Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 32
  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    May 14th, 2011
    Posts
    2
    What was your first year like?
    Hi everyone, I have recently decided to give affiliate marketing a go and I am trying to learn as much about it as I can while I develop some content websites. One thing that I am having difficulty find is: What is the life of an affiliate marketer really like?

    When I try to search for this information on the internet, I find a bunch of people who are affiliates of programs trying to sell stuff to make me an internet millionaire. The irony is not lost on me. There are a few blogs that I've found where someone has posted some graph of their income from one program and it ends up being about a thousand dollars a day that they make in commissions. That just doesn't seem realistic for the average marketer to make, or else everybody and their uncle would be doing it.

    I keep going through cycles of optimism and paralyzing fear/doubt. At times I feel like I can do this, and then I feel like there is no way I will ever be able to make more than a few bucks and I'll be stuck in my crap 9 to 5 job until I am too old and decrepit to work.

    So I wanted to ask you guys, what was your first year in affiliate marketing like?

    Were you in the hole or did you actually make some money?

    Were you able to quit your day job or was that years in the making?

    How many hours a week did you work on your sites vs. how much you work on them now?

    Have you seen a shift in your quality of lifestyle (more quality time with family, being able to take vacations, paying off debt, etc)?

    If you could relive your first year, what would you do differently to be more successful or get to where you are now faster?

    I understand that some of these questions are fairly personal and there are a number of people on here who don't like that. I don't mean to offend anybody, I am just looking for more information about what to expect and to learn from people who have done it already.

    I would really appreciate any of the answers that you guys could give me. Thanks!

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,420
    It was 1998 and I was not in the hole because there was no PPC.

    Did it all on SEO which was "hidden text" at the time.

    Made good $$$ > it was easy.

  3. #3
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
    Join Date
    June 24th, 2005
    Posts
    6,918
    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant Consultant Team View Post
    It was 1998 and I was not in the hole because there was no PPC.

    Did it all on SEO which was "hidden text" at the time.

    Made good $$$ > it was easy.
    Same here, all three points +

    1. Was no blackhat, was just marketing
    2. No competition
    3. AltaVista was king
    4. Yahoo! was a directory more than a search engine.
    5. PPC was a form of affiliate marketing, meaning merchants paid you per click (much like "adsense" now). Think it was ClickXchange or something like that back then.
    Last edited by Convergence; May 15th, 2011 at 12:11 PM.
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    Location
    Tropical Mountaintop
    Posts
    5,636
    It was easier years ago than it is today, no question about that. If I was starting today I could expect roughly 3-6 months before my first commission and need to keep adding fresh content all the time to stay ahead of others who might be a little lazier.

    The picture of lolling on the beach while the money rolls in is a joke, a lie invented to sell others some $47.77 ebook. Affiliate marketing is work, plain and simple. If you are a self directed person who can motivate themselves to continue while it is not rewarding it is still possible to get there.

    With luck and hard work it is realistic to expect to continue in your j*b for at least the first few years..then maybe. Most people who begin affiliate marketing drop out when it doesn't fulfill their fantasies and never get to the level of being able to rely solely on commissions for their income. It takes a hard head and persistence among many other things to make it work. The proliferation of browsers that don't accept third party cookies and apps or settings that delete all cookies doesn't help much either. Thanks to the abuses of a few we all earn less.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 20th, 2005
    Posts
    8,266
    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy View Post
    ...The picture of lolling on the beach while the money rolls in is a joke...
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    Location
    Tropical Mountaintop
    Posts
    5,636
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    Yes, Bill, we understand that is what you do all day, but since Krissi can't really go back in time to start a decade ago, I thought TODAY'S startup scenario might be more useful.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 9th, 2005
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    1,659
    I worked a full time job for the first four years at a Internet Startup where my day job and my AM work were somewhat related. I worked on AM part time with the number of hours I devoted to AM increasing as my revenue increased. It probably looked like:

    Year 1 -> 10 hours a week on AM stuff + 45 hour week on day job
    Year 2 -> 20 hours a week on AM stuff + 45 hour week on day job
    Year 3 -> 40 hours a week on AM stuff + 45 hour week on day job
    Year 4 -> 50 hours a week on AM stuff + 45 hour week on day job

    At year 4 I was making the same amount as my day job and my carpal tunnel was getting seriously bad.... Protect your wrists... My wife was also getting very irritated because for at least two years I had been working every weekend.

    Year 5 -> Full time AM, quit day job, workload decreased by at least 35 hours.

