Your Own Products VS Just An Affiliate...

30 replies
Howdy!

What's better... create your own products or just be an affiliate?
I'm not sure there's a right answer here for this question, and
each person is different, but I want to make a case for "creating
your own products".


If you'd like to make the case for the other side "just being an
affiliate" that would be fantastic.

However, this is a question often asked by customers and clients
of mine looking to get going earning money... and almost every
single time I answer that, I say "create your own products".

A strong case could be made that newbies should first start
out as an affiliate first, then go for creating their own products,
which is what I did, but I advise otherwise to my customers.

Now, to some of you savvy and wicked smart Warriors, this might
not be the case... but it's what I teach and here's why:

Profits

With my own products, I have found it easier to make higher
profits. I can only teach and share what has really worked for
me to customers, and this is one that stands out tremendously
for me.

I have earned my fair share of profits as an affiliate too, but FAR
more as a product owner and here's why:

Up-sells, back-end and LTV

With my own products, I can create free products (list builders),
front end products and back-end products. I can have my front
end offer cheap (say $24...) and my up-sells be anywhere from $50
to $5,000

LTV = Lifetime value of your customer. So, I have found it easier
and more effective to build a lifetime value with the customers if
I control my own products. I can turn them on to me, warm them
up to me and maybe even create a raving fan if I'm lucky and do
my job well.

A customer who buys from me on the front end (say... $19) can
get warmed up to me and end up spending $1,900+ with me --
because they have grown to know, like and trust me more.

After all, one of the main reasons people DO NOT buy from you
is because they don't believe you and are skeptical of your
big promise to solve their problem.

Although I have been able to earn nice profits as an affiliate,
and being an affiliate certainly has it's PROS too (indeed) I tend
to teach most people to create their own products.

One of the main reasons people struggle is because of traffic
and conversions, which brings me to the next reason I am
recommending creating your own products, which is:

Traffic!

You see, if you have a front end offer and you drive paid traffic
to that front end offer, often times you break even... or maybe
make a little profit or even lose money.

However, if you have up-sells (maybe a continuity program, or
other up-sells and back-end offers), then you now stand a much
better chance of turning a profit with that paid traffic.

In other words, if you spend $100 today on paid traffic and only
make $50 back, then you lost $50 today. However, if you have
up-sells, you can hopefully earn more and turn a profit.

Sometimes, you might lose money on the front end, lose money
on the first up-sell, but turn a profit on the second up-sell. This
allows you to drive more traffic and compete in the "paid traffic"
market much better. This is often why some of your competitors
can actually spend $3 per click (or higher) and remain in business.

Now, I know you can STILL build LTV as only an affiliate. I understand
that well and I believe in order to pull that off (as just an affiliate),
you must be pretty good at "building a relationship with your list"

Which brings me to the next reason:

Conversions

As an affiliate, if you only promote other people's offers, then it's
possible you are building other people's brands and other people's
businesses. I believe, it will take some savvy "relationship building"
to keep your list engaged over time due to the fact you are promoting
and building other people's brands.

However, with your own products, you can certainly control the
conversions better. You can tweak your front end and up-sells
easier because you control them. If you want to add a video, poof!
you add a video.

And, if you can beat your own control and get conversions higher,
then, again, that increases your ability to compete and even pay
for traffic.

Plus, you can tweak:

-- the offer
-- the price
-- the graphics
-- the copy
-- videos
-- footer pops, exit pops
-- so on

Additionally, you can quickly interchange your front end offers
with your up-sell offers. Perhaps an up-sell offer you have (maybe
the membership site) is converting like crazy... you can try that
baby out on the front end. Flexibility

Lastly...

technical, tracking, tweaking & testing

Yes, you can certainly do a lot of this as an affiliate too, but think
about how much possibilities you have if you own the products.

You can test to see how long the visitor remains on your site,
the abandon cart ratio, the exit pop ratio, up-sell conversions
and so on. You can quickly change, tweak and adapt your sites
and offers and test them.

You can try so many things!

[oh, final thing]

Affiliates!

