To become a full-time affiliate marketer it takes exactly 2 years, 3 months, and 17 days…
But you must get started on the second Saturday after the first full moon of the year.
And you have to sacrifice two goats every third Sunday after that…
I am just kidding of course!
But in all seriousness, How Long Does It Take To Become A Full-Time Affiliate Marketer?
Unfortunately, it’s rather impossible to determine a specific number of months or years during which any given person can start earning a full-time income through their affiliate marketing business. There’s no specific timeframe.
If you head off to Reddit and Quora you’ll find answers ranging from somewhere between a few minutes and never.
The answer to “How Long Does It Take To Become A Full-Time Affiliate Marketer?” can never be objective just as the answer to “How long does it take to boil an egg” would be, but rather as subjective as the answer to the question “How long does it take to become fit” would be.
So, the real answer to your question is “It Depends”.
This is as close to the objective reality as it could possibly get.
But on what does it depend?
It depends on so many factors that if I were to jot every single one of them down, I’d better go for an ebook rather than just a blog post.
Nevertheless, I will try my best to address the most important ones which are
- Your definition of a full-time income
- The training you follow
- Amount of time that you devote on developing your business
- Quality of your work
- How you market your business
- Your ability to recognize your mistakes and learn from them
- The niche you have chosen
- The products you recommend
- Previous experience
How Do You Define Full-Time?
First and foremost, the time that it could take for someone to start earning a full-time income with affiliate marketing is tied to their own definition of what a full-time income means.
For example, for me, a full-time income means earning $1000 per month.
If your definition of a full-time income is $4000 per month, it’s only natural that it might take longer for you to reach your full-time income than me reaching mine.
This is not a rule and definitely not applicable to every single case.
We might have the exact same goal of earning $1000 per month and still reach it in completely different timeframes.
On the other hand, I’ve known people who have gone from 0$ to $5000 per month in less than 2 years while others have been struggling for more than 2 years and still haven’t made a single sale.
As I stated earlier, there are a lot of other factors in play such as
The Training You Follow
The amount of time that it will take for you to become a full-time affiliate marketer is highly dependant on the training you receive.
When it comes to your affiliate marketing training, you have three options…
- You either take advantage of free online resources such as blogs, Youtube channels, forums, etc
- You go for a paid dedicated affiliate marketing course or training platform
- Or, go for both option #1 + option #2
All of those options have their advantages and disadvantages.
1 • Free Training
Relying exclusively on free online resources, you won’t have to spend any money to learn how to set up and grow your business.
However, at the same time, to reach that full-time point, it’ll most likely take a lot more time and effort on your part than it would take if you had just paid for a dedicated training program.
In addition, you’ll have to do way more research, take way more guesses and go through a lot more trial and error which can be frustrating and unmotivating not to mention that you might end up employing fruitless strategies which, in the best case scenario, keep you and your business stagnant.
In other, simpler words, building your affiliate marketing business out of free information that you come across online, could dramatically increase the time and effort required for you to become a full-time affiliate marketer, as well as your chances of failure or quitting.
Take a quick look at the questions right below and try to answer as many of them as you can at once.
- Do you know what WordPress is?
- Do you know what a domain name is?
- Do you know what a niche is?
- Do you know what a long-tail keyword is and how to use it?
- Do you know how to create posts and pages for your website?
- Do you know what SEO is?
- Do you know what a search engine is?
- Do you know what an affiliate link is and where you could find it?
Those questions are pretty much basic online marketing knowledge.
If you answered negatively to 4 or more of them, then you undeniably, absolutely need to start considering purchasing an affiliate training program because at that point, going for the free option is going to cost you more money in the long-term than investing a small fraction of your money into the right training right from the get-go.
2 • Paid Dedicated Training
Finding a dedicated, affiliate marketing training program is unquestionably going to save you tons of time, energy, and frustration.
Dedicated training is going to be more structured and of higher quality than free information that you find on blogs and/or Youtube channels. In addition, such training usually provides more in-depth information and it is progressive (it teaches you what you need to learn in a correct and orderly fashion). Moreover, it takes away all the guesswork which is kind of a big deal especially, if you have no clue what you are doing.
But you’ll most probably have to pay for it and no one can ever promise you that you will end up getting any return on your investment.
