Chapter 3: The Affiliate Marketing Mindset
You’ve probably heard me say this before and you’ll definitely hear me say it again and again: people fail online despite having all the resources available they could ever hope for.
Thanks to the internet there are almost no truly solid barriers preventing you achieving all your financial dreams and ambitions.
Usually, the only barrier standing in your way is YOU.
With this in mind, I want to tell you something you probably don’t want to hear.
You might hate me for saying it. But more likely, you probably won’t believe me.
You’ll probably think that what I have to say doesn’t apply to you.
Maybe you’re right. But, I’d bet you’re wrong.
If you’re smart, you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt (at least for a minute).
You’ll say to yourself, ‘Ok, I’m willing to entertain a strange notion. I’ll consider it.’
Maybe you’ll even think about it seriously.
If you do, maybe it’ll even mean the end of your experiment with internet marketing.
And maybe that’ll be a good thing!
What I want to tell you is very simple, but it has a huge impact on the question of whether you’re going to make it online.
I can sum it up in just seven words.
And I will…at the end of this chapter.
First, I want to talk a bit about three big problems most people have with their attitude as an affiliate marketer.
The three big problems are:
Distraction and procrastination are two sides of a coin. They go together like potato and gravy. Where you find one, the other is usually lurking around somewhere. It’s either actively participating or it’s cheering on from the sidelines.
Fear can also be a big part of distraction and procrastination, but it’s a bigger issue. It can show up in all kinds of situations. When it does it has the potential to wreak havoc on your best laid plans and highest ambitions.
These are complex problems. The fact is I’m not really qualified to give any of these subjects the justice they deserve. My only qualification to talk to you about them is my experience.
I’ve had to overcome all three of these problems to succeed. In the process of getting them under control (I don’t think I’ll ever really ‘beat’ them completely) I’ve learned a thing or two. That’s all I can hope to share with you.
If you really have a deep-seated problem with distraction, procrastination or fear, you’ll have to do a lot of independent study on the topics. You might need to see a shrink. Either way, you’ll have to fight like mad to get them under control. Particularly if the truth I’ll reveal at the end of this chapter applies to you…
Distraction is a problem of attention. It’s a failing of your powers of concentration. It’s an inability to control and regulate your focus. When it’s not a part of procrastination distraction manifests itself in lots of exciting beginnings, but no accomplishments.
The amount of concentrated time you spend on one activity without becoming distracted is known as your attention span. The longer your attention span, the greater your ability to achieve the goals you set for yourself.
There are two different types of attention that are relevant to determining your attention span:
- Transient attention
- Selective sustained attention.
Transient attention occurs when you’re distracted by something temporarily.
Remember the last time you were stuck in a YouTube spiral?
You started looking for a video about ‘How to replace your spark plugs’. You had the best of intentions. You wanted to save a few bucks on going to a mechanic.
You found a video and started watching it. But it was boring.
After about a minute you thought you’d scroll through the list of suggestions for related videos to see if there was something more interesting. That’s when you saw the one about how to plasti-dip your car (this one really caught your attention because of the fluro-green sports car in the thumbnail).
Skip ad after 5 seconds.
‘Where’s that green car?’
‘What’s this guy talking about?’
‘Where’s the car?’
‘27 seconds and still no car.’
‘The guy’s still talking.’
‘This video’s 38 minutes long!’
‘I’m never going to plasti-dip my car! Why am I watching this?’
‘What’s in the suggestions?’
An hour later you’ve watched bits and pieces of:
By which point the suggested video list got bogged down in origami videos and you got bored of watching videos altogether.
(That list was actually from my YouTube history a couple of nights ago so you can see that I know what distraction is all about)
[By the way, I’m curious to know if you made it through that list without clicking on any of the links. I know I would have struggled not to click on ‘How to breathe underwater’.]
The modern smartphone user’s transient attention span is actually less than 10 seconds.
Selective sustained attention is what you need to develop if you want to be able to achieve some long-term goals.
Most people have a selective sustained attention span of somewhere between 5-20 minutes. After that, your mind begins to wander. If you take a short break, even just to stretch your arms or cross your legs a different way, you can usually cope with another 5‑20 minutes.
Nobody can focus their attention indefinitely, though some people have trained themselves to be able to do it for a long time. The trick is to develop the ability to regularly re-focus on long-term tasks without getting distracted in between.
One of the worst problems faced by people who want to become successful affiliate marketers is manifested as something known as ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’. This is a black hole for anyone looking for a magic system to make money online without putting any effort into it. If effects people who have started following a tried and true method for making money online, but after an hour, a day, a week or a month of ‘sticking with it’ they still haven’t made any money. That’s when they find a forum or a blog, click on an ad in their newsfeed or a link in an email and suddenly they see a new post or product about someone who’s making $1000 a minute on SnapChat!
So they dump their blog and email list and now they’re back at the beginning (again).
Start > start again > start again (again) > and again > and again > …
This is the black hole people with short selective sustained attention spans get sucked into.
If this is you, I want you to know that you can escape, but it’s not easy.
(Particularly if you also have a problem with distraction’s evil twin)
Procrastination involves distraction, but it’s much more than that. At its core, procrastination is about delay, not distraction. It’s an internal disconnect between intention and action.
You intend to clean the dishes, but you don’t take action on that intention.
You intend to turn off the TV and take the dog for a walk, but not now.
You intend to write a killer blog post about ________________, but tomorrow’s looking better for starting that job.
Procrastination is a lie you tell yourself.
When you procrastinate you convince yourself you’ll ‘feel like it’ later more than you ‘feel like it’ now.
