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I was first introduced to the idea of affiliate marketing on social media and, as a result, that’s where I did a lot of my initial research and recon. When I thought I had a grasp on the idea, the concepts, and the tools needed, I went a little further. I paid for a training program that included step-by-step instructions how to get set up and ultimately get started.

I thought I had a decent grasp on what I would be needing to get this business up and running; however, the biggest surprise to date has been just how important incorporating an online marketing platform would be to my business.  A marketing platform is a software program that houses and organizes all the tools needed to run an online business, such as a website, email autoresponder system, and funnel. 

A little while later, I decided I would be blogging so I would need a website that had blogging capabilities.  I also would need to create a lead magnet (or magnets) to offer as free gifts to my subscribers, therefore I would also need the capability to send that lead magnet to my subscribers. I was a bit naive and unintimidated with these new tools and I felt confident that I could learn the technology fairly easily. That is partially accurate.

I was ready now to roll up my sleeves and begin the work. The technical, back end work. This wasn’t just watching training videos in my free time, this included watching training videos and then taking the action steps one-by-one to create a functioning website/funnel/autoresponder system.

I’ve eluded to this before in other posts, and it’s appropriate to repeat it here again: not everyone sets up their affiliate marketing business this way.  Not everyone creates a website, utilizes a marketing platform, or email marketing system.  I know some affiliate marketers have been able to get up and running more quickly than what it took me (weeks, perhaps days even) without this type of setup, or back end system.  Sure, you absolutely can set up your business without those tools; however, I wouldn’t recommend it. For me, this is the difference between creating a business versus having a side hustle.  For me, the benefit of setting my business up this way far outweighed the risk, not to mention the skills I would be learning would become invaluable in the future as I grew and created future businesses.  I am not a technical guru by any means, but what I do know I felt confident I would be able to figure most things out. Whatever I didn’t know, I would rely on customer support or YouTube videos for the rest.

As mentioned previously, I hired Dean Holland as my mentor and signed up for his coaching program.  In his training, there were suggestions regarding a couple different platforms to try.  At first, I started using the one platform I thought would be best.  I eventually realized I didn’t care for it, and I felt lost in how to use it.  Simply put, I wasn’t “diggin’ it.”  No problem… all good… there was another platform I could try.  I wasn’t too far invested in this platform so it was okay to jump ship. I tried the second platform that my mentor suggested.  I did get further down the path with the second platform, but unfortunately, and more importantly, the end result was not to my standards (i.e. not aesthetically pleasing). I know it was personal preference, and the functionality would have been sufficient for what I needed, however I simply was not happy with it.

Here’s where my story starts going off-course.  Luckily, I understood what the goals were when building a functioning website/funnel/autoresponder system so I felt confident that I could still accomplish what I needed to create even if I chose to work on another platform, perhaps one better suited for me.  On a side note: it is also worth mentioning that I quickly discovered there are several marketing platforms available to affiliate marketers, all highly rated and well-functioning platforms.  I’ve since learned in this process, a lot of this comes down to personal preference, and many times, skill level of the user.

So I set out to test drive a third platform.  Fast forward a few days after creating yet a third website, I decided I didn’t like that platform either.  I was now annoyed and irritated with myself for  wasting precious time, yet I couldn’t get past the dissatisfaction with the platform.

I repeated this process two more times.  Let me repeat that: TWO MORE TIMES.  If you are aggravated after reading that, thank you. You feel my pain.  I assure you I was more aggravated at myself than anything. I know myself and knew that if I didn’t love how this was all coming together, I was going to have a hard time moving on to the next phase of the training. 

One of my biggest faults is that when I want something done a certain way, or if I have a creative idea in my head how I want something to turn out, I know I won’t be happy until it’s that way… or at least close.  I was test driving platform after platform only to realize, “I don’t like this one either!”   

I can humbly admit at this point,
I was becoming my own worst enemy.

Here’s a video of my experience with each of the platforms I was test driving.

Looking back on the experience, I should have moved forward with the second platform, just to get the business up and running.  Then later, once I was up and running, I could go back and change to a new one if I still wanted.  Although this would have clearly been the wiser decision, that’s not what Lauren does.  I really, really didn’t want to go back and change platforms, or recreate everything, once I started establishing myself. Even though I will always be tweaking and improving as my business grows, I wanted to set up the foundation right the first time.  Call it a blessing, call it a curse… maybe it’s both. I’m a Virgo with OCD qualities, and this combo has bitten me in the rear more than once. 

And then this happened.... (time to buckle your seat belts, folks… it now gets good).

