So you’re starting an online business. Chances are, as a new entrepreneur you’ve already found yourself overworked, overstressed, and falling short of reaping the rewards and flexible lifestyle that attracted you to entrepreneurship from the get go. Truth is, EVERY ENTREPRENUR faces these challenges at one time or another. But it’s the successful ones who learn how to identify and overcome them.
Below are 5 major challenges that, as an online entrepreneur you’ll likely face out of the starting gate. Learn how to overcome these early difficulties with the secret weapon used by successful online entrepreneurs. What is this secret weapon you ask? It all ties back to affiliate marketing, and the many ways affiliate marketing is the ideal business model for new online entrepreneurs. Keep reading, and see if you identify with these common challenges . . .
1. Lack of Time and Resources
Unfortunately, when you’re just starting out, not only is time scarce, but money is too. Entrepreneurs are busy and can’t do everything themselves, and need to outsource to be successful. You’ve got to choose what you invest in, and choosing wisely can make or break your new business. A customer service team, administrative support, a sales team, website developers, marketing experts, SEO gurus, advertising options, tools . . . the list is endless.
The good news is, that partnering with an affiliate network is one great way to take a few of these things off of your plate. When working with an affiliate network not only do you get your product in front of countless Internet marketing experts that successfully utilize every way imaginable to sell anything imaginable online, but you also have access to that network’s features. Many networks provide features to their clients (even those just starting out) that can help offset your lack of internal resources.
For example, ClickBank’s Joint Venture feature allows you to partner with a variety of skilled service providers such as copywriters, designers, developers, affiliate managers, and more who can help you with the creation and promotion of your product. And the icing on the cake is that the administratoristrative portion of these relationships is handled for you. Simply indicate the terms and rates of payment to your partners, and ClickBank will handle the rest behind the scenes based on your direction.
2. Sales Team? What Sales Team?
As an online entrepreneur, the concepts of dialing for dollars and pounding the pavement aren’t quite what they used to be. But that doesn’t mean that having an effective sales force isn’t still the most important part of your business. You’ve got the goods, now how do you get them into the hands of your customers?
Many affiliate networks boast thousands to hundreds of thousands of affiliates ready to sell your products. What does this mean for you as an online entrepreneur just starting out? Access to an instant, expert, commission-based sales force is what it means. And as a new online entrepreneur, it’s a resource you can’t afford to pass up.
3. Pinning Down Potential Prospects
The key to sustainable entrepreneurship is to make sure there’s someone buying what you’re selling. Problem is, when you’re first starting out, you may have the best idea in the world and most air tight business plan, but if you don’t have a list of customers to start, then you’ve got your work cut out for you and it may be more than you’ve bargained for.
By connecting with an affiliate network and using it as a channel for your products, you can tap into the existing customer and prospect lists of countless affiliates who have successfully promoted other products in your niche! Not only can this help you jump start your sales from the beginning, but is a great way for you to build your list and have paying customers to remarket to in the future.
4. Trading Time for Money
If you’re in a services business (coaching, consulting, freelance writing), chances are, you’re only getting paid when you work. This is what I like to call trading time for money. Unless this work satisfies all of your hopes and dreams in life and business, you may just be buying yourself a job (and time is the currency).
It’s time for you to productize your service. Affiliate marketing can give you a channel to distribute this knowledge in product form, and reach (and help) more people than would ever be possible with a services model. With ClickBank, that means creating and selling an offering in digital form such as an eBook, audio file or membership subscription based on your area of expertise. This is a great way to diversify your income and reach a wider audience.
5. Multiple Passions and Diversified Product Mix
Perhaps you’ve created (or plan to create) multiple product types and target more than one niche. Many online entrepreneurs look for opportunity first through researching keyword competition, high need products or buyer keywords, and create products second. If this is the method to your madness, or if you simply plan to monetize many of your diverse passions, your customers are likely to exist across many very different target markets, all of which you’ll need to reach.
Working with an affiliate network can help reduce the challenge of selling to multiple markets by connecting you with expert affiliates across hundreds of niches/industries with experience selling every product type imaginable.
Word of Caution
As an entrepreneur, chances are you don’t shy away from hard work to earn your keep. Affiliate marketing is no different. Although there are many affiliate network options available to you to kickstart your online business (we’re partial to ClickBank for digital products), it never hurts to put in a little elbow grease up front. What I’m saying is, it benefits you to seek out affiliates to promote your products rather than waiting around for them to come to you. Whether connecting with affiliates through the networks themselves, finding affiliates in third party forums (e.g., Warrior Forum) or meeting them in person at industry events (e.g., Affiliate Summit), taking the initiative with busy, successful affiliates can only help your efforts!
Now it’s time to let an affiliate network work for you. Rely on your network to help you lighten the workload and ease some of the common challenges you’re sure to face as an online entrepreneur. Get going, there’s no time to waste!