Getting To The Next Level in Affiliate Marketing

March 11, 2013 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Warning: long post.

Ugh.

I’ve been feeling a bit frustrated lately. March is not going nearly as well as February, although it’s going a bit better than I expected. But that’s not why I’m frustrated.

I’m frustrated because I know that I can reach the "next level" in affiliate marketing if I just focus and work diligently enough, but I have a number of roadblocks in my way, preventing me from getting there.

In order to get to the next level, or even attempt to get to the next level, I need to clear these roadblocks. I will elaborate on these roadblocks in detail below, but before I do, I want to briefly talk about the "next level".

The Next Level

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As you know, last month was my best month of affiliate marketing ever, having grossed just over $100,000, with $31,444.64 of that being profit. It was a phenomenal month for me, and I’m very proud of what I accomplished.

But the truth is, $30,000/month profit in affiliate marketing is really not that much. In fact, some guys will see that number and laugh at it, as they are making 10-50+ times as much. And the real kicker is, I’m sure most of them are not doing all that much different from me either – it’s mostly a simple matter of scaling and finding new winning campaigns.

As I’ve lectured a number of times in the past, a $10/day campaign is not much different than a $1,000/day campaign; if you can make $10 a day from affiliate marketing, then you have the ability to make $1,000 a day as it’s basically the same thing, just on a larger scale.

With that same logic in mind, I should be able to jump from $30,000 a month to $300,000 a month. But at my current stage, the next level for me is around the $50,000-$60,000 mark. That is where I want to get.

It may sound a little presumptuous – after all, I only had one month over $30,000 profit on my campaigns so far – but I did do $23,349.91 the month before that, and March is currently on pace to be close to that, so that would be a 3-month average of around $25,000/month, which does show some consistency.

Anyhow, as I say, I want to get to the next level, but there are a number of roadblocks in my path. These aren’t excuses, but simply an acknowledgement of what is stopping me from getting to the next level.

Apart from some small things here and there, I haven’t been launching any new campaigns. I’ve simply been maintaining and optimizing what I already have running. Before I can launch new campaigns and try to get to the next level, I need to get through some of these roadblocks first.

Here they are in descending order of how disrupting they are:

The Roadblocks

Laziness/Fatigue

This is definitely the biggest thing holding me back.

If I told you how many hours I work per day on average, you’ll likely do a Picard facepalm. In fact, I’m embarrassed to say.

In some ways it’s good… it means that I’m not working my life away and am actually getting to "play". But it’s just stupid when I say I want to get to the next level, because it means that I’m not really serious about it.

I need to put less time into playtime and more time into worktime. Then I can take more of a break when I get to the next level.

Another issue is not just pure laziness though, it’s actual fatigue. For example, as I write this, my eyes are already starting to strain, despite it being 11:55am and being a quarter way through my morning coffee.

I think part of it is due to diet. I’ve been eating crappy again, which usually happens when I’m working more, so I’m going to have to try to work on that.

Lack of Focus

I am usually very diligent when it comes to my work time. I ALWAYS work in 1-hour blocks (for example, I’ll work either 1, 2, or 3 hours, but not 90 minutes), and always time my work sessions from start to finish. I don’t have anything going on in the background such as laundry or baking something in the oven. And in general I just try to keep work time focused on work. Because of this, I’m usually very efficient when I work.

But lately I’ve noticed myself starting to lose focus.

For example, I noticed that I’m actually starting to allow myself to peruse Reddit here and there. I’ll get through a few e-mails (even if they are simple e-mails to deal with), and then peruse Reddit for 5-10 minutes.

Or, I’ll look through some of my instant messaging contacts to see who’s online, and start a conversation with them, with the intention of relaxing.

I normally don’t waste my time when working like this, but have definitely noticed myself doing this more lately.

Not only is this time wasted on non-work stuff, but it breaks my concentration and focus, which make an impact on actual productivity and efficiency.

I’m not going to bother with any self-exclusion methods such as blocking certain sites at certain hours and whatnot – I just need to be cognisant of the fact that I’m drifting off path and snap out of it.

Websites

This one is a real pain in my ass.

For many years, my network of content-based sites is how I made my living. Over the past couple of years though, I’ve shifted towards affiliate marketing.

