One of the mistakes that I see over and over again with new affiliate marketers is overspending when it isn’t necessary to do so. And it’s a particularly sensitive subject for me, because it’s a trap I fell into (and still do occasionally) when I was first starting out.
Here’s the thing…
If you have to put that fancy new research tool on a credit card, you can’t really afford it.
If you’re making the choice between putting food on the table and buying the latest course put out by your favorite affiliate marketing guru, you better darn well go with the groceries.
And if you justify signing on for a high dollar coaching program because you’re just sure that your business income will soon be enough to cover its cost, there’s a good chance you’re just kidding yourself.
I’m not saying this to be harsh. Certainly, there are justifications to be made for using credit responsibly and for investing financially in your education. But that’s not what I’m talking about here.
What I’m talking about is the kind of blind overspending without direction that shoots so many affiliate marketers in the foot before they even have a chance to let their businesses grow. Think about it this way – if you invest thousands of dollars in affiliate marketing right off the bat and don’t see results right away, how long are you going to continue to pursue your dreams?
Not long, right? No one wants to get stuck losing side of a business venture gone wrong. Instead, you’re probably going to cut your losses and walk away from what could have been a solid business if you had just managed your expenses sustainably.
So here’s the real deal on affiliate marketing expenses…
When you’re first getting started, there are only two things you need to buy: a domain name and a hosting account. Everything else – from keyword research to graphics creation to education – can be done for free with a little extra legwork.
(And no, you can’t start an affiliate marketing website for free using Blogspot or Blogger. Free blogs with commercial content on them violate these services’ Terms of Service and can get you kicked off. Don’t put all that work into something you don’t own outright and can’t control!)
As your business grows, you can start to add things that make your life easier – whether it’s adding a commercial keyword research tool that helps you speed up your niche research or an outsourced VA to handle some of your tasks. The key here is that these expenses aren’t necessary to get started, and that you shouldn’t invest money in them if you can’t afford to do so.
The following are a few ways to keep your spending in check while launching your affiliate marketing business:
Lesson #1 – Only spend money on the projects you’re currently working on.
What’s the point in signing up for an autoresponder program if you aren’t planning to sign up leads or engage in email marketing? Sure, an Aweber account at $19/month to start doesn’t sound like much, but if you aren’t going to use it, that’s $228/year down the drain.
There are so many great resources and products out there that it’s easy to get sidetracked into spending money on things that aren’t immediately relevant to your business. Before you make any big purchases, wait a day or two in order to objectively analyze whether or not the item is something you really need.
Lesson #2 – Keep your expenses in line with your income.
If you have extra capital to invest in your business upfront, that’s great. Go wild and get the best tools on the market. But if you’re like the rest of us – growing your business from the ground up, one day at a time – it’s important to keep your expenses on par with your income.
I’m not saying that you have to break even or make a profit every month – only that if your income is $50-100/month, you shouldn’t be spending $1,000+/month on new tools and educational resources. To keep an eye on this, it’s important to develop a way to track expenses. I use a simple Excel spreadsheet, but there are tons of other business software programs you can use for this purpose.
Lesson #3 – Avoid situations that trigger unnecessary spending.
I know that if I wander into the “Warrior Special Offer” section of the Warrior Forum, I’m going to wind up buying some “great new product” for $37 (or $27, or $17, or some other random price ending in “7”). That’s why I don’t go there anymore, unless I have a very clear idea of what I’m looking for.
If you find yourself getting sucked into long form sales letters, click away from them before you have a chance to read. Or if there’s a particular marketer who’s always convincing you to buy things you don’t need, unsubscribe from his or her list. If you don’t put yourself in a tempting position, you won’t wind up over your head in business expenses.
Are there any business purchases that you have trouble avoiding? Or do you have any tips on how to keep your costs down while launching an affiliate marketing business? Leave them in the comments!