Can You Start Affiliate Marketing from Nothing?

November 9, 2009 Posted by Dan
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This is a guest post by Dan Walker. Dan hasn’t been in the affiliate marketing game that long but gives out some great tips and technical tricks at Dans Blog.

To coin an old saying; everybody has to start somewhere. This is also true of affiliate marketing, there would have been a day where some of the super affiliates you read about now earned nothing or even made a loss. Retrospectively you could say they came from nothing to the riches they enjoy today, but the whole idea of coming “Zero to Hero” in something like affiliate marketing often gives off the wrong ideas to people new to the field.

A lot of startup affiliate marketers that I know personally or that get in touch with me through my blog take this phrase too literally. I’m in the same boat as a lot of affiliate marketers, I don’t have a job (I’m a full time student) and there are no jobs in the current economic client, I’m pretty broke and I’m looking for a way to turn my spare time I usually spend playing games to make some extra cash – hopefully it’ll turn in to a full time job eventually. But one thing I’m come to realize and the new affiliate marketers should too is that risk plays a big part in affiliate marketing. If you’re in this for the big bucks, you’re really going to have to spend money to make money – if you don’t dare, you’re in the wrong place.

Let’s put it into perspective. For example one of my friends, we’ll call her Carol, spends $250 a month on clothes. Now when it comes to affiliate marketing, she spends maybe $10 on a domain, $10 on some hosting and then she hopes to make money instantly. Why didn’t Carol just spend $100 less on clothes that month and use it on affiliate marketing? Chances are she would of learnt a helluva lot and maybe made a small return. In order to learn, you need to test, in order to test, you need to spend. If losing $25 to a bad campaign is putting you down in the dumps and making you think about quitting – your mentality is all wrong.

I’m not new to the game, but I’m not a pro either. I’ve earnt $100’s, but I’ve lost $100’s. If I spent $500 and made $450, I don’t see that as a loss right now, because I’ve spent $50 on learning so much that it was worth it. Too many newbies are losing $10 on a campaign and deleting it. Spend a bit more, if it doesn’t convert; pause it and investigate why, ask for help from any affiliate marketing friends you may have or ask on a forum for advice.

Now this post isn’t here to discourage you low budget startups, it’s here to give you a warning that you need the right mindset to make big money in this game. This isn’t to say that starting from nothing is impossible. You can setup a free website, put some amazon affiliate links on it and wait for the SEO traffic to trickle in slowly, you might make $xx a month to start with, if you really go for the SEO tactic you could make $xxx or even $xxxx. But starting from nothing is a slow process and I’d recommend you get used to testing and losing a bit of money – if you can’t afford to lose $100 each week, try a new campaign each month.

Whatever your situation, you can start affiliate marketing and earn a profit, it’s just whether or not you go about it properly. Don’t get overwhelmed by the losses you’ll make, just keep thinking of the day you crack how to run a successful campaign.

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Posted: November 9th, 2009 under Guest Posts  

59 Responses to “Can You Start Affiliate Marketing from Nothing?”

  1. Great advice for beginners and even some of us with more experience have issues with keeping things in focus from time to time. The greatest thing that holds us back in life is our own fear.

    • Dan says:

      Too true! Overcoming the fear of spending a bit of cash is vital to success in the game, if you can’t risk losing $10 now on a new campaign, when you get to higher levels how are you going to cope when one of your campaigns plummets and loses you $1000?

    • David Walker says:

      Rhett and Dan are right; fear is the biggest factor holding us back. Maybe people are so scared of losing a little more and learning much that they stick to ‘not losing much’ and learning very little or nothing at all. We need to get out of our comfort zones and approach affiliate marketing with seriousness and yes, a little more risk. Rome was not built in a day, and it wasn’t built with $10.

  2. 100% agree with you, it does depend on how much money you have to play with but at least spending $5-10 a day will get you learning the basics to at least break even before you go all in.

    In my experience I spent months reading forums, blogs and other sources to understand what I was doing but it wasn’t until I put $xxx aside and jumped into it I actually began to learn something.

    It’s only like the saying that it’s not a loss, it’s an investment which is true, just think if you go to college and university you end up in tens of thousands of student loans/debts, you might fail the exams in the end and have to keep redoing them (spending more money/time). People don’t seem to be bothered about those costs or “losses” but when they come to spending $100 on a test they run a mile.

    • Dan says:

      It’s true, I spent 3-4 months on PPC Coach which cost me like $100 dollars, I learnt a bit, but then I spent like $100 on Adwords – I lost most of it but the stuff I learnt was far more useful than the same amount I spent on 3-4 months on a paid program!

  3. wow that’s not expensive as for me. $5-10 a day is like 2 or 3 days of salary from a regular job.

    Anyways, thanks for the shared point of view. You really can start affiliate marketing from just nothing. Nothing, I mean even if you don’t earn from the beginning, loss or what in the end there is a good return. Being down doesn’t mean you are broke, It’s the start for something new coming in to your life.

    Thanks for this post Tyler.

  4. It is entirely possible to start with nothing and make money on the internet. But like you said, if you want to make more money quickly you will need to invest in your new ventures. Nothing is free. Even if you go with the free website and free links you still will have to spend the time learning proper seo and the proper way to format your web pages to get the best return. In the end you can choose to spend time, spend money, or spend both. But the fact is…that it will cost you something.

  5. Good post dan! :) I like how you look @ losses as education. That’s how I always looked @ it too.

    Good stuff.

    • Dan says:

      Thanks Jonathan =]

      Yeah I mean you could give me $100 and I’ll explain how to use adwords, but that’s nothing compared to throwing $100 at adwords and seeing how it all goes together!

  6. Good advice. Unless you are going to rely on SEO and patience, it really helps to have some money to invest. Not everyone is going to succeed with PPC, but there are other ways you can invest in your business to generate traffic.

