One of the most common questions newbies have, including myself, when jumping into the exciting world of affiliate marketing is almost impossible to answer.
The question being, how long it takes to earn something online. This is usually followed by how to be able to maintain that income.
Although it is hard to give an exact time frame, we still like an estimate, which gives us a goal to look forward to.
This is why I thought I’d find out how it felt for the those who’ve been living off their online income for several years!
I asked 33 super affiliates: “How long did it take you to make your first online dollar and what was your biggest obstacle to stabilize your income?”
Here are their answers:
“It took me 4 months to earn my first online dollar, which I did through advertising. The biggest obstacle to stabilizing income has been about finding reliable sources which can provide income every month without large variations.”
– Dave Schnieder from Ninja Outreach
“I started making money online back in the mid-90s. One of the very first ways I made money online was by creating 468×60 banner ads for people in the AOL Web Diner chat room. This was way before online payment systems like PayPal were around, so people would actually send me a physical dollar in the mail. I soon found better ways to make money online through affiliate marketing, Amazon and Google Adsense. You can see screenshots and more stories in my first affiliate checks article. Once I started focusing on creating my own sites and scaling out with content, then my affiliate earnings continued to grow month over month — first with Amazon, then with CPA affiliate marketing.” – Zac Johnson from Blogging.org and ZacJohnson.com
“My first dollar online came from a website about 8 years ago that helped unemployed people find jobs. At that time I barely knew about all of the different monetization strategies, so I just launched the website and after a few months, I gave up and worked a regular job.
Since then, I’ve taken the whole idea of making money online more serious and really studied to understand how I can continue to make a living from it.
In terms of my biggest obstacle to stabilize my income, it’s mostly been reducing all of the spending I do with freelancers and making sure I’m working on the right projects. There have been a handful of websites/projects that I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on, only to abandon and move to the next idea. I think the key to stabilizing income is research a LOT before jumping into a new project to make sure it’s perfect, then only spending resources on that one project.”
– Ron Stefanski from OneHourProfessor.com
“This all depends on the way you approach blog monetization. In theory to make a dollar you just need one visitor. In practice it can be a bit more difficult. The main obstacle really is that you need a way to spread the word about the value you provide. You need to do this consistently in order to grow your fan base. You need a fan base of people that trust you and see you as an expert in your field in order to monetize a blog. And this is where we come back to the monetization methods (I’ve collected the best here). If you for example sell a book or a service just that first purchase will be a great starting point.” – Marko Saric from HowToMakeMyBlog.com
“It took me around 6 months to make my first online dollar. I didn’t start my blog in order to make money blogging, it was purely just a hobby. However, after earning that first dollar online, I was hooked!
“I actually made my first dollar online quite quickly, probably within the first month, but it took me nearly two years to turn that into $1,000 in a single month.
“I guess I was nervous to put myself out there.
Stability is an issue because you are always at the mercy of the organizations you affiliate with.
They can change the program whenever they want. Now that I have my own product, I hope to have less of that!” – Hilary from PullingCurls.com
“I made my first online dollar back in 2005 from Google Adsense and my goal every year has been to build a larger business while also trying new and more challenging things. A lot has changed since 2005 and the main thing I’ve been focused on lately is on building businesses selling digital and physical products. When you really focus in on solving a pain point that you currently face it’s a lot easier to build a business to solve the needs of others that have that pain point. Beyond that I also run multiple businesses and they all help collectively drive revenue from multiple diverse locations.” – Chris Guthrie from UpFuel.com
“Like the most successful sources of online revenue I made money on the back of a self built blog that was based on a hobby and true passion. It was this that turned me on to online marketing some 17 years or so ago. Stabilizing this was somewhat more difficult though and that is only done through great content and hard work. Ultimately, you have to answer a need. Whether that need is entertainment, expert commentary or helping others meet their goals – you must put in to get out.” – Marcus Miller from Bowlerhat.co.uk
“I made my first dollar fairly quickly. I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but it was weeks after I launched my first niche site.
If anybody’s been in IM for a long time now, and have had trouble making their first dollar, I have a free mini course you can take to learn how you can get started with niche sites.” – Chris Lee from RankXL.com
“It took about five months to have my first real online income report – and it was for $61.83! I am still incredibly proud of that first report. This income came entirely from affiliate sales. Like many other bloggers, I slapped up some ads on my site when I first started blogging and it took me forever to get my first paycheck this way. Once I realized this wasn’t a great way to earn income, I quickly started exploring affiliate programs where I could write about products and services I believed in and share that information with my readers!” – Kristin from BelieveInaBudget.com
“It took about a month to make my first dollar online. It was on an Adsense based niche site and the keyword research was terrible! I had no idea what I was doing. Later I moved on to Amazon Affiliate Sites which is more my style.
The biggest obstacle in stabilizing my income was protecting my portfolio of sites from Google penalties. Your income can go from $10k per month to $10 per month overnight.
