A lot of people out there are unsure whether they should learn to do everything themselves, or to outsource some certain things. When we surveyed our audience last year, this was one of the questions that got the most wide ranging answers.
I understand the argument that you should try to do everything yourself. I actually was in this boat when I first started. Part of my motivation was that I didn't have much money to spend, but part of it was that I thought this is how it was supposed to work.
I just figured successful affiliate marketers did everything themselves and eventually created passive income.
So in today's post, I'm actually going to highlight why that may be the wrong way to approach things.
I want to talk to you about why you shouldn’t try to do everything, because you actually get more success when you focus on a smaller number of things and use other people for the stuff you don’t want to learn.
There are two main reasons why I think it's better to hire people to help you:
- The feedback loop.
- The volume of things to learn.
The Feeback Loop
Learning everything there is to know about affiliate marketing is a full-time job, but most of us are only affiliate marketers part-time.
I started out in a position where I only worked about 20 hours per week at my job, spent the rest of my time learning niche sites, and STILL it took me months to really get a handle on things.
I don’t think that is actually the worst part of affiliate marketing though. Everything worth doing takes time to learn, time to understand, and even more time to master. Most people approach this business fully aware of that.
Some don’t, but they never last.
What I think IS the worst part is the feedback loop. Or to put it in simpler terms, not knowing whether you are doing things right or wrong, and having to wait months to find out.
This is definitely a killer of dreams and one of the main reasons people quit.
Look at it this way.
You spend hours doing keyword research. You’re not really sure if you’ve done it right or if the tutorial you followed is accurate, but you want to give it a shot.
You then spend days figuring out WordPress and assembling your first site, which is usually a less than impressive result. I remember my first WordPress site took me a few days, and all I had to show for it was an ugly 5 page site that looked like it had already been abandoned for 10 years.
Next up, you write articles that you think are targeting the keywords that you think you researched correctly.
You think you optimized those articles right and follow all the other best practices, and you also think you’ve produced something that is the oh-so-important “quality content”.
So you hit publish, and your site is live.
Now, if you leave it here, nothing will happen, and you won’t know if you’ve done all of the above correctly.
Instead, you’ll now want to go about promoting your site. You’ll share it on social media, you’ll build links, you’ll keep adding more articles to your site.
…and nothing will happen. Not right away anyway.
Which leaves you wondering, “Did I do something wrong?”.
Because how do you know?
Is your lack of results because you did the keyword research wrong? Because your article isn’t long/good/optimized enough? Did you do SEO right? Did you build the wrong links, or not build enough? Is there something else you missed?
Or is everything going according to plan and you just need to wait longer and keep at it before traction eventually comes?
It’s a pain in the backside trying to figure it out, and many people despair at this point, and some of them throw in the towel.
Whenever we’re trying something new, we need to see “little victories” or at least signs of progress in order to get verification that everything is on track. It’s like going to the gym and looking for signs of improvement.
One way you can overcome the feedback loop is to outsource to people like us and leverage our expertise. Another way is to seek out people who’ve been there before and learn as much as you can from them. This could mean buying courses, joining communities, or reading all of their free content.
I’m sure you do that already (which is why you’re here!), which is great.
It’s like going to the gym to lose weight or get fit;
You want to put in the time and understand it takes a while to get results, but you aren’t really sure how to go about it. You don’t know what the best routine is or how much time you should spend in each exercise.
So you might speak to a trainer or read blogs to find out what methods are going to get you to lose weight or get fit the most effectively.
There's Just So Much To Learn
So outsourcing to others is a great way to overcome the feedback loop, and it also solves the other problem we alluded to at the start of this article, the sheer volume of things you need to learn.
Let’s take a look at what things you need to have a “good to great” level of knowledge about when it comes to affiliate marketing:
- Keyword Research and niche selection in general
- Article marketing (which includes things like using keywords, article length, how to “sell” in your articles, and various other nuances)
- WordPress (This skillset often gets forgotten, but learning WordPress can be a full-time job in itself)
- SEO (Both on page and off page SEO are huge areas to master)
There are a bunch of things in between and a ton of questions you will develop as you learn, which is why this whole thing can be so overwhelming.
When you combine the sheer volume of things to learn, with the fact the feedback loop means you’re not even sure if you’ve learned them…well, the odds can be stacked against most beginner marketers.
Offering the services that we offer, we deal with a lot of people in the same situation. People come to us because we help solve both problems. We let them skip the whole WordPress and research side of things, and we also offer training and expertise which let you avoid the feedback loops involved.
It’s not just us that help with this though. Over the years, I’ve used quite a few services to help me achieve results faster, and I want to finish up this article by sharing a few examples.
Back in 2014, I wanted to use PBNs and other link building methods to help rank my sites. I knew that they offered good potential, but there was just SO MUCH to learn about PBNs. In the end, I decided to just invest some money and hire some well known PBN builders. I figured, worst case scenario, my sites wouldn’t rank and I’d be able to cross PBN’s off my list of things to learn.
In actual fact, my site rankings DID increase, which increased my earnings (paying for the PBNs in the process), and massively reduced the feedback loop. I knew they worked, so when I set about learning how to do them myself, it was from a position of experience rather than inexperience.
Some people I know never even bother learning to do them themselves. They find someone who makes it work, and keep hiring them.
2.) Web 2.0 Links
Just like with PBN’s, I knew web 2.0s and tiered links were probably a good thing to try and would get results, but I just didn't’ have the time or even desire to learn. I know there is software out there that can make it easier and cheaper, but I didn’t want to learn.
There is a level of opportunity cost with everything you do, and for me, spending $250 with a company like The Hoth to link build was much better than spending hours and hours and learning how to do it myself, then inevitably not knowing if I’d done it right in the first place.
3.) Website Services
Obviously, I have my own team to build websites for me now, but when I first started, learning WordPress was a bit of a pain and I hated it. I still find it pretty monotonous now and get bored easily when I’m logged into my WP dashboard.
Still, when I first started, there were some things I wanted to do with my sites that I didn't know how to. This could have been installing an opt-in, coding some special functions into the sites, or doing some type of graphic design.
Once I had a bit of budget to do so, I hired Dean (who is now the CTO of HPD), to do the more complicated things for me.
I just couldn’t learn everything, and coding was the first thing that I said “no thanks!” to.
The Moral Of The Story
What I've learned through all of this is that for some things, it's just not worth my time learning. There's an opportunity cost involved with time spent making mistakes vs time I could spend if I had just paid someone to do it for me.
Obviously, you can’t just throw money at everything, but there are definitely some things that you shouldn’t even try to do yourself. Wasting a few hours trying to figure something out when you could hire someone for a few dollars, even a few hundred, is not the smart way to go about it.
I was incredibly price-sensitive on things when I first started, not just because I didn’t have much of a budget, but also because I seemed to think I should learn to do everything myself.
How wrong I was!
It was only once I finally realized I needed to spend my time more wisely and leverage other people’s time and knowledge on certain things, that I really started to scale and succeed.
I guess if I could finish this post with one sentence, it would be:
You don’t have to learn how to do everything yourself, in fact, you shouldn’t.