While there is more than one way to get started, the best way to learn affiliate marketing is through acquisition of skills: find a training course with a proven track record, pick a strategy that has produced good results, put yourself to action and implement what you learn.
Affiliate marketing can be very overwhelming, especially for beginners. I am sure you have a lot of questions too, that I am aiming to answer in this post.
- Where can you learn affiliate marketing for free?
- What is the best affiliate marketing course for beginners?
- How to become a successful affiliate marketer?
- How much does it cost to start affiliate marketing?
- How much can you realistically earn in your first year of affiliate marketing?
Best way to learn affiliate marketing: acquiring the skills
The acquisition of skills is the most effective way to speed up any learning process and is a natural way of gaining new skills. It means that you are learn by doing it, one step at a time, very much like babies learn everything.
You observe, then copy a proven strategy, then you observe again and improve. This simplifies the learning process for yourself and you only need to focus on the next step ahead of you.
I know a lot of people who (think) they know a lot about affiliate marketing. They have read a lot of books written by ‘gurus’, people who have made their success in the online marketing world. They have listened to all the podcasts. They have subscribed to a bunch of channels on Youtube and spend hours daily, watching videos of every miniscule detail of e-marketing.
Yet they don’t have a website: they don’t have the vehicle to turn their knowledge into profit.
Learn the language of online marketing
It is a bit like learning a language. If you have ever tried learning a second language (and I emphasise ‘second’), you probably know how frustrating it is that;
– You know what you would like to say (achieve something by communication), but
– You don’t have the tools (vocabulary, grammar), or
– Even if you do, you struggle to put a sentence together (make your passive knowledge active)
– Or even if you do, you end up saying something that has a totally different meaning.
Recent studies show that the most effective way to become a user of a foreign language is NOT BY LEARNING IT. If you ever though about how you learnt your mother tongue, in fact, how all babies learn to speak: they acquire the language.
Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language (in other words, gain the ability to be aware of language and to understand it), as well as to produce and use words and sentences to communicate. (Wikipedia)
You need to immerse yourself in the whole ‘environment’ of the language you learn. By looking at books, listening to podcasts, you will learn a lot; but they don’t help you much in gaining the skills to implement what you have learnt. The reason is simple: when you listen (read, observe etc.) it activates different parts of your brain as opposed to do anything ‘physical’, with your mouth or hands for example. Think about how you learned to write…would you have been able to curve even one letter if all you had done was reading about it and listening to other people talking about ‘how to learn writing’?
A bit of a personal story: English is not my first language. I started studying English, well, I can’t even remember when, but I must have been less than 8 years old. I studied it all through my vocational education, all through uni, that’s more than 15 years altogether. Yet, when it came to put my skills to use ie. talk to others in English, express myself; I struggled. My brain was simply not wired in that way, in that natural way of how the brain of native speakers were. I moved to the UK over 6 years ago and I still remember how difficult it was to communicate with everyone. I felt like a child who could not express himself, it was frustrating and tiring. It took me a year ‘till I started forming sentences that at least sounded English, and not sentences in my mother tongue made up of random English words.
But it was a good lesson that taught me that acquisition is key in learning ANYTHING new.
Learning affiliate marketing is no different.
You are a baby just starting to explore this whole new world. You are curious, that’s natural. There are things out of reach (for now), and that’s frustrating. Shiny objects are especially interesting, and you want them NOW! You’d like to try everything, and everything at the same time, because you don’t know which one you are going like at all. You can spend days ‘playing with’ one thing because its new, just to get bored of it after a few attempts if it does not work (or it is not interesting enough), and never look back at it again.
The Mistake Most Beginner Affiliate Marketers Make
Thousands of people start learning how to build an online venture, yet very few of them achieve the goals they have set for themselves, and eventually quit because they think ‘this is not going to work’
Funnily, the biggest reason that ‘this really doesn’t work’ is that people quit before they see the results of their efforts.
The best thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t need a massive budget to start it, you can get the ball rolling literally in days. But it is tricky as hell…
You need to invest in yourself A LOT. This is the biggest investment you can and MUST make to become a successful affiliate marketer: improve yourself, your knowledge, your mindset, keep up your motivation and most importantly, your patience.
What I had not believed before I started was that I cannot fail. Now I understand. I followed the training and did not look back. And the method works. The only way I could have failed if I quit too soon, or if I did not even start building my first website.
In fact, this is why most affiliate marketers who begin building an online income fail: they do not wait until the little seeds they have planted turn into fruition.
Now it is much easier said than done, I know. I have read books, I have watched youtube videos but I never committed to take the first step that really mattered. I still did not know how to start…
It was through trial and error, several dead-end streets before it started to sink in. It was simply information overload.
And I did not want to waste any money at all. I had burnt myself with ‘courses’ that promised a lot but delivered none. So while I learnt as much as I could about affiliate marketing by myself, I needed a course to organise that huge amount new information, and filter them so that I can focus on the pieces that I needed to at least start my business.
Learn Affiliate Marketing For Free
While affiliate marketing is simple, to learn the actual ‘know-how’ takes a lot of time and effort. A good training course can filter out the noise and help you focus on what is most important: how to build a system for affiliate marketing.
The best FREE training course for beginner affiliate marketers that I have found so far, is Wealthy Affiliate’s Free 10-lesson learning course on affiliate marketing. I know it’s great ‘cause I completed myself. You also have access to other training materials created by thousands of successful affiliate marketers, as well as live chat and a responsive community.
What I particularly liked about Wealthy Affiliate’s beginner course is that is broken down to easily digestible chunks, explains everything clearly, and it strongly focuses on TAKING ACTION right away. So, you must implement what you learn, straight away, no Ifs, no buts…As a result it seamlessly guides you through a path that, at the end of the 10th lesson, leaves you with your own website up and running, ready to earn you money.
