This is something I’ve been meaning to write for a long time now. It’s something that I’ve held back from posting because I know it’s of little relevance to the majority of readers who have already found and established a successful living with affiliate marketing. But I’m hoping it’s something you can relate to in the attitudes of people outside our industry.
I’m frankly tired of explaining to people that my job equates to more than a hammock and a retirement plan.
If you’re reading this now and thinking “Well, this arrogant pom seems to be making a good living and he only ever tweets about his balls, I think I’ll do what he does” …well, you’re probably not alone. I’ve lost count of the number of occasions I’ve had to explain to family and friends that my success is the result of repeated failure. You can’t skip the failure part.
Friends often ask me if I could show them how I make money. Just give them a glimpse of what it is that I actually do that gives me the right to avoid a morning commute. Well, y’know, what would you like to see? The campaigns I can count on one hand that are actually making me money? Or the thousands that never worked out?
People don’t want to lose money and they only want to reap the benefits of a job that in reality, can be as simple as milking blood from a stone. It doesn’t help that every ebook under the sun is pointing to making money online being a rites of passage that you’d be a retard if you haven’t tapped in to yet. But some of my friends haven’t even seen the ebooks. They just assume I’m operating in a surreal home office straight out of cloud cuckoo land.
“So, what you do is pay for advertising, right? You buy leads and sell them on for more? If I give you Â£200 from my work wages, when do you think you can pay me back the Â£400?”
I shit you not. It sounds ridiculous, but I’ve been propositioned with these kind of “business proposals” time and time again since I became a full-time affiliate marketer. It’s a glaring example of the two misconceptions that annoy me most.
1. Money is the only reason for my success.
2. My hard work to pinpoint an opportunity is somebody else’s “dead cert” to bring home the bacon while they’re sat on their fat arses basically saying “Go, monkey, PROFIT”.
It’s got to the point where if I’m asked what I do for a living, I stop to think twice before answering that I traffick humans. Christ, it’s easier to explain and most people just don’t want to probe any further. Tell people you make money on the Internet at home, AT HOME, and they’re on you like the prom queen after two roofies.
I will honestly give anybody a fair chance, even if I don’t believe they’re cut out for the business. If somebody emails me looking for advice on how to get started, I’ll reply to them. If a friend asks me to watch over them while they create their first campaign, I’ll do it. But this isn’t an industry where one person’s success gives you an advantage in terms of avoiding failure.
I think we can all agree that one of the best aims in life is to be able to work smarter, not harder.
For many affiliate marketers, this is the reality. We’ve given up day jobs, broken free from the chains of a Monday-Friday 9-5. But fuck you if you think it came without sacrifice along the way.
Long before I quit my day job, I was working double shifts. I’d spend an entire day working in a London agency where you’d often be sniffed at for leaving on time at 5:30, then I’d go home and spend the rest of the night slaving away on my own. My weekends? If I wasn’t out socializing, I was working. The only reason I ever managed it was because to me, it was never really work. It was my passion and a step towards where I wanted to be.
People don’t see those steps. They see the end product. They might call round and find me sitting here in my lounge on a Tuesday afternoon, and to them it’s like a seismic mindfuck. How can they join the party? If affiliate marketing is such a piss in the park, how can they get started?
There’s one trait that nearly all successful affiliate marketers share. It’s the ability to see opportunity where others see only a bunch of pixels. I can’t stress this enough. I could take a friend’s hand and walk them through the many steps of preparing a successful marketing campaign. I could show them how to setup hosting, how to design an excellent landing page. I could even introduce them to my successful ad creatives. But what we can’t do is inject the same sense of opportunism.
I’m beginning to think the best way to strike a chord of reality with people is to ask them one question.
“If you never made a single penny with affiliate marketing, would you still enjoy it?”
It sounds ridiculous to think that any of us could enjoy a moneyless profession where the urge is always there to pull your own hair out. But for most affiliates, this is how it started. I remember receiving my first cheque for something like a hundred bucks and being over the moon. It wasn’t the money I cared about, it was the entrepreneurism of generating something out of nothing on my lonesome.
Would you feel the same? Do you care about the entrepreneurism or are you just in it for the quick cash? I can tell you one thing. Being an entrepreneur will kill you if it doesn’t thrill you. Some people just aren’t cut out for the stresses and strains. And believe me, there are plenty.
In my inbox, I have a bunch of emails starred from affiliates just getting started and wanting advice. I give them exactly the same pointers and yet some will enjoy success, while others will have to learn the hard way. It’s pretty much rooted to your own expectations and passions.
But you know what they say about the grass always being greener, right? If you’re stargazing at the apparently novel lifestyle of an affiliate marketer, ask him where he came from instead of where he is today. You’ll get a much more accurate depiction of what it takes to be doing this shit for the rest of your life.