I’ve been an affiliate for over a decade now. I’ve promoted everything from diet pills, adult websites, to kitchen cabinets and more. I’ve done lead generation and I’ve done straight product sales. I’ve also made a lot of money promoting these things.
However after a decade I feel like I have a different view on affiliate marketing. Do I still run any affiliate marketing campaigns? Yes absolutely, but mainly because I already have these campaigns more or less running on auto pilot. It’d be foolish to just abandon these campaigns since they generate income for me with very little work (though it’s taken years to get to this point).
However am I looking for new affiliate offers to promote? Absolutely not. I think my career as an affiliate is coming to an end, it was a good run, but I think it’s time to move on.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not quitting internet marketing, in fact I’m hitting it stronger than ever. However I’m focusing more on my own products and services, and if you’re currently an affiliate, I think you should consider thinking about it too.
Why I’m Leaving Affiliate Marketing
There are actually quite a few reasons I’m leaving affiliate marketing in favor of promoting my own products, and if you’re reading this as an affiliate, I encourage you to consider them as well. I have broken them down in the graphic below:
So lets break these down one by one.
Reason #1: You Get 100% Of The Profits
As an affiliate I’m sure you’re aware that you only get a fraction of the profits of whatever you are promoting. When you create your own products or services, you get 100% of the profits.
Even the best affiliate products will only give you a commission of 60-70%, and if you’re crazy, you may be promoting something that only offers a 3-5% commission. So bottom line you’re going to make more promoting your own stuff.
Reason #2: You Are 100% In Control
When you create your own products and services, you are 100% in control. This is not the case when you promote an affiliate product.
Even if you’re running a profitable affiliate marketing campaign, what if one day the offer you’re promoting disappears? Well so does all your profits!
When you promote someone else’s stuff you are at the mercy of any decisions they make, and if you ask me, that’s not a great way to run a business.
Reason #3: You Own 100% Of The Data
When you sell your own products and services, you own 100% of the customer data, particularly their email addresses. When you own this data, you can continue to pitch your products and services and make even more sales down the road. And everyone knows it’s much easier to sell something to someone that has already bought from you than it is to a new customer.
However as an affiliate, you don’t own the customer data, and you can’t make these future sales. Usually you’ll get paid your one-time commission and that’s where it ends for you. Meanwhile the product owner of what you’re promoting may be selling to this customer for the next 10 years!
Reason #4: You Don’t Get Cheated
Lets face it, as an affiliate there is no way for you to know whether you are getting cheated out of commissions or not. All you have is your network stats and you just have to trust that you’re being credited for every sale. However are you getting credited for every sale, or is the advertiser or even your affiliate network cheating you?
It’s a dirty little secret that advertisers and affiliate networks “scrub” all the time, unfortunately it’s what is required for them to stay afloat. There is no way for you to find out if you’re getting credited for every sale or every third sale, and trust me there is a good chance you’re probably getting cheated.
Furthermore you’re also at risk sometimes for not getting paid. If for whatever reason the advertiser or affiliate network chooses not to pay you, there really isn’t much recourse available to you.
Again all this can be avoided if you just chose to promote your own products and services.
The Money Is In Your Own Stuff
As an affiliate, if you take a step back and look at all the people making money online, who are the people making the biggest money?
When I think of people like Neil Patel, Charles Ngo, Russell Brunson etc. these people are all pushing their own stuff. Whether it be their service agency, seminars, books, coaching, SAAS etc. they are banking off products they created. They aren’t pushing someone else’s green tea diet pills or wrinkle cream, they know better than to do this.
Many of them were once successful affiliates, however after a while they realized that there was more money in creating their own products than there was promoting other people’s stuff. And now that is exactly what they do.
Squeeze The Money Out Of Your Traffic
You work hard to get traffic to your website, so you need to make sure you’re squeezing every last penny you can from your visitors. And the only way you can do this is by pushing your own products and services, you can’t do that as an affiliate.
Lets say you had a website that only has 100 visitors a day, how much money can you realistically make from that?
Well if you provide some sort of service (ie SEO, Consulting, Financial Services etc) you could very well make $10k+ per month by accumulating clients.
However if you’re promoting some sort of affiliate product, you won’t even come close to this type of earning potential. Promoting your own stuff ensures that you’re maximizing profits when it comes to your website traffic.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
So why don’t more affiliates make the transition over to creating their own products and services? Well to be honest many are just lazy, but also I think most of them are just unaware of the possibilities.
I think most people start their affiliate marketing careers by finding a forum like Warrior Forum or Black Hat World, and these places don’t really have a lot of discussions about product creation. I think this is because if you eventually venture off into promoting your own stuff, you just never go back to these forums since there isn’t much you can learn there.
I recently went back to Black Hat World and the only thing you see there is conversations about slapping together affiliate sites and “rank and bank” strategies. There is hardly any discussion about anything else besides affiliate marketing.
And again there’s nothing wrong with that, if you want to be an affiliate you can make a good chunk of change doing that. It’s all a matter of personal choice, it’s just not my personal choice any more.
So What Now?
If you’re an affiliate and making money doing so, there’s nothing wrong with continuing doing what you’re doing. In fact continuing on as an affiliate can set you up for bigger and better things later.
As an affiliate marketer you learn how to set up websites, create content, SEO, social media etc. and these are all valuable tools you will use later if you decide to launch your own product or service.
The main thing I wanted to get across in this article is just to get you thinking about possibly making a transition at a point later in your career. I truly believe the sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be making the kind of money you really deserve.