Having the flexibility to work from anywhere, without a boss constantly standing behind you breathing down your neck sounds like a luxury. However, it is honestly not that difficult to obtain. Some possible ways to go if you’re considering ditching your 9-5 job are affiliate marketing and Multi-level marketing (MLM).
The debates over affiliate marketing v.s. MLM has been around as long as I can remember. Some people see affiliate marketing as the golden ticket to the laptop lifestyle, while others find MLM a quicker way to build up an empire of downlines. Each of these businesses has their own pros and cons, so let us now examine which of these is for you.
What Is Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is performance-based marketing, where you can earn a commission by promoting other people’s products.
Affiliate marketing typically involves three parties: the merchant, the affiliate marketers, and the customer. As an affiliate marketer, you first need to find a product you want to promote and get your unique affiliate link from the merchant. You will then post your link either on your website, social media or as an advertisement. When a potential customer does a search online looking for certain products or services and stumbles on your site/link, which they then ended up making a purchase after clicked through your link, you will get a commission in return.
Depend on which product and services that you are affiliated with, you could get up to 100% commission especially for products that come with upselling.
Advantages Of Affiliate Marketing
1. You Have No Boss
As an affiliate marketer, you have absolute freedom to choose which product you want to promote, how you want to promote, and you literally don’t have a ‘boss’ to tell you what to do!
2. Plenty of Choices
There are millions of product online, there are no worries of running out of product to promote.
You don’t have to stick to a single product or company, In fact, you can even promote products from company’s that compete with one another.
For a start, you can try bigger brand names like Amazon or ClickBank. Amazon especially is a well-trusted name that most people are comfortable to make a purchase from. It is easier to convince someone to buy from a reputable source than a merchant which no one has heard from.
If you are more adventurous, here is where you can find more affiliate programs:
3. Work Anywhere
Since your work can be done online with a laptop, you don’t have to be bound to any physical location. If a laptop lifestyle is what you want, affiliate marketing can bring you there.
4. Minimal Investment
There is no need for a retail store, no additional manpower needed, and you don’t even need to make any purchase to qualify you to be an affiliate marketer.
The basic cost associated with affiliate marketing is website hosting and keyword research tool, which is really minimal in my opinion.
5. Passive Income – Make Money When You Sleep
Not all affiliate programs are created equal.
Ideally, we want to find a program that pays well, and preferably with recurring commissions. That way, you can truly make money while you sleep.
6. You Are Not A Salesman
Introvert? Too shy to talk?
No problem at all! The best part of being an affiliate marketer is that you don’t need to harass your family and friends (or strangers) in order to make any sales.
Just write reviews sharing your honest thoughts, and let the interested parties come to you.
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Challenges In Affiliate Marketing
Now you may think, “If affiliate marketing is so good, why isn’t everyone doing it already?”
The truth is, doing affiliate marketing requires a fair bit of patience.
The best way to do affiliate marketing is by setting up a website. As with any new website, it will take some time (a few months) before Google started to trust your site and sending traffic your way. However, once you gain the trust from the search engine, you can literally sit back and watch the commission rolling in.
A lot of people lose patience along the way and listen to ‘gurus’ who teaches them not to set up a website, but instead go for social media advertising or using paid ads. All these tricks and tips may result in short term burst of income, but definitely not a good way to build up passive income. Once you stop advertising, you will lose your traffic! Not to mention paid ads need to be used cautiously, or else you may end up spending more than you can make.
2. Love For Writing
Well, you don’t actually have to ‘love’ writing, you don’t even need to be an expert in literature in order to become an affiliate marketer, but you definitely cannot hate writing. Writing is what you will be doing day in, day out.
Just think of it as sharing a great product with your friends, be natural, be yourself, everyone loves an honest review!
What is Multi-Level Marketing?
Multi-level marketing (MLM), or network marketing relies on a non-salaried workforce selling the company’s products/services. Being an MLM marketer, you will first have to recruit your downline – by getting people to sign up to a program you are promoting. Thereafter, anything these people sell earns you a commission.
The earnings of the participants are derived from a pyramid-shaped commission system. The more people you recruit, or the more successful your downline is – the more commission you can earn.
Advantages of Multi-Level Marketing
MLM allows you to pick and choose clients and schedule your workflow, unlike typical desk jobs.
You are, however, expected to do some travelling / commuting to meet up with your client.
2. Passive Income – Make Money When You Sleep
Once you have recruited a sizeable and ‘active’ downline, you can take a backseat and expect money flowing into your bank account while others ‘working’ for you. It gives you an opportunity to enjoy the residual income.
Challenges of Multi-Level Marketing
1. You Are A Sales Person
Most of the time, recruitment to an MLM scheme is done offline – meaning that you have to talk to people in person to sell your product.
You can’t hide behind your computer like how you do affiliate marketing, so if you are too shy to talk, lack of confidence in your speech etc, it can definitely affect your performance.
In order to meet the sales target, many people resort to pitching to their family and friends, and it is not hard to guess the rest of the story – broken friendships and relationships. People start avoiding you because they don’t want you to pitch your business to them.
2. Pyramid Scheme?
Due to the nature of MLM, there is a fuzzy line between MLM and pyramid scheme (which is illegal). Avoid any MLM that puts much more emphasis on recruiting salespeople than selling the actual product. Legitimate MLM is focused on the product itself, not recruitment.
3. High Start Up Cost
Depending on the MLM company, some actually require their salespeople to buy starter kits or impose a minimum monthly order value to stay as a member. This could amount to few hundreds dollar per month, even before you make any single dime from it. Not a very budget-friendly way to start.
4. Loyalty To A Product
An affiliate marketer can be affiliated to many different merchants, you can even switch your allegiance easily if you manage to find something better.
However, that is not the case with MLM. Once you gather a team on your own and start making consistent money from your downline, it doesn’t make sense anymore for you to switch to another product. That is even if you no longer have faith in the product that you are selling.
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Affiliate Marketing v.s. Multi-Level Marketing
Both affiliate marketing and MLM are the perfect opportunities for those who are struggling to secure employment, those who are homebound for some reasons, or those who simply love the flexibility of working anywhere, anytime with the intention to build a passive income stream.
The main differences between affiliate marketing and MLM being, affiliate marketing is mostly a one-man show (at least initially), while MLM is more of a team building concept – your success depends heavily on how many people you can recruit to sell on your behalf.
I can’t really tell you which one is better – affiliate marketing or MLM, because it will all depend on your personality and your skillset.
If you enjoy face-to-face selling, then MLM is perfect for you. Otherwise, being an introvert myself I will definitely recommend you to go with affiliate marketing. Reason being – you do not have to recruit, the starting cost is very low, and your focus is not on selling but rather helping people by providing them valuable information.
In A Nutshell
As quoted from Warren Buffet,
If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.
Living paycheck to paycheck is hardly satisfying, and you’re not likely going to enjoy your life to the fullness.
The only way to acquire your own passive income is by building your own business, be it MLM or Affiliate Marketing. (I will recommend affiliate marketing of course).
No matter what, I hope this article has helped you get a good overview of multi-level marketing and affiliate marketing, the differences, so you can now decide what the best option for you is.
If you are interested in finding out what I am doing and how I do it, check out my recommendation below.
Do you have any comments, questions, or experiences with MLM or affiliate marketing? I would love to hear from you in a comment below.