Both Wealthy Affiliate and Project 24
- are paid membership platforms
- offer high-quality affiliate marketing training for absolute beginners as well as those who have tried and failed
- have extremely active communities with like-minded people helping and motivating one another
- offer technical support
- are not that expensive compared to other similar courses or attending classes and seminars
In fact, Wealthy Affiliate lets you test-drive some of its features and training completely for free for as long as you want.
Choose the one that suits you the best, and go for it. Even if it gets you to full-time one WEEK sooner, your investment will have paid off.
BTW, Wealthy Affiliate is where I got started more than 2 years ago. I am still a premium member to this very day.
3 • Option #1 + Option #2
Obviously, the best option is option #3.
Go ahead and purchase some dedicated training to get your feet off the ground and teach you the basics of setting up and developing your business while at the same time consuming the free content of 3-4 experts in the affiliate marketing industry such as Pat Flynn, Jon Morrow, Income School, etc.
I will soon create a resource page with everything you need to get your affiliate marketing business started and going, both free and paid, so please stay tuned. You really wouldn’t want to miss it.
Amount of Time You Devote – Quality of Work – Consistency
Other important factors which determine how long it would take for you to turn your affiliate marketing business into a full-time venture are
- Amount of time that you devote developing it
- Quality of your work
Building your online business is like building a house.
If you spend just 1 hour at the building site, its completion is going to take place way slower than if you’d spent 10 hours there.
However, the amount of time that you spend on that building site is not all that matters. You can always be there for 10 hours just sitting around doing nothing. So, what matters equally is also the quality of the work that you do. The more bricks you lay for your house during the hours that you are there, the faster the house will be ready.
Lastly, you can spend 10 hours laying bricks for your house but if you do that once a week, your progress will still be slower than if you did that daily.
So, consistency matters too.
I apologize if I confused you with all that stuff about house-building.
What I am trying to say is that the more time you devote developing your business, the more high-quality work you do during that time, and the more consistent you are, the faster you’ll be able to go full-time.
If you take two people creating identical affiliate businesses around the exact same topic, but one person does 40 hours of high-quality work per week while the other one does just 7 hours of normal-quality work per week, isn’t it pretty obvious who is the most likely to become full-time first? – AffiliateMarketerTraining.com
How You Market Your Business
There are a lot of different methods when it comes to marketing your affiliate marketing business such as
- SEO marketing
- Social media marketing
- Youtube marketing
- Content marketing
- Building backlinks
- Guest posting
- Posting your links on forums
- Word of mouth
The more of those ways you employ, the more your chances of people finding your content and visiting your website. The more people come to your website, the more your chances of them buying the products you recommend. The more sales you make, the more money you earn.
It’s that simple (not easy, simple…)!
Tip: Focus on mastering one of those methods at a time. Don’t try to be everything at once because you’ll be scattering your efforts all over the place. This could actually be overwhelming, counter-productive, as well as impede your progress.
Ability to Recognize Your Mistakes and Learn From Them
One trait that separates humans from most of the other animals is that we are able to learn from our mistakes. Without this trait, we would still be living in caves. And without this trait, becoming a full-time affiliate marketer would be impossible.
Trial and error is an integral part of building a successful business… Any business…
Mistakes are impossible not to be made but as long as you recognize them, correct them, learn as much as possible from them, and make sure that you don’t repeat them, you are going to be okay.
The faster you do all those things, the sooner you’ll be able to reach full-time with your affiliate marketing business.
Tip: Try to learn from the mistakes of others. Study your competition, what works for them, and what doesn’t. Talk with other successful affiliate marketers and ask them about their biggest failures as well as for tips, advice, and insights on how to overcome them.
Learning from your mistakes leads to success. Learning from other people’s mistakes accelerates success.
Your Business’s Niche
Going too broad on your niche could slow things down since you’ll most likely have to compete against well-established, high-authority websites.
An example of a niche which is way too broad is the niche “Shoes”.
If you search Google for the term “shoes” you will see websites such as Zappos, Nike, 6pm, Macy’s, Amazon, etc ranking on the first page of its search results. Puma’s website is on page 4 and Vans’ website is on page 7.
Hell will freeze before your website ranks somewhere within the first 10 pages of the search results for the term “shoes”.
To speed things up, narrowing down your niche would be a very smart idea.
When it comes to shoes, an example of a more narrow niche could be “men’s shoes”. Narrowing down, even more, we could have “men’s running shoes” or “women’s casual shoes”, etc.
