TaeWoo wrote an article on Why Affiliates Make The Best Entrepreneurs. And I agree with a majority of the arguments, as I probably fall into every thing he said about what makes (good) affiliates into (good) entrepreneurs.
But dealing with affiliates the past several years of my life, I’ve also noticed that there are some patterns I see now that I’m starting my own SaaS business (PAR program), that would make affiliate marketersÂ horrible choices for entrepreneurs (especially if I was an investor and I was looking for companies started by seasoned marketers).
These, by the way, are generalizations and by no means applicable to every affiliate on the planet.
1) Greedy little bastards
There’s a problem with this attitude. Most successful businesses at their humble beginnings had little or zero revenue. PAR program, for example, was a huge financial sink hole for me in the beginning because I was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on research & development that no normal affiliate would ever take on.
Affiliates want immediate return and immediate results. Even if they did, they would often look for the best “bang” for the buck. Make $10k/mo. on some software you wrote? I know some super affiliates that would just sell it for some small multiple and move on, even though their investment could’ve yielded 1000x return if they were to take it to the next level.
I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing, but this “make-money-now mentality” that’s going around entrepreneurs Â (i.e. “lean startup“) isn’t something that may be the best for human kind. Imagine if all entrepreneurs followed this mantra. Companies that solve real deep shitty problems like cancer (i.e. pharmaceutical), global warming (i.e. renewable energies), sustainable food supply (i.e. agricultural engineering)… would NEVER exist. Some of these companies are nothing but financial sinkholes in the beginning, and highly risky.
If all you focused on was whether or not your idea was profitable from day 1, you wouldn’t swing for home runs… you’d swing for 1st base hits.
2) No patience and noÂ monogamy
At my peak, I often had 10-15 affiliate campaigns running. Why? They made money. I would still launch more campaigns because, hell, money is money.
I am all for pivoting ideas and adapting to different business conditions, but sometimes having patience and letting that ONE thing you’ve been investing in is some times the best pay off.
I built and sold AuctionAdsÂ fairly quickly. If I kept going with that, who knows where that thing could’ve gone? It could’ve been RadiumOne… It could’ve been AOL ads. Unfortunately, the business grew BEYOND me and I did what I had to do because at that time, that was the best move I could have taken at the moment.
How many times have you seen affiliates jump from traffic source to traffic source… jump from offer to offer… and read this blog, read that blog, etc etc.
If you ever read the Millionaire Fastlane (here’s a good writeup on the book), the author MJ Demarco talks about how at first you should remain monogamous, get rewarded, then you can be “polygamous”. He’s talking about how you should focus on ONE, get the pay off, then use that pay off to invest in multiple businesses.
But no. Affiliates have been brainwashed into spreading themselves thin to a point where they are good at nothing.
3) Socially inept
Why do affiliates get into affiliate marketing? Often times because they want to work from home. Often, they don’t want to talk to other people. And I don’t blame them. If you are paying for traffic why on earth do you need to? You just need your laptop, your brain, and your room.
Unfortunately, that’s not how businesses are built. Business is a team sport, which means you gotta play with your TEAM and it requires that you to talk to people.
What about getting customers? It’s no different. You gotta get OUT there and show that you can help them and show them that you are the expert. Autoresponders and webinars can only help so much. I get a ton of customer base from giving talks and reaching out to people, which means I gotta fine tune my social skills.
And there are even more “subtle” things you gotta do – like PR, guest blogging, and media outreach because those things force you to step out of your comfort zone and interact with people who you cannot control like advertising.
If you have been doing affiliate marketing in your room for the past X years, and want to start your own real business, it might be time to start brushing up on your social skills (like brushing your teeth for example).Â I think Simon Sinek (TEDx speaker) said it best: “If you DON’T understand people, you DON’T understand business.”