This is a question that gets asked a lot, and thought I addressed it to some degree in my list of realistic goals for making money online, I think it's something I could dig a bit deeper into.
Because I still ask myself this question to this day.
Crazy, I know.
If you follow my blog, you know that I started my affiliate marketing training back in 2010, and I now work full time for myself.
So I don't quite ask myself, “How many hours until I'm successful?”, I mostly ask myself, “How many hours, days, or years until I'm rich?”
A silly question, I know, but it's not so different that a beginner wondering about success.
Quality Versus Quantity
As you might have suspected, the time required to actually start making a decent amount of money in an online business varies from person to person. Not only do you have to factor in the number of hours, but you also need to look at the quality of your learning/doing time.
If you have 3 kids running around the house while you are trying to write a blog post, you are probably going to make progress at a slower pace than a bachelor glued to the computer for 60 minutes straight with his full focus on what he's doing.
But at the same time, you'll get a lot more done than the same guy who's doing the training lessons while drinking a beer and watching Netflix in the background.
I was the second guy many days.
But what I lacked in quality of learning, I made up for in quantity.
I was working a ridiculously easy job as a grade school English teacher in China, clocking in about 1 hour per day M-F, and 5 hours per day on the weekend. I had all the time in the world.
I started out at about 1-2 hours per day to tell you the truth, and it took me 3 months to make my first $5. But after that I was addicted, and soon started to work 6-12 hours per day building an ungodly amount of niche websites (most of which bombed).
I chose quantity over quality. It wasn't necessarily the “right” thing to do, but it worked for me.
Though these 40 websites I built during that time made very little money, if any at all, I was able to repeat the process of building WordPress sites over and over again. Keyword research was done over and over again. The number of words per minute I typed probably tripled during that time, and while I used to take 60 minutes to write one 400 word article, I was now doing 5x that amount.
Looking back, it was a dumb move, but it got me to where I am today. If I had to do it again, I would focus on one website and do that right from the beginning. My first year as an affiliate marketer was not spent improving my business. It was spent starting new ones over and over again.
*Addition: The advantage was that I was able to try several different niches and see what worked best for me. Lots of beginners worry they have chosen a “bad niche”, and I was able to prove to myself that I had a good one.
So How Many Hours?
Again, you need to look at what your goals are. I like to work backwards.
A huge advantage of being an affiliate marketer is that you can make any amount of money you want. Let's not get ridiculous in the beginning and say a million dollars or something like that. We just don't have the ability to plan that far ahead at this point.
Let's choose something simple, like $100 per day.
Now, look at your affiliate program. How much are you making per sale generated?
If you sell a $10 item and make 5%, you are earning $0.50 per sale, and you need to sell 200 things each day to meet your goal.
What's the best way to sell 200 things?
First sell 1, then another one, then another one.
You'll learn very quickly that high ticket items will help you reach your goal faster. Don't mess with fifty cent items.
If you can find an item that earns you $20 per sale, that's an easy figure to work with. Sell just 5 per day, and you have reached your goal.
There are MILLIONS of people shopping online every single day, spread out throughout the entire world.
It's not a crazy idea that you can convince five people to buy what you are selling. I'm not sure “convince” is the right word, but marketing tactics is another topic for another day.
Your time frame will constantly adjust as you become more clear on how long it takes to rank a post, how long it takes you to write one, how long it takes to research the topic, and how long it takes you to find some good keywords.
You might start out thinking, “Hey, I can do 3 posts per day”, until you realize that it sometimes takes 2 hours to finish a good blog post. Factor in fatigue, eating, responsibilities, etc, and now you're down just 1 or 2.
Is traffic going a lot slower than planned?
You might have to shift your goal of $100 per day by the end of three months to the end of 6 months.
I have built sites and made money in many different niches. I'm very confident that if I dedicate all my energy into one website, I could earn $2000+ per month after 1 year of work, regardless of niche. This is just what I have discovered about my own abilities, and I will be able to refine and improve this over time.
You're Avoiding The Question, How Many Hours?
Ok, so if you really want to know, let's get mathematical.
Plan on dedicating 1 year. Work 5 days a week, for 3 hours per day on average. That's about 800 hours.
That is your goal. I guarantee that if you dedicate 800 hours of your time to learning and doing affiliate marketing, that you will be making money on a regular basis from your website.
So, here's the deal. Keep track of your hours. Write them down on post it notes, or tattoo them on the inside of your arm like the guy in Memento. Whatever works for you, just count down (or up) to 800 hours.
If you are not making money from your affiliate website by that time (and can prove that you actually worked during these hours), I will personally send you a check for $100, which should pay for your next 2 months of affiliate training! Because after you dedicate almost 1,000 hours of your life to something, there's really no reason to give up; success is right around the corner!
Bring It Full Circle
Back to the beginning, where I was asking myself how long until I'm rich. It's not much different than your current situation. I have to decide how much I want to make, how many sales I need to make to achieve that goal, and then put in the time to grow from where I am now.
Personally, I'd like to make $200,000 per year. Now, let's see:
- $200,000/ 365(days) = $548/Day
- $548/ $20(per sale) = 27 sales
I only have to make 27 sales per day to meet my goal! That's not bad!
What are your goals and how do you plan to meet them? Let me know in the comments below. Or check out some other realistic goals for making money with affiliate marketing.