Working on your own, no boss around, no fixed hours and no place to show up at, just because someone told you so … this is the life of an affiliate, sounds like a dream right? But wait, it can also fuck you up quite nicely, believe me, I’ve been there. So let me tell you a bit about how I started as an affilaite and what I did in order to keep my sanity … at an acceptable level at least:)
It all looked fine for a while, my life looked like this at some point at the beginning of my affiliate career: there was a site that I was submitting one-page photo galleries to, if they accepted them, they went life at midnight EST time. Once listed, I would replace the gallery with a banner farm and bang, I made about $50-$70 until the site owner detected this and deleted my listing. I was making about $1000 – $1200 per month this way, while still studying … mind you, the average salary in my country was about $300 at that time … Life was awesome 🙂
The only problem – the time zone – midnight EST was about 5 a.m. in my country. So instead of waking up so early, I often just stayed up that late and went to bed around 5:30 a.m. And my school started at 9 a.m. … I ran into problems with some of my professors, because I seriously used to fall asleep at times during the lessons 🙂 I only had 1 year of uni left thou, so I managed to graduate somehow and became a full time affiliate.
WORKING AS AN AFFILIATE – FULL TIME
Pretty much all my networks and advertisers were from the US, this was around 2001-2002, US totally dominated the advertising market back then. The problem were the time zones again, I simply had to work in the evening in order to catch my partners online. It wasn’t such a problem during summer but winters brought a new challenge for me – I was missing the daylight 🙂 Since I went to bed just a while before sunrise and then slept until noon, I didn’t see the sun at all on some days. This really drained me and I had to change my habits or I’d face serious sleep and personality disorders.
This lifestyle also had a pretty negative affect on my social life, I was sleeping until noon, while my friends were having a coffee at out favorite place. They went out for a beer in the evening, but I couldn’t, because I had an e-meeting scheduled at 9 p.m. After a year of this crap, I gave in and decided to try one thing : I approached 3 of my best friends, told them what I was doing and offered to coach them so they can work with me. All 3 of them were super excited and wanted to start straight away, 2 more joined us during the next month so we ended up renting an office that could host 6 aspiring affiliates 🙂
NOW I HAD A COMPANY
This totally changed my life, from living a boring life of a lonely wolf, I transferred myself into a member of an intense mastermind group, built up from 6 money-hungry young guys. This turned out to be one of my best decisions ever – one of the guys learned how to code, one became good at graphics, several guys were making ads and I mastered my communication skills in English (I know they’re not perfect, but better than before:)
We worked as a well oiled machine for years, throwing ideas around, changing concepts, building sites … many people say it’s a bad idea to build companies with so many partners, but somehow we managed to stay together until 2010. That was when some of us decided to take their own paths. One of the guys is my business partner until this day, the others are all still killing it on the internet and running their own online businesses. Except for one dude, who decide to find a “real job” and is now working as a network admin at some local company … to each his own I guess 🙂
SO WHAT’S IN THIS FOR YOU?
If there is one thing you should take from this, it’s to find a business partner or a two and work together. You don’t have to form a company together, just share some office space and bounce ideas around. It’s easy to get stuck when you’re working alone. It’s also easy to become a weirdo and an antisocial dude when you’re spending too much time alone. DON’T do it! I have many cool memories that feature our small office, computer games and a ton of beer 🙂 These aren’t exactly productive memories, but hey, life is not just about work, right?
I also really like the idea of shared office space, I see these facilities popping up in every major city. This could be the perfect starting point for an affiliate. Not only does it cut the startup costs down a lot, it also serves as an amazing networking hub and gives you the so much needed social contact.
SET SOME SCHEDULE
Another thing that helped me manage my life better and prevent myself from going crazy, was setting up some basic schedule. Nothing carved in stone, just something I try to follow.
First of all, I had to separate my personal and work life. At some point, I would just come home from the office, start my home computer and keep on working. I had to stop doing this when my twins were born, I even had to remove the comp from my house all together. These days, I have a comp at home again, but I’m only using for general maintenance, emergency stuff and some forum postings. If there is work to be done, I do it once my kids go to bed and the house is silent again.
I had to set a time when I simply end and go to bed. As mentioned above, I still do some work when my kids go to bed, but it’s more of a lifestyle thing than a necessity, since I’m a night owl and don’t like to go sleeping too early. My limit is 2 a.m., that’s the latest I call it a day, usually it’s about 1 a.m. Obviously, I need to sleep longer this way, but thanks to my wife who learned to accept this, I am usually sleeping up to 10 a.m. 🙂
I stay away from work during the weekend as much as possible, weekends belong to my family. I realized one thing pretty early, I do not want to live to work. I work to live a better life. That’s why I do everything possible to work as effectively as possible. On some days, I only work for a few hours, then go to a shop, buy some food and cook a quality dinner for my family. I know I could make more money by working more, but what’s the point? I make enough to secure all that my family needs and way more than that, so why sacrifice my personal life? I prefer to make less money and living my own family life too, over dying filthy rich at 50 with no-one around me 🙂
DOES THIS APPLY TO YOU?
I understand and accept that my way of handling things, is not for everyone and some of you might not agree with what I just wrote. But for anyone who feels like they have a similar way of thinking, I suggest you follow these 3 rules :
1. Find partners to do business with, or at least to share an office with.
2. Do not abandon your social and family life, stay in contact with other people.
3. Set some schedule instead of working all the time, work belongs to the office.
I hope you found at least some value in my story!
Comments are welcome 🙂