I’ve already sold a number of my sites, but still own a lot. Even though my remaining sites make hardly anything, they still take a lot of time (and focus).

I’ve been trying to continue to sell the rest off, but nobody seems interested in grabbing them. People these days seem to only look at current revenue and traffic, and nothing else.

I’m basically giving away the sites for free or at a loss. For example, here’s my MMA forum on auction and here’s my gymnastics forum. The latter has no reserve and is currently only at $25. It will cost me over $200 simply to renew the vBulletin license for transfer, so it’s really odd to me why my auctions aren’t getting more action.

I put no reserve on that auction though, even though I’ll likely LOSE money as a result, because I just want to get rid of these sites. I have no time to work on them, and they only take time and focus away from me. Time and focus that I could be putting towards my campaigns.

It’s weird why I’m still hanging onto some of these sites. All my websites together don’t make in a month what I’m making in a day on my affiliate campaigns, so really I should consider putting no reserve on all of them to just get rid of them once and for all. It just hurts a bit because I know I’d be taking a loss on them, and I’ve never taken a loss on a website before in my life.

And I guess, if I really want to look deep into it, part of me wants to hold on to the sites as a sort of safety net. After all, I used to make my living from my websites. If I sell them all off now, I’ll have no safety net for if my affiliate marketing campaigns fail. I’ll be in real trouble.

But that’d just wishful thinking – my websites aren’t bringing in enough money to live off of, so really they’d be of no help in such a situation anyway. Although, if my affiliate marketing campaigns did fail, I’d have time and focus to put into those sites…

But overall, the cons in keeping the sites outweigh the pros in my situation, and I need to get rid of them. They simply take too much of my energy.

Technical Issues

I hate technical issues more than anything, and I’ve been running into a number of them lately.

My computer’s main hard drive is failing and I need to do a proper backup and transfer to a new hard drive before all my data is lost.

I’ve been having a lot of problems with Office lately (I use Excel like a madman, so it’s very important to me), although I think I finally have that solved.

One of my servers is in the process of migration, which is a pain in the ass.

One of my websites was hacked and I need to get it fixed, which would mean hiring a programmer… which would mean shortlisting scores of outsource programmers and detailing the issues, overseeing the work, etc.

Another of my websites needs serious programming fixes, which again takes a ton of time and focus. Unlike having a plumbing problem, you can’t just point to the problem and tell them to fix it. You have to detail exactly what is going on, how the website works, and what you want. All this takes time.

I hate technical issues!

E-mail/Blogging

While I can’t really call my blog a roadblock, as it’s something I plan on keeping for the long term, it certainly does take a lot of time. Time and focus that I could be spending on my campaigns.

E-mail also seems to be never-ending. As I write this blog post, I currently have 1,825 unread e-mails.11

I really want to get that down to 0. I am so behind on e-mail it’s ridiculous.

The Only Real Roadblock

In the end, the only real roadblock is myself. All of the roadblocks mentioned above are things that I can address and work on.

If I really want to get to the next level, then I will smash through these roadblocks so that I can get back to work on launching new campaigns.

It would be so awesome to get to the $50,000-$60,000 month mark.

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Posted: March 11th, 2013 under Miscellaneous  

25 Responses to “Getting To The Next Level in Affiliate Marketing”

  1. xster99 says:

    1. delete all your emails right without reading them.
    2. get rid of all your forum website and just keep the content based one.
    3. switch to vegetable, juice diet. get one protein source.
    4. start running again 4x a week.
    5. keep things in perspective. you just earned 30K last month in profit! start investing in some CDs, savings, or stock market. ssolomon once said a “mere lover of silver will not be content with silver.”
    6. switch to a solid state hard drive and buy a hard disk platter backup.

    • xster99 says:

      also why waste your time on forum/content websites since you have more talent in affiliate marketing. keep branching out in affiliate marketing, if that includes google affilate or commission junction, so be it.

  2. Lazyness and motivation… we all have problems with that Tyler ;).

    Btw I’d suggest you to start working out 4 times a week like I do for quite some time already and it makes me feel great.

