A few years ago I had hit a rut in my affiliate marketing career. One of my most profitable offers I was promoting got shut down, and my income took a sizable hit when that offer went offline. I remember it being such a let down, I was literally printing money promoting it, and now it was gone.
That experience kind of took a toll as it dawned on me I would have to basically start over and find another offer and go through the whole split testing process again to bring yet another campaign into the green. I wasn’t worried about being able to do this, it became more of a question of whether I wanted to do it.
I had reached a stage known as “affiliate burnout”, and after a while you just get sick and tired of hopping from offer to offer, promoting other people’s stuff.
So I set out to start learning how to create my own products as an alternative to the affiliate marketing hamster wheel.
Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?
Of course not, and I still run a ton of affiliate marketing campaigns. However I have shifted a big chunk of my focus more towards creating my own products and services, and I would recommend you consider thinking about doing the same.
Let me reiterate there is nothing wrong if you want to be just an affiliate. I have made quite a bit of money on my own as “just an affiliate”, and for most of my internet marketing career I have been “just an affiliate”.
However if you’ve been doing this stuff for over a decade like I have, eventually you’ll reach a burnout point, even if you are making good money as an affiliate.
Getting Over The Mental Hurdles
I think too many affiliates don’t make the jump to offer owners because of the mental hurdles they have in their heads. They think “why would anyone buy my product” or “that sounds like too much work”.
These were all doubts and reservations that I had when I first started, but in hindsight I see them now as rather silly. So let me try to address some mental hurdles that you may have.
Why would anyone buy my product or service?
I think for me this was my biggest reservation about venturing out and creating my own offers. It’s natural to think “why would this person buy from me when they could buy from some world famous guru?”
The simple answer to that question is that these people will buy from you because you’re going to develop a relationship with them and demonstrate your product or expertise.
For example if you’re reading my blog there is a good chance you probably own a blog or are thinking of starting one. When you finally decide to promote your own products and services on your blog, realize that you are not a stranger to your audience.
You may wonder why anyone would buy your dessert making course on your cooking blog, but remember you’re not just some random person on the internet. If they are readers of your blog, you are a familiar face to them.
Maybe you’re the person that showed them how to cook their first Thanksgiving turkey, or taught them how to make that fantastic chocolate cake that was a hit at the company party. Whether you know it or not, you have a relationship with your blog readers, and yes they will be willing to buy your products and services.
Same thing if you had a YouTube channel on financial advice. Your YouTube channel subscribers that you’ve been helping every week to get out of debt will buy that e-book you’re selling or a financial service you are offering.
So get the “why would they buy from me” reservation out of your head. If you can demonstrate that you are competent at what you do and are offering a good product or service, people that follow you will buy from you even though you aren’t a world famous expert on the subject.
Creating my own offer or service is too hard
To be honest if I were to compare the work it takes to be an affiliate vs an offer owner, I think in the end the workload is about the same.
Obviously as an offer owner, there is more upfront work since you have to create the product and the marketing materials, however after that it’s really only about growing traffic and getting people to your sales pages.
As an affiliate sure in the beginning you just cut and paste a code onto your website and you’re ready to go, but after you go through all the split testing of offers, landing pages, and traffic sources the work ends up being pretty similar.
This is especially true when you realize you may only be able to ride an affiliate offer for maybe a few months until it dies off, and then you’ll have to start the whole process over again. So in the end I think the workload is about the same.
You’re Leaving Money On The Table
As an offer owner, obviously you get 100% of the profits as opposed to a commission like an affiliate, so that’s the first place you’re losing money as an affiliate.
The second place that most affiliates don’t really realize they are losing money is they don’t own the customer data. As affiliates we pretty much prepackage these sales with a nice bow on top and hand everything over to these product owners, and we don’t realize we are doing all the work for just a fraction of the profit! Sure we get a nice little commission, but that’s where the story ends for us.
On the other hand the product owner has all the customer data like their email address, and they can keep selling to these same customers over and over again. And as you may know, it’s easier to sell to someone that has already bought from you than it is to a new customer.
So as an affiliate you may get that one-time commission, but these product owners may sell products to the customers you refer to them for the next ten years!
How To Get Started
If you want to get into promoting your own products or services, I recommend you just start small. For example you can just create an e-book to sell on your website. If you know how to use Microsoft Word, you can make an e-book. Just type something up, save it as a PDF, and voila you have your first product!
If you are proficient in something and can possibly offer your expertise in the form of a service, I would recommend trying that out too.
You don’t need a fancy setup to promote your service, just create a page on your blog that describes your service and add some PayPal payment buttons and see if you get any takers.
When I created the first edition of this blog (the original crashed years back), the purpose was to get my name out there as an SEO Consultant (I didn’t have much street cred in 2010), and I offered SEO services on my blog. Basically I created a separate page titled “SEO Services” and listed a few different services along with some PayPal buttons.
Even with this elementary setup, every few days or so I’d get an email notification that someone had bought my service. Even with the crudest of setups I was making sales, and if your blog has some decent content and traffic, you can make some sales too I promise.
If you really want to get serious into selling your own products and services, I recommend using an all-in-one solution like Kartra especially if you’re considering creating online courses. I personally use it to host and sell all my online courses, and I highly recommend it.
Here’s a demo video of the platform:
The platform helps you create everything from sales pages, thank you pages, lead opt-ins, email marketing etc. so definitely check them out if you’re serious about creating and marketing your own products and services. It takes really only a few days to learn Kartra in and out, and they even have a free training course to show you how to use everything.
Well this post is getting kind of long so I’ll end it here. I hope you at least got to thinking about possibly learning how to create your own products and services after reading this. Again there is nothing wrong with just being an affiliate, but I think if you’re interested in making real long-term money, your best bet would be promoting your own stuff.