You should know your risk tolerance and don’t do things that exceed your risk. Let me give you an example – If you use PBNs, then you might face a Google penalty. If you can’t handle losing the income from that site, then don’t use PBNs.” – Doug Cunnington from NicheSiteProject.com
“I made money online with almost every way possible now, but my favorite and most consistent income came from blogging. It took me about 3 month to get my first affiliate sale, but after that it all went much smoother and the sales started coming more often.
The biggest obstacle for everyone (including me) is consistency and hard work. You need to keep pushing if you want to succeed. Even when you are feeling lazy and not motivated, go and work on your business, you’ll be glad you did later on. Also, make sure to have a plan and goals set up (long term and short term, write them). That way you have a clear path to follow and it becomes much harder to slip and give up.” – Drazen Prastalo from IncomeMesh.com
“I’ve been blogging for over 10 years but never had any idea how to monetize my blog or make more than $100 with affiliate marketing. Two years ago, I stopped trying to find offers, and started just openly and honestly talking about what I personally use myself, regardless if there was an affiliate program for it or not. Now with the Travel Like a Boss Podcast, and my personal blog JohnnyFD.com I make on average $10,000 a month or more each and every month with affiliate income.
My suggestion, look to see how others are successful instead of figuring it out on your own. Create value first with your visitors before trying to monetize them. Never sacrifice long term trust for short term profits.” – Johnny Jen from JohnnyFD.com
“It didn’t take me very long to earn money online because I started with the path of least resistance which was reward sites that would pay me for things like reading emails and taking surveys. So I made my first dollar online pretty quickly from that respect. In terms of making money online from my sites as a business, I don’t remember because it was so long ago. Like anything in life it took time. I was just very patient to see it through.
My biggest obstacle to stabilizing my income online was understanding how to get consistent traffic. But that problem was resolved when i learned about SEO and email marketing. Once I learned how to rank my content it became pretty simple. But I took it one step further by capturing email addresses so I could re-market to the people that may have left my site and never came back.” – Eddy Salomon from WorkAtHomeNoScams.com
(Eddy is also a member of Wealthy Affiliate)
“I didn’t make my first dollar online until about three years after I started researching internet marketing. I was 19 at the time. I’ll never forget it – I had setup a website a few weeks before and was working on my content. I laid down for a nap because I was tired (I’ve always loved naps way more than I should) and when I woke up, I had made a commission of over $70.
I was hooked. And that’s where I finally “broke through”, with a site that eventually grew to make $2,000 to $3,000 per month. I used that as a platform to build other sites as well, and although that was close to ten years ago and internet marketing has changed dramatically, I’ll never forget it.
My biggest obstacle has always been… me. I struggle with the same things that every aspiring internet entrepreneur struggles with: focus, doubt, shiny objects, consistency, discipline, etc.
It’s a journey, and every year I get a little bit more focused, a little more confident, a little less distracted by new projects, a little more consistent, and a little more disciplined.
I just take it a step at a time, like I recommend everyone else to do, and eventually it all adds up to a better “me” that’s not as “in the way” of success as he was last year.” – Ian Pribyl from StoppingScams.com
(Ian is also a member of Wealthy Affiliate)
“I made my first $2.35 by the end of my first month and is was a commission from a dog hair clipper, it wasn’t even a product that I was actively promoting!
My biggest obstacle was all of the distractions that are around… It wasn’t until I stopped partying, put down the phone for social media and stopped watching TV/playing games – THEN I started seeing the results because my focus was more on content creation rather than content consumption.” – Colton James from DigitalTimeFreedom.com
(Colton is also a member of Wealthy Affiliate)
I know what prevented me from making money sooner online. Chasing one shiny object after another. As soon as I found the right training and left all the false promises and scams behind, then and only then did I start making money online.” – Leo from NetwiseProfits.com
“The first dollar came relatively quickly. It took me years, however, to make consistent “good money.” The game changer for me was following the advice of a mentor. He gave me an action plan that worked.
Which is really the main challenge of making money online: being able to cut through all the BS and find the stuff that actually makes a difference. Do that, and making dollars online is easy.” – Brendan Mace from BrendanMace.com
“It took around 4-6 months. Can’t remember exactly as it was a while ago now.
3) Not giving people a reason to come back – I was building a social following at the time, but what I really needed to do was to build an email list.” – Adam Connell from AdamConnell.me
“It took me around 3 and a half months before I made my first $1 online and it has really grown from there. I also had many obstacles that I was faced with as I tried to stabilize my income.
Just to name a few, being consistent with writing content and finding a balance between work and everyday activities going on in my life.
Working from home has been a dream come true for me, but I find it can be really challenging at times. I hope this helps you out and for more details on my success feel free to check out my blogs here at WA.” – Scott Newkirk from AworkAtHomeBusinesses.com
(Scott is also a member of Wealthy Affiliate)
“My first earnings came from Google Adsense. I don’t remember exactly when I reached a dollar, but it was an exciting process.
