If affiliate marketing is a business topic that has captured your imagination you may well have been tempted to explore the possibilities. The obvious answer to the question about whether or not you’ll be able to make money from such a venture is this. Of course, you can.

That’s the whole point of affiliate marketing. But whether or not you can make enough to forge a lucrative career as an affiliate marketer is another story. What you need to be aware of are the pros and cons. And there are many of the latter.

The theory

It is certainly possible to make a full-time income from affiliate programs and there are many people out there who do. But it is important to put this in perspective and to appreciate that home income ventures do carry great risks. The key to running a successful marketing program (or several programs) is to appreciate you must do a lot of planning beforehand.

Anyone who has ever thought about setting up an e-commerce venture will have dreamt of the Goldilocks situation where everything comes together perfectly – attractive web pages, quality products and so on – enabling them to sit back and watch the income stream flowing. If it really that simple everyone would be an affiliate. However, with a focused business plan, you can embark on this journey with a degree of confidence.

Setting up

One of the main reasons affiliate marketing can become such a good earner is down to its unique status in the world of online business. Because you are effectively setting yourself up as a shop window for someone else’s products you don’t need to accumulate stock or ship product inventory. You are not required to make the time-consuming commitments that you would if you were providing a regular service. In most cases, it’s free to join a program.


There are few ventures relying on internet traffic where the income will be immediate. It can take some time to build a revenue stream that will provide you with any sort of financial remuneration. Even if you tick the right boxes – designing easily navigable web pages, hooking up with products that are popular, getting your site noticed by paying due attention to search engine optimization considerations – your success or failure is wholly reliant on your host. You won’t have any control over the product you are selling, or how the parent company does business. If they suddenly decide to remove a particular item from their catalog there’s nothing you can do about that, even if said unit happened to be one of your own most clicked.

Popularity is another challenge you’ll face when it comes to establishing a program. The more lucrative a certain business model is seen to be in terms of the items being offered, the more rivals you will have who are desperate to add this to their own portfolio.

At the end of the day, the customers providing the click-throughs triggering your revenue are not your customers. They belong to your host company. This means that you will not have any way of monitoring who is buying what, as purchase information is the domain of the merchant. In any other e-business, there is the possibility of following-up sales.

The best ways to make money

Don’t be tempted to rush into becoming an affiliate. Like any other business, do exhaustive market research first. Show strict discernment levels when it comes to choosing products to promote. Finally, look into affiliate network offers and investigate where you can pool resources.


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