Below is a clipping I took from a hip hop magazine maybe about 8 years ago. It shows record executive Steve Stoute’s 10 secrets to success as told to Jayson Rodriguez in XXL Magazine.
When I took this clipping, I was just getting into affiliate marketing and my drive to success at any cost was really high. I agreed with all 10 secrets shared and decided that I was going to apply them to my new endeavor. I needed to succeed and I wanted these principles to guide me.
I worked part time (I also had a government job) out of my bedroom then and I pinned this clipping near my computer where I could see it.
Also if you look closely, you would see “2010solu” (which stands for 2010 Solutions) scrawled across the clipping. My ultimate goal back then was to go full time by August 2010. I should be making enough money and living comfortably by that time.
Setting a goal like that worked out very well because I ended up going full time in March 2009, a year and some ahead of the target date.
I ended up taking down the clipping during the time when I was working full time from home and took a picture of it for safe-keeping. I recently found this image on a thumb drive and decided to share how Steve Stoute’s 10 secrets to success helped me to succeed as an affiliate marketer.
1. The Pain of Hard Work
The first secret on the list is “learn to fall in love with the pain of hard work”.
My takeaway from this was that affiliate marketing wasn’t going to be easy if I’m going to make the kind of money that will allow me to go full time. I knew that I was going to have to work hard. If working hard made me uncomfortable then I might be tempted to quit so I was going to have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Even to this day, I sometimes push myself to do articles, post to my sites or do research or start a new site in a new niche. I know it’s going to be hard work but that it’s going to be worth it in the end.
I always remind myself about past results from pushing myself and how proud I feel about my work. This gives me the confidence to push on and allows me to do the necessary hard work. When it’s done, it’s done and that leads to the next principle.
2. The Pain is Temporary
“Know that that pain is temporary.” And that is why you should not put off doing what is needed. When you’re finished, you would realize that you can now relax.
The pain is only temporary. Your hard work will bring results and you will be glad that you took the time to do that work.
For me, if the end result is going to be a full time income then I would gladly make myself uncomfortable until I get there because that discomfort is outweighed by a much better feeling of achieving what you set out to do.
3. Do Things You Don’t Want To Do
To get what you want, you must do things that you don’t want to do. This is probably my favorite one of the ten principles. I put it at number three because it’s so closely related to falling in love with the pain of hard work and knowing that the pain is temporary.
If I told you how many of my friends from my country I tried to help get started with affiliate marketing, you’d be surprised that none of them actually did anything. They got excited, probably went through some of the lessons and then quit. None of them wrote any content to my knowledge or asked for my help. What followed were a bunch of excuses.
I could have done the same thing as well but I realized what needed to be done to accomplish what I needed to and I did whatever it took. Just like all my friends, I initially thought article writing or blogging was too much writing and I didn’t feel like I was good enough or if I even knew how to write an article.
So I got to writing articles and it took a bit of getting used to, the pain was temporary and I can now pump out 2000 – 3000 word articles easily. The best thing about it is that I could relax when I was finished and be proud that I had created something and even better is the pay-off – the visits, the sales and commissions that follow.
4. Every Day Matters
Affiliate marketing is a business. An online business.
And as we know the internet never sleeps. That means you’re open for business 24/7. There is always someone looking for information and if everything is set up right, you’re going to get sales whether it’s Monday afternoon at 1pm or Sunday morning at 4:56 am.
You need to be involved in your business in some way every day. Whether it’s writing content, planning the content, responding to discussions on your site or on social media, watching a webinar, researching new keyword opportunities or answering an email.
It doesn’t mean you have to work yourself to the point of exhaustion everyday but you have to at least keep up with what is going on in your business. I believe that there hasn’t been a day since I first started that I haven’t done something that contributed to my affiliate marketing. As long as I had an internet connection, every day mattered.
5. Return Every Email
Steve Stoute believed in returning every phone call. In 2014, communication is mainly by email (in the case of affiliate marketing) and instant messaging so I’m using email for this one.
I always read and respond to every email sent to my inbox through my site’s contact form. If someone wants an answer then you’re not going to give a very good impression if you ignore them. You also never know whether or not they’re going to become your customer.
There are a couple of affiliate programs that I’ve worked with that didn’t respond to my inquiries for payment or otherwise and I ended up not working with them. From my experience, being ignored makes you feel down and less likely to want to have anything to do with the business or person you’re contacting.