The biggest challenge for me was juggling so many things at once, but that’s also what has brought me good fortune. I advise everyone to diversify their income streams and hustle while they can.
We just don’t know what could happen tomorrow.” – Sydney from Untemplater.com
“There are multiple scenarios for my first online dollar so I’m not sure if the first 2 I mention below will count. LOL.
I kinda flirted with online money making in different situations.
– It was 1 month into my AdSense account. I got an invite to AdSense when it first started back in the early 2000. I created a blogger blog, put in a local TV ad that had a cool song then added the lyrics. It was a loooooong time ago. Never did anything with it. I just thought it was “cool” back then. I got the first dollar there basically from my content. It was a wow moment.
– I did retail and sold wireless landline phones within 1 week using a classified ad site. That can also be counted as my first $.
– When I really got into the online space, I got my first $ after 3 months. I decided on going with affiliate marketing and using SEO, which was new to me. It took me a while to find a niche, learn SEO and test my theories and strategies. I got my first commission on a micro niche and the rest was history. I got to learn on the fly and test out all my theories with SEO and digital marketing as a whole.” – Dennis Seymour from Leapfroggr.com
“It took me 4 months to earn my first dollar. The first 3 months were spent building out something way too big!
The biggest obstacle was me not focusing on something small that added value to a small group of people.”
– Jon Haver from AuthorityWebsiteIncome.com
“I can’t say that it took a long of time to make my first online dollar mostly because I have a person who is much longer in this niche and he helped me to achieve first results very fast. A lot is changed since that time. In the middle of 2000-x we earned very a good income from directories. After Google released Penguin algorithm, directory submission almost dead. I think everyone remember how it was important for trusty website to get a link from DMOZ but today I’m not even sure that this directory is still live.
If you want to be successful in affiliate market niche, you should be aware of the latest trends and changes.” – Evgeniy Garkaviy from MarchesHour.co.uk
“It took me around 6 months to make my first $15 dollar and my biggest obstacle was staying focus on one project.
So my best recommendation is focus on one single biz model and try to make it work.”
– Tung Tran from CloudLiving.com
“It took me around 12 years before I made a cent. I was just stumbling around with no direction making random posts here and there. When I finally did start making money, I was in the right place at the right time.
Getting a stable income is easy–go get a job.Being an entrepreneur means you can often make a lot more than you can at a job, but you have to weather the ups and downs that go along with being an entrepreneur!” – Jeremy West from SpendBitcoins.com
(Jeremy is also a member of Wealthy Affiliate)
“It took about 2 months from idea to first dollar. I had signed up to one of the affiliate networks and was promoting “make money online” offers with TERRIBLY written emails to my small list of 50 people. However I continued with no sales, writing emails and building the list (slowly…) each day…
Since then I have stabilised my income by focussing on 1 project 100% until I could systemise and outsource BEFORE moving onto the next one, then slowly, over time, your efforts compound… and you become rich (not their yet ;))” – Tom Hunt from VirtualValley.io
“It took me 3 months to make my first $5 sale, and about 18 months to go full time.
I think the biggest hurdle to having stable income for me was having a high enough volume of content.
This allowed me to get small bits of traffic from multiple keywords rather than having one or two “golden goose” keywords that has fluctuating rank, thus inconsistent income.”
– Nathaniell from OneMoreCupOf-Coffee.com
(Nathaniell is also a member of Wealthy Affiliate)
“In affiliate marketing, I didn’t make any money for quite a while- I want to say around 6 months. The main challenge at first was getting traffic, then qualified traffic, then conversions. The biggest obstacle was definitely getting sustainable amounts of traffic to the point were the returns were somewhat stable enough to at least know what to expect. The thing about affiliate marketing is that it is a huge up-front investment of time and resources. Rather than getting paid by the hour or by the project, you put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears in order to be paid later. In most cases, much later. So besides getting a sustainable amount of traffic, the other challenge was being motivated enough to stick with it. As with anything, the first time is always the hardest because you don’t know what to expect and if it is worth sinking that much time into it. But, like anything in life, if you are motivated enough it will pay off in the end.” – Harris Schachter from Optimizepri.me
“It took me for 4 weeks to get one content writing project that paid me $50 to $100. My biggest obstacle is actually building my online brand. In our competitive industry (SEO and digital marketing), it takes a lot of hardwork to get to the top of the game and make sure that clients would perceive you as someone who knows what you’re saying and is good at what you do.
For the past 2 years, building my brand enables me to compete over other companies that offer the same services. Expertise is what builds and keeps trust over time.” – Venchito Tampon from SharpRocket.com.ph
So there you have it!
As you can see, time is almost irrelevant when it comes to making the first Dollar. Did you find similar traits in these answers? Did these answer your question?
Will you take their advice to make your business kick off? Have you faced similar issues?
Share your thoughts below in the comment section!