How to succeed in affiliate marketing quick?
The surprising thing is, that if you want to succeed fast in affiliate marketing, you must take it slow.
Change your mindset. Don’t overthink. Complete a training that makes you implement what you learn in tiny portions, step-by-step.
If you would like to understand every bit before you take on any action, you will never make the first step of many. It is a constantly changing industry and I bet, that anyone who says they know everything, they don’t even know what they don’t know (also called unconscious incompetence). The learning process will never stop…
So the quickest way to succeed in affiliate marketing is if you start it today!
Join a Community of Likeminded People
Back to mindset, determination and patience for a bit. The first 2-3 months are just painful, horrible and exciting… You, your mindset is going through a change, and most of the time you must re-write everything you thought were the ‘way to go’ in terms of jobs, making a living, leading a life. And your mind will resist every way it can:
– Self-doubt (Can I do it?)
– Hesitation (Is it the right niche?)
– Procrastination (I will finish that post tomorrow…)
– Doubt in the method (This does not work)
They will be your enemy, and I bet that most people who quit too soon, quit because one of these above. The rest who quit are probable victims of their environment; the lack of support from parents, spouses, friends etc.
That’s why you need to surround yourself with like-minded people and try to not listen to the doubters. Surround yourself with people who you can learn from, who you can ask from, who understand how difficult it is to change your mindset and behaviours. This is a long journey and I can virtually guarantee you that lone wolves won’t make it far.
If you can, join an affiliate marketing community. It does not matter if it is a facebook group, a forum or the membership area of a training course. Have a feel for it, see if you can get the support you WILL need. Even if it is only a few good words, when you hit rock bottom it can make the difference between you throwing it in, or keep it going.
Can you earn while you learn?
How quick you can earn money with affiliate marketing?
You must also have a realistic idea of what you would like to achieve in a set timeframe. I cannot emphasise it enough, affiliate marketing is a not get rich quick scheme. It is building a business. Building your very own online business.
Of course, it depends on everyone’s time and energy allocated to making their business profitable. It is often said, that 6 months is the minimum before you can expect some money to come in. That is a realistic timeframe to expect some results. It can be quicker or may take longer, depending your niche, the time you have for building your business and the method you choose to promote products/services as an affiliate.
Based on my own experience, if you find a good training programme that you follow through and manage to focus your attention on building your website, then earning your first few $$$s should not take longer than 3 months. To earn a consistent income will probably take a year or so, while earning a full-time income is more like a 2-year project.
Affiliate marketing is not for everyone. In fact, affiliate marketing is not for most people. I bet (googling any stats in the meantime) that 99% of the people who start affiliate marketing quit along the line. (And there is a big chunk of people who get scared off by the fact that you must put in the work first and then reap the rewards later.)
The 1%, well they fail too, and they fail again, and again. But they don’t quit: they learn from their failures. It motivates them to double their efforts. It forces them to dig deeper until they understand WHY they failed and HOW to make amends to succeed next time.
This process may take months or years. You must prepare yourself for not seeing any result, any reward for a long period of time, because this is part of the learning process. Actually, if you would like to succeed faster, to faster you must make those mistakes.
This needs a really different mindset.
The key to this is to take a bold step, expect the failure and look forward to it. Cause if you learn from them, they will take you closer to your goals. You need to be curious, analytical, systematic and to some level, you must be able to assess yourself independently.
Curious: why don’t people click on my affiliate link?
Systematic: I need to publish a post every other day…
Independent: this post really sucks, even though it made sense when I wrote it. I need to rewrite it….
Do I need money to learn affiliate marketing?
Most people fear that failure = losing money. This is not entirely true in affiliate marketing. Well, depending on the marketing method you choose…
As with any business model, affiliate marketing has an upfront cost that can be factored in, calculated right at the beginning.
If you are on a budget, you can start it for free. You can use free tools, free hosting, free themes, free advertising. Organic traffic will (eventually) find your website, and when you make some money you can re-invest it into your business.
This is absolutely doable, but slower.
Sooner or later you will have to make an investment into your business, and to be frank, the sooner you do it, the quicker the results will come.
I was on a budget too, when I started, a very tight budget. I spent days trying to find the best price/value training course. Spent hours in front of my excel spreadsheet trying to calculate which hosting provider is the cheapest. How to do keyword research for free?
Don’t worry, I will share my experience with you (that’s at least two or three other posts). To answer the question, the budget you need to start an affiliate marketing business is roughly a $150-$200.
Related post: How Much Does It Cost To Start Affiliate Marketing?
This is not a one-time investment, but this is what you can expect going out before anything comes in. It should be able to cover the overhead costs for 6 months, until you can see some affiliate commission coming back and you break even. In the meantime, it is 6 months damn hard work, without question, without hesitation, without quitting and without reward.
And after half-a-year consistent, hard work focussing on one objective (that is your website), with a very steep learning curve behind you, you may break even. It is still a long way ‘till you make any significant profit, but at this point you’ll be able to see how you will hit the jackpot and what you will need to do that.
On the other hand, for $150 and say a year commitment to do the grind work, you have planted a seed that will grow into a tree, the tree will grow into a forest and the forest will produce so many fruits, that they will feed you, your family, your kids, possibly your grandkids.
The best way to learn affiliate marketing is really simple. There are no secrets and there are no short cuts. You must start acting on what you learn, one tiny step after another and that way, you will embed all the skills you need, one after another.
There are plenty of free training courses, but only a few worthy of attention. You can find my recommended ones under the Resources or in these posts:
Related post: Where can you learn affiliate marketing for free?
And I am here too…been there, done that…and I am happy to help you.