I have to confess, it can be kind of hard working for Affilorama.
All around me people are doing affiliate promotions and earning cash on the side... while I'm the fresh graduate whose eyes boggle at the very prospect of it all.
So six months ago (has it been that long?) I started following AffiloBlueprint and putting together my own affiliate site.
Here I am with all these resources around me, this great course to follow, and a very big student loan I'd like to pay off... and still I find myself procrastinating.
In fact it's taken me all this time to get my site to a point where I'd even begin to call it finished. I've just started seeing some small commissions coming in... but it's been a long road
I know I'm not the only one who's found the road pretty rocky, and faced more bumps than I wish to count. But I thought I'd share with you what I've found hard so far, as some of you might just know what I'm talking about...
1. Remaining committed to one strategy only
For me, it wasn't a question of who to trust or which strategy to follow, because Mark has always said that building a website is building an asset. My weak point was more about not getting side-tracked by all the promotions and products offered by different people.
In all my eagerness to do affiliate marketing myself, it slipped under my radar just quite how long it takes to start seeing any real results (money I'm talking about!), and I didn't anticipate a long drought of endless hours of effort and commitment with no reward.
It's not that I doubted that the method works. It's just, well, I get a bit fidgety... and prone to distraction. The idea of a quick fix that other products claim to offer began to look all too appealing.
And so I found my commitment wavering, as instead of spending time working on my site I was researching (well, many just arrived in my inbox) alternative options and pondering those.
Luckily for me, others around the office were able to set me back on track with a few sharp words of advice!
2. Choosing a niche
It takes one quick glance at our forum to tell you that this is a big deal for many people. After all, if we get it wrong here, it's going to make it a lot harder to carry out the rest of the work needed...
I started with the intention of choosing a niche that I have some interest in (and preferably, some sound knowledge in). But then when you factor in competition, search volume, buyer intention phrases, and gravity... it's not that straightforward.
Call me boring or stupid, but I was scraping the bottom of the barrel for potential niches that I had both interest and some knowledge in.
And so the research process of choosing a niche, keywords and products to promote that hold some profitable potential had me running around in circles, and spending a lot of time on what at first glance appears to be a minor task.
3. Building a website
Raise your hand if you've posted on, or at least consulted, the ‘website building' part of our forum.
That's what I thought. Fiddly, annoying, detailed, and tricky. I envy anyone who built their first website with absolutely nohiccups. No matter how comprehensive the instructions or advice that you follow, why is it that they always leave you with questions, or panicking over what may or may not be a small or large error?
HTTP Status Error Codes and website headers, you are not my friends. And I don't like the language you use either.
4. Creating content
For those lucky few who happened to choose a niche that they knew a whole lot about, are good writers and marketers, then this stage may not be so much of a hurdle for you.
However people like that are few and far between, and for the rest of us this part means hard slog, or risky spending.
For the type of website recommended by AffiloBlueprint, the amount of content we're talking about is around 30 pages of content. And that's before even considering a newsletter series, and promotional eBooks...
So what's it going to be?
For me, I decided to write my own content. Boy did I underestimate the time I needed to spend online and at the library researching my niche so that I could write like an expert on it.
The other option didn't look too flash either though. Maybe you chose to tackle Upwork, learnt how to outsource your content, and took a punt with $300 of your money on what might return you 30 mediocre articles, if you're lucky.
At least I saved myself $300 - but then I've probably spent about $300 of my time researching and writing my content (well, I'd like to think I'm worth that much!).
5. Getting traffic
So I've put all this work into creating a website, but barely anyone's noticing it. It's just not fair is it?
This presents another fork in the road that isn't clearly signposted with ‘right way' and ‘wrong way'.
Whether we take the SEO route or the PPC route, we're still at risk of burnout.
Call me fickle, but there's only so much link building and waiting around for my rankings to rise that I can do before I'll lose interest altogether (or at least get side-tracked).
Likewise with PPC, us newbies don't have unlimited funds, and I've heard alarming things like you've got to spend $500 before you can learn to make PPC work for you.
6. The Newsletter series
I know that newsletters are really effective (I've heard Mark complaining that too few affiliates build them) butto be honest, I haven't even started this one yet. It took me so long just to write those thirty articles for my website, I think I would be mortgaging my youth if I wanted to write enough emails to build a newsletter series.
I've also done the math, and I figure that if I was to outsource this and get enough newsletters written to last me a year, it would cost me around USD$1000. When you're earning New Zealand dollars, that's practically a winter wardrobe I won't be able to buy.
Plus there's the monthly subscription to MailPush or whatever other service you use.
I'm feeling like I might need to wait until my site is earning its keep before I buy it any more nice things. I guess you'd say this is a hurdle I haven't quite cleared yet.
Don't get me wrong. I'm really glad that I've done this, and I know that my next site probably won't take me as long to put together. But man. It's been some effort
Actually... I think I'm allowed to give you guys a heads up about this now. I KNOW that my next site isn't going to take me as long to put together, because we've got a new product coming out pretty soon.
I don't know if I can share the details, but I can say that if you've been struggling with any of the stuff I struggled with, this is really going to help you. In fact I'm a little annoyed that this didn't come out six months ago when I first started... but that's the way it usually goes, right?
Want to know more? Watch this space! But here's a mathematical hint:
(80 + 20 + 3) x 5 :)
Do these hurdles sound familiar to you? What is your biggest obstacle in getting started in affiliate marketing?