This is a common theme in affiliate marketing. When an affiliate manager over a program sees what the top affiliates are making, they want to be an affiliate. I wonder if being an effective affiliate manager prepares you to become a successful affiliate.
Last year there was news about account reps at Commission Junction (know Chad Darling – wonder how it's going for him). They risked their jobs and were asked to leave. I know someone who left a nice paying job at NASA to be an affiliate (but it took several years).
I wonder how that goes for affiliates. Is the income up and down? If you left your job to be a full-time affiliate, has it been worth it? Jeremy Palmer quit after six months but the climb is probably slower for most. Don't kid yourself that they don't work hard though, depending on their model and goals. If you want to keep growing richer, it's going to take A LOT of energy and time – more than a regular job would demand – especially in the first years.
As you know that was my intention early this year. My stomach couldn't handle the uncertainty. Perhaps one day (like when I'm not the sole breadwinner or have a few year's income saved) but for now I like the regular paychecks.
The beauty of affiliate marketing is work you did yesterday can continue to bring income today without any additional attention. It's nice to get those checks in the mail when you're too busy to spend any time on it. If you were in early and broad enough you could run almost entirely on autopilot.
I'd appreciate your input on this. If you quit your day job to be an affiliate, what was your day job? Were you ever an affiliate manager? How long did it take you? Are you a sole breadwinner for your family? I think this would make an interesting article.
I am not an affiliate marketer yet but I am very interested in becoming one for NASA – can you imagine the commission you get from selling one shuttle????
Great persepctive on the lot of many good affiliates. And without such affiliates a lot of programs wouldn’t succeed!
I have learned to pretty much stay away from affiliates or use them sparingly. I think too many people get sucked into an affiliate and it ends up too much like old-fashioned MLM programs.
If someone has more success and wants to share some tips I’m very interested but, in my experience its few and far between that are successful.
Jason – very funny ha ha ha!
Durk – thanks for standing up for the affiliates of the world.
Christer – I don’t think you understand affiliate marketing if you think it’s like MLM. Affiliate marketing is online and you have absolutely no obligation to buy a thing ever. You don’t pay to sign up. No sales tools. I could go on…
I started to miss comments, so thank you all.
I took a reverse direction. I started out as an affiliate and later became an affiliate manager.
For me, having the experience on the affiliate side first was instrumental in getting how to run an affiliate program.
This was also back in the 90’s when there were not resources available to guide affiliate managers.
While there is certainly a conflict of interest if an affiliate manager is an affiliate in their own program, I think it can be very illuminating for them to be an affiliate in other affiliate programs.
It enables them to walk in the shoes of an affiliate, as well as to get a glimpse of how other affiliate programs are doing things.
I think Shawn’s path to becoming an affiliate manager is a big part of the reason why he’s been so successful in that arena. A lot of affiliate managers I’ve worked with don’t have a clue when it comes to online marketing, which can be frustrating for affiliates, but when you think about it, it totally makes sense: if they knew what they were doing, why would they waste their time doing all that hard work as an affiliate manager when they could work half as hard and make twice as much money as a successful affiliate? Which brings up another idea, if you want to attract the best affiliate managers, you’ve got to pay for the best. If you tie their compensation to their performance, they’ll perform better and be more motivated to succeed. If you don’t pay them what they’re worth, they’ll find another opportunity somewhere else that will pay.
One final commment, affiliate marketing is a nice business model in a lot of ways (no inventory, no customer service, work whatever hours you choose, low overhead, work from home in P.J.s, etc), but to be successful you have to treat it like a business. There are costs involved and it takes real, hard work to make it–more so now than ever before because of increased competition. Like you said, Janet, it’s nice to get a check long after havng done the “work”, but what happens is that if you quit doing the work, your checks will get smaller and smaller over time. If you want to make a living in this business, you’ve got to keep at it day in and day out.
Thanks for your insightful comments.
Actually if you treat affiliate marketing like a business you aren’t in PJs and you aren’t sleeping in. You’re lucky to be sleeping at all. If you want to be serious about it there are still business hours, getting dressed, a real office separate from your living space, etc.
I agree, if you want to make a living it’s going to take consistent work. The difference is if you keep at it, over time it takes less effort to make money than it used to. Things are in place and need to be maintained, but it’s less work than starting them.
When I have time to give it I do. When I don’t I still get a check (because I’m still selling off an article I wrote last year). There’s no contract or obligation. I like that aspect of it. For now it’s what it is for me. For most it’s a transition over several years and yes, working consistantly at it.