At this point, five platforms in, I had finally discovered a platform I was thoroughly liking.  The website builder was user-friendly, my website was coming together nicely, and my email autoresponder was functional and attractive.  The end product was coming together nice, despite minor limitations.  I was days, maybe a week or so, away from launching the business and going “live,” when information came to light that stopped me dead in my tracks:

Dean Holland and the Internet Profits training program made a rather explosive announcement that rocked my world: they were now launching their own marketing platform.

Okay, I’m not going to lie.. my first thought was f*#^$!.  Yes, I may have thrown out some rather choice words at that moment.  My reaction to the news was quite bittersweet… I was both elated and annoyed at the same time because I knew what this meant.  It would mean that I would be delayed once again because I would have to create my entire system over again on this new platform.  Under any other circumstance, I would have decided to stay put on the current platform I was on, since I now had found something I liked.  HOWEVER, I knew the launching of this new platform would be massive for my business.  I knew whatever my coach was recommending I wanted to be apart of, especially something like this.  I knew he would be tailoring this entire platform to how I would be setting up my business.

The benefits of using this new marketing platform all the while using Dean’s training (which would be now geared towards using the new platform) was going to take my experience, and ultimately my business, to the next level.  The training was already incredible, but now I would no longer have to translate their training to whatever platform I was using.  Not to mention, when I had questions or would need support along the way, the coaches and the Internet Profits community would be gearing the training towards this new platform.  There were many, many benefits that came from converting over.

In full transparency, my husband was not as excited.  He has been involved in this journey with me since the beginning and all he heard me say was, “so it’s probably going to push me back another 6 weeks…” It took quite a bit of explaining to convince him that making this change was a good thing.  Ultimately that conversation ended with me saying, “you’re just gonna have to trust me on this.”  (Every married person just shuttered when they read that… I know.  It was just as fun saying it as it was for you to read it. <<insert eye-roll here>>) 

Because I was a Certified Partner in the coaching program, I was eligible to join the private launch of the new marketing platform called Affiliate System.  It’s been six weeks now since their announcement, and six weeks since converting over to Affiliate System, and I will say it’s been nothing short of impressive.  Not only does their platform have everything I need to set up my entire business (under one roof), it is very robust, meaning I will easily be able to grow with it as my business grows.  Since I am a founding user of Affiliate System, I will be in a unique position to help guide and train others on the system who join later on.   

Dean Holland ultimately launched all new training and geared it towards this new platform,

... so even though I had to start all over again, this time has by far been the best experience yet.

Not only am I ecstatic with my blog website, I have had someone hold my hand every step of the way as I created an entirely functioning business system. I had to go take the long route to get here, but so far it appears worth it.  The delay allowed me to learn more than I ever wanted to about a multitude of other platforms. Plus, Affiliate System had yet to launch, so it wasn’t as though I could have chosen that to begin with.  It was all in Divine timing.

If you watched the video above, you heard me go through each of the platforms I test drove.  You heard me talk in particular about my attempt at trying WordPress, and how I fell flat on my face.  I was embarrassingly L-O-S-T.

So when I signed up for Affiliate System, there is an option to create a WordPress site within their platform.  Because of the coaching, I was able to obtain the help I needed to get this WordPress site created!  How about that?! Had it not been for the coaching, and my reaching out to my peers for help, I would not have been able to figure out what was needed to get my WordPress site created.  How’s that for irony?

So, circling back round to the title of this blog … the #1 biggest thing I learned when starting this journey is the foundational need for a marketing platform that includes a website (a WordPress site for a blog is even better), funnel system, and autoresponder capabilities (i.e. the technical “back end” stuff).

As an added bonus, the second thing I learned is, had I to do it all over again, I needed to step out of my own way.  Sure, I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time going from platform to platform, and I wish I would have been content with the first platform I tried.  I now know it was all for a reason, and I simply have to express gratitude for having experienced several different platforms.

I would tell anyone that is getting ready to start this journey to be prepared for a technical component beyond that of just social media.  The technical side may not be the funnest part of setting up your business, but it’s absolutely critical if you’re looking to create a well-run business, one designed for long-term growth. Luckily, with the right coach, mentor, or training, you don’t have to figure it out on your own.

And hey, you always have me to bounce things off!

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24 thoughts on “Biggest Thing I Learned When I Started Affiliate Marketing”

  1. It’s good to read that you mentioned there are risks of taking short-cuts in setting up an affiliate marketing business.

    Oh my! Choosing to veer from a proven path is certainly doable, but this time through I decided not to do it “My Way” – at least when it comes to the suggested services and platforms. Rarely have I encountered all-encompassing platforms.

    I would have to say that the work in those other platforms must have given you lots of experience that you could carry forward with you. Even though you kept on changing from platform to platform, I’m jealous of the experience you gained.

    Your tips – including price points in the video are indeed valuable. Having no experience with Builderall, I was thinking ClickFunnels was built-in behind the scenes. But from what you say I’m re-guessing not.