By far... and I mean BY FREAKING FAR... the most amount of money
I've ever made in my entire life -- so far -- has come from getting
affiliates to promote my offers.

AND, not only has that been the MOST I've ever made, it's been the
quickest way I've earned a lot. Therefore, with your own products,
you can then recruit affiliates to promote for you!

You can also take your products and integrate them with other people's
offers and sales funnels. You can use them as bonuses to provide when
you do promote an affiliate offer. There's so much more leverage you
have when you have your own products.

AND, it's not as hard to create your own products as many people
think it is. There's plenty of people who will interview with you... plenty
of PLR you can take and edit and add to... plenty of ghostwriters
out there... plenty of content creators to partner with... etc.

So, yes, being just an affiliate certainly has it's advantages too. Not much
customer service, not much fulfillment, not as much copywriting or conversions
to master, etc etc.

I just wanted to take a few moments here and share with my fellow Warriors
why I think (my opinion) creating your own products is a very smart move.
(so is finding a kick-butt copywriter or learning conversions yourself). Cuz,
if you can convert... traffic is a breeze!

Happy Father's Day To My Brothers Here!

Eric Louviere

PS - My son is now 3 1/2 years old and I'm very thankful to have had
the luxury of NOT having a day job so I could spend so much time watching him
grow. The Warrior Forum has a lot to do with me having that blessing
and I'd also be doing a disservice by not thanking these people as well:
Mike Filsaime & Dr. Mike Woo-Ming (holla!)

[You can do it too! I promise you can!]
#affiliate #affiliate marketing help #products
  • Profile picture of the author Eric Louviere
    heck, I forgot this benefit:

    You get paid quicker with your own products!

    The money hits your account either instantly or
    in a couple days. As an affiliate, you usually
    have to wait a month or more to get a check
    and that can be a hassle at times.

    It's harder to REINVEST back into your business,
    or into traffic, if you have to wait 45 days to
    even get your profits.

    For example, you just spent $500 on traffic
    and made $1000 in profits... but you dont get
    that 1k for 45 days and TODAY you are out
    of that $500.

    That makes it a bit hard to get rocking and
    rolling with momentum -- in my opinion.

    Just sayin'

    Eric Louviere
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    • Profile picture of the author drmani
      I'd say it depends upon how good you are as a marketer
      - and at what stage of the game you are today.

      Jay Abraham calls it "being in the toll gate position".
      You have access to the buying crowd. It becomes moot
      whether you're selling your own creation - or anyone
      else's.

      On the other hand, if you don't have access (control?)
      to a "hungry crowd", it wouldn't matter much whose
      product you're selling - you won't sell many of it!

      From that standpoint, I'd argue a beginner would do
      better selling somebody else's product or service for
      these reasons:

      * more time to focus on marketing

      * less hassle with delivery, client support etc.

      * access to tested (?) and effective (?) marketing
      tools the vendor creates for you

      * an experienced vendor to ask for help and guidance
      about selling (?)

      * ability to shift from something that doesn't sell
      well to another, without worrying about 'sunk cost'

      But once you've honed your marketing chops, I guess
      the attraction of keeping most of the profit from
      every sale makes it more worthwhile to create your
      own stuff - and sell it yourself.

      And then, a way further along the line, you start
      realizing you can sell more with the help of JV
      partners and affiliates - so you again settle for
      keeping only a share of the profit from each sale
      ... in order to make many more of them

      All success
      Dr.Mani
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  • Profile picture of the author MatthewNeer
    Spoken like a BOSS!

    Creating your own product is pretty much a mandatory thing in order to truly make a FORTUNE online. Every single marketer who has seriously cashed in phat has made their own stuff and sold the crap outta it.

    Success leaves clues, follow them...
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  • Profile picture of the author tayuyaa
    Awesome thread as usual Eric!

    Agree that increase the value of our customer is very important, no matter if you are spending money for traffic or not....

    And I also that instant cash flow is important to grow our business...

    Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author mikemcmillan
    I think when most people start out, the tendency is to get money coming in as fast as they can. That probably means pushing a product as an affiliate. But without a list, and without wanting to invest in PPC--they may be relegated to some intensive SEO work which can be frustrating.

