The Truth About Affiliate Marketing: Myths Debunked

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Can You Really Make Money with Affiliate Marketing? Is It As Easy As They Say to Make a Lot Passive Income? Does It Really Work?

Learn the truth of whether or not you can really make money with affiliate marketing online.

You’ve got the questions:

We’ve got the real answers.

We here at have been doing affiliate marketing for 17 years.

And we’re going to give it to you straight.

This is the real truth about affiliate marketing.

My name is Charlie Daidone and I’m the owner of this blog.

This blog post about affiliate marketing is coming from me personally.

Please also see my helpful resources that will get you on the fast track to affiliate marketing in no time!

[ How to Start in Affiliate Marketing | Best Affiliate Niches Best Affiliate Networks to Join | Affiliate Marketing Myths Debunked ] 

Affiliate Marketing Is a Real Business and Not a Get Rich Quick & Easy Way to Make Money Overnight

Building an affiliate marketing business is just like building any other business.

It takes a lot of time and dedication.

Sadly, many online beginners fall prey to making money quickly online schemes related to affiliate marketing.

Marketers market it as extremely easy money.

Money that you can make in your 1st few days.

And a way to make passive income and become self-employed forever.

Unfortunately, as a whole, these claims are just not true.

Don’t Get Emotionally Involved With the False Promises

Consumers and entrepreneurs that want to start their own businesses have their emotional buttons pushed and triggered when they see the claims from professional online marketers about affiliate marketing.

Many marketers and websites claim that you can make money by promoting other people’s products you can make a ton of money without building up a customer base, not having to do any customer service, not having to build a website, not having to deliver any products and not having to have a budget.

Affiliate marketing is not so simple and it is not that easy

Just remember that it is a business model just like any other business model.

You will have to work hard to get yourself your 1st few sales and even harder to grow your business to turn it into a passive income making machine.

Once you understand all of that, you can actually move on and learn how to grow the business with affiliate marketing and yes, you can make in a very lucrative income working for yourself.

See the steps on how to start in affiliate marketing and making it work.

If you follow the link above, make sure you come back here are so you can understand more about the reality of getting involved with this business.

Okay, so let’s move on to some reality. (And in a really good and positive way!)

Can I Really Make A Lot Of Money with Affiliate Marketing?

Image of a moon with dollar signs as our eyes with a rocket getting ready to take off for the moon with a heading that says can I really make money at affiliate marketing


Many online marketers are making very lucrative amounts of money with affiliate marketing

It is still a tried-and-true (and tested) positive model that is been used on the Internet since its inception.

And it is not going anywhere soon.

Affiliate marketing was used before the Internet in the simple form of referrals.

Years ago, before the Internet, if you referred a business by word-of-mouth, they would give you a kickback.

That is assuming that they had a referral program.

Affiliate marketing today is a little bit different but way more lucrative

There are affiliate marketers that make upwards of $50,000-$60,000 a month.

Yes, you read that correctly.

There are power affiliates that make even more than that.

But they have worked years, day in and day out to make that.

They are also very experienced.

And they are in the top 20 percentile of successful affiliate marketers.

The other 80% make decent money, some money, little money, or no money at all, and fail.

How Much Can I initially Expect to Make When I Start Affiliate Marketing?

First the reality, then the good news

The question that you should really be asking yourself is how much money should expect to lose when I start affiliate marketing?

You should expect to spend at least 80 full hours (two full work weeks) of hard work just in the very beginning to get yourself a website together and you should expect to pay about (at least) $250 dollars in start-up costs to get your website hosted, for marketing tools and other incidentals.

Even more than that if you outsource content and SEO.

But to keep costs down, in the beginning, try to do it all yourself so you can minimize your start-up costs.

You will also need an ad budget.

We’ll get a little bit more into this later. But for you to start off and try to get sales as soon as you can you going to need to run ads.

So you if you figure about after about 3 months in, and being realistic, and spending real money on ads you should expect to lose around $3000 your 1st 2 to 3 months.

If you want to be conservative you don’t want to use that much ad spend initially you can expect to invest (or lose) around $1000.

The good news

The good news however is that if you are working hard and you are following a strong game plan, you can recoup that initial investment and break-even or you can even come out ahead.

And you can do it relatively quickly.

