7 Levels of Leverage In Your Affiliate Marketing Business
If you have been building your affiliate marketing blog for any length of time, you may have noticed how much time it can consume. Even if you become adept at one aspect of blogging, there are several other aspects that might not be within your core competency.
In fact, there are several websites out there that have teams that manage the site. Teams such as:
· SEO Teams
· Web Design Teams
· Content Writing Teams
· Pay-Per-Click Advertising Teams
· Copywriting Teams
And there are even other departments, such as the Accounting Teams & Legal Teams.
Here we are though, attempting to do as much of these tasks by ourselves. When we are forced to compete with teams of people who are experts at excelling in an area of managing web properties, we can end up creating an affiliate marketing blog that is like a chair with only two legs. That is not a recipe for success. But what is?
The recipe for success for you is to constantly be working on leveling up the way you conduct business and apply leverage in your business.
In this blog, I have broken down a step-by-step process that encompasses different ways you can apply leverage in your business, to bring your business, income, and lifestyle to the next level.
As you read, I want you to think about what level you are currently at, and things you can do to start bringing your business to the next level.
Level 1: You do all the work; you assume all the skills. (Jack of All Trades, Master of None)
This is the level that all of us start. Some examples might include:
· Joining a program like Wealthy Affiliate.
· Reading a book on creating content marketing strategies
· Taking a course on SEO methods.
These things help us to put together the pieces of the pie, so we can gradually build our understanding of how all of it fits together.
People tend to get stuck in this step when they get "analysis paralysis".
They seek mastery but don't realize that Mastery is a moving target. Another thing that keeps people from moving into the next level is Capital (money).
I remember back during the Great Recession after I graduated from University, I tried to get a job in my field. I lined up a few interviews every week, and nobody would hire me. I ended up having to take a minimum wage job, that wasn't even in my degree field because that is all there was available to me.
It was also during this time at the minimum wage job that I started to learn how to build an online business, albiet very slowly. What was holding me back was Capital. I had the desire to learn, but since my money was so tight, I could barely afford to buy a course on affiliate marketing. It took a solid two years before I could assemble enough knowledge to make my first affiliate commission.
Things got better for me, but one thing that I realized was that Capital accelerates your growth, and keeps things moving. It also helps businesses pivot when necessary.
That is why the greatest number of successful organizations get started with Middle-Class Incomes because they have the most disposable income. I am not saying that it's impossible to start a successful business without it, but low-income isn't a recipe for success.
If you are stuck in a challenging financial position, you should look at what is holding you back from increasing your income, and especially your Cashflow (Total Income - Total Expenses = Net Cashflow. You probably either need to increase your income, decrease your debt, or learn how to budget better.
The way we master level 1 is by learning an online marketing process and being able to identify all the key areas that make the online marketing process work. Once we have this, we can begin to move into Level 2.
Level 2: You do the work but use technology to streamline our efforts.
At Level 2, since you have identified the steps in the process, the way that you grow is by finding ways to streamline and automate the processes through technologies available to you.
For example, if I were to breakdown a content marketing process such as:
1. Pick A Product to Promote
2. Keyword Research
3. Create Content
4. Publish Content
5. Repurpose Content
6. Promote Content
You can look for a piece of technology that will assist you in executing each step of the process, for example:
1. Pick A Product to Promote (Clickbank or WA 'Affiliate Programs')
2. Keyword Research (Jaaxy, Trendds, Ahrefs, Keyword Explorer, Questions Samurai)
3. Create Content (Hirewriters, iWriter, Textbroker, Fiverr, SEOClerk, Konker, Upwork)
4. Publish Content (WA SiteContent, Wordpress Gutenburg, SEOPress, Youzign)
5. Repurpose Content (Content Samurai/Vidnami)
6. Promote Content (Hootsuite, IFTTT, Backlinking Software, Guest Post services)
The key here is that by learning to use these different tools, you gain an advantage over the individuals who are stuck in level 1. They can streamline your various tasks, making them better, faster, or just plain easier.
People get stuck in this phase because of "Shiny Object Syndrome"
You might tend to buy everything that you come across, and it can really hold them back. The problem is that with every new gadget that comes along, requires not only a learning curve, but the programs can have bugs and can waste a lot of your time.
The key here in this step is to whittle your way down to a few essential tools that come through the referral of successful people in your niche. Once you have figured out what works for you, now you are ready to move into Level 3.
Level 3: Technology takes over the menial tasks, it streamlines your efforts, and you focus your time on more of the vital activities.
In level 3, you have gained enough Wisdom from being in Level 1 and 2. At level 3 you are able to be a lot more productive and streamlined because you are utilizing technology to maximize the impact your actions have on your business.
You are not wasting time getting distracted, because your technology is proven and effective, and you have gained some degree of proficiency using it.