    With a product of one's own, it is possible to leverage that product through interacting with others and do some pretty serious list building in a fairly short period of time. And it doesn't take a huge product to start doing this.

    If you can put together some kind of simple JV arrangement (and I'm using the term to cover a multitude of techniques) with just a handful of big guys, you could find yourself with the assets required to launch a genuine business.

    Whatever kind of product you have, you should be spending a lot of time trying to structure deals with people bigger that you in your niche. Internet marketing isn't typically successful for Long Ranger types. It usually takes considerable networking and relationship building to succeed in this business.

    --Mike
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  • Profile picture of the author RevSEO
    Wow Eric - Amazing thread!

    Its really true though, building your own product is leaps and bounds more beneficial financially and allows you to build a big empire.

    Although like others have mentioned it greatly depends on where you are in your level of internet marketing expertise. Regardless though everyone should be building an email list and thinking along the lines you are.

    This is a great blueprint to killing it online!
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  • Profile picture of the author Big Al
    I'm starting to wonder why I always saw it as an "either or" scenario when really... a combination of product creation and affiliate marketing diversifies your income.

    Personally I like the idea of no product creation and no customer support as an affiliate.

    But would agree that the easiest and quickest return has been from selling my own products.

    Further downside to being the affiliate is that you are always introducing others... and you're list might actually prefer them and their recommendations to yours.
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  • Profile picture of the author Troy Broussard
    The best thing about affiliate marketing is HAVING affiliates and not being one...

    LOL...

    Seriously, I've done a lot of affiliate marketing and still earn a decent percentage of my online income from affiliate, but there are many "dark sides" to it.

    Here are just a "few" of the trials my business partner and I have faced with affiliate marketing along the way - I'm sure the other senior marketers here will chime in too...

    * Had a vendor "break" the affiliate link for his site and then just go off on vacation for a month. We were making about $1500 a month on that product in commissions, but that month got $27 - nice trick, thanks...

    * Had a $3k ticket item that we were paying out big bonuses on - real bonuses that cost us - not lame PLR eBooks and stuff. Waited till the refund period was over, then the vendor almost six months later decides to refund the customer - clearly outside the refund window - and CHARGE us back! When we complained about it they said accept it or we'll simply terminate your affiliate. Their affiliate agreement (as most do) gives them the option to basically do whatever they want.

    * A site that we knew we were one of the top 3 affiliates for their product just accidentally neglected to mail us updated links when they changed around, yet other affiliates got them - hmmm...

    * Most affiliate programs do a terrible job of providing you any way to confirm or monitor their tracking - it's all "trust and guesswork".

    * A lot of vendors simply do not make any effort to support their affiliates in any way even though they are deriving all of the benefit of their affiliates success.

    Now, like I said, we still do a lot of affiliate marketing, but when you're marketing your own product there is just so much more you can control. Split testing and such was already mentioned in the thread, but another thing is the actual sales conversion tracking.

    Some people say to start with affiliate first and get your feet wet first - that's what I did several years ago - but honestly if you're a decent writer or capable of doing a quality video, starting out with your own product may be a better way to get into the profits sooner.

    If I were to start out fresh today, I would start with my own products and would do at least two before getting started - a primary and an upsell.
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  • Profile picture of the author xxdksxx
    Awesome thread Eric I have all but recently gotten into making my own products and the work involved isn't as bad as I thought it would be. I actually enjoy making products I know will help someone as well as myself. After being an affiliate for the past year and earning a couple hundred dollars and then now getting into creating my own products I hope to be able to make a bit more and keep affiliate marketing in the background in some way. Probably in a different niche that I don't make products for. Thank you for this very informative thread.
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  • Profile picture of the author WebPen
    I agree that being the product owner is a sweet way to go, BUT...

    It definitely isn't necessary to be successful.

    There are tons of super affiliates who couldn't care less about owning their own product. If they're making 6-7 figures (yes, 7- CPA anyone?) - why fix something that isn't broken?