    I am on year 8 now... Google continues to chip away at my business, but I find ways to survive. It isn't an easy way to make a living, but the flex hours are great!
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Lanadili's Avatar
    Join Date
    February 23rd, 2007
    Location
    Shreveport, LA
    Posts
    1,114
    Quote Originally Posted by Krissi View Post
    So I wanted to ask you guys, what was your first year in affiliate marketing like?
    Ah, the first year is always the toughest because your learning the ropes and it can seem like a roller-coaster ride of going through ups and downs. My first year I was working a full-time job, going to college for a web design degree and raising two kids as a single mom. It was tough, but affiliate marketing seemed like it was the perfect fit for me once I learned about it. So I decided I would give it my best shot and allow at least one year of hard work to see if anything would pay off.

    Were you in the hole or did you actually make some money?
    I actually made some money, and when you get that first sale, your hooked (or at least I was).

    Were you able to quit your day job or was that years in the making?
    I was able to quit my day job after about a year of doing affiliate marketing part-time. By then I was making the same amount of money part-time with affiliate marketing than I was full-time working for someone else.

    How many hours a week did you work on your sites vs. how much you work on them now?
    Depends, the more work I put into my website and learning about marketing, pre-selling, etc. the more it paid off. So in the beginning your always going to work more, but once you figure out what works for you, it's easier to get by working less. Although this can change depending on certain situations - if I'm working on a new site, a lot more hours go into it vs. just maintaining the sites I already have up.

    Have you seen a shift in your quality of lifestyle (more quality time with family, being able to take vacations, paying off debt, etc)?
    Yes to all of the above, and then some.

    If you could relive your first year, what would you do differently to be more successful or get to where you are now faster?
    For me I wouldn't really change a thing because everything I did, I learned from. It's all a learning process - if something doesn't work, try something else.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador daiarian's Avatar
    Join Date
    April 4th, 2011
    Location
    Beautiful Wales
    Posts
    602
    They say the first year is one of ups and downs well mine has been all up, and I mean up hill with no sign yet of it levelling off.

    I had been working crazy hours and retired (partially) from my job as an accountant and about 14 months ago I entered this mad world. I have learned a huge amount and spent a pretty penny (apart from hosting mostly wasted money) but in about 14 months have made only 2 sales and no Clickbank cheque yet as I have not hit the threshold.

    As 2busy has said it is damn hard work but you cannot fail to be motivated by the successes of the people on here. Ever the optimist I am not giving up neither should you I and have taken on board all the valuable tips given out by ABW members and these will help you formulate your plan.

    You will not be harassed on here to buy stupid get rich schemes but can rely on the support and integrity of the members.

    Keep your day job but give AM your best shot and I wish you every success.

  10. #10
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    3,492
    I'll echo the sentiment of it all being so much easier "back in the day"... pre-2004 or so.

    My first year... 2002.... took about 5 months to generate one sale. Then something "clicked" during the next two months or so and by the end of the year was bringing in slightly over $3k per month, with steady growth up until the infamous "Florida Update". I survived that, obviously, but things have never been easy since then.

    $1,000 per day is well within reach, but don't get your hopes up. You have to learn the ropes, blaze your own trail, and bust your @ss like you never have for any "employer".
    CUSTOM BANNERS by GRAPHICS CANDY ~ Banner Sets and Website Graphics ~ Professional design, reasonable rates
    DESIGNER DOG CHECKS ~ We double-dog dare ya to write one!

  11. #11
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 20th, 2005
    Posts
    8,266
    Quote Originally Posted by 2busy View Post
    Yes, Bill, we understand that is what you do all day, but since Krissi can't really go back in time to start a decade ago, I thought TODAY'S startup scenario might be more useful.
    OK, time to put forth a serious response.

    Looking through the responses thus far my situation would be close to that of isellstuff. I was a school teacher in my former life, and my last three years of doing that I worked out a half-time deal with my (former) principal. I was doing tech support and training in a technology magnet school.

    My first four years - keep in mind I started in 1999 (as 2busy says - a long time ago) - I took nothing out of the business. It was a bit easier back then, but I had no training and there were few places to go for help. I started totally in travel and was making good headway in hotels and in golf travel - and got slammed by the repercussions in the travel industry because of 911. Had to keep at it though and, as people returned to the friendly skies, the travel sector returned.

    My wife was wonderful in that she supported all my hours of pounding on the keyboard. She put up with me working weekends, all weekend, most of the time for those early years. But in the long run it paid off.

    I still put in a LOT of hours - but it is on my terms. Things keep changing and we need to keep up with changes. The Google updates which some folk mentioned as setbacks usually benefited me. I never got involved with PPC or much in the way of datafeed sites. I preferred to build things I liked - travel and photos - which are all representative of good, useful content - that many other sites like to link to. That always worked and still does.

