Congratulations! You have decided it's time to step up, and get your own home business started! You are ready to put forth the effort to get things up and rolling. You really need something you can do from the kitchen counter, a desk in the corner, or sitting on your sofa for that matter. You don't have tons of time, but what you do have, you're ready to invest in building a second income, or possibly replace your current income/job altogether. Great! But where does one start?
Many people have heard of, and many have a rough understanding of what it is, but most still have questions. Affiliate Marketing is essentially you getting paid by a company for telling someone else about the company's product or service, and that person purchases the company's product or service. Yes, there is a bit more to it, but at it's core, that's it. it's basically the same as your car salesman friend who always gives you a handful of his business cards, and tells you that he'll give you $100 for anyone you send to him that buys a car/truck from him. But now you have the Internet, and a billion+ people to reach out to, not just your friends and family.
Affiliate Marketing is truly a Win = Win = Win arrangement
What's great about Affiliate Marketing is that it's an arrangement where virtually everyone wins. The company who wants people to promote their products and/or services wins because they have people out helping them make sales. The Affiliate Marketer wins because they have a product and/or service they can promote, and know they will be rewarded for their efforts. The person who ultimately buys the company's product and/or service wins because they had an Affiliate Marketer that put the Company's information/links out ther for them to find exactly what it is they were looking for. And the product and/or service they are buying isn't going to cost any more than if they found the company and bought the product and/or service direct [very often affiliate marketing programs offer coupons and discounts buys can't find anywhere else but through an Affiliate Marketer's link]. So, Affiliate Marketing is truly a Win = Win = Win arrangement.
OK, all this sounds great, and you're ready to start. But, are you really ready to start? Would you open up a donut shop if you didn't know how to run a dounut shop? Of course not! So, why do so many people think they can start an online business in 5 minutes, with no understanding of what it is they are doing? To get your Affiliate Marketing Home Business started, you have to have a road map to get there ... some simple steps to help you stay on track to meet and exceed your income goals.
It is going to take some time, effort, study, and organization
First thing you need to understand, is that it is going to take some time, some effort, some study, and some organization to get yourself setup for success. There is no miraculous 'get rich quick' button you can press. That is why we have the 7 Steps to Success. So you have an easy-to-follow guide that will provide you with what you need to; set your , about the Affiliate Marketing business and how it works, how to build your overall , how to drill down on the niches where you want to , put together the you will need to run your home based business correctly, and put all of this into .
So, why is Step 7? And why is Caution even considered a step? You might ask ... That's a great question, and here is a very simple answer. Caution is there, because at every step you will want to exercise Caution and good judgement.
What do you hope to achieve financially by starting your own home based business? Is your goal to earn a couple hundred dollars per month, a thousand dollars per month, or many thousands of dollars per month? Regardless of the amount of income you want to generate from you affiliate marketing business, you need to sit down, and honestly write out your goals. Why is this important? Because you need to have at least a general idea of where you're going, if you want to get there.
For example... Let's say you want to bring in an extra $500 per month working part-time from home. How many hours per week/month are you willing to work in order to generate that much income? How much are you willing to invest in your Affiliate Marketing education and Tools in order to achieve that $500 per month goal? The process of setting goals helps you sort out what must be completed in order to achieve those goals.
Setting goals, even if vague in the beginning, is a huge key to success
"Why is goal setting the first step in the Seven Steps to Success?" You may ask. "Shouldn't it come later?" Well, the reason for setting goals first, is so you can structure the rest of the steps to support your goals. The person whose goal it is to completely replace their income and work from home full-time is probably going to structure a lot more investment into their and how much they , than say, the person who just wants to earn a couple hundred dollars extra each month. It's the same as any business. How big you want to grow, how much money you want to earn, depends, in part, on how much you are willing to invest, and reinvest in your business.
Setting your goals, even if they are rather vague in the beginning, is a huge key to success. Having your goals out in front of you will help keep you motivated, and keep you on track. Many people find it beneficial to write down, in big bold letters their goals, and post them on a wall by their computer, or tape them to the mirror in the bathroom, or hang them on the refrigerator door ... they post their goals anywhere they are going to see them during their day, so they have a constant reminder of what they are working for. I have 3x5 cards all over the place to remind me of my goals, both business and personal. I like using 3x5 cards because they are the perfect size to jot down one or two goals/reminders, and easy to gather up in a neat stack before company comes over.