Be careful not to overdo it though.
If you narrow it down way too much, you will indeed dramatically decrease your competition, but at the same time, you run the risk of having little to no audience interested in your articles as well.
An example of a too-narrow niche could be “black Nike women’s shoes with pink stripes on the side”.
Lastly, being passionate about your niche could definitely make an enormous difference in the time that it takes for you to become a full-time affiliate marketer.
Being passionate about the overall subject of your website could
- keep you much more motivated and driven to work on your business
- make working on your business feel less like “truly working” and more like having fun
- enable you to produce higher quality content more consistently
- help you understand your audience’s needs and how to fulfill them much better
- make you happier and more fulfilled
- dramatically decrease your chances of losing interest and quitting
Starting a niche site around a subject you are passionate about has a major advantage – you won’t get bored and quit – Alistair Gill
NicheHacks asked more than 50 experienced bloggers in various niches, about the best method of choosing a niche for your blog. 90% of them replied that the secret to creating a successful niche website is to pick a niche that you are interested, passionate, and optimally already knowledgeable about.
Tip: Go for an activity that you are already doing during your days and start sharing all your knowledge within your blog. Document yourself, your results, the mistakes you make, etc. Share every little detail.
If you are practicing Yoga, go ahead and create a Yoga blog. If you just had a baby, go ahead an share what you learn along the way with other new parents (more and more people are actually doing that with much success). If you are tending for a garden, create a gardening blog and so on, and so forth.
The Products You Recommend
What kind of products do you recommend within your blog?
The more popular a product is, the more likely it is for people to purchase it. This is called “consumer conformity”. If no one else, besides you and its creator, is aware of the existence of a product you recommend, then the chances of someone else purchasing it are slim and this means less money for you.
Think about it…
Would you go for an iPhone or for an Oukitel C11?
You got my point.
Moreover, every single product you recommend has to be a high-quality one. If people wouldn’t use the product even if they got it for free, then, you absolutely have to start looking for other products to recommend or you’ll never make any money.
Lastly, always make sure that the products you recommend on your website are relevant to your niche.
Those people who visit your website have certain needs which only certain products could fulfill. Those are the only products that you should recommend to them.
If you are running a website on mobile phones, recommending planting soil or Yoga mats is not just pointless but could also decrease the value of your website, people’s trust towards you, and ultimately ruin your reputation.
I’ve heard stories of people who have managed to reach a full-time income through their affiliate business in less than a year.
However, most of those people had something in common…
They all already had some kind of previous experience in a relevant field and/or had mastered a relevant skill beforehand.
If you have any background in marketing, digital marketing, sales, promotion, SEO, content creation, journaling, blogging, web development, etc, you are likely to get the hang of affiliate marketing faster than someone who has no experience whatsoever.
Don’t get me wrong though, even if you are utterly clueless, you can still end up earning your living from affiliate marketing. It just might take a little bit longer because you will have to go through a learning curve and practice your skills which is something that those with previous experience have already done.
Those factors that I just laid down are just the tip of the iceberg.
There are so many others that it would be impossible to document every single one of them.
That’s why there cannot be a fixed amount of time or timeframe during which anyone could become a full-time affiliate marketer The whole process is utterly subjective.
If I had a gun pointing towards my head and had to pick a specific timeframe, I would say that it takes somewhere between 2-4 years for an affiliate business to reach full-time.
Gary Vee, a very well-known entrepreneur, and influencer claims that if you want your business to become successful you have to grind your teeth, keep your head down, and work your ass off for at least 5 years without expecting any results.
Hearing and reading many stories of successful, full-time, affiliate marketers, I concluded that it took an average of 1,5-3 years for them to reach that point.
BrandBuilders state that if you go into building your affiliate marketing business not expecting something to happen for at least the first 12 months, you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.
Jim and Ricky, the founders of Project 24 that I mentioned earlier, claim that by following their blueprint, you can become a full-time affiliate marketer in just 24 months.
As you can see, opinions differ…
The conclusions are yours.
Have you reached full-time with your affiliate marketing business yourself? If yes, how long did it take for you? If not, how long have you been trying? What is your biggest setback?
Let us know all about your experience in the comments below.
If you have any questions or need any further help or guidance from me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop me a PM on my Wealthy Affiliate Profile.
I will be thrilled to help you out.