Donovan Nagel Donovan Nagel

Affiliate Marketing Fatigue: Sell Your Own Products Instead

  • Written by Donovan

I’ve been doing affiliate marketing for more than a decade.

Selling other people’s products online primarily through blogging has netted me millions of dollars in commissions.

Most of it completely passive and residual earnings on content I produced years ago.

This pandemic period has actually seen my affiliate earnings quadruple.

But you know what?

I’m sick to death of it and want out.

Huh? Why?

I’ll explain.

Reasons I’m sick of affiliate marketing

1. Online affiliate marketing has become too crowded

Everybody wants to start a blog these days, outsource a few dozen articles (info, best of, reviews), whack a bunch of affiliate links on there, and wait for the traffic and revenue to build.

Every man and his dog wants in.

This is especially true in this time of remote work and mass firings.

There are literally innumerable affiliate wannabes (and pros) who see successful creatives like me as an opportunity to be studied and copied.

2. Most of the time it’s unethical

You want to make the sale.

Getting your visitor to click your link and go buy whatever it is you’re selling is the goal.

While it’s possible to be an ethical, honest affiliate salesman, the temptation is constantly there to indiscriminately sell whatever pays the highest commissions.

Money, rather than value, become your primary motivator.

The lack of ethics in online (and real life) selling has always bothered me.

3. You can’t take a break from it

Because SEO is so cutthroat and requires constant attention to stay on top, you can’t risk stepping away from it.

When my son was born in 2017, I stepped away from my blog for at least 6 months and did almost nothing to it. I was preoccupied as a new dad.

In that time, I had numerous new competitors and copycats come along who caused immense damage to my business due to my lack of vigilance.

With affiliate marketing (SEO-driven), you can’t afford to take a real holiday.

There are people out there working day and night to unseat you.

4. There’s no such thing as passive income

Following on from that point.

Because you need to be constantly staying on top of your competitors and wannabes, you’re working at it every day.

Writing (or paying for) new content. Analyzing SEO on your site and competitor sites. Editing. Going back and improving old posts that have dropped. Outreach.

It’s non-stop.

And the more content you make, the harder it is to maintain.

You end up working more hours than you did when you had a normal job.

The end goal should always be product creation

Be a creative monopoly.

I have a few online products of my own - my own brands - but they’ve never been my sole focus.

I regret this.

What I’ve come to realize is that affiliate marketing is great for short-term wins and easy quick cash, but if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to focus solely on what you are producing.

Build your brand. Produce products that solve problems.

Let the affiliate minions promote the hell out of your product, while you lay on the sunbed in the backyard.

So with this, my goal for 2022 is to transition out of an affiliate-focused business model for my bigger blogs, and to focus on value-driven products that I own.

It’s a far more sustainable business model in the long term and I don’t have to continually compete in the increasingly crowded affiliate marketing space.

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Donovan Nagel
Christian, husband, dad, entrepreneur, linguist, theologian and clown world survivalist.
"Put not your trust in princes, in mortal man, who cannot save."
- Psalm 146:3