    I must say that I have prior experience with WordPress pluggins that did the mainstream blogging on pages instead of posts – but there were some mini pre-made funnels as well. And yes the bloat that occurs certainly slows down the loading of my pages and it was causing problems at my web host provider. Glad you held off on getting something built for you.

    HighLevel and systeme is definitely foreign to me. And I must say my jaw dropped when you decided to go into a side-by-side comparison of two systems. And I’m in total awe that you did tutorials for the systems as well.

    Yep – customer service IS critical – I’m glad you stressed that.

    Your readers will definitely benefit from the pain you went through in deciding on an appropriate system/platform.

    I’m not married but I got equal enjoyment out of your, “you gotta trust me” statement about Internet Profits own marketing platform lol.

    Your advice is stellar and I’m sure you’ll make your husband (and yourself) proud.

    Sorry for the long comment – but that was prompted by the long valuable post and video.

    I wonder if these comments have a number-of-character limitation lol.
    Robert Klein recently posted…In Spite of OurselvesMy Profile

    1. Lauren Millman

      Robert, you just made my heart jump with joy! Thank you, THANK YOU, for such a valuable comment! I was a bit worried about the length of this post and the accompanying video, so I am so glad you found benefit from it. Never, ever, ever apologize for a lengthy comment… I will humbly and graciously treasure your feedback!

  2. In the grand scheme of things, six weeks is nothing if this is a business you are planning to run for years.

    It is much better to take the time to lay a strong foundation for your business than to have to start from scratch over and over again. When your business starts becoming profitable, your husband will be proud of you.

    So I think you have made the right choice. And I love how firm you are with your husband.

    1. Lauren Millman

      Alan, Thank you for the vote of confidence! Although the journey was irritating, I agree with you that I finally made the right choice!

  3. Wow a lot of chopping and changing there, we you always able to find out during the trial period that it would not work for you?

    In my experience, you quickly ‘click’ with a platform, or you don’t, for example, I love Kartra as a platform, but I know those who do not find it easy at all.

    Now that you have landed on Affiliate System, will you do a side by side comparison using that?
    Tony recently posted…A Picture Paints A Thousand LawsuitsMy Profile

    1. Lauren Millman

      Hi Tony, unfortunately the majority of the platforms I tried didn’t have a trial period. I did ultimately spend a little money on very short lived subscriptions but luckily it wasn’t too much.

      I hadn’t thought about doing a side by side comparison with Affiliate System, that’s actually a great idea!

  4. This is a really good and thorough explanation of the process of getting started, and the different platforms.

    This is incredibly helpful for people who are wondering where they should get started, and what mistakes to avoid – thanks for sharing your experience.

    Also I really like the graphics you’ve designed – you have a knack for it.
    Nathan recently posted…Do You Need to Succeed, or Just Want to SucceedMy Profile

  5. Alison Blaire

    I loved your video, which is packed with tons of great information, and I appreciate your feedback on each of the available platforms. I, too, really struggled with WordPress. It is not user-friendly by any means. And I have learned the hard way to try and only purchase programs that have good customer service!

    1. Lauren Millman

      Alison … me and you, same boat, girl! I had to learn the hard way that a support desk is crucial with these platforms!

      Glad you enjoyed the video!

  6. Lauren, wow that was hugely valuable. You’ve provided so much value in this blog not only with your honesty and transparency about what you went through, but also going through step-by-step each of the systems and what you did. I went through quite a few systems and was pleasantly surprised when I now run everything on one system. The only thing I would say is when new people come and read your blog, it may be a little bit overwhelming for them in terms of a very long blog plus a 30 minute video. This is something I’m struggling with at the moment is by the time I say what I want to say the plug is very long. I’m thinking about chopping it up into two or three parts. I thought the video was fantastic and would warrant its own YouTube channel where you could link people to it , and they could watch it there. Your presenting style in the video is very good and very clear. It’s great to see your previous experience using these tools is now helping you and others in the affiliate marketing world. You’ve been on quite a journey and I wish you great success as you doing really well. The look of your blog is very nice and clear, and I have also subscribed to your newsletter and look forward to Your insights. Thanks, Atif

    1. Lauren Millman

      Atif, thank you so much for the feedback! I’m absolutely taking everything in that you have suggested. I’m quite a “wordy” person, and I have been accused of writing way more than I ever need to, haha. At one point I thought about chopping this into two separate blogs, a Part 1 and a Part 2, but ended up deciding against it. The video embedded is a link from my YouTube channel. I’ve considered re-doing the video and making it shorter, but I’ll just sit with it for now. I have a feeling I will re-do the entire concepts from this post in due time, as I become an “expert” on one platform. I figure I can come at these concepts from a much different angle then, and hopefully less lengthy! 😛 Thank you again for engaging and reading the post – I always cherish your comments and feedback!

