Taking the plunge and choosing to be an affiliate marketer, blogger or indeed entrepreneur of any variety takes a certain amount of risk. The concept of risk is completely foreign to many people as an idea, however, if you want to run a thriving and successful business, then risks are something that you will have to get used to taking. It can take some time to come to terms with this but once you do and you fully immerse yourself in the process of affiliate marketing then the potential to make a lot of money is huge.
“Risk” is a word which usually provokes negative connotations. More often than not, we usually classify “risk” as being something which could potentially harm us: climbing a mountain, driving too fast, or gambling.
However, we should look a little deeper and see the potential that exists when we are willing to take ‘risks’. Very often, the other side of the coin to risk is that there are potentially some amazing benefits to be had as an entrepreneur. Furthermore, when you are able to understand, calculate and evaluate risk, then there is a high chance that you will increase your potential of creating an extremely successful online business.
We cannot know the future, so every decision we make is some kind of risk (personal or business), even if the upside and downside are relatively inconsequential.
Making Money Involves Taking On Risk
Anyone that makes the lifestyle choice of being an entrepreneur and making money on your their own terms understands that taking risks is imperative to long term success. There is no way of avoiding this. However, it is often quoted ‘the greater the risk, the greater the reward’. What does risk mean? What does it actually entail? There are a whole host of things out there that could involve risk, however, when it comes down to affiliate marketing, besides your own reputation, the two biggies that we risk are time and money.
Let’s not go overboard here, we’re not trying to be the next Bill Gates. However, it is fair to say that embarking on a successful, profitable affiliate blog is an entrepreneurial endeavor and the basic principles of risk apply.
As you create your blog and start to build it out, it will grow and you will inevitably have to make some decisions about risk. These will come down to how much time you are willing to invest in your business (risk) or how much money you are willing to spend to grow your blog (risk). These are things that you will have to give careful consideration to as you move forward with you business venture and perhaps you will have to decide upon a framework to help you better assess risk in your own online business.
Beginners: Risking Time
Choosing affiliate marketing and blogging is a fantastic way to start an online business because the cost implications are minimal. With a $15 domain and $50 hosting, you can launch a new website and have it earning six figures within a year. Look at any other industry and it is impossible to launch your own business for $65 and run the first year of operations for $600. You would be hard pushed to find someone that would believe that this is possible.
This is the reality of affiliate blogging.
However, be very aware that it’s not quite that easy. It does takes an excellent work ethic and a tremendous amount of hard work to create and build a profitable, successful and sustainable affiliate marketing business. One of the core elements to starting a successful blog is content creation, and creating content takes time.
Beginner Content Creation
When you first start out blogging, creating content does take time up a large amount of time. This is because you are learning how to do it for the first time. It’s just the same as learning to walk for the first time, however, once you have mastered it-you will never look back. It used to take me several days (minimum) to write and publish a single blog article. Between research, writing, getting it formatted in WordPress, and then double checking everything with hesitation, at most I was able to publish twice a week.
No matter whether you are only slightly familiar with your chosen niche or you are an accomplished expert, the research/writing process can be particularly difficult initially. You will also have to have an amazing work ethic, whilst learning how to run a business at the same time. There are many priorities to juggle.
However, nowadays when I know a topic well, it is possible to create an article from scratch in around 2 hours or less, furthermore, the quality of the content will be superior to anything that I was producing in times gone by. Practice makes perfect.
Through time, you will find that all the other daily, weekly and monthly responsibilities of the business and running your site will become second nature. Knowing that everything is in place and looked after allows me to focus when I’m writing. Once you have experience in writing and become an expert on your niche then you don’t have to spend hundreds of hours researching topics.
As a beginner, this time spent on researching and publishing is the risk you take.
If you have already set up your blog, then you are more than likely beginning to ask yourself things like:
- is this worth my time
- can i really be successful
- would I rather be doing something else
- what if this is all a waste
You should be prepared to accept the risk of the possibility that yes, this all might be a waste of time for you. There are no guarantees that you will succeed. But you have to realise that only those who are willing to risk the possibility of wasted time will ever be able to actually create the blog in the first place and go on to make it a financial success.
Advanced Content Creation
Although it’s relatively quick and easy to write and publish an article in 2 hours or so, it generally does take a little longer. In the beginning when I was writing content, I would basically just create the content and then publish it. In the initial stages of my affiliate marketing journey, I wasn’t aware that there was anything else to be done in this process.
Being an advanced blogger still means that you risk a certain amount of your time, however, I think it would be fair to say that the risk is much less. Once you have become experienced in how things play out, you will begin to trust the system. I now know that when I write a good article, it can rank, however, if it doesn’t, I can handle it-no problem. This is largely because I only write articles I think are worth writing.
I have much better SEO skills and business sense, therefore, I am able to assess value better. Even though a created post may not rank in Google, I can still use it on my website in some capacity.