I also strive to respond to every comment on my blog posts although few comments don’t really require a response. In any case, you should always try to respond to people contacting you directly for whatever reason.
6. What You Can Do and Can’t Do
Don’t let what you cannot do interfered with what you can do. Another good one.
There are all types of people involved in affiliate marketing. For example, some have English as a second language while some may not be comfortable writing articles.
This doesn’t mean you can’t make it in affiliate marketing. These are just examples of things that make it difficult for you to do what is necessary.
How can you fix this dilemma?
Focus on your strengths and find a solution for your short-comings. I could easily make an 11th principle here by saying “learn what you need to know to get things done.” I’ve always believed in that saying and it’s something I’ve always done.
While you learn though, you should always focus on your strengths and for the things that are difficult, you should look for a way to get them done.
English as a second language? Outsource article writing or research available opportunities and write in your own language.
Can’t write articles? Write these or do video and have them transcribed.
Just don’t let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do. Just like the old saying goes, “if there’s a will there’s a way.”
7. Know What You Don’t Know
This is kind of like what I said above. In affiliate marketing and online business, everyone starts the same place – as a newbie. Even the people having the best success right now heard that they could make money online and started with no knowledge of what was involved.
But they learned what they needed to know from researching niches to writing content. I remember learning SEO back in 2006 and thought it was a brilliant way to make money. I hoped that not too many knew about it and figured if that was the case, I’d be making millions soon enough. I was wrong though but today SEO is a habit for me rather than a secret process.
I learned how to write content because I realized that this was the lifeblood of getting traffic which would lead to commissions. I learned to research a niche because without that, your content would not lead to conversions. I learned WordPress because that was the leading platform for building websites. Whatever I needed to know to make my business thrive, I learned.
It’s not hard learning about online business either. You just have to find the right information. I recommend checking out Wealthy Affiliate which simplifies the learning process and sets you up for success. It’s one of the only places on the internet that I use and recommend as a source of education for building an online business.
8. Respect the Commodity of Persistence
I was lucky to get my first affiliate commission during my first week of trying something I had no idea would work. Most people aren’t so lucky though and they try and try to earn that first sale.
That first commission helped me to really believe that what I was doing could produce a full time income and I struggled for months to earn anything significant. I tried everything from Google Adwords, to forum marketing and blogging but I wasn’t making anything more than a couple of sales a month and there was even a period where I did not earn anything at all for months.
But I didn’t quit. Persistence eventually paid off and now I’m making that full time income I set out to make.
What if I had thrown in the towel? I would still be working for a fixed income that barely got me through the month and probably still looking for a way to supplement it.
So keep trying. Affiliate marketing works and if you have the right training then I believe that you can have an online business that you can depend for as long as you put work into it.
9. Stay Humble
The more successful you become, the more humble you should be.
Success can turn some people into douches. These are the people though that eventually lose traction and end up falling off. Better to stay humble and do the same things you did to get where you are. You now have the opportunity to scale up your efforts and also to help others. Logic says that things will continue to get even better.
One way in which this principle has helped me is that I never think that I now know everything that I needed to stop learning. I’m still a member of the Wealthy Affiliate community since 2007 and still learn new things everyday.
I have never been more grateful of my decision to stay a member as when Google started penalizing websites with their Google Panda updates. Some of my sites got hit and I had to start with new domains. Access to relevant and timely information helped me to avoid what could have been a disaster and it saved me from having to become someone’s employee again.
10. Imitate Successful Behavior
If you respect someone’s success, do not be ashamed to imitate their successful behavior. This a a great one.
There are lots of successful affiliate marketers online but there are a few that I actually respect and follow their work. Kyle and Carson are two of those and also Travis Sago who introduced me to Wealthy Affiliate and article marketing, in so being a catalyst for my success.
When I think about this principle, I always say that no matter how much money the scammers have or make you believe that they have, they’re not successful people because if you imitate them then you’re going to fail eventually either by destroying your own reputation or ultimately losing out on the opportunity to make a stable income.
These ten secrets to Steve Stoute’s success as a record executive really did help me succeed in affiliate marketing and as I share them here, I hope that they will inspire someone to take up the challenge and really go for success whether it’s in online business or some other money making venture.
Which one of these principles do you identify with the most? Or tell me about another one that really helped you in the comment section below.