Is Affiliate Marketing A Good Career In 2023? (Read This First)

Over the past couple of years, people are going crazy after affiliate marketing and internet marketing in general.

There are more new affiliate marketers in the industry than ever before! Have a look at the rising interest in this business model recently:

affiliate marketing popularity as a career

But we are all aware that not every one of those beginners or newbies is going to succeed in the industry.

As a matter of fact, there will be more failures than successes. And with all the fake gurus and scams out there, it’s getting even harder for people to thrive.

So, what should you do? Is affiliate marketing for you? Is it a good career? What is the success rate of this industry? Why do people fail? Is there a good scope in the future?

If you want to know the most descriptive answer to these questions and a couple of others…make sure you grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee and stick with me for a while because I’m going to clear all your doubts here.

So, let’s get right into the informational patronage and understand things deeply:

Is Affiliate Marketing A Good Career?

I am an affiliate marketer myself who generates a decent amount of commissions every single month but still, I am a bit shy to answer this question in just two or three lines.

Not because the business model isn’t worthy enough or something like that, but because people are reading this post with different mindsets.

If you are someone who REALLY wants to learn about this business and get into it professionally, the answer is positive but if you have watched a YouTube video or read a social media post about someone making millions of dollars and you are thinking of it as some magical strategy for getting rich, the answer is for sure, negative.

So, first, let me answer the questions as properly as possible and then we’ll talk about the other things:

Affiliate marketing is definitely a good career for individuals who want to put their soul and dedication towards the business model. There are thousands of successful affiliate marketers but the success depends on various factors like the niche of choice, budget, execution, and consistency.

As it is the case with every other industry and business out there. There will be a lot of variables on which the successes and failures will depend.

But one thing is pretty clear – you are going to want to deal with failures in every single industry. There’s no perfect career or formula for making money in this world.

So, in short, affiliate marketing is a very lucrative career if you:

  • want to learn before you want to earn
  • are okay with failures
  • are okay with making mistakes
  • are okay with putting in the work and learning constantly
  • are okay with having patience
  • are fine with investing some time and some money consistently

And on the contrary, affiliate marketing isn’t a good career if you:

  • are looking for a quick money-making scheme
  • don’t want to invest time or money
  • are not comfortable with waiting
  • not comfortable with adapting to new changes
  • can’t deal with industry changes (as things change very quickly in the industry) and can’t keep up with the new trends

Look, you won’t be generating tons and tons of cash bundles by simply posting a bunch of links here and there on the web. You will have to bring value to the table and do the following tasks to be on the top of the game:

  • Start working for sustainble traffic source (audience base)
  • Create consistent content and build trust with your audience
  • Partner with some of the best and trustworthy companies
  • Always have backup affiliate programs in case one program/monetization source goes down
  • Learn and implement email marketing and paid media advertisements
  • Stay ahead of the competition by offering free value and useful information to people
  • Be paitent and give things time to settle/grow

So, there’s no straightforward answer I can provide you on how good is a career in affiliate marketing. It’s all going to depend on one person to another.

Affiliate Marketing Success Rate

Now that you have a little bit of understanding about pursuing a career in the affiliate marketing industry, let’s find out what the success rate in the industry is.

It is said that over 95% of affiliate marketers fail to make any money in their entire career span. This means that less than five percent of affiliate marketers are able to generate income in the industry.

And now, if we talk about ‘successful affiliates,’ the numbers come down to anywhere from 1-3%. That’s right! Only one to three percent of the affiliates are earning over $150,000 per annum.

That’s not very impressive, right? But there are a lot of things you could do about it if you are phenomenally serious about getting into the marketing world.

And by no means, I want to demotivate anyone reading this post but at the same time, you should know the core reality before you jump in.

Is Affiliate Marketing Really In Demand?

You will find a lot of people in forums and online communities who talk about the end of affiliate marketing and stuff like that. Let me bring back your confidence here:

Yes, affiliate marketing is in great demand. In fact, the affiliate marketing spend in the United States alone has grown significantly year after year.

Year TakenSpend (US)
2010$1.6 billion
2011$2.1 billion
2012$2.5 billion
2013$2.9 billion
2014$3.4 billion
2015$4.2 billion
2016$4.8 billion
2017$5.4 billion
2018$5.9 billion
2019$6.4 billion
2020$6.8 billion
2021$7.4 billion
2022$8.2 billion
Data from Statista

Why Do 95% Of The Affiliate Marketers Fail?

Now, let’s address why over ninety-five percent of beginners or practitioners fail in this industry. First, let’s look at the reasons briefly and then I’ll explain them in detail:

  • Picking A Competitive Niche
  • Focusing On Money, Not Value
  • Not Building An Audience
  • Not Understanding How People React To Marketing
  • Lacking Patience
  • Joining The Wrong Affiliate Programs
  • Shiny Object Syndrome
  • Overestimating What They Can Do In One Day, Week, Or Month
  • No Consistency & Investments

1. Picking A Competitive Niche

The first reason why beginners aren’t able to make a fortune in this industry is picking a niche that’s heavily competitive.

You can’t compete with the top marketers out there on the first day of your career, can you?

A lot of beginners simply get excited, pick products in competitive niches, start creating content or paying social networks for expensive advertisements, and then end up holding their heads.

And that is all because they made a mistake in choosing the niche. Hence, taping into the wrong niches is putting a lot of newbies off.