There still is some time-risk involved though. These days, publishing an article comes with a lot more tasks associated with it.
The key to know “What makes this article unique among all others on the same topic?”.
As you grow and learn about this business, so too will your websites and the quality and standard of the content you produce will continue to get better and better over time.
Intermediate: Risking Money
Once you become competent at blogging and consider yourself to be an ‘intermediate blogger’; that’s to say you are earning a good living and have cash spare, you will probably begin to outsource a lot more. That is a big advantage of having a budget to work with, you then have the option of getting other people to do some of the work, especially if your aim is to expand your business even further. This brings me to another advantage of affiliate blogging and many online businesses and that is the ability to scale. Affiliate blogging is really quite easy to scale because essentially, the core component of a successful blog, content creation, is readily available from a variety of platforms and price points, and is simple to understand and learn how to do it well.
Buy articles. Publish. Monetise traffic.
This sounds like and easy, straight forward process to action, however, one stumbling lock that you need to get over is; understanding and accepting that not all your articles will rank. Even if your keywords are great, you still have to publish the article in such a way that it actually gets ranked for those keywords. Not all writers are SEOs, therefore, the level of success of each of the articles that you write and publish is going to be dependent on how good of a content manager you are.
Some things that have led to the success of my writers publishing articles that rank are:
- clean instructions
- templates using easy-to-rank formats
- writing in “series” (related articles)
- hiring experts
- working with writers long term
- assigning low competition keywords
However, these elements certainly don’t guarantee success all the time. You should always be willing to accept the possibility that the articles you pay for will not produce income.
Besides outsourcing content, you also have the possibility of investing some money into premium themes and plugins that have a good chance of improving the performance of your site. It is also worth considering additional training and consulting in a bid to level up your skills as a webmaster and entrepreneur.
However, as always, none of these cost implications will guarantee that you earn more money than you’re currently making.
Whilst making the transition from a beginner to an intermediate blogger is an exciting and profitable time, it will bring with it some issues and most definitely more time constraints. You will not be able to do everything yourself, and so you will start looking to outsource certain things. You will save yourself a hell of a lot of time by paying someone else to do certain tasks.
An established blogger could easily spend over $5000 per month to run their blogs. They are still just blogs. WordPress is still free. So, what on earth are they spending this money on and why is it costing so much? The answer is that the more advanced your business becomes, the more money it will take to run it while you use your own time thinking about the big picture. You can hire people to do some work, rather than doing the day-to-day tasks which you had done when first setting up your business all by yourself.
It is always a great feeling when the money that you spend leads directly to earning money and you know that you have a successful marketing strategy to work with. However, as we have already discussed, this is not always the case and this is where risk is involved. You would be willing to risk a certain amount per year to experiment, and see what happens. I believe that if you are never willing to risk money to grow your business, you will be limited to how much money you can make from your blog.
For some people, that’s just fine. This could be you. You may not want to run a complicated blogging business, and a six-figure blog as a one-man show is still very impressive. However, for those who are looking to grow and achieve even more, it is a good idea to put a percentage of your business earnings to work every year with the intent of growing your business to the next level. The potential of this money is limitless if you use it wisely.
Advanced: Risking Time
As your business builds you will begin to look at more advanced business building tactics. However, now is the time to ponder what you are actually looking for and what you want to achieve. If money and financial freedom were the end goal then you might decide to continue to grow your business much further. However, if you began blogging with the goal of freedom of time in mind then you need to consider exactly which direction to take. Either way, it’s a great position to be in.
You really do have to weigh up your priorities at this point. Does it make a difference if you earn $100k or $900k? How important is the money to you if you spend all of your time awake working while life passes you by? This brings us back to the risk of wasting time.
The only person that can answer this question is you and you might not even have an answer, either now or when it comes to making the decision. It is a question of priorities and each and every one of us has a different set of priorities. Our priorites change as we go through life, and there are so many things to take into consideration. I don’t have the answers, however, I do think that it makes sense to start risking a little more money in order to hire more people, and to have a little more time to learn how to manage your business better.
I do have to continue to risk my time though.
In saying all this, it really is up to the individual, whether it’s me or you do decide exactly how much is going to satisfy them in terms of success (both finalcially and otherwsise). For many, simply have extra time with their families and friend and having the freedom to spend their time as they choose is quite enough success. However, there are others that will want to grow and build out their business further, and for those people, thej potential withing affiliate marketing really is infinite. Ask anyone on the street if they’d be happy with a six-figure business they could run for just 2-3 hours per day from home and they’d say yes. So why risk the time?
As we get older, we generally become more risk averse. When we are young, free and single, time seems infinite and to a certain extent money does too. It was easier to risk my time when you are earning a full time income and have not committments to speak of. However, the risk is losing time when you are building a family will led you to question both how much money you actually need, and, how much time you are willing to invest to earn it.
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