Bare with me, this post might be long!
So I've been in the affiliate space full-time for just over a year, (started in July 2013). Since I've been able to focus 100% of my time on this business, I've been able to learn a heck of a lot about paid advertising and the AM space in general. I passed 100k profit in April so this type of post is insanely overdue.
Affiliate Marketing is Real
Luckily, I was able to see pure proof of the AM industry from a friend who was into it before I got started. He showed me earnings that were transferred straight to his Paypal from some clickbank products he had sold via review sites. Because of this, I was never skeptical and knew I could make it work if I just gave it enough time.
I did doubt myself with Paid Advertising though. It all felt like a massive puzzle I had to make sense of. It was tough and after so many failed attempts I was beginning to doubt if people posting $xx,xxx figure monthly reports were legit. After I started to hit $100-200 days it was I started to realize the reality of this becoming my Full-Time income and once again, that Affiliate Marketing was VERY real.
Affiliate Marketing Needs a Full-Time Focus
Although I started in July 2013, the idea of AM was not new to me. A friend had introduced it to me before and I was mega hooked at the start. He introduced me to a lot of grey/black hat stuff which nowadays will get you nowhere on Google. I was making review sites and back link spamming them like crazy so they start ranking and I start selling. I would make $2-$5 a day on Amazon which lasted about a month after which I got mega bored and stopped.
I still remember working on it though while being Full-Time employed. I was doing 3-4 hours after work and 8 hours+ per day on the Weekend. All together I was spending about 30 hours on TOP of my 40 work hours to do this.
Even though, now I have the pleasure of working when I want and how much I want I STILL work about 40 hours + a week. I've had some friends express interest in doing what I do but I know they're not serious about it. If you're not dying to go back home after uni/work and get back into your AM stuff then you don't love enough to get it to work.
Bottom line, you need to be spending some serious hours on Affiliate Marketing to get anywhere. Sure, you can spend a couple hours here, a couple there, but at that rate, it'll take you years to learn what an AM full-timer would in a couple of months.
You Need to Immerse Yourself within the Community
The more you can keep up-to-date with what's happening within your AM World, the more you'll get an understanding of what works and what doesn't. For example, I'm part of Teespring University and Aff Playbook. Every time there's a new feature of change within Teespring, someone will mention something in both of these places and I'll be updated on how it will help my business.
People share their tactics, methods, what works/doesn't work for them. This type of information will crazily improve your understanding and knowledge of whatever type of Affiliate Marketing you're in.
The quicker you can get on something before others, the higher your chances of making money with it. That's the main reason I stay connected to these places because I want to know what's hot so I can get on it straight away.
For example if I didn't see ashamen 30k payouts in his 20 page+ Teespring follow along then I would never have started Teespring. If I never started Teespring, I would not have made my 100k this year. Weird how things work, but they just do.
Pick Something and Master It
At the start I just wanted to master everything. I was overwhelmed with the number of options I had and every time I couldn't get something to work, I'd want to jump on to a different traffic source or promote a different type of offer. I started to change this approach earlier this year which is one of the reasons for my 85k profit month!
It was solely because I told myself that I'm not going anywhere unless I can get Teespring & FaceBook to work. I was relatively new to FaceBook, I had never got anything profitable there so obviously had a lot to learn. It was because of this attitude I stuck with Teespring, even though it took me 50 failed campaigns to get even 1 to tip.
I kept going and going and every time I would learn something new it would reinforce the idea of there still being a few more things out there I needed to learn to get this to work. It took me a while but eventually my campaigns started tipping and I was getting things right.
Now days this is my attitude. If I start any follow alongs' on Aff Playbook, I'll stick to it until I get it to work. For example, right now I have a follow along to get things working with FaceBook Micro Niche Funnels and List Building. David posted a Case Study where he was making about $75 a day on pretty much autopilot and I just knew this was the type of knowledge I needed to learn. I have a LOT to learn and am still no where near even making a single dollar with my follow along but have seen some progress and will continue till I get it to work. The old me would have ditched it a long time ago.
