I have my doubts that affiliate marketing is a way to make money online. Sure, you can get a decent amount of money from affiliate sales if you are promoting popular products and have established yourself as a thought leader in your industry. But is that the kind of earnings you are looking for?
If you’re looking for the kind of money that will let you quit your 9-to-5 and live the life you dream of, forget about affiliate marketing.
Instead, I believe you can make much more money by building a business structure that allows you to function as a retail shop. When you have your own retail shop, you can decide what products you want to sell and how you want to sell them. You could also create your own brands and sell those too. What’s more, you can structure your business in a way that allows you to capture value added tax (VAT) refunds (if you’re based in the UK). So you essentially make money when someone clicks a buy button and adds a product to their basket (or wants to create a monthly subscription for a product you’re promoting), even if that person doesn’t actually complete the transaction or subscribe.
Here’s why: when you’re operating as an online store, you have the flexibility to work remotely. You can set your own hours and you’re not bounded to a 9-5 routine. Additionally, you can use technology to your advantage and automate as much as possible. So instead of having to log hours manually, you could use software to track your hours so you know how much you’ve actually accomplished. Automation will save you a great deal of time and get you closer to reaching your goals much faster.
Focus On One Product At A Time
When you’re first getting started, it’s acceptable to promote a few products and gather data on whether or not that approach is effective. But as you evolve as a business owner, you’ll learn to focus on one product at a time. The reason behind this is simple: when you’re starting out, you don’t have the resources to properly promote several products at once. You’ll most likely rent a store or hire employees to help you deal with the high volume of sales you’re sure to encounter. So, it’s better to focus on one product at a time and learn from experience. You can always get back to promoting other products later when you’ve accomplished something successful with the single product you’re promoting.
Create A Niche
The beauty of having your own retail shop is that you can always change your mind and decide to promote a different product. So, if you’ve established yourself as an authority in your industry and have gained a good amount of trust from your audience, why not promote a wellness-related product instead of a beauty product? Or, if you’ve always dreamed of having a coffee shop in your town, why not start a business specializing in homemade espresso machines?
Whatever it may be, as long as you can establish yourself as an expert in your chosen field and if you can offer something distinct that no one else can (e.g., a specific service or a product that no one else offers), you can certainly build a profitable business around it.
Diversify Your Income Streams
If you’re looking for ways to make money online, diversifying your income streams is highly recommended. Why? Let’s say your coffee shop starts doing well and you’ve built up a bit of a following. Maybe you’ve even inspired a few people to open up their own coffee shops. So, you decide to branch out and start promoting an organic clothing store. Or, you’ve always been intrigued by the idea of starting an online pharmacy and you stumble upon a brand-new, life-saving drug that will soon be patented. You can create a website in a short amount of time and start advertising your pharmacy for people in need of that drug.
By establishing yourself as an expert in your chosen field and by offering a service that is so indispensable, others will come knocking on your door trying to get you to promote their product or service. So, instead of focusing on one product or approach, you’ll have many to choose from. Plus, you can take advantage of the fact that you are an expert to promote multiple products at once. So, if you want to make a quick buck or two, it’s acceptable to do so. But if you want to grow your business and become a successful entrepreneur, invest in quality products and services that help you grow your business.
Reduce Your Risk Of Failure
When you operate as a sole trader, you have the ability to fail fast and fail often. If you can’t handle the unexpected expenses that come with being a business owner, affiliate marketing could be a safer option. Why? If something happens and you can’t honor your obligations, at least you have the ability to disappear and start over again. In most cases, you’ll just lose a few hundred dollars in transactional expenses.
On the other hand, if you’re operating a retail shop, you have the assurance of a physical presence. If someone decides not to buy what you’re offering, you can simply walk away without any financial loss. Instead, you’ll just lose out on a few thousand dollars worth of inventory. So, to reduce your risk of failure, ensure you do your research and choose a profitable niche. Then, when you’ve established yourself as an expert in your chosen field, create a retail shop where you can promote multiple products at once. In the case of coffee shops, you can start by offering a unique type of espresso machine that other shops don’t offer. Then, if you’ve built up a good deal of trust with your audience, you can transition to selling organic apparel and accessories crafted out of locally sourced materials.
Above all else, build a business that you can grow and expand indefinitely. If you’ve ever read How to Build a Business You Can Afford to Live On For Several Years, you’ll know that the author, Joe Polish, shared how he went from $2,000 to $120,000 per month in less than a year. With this kind of income diversity, you could live your dreams of financial freedom, even if it’s just for a while. So, if you’ve got a business idea that you’ve been toying with, take the time to develop a plan before you get started. Then, with a little bit of luck and some serious hard work, you could find yourself creating a business that will allow you to live your dreams.