    You can make a living at this. Find something you personally are fascinated with and share that passion with other folks - online. Go for it.

    BTW - No, I don't really lounge on the beach all day. I don't care for the sand. I once heard Jimmy Buffet say, "When my ship comes in I'll probably be at the airport." I considered that - and bought an airplane.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  12. #12
    Member SGFrazier's Avatar
    Join Date
    April 12th, 2011
    Location
    U.S. East Coast
    Posts
    99
    Hi Krissi,

    My first year in affiliate marketing was a struggle, and actually, I'm glad. It would have been wonderful if the work I performed generated instant income. However, if this piece of the income puzzle were simple, the barriers to entry would be so steep that you wouldn't bother trying.

    I spent no money on affiliate marketing. Time is what you "spend" outside of books and other publications you might buy.

    Even when this part of my business generates lots of cash (currently just under $1k per month), I won't walk away. I'm not sure if many entrepreneurs leave it once all the work they performed pays off.

    Like others who've responded before me, I spend many hours a week managing my affiliate marketing as an affiliate and merchant with my own program.

    I am spending more time with my family. There was a time when I burned the midnight oil on the computer. Not anymore.

    What I would do differently today is take more time (there's that word again) to understand the basics of affiliate marketing in order to achieve swifter success. Thankfully, I never spent money on systems from people who say they have the crystal ball about this topic.

    This forum is the one true and genuine knowledge base for me. I'm sure you'll find great support and information here, too.

    Shirley

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador superCool's Avatar
    Join Date
    April 23rd, 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,268
    first year.... let's just say superCool's CJ account was closed for inactivity

    twice

  14. #14
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Ithaca & Park City
    Posts
    3,338
    I didn't even know what Affiliate marketing was until I had a website online for three years

  15. #15
    Newbie
    Join Date
    May 20th, 2011
    Posts
    8
    I have been an affiliate for just a year now and I really enjoy being one.. working while at home..

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    May 27th, 2010
    Location
    Guangzhou, China
    Posts
    121
    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    Same here, all three points +

    1. Was no blackhat, was just marketing
    2. No competition
    3. AltaVista was king
    4. Yahoo! was a directory more than a search engine.
    5. PPC was a form of affiliate marketing, meaning merchants paid you per click (much like "adsense" now). Think it was ClickXchange or something like that back then.
    Good old times.
    I spent lots of money in the first year learning how to become a freelancer.

  17. #17
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Winter Park, FL
    Posts
    6,930
    it was like getting onto a roller coaster, for the very first time.
    :-)

  18. #18
    Moderator
    Join Date
    October 16th, 2007
    Location
    Neenah, WI
    Posts
    682
    The first year(2003) I used to celebrate every monthly check($100ish) from Google Adsense like it was magic. Now, I can't believe I used to waste traffic on Adsense, let alone get paper checks and showed them off before cashing.

    Late 2006 I was making more money affiliate marketing than my 40 hour a week job(that I went to school for), so I quit.

    Today(although I'm not getting rich anytime soon) we are living very comfortably wondering if "Obama Care" is going to make it affordable for my wife to quit her job and give up the family health insurance provided by her employer. She's 33, I'm 41.

    I always get asked by people what it is that I do. I explain, while watching the puzzled look on their face develop. This is such a young profession that people are still trying to relate it to some other profession that they know or have accepted as a profession. I usually get compared to a car salesman or a web designer.

    I make sure that I always say that it's really easy and that I only graduated high school with a 2.2 gpa. When they ask for details on how to do it, it's ALWAYS followed up with a, "Oh, I can't do that".

  19. #19
    Newbie
    Join Date
    April 9th, 2011
    Posts
    22
    Would any of the other veteran members on here have any other stories they could share about how they got started? I don't mean like what you do to make money i mean what Chrissi was asking, what were you doing in the beginning before you started your A.M. and what led you to it, and then how you progressed from an absolute noobie through the years to today?

    I'm still in the early learning stages, and I've been reading and learning non stop since i found ABW a few months ago, but i'm completely enthralled by the "in the beginning stories" that people have who started at zero with nothing but their computer in front of them and a goal in their mind and how things have progressed for them between then and now

    I would love to hear anyone elses story if they would want to share..

    Ryan

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    4,327
    I started back in 2002, and it was so different then. I moved to the USA (from England) and was stuck in the middle of nowhere (Vermont) with nothing to do (my wife at the time was working, while I was not allowed to work)
    So I found affiliate marketing. What a wonderful way to make money. You sit in front of a computer and figure out how you can do something better than other people can do it.

    9 years later, I am still doing the same. I don't bother telling people what I do. The only people that would understand, are already doing affiliate marketing.