Setting goals also helps you visualize yourself in the position of having achieved those goals. When you are sitting there with your pen and paper, or on your keyboard writing down your goals, your mind is almost automatically going to visualize what your life will/would be like when you meet and exceed your goals. Think about what it would be like to just to earn enough to cover the cost of all your family's groceries for the month. What kind of difference would that make in your life? Think about what it would be like to generate enough income from your home business to pay off all your debt, pa off your house [or buy one for that matter]. What kind of difference would that make in your life? Whatever your goals are, give them a little visualization time so you can connect/reconnect to the drive and motivation to help you meet and exceed them.
Visualize those goals being achieved and what kind of impact it will have on your life
So, get that tablet and pen out, or open up a new document on your computer and get your goals down on something you can go back and read. Get those goals posted around your house or apartment, so you have a constant reminder to keep you motivated and driven towards success. Visualize those goals being achieved and what kind of impact it will have on your life. This is only the beginning of your goal making. As your business grows, you should be reviewing your goals, and setting new ones regularly so you can track your progress & success.
Now that you have your goals set, it's time to Learn about the Affiliate Marketing business.
I've said it before on this website ... You wouldn't open up a donut shop, if you didn't know how to run a donut shop. So don't go barreling into Affiliate Marketing without educating yourself first! ... Starting an Affiliate Marketing company from home, is not that much different from starting any other business, you have to know what you are doing in order to be successful. No, you don't have to go back to high school, community college, or a university, but you do need to become fully acquainted with how the Affiliate Marketing busines works, what are all of the different ways you can make money, and how do you set it all up so you're organized and prepared for success. Sure, you can go gonzo, skip any knowledge, setup a few affiliate accounts and spend a ton of money on Google Ads. But, you will probably end up spending more on your mistakes than you would have on some quality training.
What you will find is that there are tons of resources out there for people who want to get a home based Affiliate Marketing business started, but you have to understand the difference between the Tools and education. Websites like Affilorama or ClickBank University are great places to sign up for high quality Affiliate Marketing training. They both have multiple options for what level of training package you can choose, both are focused on offering you all the resources you need to Learn different aspects of the Affiliate Marketing business. Affilorama is a more broad-based Affiliate Marketing education, where ClickBank University is focused on how to be successful as a ClickBank Affiliate or ClickBank Publisher. These are very different from an Affiliate Marketing Tool, like Keyword Elite, which is a program for drilling down on the best Keywords for your online advertising [a robust keyword tool is almost essential for niche marketers].
While you are learning about the Affiliate Marketing business, you will have your eyes opened to all the different ways you can generate income. There are people who focus all their attention on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Some people start their own blog, focused on a niche where they have unique experience to share. Some people buy up domain names and build/deploy websites to drive their business. Some people want to become a Clickbank publisher, and produce content for other Affiliate Marketers to sell. And most all Affiliate Marketers work to build the biggest email newsletter list possible, as these are folks who already proved they are interested in what you have to say/are sharing, so keep the newsletters rolling, and filled up with affiliate links. The reality is, there are a myriad of ways to get into Affiliate Marketing, and the areas I just mentioned are only the tip of the iceberg.
Ok. Now that you have written down/set some goals, and gotten started with a great Affiliate Markeing Training tool like Affilorama, or ClickBank University, you can start building your plan. Nothing that you start with in your plan is 'carved in stone,' your plan will become a 'living document' that you are constantly updating, adding to, and checking off goals and plans that you have achieved. So, please don't feel like you have to write out some complicated business plan. Simply taking the Goals you set in Step 1, and sorting out the logical steps you need to take in order to achieve them is a great way to get started.
One easy way to setup your plan would be to write down a goal, then add a bullet point list underneath it of all the steps it will take to achieve that goal. Just write them all down as they roll out of your head, don't worry about the order of the steps when you do this the first time. You can always go back and reorder the steps for each goal, and reorder the goals in order of importance. Many folks with start with a pen a paper when doing their first Goals & Plan brainstorming, but it's well worth typing it up in a Word or Pages document so it's easy to edit, update, order, reorder, etc.