It all depends on you, how much work you’re willing to put in, how much experience you have, how aggressive you want to be with your ad spend, how much quality content are you willing to invest your time into building up your business.

Remember, affiliate marketing is a business model just like any other business model.

Most start-up businesses lose money for their 1st year or even for their 1st 2 years.

If you don’t understand that, then maybe you shouldn’t be starting a business.

The good news about affiliate marketing is that you can usually recoup and start making a profit after a couple of months and not years.

You Need to Set Goals

Be sure to set challenging but reachable goals

Set challenging but reachable goals

If you set clear concise goals for your affiliate marketing business you will increase the chances of success exponentially.

Depending on the niche and the vertical and payouts that you will receive your goals will vary from another affiliate marketer.

A good rule of thumb is to set your goals to break even after 2 months.

And then try concentrating on making $1000 in one month.

Once you hit that benchmark you can start to scale.

When we started, we started at $1000, and then our next call was $5000 a month in affiliate commissions.

If you are able to make $5000 a month in affiliate commissions after 6 months (or sooner), you are on track and you are doing well.

Make no mistake about it; this is very possible.

Again it depends on your skill level, how much work you’re putting in, and how much return you getting on your investments.

Many of the affiliate product training program owners pitch that their students make $10,000 a month in commissions right away.

Beware of these claims.

Although they are very possible and we have seen it happen, they are not typical.

But if you have a lot of experience or drive it is very possible.

Example of How to Set Goals:

When you’re setting goals and planning your blogging business, you need to sort of reverse engineer.

You need to know your endpoint before you start.

You will need to do keyword research and know what content you’re going to create and what affiliate offers you can build that content around in advance.

You can find much more in-depth information about this in our how to start a blog masterclass.

But let’s assume that you already have 5 also affiliate or offers that you have vetted.

And you already have 10 blog post content ideas.


As an example, let’s say you wanted to make $5000 in your first 2 months. (8 weeks)

That comes out to $83.33 a day.

So a good goal would be to shoot for on average $100 a day in affiliate commissions.

Let’s say you have two high-paying affiliate offers that pay $50 for each conversion.

That sets our goal of getting 2 sales a day on average.

So now that you have your goal you need to set up a plan of action.

Here’s what an example may look like.

1. Find 2 high-paying affiliate offers in my niche
2. Write 4 quality articles related to those offers and publish them within 7 days.
3. Start running Facebook and Microsoft ads with a budget of around $25 a day total so I’m getting somewhere around 60 visitors a day.
4. Set up my email funnel and shoot for collecting 100 subscribers by the end of the 2nd week, or the 14th day.
5. Create an e-book with amazing content and some affiliate links in it to send to my subscriber list and have that ready by the end of the 3rd week. Then blast my subscribers.
4. Do outreach and get 20 backlinks by the end of the 1st month. (4th week)
5. If I’m not getting enough sales or affiliate commissions, ramp up my advertising budget.
6. Get 3 more affiliate offers and build 3 more pages around those offers and have them published and live by the end of the 6th week.
7. In the last 2 weeks, place Facebook and Microsoft ads for the 3 new offers.

At the end of the 8 weeks assess what was successful and what wasn’t.

You obviously know at this point whether or not you reached your financial goal.

If you didn’t, obviously that’s okay. It’s not the end of the world

But just think about how much you learned.

Setting goals as described in the outline above is absolutely the number 1 best thing you can do for your business.

As you can see everything on that is actionable and needs to be accounted for.

And as you can see, it’s a lot of work.

But if you put your head down and grind, you will get it done and you will make money!

You Need Mentorship and Training

Do not just embark on an affiliate marketing venture without training.

The #1 affiliate marketing training that we recommend is Authority Hacker.

The Authority Hacker affiliate marketing training is second to none.

Affiliate marketing is hard, It is like any other business.

You have to start from the beginning and learn how to grow your business from the ground up digitally.

That is exactly what the Authority Hacker training teaches you.

The Real Truth about Making Revenue with Affiliate Marketing

Here are the real truths and myths of affiliate about affiliate marketing

The real truth is most affiliate marketers don’t really make any money.

The real truth is most affiliate marketers do not set any goals.

The experienced intermediate affiliates that have been doing it for a long time and the big super affiliates are the ones that make most of the money.

