a gateway to opportunities. It’s not happiness in itself.
I’ve always preached the need to work hard and harder than most. But the importance of appreciating what I already have is only just dawning on me. The next time somebody tells me to get back to the grind at 2am, or to stop thinking about tomorrow rather than today, I’ll probably tell them with all due respect – to go fuck themselves.