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Affiliate Marketing vs Own Product, The Wrong Choice Can Cost You Dearly

Affiliate Marketing vs Own Product?

affiliate marketing vs own productWhen starting an online business there are many pros and cons about developing your own product vs affiliate marketing where you sell a ready developed product as an “affiliate” and take a commission on it.

Developing your own product is a legitimate way of making money online that is promoted by many Internet coaches – and there are good reasons they do this, because these are skills that students can use over and over again.

Which is great – if you want to keep on turning out new products.

So it comes down to being very clear in your purpose…

Why Do You Want An Online Business?

If you are deciding whether to go into affiliate marketing vs own product production, you may like first of all to ask yourself this very basic question:

Did you start an Internet business to make money online? Or to learn product creation? Click To Tweet

Please think carefully about this, and share your answer in the comments!

Now it may be that you DID start looking into Internet Marketing because you had a burning desire to inform the world about a particular subject that you already are an expert in – for instance cat training.

If this is the case, there are many excellent coaches who will teach you….

How To Create An Online Product

You will learn how to….

  • Research the market-place
  • Become an expert in a specific topic (unless you already have expert knowledge)
  • Target a suitably sized niche
  • Gather together an interesting and well-structured collection of information
  • Format it attractively as an eBook, videos – or maybe both
  • Devise sales copy to pique visitors’ interest
  • Create a blog to write about your subject
  • Produce a lead capture page
  • Put together a website to sell / deliver the product
  • Devise a series of auto-responder messages to follow up undecided prospects
  • Create banners of various sizes
  • Come up with an up-sell offer to maximize profit at point of sale – plus appropriate website
  • Persuade other affiliates to market your product – give them at least 50% commission
  • Drive traffic to your offer
  • Provide good after-sales support to manage the inevitable glitches
  • Probably other steps I missed

Whew. How long will that all take when you’re starting as a newcomer to Internet Marketing, maybe doing it part-time?

Then What Happens?

You tell your coach and other affiliates about your product – with LUCK, they promote it madly; they make lots of sales on which you earn a percentage of the “takings” that varies from 50 ideally right down to 0% because “You will get the buyer’s details on your list”.  Yes – it happened to me about four years ago, I got 0% commission when I sold “my” product via my coach’s list.

Actually, “my” product was “assigned to me as part of the package” rather than something I created – in fact I never even received a copy of “my” product. When I made suggestions to correct errors on the sales page they were ignored, and the coach stopped answering my support tickets and calls.

It wasn’t just me who felt like this – there were others, and last I heard some of them were banding together to take him to court. Funnily enough he seems to have disappeared from the Internet Marketing scene altogether.

So…. back to my abortive product launch: those buyers never bought from me again, because they presumably felt more connected to my coach than to me.

So, on a typical product launch….

  • The initial sale frenzy probably lasts a week.
  • Then the next student is clamoring to get their product promoted.
  • Yours is forgotten, but you have a list of buyers now. So you promote the next student’s product to your list, people who are also on your coach’s list – remember?
  • Your coach is offering his customers a mega bonus that you can’t compete with, so he’ll probably get the sale.
  • You pick up crumbs from your product promotion
  • Then oh dear – your product is out-of-fashion …. time to start the whole product creation process again
  • By the way – your masterpiece sold for the princely sum of $9.95 before affiliates’ commissions!

Are You An Expert?

Expert TopicBefore I get completely misunderstood, let me reiterate that an expert in their field can deliver a good and original product. So learning how to create your own product is an excellent way to go for someone in a specialized niche. Or perhaps you have a REAL skill that many lack.

But for those of us learning and promoting Internet Marketing products, you need to BECOME an expert in the topic of your product.

Sadly I’m honest enough to admit that while I know a bit about “xyz”, there are many online marketers who know more about it than I do. So why would I try and sell readers MY product when my gut feel is that there are better ones out there?