A good guesstimate would be, that out of every $1000 in affiliate commissions that are being paid out, about 80% of that is going to the experienced and bigger affiliate’s and the smaller affiliates share the other 20%.

This is just a generalization.

There is still plenty of room for affiliate marketers to take a market share from different target markets and smaller niches.

But you have to be realistic with your expectations going in.

Yes also realize it’s going to take time.

Lastly, make sure you understand that you will have to invest money and a lot of your time.

And because it’s so competitive you will definitely have to have an ad spend budget.

Affiliates Quit

Most new affiliates get frustrated and quit.

They are not willing to grind it out and lose in the beginning.

If you are serious about affiliate marketing…

Don’t Quit.

This is one of the real truths about why new affiliate marketers don’t make money.

They quit.

Only Most Determend Marketers Survive

That’s right.

Know what you’re up against.

You’re up against a real job. A real venture.

A real endeavor.

Keep your head down and build quality content that helps your target market to solve a problem.

And then build more content.

And as Gary Vaynerchuk says…


And don’t give up.

If you haven’t spent at least 6 to 8 months working hard on your affiliate marketing endeavors, that you don’t have enough data to know if you’re going to make it or not.

Work as hard as you can for at least that period of time and you will learn a lot about yourself.

And if you have what it takes, you’ll be making money!

Affiliate Marketing For Beginners | Thoughts From Malan Darras

Malan Darras is a very experienced affiliate marketer.

He is now a super affiliate and is making a lot of money.

Malan claims that in his first month of affiliate marketing he spent $5,000 and made back $2,000, So he actually lost $3,000.

He also says that you need an ad budget of $100 a day in the beginning.

He suggests spending $3,000 your first month in ad spend to get a good amount of data that you can analyze.

He also stated that you can get started for $1000 in your first month, but you will not have enough data to learn on.

OK, let’s move on to some myths and some real points that you should let sink in.

You Will Lose Money in the Begging (Most Likely)

Yes, you will lose money.

But you will also learn a lot by losing money.

Don’t let it discourage you.

Running any type of business including affiliate marketing involves taking risks and gambling.

If you go to the casino, you are not going to win money if you don’t put money out on the tables.

Not the greatest analogy in the world but hopefully you get the point.

You have to spend money to make money!

You have to lose money to learn how to make money!

You Have to Put in The Work

This is one of Gary Vaynerchuk’s biggest pet peeves.

You have to work your ass off to get anything that you want.

Gary says if you have a full-time job, the magic should happen after hours.

Work your ass off from 7 PM till two in the morning.

No excuses.

And I’ll tell you what from firsthand. Experience

It is 1000% true.

Not 100% sure.

1000% true.

You’ll get back what you put in.

Work, and then work harder, and then work your hardest.

And trust me if you follow these stupid simple philosophies, you will see yourself making money.

This works for anything by the way not just affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is hard.

But when you work hard at it, you will reap the rewards.

You, Will, Make Mistakes


Don’t even get me started on this one.

I have made more mistakes than I would ever like to share here in this blog post.

But as an entrepreneur, I know that it’s natural.

And as an entrepreneur, I know that I am not embarrassed by them nor would I ever give up what I’m doing because of my mistakes.

Mistakes make you a better entrepreneur.

So, you’ve made your bed, you worked hard, now live with it.

Live with every single mistake that you make every single day.

And learn from it.

You, Will, Have to Learn a Lot on Your Own

This is related to the pure previous point of making mistakes.

When you make a mistake, you learn.

And yes there is a slew of information on the Internet about all kinds of obstacles that we can run into.

But there are still things that you will run into where you will not find any answers and you will have to overcome.

This is where learning on your own can make or break you.

Think about all the things in your life that you just did not have any clue about but now that you have a full understanding about.

You did it because you learned a lot of it on your own.

You’ve got great advice and you read a lot of great material and got through a lot of stuff in your life.

But if you really think about it, you had to sort it all out within your own situation and within your own mind.

You did it on your own.

You, Will, Have to Do A Lot of Problem Solving

There are so many nuances that you will run into where you will spend hours on something that ends up being really unimportant or simply a waste of your time.

