The Lifecycle of an Internet Marketer
By on Dec 17, 2010

Ever wondered where you stood in the lifecycle of affiliate marketing? Your wait is over.

Adam Bunch wrote this great article so I asked him if he could post it here. He said no problema!

Note: I Mr Greenified this article a little bit.

One of the things I’ve noticed over the course of my journey in affiliate marketing, is that people’s route through the business tends to follow a relatively linear pattern. Nobody is cut from a different cloth in the this industry and I can assure you that everyone started out in exactly the same place – knowing absolutely nothing.

hard workerThe difference between the people who succeed and the people who fail boils down to determination and the fact that they really, really, want this.

The people who sit at their machines for hours at a time working themselves into a frenzy because they have the burning desire to succeed.

In my opinion, your success in this business pretty much depends on one thing, and unfortunately, it’s probably the most difficult thing to teach – mindset. However, it’s hard to achieve a strong mindset without gaining something very important first…. experience.

What I can share with you today, based on my experience over the last few years, is that I think there are a number of distinct stages that people will go through in their affiliate marketing journey. When you can identify them, you can see that it’s all just part of the process.

Anyway, I’ve put together a pretty lighthearted look at some of the stages you might go through in the world of affiliate marketing. Take a look to see if you can relate to a particular stage.

Level One – The Noob ($0/day)

noob affiliateYou know nothing about internet marketing other than that it exists, and that people are getting rich from it. You probably got introduced to it by a friend who’s making good money, but won’t go into specifics (other than that he pretended to be a girl on Craigslist for a while, but now he’s gone ‘legit’). You’re keen to learn about internet marketing, so your friend shows you a couple of forums (DigitalPoint and Warrior Forum – shudder). You start reading. You don’t really know where to turn for good quality information so you bombard your friend with questions, but he’s being cagey.

Level Two – The Beginner ($0/day profit)

Beginner affiliateAfter hours and hours of reading you start to get a proper understanding of internet marketing. What it is and how it works. You decide to grab a guru course or two (or download them from Pirate Bay) because you get enticed by the alluring sales copy. You think that they must be the answer to your prayers of becoming an internet Zillionaire. You watch the whole thing and get a massive sense of excitement – surely this is going to make you rich this very second! You start reading some choice tidbits of good information from forums and your friend gives you a few pointers, so you think it’s time to bite the bullet and start making campaigns. You can barely sleep at night because you’re so excited.

Level Three – The Novice ($10-100/day profit)

affiliate noviceThe magical day has arrived! You make your first campaign, but inevitably it sinks like a stone. You thought this was going to be easy but your hopes and dreams have been shattered. “But XYZ guru said it’s really easy to make 5k a second on The Google. What went wrong??!” You start throwing a few random offers up, but you’re relying on other people to tell you ‘what works’. You’re not confident enough to really use your own initiative, so you copy other campaigns. You constantly pester your affiliate manager, or other affiliates, to try and find out what’s working and on what traffic source because you think that’s the only way you can make money. You operate entirely from a scarcity mindset and switch from offer to offer, traffic source to traffic source, throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks but not getting anywhere. Notable quotes from you include: “this offer doesn’t work” or “Facebook is a terrible traffic source”, even though others are making five figures a day with it.




Level Four – The Intermediate ($100 – $500/day profit)

intermediate affiliateYou finally start to think independently and start to use other people’s campaigns as inspiration for your ideas. You begin to do research into campaign demographics using Quantcast and Alexa and start adding your own flair and twists to campaigns as you grow more confidence. You come up with an ‘out of the box’ idea and have your first ever successful campaign! After a week, you’re hitting XXX a day in profit and feel pretty amazing realizing that this does work after all. However, you rest on your laurels and your one successful campaign dries up. You’re back to square one and perhaps even more frustrated than ever.

Level Five – The Affiliate Marketer ($500 – $1500/day profit)

affiliate marketerAfter floundering around for awhile, you realize that if you can have one successful campaign than what’s to stop you having many more? You start to experience a shift in mindset where you focus internally rather than externally. You stop relying on answers from other people, and instead gain confidence in your own abilities. When you stop asking and relying on others for answers, you realize that people who are VERY successful at this take initiative and make things happen for themselves. You start to launch new and better campaigns using ideas that you personally came up with. You hit another winner very quickly, but this time you scale it to multiple traffic sources and countries. You make VERY good profit and start seeing some great results. Rather than stopping there you keep implementing new ideas and launching new stuff as you realize that you need more than one successful campaign to have a career in affiliate marketing.

