This guide will be a multi-post guide to affiliate marketing in general. I plan on being extremely thorough, making edits, going back and changing things, adding new information when I arrive upon it, and more. If you have any content you would like to see added to these guide posts, comment below or hit my contact page. Changes will be annotated at the bottom of this post.
So, you want to be an affiliate/internet marketer? Welcome to a club of thousands. You’ve probably heard or read about the successes that many online marketers have had, maybe bought a product, subscribed to a few blogs or a friend recommended you get into it. Either way, I’ll say it now – you’ve got a rough road ahead of you.
Anyone who has told you making money online is easy has been lying to you. I’m here to tell you that if you want an easy job, McDonalds is hiring year round. Since getting into affiliate marketing, I’ve never worked so hard in my life. I’ve spent 3 days up with no sleep building campaigns while I only get about 20 hours of sleep for the rest of the week. I consistently put in 15+ hour work days researching, analyzing and optimizing my campaigns. I have to spend time, daily managing employees, coming up with creative ideas and figuring out how to implement them as soon as possible. The life of an entrepreneur is far from simple/easy. If you are turned off by hard work and long hours, affiliate marketing might not be for you. I’ve been doing this for 4-5 years now, and while it’s gotten better with time and the amount of people I have working for me, it still isn’t easy.
If you are, however, ready for said challenges – ready to be financially free on your own terms, willing to put in amazing amounts of effort, time, and money, and are prepared mentally to take it all on – by all means, continue reading. This will be a good first read on your entrance into the world of affiliate marketing.
You can do nothing worse than to not be prepared mentally for the strain Internet marketing can bring. Shake all thoughts and ideas out of your head that affiliate marketing is a snap. Do realize that the first 10 campaigns you make may fail. Do note that you cannot head into this 100% without sleepless nights and long periods of pure energy put into your mouse and keyboard.
Get rid of shiny object syndrome. Stop buying fluff and products with little description on what you are buying before you actually receive the product. 99.9% of the internet marketing gurus out there are pure bullshitters that don’t know a thing about online advertising and marketing (I would know – I’ve worked with several high profile ones that straight up told me they know nothing about affiliate marketing in general). There are very few products and online gurus that I could personally recommend for you. We’ll get into that later in this post.
If you live with a family/spouse/children, make sure they are prepared for what is to come, as well. I’ve seen families torn apart from affiliate marketing. Having everyone in a household prepared for the stress that affiliate marketing can bring on is essential to avoiding it. Don’t let them find out you’ve been spending money on Facebook Ads after the fact. Let them know what you are doing.
I’ve had lots of people approach me asking if budgets of sub-one-thousand dollar budgets are enough. Is there anywhere where $1000 can buy you a legitimate stable business? Absolutely not.
While internet marketing certainly has lower overhead costs – you don’t need to rent any office space or buy any expensive physical equipment outside of a cheap desktop PC – there is still a reasonable cost to the actual advertising and data acquisition you will need to do. I’ve said before that the bare minimum I would have is $2000, but having more readily available to spend is better. $5 – 10k + is optimal. The more you have, the less risk there is to it, really. You’ll be able to afford better traffic sources, run heavier campaigns, and your testing stages will go by much faster. In this industry, the more you spend, the more – and faster – you make.
Do not run your campaigns off of credit cards and loans unless you can afford to pay it back the moment you charge something. The last thing you’ll want is a poor credit rating, disabling you from doing things like buying a car or a house when that might be important.
You can borrow from friends or family, but keep them in the loop. Warn them that it’s a risky investment and it might not back out. Nothing is certain and this certainly holds true in this industry.
My back thanked me the day I bought and ergonomic chair. They’re fairly pricey, but because I sometimes spend 8+ hours without getting up from it, it is well worth the investment. Make sure you have a desk that works well with that chair, too. Eat healthy and exercise daily, as there are several health complications that can come with long sitting hours. I’m not a doctor so I won’t go too in-depth here. You know what to expect and that there really are no secrets to keeping healthy. Keep in mind that since I’ve started eating better and exercising on a regular basis, I’ve been more creative and able to work faster and think more clearly, so it has great benefits to my “work” performance as well.
At this stage in time, you are probably still a bit of a newbie. That is why we’ll end this chapter talking about what you can do to prepare your brain.
I stated before to avoid guru products. Most of them are junk and I can testify to that.
Instead, look for free knowledge on the internet. It’s filled with tons of info that can help you step into the world of affiliate/internet marketing. You’ll find some of the best forums at http://wickedfire.com. Although some of the users are quite big trolls and quick to judge, sit back and take in any golden knowledge you can get from their posts. If you are looking for affiliate marketing blogs, well, you can read my blog here and many others at http://affbuzz.com. The best marketing blogs are listed there and you’ll find good information a plenty there.
There aren’t any strong books on the internet marketing industry that I can strongly recommend, but there are books on marketing such as “Cashvertising” that I can highly recommend. The 4-Hour Work Week is another one everyone should look into.
Gain some basic knowledge on key terminology, traffic sources and affiliate networks, as well. There is nothing worse than getting into your first campaign and not knowing the difference between CPC, CPM, EPC, and CVR.
That raps it up for Part 1: Getting Prepared. Below I will list the other chapters as they are written.
Part 1: Getting Prepared