An example would be: (and this just happened to me recently) You might find a really cool affiliate network that you want to sign up with, so you take the time to fill out the application. Then after it takes you 15 minutes to fill it out in its entirety, they ask you to implement a java code on your website for verification of ownership of the website.

So you do that.

Then when you try to confirm the code, they say that they cannot verify your website. So you try a few more times.

After a few more tries and after much frustration, you dig around to find a way to contact support (Which takes another 8 minutes).

Then you send a support ticket and screenshot

Before you know it you have wasted 50 minutes and you got nothing accomplished.

The worst part? They never get back to you 🙁

You, Will Need a Website

Yes, it’s absolutely 100% true that you can do very well in affiliate marketing without a website.

But I’ll tell you firsthand, and all the power affiliates and girls will tell you that you should build a website and a brand.

Let’s repeat that and say that again

If you’re going to get involved with affiliate marketing, build yourself a quality website and build yourself a brand.

Your Going to Suck at Affiliate Marketing in the Beginning

There is no real actual Bible when it comes to affiliate marketing and that is because every niche and vertical is completely different.

It would behoove you to find a mentor or somebody that has been successful in your niche, and try to replicate what they have done.

But just know that things are going to be really horrible in the beginning. You will make a lot of mistakes.

The smarter and savvier you are the quicker you will catch on and adjust.

Marketing by the way is all about re-examining your goals on a day-to-day basis.

That’s one of the beauties of marketing.

You get to reassess your priorities on a daily basis!

You can make mistakes, you can lose a lot of money and you could be at the bottom of the barrel.

But when you find a system that works and that is scalable, you can make a lot of money.

And I mean a real lot of money.

Campaigns, Affiliate Links, and Landing Pages Will Break

Again this insight comes from, Malan Darras himself.

And it’s 100% true.

You will be paying and driving traffic to an offer that is just not there.

Boy does that suck.

But it happens all the time.

Little stupid nuances get in the way all the time.

Affiliate links break, affiliate programs (offers) shut down temporarily, affiliate tracking systems break, affiliate software goes down and breaks, Facebook breaks.

HTML breaks.

There is an old Bob Dylan song named “Everything is broken”.

The song was written way before it’s time but it still bodes very big today in the technology and digital world.

Some Conversions Will Not Be Tracked and You will Lose Commissions

You will lose sales or not get credit for all sales.

Sometimes offers are shut off while you are bidding on traffic and sending traffic to an offer that is no longer there.

This is because the merchant may have paused or shut off the offer temporarily or permanently.

Sometimes software just goes down.

Sometimes sales just get mysteriously lost.

Sometimes you get ripped off and don’t get credit for the sale.

All of these things happen.

You Will Definitely Most Likey Get Ripped Off or Not Paid By a Network or Partner

Ripped off, meaning that you will not get credit for conversions.

It happens.

It’s happened to me more than a few times.

But if you think about the theory of it, it is so stupid because why?

Why would they bite the hand that feeds them?

There is no real answer for this except perhaps greed.

Stupidity is another valid answer.

It’s a Grind 

It is a grind to spend money and lose money, then spend money and break even, then spend money and lose money.

But when you find a system or product that works and you are making a good profit, you can scale it.

But it comes with trial and error.

It comes with many failures before you strike gold

That is just the nature of the beast.


I can set up an affiliate relationship that is making money and I can set it to make me passive income in the future without working hard.

Absolutely not.

You can get it set up so that you are making some serious sales and some serious money while you’re sleeping.

But that doesn’t last forever.

You have to constantly be marketing, re-inventing yourself, figuring out how to stay a couple of steps ahead of your competitors, while always be evolving to search engine marketing, social media marketing, and all kinds of technology changes.

You can quit your job and live the life of your dreams.

Let’s be real. This is your day job. And you’ll never be able to quit. When you are doing affiliate marketing you have to constantly be marketing and promoting. You have to constantly be working on your media buying an ad spends.

You run ad campaigns that are working and you can let them run on overdrive.

No, you have to constantly tweak and add negative keywords to your Google or Microsoft ads.


You get back what you put in.

It really is that simple.

If you work hard to build a real business you will succeed.

Use as many resources as you can and take as many quality courses as you can.

Be aggressive and make mistakes. That’s how you will learn.

See our guide on how to Start in Affiliate Marketing.

Please leave any questions or comments below.

Thanks for reading!