Are You Mentally Tough Enough For Affiliate Marketing?

Written by Charles Ngo
Written by Charles Ngo

I’ve seen many smart people try affiliate marketing and fail horribly because they have no inner game.
On paper, they had everything they needed to succeed

  • Technical Skills
  • Large Budgets
  • Success at Others in Life
  • Intelligence

What happened? They all lacked the missing ingredient.
Inner game.
Mental Toughness

It’s what goes on in their mind when the going gets tough.
It’s your confidence, and beliefs. It’s how you react to outside events.
These are essential traits of success you can’t learn in school.
I’m a huge fan of UFC fighting events. I can tell that some fighters had already lost the fight before they ever stepped into the Octagon. They let the reputation or intimidation of their opponents get to them.
My favorite fighter is Chris Weidman. He shocked the world when he knocked out Anderson Silva. Yes, he is a talented and gifted fighter, but I’d argue his greatest strength is his mind.
Chris didn’t let Silva intimidate him and shocked the world.
This industry has tested my mental toughness countless times

  • I lost so much money testing campaigns
  • All my employees leaving me in 2009, and me having to start over again.
  • Not getting paid by advertisers.

Do you have the right mindset to be successful in affiliate marketing?
I find too many people want the little tactics, but that pales in comparison to the difference a good mindset makes.
I mean how is “cloaking” going to help your campaigns, if you pause any campaign that loses $100? Get your fundamentals down first.
I’m going to go over some of the most common mental weaknesses I’ve seen in affiliate marketers.
Remember that developing a healthy mindset takes time to build. There’s no overnight fixes, but I want to help get you to the right direction.

How to Get Over Your Fear of Losing Money

There’s no way around it, losing money sucks.
In affiliate marketing, you can lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars before you hit your first profitable campaign (I’m not here to sugarcoats things). You have to invest in servers, tracking software, and money for traffic.
There’s a psychological principle called loss aversion. It hurts more to lose $100 than it feels pleasurable to gain $200. We’re programmed to avoid risk.
So how do we conquer this belief?
If I lose $200, then I’m not thinking about the opportunity costs. I’m not thinking I could’ve used the money for excellent restaurants or money for toys.
The $200 is an investment in my future. I don’t get emotional. That $200 is for me to buy data. I’m a scientist performing marketing experiments.
You know what I find weird? It’s acceptable to get into massive debt to pay for school. I know people who owe over $100,000 and they haven’t even been able to get a job.
Society accepts that risk vs. reward ratio. But lose a few hundred dollars testing affiliate marketing campaigns? Everyone loses their mind!
It sucks to lose money, but I always keep my eyes on the prize.
Read More: Conquer Your Fear of Losing Money

Getting Over Your Fear of Failure

What do you think is the #1 cause of procrastination? It’s not laziness. It’s the fear of failure.
This happened to me in Chemistry class at university. I had a test coming up and I kept procrastinating. Deep down I felt if I didn’t study 100%, I could blame it on me not studying.
If I gave it 100% and got a bad grade? That’d be a blow to my self-esteem. Maybe it meant I’m not smart enough, so I wouldn’t give some tasks 100%.
That’s why we scared to fail. We’re scared of what others think, and we’re afraid of how it’ll make us feel.
Don’t avoid fear…learn how to manage it.
Being confidence doesn’t mean you’re not scared of failing. It means you know you’ll be ok if you fail.
I’ve re-programmed how I view failure. It means you’re making progress towards your goals. Failure is an inherent part of success.
Talent is overrated. We’ll see a businessman or an athlete at the top of their game and think it’s God-given talent. What you don’t see is the amount of work and practice it took for them to get there.
Do I believe talent exists? Absolutely. But I also think it only accounts for 5% difference, and only kicks in at the highest of the high levels.
I also think about the risk vs reward ratio.
All my past girlfriends came from me approaching them, and starting a conversation.
Was I nervous each time? (Also known as approach anxiety) Hell yea. But I’d always think back on the risk vs. reward ratio.
What’s the worse case scenario? I feel awkward for a few seconds, and then I’ll forget about it.
What’s the reward? A potential girlfriend. Or a potential wife. Or you can just go in without having any expectations other than fun. Just be. Don’t think, feel.
Back in January I spoke in front of 500 people. Towards the end, I was going to do a “20” minute pitch on my new company, AFFcelerator.
I remember preparing for the presentation the week before and thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” Why did I put so much unnecessary pressure on myself. I could just go to ASW, and go back to Atlanta and play video games.
I was nervous. I was scared. But I did it anyways.
I created a multi-million dollar company and have changed lives in the process. It came from me overcoming my fears.
I find too many people will have sour grapes and rationalize their fears.
Too scared to a girl you like? “Oh she probably has a boyfriend.” “She looks like a bitch”
Too afraid to speak in public? “Oh it’s not really my thing”
Too scared to ask for a raise? “I’m just going to work hard and it will come”
Instead of pushing ourselves, we choose to stay in our comfort zones.
The comfort zone is where mediocrity thrives.
The comfort zone is where dreams die.
What about being scared about what others have to say? It’s simple. Don’t tell anyone your goals. Work in silence and let your success one day speak for itself.


Manage Your Expectations

I know everyone says to “think big”, but it has never worked well for me.
I get nervous when I set goals too high.
My goal years ago was simply to make $35,000 a year – I could live like a king in Asia for that amount!
That’s only $100 a day. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I could hit that goal. That’s why I was so confident back in the day.
What if I set my goal at making $1,000,000 profit? I’d probably be stressed out from the pressure. If I made $10,000, I’d be disappointed, even though that’s a milestone worth celebrating.
Some of you want to be a millionaire in a year? Word?
You know what my timeline was for success in affiliate marketing? The rest of my life.
I’m process and systems based. Most of the world is focused on the outcome of the achievement. I just want to get the work done.
Achieving one big goal is the result of completing a bunch of small ones.

It Only Takes One

I know it can be frustrating to lose money on one campaign after another campaign.
But realize no one’s keeping score.
It took me 15 campaigns before I became profitable. What would’ve happened if I quit affiliate marketing forever at campaign #12? Trust me, it almost happened.
And if it did? I’d be sitting in a cubicle somewhere probably.
Your next campaign could be the one that changes your life. Are you going to quit when you’re this close?
Success happens at the last mile. When you’re about to quit, then so have countless other people. Keep pushing.

Burn the Ships!

Hernán Cortés landed in Mexico in the early 1500’s.
He was on a mission from Spain to find gold. All he had was 600 men. The task? Conquer the Aztec empire.
In the middle of the night, he sent one of his men to burn the ships. You can imagine how the rest of the 600 men felt. They wanted his head on a spike.
But he said now there is no plan B. They couldn’t go back to Spain at this point.
It was death or victory.
I’ve seen too many people “try” affiliate marketing. You know how many people see my “lifestyle” on Facebook and ask me for help?
95% of them won’t even launch their first campaigns.
Me? I was willing to die for this. As far as I knew, I had no plan B.
I didn’t care about anything else except affiliate marketing.
If you’re half-assing this, how can you compete against someone who goes 100%?

Success is like a Chinese Bamboo

I was losing hundreds of dollars with each campaign. And it felt like all the split-tests I worked on didn’t matter.
I then read about the Chinese Bamboo story.
The first few years of growing a bamboo tree, nothing happens. You water and water, but you don’t see much results. Then after a few years, it can grow up to 80 feet in a single year.
You couldn’t see the results, but you were making progress. For the tree to grow, it is developing its roots.
In hindsight, that’s what happened with my campaigns.
One campaign I wasn’t profitable, but I learned how to do my first offer tests.
I wasn’t profitable in another campaign, but I launched my first international campaign.
I lost $200 in another campaign, but I discovered that landing pages did work.
It wasn’t until my 14th campaign that everything exploded. That campaign put all the pieces to the puzzle together.
Each action you take plants the seed of success. You just don’t know where the fruits will grow.

Affiliate Marketing is a Skill

One of the biggest shifts in my mindset is realizing everyone in life is a skill. With enough practice, we can master anything.
I didn’t even know what affiliate marketing was in 2007.
I didn’t go to Georgia Tech to learn how to split-tests ads and optimize campaigns.
I didn’t have a mentor (though it would’ve been awesome if I did)
How did I learn? Practice. By launching campaigns.
While you’re sitting there complaining about how hard it is, others are silently putting in the work.
So if I’m failing, I’m not thinking I’m a dumbass. I’m not thinking that I’m lazy.
I realize that I’m new to this, and I need more practice. This is a skill and I just haven’t put the work in.

How Bad Do You Want It? Build Your Inner Game

The #1 question I get from people is “How Do You Stay Motivated?”
I don’t have a great answer for that.
I guess everyone wants some secret software or productivity trick I use, but it’s not that simple.
I’m built a certain way. I enjoy challenges. I enjoy winning. If I’m “coasting” through life, then I wouldn’t find it fulfilling.
You have to figure out what’s important to you. Don’t lie to yourself. What do you want?
Your dreams are bigger than your fears. 

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                The posts published by Charles are prepared and analyzed, including the author’s own experience…

The posts published by Charles are prepared and analyzed, including the author’s own experience…

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