Should you REALLY create your own Internet Marketing product? Click To Tweet

Product Creation Was Wrong For Me

When I first started in online business, I took another coaching program even earlier than the one described above. At that time I made what I now think was the wrong choice and I did actually develop my own product.

However….

  • I was so new to everything on-line that the learning curve was just too steep and although I didn’t actually give up, because the product is still online and sells occasionally, even now, years later I haven’t recovered the development and coaching costs.
  • Crazily at that time I had no idea that affiliate products existed! I had no inkling there were such excellent products already produced. I could have saved myself an awful lot of time, money and grief – and probably made more money in the long-term, even though I was sharing the commission with the product developer.
  • I could have got more products to market faster, had I not wasted time developing my own products.
  • I could instead have learned the REAL skill I needed – marketing to targeted customers.

Instead I plunged in, woefully ignorant and assumed Internet Marketing would be far easier than it actually is. Like a lamb to the slaughter I handed over my “learn to create your own product” cheque and expected to be in profit in a few months.

How to fail with product creation - OR how to avoid my mistakes! Click To Tweet

It wasn’t a complete disaster because I did learn a vast amount from the first coaching program, and I produced an eBook that still sells. So actually, I just need to put some more work into the marketing and update the product to 2016 standards.

Note to self – driving traffic and building a list of buyers are the real skills to master:-)

However, the total overwhelm mode that I went into, from the product and website creation, nearly ended my Internet career prematurely even before I got to the stage of driving traffic to my offer.

It wasn’t that there was anything inherently BAD about that first training: it was just too complicated for someone at my skill level in Internet marketing, when trying to build a business part-time.

Several years older and wiser, if I were to start again I would learn affiliate marketing before product creation. That’s a personal opinion and many will disagree with me.

Update With 2015 Results

Glutton for punishment, I had another go, to see if my improved blogging skills would make it any easier to develop and sell my own product. Here’s what happened.

In late 2014 / 2015 I was persuaded, again, to produce my own product to “brand myself” as an expert.

It still wasn’t a great success – and this is what I felt the main reasons are:

  • There are thousands of products in the Internet Marketing niche
  • Some are (frankly) rubbish, but some are of such high quality I can’t compete with the resources I have available
  • I am painfully honest about the fact that although I have learned a lot over the years, many other people are more expert than I am
  • I felt a fraud saying I was an expert in “xyz” when I KNOW there are better products I can offer to my readers
  • I / you STILL need to learn the same marketing skills for promoting any product, whoever produced it

So, in my opinion, unless you really are an expert in a very tight niche, I still consider that in the battle “own product vs affiliate marketing” the clear winner for people starting an online business, is affiliate marketing.

Then I Did Some Very Simple Maths….

Affiliate marketingBy trying out a few affiliate marketing programs I learned that even with affiliate marketing there are right and wrong ways to do it. By which I mean, profitable or costly ways!

The maths of trying to earn a good income from low priced affiliate marketing products just don’t work out. For instance – if you’re selling $27 products, and looking to make $3000 per month from your blog – to replace your regular income – that’s over 100 sales a month you need to make. Ouch!

And with the price of advertising so high these days, you can’t even make up the shortfall by taking extra paid advertising.

No Need To Make 100 Sales A Month

Instead of attempting to make 100 $27 sales each month, I have revised my marketing mix to include some high ticket commission items.

And they teach Internet Marketing skills that you can transfer to any other business.

With one done for you business (Learning List Building) that I am promoting, larger commissions can be earned. So that 100 sales a month is much reduced. It could even be as low as 3 sales per month, given some other income.

You might think it’s harder to sell high ticket products, but I’ve struggled as much to sell a $10 product as to sell a high ticket product.

But…. you can even earn as a free member, so earn as you apply the training, without putting out any money up front!

Check out the free videos at LearnListBuilding.com  This is probably for more advanced marketers.

Start An Online Business Free

For complete beginners I recommend another program where your customer is “stepped up” from low price products to the higher ones, using earnings from the lower price products to fund purchases of higher ticket products.

This is Padlock Income, where you unlock higher income levels as you learn.

