As an affiliate you have many advantages. You don’t need to keep inventory; manage people, suppliers, banks, etc…
You only need to concentrate on marketing. Find good and reliable merchants and create content to pre-sell their stuff.
I started as an affiliate 5 years ago and I can attest that it works. You can gradually build a good source of income selling other people stuff.
If you are an entrepreneur as well, your journey should not stop there. You need to plan for building something of value that you can later sell.
My affiliate years tough me a lot about marketing and business. As a geek I didn’t have those critical skills.
In order to grow your affiliate business you need to carefully track what is working and what is not, down to the keyword level. This is an advantage that merchants have over their affiliates: their analytics software can give them all of this critical information. These systems are not designed for affiliates.
Let me share a tip: a technique I used as an affiliate to better track my campaigns.
Most merchant affiliate tracking systems allow you to segment the clicks and sales by campaigns (i.e. http://www.merchant.com/track_affiliate.php?id=100&campaign=optin).
I created two simple php scripts to take advantage of this. I would point my PPC landing pages to the first (see: http://www.site.com/track.php?p=index.php&se=gg&k=tramadol).
This script will create a cookie with the keywords and search engine.
The second script was a redirect script that had all my merchant tracking links. This script would read the previously set cookie and would dynamically modify the campaign parameter to the merchant to match the values in the cookie.
It was a bit rudimentary but it served its purpose. I was able to bid more for the best keywords and cut the non-performing ones.
A better option is for the merchant to let affiliates provide their conversion counters through their back-end. We are working to provide this feature to our affiliates.
“Created for Affiliate.com Approval.”