J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
That might sound like a strange quote with which to start the very first post in a blog about affiliate marketing, but it’s particularly apt. You see we are inviting you to come on a journey with us as we explore the world of affiliate marketing, We are building our business from scratch, and documenting our progress step by step. And though we are new to affiliate marketing, we are not exactly wandering lost.
So in this blog, I’m going to share with you how Tanya and I got to the position where we wanted to start an affiliate marketing business. I’m going to share with you the particular path that we chose to follow and why we chose that path. I am going to document every step of the way so you can follow in our footsteps if you so choose.
Tanya and I have dabbled with the idea of making money online for some years now, but with little success. I do have two online products which have made me a little bit of money. The first is a photo of a bucket that is leaking water. This photograph has been on the Dreamstime website for about ten years and has netted me a total of around $1,000. The second is a book I self-published about managing third party suppliers. This book is about four years old and has earned me about $200. Neither of these products is going to enable us to live the life of our dreams!
As retirement approaches, Tanya and I started to look at moving out to live in Portugal (country and region we love). To live the life we want we need to supplement our pensions. Also, I did not want just to stop working and vegetate. We wanted something we could do together that would make a serious difference to our finances, but not require a 9 to 5 commitment. This need for something to do that would earn us money drove us to start looking seriously at the different options available on the Internet.
If you have tried searching for online opportunities yourself, then you’ll know that it’s a minefield. There are so many ‘get rich quick’ schemes and ‘flash in the pan’ products out there. Things like binary options trading systems that will supposedly make you tens of thousands a day! Or offers to sell you a system that will generate $50,000 in 30 days. It’s a jungle populated by no end of false gurus and wannabees, with their equally false testimonials and dummy bank statements. They claim to be able to turn you into an overnight Internet success, yet so many of them have little more than a ‘photoshopped’ existence. We did not want to have any part of that, either subscribing to it or promoting it.
In our case, we stumbled across the answer almost by chance. As we searched and researched for a solution, we discovered Affiliate Marketing. The concept is simple. Find a product (or products) you would like to promote. Sign up as an affiliate. Promote the product online. Cash the commission cheques. Simple! It’s a bit like painting a masterpiece. Find a subject. Set up your easel and canvas. Slap on the paint. There is your masterpiece. Simple! Just like painting, there are a few people that are naturals, but the rest of us have to learn and practice and will have varying results. So we sought out some training.
To get started, we signed up to a basic introduction to Affiliate Marketing course. And guess what? The guy selling the course was an affiliate marketer, and so he promoted another product! It was this other product that made the difference to us (in fact I hardly even opened the first product). It was this new product that gave us the confidence to set out knowing we were able to follow a proven plan, with all the steps laid out before us. This is the reason we are not stumbling around lost in the Affiliate Marketing jungle.
Our product owner invited us to attend a live webinar with a ‘special guest.’ I was so green and new to affiliate marketing that I had no idea that this was an up-sell. Maybe because I was green, I came to the webinar expecting to learn. What I did not expect was to have my eyes so completely opened about the problems with affiliate marketing. The guest set out exactly why so many fail to make an income from affiliate marketing. I am so glad I listened and was very willing to buy the up-sell. The up-sell process was, in fact, a two stage process. Having bought into the basic level, I was invited to hear about two further levels, and these included a step by step plan and some coaching session.
So having committed at a basic level, I arranged to have a call to hear about the high-level options. It was at this point that I decided to let Tanya in on my little secret!
Tanya is ever patient and very supportive. If I had told her, I wanted to open a new business as a Gumologist (Yes it’s a real job!) she would have said “Yes dear,” cheered my on from the sidelines and been there to comfort me when I complained of jaw ache. But this was different. I did not just want her support; I wanted Tanya to be part of the business and work with me on an active, daily basis.
The evening I signed up to the coaching we sat down, and I told her what it was all about. I outlined what I wanted to do, said that it would take time and effort and spoke about how I wanted to do this together.
She was, of course, supportive. Tanya liked the idea of us doing something together, but as expected, was apprehensive about what it would entail and what she could bring to the party. Tanya has always been self-effacing and often can not see the immense value in her thoughts and actions. She was unsure but willing to give it a go. As it happened, we were just off on two weeks holiday to Portugal, so that would give us some time to talk things through.
We were driving down from Lisbon to Odemira (A beautiful riverside town in the western Alentejo) at the time we were scheduled to take the call about the two further options open to us. So we stopped off at a motorway service area to take the Skype call. Sat there in the shade of a busy service station, on route to a beautiful, relaxed, quiet and hidden valley in the Alentejo, we had the most significant conversation for many a year. We listened and learned about the two premium levels of membership in the coaching program we had signed up to.
Both levels included an element of coaching, training, technical guides and membership to a closed group of like-minded highly motivated and extremely encouraging affiliate marketers, some still wet behind the ears like me, other very experienced.
The highest level offer included a lot of the technical aspects of setting up the business done for you. Things like:
These were all things that are spelled out in all the training material but that I knew would take me hours to do myself. Tanya and I sat I the car and discussed the level of commitment needed and the options presented to us. In the end, we decided to invest in our future by going for the more expensive top option.
The next week was exciting as we moved forward, it involved running up a mountain, reviewing our life story and visiting a few old ruins, but that will be the subject of next week’s blog.
I hope you have enjoyed our story so far and would be thrilled if you commented below. Tell us about your journey. Ask us questions about our business. Or simply let us know if you think we are fools to have taken this route. We are real people who will read and answer your comments.
For now, though, it would be a great boost to us if you were to like this post or join our Facebook page where Tanya and I provide motivation and encouragement for anyone active in online marketing.
Live the life you deserve!
Tony and Tanya