Level Six – The Leader ($1500 – $5000/day profit)

leader affiliateYou are now relying strongly on your own initiative and take much more of an ‘alpha’ approach to the business. You are highly proactive and your mindset these days is pretty much “if this is going to happen, than I’m going to be the one to make it happen.” You develop a strong level of self-trust in your own abilities and now have a solid raft of profitable campaigns across multiple traffic sources and a variety of niches (what I refer to as a ‘balanced portfolio’). You continue building campaigns and re-invest at least 20% of your profits into trying out new campaigns and ideas because, you know that things need to be diversified. Who knows what could happen?

Level Seven – The Master ($5000 – 10,000/day profit)

Master affiliateYou now operate entirely from an abundance mindset and think nothing of dropping a few hundred bucks to test an offer and traffic source, like it’s tipping a waiter in a restaurant. You have masses of winning campaigns and start to move into high traffic stuff (direct site media buys, Pulse360, Adsonar, etc.) as you crave more success and money in your pocket. You start to embrace outsourcing as your time is valuable and needed in order to crank out more campaigns without worrying about technicalities. You get progressively more innovative with your campaigns and make very, very, good money on a stable and reliable basis.

Level Eight – Ballin’ Outta Control. ($10,000 – Lamborghini/day profit)

ballin affiliateYou have now made some frankly ludicrous money, have a team of five full-time outsourcers, have gotten an office, bought a Lamborghini or private island, and have a massive bankroll to fund your campaigns. Things have gone to crazy new heights and you strangely have become a little disillusioned with affiliate marketing and start looking for other opportunities outside campaigns (perhaps e-commerce, bricks and mortar businesses) to expand into. Eventually you start a CPA network or release an inevitable ‘guru’ coaching product just for kicks.


Obviously these stages are highly exaggerated, but the message I want you to take from this is quite simple – just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Sometimes it’s hard to see how this is going to work when you’re not getting the instant gratification of results, but if you persevere, you will eventually get to where you want to be. Don’t give up. Even if you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel just yet, I can assure you it’s coming. All it takes is one campaign to turn it all around. The only way that you can lose this game is by not playing.

Just realize that everyone has had to go through the process at some point. They weren’t born into affiliate marketing greatness like some kind of internet marketing Jesus.

Comments (58)

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  1. Dukeo says:

    Very nice post.
    It seems that most of the steps are relying on the creativity factor…
    Are the figures based on the author own experience?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Haha no the figures were my touch.

  3. Ryan Eagle says:

    BALLIN' OUTTA CONTROL!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. This post is some great inspiration. Good quality shit, as always, Lorenzo (for bringing it to our attention, and thanks to Adam for writing it!)

  5. AffGossip says:

    Love it. Levels 1-3 are like the "Affiliate marketing: Is it real?" mindset. And then from there on it's like, "Affiliate marketing is FOR REAL."

    Nothing better than moving up a level. I can see all my progress in these steps, so I hope to keep moving up. What has marked my progress is not new campaigns (which were abundant when just starting out) but new ideas.

  6. Anonymous says:

    amazing post! adam is ballin outta control!

  7. Aaron says:

    Woohoo, made it to level 4 of 8 🙂 Nice write up man.

  8. NegBox says:

    I'm laughing my ass off at "The Google" reference to the C2M interview on YouTube (check out 0:50' here ) ….. No, really, I did laugh out loud. This is a freaking BRILLIANT post – Don't mind if I share it with a few folks.

  9. […] – The eight levels of achievement for affiliate marketers. [Mr. Green] […]

  10. "perhaps e-commerce" OMG THATS ME!

  11. dood, as always; great pictures, and great read.
    I can see successful AMs decorating those mascots as their AM trophies.

  12. Somehow I missed this post in the forum. It's a great read!

  13. Boris_yo says:

    Level 5 would suffice for me and i would be happy enough. I don't ask for more despite my desire to change the world for good which is on my list.

    Mr. Green, do you have course sharing your experience?

  14. Michael says:

    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Hell yes.