  • You start free (stay free, learning to build your list, as long as you like)
  • Complete copy / paste steps until you have proved you can succeed at each level
  • Only then are you invited to upgrade – and it’s completely optional. First upgrade cost is one-off $10!
  • Aimed at the “Make Money Online” market-place, but easy to adapt to build a business in any niche
  • You have access to a fully done-for-you affiliate marketing training system for just $20 (at time of writing – October 2017)

What do you think about product creation vs affiliate marketing? Please comment.

Please share
Joy
 

I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don’t make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online.

Think you don’t have time? Can’t afford the start-up cost? Can’t meet sales targets? The businesses I promote overcome all the problems you may have had with Internet Marketing before. Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 24 comments
Lea Bullen - January 27, 2016

Hi Joy,

Wow, this is really interesting. It seems like at one point you’re basically competing against the very person that should be helping you to promote your product, the coach. And it would be obvious the coach would win because his list trusts him.

Thanks for sharing your past experience Joy it was really eye opening. I didn’t even think of that kind of thing happening.

~Lea

Reply
    Joy - January 27, 2016

    Hi Lea,

    It was a long time before I worked it all out! I wish I had done so earlier.

    I frequently expressed interest in an affiliate product I was promoting (from a different email address) then backed out to go onto people’s list to be followed up. Many times when I tried to make a “subsequent purchase” it would have gone to the author not to me, as the affiliate. Given that it’s very rare for people to buy on first visit, it seemed a real losing game.

    Still – at least I learned and won’t make that mistake again 🙂

    Joy

    Reply
Harleena Singh - January 27, 2016

Hi Joy,

Informative post indeed 🙂

I completely agree with all that you’ve written. I’m so glad you shared your story and experiences with us, as that would help people who wish to create their own product or venture into affiliate marketing.

Yes, unless you are an expert in your niche or have something unique to share that you know your readers would like, venturing into product creation may not work. Affiliate marketing on the other hand, works, provided you get the hang of it. We are trying a little of it lately, if you noticed, and seeing results too. However, lots to learn as yet!

Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

Reply
    Joy - January 27, 2016

    Hi Harleena

    I’m glad you agree with me. I think there may be some people who dislike what I’ve said, but I just want to share my own experiences when I first started out online. I had done a course in the topic I wrote about, so I did know a lot about it, but it was the other aspects that completely threw me.

    Yes, I notice you are doing some affiliate marketing and I’m sure that with your loyal following you will have great success.

    Joy

    Reply
Edward Thorpe - January 28, 2016

Hi Joy,
Very nervy of you to expose your past as you do in this post about affiliate marketing & product creation. Then again, you’re a very honest Friend, whom I respect.

My primary take away was your off-sides mention of learning traffic pulling techniques. (Uh, despite the smile I got from your take on some coaches stealthy strategies… wouldn’t want you angry at me 😉
Edward

Reply
    Joy - January 28, 2016

    Hi Edward,

    I think I try to tell it “as it is” because I have spent so long being let down by empty promises that I just wish I could save anyone else from the same disappointment I have experienced.

    Haha, I’m extremely unlikely to ever get angry with you – you provide some of my favorite weekly reading. I’m a pretty placid person in general, but once I’m mad with someone, they will know it!! We all have our limits.

    Although I learned and benefited to some extent from most of my previous coaches there was just one that I considered a complete rip-off. He assigned me a “mentor”, and even the mentor (who actually put in many unpaid hours talking to me) said he thought I’d been badly treated and said “This just isn’t on”. Last I heard a few others in the same group were trying to resort to legal action, but that was a few years ago and not being a fan of the legal profession, I didn’t want to throw good money after bad. After all, we have to go into these things with our eyes open, and “caveat emptor”. I think the worst was that he was recommended to me by someone I trusted.

    Ah well – onward and upward with those traffic pulling techniques. The one thing common to all business.

    Enjoy the rest of your week, Joy

    Reply
Peter Beckenham - January 29, 2016

Hello Joy and can I say what a truly fantastic post.

