You can make money in many different ways using affiliate marketing. Just some of the ways include; websites, apps, YouTube videos, blogs, social media, Twitch, and email lists. Whichever way you chose I think there’s one thing that you’re very wise to do – play the long game.

By that I mean take your time, make steady progress over months, this isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. In this blog post I want to explain why I think that way and what the pros and cons are of that attitude.

You have time to play things smart. Here’s why playing the long game is important.

Man running out of time

It takes time to learn

When I say ‘learn’ I don’t just mean about being an affiliate. I mean for everything. If you’re learning to be an app developer you will inevitably get better and better over time as you learn and apply what you learn. If you’re in this industry to try and get rich quickly then you won’t give yourself time to learn.

You’ll have long-term value

Let’s use a website as an example. Pretend there are two websites for sale both making the same profit. But one is a lot younger than the other. Which one is more valuable, the one that’s been live for 3 months or one that’s been live for 6 years? Providing all else is fairly equal, not just profit, but things like the volume of content, you’re far better off going with the one that’s 6 years old. It’s much more proven over many years and far less chance of it having issues with any kind of Google Sandbox. It’s also had time to build up a reputation, go through iterations and build up mature links giving it a healthy link profile to satisfy the needs of the search engines. Maturity is valuable in business. That takes time.

Ideas don’t always come in a moment of brilliance

Businesses change over time, they expand, they branch out, they change direction based on what works and what doesn’t. Ask any developer of games, websites, applications, or software. Things change. Ideas spring up based on things that happen. As a prime example, this blog was never planned for this website, neither was the YouTube channel nor the podcast, they naturally happened over time as ideas cropped up.

Reinvestment takes time

You can only reinvest profits once you’ve grinded to the point of making profits in the first place. If you only plan to be in this industry for a short amount of time then reinvestment won’t be possible meaning you can’t take advantage of the domino effect reinvestment provides.

Pros of the long-term attitude

If you plan to run your business on the affiliate marketing business model for years then you will get multiple benefits.

One benefit is that you can plan properly, lay a long-term strategy out for learning (whether by courses, books etc), develop business ideas, and take time to iterate and build quality creations.

A second benefit is that you can bounce back from mistakes and failures. Those in it to try and get rich quickly will often fall at the first hurdle and not get back up. Whereas you’re able to dust yourself down, evaluate why you failed, and go again.

A third benefit is that if or when you do finally achieve true success, it should have long-term sustainability because you’ve learned your trade.

Cons of a long-term attitude

The hunger of someone to get rich quickly may lead them to try to rapidly progress. If done in a structured way that can in theory have benefits. If you’re taking an approach spanning years you may take your foot off the pedal, and that’s dangerous because your business could run out of steam.

Another negative aspect of taking the long-term approach is willpower. If after a year you’re still learning and grinding away without making a profit, that could test your willpower. The desire to keep going could start to dwindle.

Final thoughts

The way the human brain is built means we like instant gratification. Unfortunately in life this isn’t always possible, and many who own online businesses will confirm that. It takes time to succeed and get the emotional highs that provides.

For yourself, think about your current roadmap. What time frames are you operating to? Where do you want to be in a month’s time, 6 months’ time, and in a year? And how are you going to constructively get there? You can’t just say, “I’m going to own an amazing website in 6 months’ time” if you haven’t yet learned all the necessary skills to do that. You need the required skills first.

Be clear on your plan. Be in this for the long term. And be determined. All of those things combined can significantly increase your chances of making big profits from affiliation.

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