Earning Extra Income With Affiliate Marketing – Having Your Cake and Eating it Too!
By Bill Schnarr

Affiliate marketing is the single fastest growth industry on the Internet. Yet many people go into it without a solid recipe for success. Indeed, many look to earn extra income with affiliate marketing with no real plan, and that can severely hamper their efforts at becoming successful at it.

Make no mistake, although affiliate marketing can be an easy and fun way to earn additional income, it is work, and just like any other job, requires effort, perseverance, and above all, a clear line of sight from start to finish line.

Things like setting up your home office properly, getting some know-how, setting realistic goals, making connections, and investing in your business will not only ensure that you have a leg-up on your competition, but it will also ensure you are firmly standing head and shoulders above them.

Setting Up Your Home Base

Perhaps the most important first step you can take to becoming a professional affiliate marketer is to set up your home base – that little home office you’ve always dreamed about!

There are many good articles on the internet about ergonomic design, and with good reason. Anyone who is going to be spending a large amount of time on their computers needs a space that promotes good posture, positive environments, and takes care of safety issues revolving around the office workspace.

The best place to start might be to head down to your local Home Depot and touch base with a professional sales representative. They are trained to show you how to set up a first-rate ergonomic office while saving you some serious cash.

Ergonomics is the science behind preventing office workplace injuries, and office designers now make tables, chairs, and desktop accessories that reduce stress on your back, limbs, wrists, and tendons, and reduce stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome which can occur from long hours of doing small repetitive tasks.

You’ll want to start with an ergonomically designed desk that puts everything within easy reach, a good computer with a screen that won’t hurt your eyes, non-glaring lamps placed far enough away that your eyes won’t be soaking in light while you are trying to work on the computer screen, and a chair that is comfortable and promotes circulation to your legs and rest of your body.

Of course, having the greatest home office in the world won’t matter if you don’t take the next step to becoming a successful affiliate marketer: getting some good, professional training.

Learning the Trade

Nobody goes onto a worksite cold. You can’t walk into a restaurant and expect to become the head chef just because you dressed like one that morning. And no construction company in the world is going to put you in charge just because you want the extra money but lack any real training.

The trick, then, is getting some professional training and learning how to become a professional affiliate marketer.

The first step in this road to success is to find a professional affiliate marketer and see what they can do to help you get on your feet and get moving. Thankfully, there are a few affiliate marketing pros out there who supplement their income by fulfilling another dream for many of them: being able to teach their trade to other enthusiastic marketers and passing their collective knowledge on to others.

In fact, simply typing “Affiliate Marketing Training” (in quotation marks) into www.yahoo.com, www.google.com or some other search engine will find dozens and dozens of sites promoting quality affiliate marketing conferences that you can attend.

One of affiliate marketing’s brightest stars and biggest success stories is James Martell, and chances are pretty good that if you’ve looked into affiliate marketing at all you’ve seen his name pop up more than once. His downloadable home-study course and twice monthly audio newsletter for students of his program make him the good place to start looking for a great course and learning the inner workings of affiliate marketing.

Become a student of the business. Start by setting some realistic income goals and working to achieve them.

Setting Reachable Goals

One problem with some affiliate marketers is that many tend to overshoot both their skills and their plans by setting unrealistic income goals and becoming disenchanted when they are unable to attain them.

Certainly a goal of $5,000 a month is attainable, but the first time affiliate marketer is most likely not going to make that kind of money when they step into the ring for the first time.

Make no mistake; $5,000 dollars a month is a goal that can be achieved through affiliate marketing, but beginners should look for something more modest. Start small. Start with, “I’m going to earn an extra $50-$100 a day, by learning how to create my own great looking websites, that get free traffic from the search engines, by taking the time to learn how to do it, from someone who already does the same thing.”

As an income goal, it’s certainly achievable, and you would be doing yourself a favour by setting aside the extra time you will need to learn how to do things right, the first time. Like any skill, it takes time and experience before you really get good at what you are doing.

Set goals and get used to setting them often. Set up daily goals for little things. Set up weekly and monthly goals to work toward even larger goals. Get used to writing your wants and needs on paper, and then actively working toward those goals. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll be amazed at how much something as simple as a “to do” list can help you focus your energy and become better at your craft.

There’s a great book out about goal setting called “Goals: Setting and Achieving Them on Schedule” by Zig Ziglar. Take a look at it if you feel you could use some extra help in this department. In fact, set a goal to purchase the book and read it if you have to!

Another important goal for you to set: if you are really looking to augment your earnings with affiliate programs, or plan on becoming a full-time marketer, you have to get out there and make connections.

Making Connections to Your Future

By all accounts, the professional affiliate marketing community is a tight-knit group of people who are constantly in contact with one another.

There is a large amount of information sharing, helping one another as a support group, and a general belief that by pitching in and helping out everyone can be successful in their new role as an affiliate marketer and learn from each others mistakes.

It would be extremely shallow to suggest getting out there and making friends simply to help your business along, and people tend to not look kindly upon those who do (and we all know someone like that, don’t we?). Instead, get out there and introduce yourself. Start by seeing where you can help others with their business, and in return people will be more inclined to help you when you need it.

Get out there and enjoy yourself, and get to know these people personally. You won’t only be better off from a business standpoint, but your life will be far richer for making good friends who can relate to the trials and tribulations of your business woes and successes.

Just being able to relate to like-minded people will relieve tons of work stress. You will always be able to discuss your new career and problems you are facing with people who understand what you’re talking bout and don’t simply see your job as “foolin’ around on the ‘puter”.

Of course, they’ll have no choice but to take you a little more seriously when you invest a little money and a lot of effort in your own affiliate marketing business and really make your image shine.

Investing in Your Business is Believing in Yourself!

It’s a well known truism that states, “It takes money to make money.” These words couldn’t be truer in the world of affiliate marketing.

Although affiliate marketing is relatively cheap to set up as a home business, there are still some costs involved in getting up and running smoothly. Things like home office accessories (remember that trip to Home Depot?) Can set you back large sums of money depending on how far you are willing to go at once.

There are also costs involved within the industry itself. For example, finding affordable web space ($8-$15 per month) and registering your own domain names ($10-15 per year) does add up.

You will also need to look at web site template options if you hope to save time by having your websites “pre-planned”. Low-cost website templates, such as those found at www.affiliate-marketing-templates.com can greatly affect the way others view your site. Is it professional? Is it clean? A good web development company selling low cost FrontPage website templates will be able to accomplish all of this and more.

You are also going to want to invest both time and effort into setting yourself up with quality content. Writing for the web is a skill that takes practice and patience, like any other, and must be clean and easy to read while still fulfilling the needs of your affiliate site.

You can always go out and find professional writers to do this for you, but remember that they can be costly and deserve to be well-paid for their services. After all, they are going to make or break your web site!

Investing in your affiliate marketing business is more than just covering costs, though. It is really about you stepping up to the plate and making a commitment to become a success. It is an investment in your own success, as well as an investment in your future.

Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas about the direction you need to take in order to earn extra income as a successful affiliate marketer. Remember that it takes time to become succeed at anything. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’re affiliate marketing business isn’t going to be built in a day either.

Just keep at it, and before long you’ll have people coming to you for advice on how to get started.

For more information, see www.work-at-home-net-guides.com

About The Author

Bill Schnarr is a single parent and freelance writer who works from his home in Calgary, Alberta. As well as having dozens of online and print publishing credits, you can also look for him in the upcoming "Chicken Soup for the Single Parents Soul" due out in February 2005.

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