The Pros and Cons of Earning Money with
© Copyright 2002, Angela Wu
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"I don't have a product. I don't even have a product
This is one of the most common concerns I hear from people
interested in starting a business on the Internet.
obvious that you need to sell either a product or a service
in order to make money.
That's where affiliate programs come in. Many
start online by joining affiliate programs; you sell
another company's product or service for a commission.
Affiliate programs are available in practically every
market you can think of. If you want to see what I
to view an extensive
list of affiliate programs.
Affiliate programs are a convenient way for people to
get a 'jump-start' online without the time, effort, and
money necessary to create a product of their own.
they're not a 'perfect' solution. Here's a list of the
positives and negatives to building an affiliate business...
Negatives to affiliate programs:
- You have to share the profits. You earn a
which typically ranges from a measly 5% to a
50%. The rest of the money goes into the
- You pay all marketing costs. The company is
you with a product or service to sell; it's
your job to
actually make the sales. This is no easy
you're a natural-born marketer! You can
choose to use
only free methods of advertising... but these
aren't necessarily the most effective.
get expensive -- and you pay for your own
regardless of whether or not it results in any
- You can get 'sidelined'. Building an affiliate
is hard work; if you intend to eventually
product of your own, you may find that the
program is taking up too much of your time.
- You're at the mercy of the company. You rely
on them to
pay you on time - or at all. If they
decide to change
commission rates (usually to lower them!), you
have no say, except to cancel your affiliate
And finally, if the affiliate program decides
shop - well, you're simply out of luck.
Positives to affiliate programs:
+ You're free to concentrate on just one thing:
The affiliate company handles everything else -
inventory, delivery, customer service, and all
stuff that goes with the territory. This
is one reason
why affiliate programs are so popular; they
give you the
opportunity learn how to market online without
overwhelmed by everything else.
+ Startup costs are lower than if you had your own
There are numerous costs associated with the
development, and delivery of your own product.
you run an affiliate business, the only thing
responsible for is marketing - and you have the
of using free methods only.
+ You get a 'head-start' while researching product
Affiliate programs allow you to sell a product
while you're still trying to come up with a
your own. That's not to say that they're
an 'easy' way
to riches - they're not - but you can learn how
while earning an income.
+ Multiple streams of income. A bunch of
cheques can really add up! It's even
better if you
already have your own product or service and
to use affiliate programs to add another stream
Many people from all walks of life make hundreds or even
thousands of dollars every month through affiliate programs
alone. Affiliate programs aren't perfect, but they
a great option for those who are willing and able to put in
the necessary time and effort.
Angela is the editor of Online Business Basics, a
guide to building a profitable Internet business on a
beginner's budget. Each issue is packed with
tips and tools to help you to nurture your business to