What’s Better–Your Own Product or Working as an Affiliate?

What’s Better–Your Own Product or Working as an Affiliate?

sellThere are plenty of opportunities to create your own products or to sell continuity products as an affiliate. The ideal situation is to do both/  This way you have more exposure and all your eggs are not in one basket.

You may want to start thinking about putting together your own lucrative products; however, if you may not have the time right now.  Your goal with a continuity program is to add another stream of income to the one you already have, or it is to transition into a new career while still working in your old one, until this one is sufficient. You can find an affiliate program and offer products in the field of your interest.

Let us take a look at the advantages and drawbacks of both the affiliate programs and creating your own product.

Selling as an Affiliate:

To make the most of this opportunity, here are some things to consider:

Look for products that convert well. Some affiliate programs and networks provide conversion data, so evaluate any data you areprovided (this is also a good research opportunity if you are considering selling your own product). Ask your colleagues for some recommendations. If you are going to invest your time and resources into recommending a long-term product, make sure people readily buy it.

Make sure the program pays recurring commissions.  Not all companies offer recurring commissions on recurring billing products. Check that they are available before you start promoting or you might be in for a surprise. If you are paid a large one-time lead fee or finder’s fee for a customer, it might still be worth it but realize there will be no recurring income opportunities.

Look for independently run affiliate programs – as opposed to affiliate networks – for some of the best recurring commission opportunities.
If you cannot find an affiliate program, look for a reseller program. There are many companies that will allow you to private label their services/products and for a set or yearly fee give you a custom website that sells their products. You create the branding, bring in the customers and take care of the rest. Web hosts, website builders and plenty of physical product providers create these types of opportunities. Search for “X product + reseller program” to find what you are looking for.

Make sure you work with companies that deliver awesome customer service, reliability and quality. If possible, be a customer of theirs first to ensure everything runs smoothly, cancellation requests are honored, etc. You want to make sure you only send referrals to companies that treat your referrals like gold or it could turn into a reputation nightmare for you.

Once you find companies with good products and excellent customer service, they can take care of the rest. With an affiliate program, you do not have to deliver the products/services or provide the customer support. That gives you more time to spend on building up your commissions and selling more and that is really where you should be focusing your efforts.

Remember, this is not just a one-time promo and you are then set for life. It is nice when you can send out a promotion for a continuity program and suddenly have a bunch of people paying a monthly fee, but it doesn’t last forever. Although the drop-off rate varies from product-to-product, people cancel their memberships all the time. If you promote today and have a successful campaign, make a plan to keep it up on an ongoing basis.
TIP: Schedule successful promos into an autoresponder, make some static content on your website promoting the product, post search engine optimized product reviews on your website; add promos to the ebooks/reports you distribute, etc. 

Selling Your Own Product:

Selling your own products gives you more control over the process and likely will result in higher conversions, as the people buying from you already know you and trust you.  But selling your own product requires more work from you. Here are some things to consider:

You have a commitment to deliver the goods and/or services month after month. You cannot just take the money and sit back and relax. That is one mistake that many people make when they make their first attempt at a continuity product. They think all they have to do is bring in a rush of members and they are set. This IS a real business with ongoing work. But do not worry too much–I have tips for minimizing your workload coming right up.

Do not do all the work yourself. If you plan to manage the whole continuity program all on your own, you might find the day-to-day tasks keep you from increasing your customer base.  Additionally, you might just wear yourself out with all the work you have to do. Where possible, get help with delivering customer support, managing/creating the products and delivering the service. 

Here are some areas where you can get help:

  • If you run a membership site, consider hiring an editor that will be in charge of planning and posting monthly content if you are not comfortable with writing, or if you simply do not have the time.
  • If your online membership includes interactivity elements through a forum, for example, hire moderators and contributors. Or you might get some to contribute for free, in return for a free membership or just for the publicity factor.
  • If you deliver physical products, look for a fulfillment company that will package and ship the orders for you. There are many companies out there (just search for “fulfillment company” on Google) that will receive daily reports of your orders, package your products and ship them out. Many of them will also assist you with the refund process as well.
  • If you are printing CDs, DVDs or paper, get a printer who will print and ship out the products.
  • If you are offering a service-based subscription, considersubcontracting some of the services.

IMPORTANT: Do not fool yourself into thinking these things are TOO expensive, especially when you are starting out.

BEFORE you start a recurring product of any sort, you need to sit down and figure out all your costs and price your product accordingly. Include these items in your expenses from the very beginning so that you can calculate your per subscriber cost and determine a healthy profit margin for yourself. If it is not cost-effective to hire out some help, scrap the project and find something more profitable.

Even if you decide to do all the work to start with, make sure your profit margins allow you to hire help when it becomes necessary.

Make sure that you do not over-commit. In addition to the extra work recurring income can bring (but keep in mind, the extra work also brings in EXTRA income), make sure you do not overdo it. 

In an attempt to wow their customers, many sellers pile on the value making it difficult to keep up with what they offered. It is much easier to ADD perks at a later date than it is to take away perks from your members, so start small. Make sure you carefully plan your workload and expenses to achieve maximum profit with a comfortable level of work.

Start Your Own Affiliate Program: Instead of just doing all the hard work

Start Your Own Affiliate Program: Instead of just doing all the hard work for another company as their affiliate, get affiliates on board promoting your products. As you can imagine, recurring commission products are attractive and if you have a good product that converts well, you will be able to find plenty of willing promoters. 

You can now play around with the thought of creating your own product or looking into affiliate programs that may be of interest to you.  Whatever you choose, remember it is a commitment to give the best service you can for a product or service you truly believe in and the rest will follow.


About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.


  1. This is incredibly useful information, especially for On The Side bloggers who are looking to get a little extra income while they work full time somewhere else!


  2. Brilliant post and something Ive been thinking about recently, thanks for the post it really opened my eyes x

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