    Just depends on what you want to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author nathanj
    Product owner over affiliate for me.

    I want to create something that just isn't a site sending visitors to an offer. I want to create a site that will give me the opportunity to make more and deliver more to my customers. From these subscribers I can send them to cool offers and generate affiliate earnings.

    To me creating and selling products has many more 'long term' benefits. Whether it be generating lists of subscribers, more profits, upsell opportunities at higher prices etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author Johnny Optimo
    I think there's just a lot more value in creating your own products - IF you're capable of producing quality work, that is.

    If you can't write well or organize something slick, you may be better off promoting other products.

    Over time, I just got so sick of affiliate systems though (and constantly being cheated by them) - and figured I needed more control over/knowledge of the product. It's also easier to find a specific under-served niche that you know NEEDS a new product, and fill that need by creating your own product - this way there is WAY less competition.
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    • Profile picture of the author Eric Louviere
      One thing also to think about is the future. If you build up a real business online, and that business consists of your own product(s)... perhaps even residual income via a membership or something, that business could be sold for a good chunk of change...

      I guess the thought of building up a business over time that can be sold for a TON of money in a big cash windfall is something that can be attractive to many (including me).

      I remember being in a mastermind group of marketers at a penthouse room here in Austin and one guy was making good money with his own niche site -- outside the MMO niche. In a room filled with mostly MMO marketers, he simply stated/asked:

      "what I dont understand about you guys is how you can constantly create new products and do new launches instead of building up one big business. All my effort goes into building my one main business so I can perhaps sell it for a million bucks or more soon. I get more and more affiliates, more and more continuity customers each month, more traffic, more credibility, more backlinks, higher rankings, etc etc each month as I put my heart and soul into this ONE big business".

      Well, that makes a lot of sense to me. duh

      Is affiliate marketing more short term thinking, more hit and miss, more wam bam thank you... more of chasing cash than building a real business... more of a project rather than a business... more of a fun, side thing, than a serious ongoing business?

      I know that's not the case for every super affiliate, and yes, there's affiliates making seven figures per month as a super affiliate, but still... there's a case to be made that creating your own products has some real appeal and makes sense for those looking to build up a real, long term, business assets.

      Eric Louviere
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      • Profile picture of the author FredJones
        7 figure per month as an affiliate? That is $30,000+ per day as an affiliate? Wow and goodness - is this in the MMO niche or something else?2-3 thousand is something I can imagine, but 10x of that? Saying "scale 10x" is easy in speaking and typing, but scaling 10x at that scale is neither easy to speak nor to type.

        Originally Posted by Eric Louviere View Post

        One thing also to think about is the future. If you build up a real business online, and that business consists of your own product(s)... perhaps even residual income via a membership or something, that business could be sold for a good chunk of change...

        I guess the thought of building up a business over time that can be sold for a TON of money in a big cash windfall is something that can be attractive to many (including me).

        I remember being in a mastermind group of marketers at a penthouse room here in Austin and one guy was making good money with his own niche site -- outside the MMO niche. In a room filled with mostly MMO marketers, he simply stated/asked:

        "what I dont understand about you guys is how you can constantly create new products and do new launches instead of building up one big business. All my effort goes into building my one main business so I can perhaps sell it for a million bucks or more soon. I get more and more affiliates, more and more continuity customers each month, more traffic, more credibility, more backlinks, higher rankings, etc etc each month as I put my heart and soul into this ONE big business".

        Well, that makes a lot of sense to me. duh

        Is affiliate marketing more short term thinking, more hit and miss, more wam bam thank you... more of chasing cash than building a real business... more of a project rather than a business... more of a fun, side thing, than a serious ongoing business?

        I know that's not the case for every super affiliate, and yes, there's affiliates making seven figures per month as a super affiliate, but still... there's a case to be made that creating your own products has some real appeal and makes sense for those looking to build up a real, long term, business assets.

        Eric Louviere
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        • Profile picture of the author leegs
          Hi Eric,

          I think the post that you have written can be turn to your own coaching/mentoring program. It's pretty awesome post.