  7. I did it with zero investment money on my first 2 online business sites. But now that I have money I do spend on press releases and a few directories each month, just to speed things up a bit.

  8. Thats what I need to do start investing more money back into my site. I spend less than 5% of profits on the site.

  9. Parth says:

    Yeah I’ve been doing this for about 2 and a half years. Well, I’ve had a blog for 2 and a half years, and i tried to figure out how to make money with it. Affiiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to make money only, but it’s certainly not easy. After tring out a lot of strategies, I’ve settled with a three prong approach which consists of email marketing, seo, and article marketing. Most beginners get discouraged because they don’t see good results. I’m not where i want to be with affiliate marketing just yet, but Im doing a lot better than most people I hear about in these affiliate marketing forums. My earning are quite steady right now. But I would have never have gotten this far if I wasn’t afraid of constantly trying out new strategies. Great post!

  10. The only way to really learn at something is to get out there and try it.

  11. Really good post about failures. I usually set out with a budget in mind, and ANY money i get out of it, i stick right back in. There is no point scooping the cream off the top, because then your stuck back at point one. And then need to come up with the capital to get the ball rolling once again.

  12. How much money has Dan made?

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      He does all right. Let’s just say he’s a good friend of Jonathan Volk ;)

    • Dan says:

      I’m not exactly a super affiliate, I’m still testing all areas of affiliate marketing, I’m hoping to really kick start next year and take off full time, but as of now I’m still learning and helping fellow people who are also learning!

  13. What an excellent topic to talk about. I have always wondered about this, and I have asked a few people in the industry about it, but most gave such vague responses.

    You do bring some good points to light.

    Great Job Dan!

  14. Great post, you definitely have to get your mind around the idea that it is a long term payoff and nothing worth anything comes easy.

  15. I use seo to start making money. After i get this money I use it on ppc search engines and make more money. This way I can start out with nothing

  16. mickey says:

    yes, i agree, you can start with affiliate marketing from nothing, right now, i am doing it with using squidoo and creating my own articles.

  17. Kalvster says:

    This is so true. You learn some… and lose some.

  18. Alan Mater says:

    This is a very timely post as I was in a small discussion group talking about the fear of losing money in investments, mainly having to do with business. Some let that fear hold them back where they won’t risk spending money because they know there’s a potential to lose it, while others will take that risk.

    I do believe it has to do with the mentality that people have. Fear can be a good thing, but you can’t let it hold you back. If you do let it hold you back, then maybe affiliate marketing, or any business, just isn’t for you.

    When it comes to business, you’re going to have to spend money to make money, and affiliate marketing is no different.

    Great post.

  19. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    I’ve never tried affiliate marketing by using Adwords campaign or anything else. Dan seems that you’re doing well with affiliate marketing like Tyler or Jonathan, I’m curious how much you made from your lesson Dan? :)

    Regards,
    Lee

  20. [...] Can You Start Affiliate Marketing from Nothing? [...]

  21. Giovanni says:

    Sure, except some programs have a minimun threshold or they kick you out.

  22. Email backup says:

    You can, especially with so many free tools out there, such as twitter, facebook, free blogs, article sites, q&a sites, etc.
    -Jack

  23. I have looked at many sites and not come a cross such a site as yours that tells you what you really need to know about affiliate marketing.

    I’ve added your feed to my reader, are there any other good blogs you’d suggest I read on the subject?

  24. This post got a lot of people talking.

    It’s nice for you to share what you went through when you just started. I definitely agree that if you want to earn, you have to spend as well. And the money lost in trying to learn something is money well spent.

    Sometimes, we are just too scared to try things out but with a little bravery and positivity, things might just work out fine.

  25. Sure, except some programs have a minimun threshold or they kick you out.

  26. Magazin says:

    Good advice. Unless you are going to rely on SEO and patience, it really helps to have some money to invest. Not everyone is going to succeed with PPC, but there are other ways you can invest in your business to generate traffic.

  27. Keyif says:

    Can You Start Affiliate Marketing from Nothing

  28. You do bring some good points to light.

  29. Khanum says:

    When it comes to earning from affiliate marketing I prefer making slowly, but constantly increasing income from FREE traffic through article marketing.

    This really works!

    Thanks for the post,

    Fast Article Writing Software

  30. Jammer says:

    Sure, except some programs is nice

  31. very nice article great post

  32. ogame says:

    This really works!

    Thanks for the post

  33. sikis izle says:

    When it comes to earning from affiliate marketing I prefer making slowly, but constantly increasing income from FREE traffic through article marketing.

  34. seks izle says:

    Sure, except some programs is nice

  35. ninjaproxy says:

    greatest thing that holds us back in life is our own fear

  36. hizlindir says:

    you statemented nice this subject

  37. I just lost $250 on a failed campaign. I still feel like I want to put more into it though but I’m starting to get frustrated.

  38. Bidet says:

    This is great advise, the best way to learning this stuff is to go out there and experiment, even if you lose money in the beginning, you are still learning something new.

  39. TV Episodes says:

    i’ve been doing cpa affiliate lately and i’m glad i’m earning $250++ a day without any ads spend..

  40. yes, i agree, you can start with affiliate marketing from nothing, right now, i am doing it with using squidoo and creating my own articles.

  41. Sure, except some programs have a minimun threshold or they kick you out.

  42. Contempt says:

    Clearly, most affiliates are able to bootstrap a startup campaign. Unfortunately, you are unable to achieve this level of simplicity.

  43. Timeless advice, cut back on crap and invest in yourself!

  44. I’ve never tried affiliate marketing by using Adwords campaign or anything else. ;)

  45. It is entirely possible to start with nothing and make money on the internet. ;)

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