    Ohh and about your websites… if I were you, I’d get rid of them :). If you want “safe” income, then build a list so you can always advertise something to it, even when your affiliate campaigns don’t back you up. My opinion is that, it’s much better to have a list then content sites and waiting for google to send some visitors.

    Cheers!

  3. I agree with you that you’re the biggest limiting factor to getting to the next level, but let me share with your a personal observation.

    There are only so many hours in the day and so much one get done in those hours no matter how organized, motivated, or focused you are. When I started working with other people (not hiring) but actually finding people to work with that add value through their ideas and expertise, my business was able to thrive.

    Basically by having 2 smart people work together they can generate multiples over what each individually can.

    Good luck you’ll figure it out!

  4. Hey Tyler,

    A few tips for you, outsource some of your menial tasks that take up time which don’t need a lot of technical knowledge. Get a personal assistant to go through all your emails, to mark down which ones require your urgent attention, which ones can wait, which ones can be ignored.

    Surely you are doing something wrong with your servers to always be having issues, do you have managed servers, or have you opted for the slightly cheaper unmanaged servers? Pay the extra couple of hundred dollars.

    Think about things this way, lets say you worked 10 hours each and every day of the month. Thats a total of 300 hours for the month, which from your February profit of $31,444 equates to nearly $1050 for each hour you worked. If you think about things like this, you will see that your time is very valuable, and it is actually beneficial for you to not do tasks which don’t focus on you making your affiliate earnings. With that amount of income, pay someone to pre-cook you gourmet healthy meals which only require a few minutes preparation in an oven or the likes. There are many tasks which you are better off paying someone to do, while you spend your hours working on your $1050 an hour task.

    It is a simple concept which many people struggle to grasp, but once you understand it, and follow it, you realise how much time and money you were losing by not just investing in others.

    Regards,
    Michael

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Michael, this is actually EXACTLY something I do, and used to do a lot more in the past, so I know precisely what you’re talking about. In fact, it’s funny you mention the gourmet healthy meals thing, because back in my poker days when my income was increasing steadily, I kept thinking on how if my income kept growing that it would make sense to hire a chef to come in and cook for me (or drop off meals).

      Unfortunately, you made a big mistake in your math – 300 hours at $30,000 in a month works out to an average of only $100 an hour, not $1,050. Now, my actual “hourly wage” is a lot higher due to the fact that I’m definitely not working 10 hours a day, and that I didn’t include my non-affiliate marketing earnings, but it’s certainly not at $1,050/hour yet :-)

      But yeah, I totally know what you’re saying and agree with it 100%.

  5. Thanks for sharing your current state of mind Tyler.

    On one hand I think many reading are probably saying, “You’re kidding right.” We should all have the problem of grossing $30K last month working a handful of hours a day and running the show. I’m sure some are shouting at the screen, “Stop whining Tyler you little f’ing whiner.”

    I get it though, we all live in our little bubble. You’ve done an incredible job with affiliate marketing and I’m not easily impressed. You’ve generated an incredible amount of revenue. The negatives you’ve mentioned are definitely headaches. The backend of my site needs some a lot of TLC, I just don’t have the time nor resources to make it right. You have the resources. I know outsourcing comes with its owns challenges, but you have options.

    While my blog/site revolves around social media and blogging you’ve motivated me to dip my toe into the affiliate marketing pool. I became a PeerFly through your link. I’m trying to work FB Ads over the last week. You inspired me to give this a shot, and I assume many more that don’t comment. That’s powerful. Don’t take that lightly.

    I have to read more of your posts to gain more knowledge. Found out today that not all Ad networks accept all Affiliate Network links. I’m sure the answer is on this site somewhere. I’ll find it if it is…

    Keep the head up. I think you’re going to be just fine.

    Regards,
    Steve

  6. Phoebe says:

    Tyler, i’m with the first comment- delete the emails, unless it’s from a Affiliate Manager and I am sure if it was a serious email from any one of them, you should have it stared in Gmail ( if you use Gmail for emails)
    I rather Gmail than my admin emails.

    One word for most of the things you talk about… ( Assistant ) can you outsource some of the things that you need done?

    Hard to believe your websites are going so cheap. Do you think they would be profitable if they were moderated and updated ?

