Home Business: My Battle to Get Excited about Affiliate Income

I know affiliate income is all the rage amongst many home business blog owners. But I can’t seem to make it work for me.

In an effort to take my blogging business to the next level, I’ve been trying to make money off my own blog. This means that I need to:

  1. Boost my AdSense
  2. Get into the affiliate income game

I love writing for others, and I like doing the blog staff writing thing. However, I do it — a lot. And as the whole Penguin/Panda/whatever thing ravages many of the smaller blogs I write for, I can expect to see the landscape change. When you have a home business, you need to pay attention and make changes as the situation shifts.

I need a new plan. I thought I’d try affiliate income. So far it’s been a great disappointment.


My Home Business and Affiliate Income

I’ve joined affiliate programs for products and services related to my blog. However, I haven’t been very aggressive about pushing them. I use my affiliate link when it seems appropriate, as when I’m talking about a service like Lending Club, Betterment, or Personal Capital. (See what I did there?)

While I think these are great services, and I think they can work for a lot of people, I’m not big into pushing them. But then I found something that I really liked: Only72.

Not only did I like the affiliate program set up, but I actually bought the latest bundle. So far, it’s been great. The content has been valuable, and well worth the price. (It’s too late for you to get the bundle, though; the sale only lasted 72 hours.) I thought it was a slam dunk. The bundle seemed perfect for my blog readers. Blogging, podcasting, self-publishing for Kindle, making connections. Really useful stuff for taking a home business/freelance business to the next level. Plus, I bought the thing — and could tell a story of how it impacts me.

Watch out, world! Miranda’s really getting into the affiliate income game! And she’s buying what she’s selling!

Unfortunately, in spite of hundreds of clicks, I made zero sales. According to the site information, I didn’t even send a single lead. Plenty of clicks, no concrete results. And, going back through my other affiliate efforts, that’s about par for the course.

However, I was disappointed that my boosted efforts didn’t even yield one sale. I understand that my lack of active promotion of other affiliate programs makes it difficult to convert. I thought that this Only72 thing, something that should be practically selling itself, would be different. I put in a fair amount of time to promote it and got nothing out of it.

Overcome Writer's Block

Why I Guess I’ll Always Be Working for Others — Even with a Home Business

I couldn’t even get something that should be selling itself to…sell itself. Even my personal story had no impact. This means a few things:

  1. I suck at sales.
  2. I clearly don’t get the traffic needed to effectively convert when it comes to affiliate income.
  3. I’m not as influential as I’d like to think I am.

This whole Only72 affiliate income thing has really brought things into perspective. It reminds me that, while a small number of people might know me and think I’m all right, in the grand scheme of things, I’m not “out there” enough, and I don’t really inspire people.

I’m a professional blogger. I provide content. I can pick and choose my clients to a certain extent, and I’m successful enough that I don’t have to freak out when a freelance gig disappears.

Affiliate income isn’t going to be my bread and butter. Ever.

And I’m having serious doubts about whether or not the work and expense involved in my book project is going to be worth it. Do I want it to be useful? Yes. Making money on it isn’t the main goal. But putting out something worthwhile and useful and professional takes a great deal of effort and even money (since I want to do it right and have it edited and professionally designed).

It’s a lot of work, and this experience has shaken my confidence. What if I put it out and no one cares? Yes, you have to take risks to be successful in a home business, and you have to put yourself out there. I’ve never been a huge risk-taker, which is why I write for other people and don’t even make as much as I could. I’m more of a background person, and this experience seems to reinforce it.

So, for the first time, rather than trying to reach, and trying to find ways to change the situation and go further, I’m actually considering trying to figure out how to make myself happy about where I’m at and just be glad about my home business for as long as it lasts.

The whole thing is a little depressing, to tell the truth.

12 thoughts on “Home Business: My Battle to Get Excited about Affiliate Income”

  1. Grayson @ Debt Roundup

    Sorry to hear about your struggles with affiliate income. It is very difficult to convert those type of offers. I have been doing affiliate sales for years and it is a constant game of switching offers to see which one works. Do you push any good promos or deals through your newsletter? That usually has the highest conversion rate.

    1. Miranda Marquit

      Thanks for the comment! I did send out the Only72 via newsletter, but I haven’t tried other promos or offers that way. I guess I need a plan.

    1. Miranda Marquit

      Ha. I know the feeling. Apparently you really have to put a lot into it. And while you’re busy doing that, you have to try to keep up with stuff you KNOW you’ll get paid for.

  2. Lance@MoneyLife&More

    It amazes me how low conversion rates seem to be. I wish there was an easy button but there isn’t. Maybe the internet is full of tire kickers.

    1. Miranda Marquit

      Part of it, I think, is that people are used to “free” content. They don’t want to pay for it. Even if it is premium and worth the cost.

  3. I know how you feel, I’ve been a bit discouraged with a lack of results myself lately.

    Affiliate income is not that easy to get into, though some people we know do really well with things like credit cards!

    Before I started blogging I had some success selling some crappy products on Clickbank, I didn’t feel really good about it though. They didn’t offer any value and eventually Google turned on them.

    My adsense has been pretty pathetic lately so I’m trying to focus more on affiliate income too. Hopefully we’ll both start getting better results soon!

    1. Miranda Marquit

      It’s crazy, right? So many people we know are doing well with affiliate income. But I guess sometimes I forget that they’ve been doing this for YEARS to build up the revenue stream. Good luck to you, too, Mike!

  4. I am in sales so here is my advice. Everything is sales. And sales is all about numbers. When I worked in a furniture store we knew we needed X number of ppl to come in that day (traffic – sound familiar?) in order to make X sales. The same is true with cold calling, knocking on doors or sending leads through an affliate program. You need numbers. You are a great writer, Miranda. So look for even more ways to get eyeballs on your work.

    1. Miranda Marquit

      Thanks, Mike! I think you’re right that traffic probably is key. I’d like more time to focus on building this site up. Hopefully, things are in the works to free up that time.

  5. For a product like Only72, you’re going to have low conversion rates unless you sell, sell, sell (from an attitude perspective). I tried an affiliate program for an information product developed by another financial blogger once and it was a huge disappointment because I wasn’t willing to push hard to make the sale or design a sales page with the obvious triggers. I’m not a salesperson and I wasn’t going to become one to make a few bucks.

    Affiliate programs for mainstream financial products on the other hand have been my bread and butter. These are products that people come to the site already wanting. I don’t need to sell to readers, I need to just provide good information, and act as a gateway for people searching for the product. No sleazy salesperson tactics are necessary, but it requires good quality targeted traffic before activating the affiliate relationship.

    1. Miranda Marquit

      That’s a great point. I am not a salesperson, either, and I have a hard time pushing most products. Even the mainstream products I have a hard time with — even the ones I believe in, like Betterment.

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