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.
The 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)
You 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)
After 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)
The 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.
NOTE – 90% OF AFFILIATES TEND TO GET STUCK IN A LOOP HERE. PLEASE DON’T BE ONE OF THEM AND GIVE UP! YOU WILL MAKE ME SAD.
Level Four – The Intermediate ($100 – $500/day profit)
You 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)
After 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)
You 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)
You 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)
You 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.