before_you_startOftentimes, affiliate marketing beginners have a lot of misconceptions about what it takes to start an affiliate marketing business.

Many think that you can start a website and magically begin earning money without putting in any real effort, while others envision that effort as a “one-time push” to get the site going, and then plan on ignoring it for years.

You shouldn’t be surprised when I tell you that neither of these is true! Here are a few things all affiliate marketing beginners need to know about the reality of building a successful affiliate business.

Success Doesn’t Come Overnight

The first point I really want to hammer into your head is that affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme.

You will NOT earn hundreds of thousands of dollars in a few weeks, and you will NOT be able to earn anything if you don’t put any effort in to doing so.

Affiliate marketing is a legitimate business sector, and is a $4.5 billion market, accounting for a significant percentage of all online product sales.

Like any real business, success takes time to develop. Do not expect to begin to earn any money before the 2-3 month mark, and realistically you won’t see consistent income until month 6. This is normal, and has to do with how website traffic grows over time.

If you can stick through this initial lull, you’ve already beaten out 80% of the bloggers out there, and are on your way to real success.

The Path is a Rollercoaster, Not a Straight Line

Especially during the first few months, your journey with affiliate marketing is going to be a rollercoaster ride.

If you’ve never built a website before, you’ll probably be ecstatic when you see your first traffic come in, and then you’ll be bouncing off the walls when that traffic converts to your first sale and you earn your first dollar or two.

Then time will pass and you’ll feel stuck. Especially during months 3-6, when most newbies expect their site numbers to shoot through the roof, you’ll find your traffic is fairly static. You’ll feel discouraged when you see “only” 20 visitors a day, and if one month’s traffic or revenue is lower than the last’s, you’ll be discouraged.

The trick is simple: don’t give up!

This up and down will continue for the life of your business, so you need to know how to handle it. Soon you’ll be saying you “only” have 100 visitors a day, or 1,000 visitors a day. Stick with it and you’ll continue to see growth.

There Are Communities and Resources To Help You

This up and down (both psychologically and in terms of traffic and revenue) is one of the hardest aspects of internet marketing.

It’s important that you have a support network available to help you. While this could be your friends and family, I recommend you also seek out a community of other affiliate marketers who know exactly what you’re going through and can help out.

The best community I’ve found is Wealthy Affiliate, which has a free starter membership and training as well.

I hope this post helps you understand a little more about the reality of starting your affiliate business.

It is possible to earn significant, passive income with affiliate marketing, but I don’t want anyone to think that means you can earn millions without working for it. Unrealistic expectations are one of the biggest causes of burnout, so know what to expect before you get started.

You can click here to read more about how to decide if affiliate marketing is right for you.

If you’re ready to get going, consider these free beginner classes to get you started!