Having Problems Taking Action? It Could Be Psychological

Written by Charles Ngo
Written by Charles Ngo

If you ask for affiliate marketing advice, one common saying will pop up over and over again:
Take Action.
It’s 100% true,  but it’s much easier said than done.
I got an email last week from a reader who’s frustrated with affiliate marketing. He said he’s been in this space for over three years and hasn’t made a dime.
According to him, he’s done everything!!!
He joined two different private forums, signed up for a tracker and spy tools, has read all my blog posts, and he has even bought three different online courses.

Me: “So, in the past three years…how many campaigns have you launched?”
Him: Three.
Me: Three this month?
Him: Three total. All time.

That’s his definition of doing everything possible to succeed?
Obviously, he’s motivated if he’s still in this space after three years. But something’s holding him back if he’s not launching campaigns.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that so much of success is psychological. There are some mental blocks holding him back from taking action.
The truth is, taking action can be painful.
That’s why a lot of people love reading blogs, forums, and books. They feel like they’re learning without having to deal with the “pains” of taking action.
What pains am I talking about?

  • The pain of losing money
  • The pain of making wrong decisions
  • The pain of feeling uncomfortable because they’re not sure what to do
  • And so on

But realize that while reading is great, those materials are meant to be supplemental.
Imagine trying to learn how to shoot a basketball from reading a book. It’s pretty much impossible.
You need to practice shooting basketballs, and the books are meant to be a layer on top of the action.
It’s the same with affiliate marketing. If you want to earn money online, you need to take action.
Are you in a situation where you’re not taking as much action as you should? I want to talk about some of the psychological barriers holding people back.
Hopefully, it can help you if you’re facing these issues.

1. You’re Scared of Losing Money

No one likes losing money. This can be especially difficult if you’re on a lower budget.
You launch a campaign and end up losing $200 without a single conversion. Now you’re thinking about what you could’ve spent that $200 on.
I get it. I used to be in this position.
A few things that helped me out.
First, there’s no “opportunity” cost when it comes to that money.
You get a paycheck every month, right? If your rent is $1,000, then a portion of that paycheck is for your rent only.
If you allocated $500 a month for affiliate marketing, then that money is ONLY for affiliate marketing.
Did you lose money on a campaign? Don’t start thinking about what you could’ve bought with that money instead. That’s a dangerous mindset. You spent your money on exactly what you were supposed to.
Think of it as your affiliate education budget each month.
Second, you’re not spending money; you’re investing. You’re buying data.
It’s simple.

  • You get data by spending money on ads
  • You optimize a campaign based on the data
  • You get a profitable campaign by optimizing a campaign

You know what I find weird?
People can go into six figures worth of debt for college, and they’re not even guaranteed a job after they graduate.
People can drop 5-figures for a fancy car that depreciates.
Yet they freak out about losing money on a campaign.
I don’t know about you, but money spent pursuing my dreams is never a waste.

2. You Have Issues With Perfectionism

Some people wear perfectionism like a badge of honor.
Didn’t launch your product yet? Hide behind perfectionism!
The big event hasn’t happened yet? Haha, you know I’m a perfectionist!
Somehow, perfectionism has become a valid excuse for why you haven’t done jack shit.
Realize this…
Nothing can be perfect without feedback.

How does “perfect” happen?
You launch. Get feedback. Make improvements.
You launch again. Get feedback. Make improvements.
You launch again. Get feedback. Make improvements.
Get the picture?
It STILL won’t be perfect because “perfect” doesn’t exist.
But guess what? It’s a lot better than what you first created.
I like to think of it like this: “Rush to Version 3.0.”
Too many people get stuck on launching Version 1.0. You need to realize that it’s going to suck and trust your ability to improve it.
The faster you can get to Version 3.0, the faster you’ll reach a “perfect” product.
Some people spend way too much time trying to get a product perfect before it releases to the marketplace.
You don’t want to end up with Duke Nukem Forever situation.
Long story short, Duke Nukem was a hugely popular game released in 1997.

The sequel, Duke Nukem Forever, was going to be released in 1998. But it never was released even though they spent 12 years working on it.
The downfall? Perfectionism. They wanted it to be the greatest game ever.
They’d make progress on the game, but then a new game engine with better graphics would be released. They’d scrap their work and switch engines. Then they’d do it again.
Their desire to be perfect led to them not finishing the game for 15 years.
God of War 4 just released and is considered the greatest GoW game of all-time, and some even put it as their greatest game of all time.
It’s the 4th edition. For it to be this good, they had to release and learn from God of War 1, 2, and 3.