Those Who Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail
There is a lot of truth to the old saying ... "Those Who Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail." And there is a lot of truth to it when it comes to getting your home based Affiliate Marketing business started. Life gets busy, and it's easy to get distracted and thrown off course, and that makes having your Goals and your Plan together all the more important. If you take the few minutes it actually takes to set some Goals and sort out the beginning of your plan, you're much more likely to stick to it, because you have already started to invest something more valuable than money into your business ... your time. The money you spend on training and tools is minuscule in comparison to the value of your time. So don't waste it!
In addition to the overall 'business' side of your Plan, what are your plans for your work-space? Do you have somewhere that you can jump on your computer without too much distraction, so you can get through your training, and get your business setup and rolling? If you don't, then it's highly suggested that you find a space that you can define as your work-space, so you can keep yourself organized. Some people will have an extra bedroom, or a desk in the den where they can get to work. For others, it will be a well organized computer backpack, so they can roll to their local coffee shop, grab a cup of coffee, plugin the headphones, and get to work. For others, it's both. ... That's one of the great things about Affiliate Marketing, if you get your business setup correctly, you can easily manage every aspect of your Affiliate Marketing business anywhere you have a computer and Internet connection.
*Take your Goals and steps in your Plan, and post them around your house, so you have a constant reminder of what you are working for/towards. You will be amazed how many times you will feel like lying down in front of the TV, and you will walk by one of your notes, and instead of vegging out the rest of the night like the rest of the people out there whose lives will never change, you will find yourself plowing through training and getting your business setup. Even better ... you will feel better knowing that you were super productive and making your business grow, instead of doing your best impression of a blob of jello on the sofa.
Finding your business Focus can be very easy, or possibly, very difficult. Many people will make their business startup much harder than necessary, because they choose to focus on areas within Affiliate Marketing that they simply don't know anything about. One of the greatest ways to really enjoy your Affiliate Marketing home business, is to focus on subjects that you are interested in. Focus on subjects and niches that will make you want to get to work, because they are something you already know, or are learning about or researching anyway. There is plenty of Affiliate Marketing income to be earned out there, so why wouldn't you want to Focus your business within the subjects you already love.
Finding your Focus also means you can keep your eye on one or two or three segments of the Affiliate Market, and specialize in them. The more time you spend within a specific market, the more experience you will gain, and better advertising and marketing decisions you'll make. This is especially true for anyone who wants to help drive their Affiliate Marketing business with a blog, an email newsletter, or via social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, etc.. There are people out there with extremely lucrative Facebook & Twitter pages, and they use them to drive out the Affiliate Marketing promotions.
There is another big reason to seriously consider the 'Go With What You Know' approach to finding your focus ... Many of you have the goal of replacing your current job with a full-time, work from home, Affiliate Marketing business. If this is you, chances are you want to replace your current job because you don't really enjoy what you are doing for a living. ... So, why put yourself into the same exact position with the markets / niches that you go after with your home business? You are making this change because you want the freedom and opportunity to set your own hours, be in charge of your income, and build a business ... Go with what you know and love, it will make your life a whole lot happier.
The master mechanic has a toolbox. The master woodworker has a toolbox. And you, as a home based Affiliate Marketing business, will need a toolbox as well. Instead of greasy wrenches, and dusty hammers, you will have domain names, email address[es], websites/hosting, keyword research tools, Affiliate Marketing systems, and more. These will be your 'tools of the trade,' and you will end up appreciating them as much as you appreciate the tools you use for everything else in your life [kitchen, hobbies, etc.].
Domains & Hosting
One of the first things many new Affiliate Marketers do, is to purchase a domain name that fits with the niche, or niches where they want to build their home based Affiliate Marketing business [or many domain names depending on how you are going to approach the market / how many niches you want to engage]. Once you have a domain name, you can setup your own email address [example ], and easily launch your own Wordpress or Joomla based website, or use one of the website builders offered by many of the hosting companies.
It's important to have your domain names all with one company. Even though some of the Affiliate Marketing tools and services will offer to manage your domain names if you purchase through them, I highly recommend simply making all your domain purchases through a single company, like GoDaddy, Network Solutions, or 1 & 1. This way you never end up in the situation of going through domain registrar transfer, or any disputes over who actually owns the domain name. You can always point the domain names anywhere on the Internet you want to.
