When you're first getting started earning money online as an affiliate, it's pretty inevitable that you'll meet doubters and nay-sayers. They'll ask: "Why are you wasting your time on this?" "How did you manage to get sucked in by these people?" "Why don't you get a REAL job?" and my personal favorite... "If it was so easy, wouldn't everyone be doing it?"
This can be pretty stressful for you... especially when you're walking in this twilight area before you've made your first sale. You're not even sure yourself that it works... and all these people are fuelling your doubts! It can also cause some pretty serious strains in your relationships... again, especially at the start. You'll probably be working a "real job" at the same time as you're trying to get started as an affiliate. This doesn't leave much time for your family and friends, so you'll probably encounter some hostility.
How do you deal with this?
1) Understand that people are concerned for you, and they just don't want to see you be disappointed.
This can be a hard thing to hold in your mind when all you hear is nagging and negativity... but it's generally true. Your people are worried for you. They think that you're wasting your time, and they don't want to see it happen to you. Try to listen to the good intentions behind their worry, rather than just seeing it as nagging. It's ok to be a little frustrated... but don't get angry at these people because they're showing care for you.
2) Make sure that you're not neglecting your responsibilities.
If you had responsibilities before you started learning how to be an affiliate, and people are depending on you, don't use it as an excuse to forget about them. You don't want to give people any more "ammunition" to use. For instance, "Are you still working on that stupid website idea? You were meant to babysit tonight / You were meant to take out the trash / We were supposed to go visit my aunt / You were supposed to help our son with his project / etc."
See how easily the connection is made between "that stupid website idea" and you forgetting your responsibilities? Never mind that any old hobby could have easily caused you to forget these things... your friends and family will see it as a direct result of this "stupid idea" of yours, and it will add to their negativity. Make sure you don't let this happen.
3) Make sure you're not neglecting the people who care about you.
This follows on from the previous point. Make sure you're looking after the people who are concerned for you. "Looking after" can mean lots of things... perhaps you'll be able to explain to them exactly what you're doing to ease their fears, perhaps you'll just spend time with them, so that they know you're ok. Don't spend your time thinking about how THEY should be supporting YOU because you're embarking on this big new venture... think about how YOU need to support THEM.
4) Don't put all your eggs in one basket
A lot of negativity stems from a perception of risk. Your friends and family think that you're going to end up worse off because of what you're learning. This is particularly true if you've decided to quit your job to become an affiliate (before you've ever seen any earnings!) or if you've decided that you don't need to go to college anymore because there's money to be made on the internet.
Nobody wants to see you "burning your bridges" or "boxing yourself in" ... especially to do something that they're not sure even works! So make sure that you ARE keeping your options open. Don't quit your job or your studies to become an affiliate... start building affiliate sites while you're still working, and maybe trim down your hours once you start to see results. If you keep things open, you can always go back to them if it doesn't work out. And your friends and family will be a lot happier.
5) Don't spend lots and lots of money without seeing any results
NOTHING is going to ramp up negativity as much as your friends and family seeing you spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on products and services to "kick start" your business. You really don't need to spend very much money at all to get started as an affiliate. And you certainly should NEVER be taking food off your family's table to pour into your affiliate business. Remember that you have to look after your loved ones first... not the other way around.
6) Focus on the learning
Here's another way to look at it... even if you never end up earning a cent as an affiliate, you're going to end up learning a lot of new things: A bit of web design, a bit of writing, how to outsource, how to conduct research on the internet, search engine optimization, perhaps some image editing, some general marketing skills... you're already richer for learning these things! So long as you haven't spent thousands of dollars on learning these things, you're already better off! (This kind of argument works best on parents... tell them you're going to be a great web designer, rather than a great affiliate!)
7) Surround yourself with positive people
Join forums for affiliates (we've got one here in Affilorama!). Maybe investigate some local groups for small businesses. Talk to people who have taken risks in their lives (any kind of risk... it doesn't need to be internet-based!) and get their perspective on things. Surround yourself with people who get things done, rather than those who sit around talking about how it can't be done. These people will be able to boost your energy and keep you going.
The most important thing to remember is that very few people really want to see you fail, and most negativity comes from concern. Don't get angry... don't get hostile. Let them know that you hear what they're saying, and that you are being careful. Be willing to answer any questions they have calmly and positively. If you remain positive... it should rub off a little on them!