So, you have seen ads on TV late at night advertising that you can make millions of dollars simply by promoting other people’s products or services online via affiliate marketing (such as the Short Cut to Millions commercials you see from time to time about people striking it rich with their program). Or maybe you are looking for work at various job hunting sites like career builder and see a catchy work at home opportunity that seems to have your name on it (Herbalife is an example of that). Whatever the program there is out there, just about any work at home program will say that it is easy to make millions simply by promoting whatever the companies have to offer. Of course, if you are like a typical newbie at affiliate marketing (like I am) when you do take up that program and start working on earning commissions, you will probably find that successfully generating sales and income (let alone big commissions) can literally be easier said than done. Also, depending on your skill level, making good money online can literally take days, weeks, or even months before you can get good results. I have done affiliate marketing since last July with no prior sales and marketing experience, and I can tell you first hand that making money online certainly does take lots of work. In this article I will cover at least 7 obstacles you will face when it comes to generating income online. Note this article is completely in my own opinion, and you are free to agree or disagree with me.

Challenge #1 Finding a profitable niche to build your website around

If you are looking to make relatively quick commissions online, you will find that many veteran affiliate marketers all say that you must find a highly profitable niche to build a website around. A “niche” is basically the general theme that your website is built around. For example, if you built a website about your favorite vacation spot (we will take Seattle, Washington as an example), and wanted to build a website about Seattle, then your niche would be “Seattle”. Ideally, most expert affiliate marketers (i.e., Ken Evoy, Rosalind Gardiner, Average Joe Marketer, and others) will tell you that you need to build a website around a narrow niche that is often searched for that gets low results on search engines. For example, if you have dogs, and want to build a website centered around dogs in general, you can do that, however if you do a search for “dogs” in most search engines (such as Google or Bing), you will find that you have millions of different websites you are competing with for the top spot on search engines (they say you should appear within the top 20 results of a key word search on search engines for best results via search engine marketing). Also, most search engines give all new websites a page rank of 0 initially (especially Google), and so your site would be near the far end of the search results unless if your site climbs in rank. Of course, finding the best possible niche to build a website around is not easy either as even many long tail key words are getting taken (especially popular niches). If you were looking for eBooks on dogs for example, you would realize that when you do a search for “ebooks on dogs” at Google, you would find that there are more than 4,000,000 different listings for websites on dogs. So, finding the perfect niche to build your site around will take time and energy. Of course, there are ways to simplify the task as there are tools out there to help you find the perfect niche. This brings us to obstacle number 2.

Challenge #2- Competing in more competitive fields-

This type of challenge is certainly common when it comes to turn key websites (or those websites you can purchase from various providers, such as Yourbizwebsites, Amazon, and plug in profit sites that come loaded with prebuilt commercial content covering various subjects and all you really have to do is to plug your affiliate id on the links you have and just promote the site to make profits, instead of having to build the site from scratch) as well as most multilevel marketing firms where you have a sign up link that you have to promote to build your downline. So, let’s say you decided to take a competitive field in affiliate marketing and build say a website on the Xbox 360. While the Xbox 360 is a hot topic to build a website around, you will find that there are many other websites that are on the Xbox 360, but you do it anyways. You can go that route, but search engine marketing alone is probably not going to be the best route to go at first (unless if you can build up your inbound links and thus your search engine rankings in a short amount of time). Of course, there are ways to market more competitive niches, such as building a website around multiple topics (if you build a generic website), doing paid advertising (where you can literally buy traffic to your site for a certain amount of money), as well as straight up guerrilla marketing (i.e., blogging, social networking, posting classified ads, door to door sales, etc). Of course, it can take both time and money for you to build your client base or get any real results with this strategy. Also, if you opt to do paid advertising, some key words are more expensive to bid on than others (ideally you want to get as mainly clicks for your dollar as you can get for as low price as possible, but some key words are bidding at $1.00 per click or higher, which you will need to spend more money for optimal results, and can get expensive after a while). Even free traffic building techniques do have their obvious pros and cons (and can take a long time to generate good results depending on how you promote).

Challenge #3- Low skill level

Ideally if you plan to take up affiliate marketing, it helps to have some successful marketing experience, preferably in a commission sales setting. This is because being an affiliate marketer is essentially a commission sales job, which means you get paid for what you sell (though some companies pay on a per click or lead basis). Naturally, some products and services will be easier to sell than others and it certainly does pay to know what you are doing when you take up marketing. If you are good with commission sales programs, then affiliate marketing can be very profitable for you, whereas on the flip side, if you are a total newbie, earning commissions can definitely be easier said than done, and it can take months, weeks, or even years before you get good results if you don’t know what you are doing. On the plus side, there are mentors out there (even with some of the companies that specialize in affiliate marketing), but many of them do charge their clients for their services (which can be expensive depending on who is mentoring you). There are also videos, eBooks, and regular books out there, but not all of them are free, and some may be more helpful than others. It might be easier to not go at it alone, and recruit people into your business that can help you get started. For example, if you don’t know how to make a website, then you could hire someone to build your site for you and you can focus more on promotion, list building, and budgeting. Of course, I do not recommend affiliate marketing to anyone who does not know what they are doing and have little or no prior commission sales experience (unless if you are willing to hire people to help you promote your business).