5 Questions Every Aspiring Affiliate Marketer Should Ask & Answer

I got into affiliate marketing in 2008. I still consider myself somewhat of a newbie, because I don’t devote a lot of time to it and my earnings are not consistent. The most I’ve ever earned is $900 in one day. I’ve had plenty of $100 and $200 days, and quite a few $300 and $400 days – but again, it’s not consistent. And in my opinion, until your earnings are consistent, you remain a novice in the affiliate marketing game.

Do You Suffer from This Affiliate Marketing Mistake?

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made as an internet marketer is that I haven’t really taken the time to learn what it takes to be successful. For example, I’m a freelance writer. I specialize in search-engine optimized (SEO) content.

When I knew I wanted to specialize in this type of writing, I took the time to educate myself about it. I learned so much that I wrote books about it and developed/teach an online SEO copywriting course. This has contributed exponentially to my success in this freelance writing niche. So if you want to be successful as an internet marketer, education is key. You can try to wing it, but it’ll take you that much longer to start making consistent money.

With all of this being said, following are five questions you should ask – and answer – before deciding to jump into the affiliate marketing waters.

1. How Much Time Do You Have to Devote to It?

As I said above, I haven’t progressed beyond a certain level as an affiliate marketer because I don’t devote a lot of time to it.

Learning the ins and outs of making money online can be time-consuming, or not. It all depends on where you are in the learning curve. For example, do you know what search engine optimization is, and how it can affect your earnings?

Do you know how to build websites?

Do you know how to write traffic-generating copy?

Do you know how (and why) to start/grow a subscriber list?

All of these are kind of basics. If you know them, your learning curve will be less steep. If you don’t, you’re going to have to take some time to learn.

If you’re already working a full-time job and you have kids, or you’re in school, or you’re taking care of an ailing parent – whatever your time commitments are – be realistic about them. This way, you won’t get discouraged and give up too soon if it seems like you’re not making progress.

2. How Much Money Do You Have to Invest In It?

One of the things that’s so attractive about affiliate marketing is that you can literally get started for $0. One of the ways I’ve made some decent money over the years is by using free classified ad sites to promote my own self-published ebooks, and the products of others I find on places like Clickbank.

This requires a time commitment though. In effect, I substitute time for money when I do this. Once you get to a certain level though, this is not the most effective use of time. Your goal should be to create more passive streams of income.

Some of the ongoing costs of affiliate marketing are web hosting and list building software (eg, AWeber, GetResponse). Really, these are the two biggies and they can be less than $20 per month, at least until you get to a certain level.

Where costs can escalate is when you start investing in training and software that allow you to get to the next level. You can find a lot of free training online; much of it will cover the basics. Most of the knowledge you need to propel you to the next level, however, is going to be taught by experts who charge a fee for a course, coaching, mentorship, etc. This can range from a few hundred dollars on up to a few thousand dollars or more.

Before signing up for any kind of paid program, be sure to do your due diligence. There are so many scammers out there who’ll promise you the world. If you do your research though, you’ll find a few names that’ll pop up over and over again – because they’ve been around a while and are legitimate.

3. How Much Do You Need/Want to Earn?

There is a lot of money to be made in affiliate marketing, but don’t expect to make a ton of money right out of the box. Sure, you could get lucky and glom onto a hot product/service and start earning a few thousand dollars within a few months, but this doesn’t happen often.

Have income goals, but keep them in line with your experience. You’ll be less likely to get frustrated and give up. In my opinion, $25 to $50 per day is a good figure to start with. Then, map out a timeline of how you can learn enough to grow from there. Maybe in six months you could be earning $75 to $100 per day, and in a year, $200 per day.

But again, your earnings goals should stay in line with the amount of time you’re prepared to invest in learning.

4. What Metrics Will You Use to Judge Your Progress?

You should always have metrics by which you can judge your progress. One metric, of course, is earnings. But others should be:

  • (i) how fast is your subscriber list growing (every affiliate marketer should have a list);
  • (ii) how much am I earning on average from each subscriber;
  • (iii) how much am I earning from each product/service I’m promoting; and
  • (iii) how much am I earning from each product/service I’m promoting; and
  • (iv) what tools/services/classes/products have I invested in that are helping me to earn more.

Take inventory at least once a month on how you’re progressing, and tweak and/or discard what is/is not working.

5. What Kind of Affiliate Marketing Do You Want to Do?

What I mean by this is, do you want to create and promote products and services of your own, or do you want to promote products and services of others? There’s great money to be made both ways, but the former requires a lot more time and effort. The trade-off is that you have more control.

When you promote the products and services of others, you have no control over when/if they go out of business, change their service model, their payout structure, etc. I’ve promoted some products where the company simply ceased to exist for whatever reason. This is why I advise looking for those with a track record, as discussed in this post (see #6).

When you create your own products and services, you don’t have to worry about this. I’ve done both, and I have to say, I’m always more excited promoting my own stuff simply because I know it better. I can talk about the pros and cons of it knowledgeably. I am just more passionate about it. This comes through in all of my marketing efforts, which helps sales.


Affiliate marketing is a wonderful way to make a living online, but like anything that comes with potential great rewards, you have to invest in it – take the time to learn the ins and outs of what works, what doesn’t and why.

Once you understand this, and put that knowledge to use, the sky can literally be the limit on your earnings.

Have an affiliate marketing tip to share? I'm all ears! Please do so in the comment section below.

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