Wow the way you have just shared your experiences especially with product creation, is something that I know many others would definitely relate with.

Thanks for being so open and honest Joy – that is so refreshing these days with all the hype and crap that seems to permeate the internet marketing niche.

But I’m not sure if I agree with you re product creation “was wrong for me”

After all you actually finished the project (that mnay would not have achieved) and even got some sales plus all that experience you gained along the way.

It seems to me that all you really needed to make a real success of your product creation experience was an effective marketing plan that would drive traffic to your product sales page.

One secret to a successful product launch is getting affiiates of your product to sell it for you.

In this way you can get highly targeted traffic to your product offer for FREE.

Sure you will be sharing some or all of the commission but in the end you will have THE most valuable asset anyone can have oline – a buyer’s list who regard you as an authority.

That is a mighty powerful marketing position to be in.

But hey, if you are more comfortable with affiliate marketing then that’s what you should focus on going forward.

It looks to me like you have uncovered a very interesting affiiate marketing opportunity and I know followers of your blog will sense your excitement with this venture and follow your lead to get that free training.

Best wishes as always from a remote Thai village

Peter

Reply
    Joy - January 29, 2016

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for taking the time to point out the positive side of my “product creation” adventure. You’re right, of course I learned a HUGE amount from doing it and the only thing missing was the traffic – which is what I’m learning more about with the new training I’m using.

    Actually the timing was all wrong because the dreaded EEC VAT regulations were due to come in so I rushed into it at the last minute to get it launched before that. The original launch was scheduled much earlier in the year but I had family problems that had to be looked after first.

    I had several good (and known to me personally) affiliates who promised to promote the product to their list, but there was no evidence (traffic / sales) that they did so. From this I concluded “If it’s to be, it’s up to me!”

    Yes, I’m really excited about this new affiliate marketing training. It’s the training I dearly wish I had found when I was starting an online business (instead of stubbornly being determined to figure it out the hard way). So I’m delighted to recommend it as Internet Marketing training for newcomers.

    AND although I’ve been in this business a few years now, I’m STILL learning plenty of new tips from it that are solving problems that had baffled me before.

    We have frequent sessions where people can just get on a webinar and ask any question they’re having. What’s so refreshing is that the speaker gives really honest answers, and other attendees chip in with their own experiences to help newcomers too. Between those sessions the various Facebook groups give great support.

    There’s a lot to take in and I’m still playing catch-up after family visitors over the 2 month winter period (some still here!) but I expect to be posting a lot more about this affiliate marketing training over the next weeks.

    Thanks for your visit and encouraging words,

    Joy

    Reply
Lisa - January 29, 2016

Hi Joy!
I really enjoyed your insights about affiliate products vs your own. You brought up some great points about product creation. When I first started online marketing, I had no idea about creating my own products and selected affiliate products that did very well.

Your paragraph under, “then what happens” says it all for product creation. I’ve always been a little skeptical about selling my own products for some of those very reasons.

These days, things get outdated pretty quickly as well.

I really appreciate your honesty here. It’s been very helpful for anyone trying to make this decision.
Have a great day.
Lisa

Reply
    Joy - January 30, 2016

    Hi Lisa

    I’m pleased you enjoyed my experiences and think they would be helpful to someone else.

    The “getting out of date too quickly” is a huge issue for me. My most recent (paid) product was on Social Media Marketing and, although it was theoretically written at a high enough level to stay “in-date”, I can’t believe that there wouldn’t now be big changes – in just a year. So far all the effort and expense that went into the product, I would not now feel I could charge people money for it.

    It’s not just me either, I was trying to figure out how to do something on Facebook the other day and when I Googled for a solution, no answer actually matched the current state of Facebook. Amusingly enough, even Facebook’s answer was out of step with their own site.

    Have a great weekend. Joy

    Reply
Mark - January 29, 2016

What an awesome post Joy!

