One month you’re pushing thousands of dollars in affiliate commissions and the next you’re barely scraping by. What gives?

Affiliate Marketing can throw you through some very dynamic swings. Sometimes you’re up and other times you are way, way down. What’s working today may be completely moot by the next day. Products you promote could instantly become something hated. Services could turn sour.

Since you can’t predict the future you could see yourself in financial hardships if you aren’t prepared. The last thing you want to do is project your business on a hot month and then gain nothing for many afterward.

Here’s what you need to know about the financial swings you may experience in this game…

What Causes the Disruption?

I’ve always said that Affiliate Marketing is volatile.

There are plenty of ways there can be a disruption in your income flow:

  • A product suddenly loses popularity and is no longer the “it” item
  • The program shuts down and leaves you wondering what happened
  • You mismanage your personal bills which prevents you from investing in the business
  • Bad mistakes when hiring third-party providers which don’t deliver on promises
  • Massive dips in traffic and conversions because of algorithm updates
  • Theft of your work files or an online attack that puts your site out of business
  • New competition that swoops in and takes over your niche

All these can happen in a blink of an eye so when you aren’t paying attention, going along on your merry way without entertaining the issues, you’re bound to see your finances go into haywire.

Solutions to the Problems

I can’t speak for everyone but as for someone that has seen the crazy swings AM brings to the table I offer my advice so you aren’t stuck in those down months when money starts to get tight:

  • Investing – Always invest your time, energy, and money into other avenues for income generation. Start creating new sites and income generating products while you continue to operate your flagship site. Consider jumping into a bit of freelancing while you’re at it to add extra income into the mix. Invest what you have into growth and you’ll stay ahead of the curve so you won’t be so easily caught off guard when things go sour.
  • Savings – Always pay yourself first. Make sure you are using your affiliate income to take care of the necessary expenses to keep doing what you’re doing (rent, electric, etc) but also setting aside money for an emergency fund. Don’t take chances when the market is this volatile; have money set aside so you can start again if things take a turn for the worst.
  • Make Something Better – I’d say you probably have a handful of products/services you promote that makes up the majority of your affiliate income. What if just one or two of them no longer bring in the money like before? You could shift what you’re promoting or go a step further, cut out that middleman, and create a product/service of your own. Now you are in position to have affiliates promote products for you rather than the other way around. Creating something of higher value than what people are promoting will get them to jump ship to yours which adds a great amount of stability to your finances.
  • Explore the Platforms – Don’t stick to what you know; spread out and try new and old platforms you haven’t fully optimized. When you rely on just one or two forms of traffic you are putting yourself into a situation where everything can crash if a competitor scoops your placement or siphons your audience. Expand your reach into new territories to create a wide net of lead generation rather than relying on just a few.
  • Seek Help from Your Network – You build your network because they are the ones that will be there to help when you are in dire straits. You may not gain a loan from these individuals but they can help you in times of need such as cross-promoting your brand, re-energizing your presence through interviews, or throwing out endorsements that will keep your relevant.
  • Kill the Money Vampires – All those subscription services you barely use, products you tend to buy but never use, or projects that aren’t going anywhere. Start trimming the fat. You should also take this time to create better routines for your marketing that aren’t reliant on third party products/services especially when you can do them yourself. Cut back on the frivolous spending and you’ll have the money to save, invest, and keep growing when things get crazy.

Hopefully you never have to experience any of these hardships in your business but don’t think they won’t happen. Business (and the marketplace) can bring about incredible rewards but could also sink you before you know what’s even happening. You’ve always got to stay on your mark and be prepared for the worst (think of it like insurance – it’s there for when it goes south). Keep all these in mind and make plans for recovery so you can bounce back rather than fall flat.

Image by Gerlat