Many people reach some degree of success that they are comfortable with at level 3, and they don't level up from here. But still at this point, irrespective of income, you don't have a business. You own a job.
What it takes to grow from here is Leadership and Courage to put your business into other people's hands. Once you can muster up the courage for that, you are ready to move into Level 4.
Level 4: You hire people to tackle vital, but non-revenue generating tasks. You focus more on revenue-generating activities and driving the strategic vision of your business.
While starting your affiliate business, up to this point, you have pretty much just been an affiliate for different products. But when you get to Level 4, you make a shift from promoting other people's products to creating your own products to serve your audience better.
Since you are creating products for your organization, you are also more concerned with networking and finding strategic partners. Strategic partners can be affiliates, vendors, content hubs, etc. Strategic partners are people and organizations that allow you to leverage your time and drive more results with even less effort. They can also help you establish yourself as an authority in your niche.
People get stuck at level 4 due to a lack of leadership. Also, since some people who get started in affiliate marketing have little desire to create their own products, they might try their hand at it, and then decide that it's not for them.
But unfortunately for them, without creation, they are really leaving a lot of money on the table, because the margins are higher, and the leverage attainable at level 4 are much greater as well.
What it takes to level up from here is Leadership, and clearly a passion to bring your expertise to your target market. It is a great disservice to your target market if you don't provide them with overflowing value in their life, the way you know how since you are the expert.
Level 5: You hire people to take on administrative tasks and hire staff or an agency to take on revenue-generating tasks as well. This leaves you to focus your efforts now, on leading the organization, training your people, developing key partnerships, and driving the strategic vision even further.
The key difference in level 6 is that you are spending more time driving the strategic direction of your organization and have hired a dedicated sales team.
Your entire business funnel is much larger than just affiliate products, creating simple info-products, you are having an entire BUSINESS funnel, which includes full-service offerings that are priced in the thousands of dollars, even tens of thousands of dollars. Therefore, you have a sales team, as well as all your other staff, to facilitate these new systems being integrated and delivered to clients.
Just like before, people get stuck here from lack of Leadership in their organization, but also from not wanting to bring in fresh leadership who can assist you with bringing in new ideas and new vision. This is something we will discuss further in Level 6.
If you want to level up from here you must be willing to give others a chance to become 'founders' or board members, so that might mean giving up a little bit of your executive power. We'll talk more about this in Level 6.
Level 6: You begin to seek equity partners in your venture, who can assist you in scaling your business even more by building more key partnerships.
To be at level 6 means you are running a pretty large organization. At this point, you should be looking to add equity partners who can bring their ideas and expertise to create synergy with driving the strategic vision of the organization.
Equity partners are people that are given a share of equity in the organization, but you still maintain your controlling share. Equity partners are given a vested interest in the success of the organization because they impact the success of it and are compensated proportionally to the success they bring.
Once a corporation grows to a certain size, it loses the ability to pivot quickly. Also, once you start adding new people who have executive authority, if they aren't aligned with the same goals and vision, it can cause some friction, and things might not move at the pace that they should.
To level up your organization from here requires that you create enough synergy between the leaders and managers of the organization that it attracts additional equity. Equity and debt have pretty much been utilized to a minimum, but when you have a large organization, you use these to scale your projects quickly and get into profit fast.
Level 7: You seek equity investors. You are utilizing a combination of equity/debt financing to fund new ventures in projects in your organization.
Level 7 means that you are utilizing a combination of debt and equity to fund your business projects. This means that likely you are open to outside investors who can purchase shares of stock in your company.
Like I was saying in Level 1, capital is what you need to move quickly in the beginning, but at Level 7 this is where you are utilizing the most of it to expand your organization. You'll likely be opening offices with teams all over the world. You'll be investing in tech, software, hardware, land, labor, and intellectual capital.
Level 7, for the most part, is the pinnacle of leverage for your business. But it doesn't really stop there, because the change in business is inevitable. This is also the level where you can truly step away from your organization as the controlling executive, and really gain the freedom to do what you want to do.
I realize that a lot of people will never reach level 7. But it is possible, with enough hard work and tenacity.
I hope you enjoyed this explanation of the 7 Levels of Leverage in your Affiliate Marketing Business.
I think what you'll realize that personal development is really a key here as you grow and 'level up' your business. But what you may not have realized is that growth will involve skills that you might not be very proficient in yet, or don't have at all.
So I think the key to help you grow, is to take an unbiased look at where you are at, and try to work on the areas most conducive to growth. Income rarely exceeds personal development. So do whatever you can, wherever you are at, with whatever resources you have at your disposal.
Finally, leave me a like, let me know what you think. Also please ask me questions down below, if you have any. This was a lot to discuss, so I might not have hit every nail on the head.