One thing to note about domain names, email, and website hosting ... there really isn't any one company out there that is the perfect solution to all your needs. In my many years of building websites for clients, and my own personal projects, I have split up my accounts based on what each company specializes in. I use GoDaddy for buying/managing of all my domain names & most of my email needs, because they seriously have the best domain name prices, and fastest DNS servers around, and their customer service is excellent. But, when it comes to hosting my websites [and some of my email that I setup on individual website accounts], that's where A2 Hosting comes in, as they have incredibly fast web hosting servers [their servers run circles around GoDaddy & most others out there], and excellent web hosting customer service. So, don't feel like you have to have all of your domain names, email address, and website hosting in one basket. Sure it might save a couple minutes here and there logging in and out of different accounts, but don't you want to utilize the best possible service for every aspect of your home business?
Affiliate Marketing Tools
This is a pretty diverse category to cover since there are so many different types of Affiliate Marketing Tools, depending on what your Focus is on in the business. Since we have already covered Affiliate Marketing Training in Step 2 - Learn, that helps whittle things down a little bit.
One thing that you will hear and Learn a lot about in your Affiliate Marketing training is Keywords. So much so, that you will probably end up having dreams about keywords dancing around in your head. Keywords and keyword phrases drive the categorization, and prioritization of information on the Internet.Virtually everything out there is tagged with keywords and keyword phrases to help describe to humans and search engines what the related content is about. It doesn't matter which niche markets you are going to Focus on, knowing the strength of all the keywords and keyword phrases driving those markets will be key to your success. Affiliate Marketing services like Keyword Elite, Imeye, and SEO Link Monster are dedicated systems to help you maximize every advertising dollar you spend by making sure you are using all of the highest performing keywords and phrases. These Tools can help you avoid costly mistakes, while driving higher profits, due to much more effective content & advertising keyword and keyword phrase use. ... did I mention you will probably end up dreaming about keywords?
Many new Affiliate Marketers [and many long-time Affiliate marketers for that matter] like the convenience of some of the turn-key Affiliate Marketing systems. These turn-key systems give you a ready-to-run platform to get started, that have many of the Tools you will need built in. These turn-key Affiliate Marketing systems can cost a bit more up front, but a lot of new Affiliate Marketers love them because they can launch a turn-key system like Cash Making Affiliate Sites, Affiliate Elite, Mass Affiliate Sites, or CB Passive Income, while they are going through Affiliate Marketing training at Affilorama, or ClickBank University. This can give you the opportunity to get a business foundation started, while you are building your Affiliate Marketing education/knowledge.
Congratulations! It's time to put everything you've done so far into Action! You made the decision to start your own home based Affiliate Marketing business. You set your Goals, so you could also make your Plan on how to achieve them. You picked out and started your Affiliate Marketing training, so you can Learn everything you need to know to be successful. And, you put together the start of your Affiliate Marketing Tools, so you have what you need to run your Affiliate Marketing business. Now is the time to make all these step come together to produce an income at home, and help you achieve your financial Goals.
As you are getting started, don't get discouraged if you run into hurdles along the way. We all have crazy stuff happen in our lives. If life throws you a curve ball, just make sure to get right back to work on your business. Stuff happens, we keep moving forward. If you run into training that you don't understand, keep reading, re-reading, or re-watching the training videos until you do get it. Most of the good Affiliate training, like Affilorama or ClickBank University, have full time support forums and/or support ticket systems to help you any time you stumble. Or, if you pick an Affiliate Marketing method or niche that does't work for you, then don't be afraid to try another Affiliate Marketing method, or enter into a new niche market. You can be successful, you just have to believe in yourself, and keep getting back up anytime you get knocked down. That's just the way life, and Affiliate Marketing work.
One thing I can't stress enough, is the need to make sure you have your Goals and your Plan written down. And, hopefully you will get your big Goals and Plan down on slips of paper or 3.5 cards that you can post around the house to keep you reminded of what you are work for and towards. Sure, your friends may make poke fun at you when they come over and see your notes around the house, but as your business grows, and you become more successful, don't be surprised if you start to see notes around their houses or apartments with Goals written on them. Plus, every time you achieve another Goal, you get to go around the house and post up new Goals. You'll love the satisfaction that comes from knowing you achieved the Goal on that little slip of paper, and that your are now setting the bar for yourself even higher. Success can become addictive.
