Have you ever tried starting a business with $23 and change in your pocket and thinking you’ll be able to make it successful? It perplexes me how so many new affiliates think they’ll be able to do this with little more than that and drop in on $100-1000 days in only a matter of days or weeks. It’s time for a reality check. Unless you are 5 years old and selling lemonade in front of your driveway, you ain’t going anywhere without a measurable investment.
Let’s us take a practical look into just how much money you will need to invest to get anywhere with affiliate marketing. Let’s assume you already own a PC or notebook and an internet connection. Let’s also assume you have 0 skill in coding or Photoshop. You are essentially, a very noobly noob.
What every affiliate needs is tracking. Tracking comes in many shapes, sizes and forms. Some people don’t use tracking and instead just direct link from the affiliate network. That’s what I like to call an idiot. Don’t be an idiot. Now the top two most influential tracking sources out there are Prosper202 which has a free version and a newer paid version. Then, we have CPVLab, which is my tracker of choice. I’ll throw out another one from Bevo Media, as well. Prosper202 starts out free, while CPVLab is $297 for the first year, $147 after that. Bevo Media costs $20 per month to get a verified account, then you can pay more for additional addons and feature plugins. Lets say you go my route with CPVLab. There goes $300. So much for that $23 in your pocket, right?
Then, you need a server to put CPVLab on. Most people make the mistake of using shared hosting. Again, don’t be an idiot. Get a proper VPS or server. A good VPS from Wiredtree will cost you about $50 – 60 per month. There is also BeyondHosting which costs a similar amount, but they can assist you in installing CPVLab if you can’t do that yourself. Otherwise, you can go out and hire someone to install it for you for $20 or so. Don’t forget you will need $10 – 20 for an SSL certificate to get your pixel firing on secure web pages. Total so far is up to around $350 – 400 just for the first month.
Then you decide you want some tools to help you out. You sign up for some forums, like AffPlaybook for example (big shout out to David for keeping these great forums alive and kicking for so long!). AffPlaybook costs $67 per month (but I think its well worth it for some great information). You also want to do some competitive analysis and research. WhatRunsWhere is the top of the top for this. It’s a big hit at $229.00 per month, but an excellent tool when you just don’t know what kind of ads are pulling weight where. You can get some excellent ideas for Facebook and PPV here, not just search and display ads (what kind of interests on the sites are the ads appearing on for Facebook, and what sites/targets are specific ad offers showing on for PPV).
Maybe you’ll want to start your first campaign with a landing page. Too bad you can’t do this yourself as you don’t know how to code. LP designs start around $50 each (or you could grab a free one from my list or a $5 LP from AdsandLPs.com – I swear I’ll add more LPs soon!). You also want to split test designs, so you order 2. Another $100 invested. You will be running these on Facebook, so you order 100 images for about $30, too.
Now that you’ve got everything put together, we can get an idea of what an initial investment, before you even start advertising, in your business will be:
This equals out to $825. I’ve already added a little to these numbers for some grace, but lets round up to $900. $900 is what you will probably spend to get a good footing before you even start advertising. Now if you can spend $900 on an intial investment into getting setup properly, you can afford just as much to test (or you should be able to atleast…)
So that means the absolute bare minimum I would have ready to spend before even setting up hosting is $1800. This is a really, really low number. Consider that when my father opened up his restaurant that we had to get about $100,000 in loans just to afford all the equipment, rent, franchise costs, and what not – this number is nothing in my eyes. Even $5000 ready to spend would be a low number in my eyes, but you’d be well better off than anyone with less than $2k to spend. No where else can you find an industry with so much to make with such little investment.
If you don’t yet have $2000 or so ready to spend, here are my suggestions. Get a temporary second job. Working 40 – 60+ hours a week for a month and saving as much as you can will probably get you that 2k. It’ll be a tough month, but after that you’ll be on your way to financial freedom from the comfort of your office. Sell your game systems, TVs, and electronics you don’t use. They’re time wasters anyways. Sell your car and get a bike or pay a friend to drive you around town when you need it. Your first couple months you’ll probably want to lock yourself indoors and dedicate as much time as you can to getting affiliate marketing to work for you. Rent out your spare bedroom, or learn a skill you can freelance for. Setup websites for local businesses for a couple hundred dollars a pop. Use a simple WordPress theme and you’ll be making $100+ an hour from guys that are clueless about how easy it would be to do it themselves.
So, will a couple hundred dollars get you far in affiliate marketing? It won’t even get you through the door. My suggestion is to save up until you are ready, and really only go at it when you have a proper amount ready to put on the line – at least a couple thousand dollars.