3. You’re Scared of Making the Wrong Decision

You’re going to make a lot of decisions in this space.

  • Which tracker should you use?
  • Which traffic source should you launch on?
  • Which offers should you run?

It can be scary if you don’t know what to do.

I get it. I admit that I take longer than usual to pick out a restaurant or something to watch on Netflix.
You don’t want to pick the wrong path and feel like you wasted valuable time and resources.
So, you keep researching and researching until you’re sure of what you want to do.
Does any of this sound familiar?
That’s an unhealthy mindset.

Sometimes making the wrong decision and taking action is better than doing nothing at all.

Let me phrase this differently.
Imagine you launched with a traffic source and an offer. You spent $500 and didn’t get any conversions. You find out AFTER you started that the campaign was a horrible idea to begin with.
It’s better to lose that money than not to do anything the past two weeks.
You learned what didn’t work.
You’re going to make the wrong decision over and over again, but that’s how you learn how to make the right choices.

…an imperfect plan implemented immediately and violently will always succeed better than a perfect plan. – George S. Patton

4. You Have Information Overload

This is a huge problem if you love reading.
You’re constantly reading and you become overwhelmed with all the options.
Two steps to overcome this.

Step #1: Limit The Amount Of Information You’re Consuming

There are tons of experts in this space. It’s a problem when you’re trying to learn from ten different people because they all have their system.
And while the systems may work for each of them, they may all contradict each other.
One person says to bid high!
Another person says to bid low!
Instead, it’s much better to find one person and try to emulate their systems.

Step #2: Implement Just In Time Learning

This means only reading about what’s currently relevant to you.
Here’s a simple example. If you don’t have a team, it’s not the right time to study leadership and management.
What’s your current pain point? If you can’t come up with the right angles or ads, then only consume copywriting content.
Think about affiliate marketing like playing an RPG (role-playing game). In RPGs, you build up different skills.
3 affiliate skills could be:

  • Copywriting
  • Understanding data
  • Traffic source specifics (Example: Facebook)

In the beginning, maybe you’re a 1 out of 10 with each skill.
Why not laser focus on a skill for a month? This month dedicate yourself to learning ONLY about Facebook.
The other skills are important, but try leveling up just one skill. You’ll go further with a single focus than dabbling in 10 different ones.

5. You Fear That You’re Not Good Enough

A few years ago, I read a book on the science of procrastination.
There was one reason for procrastination that shocked me. It talked about how people will purposely sabotage themselves!
For example, some people will purposely not study for a test.
They’re scared of feeling “dumb.” If they put in 100% effort and they fail then that means their best wasn’t good enough.
But if they don’t study at all, they have the excuse, “Oh, I didn’t really study.”
A lot of people will hold back on their efforts to protect their ego or self-esteem.
Wow, that’s deep. And it touches on affiliate marketing.
Some people don’t put their best efforts into campaigns. They’re scared of what failing means about them.
Do I fear failure? Sure. But what I fear MORE than failure is the feeling of REGRET.
I remember going clubbing when I was in university. I was scared to talk to girls that I didn’t know (AKA “approach anxiety”).
You know what I realized? It sucks to get rejected, but it sucks WAY MORE to do nothing and wonder what could have been.

Bottom Line: Your Dreams Won’t Work Unless You Do

I love my life.
I make good money, and I have freedom.
I’m living a life way beyond what I could have imagined when I was 21.
How did I get here?
I decided at 22 years old that I was going to become an affiliate marketer. This wasn’t going to be something I’d “try out” and see what happened.
No. I made a commitment.
I had all the excuses in the world.

  • I didn’t have any mentors.
  • I couldn’t afford any courses.
  • I felt like I had a small budget.

In 2008, I felt like it was too late for me to be successful in this space.
But instead of focusing on what I didn’t have, I shifted my mind to what I did have. What could I control?

  • Focus
  • Discipline
  • Work Ethic

No one is born knowing how to run split-tests.
It’s a skill that you learn. How do you learn? You take action.
Figure out whatever it is that’s holding you back and get to work.
The dream is free, but the work ethic isn’t.
Featured Image by MJ0007

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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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