I always love reading, (more ) like studying, your real world accounts, of the pro’s & cons, of successful online marketing!

No matter what particular business model, one may attempt to pursue!

Right off the rip, let me just heavily weigh in with my very own take, on your incredibly fascinating, and extremely entertaining and informative post!

Which, I might add, is par for the course!

First and foremost, I love the way, you can tell it, exactly like it is, and yet still come across as incredibly humble!

And while you may feel there are others out there, in your niche, with more expertise!

The fact that you’ve come to the correct and accurate conclusions you have, demonstrate you are more than qualified to assist and coach any aspiring newbie online marketers!

Also, I totally agree with your assessment, about becoming skillful at targeted traffic generation!

But what’s really impressing me the most Joy, by simply offering higher ticket items and services, an an affiliate and coaching to newbies, there is simply no question, all the stages of your ongoing education, have uniquely prepared you, to be their ships captain and navigator!

Thank you so much, for sharing another truly awesome and extremely helpful, real world post!

And if I’m not being to bold here!If on your next digital product or service(s),offer, you need any type of free bonus digital info products, to boost the perceived value of yours!

Please reach out to me via the contact page of my blog asap!To seriously discuss the JV marketing possibilities between us!

As I would love to be one of your JV partners, that provides you with an extra incentive based giveaway!

To help you create more front end sales or (testimonials), for them joining, your one on one “Coaching” program!

That you definitely should be teaching! End of story!

Because, you are definitely qualified to teach them!Take care and I sincerely hope I hear from you real soon!

One of your many admirers!Mark!

Reply
    Joy - January 30, 2016

    Wow Mark,

    I’m really moved and flattered by your kind words.

    I try to “tell it as I found it” because for many years I really felt I was the only one not making a huge success of Internet Marketing.

    Then as I finally found and fell in with the “right crowd” – instead of gurus and hype-merchants – I started to realize that the “get rich quick product” promises were rubbish, designed to make the vendor rich, rather than the purchaser.

    That’s not to say the products were all rubbish – some were, many were not. What was false was the implication that it was easy. It’s not. But all the more worthwhile for being a goal we struggle to attain, rather than an easy walk in the park.

    I’m honored that you would think me qualified to coach others and I will certainly give some thought to your suggestion of a JV venture and be in touch soon.

    Have a good weekend, Joy

    Reply
Atish Ranjan - January 30, 2016

Hi Joy,

Affiliate marketing is indeed a great way to make good income. But, promoting own product is even better because you promote your own product, if it sells directly that’s good. Even you don’t get sale in the beginning, you are rest assured that at least it is being promoted.

But when you promote Affiliate product, you have only one thing in mind to get sale because you are promoting someone else’s product just to get some commission.

Both are good but having something of your own is the best thing.

Reply
    Joy - January 31, 2016

    Hi Atish

    I understand how you could feel that having YOUR own product is better, because of the specialised nature of your blog, and because you ARE an expert in your subject – so I agree 100% for you.

    But as I don’t have huge expertise in any Internet Marketing topic, when I promote an affiliate product I am NOT promoting it “just to get the commission” – I am promoting it because in my opinion it is a better product that I could produce myself, and therefore I am offering a better service to my readers than putting out a product that I know in my heart or hearts isn’t as good as something I might have produced myself.

    You may say “Acquire the knowledge” but for a part-time blogger that’s a momentous task. Especially as I am looking to include high ticket items in my marketing mix, to help readers earn larger commissions from the one sale.

    My first product was in a topic that I had studied at college for 3 years, AND I produced it under the direction of a coach – at enormous time and money expense. Yet I will still admit that there are products better than the one I produced, because they were written by whole teams of experts with professionally produced videos etc. And my subject matter is now outdated before I even recovered the cost of the original version:-(

    I wouldn’t wish to deter any real expert from producing their own product, but I think that with the skills and resources most part-time or new bloggers have available, learning traffic generation and affiliate marketing are the best options to get them profitable faster.

