More and more people are considering working or hustling online. And it’s not a surprise why.

Some people have even quit their day jobs to have a full-time online career. The benefits are big, the risk is low, and the time freedom and flexibility are awesome – these are just a few of the various reasons why working online is all the rage these days.

The internet offers countless business opportunities for earning an income.

Is affiliate marketing the way to go?

Affiliate marketing is one of the best popular strategies for earning money online. This refers to the type of marketing in which an affiliate promotes a certain product or service and earns a commission for each sale successfully made.

Online entrepreneurs, affiliate marketers and online marketers are a new breed of successful business founders who are based solely on the internet to make money.

In this article, we want to touch on affiliate marketing as a great way to start online and generate unlimited income. But, bells and whistles aside, we also want to talk about the reality of affiliate marketing: Who makes money, how long does it take to establish a profitable affiliate marketing business and what are the pitfalls?

Many people prefer this kind of earning opportunity not only due to the fact that it gives them flexibility and enables them to work at their own pace, but also because this is highly worthwhile. Of course, it’s not without difficulties and drawbacks.

Reality check: Is affiliate marketing for everyone?

Affiliate marketing reality

Before you start with affiliate marketing, it’s essential that you know the pros and cons. This way, you can manage your expectations, and get yourself ready for the challenges that you will face. This will help increase your chances for success.

Reality check #1 – Affiliate marketing depends a lot on who you are as a person, your personality and your skills. Do you have what it takes?

If you’re planning to become an affiliate, you cannot detach your personality and character from it. Most of the processes required in an online business have something to do with you, your thoughts and your behavior.

For example, working consistently and have structure in the way you manage your projects are crucial when you don’t have a boss. You need to be self-motivated and be able to make decisions fast. Be your own boss, without compromising productivity and steady income flows.

Also, it is your credibility and reputation. Before people will believe your endorsements and purchase the products you’re recommending, they will decide first if you are a person they can trust.

Apart from your reputation, people will also look at your expertise in the field. How much do you know about the products or services you’re promoting as an affiliate? Are you an expert in this niche? Have you ever tried this product yourself? What were your results or experience from using the product? All these questions will be on the minds of your audience

This renders it important for you to choose products that are related to your interests, passion, hobbies, and expertise. This is an often overlooked secret to success in affiliate marketing. It is important to love what you do, but it’s not only that. Look for the intersection of passion, market demand and skills.

Reality check #2 – You and your aunt and your cousin can become an affiliate marketer but this doesn’t make affiliate marketing suitable for everyone.

Over thinking marketing

Yes, anyone can join any affiliate marketing network or program. As long as you have an internet connection and know basic stuff about the online worlds, then you can potentially work as an affiliate marketer. However, it’s important to realize that this earning opportunity is not ideal for everyone who wants to work online.

This business model is only suitable for people who have certain qualities. To find success, you need to be:

  • Enthusiastic, passionate and self-driven.
  • An expert about a certain niche.
  • Patient and determined to succeed.
  • Willing to invest long hours in working online.
  • Willing to share your personal experiences and ideas with other people.
  • Open to lifelong learning and leaving your preconceptions behind.

If you don’t have all these traits, there’s a good chance that you won’t manage to succeed as an online business owner and affiliate marketer.

Freebie alert: Find out more about our 8 done-for-you email marketing campaigns for affiliates.

Reality check #3 – Affiliate marketing is a business that takes time and hard work, sweat and tears too.

The very first thing that you need to realize about affiliate marketing is that it is a real business. To take it seriously you need to look at it as a business. And just like any business, online or brick-and-mortar, it requires time and effort.

Some people believe that affiliate marketers just sit in front of their laptop and they cash in on some system that works for them automatically. The fact is, an affiliate marketer needs to put in long hours of work every day to build a business, that can then work largely on autopilot. To do that you need to work on the following:

  • Build a website for your business.
  • Create valuable content for the site consistently.
  • Apply for affiliate programs that are a good fit for your business.
  • Re-apply for more partner programs when you get rejected.
  • Grow a mailing list and a following.
  • Create trust and establish a good reputation among your people.
  • Continue to polish and grow your online brand.

A lot of affiliate marketers don’t give up their corporate jobs immediately; they first work on their online business as a side hustle, and then, when they get it to a point that it generates some steady income, they quit their day job to be full-time online entrepreneurs.

You will soon see that it’s a must to see this as a thing that you need to do hands-on and full-time. If you don’t, you won’t be able to enjoy the level of success that you desire.

Reality check #4 – It takes time to earn really good money from affiliate marketing and to fully replace your day job. Success is a marathon, not a sprint.

The fact is that most affiliates will never make it. They will never make any considerable money, even after months of work.

Do you know the 80/20 rule?

Well, when it comes to affiliate marketing, the 80/20 is more like 95/5.

This means that 95% of affiliates will only generate 5% of the income. On the flip side, it’s the top 5% of affiliate marketers that will feast on 95% of the money being paid out by vendors to affiliates. As we said, it takes hard work to be part of that top 5% of super affiliates.

The steps involved to rise to the top and be part of the super affiliate clan cannot be accomplished in one or two months. You really need to spend at least three to six months to set up your affiliate website, create compelling content, establish yourself as an expert in the niche, build your credibility and a good online brand and so on and so forth. You need to build your brand, marketing processes and start growing your audience before you can see measurable and consistent results.

Reality check #5 – You’ll need to invest in people, technology and marketing if you want to speed up the process of building a successful affiliate business.

By now you should know that affiliate marketing has a lot of benefits. Here are some:

  • Low cost to get started. Most affiliate schemes and partners programs are free to join. Your costs have to do with your referral/marketing methods.
  • You don’t need to create a product or service, or maintain a stock, or even ship anything.
  • Work anytime that suits you and from any place around the world, as long as you have internet access.
  • There is huge passive income potential when you do the right things and have patience.
  • Can be added on to your current home or freelance business to create an additional stream of income. Bloggers, coaches, infopreneurs who already have an audience can capitalize on affiliate opportunities faster.

Now, these are the most important benefits but, although getting started can cost practically nothing, in reality, and if you take this business seriously you’ll need to put money in it upfront.

You’ll need to:

  • design a good brand and marketing collateral,
  • build a functional website,
  • pay for fast hosting,
  • pay for tools like an email marketing automation platform,
  • have some budget for advertising campaigns,
  • consult with a couple of experienced marketers and so on.

Depending on how fast you want to grow, you might need to spend money on copywriting, training, coaching or other services too.

How to move forward

If you’re looking to partner with an experienced team of online marketing experts who have designed, built and optimized high-converting sales funnels and profitable advertising campaigns, we’d be happy to help. At DoneForYou.com we help entrepreneurs, affiliate marketers and agencies to create and grow profitable online ventures. Fill out this form so we can get back to you to discuss your project.

To conclude, if you were looking for the truth about affiliate marketing, this article was your reality check. All the factors that we discussed are necessary for you to build a successful affiliate business. Although there’s no definite blueprint to success, time and constant effort are key. So, affiliate marketing isn’t the path for you if you’re dreaming of quick riches and no work.