          As for me, I would prefer to create my own product over as an affiliate. I believe the investment in terms of effort, time and money towards creating your own set of products will be profitable if you think of the long term.

          I believe most of them start as an affiliate was because of wanting to earn fast money in the shortest possible time and do not want to spend or invest money when starting online. I believe to be a successful internet marketer, it is good to learn the fundamentals to become a successful internet marketer.

          Raymond
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          • Profile picture of the author Eric Louviere
            Originally Posted by leegs View Post

            Hi Eric,

            I believe most of them start as an affiliate was because of wanting to earn fast money in the shortest possible time and do not want to spend or invest money when starting online. I believe to be a successful internet marketer, it is good to learn the fundamentals to become a successful internet marketer.

            Raymond
            I certainly started out as an affiliate for that very reason. I wanted to earn money and did not have or want to spend a bunch of money to get started. I remember seeing an elance project for the writing of an ebook and it was $950!!

            I did not want to spend that kind of money and did not think I was an expert, and not worthy of writing the book myself. So, it was quite a while before I created my first product.

            I learned here on the WF -- from a thread -- that you did not have to be an expert yet, to create your own product. I then went searching for products on how to create info products and bought them up.

            I then realized, it was not a big deal to write and create my own info products. The main driving force to wanting to create my own products, was I was growing tired of waiting for checks to come in as an affiliate. I wanted that instant PayPal cash instead.

            I went to the bookstore and researched my first info product idea. I took notes, ended up buying a book, bought a competitors book and then transformed my notes into my own book on the subject, in my words and in my style.

            I wrote a short salesletter and sold the product for five freaking dollars! It was a PayPal button for $5. I then tested different prices going as high as $29 for the same book I was selling for $5. It sold a lot and I believe the winning price point was around $9 to $11 range.

            I then repeated the process with a new niche and a new book. I focused on niches where people had real problems, like child custody, divorce and other legal situations. I also created some health products as well and other niches.

            Once I had that immediate income hitting my PayPal account, I was never the same again. It did not take long for me to go from that -- to quitting a full time six figure salary job.

            I really got hooked on the copywriting as well. I realized the money was found in the conversions... and if I could convert well... I could drive more and more traffic from anywhere I could find that traffic... and spend more and more on traffic.

            I also bought PLR books and turned them into products as well. I got some public domain books and turned them into products. At times, I had more products than I had time to focus on.

            My point in this post is that it is indeed a process... not a single overnight event. I went through a process to learn this stuff and improve my abilities and capabilities. However, at each growth point, I made a conscious change to what I was seeking to do. It was an evolutionary growth cycle that came from "wanting more"

            Eric Louviere
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            • Profile picture of the author Tyson Faulkner
              I'm sure you can do it both ways successfully, but having my own products is something that I took way too long to do.

              I think the most important thing is building a business no matter which way you do it.

              On the one hand, if you just want to promote affiliate products, then build a list in the industry of your choice and promote products to that list. Build your business instead of just sending direct traffic to affiliate pages.

              But having your own products gives you much more leverage. If you have a product that you offer 100% commissions on (or whatever it is) you can get affiliates like you said and have them help build your list.

              If you just want to promote affiliate products then you can't leverage affiliates like that.

              It can be daunting to create your own products though, especially if you're not the "expert" in your field. But like you said Eric, you don't have to be the end-all be-all expert in order to teach something, you just have to know more than your customer.

              And if you can't do that, you can always interview an expert for a quick product! That's what I did. That way you get some credibility and can be confident that you are delivering a high value product to your customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author bhuff85
    I like to do a mix of both. Having your own products gives you a lot of leverage and the ability to make a boatload of money if you do it right. Plus, the initial launch of a product can give you a nice surge of cash, which I'll usually use a portion to re-invest into building niche websites that provide me with passive income.