    With traffic generation mastered, it’s a simple job to find another quality product to suit your audience, rather than starting again with a blank sheet of paper.

    Thanks for your thoughts and visit, though, Joy

    Reply
Mansi Padhya - February 2, 2016

Hi Joy,

Great post. This is really interesting. I agree with all that you’ve written. I really appreciate your honesty here. It’s been very helpful for anyone trying to make this decision.
Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead. 🙂

Reply
Manav Sharma - February 2, 2016

I really appreciate your honesty here. It’s been very helpful for anyone trying to make this decision. Thanks for sharing.

Reply
Kim Willis - February 5, 2016

What a great topic, Joy

I create my own products and services packages, but I am also an active affiliate marketer. For me, having your own products and service is ultimately the best way to go. That said, to date most of the money I’ve made has come from my affiliate marketing activities.

So, for most people the easier and more practical option is to join someone else’s program (such as yours), then learn about traffic and lead gen etc. From there they can branch out into creating their own online assets.

If they master traffic and lead gen they will have acquired an incredibly valuable new skill, which is a pre-requisite for developing their own products anyway.

All good

Thanks for this great post, Joy

Kim

Reply
    Joy - February 5, 2016

    Hi Kim,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences of having earned more from affiliate marketing than creating your own product. On a smaller scale, that has been what’s happened for me too, so I feel better about it now.

    I understand and accept the reasons for creating your own product – from a point of already being very knowledgable about your topic. But until you have that knowledge behind you (especially in the very broad Internet Marketing marketplace) I suspect that very few people are more expert than the products already created. It’s my opinion that newcomers online will serve their readers better by promoting products by genuine experts – all caveats assumed!

    Also that they will serve themselves by sticking to mastering traffic generation and list building.

    When / if I reach the stage that I feel I have more expertise in Internet Marketing than the products I’m already offering (at various price levels) people may see me create my own product, but until then creating a low priced product just for the sake of it, isn’t in my plans.

    Congratulations for reaching that stage yourself,

    Joy

    Reply
ikechiawazie - April 19, 2016

Hi Joy

I must say that this is a timely post. You have shared so much insight about affliate marketing and creating your digital products.

I also appreciate you for sharing your story as it is sad that the coach would do such a thing but the lessons are golden which has brought you to the point of making an income online.

Thanks for sharing. Take Care

Reply
    Joy - April 20, 2016

    Hi Ikechi,

    It was indeed a miserable experience, but I learned from it and moved on, so it can’t all be bad 🙂

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    Reply
Abdullah al mamun - July 27, 2016

HiJoy,
I read your article and I am impressed,because I just start to gather knowledge about Affiliate marketing and I learn a lot of think to read your article,thank you.
Mamun.

Reply
    Joy - July 27, 2016

    Hi Abdullah,

    If you’re just getting into Affiliate Marketing do yourself a BIG favor and listen to this free webinar by my mentor / his head coach. http://clika.pe/l/192/41808/ It runs weekly, so if you miss one I’ll email you about the next or replays when you subscribe to the reminder list.

    If I had known this information when I first started looking at Affiliate products my online career would have been very different.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    Reply
charan - August 15, 2016

I am a online seller in ebay, selling my own products. selling our products make good profits compare with affiliate marketing. But, need good knowledge and skills to promote the product right way. One thing affiliate marketing is a risk free can start easily, whereas own products need lots of planning and need to implement our ideas in a proper way. Thanks for sharing !

Reply
    Joy - August 15, 2016

    Hi Charan,

    I probably didn’t talk enough about selling on eBay because my experience of it is mainly of the “Clear out your cupboards” nature – which was really useful both for bringing in extra cash – and decluttering!

    As a part-time blogger I felt that running a serious ebay business would take too much of the time I have available. Also, I prefer the lower risk of affiliate marketing.

    That said, I do know some people who are doing very well out of selling on eBay. They will certainly be the ones who have planned their business well and taken the time to learn to do it properly.

    Thanks for sharing another way to make money online and I wish you continued success.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    Reply

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