    Of course, times have changed, and it is much harder now, but it is still possible to earn a living. You just have to be dedicated to what you do.

  21. #21
    .
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,973
    I'm quite confident that my "first year" experience (in 1996) is irrelevant, because the entire web publishing (affiliate marketing) landscape has transformed several times since then.

    And like many folks here, I'm quite eccentric in how I manage my web publishing activities, in ways that would be difficult to emulate (and unlikely to create profit).

    During my first year, I maintained my full-time job (as a probate & estate planning attorney), and bought very little advertising (as Mr. Mackin notes, this was before Google, and before the first large-scale keyword advertising opportunities were created by GoTo/Overture).

    I have never relied on my advertising revenues (including performance-based advertising revenue from "affiliate programs") as my sole source of income, though in some years it's generated more income than my other work. I've always been engaged in other activities (including consulting work for merchants, plus a sojourn in teaching) which have usually generated more income.

    When I reflect on my web-publishing profits, I always conclude that they came from producing relevant and useful content for specific audiences. I consider this a "necessary but not sufficient" condition for profit from web publishing.
    Last edited by markwelch; June 2nd, 2011 at 05:41 PM.

  22. #22
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    I went full-time within my first year, but I was largely just in the right place at the right time. Things were certainly easier back then, but many of the core principles that worked back then (like providing value) still work today.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  23. #23
    15 years and counting
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    6,121
    I spent my first year, 1994, looking for a way to track sales with my partners. At that time, my merchants were using their logs to decide if a commission was due. With one of my friends at MindSpring, we wrote my first tracking system using raw logs. In 1995, I signed up with CDNow and PC Flowers. 1996, the major problem was getting paid by merchants and we were looking for "trusted third parties" sharing information on BBS, Newsgroups, CompuServe... I became an amazon affiliate, Jeff Bezos was still in his garage. Tracking, Payment, a pool of Merchants were the key ingredients to start a network and I joined CJ, then LinkShare in 1997.

    I never had a day without sales since these early days and I'm still working with some of these merchants. It took me a long time to quit my day job, not because I was not making money but because I was doing it for fun. I miss CJ first interface, it was fast and efficient. I miss companies like ClickTrade, they were doing Banner Exchange at the beginning. Microsoft bought them and screwed up everything like usual. It could have been a decent network.

    "How many hours a week did you work on your sites vs. how much you work on them now?"
    It the early days, a few hours a week were more than enough. Now, it's more like a few hours a day (Never over 4). It's important to keep quality time with family and friends.

  24. #24
    Full Member OICUAM2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 18th, 2006
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    421
    My first year (2000) was when I was living in the Rocky Mountains. I was pretty excited when I figured out I could use my phone line to sell stuff in Manhattan while hiking in Colorado.

    Affiliate marketing remains more hope and hype than reality for me. The basic business model works, but getting quality traffic has always been an issue. I have always focused on creating long-term online brands with a growing audience while rejecting short-term link and article marketing strategies. My sites continue to grow, but there is still more frustration than jubilation.
    [URL=http://www.investeverymonth.com]InvestEveryMonth.com[/URL] - Build Wealth

  25. #25
    Member DerekForeal's Avatar
    Join Date
    December 15th, 2006
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    77
    Love this thread. My freshman year of college was 1995. I remember turning to someone on my left in the library and asking them, "What's yahoo?" The internet and I started school at the same time.

    Fast forward to February of 2006 which began my first year as an affiliate. Started out by buying RichJerk, became familiar with CJ and read damn near everything on the internet about affiliate marketing in a week. Found Clickbank, built a Google AdWord campaign around a World of Warcraft guide in one evening, went to bed, woke up, and had made money. The love affair began right there.

    Fast forward to June 2011 and I advertise more offline than I do online, as an affiliate. Go figure.

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelColey View Post
    I went full-time within my first year, but I was largely just in the right place at the right time. Things were certainly easier back then, but many of the core principles that worked back then (like providing value) still work today.
    No knock, but...typical "affiliate marketing" answer from a pioneer who has been very successful. I don't need much detail, but care to elaborate on what's in bold. Your story is what the business opportunity affiliate marketing sector dreams of for their copy.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 0
    Last Post: November 21st, 2012, 02:40 PM
  2. Poll: Which year was your best year
    By shimmy in forum Midnight Cafe'
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: July 22nd, 2010, 07:33 PM
  3. Black Friday Suggestions For Next Year (And Now This Year)
    By flamingoworld in forum Couponer's Corner
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: November 17th, 2009, 05:33 PM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: December 11th, 2007, 11:38 AM
  5. eBay Click Trends Year over Year
    By gkudasz in forum Commission Junction - CJ
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: June 30th, 2004, 06:50 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •