Affiliate Marketing: The Next Step After Affiliate Marketing?
What options do affiliate marketers have if they’re ready to move on?
A newbie can find himself going from $0 to 7 figures profit within a few years. While some will burn through their cash and disappear, there’s another league of affiliates not spoken of as much.
They’re the ones who leveraged their experience, skills, and money into something bigger than just being an affiliate.
Why would an affiliate that’s making tons of money want to move on to something else?
- Diversity – $10,000 profit days can turn into $0 overnight. Affiliate marketing is great, but there’s always going to be ups and downs. We’re getting old bros. As we age and start having families, we don’t really want to rely on just campaigns for money.
- Challenge – There’s a high learning and growth rate from when you’re a newbie to when you become a super affiliate. Once you achieve a certain level, the learning rate slows down. Some people are just fueled by new challenges. Look at Arnold. He conquered bodybuilding, hollywood, and then politics. He’s the kind of guy who enjoys pushing himself to see what’s possible.
- Boredom – After doing this for years, it can get boring. Once you figure out the “formula” it just becomes launching, optimizing, and scaling. Repeat.
- Passion – Some affiliates never liked the industry and used it as a way to make money. Now that they have the money and experience, they’re free to do whatever they want.
I know a lot of newbies are concerned about the “longevity” of affiliate marketing. It’s not going anywhere, it’s just going to constantly evolve. As far as I’m concerned, we are the evolved version of door to door salesmen that have been around for decades.
There is always going to be a demand for people who know how to sell, and who know how to generate traffic. Make money and develop your skills, and the opportunities will appear.
So what’s the next step if you wanna move on? These are all examples based on people I know.
Teach Affiliate Marketing
Affiliates marketers can make a fuckload of money, can work in their underwear, and have freedom. There’s a ton of audience who want that lifestyle and will pay good money to learn how to achieve it.
Teaching internet marketing gets a horrible rap because of all the “gurus” and shitty make money online bloggers. However I do think there’s a market for legitimate training, without the false promises and exaggerations.
Start an Affiliate Network
A few years ago, HasOffers was introduced and it lowered the barriers to entry to start an affiliate network. Overnight all these kids in their moms basements decided to start their own networks.
Most failed (98% of them). Part of it is because it looks easy from the outside: get some offers, get your friends to run it, take your 20% cut, sit back & relax.
The challenges: Advertisers not paying, attracting and maintaining affiliates, advertisers not paying, competing against larger and more established affiliate networks, dealing with legal issues, floating a large amount of cash, advertisers not paying, etc.
There are some success stories of course. Jason over at Ads4Dough is still going strong. Alex from Mobaff was just bought out. Whether an affiliate started network can be successful depends on the person running it.
Start a Traffic Source
Who knows more about traffic than affiliates? Check out these success stories.
Tapit! – Acquired for $23 million earlier this year. You can tell it was started by an affiliate because the interface / support is amazing ahead of most mobile networks.
50onRed – A very unique traffic source. Article about the owners.
Start a Service for Affiliate Marketers
Affiliates will develop tools for themselves and sometimes see that there’s a market for it. Even though the affiliate community is small, they have strong purchasing power.
A few tools off my head started by affiliates include tracking software, spy tools, and cloaking software.
Focus on the Backend Services
What happens to your lead after it converts? There’s an entire world behind the scenes to make the funnel work.
Call centers (I see you papajohn), merchant processing, data monetizing, fulfillment, fraud detection, etc.
Become an Advertiser
One of the most common paths for super affiliates.
There’s two main types of advertisers. The first is the traditional kind we know where they create offers, and distribute them to affiliates through networks or directly.
The second is they create their own offers, and they focus on promoting it internally. When you’re the advertiser and you know how to generate traffic, you cut out the affiliate network’s and the affiliate’s cut.
The advantage of being an affiliate turned advertiser is you know how to split test and increase the conversion rates.
Do something completely non affiliate marketing
I’ve seen some affiliates who were talented and could make money, but used their money as a way to fund their passions. One guy I know started a gym, and another one started producing iPhone games.
Super Super Affiliates
What are “super super affiliates?” (I can’t come up with a better term).
These guys are a step above the typical super affiliates. They work with the advertisers to help improve conversions and funnels.
They know the inside outs of their specialized niches. They rely on dedicated inhouse employees and teams rather than virtual assistants. Some will collect the leads and sell them directly to companies, while monetizing the data as well.
Instead of thinking of them as affiliates, I would say they’re more along the lines of media buying agencies.
Charles, Why Are You Still an Affiliate?
I get asked this often. I’ve been pretty well known in the industry for over half a decade now and I’m still active as an affiliate. If I think about the generation of people I started with, it starts feeling like the last of the mohicans.
There’s been various times I’ve burnt out and wanted to leave the industry. The closest I came was around the end of 2009. I was actually getting ready to setup my own offer in health & beauty – It seemed like the natural path of many of us in that era.
I lined up call centers, CRM’s, merchant processors, affiliate networks, lawyers, etc. I was getting ready to invest a significant amount of money into this. Then I quit a few months into it.
I had to ask myself, what was the point? By that time I was already a millionaire from affiliate marketing. The chance of making more money was not worth the stress I was going through.
My whole life I’d been chasing happiness, and I realized that it was right in front of me.
I enjoy the lifestyle of being an affiliate marketer. I don’t like stress. I don’t like responsibilities. I don’t like managing employees or dealing with customers. What makes me happy is improving my skills, traveling, and helping others. Eventually I’ll move on from this, and when I do I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunity available.
What do you want? Being filthy rich? Freedom? Changing the world? Figure out what makes you happy.
When you have affiliate marketing money and skills behind you, the world is your oyster.