I got an email today from a stranger. It’s an email I get a few times a week from desperate people that are looking to make money fast.
It’s almost as if they’re on the same template with these three components:
- Something terrible has happened (sick family, lost job, bad investments, etc.).
- They found me on Google.
- How can they make money really fast in affiliate marketing?
I might as well set up a canned response in Gmail, because I invariably send them all the same answer, but with slightly different words.
I explain that affiliate marketing can be a great supplement to income, but it’s a slow grind to make that supplemental cash, and most people will quit before their first modest check.
Back in 1997 when I first got started as an affiliate, I had low expectations. After all, who was getting paid for putting up sites back then? Certainly not anybody I knew. They all had conventional jobs like me. We got on trains and commuted to the city.
But slowly, money started coming in. Not a lot, mind you, and it wasn’t proportionate to the time I was putting in. I might have averaged 50% of minimum wage my first couple months.
Then I was getting enough to pay for my hosting (a common goal for affiliates back in the 90s). I persevered, and other bills started getting covered. But I was way far away from making my affiliate action into a career.
At the same time, I was working a 9-5 on weekdays. I was also serving as the weekend sports editor for NJ.com (pulling down Newark Star Ledger sports stories by FTP and converting them from text to HTML – I got to write the headlines, too). This was 6am to 9am every Saturday and Sunday for $20/hour, and I was ecstatic to make such a grand rate.
I was also running a site for a ticket broker, and making online birth announcements by hand. I was scraping nickels and dimes where I could.
As time passed, I was able to drop some other projects and focus more on affiliate marketing. After a couple or three years, I was making more as an affiliate than I made at my first job.
That was hardly an overnight success – more like 1,000 overnights. All these years later (going on 13 as an affiliate), I supplement my income with affiliate action.
Long story short… if you want to make money as fast as I did, go out and work seven days a week, live lean, and be patient.
Oh yeah, and don’t buy those ebooks, videos, or whatever else that promise you the secret to fast money. Those are only fast money for the huckster selling them, and you’ll just be deeper in the hole.