What knowledge, expertise, passion, hobby, or interest do you have? Which is best for your Site Concept? How do you position it to be "uniquely you"? Is your Niche too broad or too narrow? Too broad will stretch a solopreneur's available time beyond its limits. Too narrow may limit income potential. Get help to find the right niche for you!

Moderator: Carol from East Anglia

#1389985 by Michael from Nokesville
Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:43 am
Hi there. Another newbie question here. About a week ago, I came across another affiliate focused site (I am sure you can imagine which one lol). As I was going through the introductory videos, it seemed that the focus was more on finding an existing product that you could then market and monetize by becoming an affiliate and getting a percentage of sales. They did mention focusing on your passion and gave the option of selling a product that you develop, but the focus there seemed to be finding existing products that are in high demand and selling those products on your website via affiliate programs.

I later discovered SBI and transitioned here instead. From what I am gathering (only on Day 2) the focus is more on tailoring your business around a product that you come up with rather than something existing? Would that be a correct assessment? If one follows the SBI Action Guide, could they be successful with a more affiliate programs approach with an existing product (that you are passionate about), or is it always encouraged to go the route of developing your own product and going with that?

I hope that question makes sense. Again, I am only on Day 2, so if this gets address later on, feel free to tell me to be quiet and continue on haha. This is all in the midst of me trying to find my niche, so I know I can over-analyze things. Thanks for any input that anyone has!
#1390001 by Maria from Agness
Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:49 am
Hi Michael,

You will find that the AG covers lots of monetization options in Day 4, so you are not quite there yet. It's good to think ahead as long as you don't rush ahead. Continue following the steps and you will find it is all covered in a logical order.
As for your question, affiliates are fine but you are relying on another company to keep creating the products, continuing their affiliate program and not cutting into your commisions once you start doing well. Lots of SBI'ers encountered exactly these problems so SBI started to research and write articles about how to go about creating your own products. Having your own products just gives you more control over your own business.

But as I said this is covered in the AG and their are several articles in the Monetization HQ that covers this as well.

I hope that helps for now,
#1390004 by Wendy C (EelKat) from La Puente
Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:36 am
Years ago (2007) I used to make more money on affiliates then my own products. At the time I wasn't yet with SBI and was doing the then popular, start lots of tiny 2 to 10 page websites, each one on a different niche.

Well, one in particular did very well and was bringing in a fairly steady income... then one day I log into my affiliate account dashboard to be greated with the message stating that they were dropping their affiliate program. They cited something about how they had only had it because they were a new company and used it to gain traffic to their product, but now they they were 5 years old and pretty stable, they no longer needed to rely on affiliates to give them traffic, so the affiliate program was discontinued!

Well, I had my own products for sale as well, so it didn't completely cut out my income, but it certainly cut out a big chunk of it and it opened my eyes to the fact that I had been relying WAY too much on an affiliate program that was NOT controlled by me, thus I had no control of my income from it.

That's why by 2010 I switched over to focusing heavily on my own product (ebooks and art at the time) and less on affiliates...

and then in 2013 I was glad I did, when 11 states passed "The Nexus Law" banning affiliate programs completely. I live in Maine, one of the states to adopt the law banning affiliate programs. Meaning if you lived in Maine, you were not allowed to put affiliate links on your website.

The Nexus Law remained in effect from August 2013 to April 2017 - 4 years, before being overruled.

So for 4 years, I had no access to affiliate accounts at all (you couldn't even join any - if you tried to join, you'd get an error message saying you lived in an area where the program was not valid!) and I didn't have any choice about it. It was either move to a state where affiliate programs were not banned, or find a different way to monetize my site.

Luckily, with my lesson already learned from the 2007 incident, I had a fairly stable income from my own products by the time of the ban on affiliate programs in 2013. But I talked to a lot of folks here in Maine who were devastated by the Nexus Law, one woman had a $14,000 affiliate income vanish overnight and no backup income or savings to fall back on. The passing of the Nexus Law hurt a lot of people here locally whom had relied 100% on affiliate income.

Today with the Nexus Law overruled by Superior Court I once again have affiliates on my site, but I'm to "once bitten twice shy" now to focus heavily on affiliates now. Plus in the 4 years when affiliates were banned in Maine, I had time to dramatically increase my Amazon (books) and Zazzle (art) accounts. My products for sale on Zazzle and Amazon are my primary income now.

So, that's my own view on the whole having your own product vs relying on affiliates debate.
#1390008 by Nancy from 90% Persistence-10% Inspiration
Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:50 am
Michael, I'd say that most SBI'ers start monetizing with ads or affiliate programs. They're easy.

A major difference between SBI and some other "how to make money online" systems is that here you won't be relentlessly steered towards the one affiliate program that will benefit SBI.

You're encouraged to choose affiliate programs that fit your unique needs and the niche that gets your BAM going.

Once you've developed a following and have a targeted, active email list, you now can more easily design your own products just for them. Use them as your design team. Heck, if it's something they want they'll pay in advance to be the first to try it.

But get the audience first. I learned this the hard way.

And please don't ask me how big a following or how many need to be on your email list. It's going to depend upon your niche and your judgement.
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