    Diet.. Create a menu… shop and buy whole foods- no chemical or gmo’s and make a menu where you have everything in the kitchen and only takes 25 or less minutes to prepare. Making a menu and buying groceries for the week ahead of time so you wont be snacking on fast-food.. Fast-food really makes me sick ( i have no gallbladder :/ )

    Take a half an hour to walk in your neighborhood ( exercise, when you feel like chatting online with your buddy-list- i’m sure they will understand )

    If you feel stressed that you are selling all of your websites, and might be putting all your eggs into one basket, then do not sell off and take a loss and update the websites, get traffic and wait.

    back up, back up and always backup the info you need to keep your business running. I’m sure you know this already. just do not procrastinate about it.

    If you feel sickly… get a physical and also change your diet. Food is your best medicine.

    Lastly…. you are ahead of the game when it comes to affiliate marketing. I remember when you couldn’t make any money in the videos you posted. unless u lied to us lol.

    Good luck, but you don’t need it You are doing great already…

    Phoebe

  7. That’s more or less the story of my life Tyler.

    Even I’m stuck at $1000/week for the past 7 weeks and even though I know I can scale it up to $1000/day…I just don’t find myself getting there…

  8. Steven Fried says:

    I disagree with the delete all emails approach.

    1. Setup rules to sort emails when they hit your inbox. You should be able to do this in MS Outlook and other Email clients. If it’s a high priority email, e.g. from your Aff Mgr, then the rule(s) will move it to a specific folder of your choice, e.g. ‘Network A’ folder.

    2. Setup a schedule to deal with email replies. Handle high priority emails first. Medium priority mails, handle, say once a week (or whatever fits your work schedule), and lower priority mails, say once a month.

    3. The rules should also reduce spam and get rid of useless emails that you don’t need.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      A large part of the problem is tied to having a number of websites… as I get rid of more websites, so will the amount of e-mail volume I regularly receive as well… so I can kill 2 birds with one stone here…

  9. Eugeniu says:

    well, here is my take on it …

    1. Just archive all emails and setup rules for email like Steven Fried said.
    2. Don’t sell your websites. Instead find someone to take care of them on a 50/50 revenue split basis, ideally someone who knows some PHP, Linux, writing articles and link building. Finding that person it’s not going to take more time than finding to outsource to someone as basically it’s the same thing but he/she will have an incentive to work harder on them.

    Next time when you’ll have an idea to create a website (maybe aff related?) you’ll have someone to build and take care of it for you. Like, you’re building a campaign, you’re building an email list, why not create a website around it and in time you can build it in a real asset? Don’t think short term, maybe your aff marketing income will be peanuts compared to these websites in 10 years?

    Don’t spend too much! Don’t invest in offline projects!

    Your #1 priority is aff stuff, so start your day with it and don’t lose focus. All other stuff you can do between F5 refreshes.

  10. Martin says:

    Tyler, how many offers do you typically run at the same time?

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Depends. Currently, 16. Was running like 30 at one point though. Most of the volume goes between half a dozen of them though, the rest are just stuff I’m trying/split-testing.

  11. sadek says:

    You make a massive amount of money, though I still haven’t been understand the exact method of traffic (including traffic sources) you use.

  12. Robinsh says:

    Keep trying and sell those distracting websites not paying you worth of your time, I know very soon you will achieve your next level and hence I’m here hooked with your blog updates to know what is going on.

  13. Tommy Unmoneybags says:

    Hahaha, Reddit? What’s your favourite subreddit?

  14. Tom says:

    Tyler,
    Thanks for sharing your roadblocks. I’m sure we all probably suffer from those same ones. It refreshing to hear someone enumerate them like you did.

  15. Thomas says:

    Tyler,

    Thanks for sharing that roadblocks article. I just have a question, what are the best advertising sites to make any money on my affiliate campaigns?

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Depends on a number of things, but there are really no “best” sites. Somebody might be making a killing on X source while another might be making a killing on Y. I always recommend Facebook though.

  16. Nice to hear! You have to achieve more things so keep on going tyler!

  17. Darek says:

    Laziness, luck of focus, sounds like me. I know I could achieve a lot more if I only would spend some more time working on my websites, but there’s too much stuff going around me all the time and distracting me.

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