In fact, psychologists have discovered that chronic procrastinators have actually lost the ability to accurately predict the way they’re going to feel about something at a future time. Chronic procrastinators put things off so often they start to truly believe they’re going to feel more like doing things later. In fact, they will never feel any different about the thing they’re procrastinating doing.
Today, tomorrow, next week, it doesn’t matter. You’re going to feel the same about it. That’s why when the time comes to do what you’ve been putting off doing; you almost always put it off some more!
This ‘lie’ is a coping mechanism. It’s a way to escape the reality of knowing that the thing you intend to do, or want to do, or need to do, is hard, or boring, or stressful, or any number of things that are not pleasurable now.
Most people are addicted to instant gratification – pleasure that lasts a short time and then has to be repeated to bring on pleasurable feelings again.
Pleasure is great. But there’s another type of sensation that most people sacrifice by constantly seeking instant gratification. This is actually the sensation that gives you the greatest quality of life.
It breeds confidence and self-esteem…
It makes you stand up tall…
It gives you a spring in your step…
It makes you attractive…
It makes you smile…
It’s what you experience from actually finishing things.
Pleasure is something you experience while you’re doing something, but satisfaction only comes after something you’ve worked towards is done.
That’s why procrastination is a coping mechanism.
When you’re addicted to pleasure, you know there will be a period of time between starting something and finishing it.
When you start something that’s going to take time and effort to complete you’ll be deprived of a lot of pleasure. You’ll have to sacrifice the small pleasures of transient attention for the larger satisfaction of selective sustained attention. That’s a scary thought for a pleasure addict.
Procrastination is the surest-fire way to sabotage yourself if you want to build an authority website or a quality email subscribers list.
If you think you’ve got a problem with chronic procrastination, read this awesome post by Tim Urban on WaitButWhy. Tim’s article is very entertaining and it nails it when it comes to drawing an accurate picture of the inner workings of the chronic procrastinator.
Procrastination is like binge drinking or doing drugs – it’s a coping mechanism that will ultimately hurt you more than it’ll help. But it’s very hard to overcome because it’s so intrinsically related to the last – but definitely not least – problem people have.
This problem keeps more people from achieving success than any other problem.
It’s the Grand Poohbah of problems and it can be very hard to overcome, but anyone can learn to do it with the right knowledge and the right motivation.
I have a young daughter who’s desperately afraid of storms.
A few years ago, I built a house on ten acres in a beautiful quiet mountain valley. It’s never overbearingly hot in summer and we get just the right amount of snow in winter.
I live in the southern hemisphere in an area on the globe known as the ‘Roaring Forties’. It’s between 40-50 degrees south of the equator. One drawback to living in this latitudinal band is that it’s known for very high wind speeds. This is because there’s a lot of open ocean at a place where hot air from the equator is mixing with cold air from the south pole. At certain times of the year 50-60mph winds are a normal part of life. But it scares the crap out of my little girl, particularly at night when the wind’s rattling and shaking the house.
Everybody’s scared of something, but if your fear is hard work, boredom, commitment, concentration, writing, technology, people, money, failure or even success, you’re going to struggle with what it takes to build a successful online business.
The good news is that you can overcome your fears.
One of my favorite stories is about a psychologist who discovered how to cure people of their fears. When I first read this story it blew my mind.
This incredible story absolutely changed my life in so many different ways. Seriously. It’s one of the biggest ‘secrets’ to my success.
After struggling for years with internet marketing failure I became anxious about ever ‘making it’ online. I gave up again and again.
Applying the principles from this scientific breakthrough I was able to overcome the fear and get past my roadblocks.
Each time I moved on I would get more excited, more enthusiastic and more confident about facing the next one.
And when I got my first successful affiliate marketing campaign up and running…
I was ecstatic with satisfaction!
That’s why I know people can overcome their fears.
Just one more thing
At the beginning of this chapter I said that I was going to tell you something you probably don’t want to hear.
I said you might hate me for saying it.
I said you probably won’t believe me.
I said you’ll probably think what I have to say doesn’t apply to you.
I told you that it could mean the end of your ‘experiment’ with internet marketing.
I told you that could be a really good thing.
What is it that I can sum up in just seven words?
Before I tell you, I want you to ask yourself a question and I want you to think carefully before you answer it.
I mean who’s listening to your thoughts?
What have you got to gain by lying to yourself.
What do you have to lose?
Be honest and answer the following question without any kind of arrogant assumptions:
Why should you be able to make it online?
Question what you’ve done in the past.
Question what you’re doing now.
Question your understanding of how to make money online.
What do you know about affiliate marketing?
Are you easily distracted?
Do you procrastinate?
Are you afraid of anything that’s keeping you from doing what you need to do to succeed?
Most people aren’t cut out for it.
You probably aren’t cut out for it.
You probably wont make it.
You’ll probably get frustrated.
You’ll probably get bored.
You’ll probably bounce around from guru to guru (credit card in hand) trying this and that and complain that nothing ever works for you.
You’ll probably jump around from niche to niche and end up going nowhere.
You’ll probably quit.
But it’s true.
Most people need someone else to tell them what to do day in and day out.
They need the security of a monthly pay check.
They need a job, a workplace, colleagues and a commute.
They need to live in the mainstream.
They lack the motivation and discipline to work for themselves.
They simply don’t have the life experience to cope with being their own boss.
They lack the faith to achieve something so foreign to the way they were brought up by their parents and their country’s educational system.
Most people aren’t cut out for it. Seven little words.
It’s not pretty, but it is what it is.
The question is, whether it’s you?
If it is you, then it’s not the end of the world.
You have two choices:
- Give up the fantasy now (before it costs you time and money you’ll never get back).
- Commit everything you have to breaking out of the mould and reshaping yourself into the kind of person who is cut out for it.
You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Maybe I’ll see you on the other side.