Building a Real Business: Tips From 9-5 Land

October 8th, 2012 § 2 comments


(Obligatory sentence about how I haven’t posted in ages + empty promise to keep doing so + you just want the tips anyway so let’s get down to business)

So I’ve been kinda sorta out of the affiliate game for the better part of a year now.  I’m still building and managing campaigns, but I’ve actually taken to doing it in a (gasp!) 9-5 marketing job.  For some affiliates working alone or for themselves is the only thing that matters, and they’ll put up with just about any level of hardship or bullshit to make that dream happen.  For me I can only sit in my apartment in my PJs like a fat slob for so long without losing my mind.

I’ve read a lot of posts about how the FTC “done changed da game”, and how the days of fast cash for the lone wolf might be over as larger affiliates come together to build their teams of super best friends, and dominate the lead volume of the ever decreasing numbers of networks that can even keep their doors open.  Time to build a real business folks; here are some tips, contrasts, and other random observations I’ve seen between AM and the “real world” that might provide some insight for you hustlers that may of never held day job before.

1. Enjoy Your Leanness and Mobility

Compared to running the one man show that most AMs are used to the world of real business moves at the speed of smell.  Have a new idea?  Ready to launch a new campaign?  Go ahead and do it.  Right fucking now. Corpo world doesn’t offer much of the freedom to run on whims or the seat of your pants.  Things take time, planning, and budgeting.  Is this all bad?  Not necessarily.

Next time you have an idea for a dating campaign; imagine yourself having to first wait 24 hours, call a meeting, explain it to a group of people, and then ask them to stop what they’re doing and start building dating creatives ASAP.  Suddenly that drunken idea you had for a campaign may not be worth chasing down instead of optimizing your current winner.

Moral: Use speed to your advantage, Don’t chase butterflies, build campaigns like you actually give a shit.

Spend Other Peoples Money:

In the corpo world money really does grow on fucking trees.  Why not buy the best of the best when it’s on the company dime?  For most companies not overspending on expenses is actually a “goal” and not a harsh reality.  From the free coffee to new software; corpo peeps know what it means to be ballin’.  No where is this more apparent than when it comes to advertising.  The hardcore and oh so beautiful vacuum that we affiliates live in when it comes to measuring campaign success just doesn’t exist for a lot of companies especially when you throw in all that wishy washy branding bullshit that AMs could care less about.

You’ll hear phrases like “lets get the word out”, “It’s okay we’ve got some extra budget to spend”.  Not only are marketing people comfortable with less than exact measurements they’re willing to spend several thousand dollars on mass media advertising in spite of it.

Moral: Don’t get emotional about your campaigns; don’t spend your last $100 hoping for 1000% ROI.  Make rational decisions and don’t be afraid to lose money.  Remember your business has “budgeted” this as an expense and a tax deduction.  So make a deposit to that media buy network and make it rain.

You’re An Entrepreneur: Most People Are Not.

If you’re even reading this blog, launching affiliate campaigns, or devising new schemes to line your pockets with cash then consider yourself a minority in society.  Most people don’t think the way we think.  They want security not risk, they’re willing to trade money for stress relief, they want consistency not revolution.

Working in the corporate environment I found myself with an abundance of free time (which has allowed me plenty of time to do fun projects and essentially get paid to learn.  (Why did I go to college again?) At first I seriously couldn’t understand why people take so long to get the simplest shit done.  Why didn’t they want to take on this new project?  Why can’t they write me that new copy by tomorrow?

Truth is most people in this world have priorities that don’t involve money, success in business, or any type of work at all.  You’ve seen the differences highlighted before about the difference between the rich and the poor etc.  Successful entrepreneurs are passionate and even obsessed with what they do.  The financial rewards are a by product of our hard work and willingness to take on risks.

If you need to hire people to do your creatives, translations, or even join your team as a full time employee it’s incredibly important that you understand how to create a comfortable work environment, create the same sense of ownership that you possess, and understand that most people have very different motivations in life than stacking paper.

Moral:  Just because some people won’t gamble doesn’t mean they won’t work hard.  Hire people who are smarter than you, let them do their jobs, help them emotionally invest in work the way you do, and help them be happy.  If you want to “be your own boss” start by being the person you’d want to work for.

Cheers to the real world,


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§ 2 Responses to Building a Real Business: Tips From 9-5 Land"

  • Jason Parker says:

    You know how you said most aren’t like us entrepreneurs and they want security?

    It’s interesting they see it that way because I see it the opposite way.

    If you’re working for “the man” then you’re depending on him to be a go-to guy and come through for you.

    What happens when they don’t come through?

    You get canned.

    But when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re at least in charge of failing or succeeding.

    I’d rather it all be riding on me than someone else.

    • strov says:

      Thanks for the comment! You’re absolutely right, and in this economy the reality of less security and being at the whim of having your job optimized into thin air is a very real possibility for some. I’ve seen some of it first hand already. I guess another difference worth highlighting is accountability. Entrepreneurs take risks and are comfortable with the consequences; we’ll always live to fight another day.

      However many people find security in their jobs, because corpo world work expectations in general I find are pretty low; it’s tough to screw up to such a level that you might actually get pinked slipped. This is why that sense of ownership is so important, and motivating people to create a few waves can yield great results

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