2. Focuing On Money, Not Value

Another mistake is that often, people get a bunch of affiliate links and start throwing them to people’s clean feeds in the hopes of generating sales/commissions.

That simply won’t happen. You can’t be going out and repeating ‘Buy. Buy. Buy’ for people to buy. Before they make their minds about the purchases, you will have to build trust with them and that’s only possible with the help of ‘value.’

3. Not Building An Audience

Audience or traffic is what will make or break your business and it’s neglected by a lot of beginners.

No beginner focuses on building a sustainable audience that can be monetized for consistent earnings. Everyone’s just participating in the race of getting quick sales and that happens rarely.

If you don’t take the time to build your email lists, get a good following across various marketing channels like YouTube, blogs, and social media, things won’t go forward.

4. Not Understanding How People React To Marketing

It’s funny that people only buy stuff when they feel like there’s no marketing going on behind. Want an example?

Look at the screenshot below. You see those ads?

how people react to marketing - why affiliates fail

Those ads on Google are ignored by nearly 70% of the people and the percentage is even higher in some specific industries.

Why do you think it is like that? The answer is simple, people don’t want to be marketed and that’s the first thing affiliate marketers have to understand.

Many beginners don’t understand this basic thing and are never able to make up in the list of ‘successful affiliate marketers.’

5. Lacking Patience

You might have read a million times that patience is the key to success…and you know what? You will keep reading this a million times more because that’s the truth!

If you can’t wait for things to start flowing or going in the right direction, nothing will change and that’s what is keeping newcomers behind.

I won’t write enough about patience here because it’s common sense. You will have to be patient to achieve results with affiliate marketing or you will become a part of those 95% beginners.

6. Joining The Wrong Affiliate Programs

Often, beginners get attracted to fancy training systems out there and end up joining untrustworthy affiliate programs that not only sell crap products but also don’t pay the affiliates.

And other times, affiliates put in a lot of work, but end up joining low-paying affiliate programs that make it not worth it at all.

This is a huge factor in why affiliates aren’t seeing much success in the industry. Therefore, if you want to get inside, do your homework before you start promoting stuff.

7. Shiny Object Syndrome

The Shiny Object Syndrome is a concept or circumstance where a person keeps jumping from one ‘cool affiliate marketing strategy,’ ‘business opportunity,’ or ‘traffic source’ to other.

In other words, many beginners simply keep moving back and forth, unfocusing on one thing. This doesn’t move the needle and affiliates get nothing but regrets in return.

8. Overestimating What Can Be Done In One Day, Week, Or Month

Now, this is related to patience. Many people (mainly new ones in the market) overestimate what they can achieve or accomplish in one day, one week, or one month and underestimate what can be done in one year.

In simple words, people set high expectations from the business and when they don’t meet the expectations, they simply give up.

9. No Consistency & Investments

Each and every business out there on the planet requires consistency and investments. As an affiliate marketer, you have to be aware that consistency is going to be a big differentiator in your entire career, followed closely by investments.

You have to invest money and time for checks to arrive. Of course, beginners don’t show interest in these two and hold themselves back.

Does Affiliate Marketing Have A Future?

I won’t take enough time to answer this question. Here’s your simple answer;

Yes, affiliate marketing does have a very bright future. With over 80% of the brands utilizing affiliate marketers and the channel accounting for over 15% of the total digital media revenue, affiliate marketing is going to be around until there will be companies.

How Long Does It Take For Affiliate Marketing To Become A Full-Time Career?

For sure, there is not going to be any universal answer to this question but it is believed that it takes anywhere from six months to twenty-four months for affiliates to start making a full-time income.

To be honest, that’s isn’t that bad and also, the time frame can be reduced dramatically if you first strengthen your foundations and learn from other people’s mistakes.

If you ask me, it took me 12 whole months before I saw the money coming in and from the 18th month, I was making a full-time living.

When To Avoid Affiliate Marketing As A Career?

Of course, there are going to be repetitive pointers here but don’t worry, I’m not going to explain things thoroughly here. Here’s when you should avoid this career:

  • If you can’t work consistently for months (or maybe years)
  • If you can’t afford to get no results for months or years
  • If you don’t yet have any investments to make (time, money, & work)
  • If you can’t spend enough time with screens

My Journey – Is Affiliate Marketing As A Career Worth It?

So, I got started with this business about three years ago by the time I’m writing this post and the journey had a lot of impacting ups and downs.

Things aren’t certain in this industry. You can have algorithm updates if you generate affiliate commissions with your blogs, there can be price hikes if you use paid ads, there can be affiliate program suspensions, and last but not least – there can be a reduction in the commission rates as well.

Look how Amazon has slashed the commission rates over the course of a few years!

That’s insane, right? It has definitely affected a lot of people’s revenue and they then would have worked very hard for months to stabilize their income streams.

You can face these challenges a lot of times if you work in this industry. It’s going to be hard but the perks make up for all the challenges. You can work from anywhere around the world and still earn money every single month as an affiliate.

The location freedom, the time freedom, and the unlimited potential of growth are the beautiful things about this industry and that really makes it worth it.

To Conclude

Just like any other career option available, affiliate marketing is also a career that’s going to have hurdles, huge ups, huge downs, and amazing results.

If you don’t like to be competitive and you don’t want to take any risks, it’s not something you should go after.

But if you like to ride roller coasters with a lot of movements, it’s the industry you were looking for. Period.

I hope you got helpful answers to all of your questions. In case there is anything else I can help you with or there’s something you want to say, please use the comments section right below.

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