Last thing I want to touch on is staying on the light side of the Affiliate Marketing business. In the next step, I offer some words of Caution about areas of the Affiliate & Online Marketing world that are pretty shady, and not the type of business 99% want to engage in. So, build your business the right way, the honest way, and stay away from the dark side of the Internet & the dark side of Affiliate Marketing. You will be happy you did, and you will certainly sleep better, because you have a clear conscious.
It does not matter whether you want to open a donut shop, or start an online, home-based business, you have to exercise caution along the way. We all know that there are good deals and bad deals in the world. We all know there are good people and bad people in the world. We all know that with any knowledge or skill you gain, you can take the high road, or you can take the low road. So, it's important that you use discernment as you get started in this business.
One of the bigger scams out there is the Multilevel Marketing [MLM, Direct Selling] business. They pummel the Internet with claims of easy money to be made from home, but never do they mention that in the MLM industry 98% - 99% of the distributors never turn a profit, with many incurring significant financial losses. In reality, it's LESS than 1% of the people involved in the MLM industry that actually earn enough money to quit their regular job - that's a failure rate thats worse than the restaurant business by a magnitude of 10, and opening a restaurant is one of the riskiest businesses you can possibly start.
The MLM companies get you to sign up for hundreds of dollars per month worth of orders for products of dubious benefit you couldn't sell at the swap meet, and tell you to go sell all your friends and family on the latest MLM pyramid scheme. Worse, many of the 'down-line teams' piggyback a stack of their own products and services [auto replicating websites, down-line manager, etc] that can cost hundreds of dollars per month, on top of the base MLM monthly charges. Even worse, once you are signed up with one of these scams, they don't want you promoting anything but their product and pyramid scam.
One of the great things about Affiliate Marketing is that you are in charge of what you promote, how may products or services you promote, and in most cases, how you promote them [website, social media, email newsletter, etc.]. With Affiliate Marketing, you decide how much you are going to invest each month to grow you knowledge, build your Affiliate Marketing Toolbox, and promote your business. You are in charge, not the MLM. Don't fall for the Multi-Level Marketing siren song, these are truly companies that are designed to only profit the very top 1%.
One of the potentially shadier sides of Internet Marketing is Lead Generation. There are, of course, many ways to generate leads for reputable companies, but there are also many ways people generate leads for less-than-reputable companies. Interestingly, or oddly enough, the shadier side of lead generation has many ties to the MLM industry. Not that the dark side of lead generation serves MLM exclusively, but it is definitely where many from the MLM industry go to curn out as many leads as possible, because the MLM industry churns & burns through leads & new recruits like no other. They pop out websites, and immediately sell the information of anyone who requests more information.
In your hunt around the Internet as you get your Affiliate Marketing business up and rolling, you will undoubtedly run into at least one or two of their websites. They will have some vague description of how you can work from home or your computer to make a bazillion dollars, but they will never offer any real details. All they want is your name, email address, and any other contact information they can get from you. So, be careful. Last thing you want is your information getting sold a dozen times over, and people from all over emailing and calling you.
You will be able to identify those 'turn and burn' types of opportunities, if you keep your head on straight. Just remember, there is no reason to get wrapped up in anything you wouldn't want anyone in your own family wrapped up in. If it looks like a scam, and feels like a scam, then it's probably a scam. Don't let their appeals of overnight riches cloud your good judgement.
There are hundreds of different scams out there. So be vigilant. Building up a home based Affiliate Marketing business is going to take a bit of time. But, building anything that will have long-term value normally does take a bit longer than going the shady/scammy route. The scammy folks come and go, because they can only rip folks off for so long before they can't sell anything to anyone anymore. They might make a quick buck, but nothing for the long-term. However, for every one of those scammy marketers, there are hundreds, if not thousands of good, honest, hard smart-working people who are producing an income at home in Affiliate Marketing. Some are making part-time income, many are making great full-time income [for part-time hours], all the way up to the tip-top Affiliate Marketing gurus that are making millions of dollars per year.
If you're going to do this, take your time, do it right.
Affiliate Marketing is probably the easiest home based business anyone can get started today, provided they get the training necessary to learn how to do it profitably. There is no other home based income opportunity that you can get started for next to nothing, learn how to get started online via great resources, and know that there are a zillion niches you can do business in when you start.