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Affiliate Marketing Income - The Not-so-fast Path To Making Money Online Without Your Own Products

Dec 17, 2007
Affiliate Marketing has been touted as a way to make money fast - without the bother of needing your own product. It's indeed possible to make money with affiliate marketing, and there are a few rare affiliate programs where the money, IF earned, appears quickly. However, they are the exception rather than the rule. More often than not, the money appears after a significant time lag.

At Clickbank, for example, the number one affiliate program, the money is sent out two weeks after the end of each accounting period (of which they are two per month). Most of the others have similar rules, with some taking even longer, up to "the beginning of the month after the month after the month during which the purchase was made."

In addition, most programs also have minimums that have to be reached before you get anything at all. Of course if you have earned just pennies, the delay won't make much of a difference.

Even MyHelpHub.com, which somebody had touted as a much faster-paying program, doesn't pay more quickly. Maybe they used to, but by the time I got to them, they had clearly adjusted to market conventions.

A few affiliate programs do pay more quickly, but those have turned out to be extremely competitive. I had been counting on my one quick-pay affiliate program to deliver the goods and pay my bills, and so far I have made absolutely NOTHING from it in spite of making it the main focus of all my advertising campaigns. It may pay fast in theory, but nothing, even if it appears really fast, is still nothing at all.

My guess: there are so many people trying to sell this particular guy's stuff that the market is basically saturated.

So affiliate programs may be legit and worthy, but the money from your affiliate marketing efforts won't be showing up in your bank account nearly as fast as your funds will get depleted if you buy all their products to make sure they're worthy of your investment in time and elbow grease, or if you advertise your affiliate links by way of Pay Per Click.

If money is tight, don't count on the affiliate money to bail you out when your Amex bill is due. It probably won't be there in time, if it will even arrive at all. Being a good affiliate marketer can be costly, and if you don't watch out, it can land you in a financial jam.

Not that this lag-time in pay-out is necessarily a problem for everybody. If you have deep pockets, you probably won't care. And if you're generally the thrifty type, you may actually welcome the fact that you weren't able to spend the money. Still, it's good to know how long these things take, and to plan for the wait. And people shouldn't have to search for the fine print to find out just how long that wait may turn out to be.

The other part they don't tell you about affiliate income is how darn hard it is to make any of it at all. I've been advertising in ezine articles, on my webpage (not the most-trafficked site, admittedly, but still), in ads, and to my budding list. Earnings so far: Zilch (not counting the ebook I bought myself at MyHelpHub.com on which I received commission - about 6 weeks after my purchase).

What to do? Plan for the lag in time until the money starts rolling in. Once it does, and you're getting regular sales, it will work as advertised, with money coming in every other week or so (for each affiliate network). At that point you won't really care how long it's been since you've actually earned the money. Until then, mind the old saying - don't count your chickens till they're hatched.

In fact, if you'd like to hedge your bets, don't put all your eggs in one basket, to stay with the poultry metaphor. For starters, go with several different affiliate programs. And then, do something else entirely:

Why not create your own product? Either from private label products, or from scratch. You can sell your products directly through PayPal or your shopping cart system, and if you have PayPal's ATM card, you can get the money just as soon as it hits your PayPal account, which is the minute you've made the sale. Pretty cool!

So if you want fast, sell your own product. If you want a no-fuss stream of income, albeit not a rapid-fire one, pick a few great products and tell everybody and their friends about them. The best approach: combine the two. That way, you'll have the best of both worlds.
About the Author
Elisabeth's blog http://www.myfavoriteselfhelpstuff.com/freebie/freebie404.html offers resources for body, mind, spirit, and prosperity. To improve your cash flow by creating your own info products, consider checking out Marlon Sanders' Info Product Dashboard at http://www.easyinfoproductcreator.com
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