    This way, I can work on building my brand (which may not be ultimately profitable at first) while I'm still earning money passively to help cover my costs and provide me with a sustainable income while I work on other projects.
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  • Profile picture of the author finestultimate
    Just finished with my first e-book, hmmm whats next
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  • Profile picture of the author Targeted Traffic
    Originally Posted by Eric Louviere View Post

    PS - My son is now 3 1/2 years old and I'm very thankful to have had
    the luxury of NOT having a day job so I could spend so much time watching him
    grow. The Warrior Forum has a lot to do with me having that blessing
    And a wonderful and most worthy inspiration...you work not only with your brain but with your heart...thanks for this great thread!
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  • Profile picture of the author terrencewan
    There are a lot of factors before
    you want to create your own products
    or being an affiliate.
    Example your preference, time, skill,
    knowledge, etc.
    So i suggest work out something that
    is best for you and don't follow others,
    as we are all different.
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    • Profile picture of the author KV05
      Great thread Eric, thanks.
      Very inspiring.....
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  • Profile picture of the author T086
    I definitely prefer my own product, I like to know what it is I am actually promoting.
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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Van
      Originally Posted by T086 View Post

      I definitely prefer my own product, I like to know what it is I am actually promoting.
      Well you could just buy the product. That's what I do, that way I can recommend what I'm promoting and go into a lot more detail when pre selling it.
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  • Profile picture of the author warriorsam
    Definately would like to be products owner,
    control over the product and lion share of the NET sales

    but the hard part would be creating the product
    its does take time to create one
    whereby affiliates can start selling on day 1
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  • Profile picture of the author gskesavan
    I do just affiliate marketing for now. Creating own products requires more time so I have to start it before Christmas at least.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ofthemix
    I've done affiliate marketing for a long time. What I love about it is that you don't have to deal with the customer service side of things.

    But, I woke up the other day and realized something that I read a long time ago in Rich Dad Poor Dad, which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone who is trying to get into the entrepreneur mindset.

    I also realized that I bust my ass selling other people's products . . . while they put little to no effort of selling their own products due to my efforts, and once I make a sale, unless it's a niche where I can create a sales funnel with a list, then that one time sale is all I get from that customer.

    People often think that product creation is the more difficult path to earning money online. You have to put in time to create a good product, build a sales page, advertise some, either free or paid. . . and then deal with all of the customer service issues that arise from having your own product (this last one is what has held me back for so long).

    But the truth is that if you have an affiliate system in place where you can recruit other people to sell your product for you, product creation becomes so much easier than affiliate marketing because all you really have to do is get the ball rolling once and then take care of the customer service side of things while everyone else promotes and makes money for you on auto-pilot.

    I just got into the product creation side of things after being an affiliate for 2 years. I can safely say that I've never made $80 in one hour as an affiliate. And I'm really happy that I've finally seen the light.

    Don't get me wrong though, there are some people that bank it as an affiliate, like Alexa. Most people only dream about making as much as she does in affiliate commissions. And if I made that much as an affiliate, I probably wouldn't bother with product creation either, as I'd much rather be on the affiliate side of things.

    But, who do you think ends up with more money in their checking account at the end of the day, the super affiliate or the product creator?
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    • Profile picture of the author Ram
      Being an affiliate is great. I have no problem with newbies starting there. And no problem with continuing there. And, despite what some may have heard, you can make just as much money with affiliate marketing as with your own products.

      But, as an affiliate marketer, you are always at the mercy of someone else. A vendor doesn't pay or late pays. A vendor (or several vendors) shuts down the affiliate program because of some new law in your state. Etc.

      With your own product, you have a lot more control . And you are less likely to wake up one morning with a major source of income vanished.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I truly hate affiliate marketing. My own products is the way to go for me. I do have a couple of affiliate links here and there, but nothing I put any real effort into.

    I like the quality control aspect of selling your own products. I don't have to worry about whether or not people are getting ripped off. Also, very few refunds.
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  • Profile picture of the author Qamar
    I use to agree more on affiliate marketing but as I grew wiser in my online business journey, I now really feel that products development is the real thing to go.

    Set it up nicely ONCE, and reap the benefits continuously. Set up another one nicely and reap the benefits continuously, rinse and repeat rinse and repeat and 6 figures should become reality.

    Leverage is the keyword here. Thanks to Eric for the eye opening threads.


    Qamar
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