The reality is the knowledge you get from making something work is transferable to anything else affiliate marketing related. For example I learnt about the importance of layering when marketing my Teespring campaigns on FB. I will use the same strategy now with other traffic sources and offers.
To Make Big $$ You need Good Quality Traffic, and a LOT of it
A lot of newbies like to play it safe and so will sign up to 7Search or MediaTraffic or any other 3rd tier traffic source due to the lower deposits to open an account. This is what I did at the start and wasted a lot of time trying to make a few bucks here and there. You probably can get things to work here but if you want to make the big $$ you need to move to 1st tier traffic sources. E.g, Google or FaceBook. There's a lot of hungry traffic here waiting for you to monetize, you just need to figure out how.
The only reason I was hitting $5,000+ Profit days was because I was selling between 600-900 shirts/hoodies a day. I was advertising to 10,000's of targeted people, paying over 5k in just advertising. First of all there needs to be enough traffic source for you to be able to scale it to that degree, which FaceBook provides.
For this reason, I'm even more hooked on FaceBook. It has the potential to make you $100,000's per day if you can get things right due to the crazy volume.
Big Volume + Good Quality, Targetted Traffic = MASSIVE $$$
Get Real Feed Back on Your Campaigns/Projects
At the start, people are really hesitant to share their ideas. They think someone's going to steal their million dollar idea so don't share it with anyone. The reality is you need someone, unbiased to share their opinion on your idea.
I remember when I was making phone applications. I would post my idea on a relevant reddit forum and see if it would get any interest. ONLY if there was enough interest generated and people started to get real excited about it would I go ahead with the idea.
At the start of my AM career I was making every mistake in the book but had no one to tell me that. I was bidding on trademarked keywords, direct linking to places I shouldn't be and my landers were just so sloppy. I just felt like I was going nowhere. This changed when I joined Aff Playbook and started to let people guide me.
It's also the reason why people seek out mentors because that guidance will increase your rate of learning by 1000%+. I was actually looking for a mentor before I was pitched the idea of a paid forum. Luckily I chose a Paid Forum as the quality of information there was gold.
Action Action Action
We love absorbing information. It's a fact. It's also the reason why certain niches will always be open to monetize. People just love reading and learning. The problem here is that it gives you a false sense of 'doing something'. It's great to learn and read and of course you need to be doing a lot of that but you also need to be doing a lot MORE of actual action.
You need to be spending more time setting up campaigns, trying different angles, making new landing pages, 'insert relevant AM activity here', etc.
The more things you throw at the world the more responses you'll get that you can analyze and learn from. That's always been my approach. I make an effort to do 4-6+ of solid work that doesn't include reading forums, blogs, etc.
Always Be Exploring Other Avenues
In the early days, I would tell my self, 'If only I could start making $100/day, I'd be totally set'. This reality hardly exists, especially if you're into paid advertising. I've had days where I'm hitting $200+ days only to start hitting negative days all of a sudden.
The AM space changes too quickly and too randomly. The only way to secure yourself from this volatility is to continue to be exploring different things. Even though I'll have 2-4 Teespring campaigns working at any given time, I'll be crazily throwing out other campaign/design ideas to see if they stick so that once the current ones die out, I have others that will replace them.
It's only because of this attitude I'm able to not stay in red for too long. Even while I am focusing on Teespring, I'm still consistently working on this blog so that, if things get REALLY bad with Teespring, I have this blog that brings me at least 1-2k profit.
That's all I can think of for now but I've seriously learned a LOT in this year alone. It usually takes people a lot more time to make decent money in AM but I've been able to achieve 100k profit in less than a year. (9 months). I think it's due to the fact that I was part of Aff Playbook and forced my self to be a blank slate, ready to absorb any hints and tips I received from the forum because I knew that these were from real time marketers and not some average Joe that you'd find on warrior forum still struggling to make their first $10,000 in AM.
The reality is, you don't want advice from these guys. You want it from people making REAL money so you know straight away that their not in 'experimentation mode' but rather in 'I'm banking mode'
Anyway, hope you guys enjoyed the post!
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