So, you’ve decided that you’re done working for the man and trading hours for dollars. You’ve decided that you’re going to strike it out on your own in the vast land of opportunity called the Internet and you’re going to make money online. Good for you. Welcome to the club.
Now you’ve got to make one of the bigger decisions as it pertains to your online aspirations. Are you going to create your own product (or service) for the purpose of turning a profit? Or are you going to promote and sell the products (or services) that have been created by other people? It’s not like you can’t do both, but it’s still a rather fundamental question you need to ask yourself before moving forward.
Pride and Profit of Ownership
Let’s start with option A. When you create your own product, whatever that product might be, you have full control over what it is and what it contains. It could be a book (here’s a quick guide to self-publishing in case you haven’t read it). It could be an online training program. It could be a web app or a system as a service. Regardless of what it is, that product is wholly yours.
And that sense of ownership is a big part of why you might be leaving the 9-to-5 world behind in the first place. You’re no longer working for someone else; you’re working for yourself. It also means that someone else isn’t go inserting or changing any of that content without your knowledge and it means you won’t be promoting something for which you aren’t wholly responsible.
The other major positive to having your own product, and this really cannot be understated, is that you’ll get a piece of every sale, if not the entirety of every sale. Even if you choose to sell your product through a third-party marketplace or make use of affiliates (more of that in a second), every time a customer opens his wallet, you get your taste. And that’s really satisfying.
Selling Other People’s Stuff
Having your own product isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, however. Even after you conquer the challenge of creating the product in the first place, you’re still responsible for the logistics and administration. You’re also responsible for getting the reach, attention and marketing that you need in order to generate those sales.
And if you’re completely new to the game, you’re going to have a hard time convincing new customers to buy your product over someone else’s. Who are you and why should they care?
This is where affiliate marketing becomes a huge boon, not only among those just starting out, but also among established professionals like John. When you promote the products or services of someone else, you don’t have to absorb all the development costs. There’s far less risk involved, because you didn’t have to invest the time, money and energy to create the product in the first place.
The other major positive is that you can automatically tap into an existing brand, one that is already established, trusted and respected in the marketplace. Is someone more likely to buy an Apple iPhone or some random new smartphone that you sell under your own brand? The answer is clear enough (at least most of the time).
But do you know what’s the problem inherent with the affiliate marketing model? You’re not only the one selling exactly the same product. There are tons of affiliates and resellers peddling iPhones on the Internet and the same can be said for just about everyone else. These other affiliates become your competition and you no longer have the competitive advantage of a unique offering.
Making More Money Online
Where does this leave us?
The truth of the matter, as is oftentimes the case with making money on the Internet, is that there is no single answer that is going to fit with everyone all the time. As a general rule of thumb, unless your product is truly unique and you have great marketing muscle to back it up, you’ll likely enjoy greater success as an affiliate than as a product creator. Leverage the systems and supports that are already in place to your advantage and, when the time comes, you can launch your own product too.