  7. Eleanor Hope

    I am sure there are many of us in this niche who feel your pain, I joined InternetProfits perhaps 5-7 years ago, became certified, and left, returning for this current project.

    Something has to be said for that journey of trying all those other platforms as I think it helped us to see what we wanted and what we felt was important. In other words, there was growth and development.

    I will come back to view your video, do you have a YT channel?

    1. Lauren Millman

      Hi Eleanor! Thank you for visiting and commenting! I’m simply honored! To answer your question: yes, I have a YouTube channel: @LaurenMillmanOnline. (I don’t think the social links on my page are working yet, my apologies).

  8. I feel humbled and in awe at the experience you have gained in testing out all those different platforms. WordPress is the first one I’ve ever used and I’m pretty impressed so far. You must have amazing patience and perseverance to keep reproducing your sites so many times. Looking forward to following your progress and learning more from you.

    1. Lauren Millman

      Andy, I actually and literally laughed out loud when I read your comment: Patience is something I do not have very much of! Haha! I will say… if it had been anything else in my life, there’s a 99% chance I would have given up and walked away. However, in all seriousness, I think it came down to the fact that I was dedicated and absolutely committed (as I am still) to this process. I’m actually quite enjoying the process and the journey so, although this was irritating, I knew I would eventually get it right. Thank you for the kind words and I’m glad you’re enjoying my posts!

  9. Denny Medeiros

    Wow Lauren,
    That’s a lot of platforms but you can’t say you didn’t gain skills while using them all 🙂
    I too have used a few different ones in the past but not for affiliate marketing.
    The Affiliate System is by far easier to use, better functionality and so much more it can be used for that we don’t know yet! Great job! So awesome your husband supports you as well!
    Until your next post!
    Denny

    1. Lauren Millman

      Thank you Denny! I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying Affiliate System as much as I am! It was a journey (to put it mildly) to get to this point, but it appears it was worth it ;-P I’m excited to see you’re following my blog, I am truly honored and humbled!

  10. You are not alone! We have a very similar path and the hardest thing for me is being patient. But, I trust Dean and the many successful people who have adopted his advice and this new platform. I hope that we all enjoy the success that it has been proven for so many. Your honesty about your journey is inspiring and I wish you much success. I will be following your path as I bet I can learn a lot form you and your approach. Thanks for providing your insights!

    1. Lauren Millman

      Thank you Ernie! I appreciate the vote of confidence! It’s nice to hear others have encountered the same or similar experience and lived to tell the tale! I know we can all lean on each other as we grow and learn!

  11. Karen Elissabeth

    Hi Lauren, I love all the valuable content in your post, Well done!
    I can relate to the platform-hopping lol. I went through WordPress, Builderall and System.io
    before being fortunate enough as a Certified Partner of Internet Profits to be able to enrol in the Beginners Advantage of Affiliate System that in turn like you led me back to WordPress lol. This time though I have not struggled and become frustrated with WordPress like I did the first time. I hit bumps yes, but nothing like my first attempt when honestly I couldn’t see the forest for the trees 😂
    I am sure you feel the same in that for all of it…none of it is wasted, we gathered experience and learned lessons. Whether we are taking one step forward or 2 back, the 2 back are really still steps forward because of the lessons we learned.
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading through your post, you are progressing well and I look forward to coming back to read more about your progress.
    Have a fantastic week 😄

    1. Lauren Millman

      Thank you Karen! I appreciate reading that you had a similar journey, and you as well “made it through to the other side” 😂. Just like you, WordPress was a scary and dark place when I tried tackling it on my own. Being in the coaching program is absolutely a game-changer! I couldn’t agree more that all of it was a lesson, or lessons, learned. Well said.

  12. Hi Lauren,
    What a story. In all this I think you have become an expert at all the different affiliate marketing systems. Wonder if there is a market for this??
    In the end, if it matters to you and you are not fussed about adding extra time into your journey then all is ok.
    I am pleased that the new Affiliate System meets your approval. I quite like but dont have the breadth of experience that you have gained.
    All the best. Neal
    Neal recently posted…Becoming an Affiliate Marketer – Lessons from a (senior) gym junkieMy Profile

    1. Lauren Millman

      Thank you for the very kind words, Neal. I don’t know if I would ever call me an “expert” in these other platforms, haha… but I did gain quite a lot of valuable insight into them. Now that I think back on it, the biggest thing I took away from jumping from platform to platform is that they all were quite different from one another, and each were very popular amongst certain groups. I learned that one’s personal preference plays a large part when choosing a platform… coupled with access to quality support. Had I know then what I know now, I probably would have made my decision to choose one or the other over different parameters than I did at the time. Thanks for stopping by! I look forward to seeing you back here again in the future with more updates!

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