    Great article. It definitely gives me perspective, which I think we all need from time to time.

    What makes this so real is the fact that these words of inspiration are not there to sell you a piece of shit CB product for $47/ $77, anything ending in a 7. or maybe…;)

    • Adam Bunch says:

      Actually this is exactly where i sell you a piece of shit CB product for $47!

      For the record, I'm still at the "making $7 a day on Craigslist pretending to be a girl" stage.

      They call me Miss $7 A Day.

  15. Wizno says:

    You hit the nail on the head. I spent like 1-2 months in the "is affiliate marketing real" stage, feeling overwhelmed with all the shit i was reading about. It was well worth it.

  16. Enjoyable piece. Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to hit level 8 one day and have those problems. 🙂

  17. Tkshaffer says:

    This is genius! love it!

  18. W4rl0rdx says:

    I think i'm going to read this every day… those pics are awesome! Content even better.

  19. Stian says:

    Great post made me realise where I am at 🙂 Thanks!

  20. HAHA. I am at Level NINE – GURU ($99999999/day). LOL 🙂

  21. Robesmund1 says:

    This is such an awesome post! I've read this over 10 times now… Helps me realise just how much I have achieved. I'm probably going to read this every few weeks to stay grounded.

  22. jack says:

    i am at level 3 only 🙁

  23. Awesome post Adam! Very funny, but also right on the money.

  24. cliu023 says:

    I needed a post like this to give me a reality check. Thanks!!!

  25. Josh Todd says:

    Excellent post Adam (and nice flair Mr. Green!)

  26. Moe says:

    Excellent. Just bookmarked it.

  27. Russ says:

    I am amazed. From this chart about level 3 is something close to where I moved from recently. Now onward to lamborghiniville!! See you all there!

  28. Just hear to contribute to the hagiography. This is a great post; specifically that it demonstrates any amount of sticking to shit can actually be profitable. Thanks for writing this, Adam- and for posting Lorenzo.

  29. Alfred says:

    Great post for inspiration. Everything is so true about it. I even print out this article for my future reference 🙂

  30. jacky says:

    sup awesome post mr green the post rocks and real thing is never stop playing until u are success 😀

  31. d3so says:

    I would say that I'm at level 2.5 but get stuck in that loop 🙁
    Not proud of it at all.

  32. Mike p says:

    Great post i love the pictures also next to each level.

  33. Brian Evans says:

    "Ballin" list 😉

  34. says:

    i liked this post the first time but the graphics are out of control

  35. IMCash says:

    This is a great post, I think the best I have read this month…. and indeed you need to start creating instead of stealing from other, only then success will come…

  36. Tom says:

    Good post, I think you're right about the different stages. I've reached stage 3 and even fell into stage 4 for a day, but then I fell back to the beginning. I'd say I'm between 2 and 3 now, and you're right: it matters on how much you really want it.

  37. RONALD says:


  38. Ted Davis says:

    I thought the stages of an IM were Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and finally Acceptance.

  39. Alvern says:

    Great.. Certainly agree about that..

  40. Excellent post. Actually I still belong to the 0/day category. But I'll persevere 🙂

  41. […] The Lifecycle of an Internet Marketer Ever wondered where you stood in the lifecycle of affiliate marketing? Your wait is over. Adam Bunch from PPV Playbook wrote this great article so… […]

  42. […] the Next goal: pass level 3 : Explanation No I did not buy any guru crap cause thats stupid for now and mrgreen said not too(yes I am a Mr. […]

  43. […] I may be getting soaked in newbie sweat but I am not on a treadmill. (Mr Green level 2) […]

  44. […] you can tell I suck at writing, feel free to correct everything) So the Next goal: pass level 3 : Explanation No I did not buy any guru crap cause thats stupid for now and mrgreen said not too(yes I am a Mr. […]

  45. […] take the rest of the day off. I may be getting soaked in newbie sweat but I am not on a treadmill. (Mr Green level 2) The only reason for this post is I feel really productive today. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike […]

  46. Tathguru says:

    post fits to reality when you remove one zero from each step 😛 rest nice post there big fella 🙂

  47. […] – The Lifecycle of an Internet Marketer from Adam Bunch and published by Mr. Green was an awesome post, so much so that I printed it out […]

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