For many who pursue the idea of making money, affiliate marketing can be both an exhilarating and a nerve-wracking experience.  With so many success stories posted on online, it is understandable to feel the urge to repeat such accomplishments — but with these new opportunities, come responsibility.  The beginning of a career in affiliate marketing is one that requires patience and planning to succeed.  Let’s take a look at a way you can get suckered into bad practices and how to avoid going down a path that can both hurt your income and your reputation as an influencer.

When first becoming an influencer, the hardest part for many is becoming established.  Anyone can buy and build a website, but getting people to pay attention to what you have to say is a different monster.   That’s why becoming an official promoter for a product can be an example of a catch-22.  Many companies who have affiliate programs look to connect with influencers that are ALREADY established.  Companies want people who will improve their products image and help gain their sales.   When you are just starting out, you may not have the following or reputation a company is looking for.  So how are you to become established if no one is giving you a chance in the first place?   This is where many run into their first mistake. 

Affiliate marketing, as a whole, is a great source for making passive income.  With that said though, NOT EVERY AFFILIATE PROGRAM IS A GOOD OPPORTUNITY.   Building onto the idea of getting established, many will run into affiliate networks that have a reputation for “accepting everyone” into their programs.  Though, the first thought in your head may be that this is getting your foot in the door, I suggest that you proceed with caution and remain aware of potential RED FLAGS.   Like I said before, typically companies want people who will improve their image.  If that is indeed that case, then why would a company be so open as to accept everyone into their affiliate program?  The reality is that even though the network as a whole may be legitimate, many of the companies that it hosts may not be.  The internet, being as big as it is, will always play host to those who want to deceive you.  I am sure during your time browsing the internet you’ve come across ads for products offering you: “The secret to losing weight”, “How to boost your Instagram followers”, or even “How to make thousands of dollars by next week”.  In many ways, these “products” may not only harm the consumer that is buying it, but also the person promoting it.  What some people don’t realize is that, when you become an influencer, you are essentially building a brand identity.  This is how you will communicate with the world, and how the world will recognize you apart from your competition.   Having a trustworthy brand is essential to becoming a successful entrepreneur.  You have to ask yourself before you promote a product that claims to hold the “secret” to something, “Is this product a scam?” and if so, “How will my viewers react to me promoting this”.  In some cases, it may tarnish your reputation as an influencer and may disappear before you even get paid for your efforts. 

  My thoughts while writing this: Products like these remind me of those traveling medicine men, hopping town to town, selling their “Magic Elixir”.  Some offered hair growth and some offered a cure for tapeworms and NONE of them actually worked.  In most cases, this is exactly what’s going on with these companies that offer the “secret” to something, and by affiliating yourself with their product, you are essentially helping them sell their “Magic Elixir”.

“How can I protect myself from unknowingly promoting a scam?”

In my article What the Internet Can Do For You, I mention that it is always a good idea to promote a product or company that you already have knowledge about.   Obviously if you are just starting out, you may not have the luxury to pick and choose your favorite brand to promote.  The best alternative is to DO YOUR RESEARCH and promote a brand you KNOW isn’t a scam.  A very common thing you can find on the internet today is reviews.  Finding out what people thought about the product is a great way to tell if it is, indeed, a scam.  Another way to tell if a product is legitimate is to see if it is sold in reputable stores.  With exception to some of those “AS SEEN ON TV” products (for some reason), typically well-established stores will not sell products that don’t do what they claim.  Remember, these types of businesses want to keep their reputation intact.   Finally, if you are still unsure if a certain product may be a scam, then simply don’t promote it.  Like I said before, you are building an identity for yourself and your brand.  If a product poses that much risk then it is best to avoid promoting it all together. 

Please don’t misunderstand the purpose of this article.  I am NOT trying to discourage anyone from pursuing a career in affiliate marketing.  I simply want you to walk away with the knowledge that your future in this business has risks that you need to be aware of.  You can only make good decisions if you can identify what the bad ones are.  As an affiliate marketer, I believe, you should take accountability for what you are promoting — both for the business you are working with and the consumer you are trying to help sell to.   When someone takes your recommendation for a product, they are putting their trust in you; that this product will fulfill their needs.   This will both make it easier for you to write a thorough promotion and make your opinion for what you’re promoting genuine.  If you have a fear of falling for an affiliate program that you will regret, simply wait.  Create a blog or YouTube channel simply discussing things in a niche that you are interested in.  You may not make money from it right away, but you’ll get your reputation growing as an expert and grow your followers in the process.  Then, down the line, you’ll have that establishment and expertise to attract connections for products you are actually passionate about.   Taking it slow, making a plan, and building it brick by brick.  That will be your best bet to become successful.

I hope this article gave you some new knowledge to use while you work to build your brand. Make sure to bookmark my site and find me on social media through the links below if you are interested in keeping up with all of the upcoming articles I have planned for the future.  Also, feel free to join my new social club on Facebook if you would like to connect with others who are also looking to better their financial situations. Thank you for your support, and I’ll see you next time!
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