The first few Google searches led me to places like Wikipedia, and other informational websites, as well as a book by Geno Prussakov. These sources helped lend definition to industry terms like CPS, CPA, etc. as well as who the players were and what their functions are. These were all great for learning basic concepts, but my first aha discovery at the time was Abestweb. I found a forum where I could find help from real people with real questions about the industry. It was there that I learned of Shareasale, and then signed up with them, and launched my program. The real gold though, lay in a twitter list thread where people could submit their twitter handles so that others could interact with them on twitter. Interact I did, and this led to the number one reason I love this industry.
1) The People
The people in the affiliate marketing industry that I have had the pleasure of crossing paths with over the past two years are some of the friendliest, smartest, and kindest individuals I have come across in my lifetime. What amazes me more than anything is that they actually want to help you succeed. Once I reached out to people and showed that I had (and still have) a genuine interest in learning the industry, and that I wanted to do a good job, they gave me the time of day(some of them still do), and so much more. I have worked in real estate, I have worked in retail sales, I have worked a desk job, and a handful of other odd jobs. Never have I experienced an industry that is actually more like a community full of people willing to go out of their way to help another settle in, and feel at home.
Fact: Everyone involved in affiliate marketing was a beginner at some point, and if you show a sincere desire to learn, and work to connect with people, you can find the help you need.
I love the people in this industry, and I am forever grateful for all the help that I received as a beginner, and for the help that I continue to receive from my affiliate marketing family.
2) The Opportunity
Working as an affiliate manager, I became jealous of affiliates. When I started that first program, I was also sitting behind a desk answering phones, and dealing with customers complaints on a daily basis. I had reached a point where my understanding was, that in life there is nothing more stressful than talking to upset customers on the phone. Needless to say when I learned that as an affiliate marketer you cut that part out, I was intrigued.
Working as an affiliate you can quite literally promote, and monetize just about anything . What do you like? What do you find interesting? Whatever it is, as an affiliate you have the ability to go out there and make that interest work for you. There are thousands of niche opportunities that would never even cross my mind, and new technologies, and promotional methods emerging all the time. It’s a chance to open up that creative channel in your head and put it to work. But wait, there’s more!
Anyone can do it.
One of the best bits of advice given to me as an affiliate manager was by Matt Mcwilliams when I was just getting started. He said to me that in order to really be a good affiliate manager, you have to build a website, any website, so that you can really understand what it is to be an affiliate, and how to help them. At the time it seemed impossible, but once I finally did it, I realized that it’s really much easier to get started than I thought.*
3) Affiliate Summit
Affiliate Summit may be the greatest event that this world has to offer for anyone working in the affiliate marketing industry.
Putting it’s value into words is nearly impossible. It’s like my Christmas.
1) I have picked up more valuable and useful information in the sessions that I have in any book, online forum etc.
2) The opportunity to interact, and meet face to face with people who I have been working with across the world who I thought would look completely different in person.
3) The amount of people that I have formed valuable friendships, and business connections with.
4) The opportunity to interact with some of the most brilliant minds in internet marketing.
5) The parties. I get to dance, I get to sing, and just let loose and have a hell of a good time.
I’ll leave it at 5 for now, and save the rest for a separate post. Bottom line, if you are involved in affiliate marketing you should be there.
Thanks to the following people who have had some kind of impact on me over the last two years, and continue to inspire me on a daily basis.
(In order of appearance in my life, kind of)Matt Mcwilliams,Stephanie Lichtenstein.Jason Rubacky,Mike Beuchele,Eric Nagel,Karen Garcia,Vinny Ohare,Deborah Carney,Jen Goode, Joe Sousa, Tricia Meyer, Billy Kay, Missy Ward, Shawn Collins, Kim Rowley, to the guy I met at summit last year whose name I forgot, but you are cool, Todd Farmer, Jill, Bhavik Modi, Adam Riemer, Daniel M Clark, Joel Garcia, Trisha Lyn Fawver, Logan Thompson,Greg Hoffman, Geno Prussakov, Brian Littleton and the entire team at SAS, Scott Jangro, Shannon Weidemann, Rae Hoffman-Dolan, and of course Nathan Smith this one was for you.
*Affiliates are some of the hardest working people I know. What I have learned is this; The more you put in, and the more you learn, the more you will get out of it. In this industry you (and google) control your destiny.