Everyone dreams of a magical part-time hobby that is low maintenance and provides recurring revenue. Learning affiliate marketing can certainly be a great way to start a website business in your spare time.

As you start your business, however, you’ll soon find that it’s easy for time and costs to get away from you, and that “spare time income” can easily become full-time losses. Here are two ways to avoid that trap.

Start a Website Business Tip 1: Set a Financial Budget

One aspect most individuals overlook when just starting out is how and why they should set a budget, both in terms of soft costs, like time and energy, and hard costs.

It’s easy to get trapped in the mindset that “oh, the domain is just $10…” or “the hosting is only $5 a month,” and nothing seems to be a major cost. Remember that those little costs can add up quickly.

A realistic minimum financial commitment is probably going to be in the $50 a year range (for domain + hosting), but that is pretty minimal. As you start to grow your business, you’re probably going to want to invest in some affiliate training courses, keyword tools, and other helpful software along the way. Only you can make the decision, but more often than not, having a handful of premium tools can really pay off in the long run.

Start a Website Business Tip 2: Track Your Time

Soft costs are as important as hard costs.

The most oft-overlooked cost of building an online business is the time that you, as the owner, put in. Just like with hard costs, soft costs can add up quickly, and since you’re not writing a check, they can be easy to forget about.

I strongly encourage you to keep track of your time as you build your business. While you’re not going to earn your time-value back in the first few months, eventually you should be ‘breaking even’ in terms of a reasonable hourly wage to profit payout. If not, it might be time to look elsewhere for that extra side income.

Not only that, but tracking your time lets you stick more closely to a personal time budget. Decide on a weekly amount of time to dedicate to your business. When you’re working on your business, ONLY work on your business.

Setting a fixed time limit will help you stay focused, be more productive, and will take away the stress of thinking, “If only I spent another hour on…”

If you follow the two practices above, it is definitely possible to start a website business in your spare time. No matter what you do, make a commitment and stick to it. Like any business, affiliate sites take time and energy to prosper.