A good dialogue popped up in the Yakezie Public Forums asking, “What’s your blog’s primary income source?” With so much opportunity everywhere, I encourage every blogger to minimize direct advertising as a source of income and focus more on affiliate income in 2013 and beyond. Affiliate income is safer, more passive, and more sustainable over the long run. Simply find a product you use or like, and incorporate the product into your writing. You may even create your own affiliate product. Once you build a large enough portfolio of relevant posts, your income will grow handsomely.
For those who have bad memories, or simply choose to ignore all of Google’s algorithmic changes in 2012, just know that Google is not going to let up. Their viewpoint is if you didn’t take heed to all that happened in 2012 and adapt, don’t be surprised if your blog gets hammered in 2013. I continue to maintain we can do whatever we want on our own sites. However, make sure your advertisement is at least relevant to the content of your blog. The blogging word for the year is CONGRUENCY.
AFFILIATE REJECTIONS HAPPEN ALL THE TIME
As you spend time looking through the suite of affiliate offerings by CJ, Linkshare, FlexOffers and more, you will inevitably come across an affiliate program which is either closed, or where you have to apply. I’ve been rejected from affiliates numerous times before. In the beginning, my pride was hurt. But now that it’s become as common as women rejecting me at a bar, I move on like water off a rhino’s back. Let me share with you my latest example.
Imagine being a client of an affiliate for 15 years. In these 15 years, you’ve paid probably close to $50,000 in insurance premiums. You’ve got a half a million dollars in CDs parked with the affiliate, letting them use your money to make them more money. Your grandfather fought in World War II as a Captain, and your father served in the Vietnam war. Meanwhile, your blog has generous content on insurance, CDs, investments, banking, and retirement.
Financial Samurai sounds like a perfect fit for USAA, a financial institution whose roots come from serving military families’ insurance needs doesn’t it? I thought so, but I was wrong. After applying to become a USAA affiliate, I was rejected. After asking my affiliate manager to inquire again on my behalf a couple months later, we are still on ignore mode.
I’m disappointed because I’m really a fan of USAA. However, I also understand that affiliates reject blogs all the time because they are inundated with applications. One affiliate I’ve developed a direct relationship with told me that over 500 blogs applied to become an affiliate in just four weeks! Clearly, she can’t approve them all. I’ll never know why USAA rejected Financial Samurai, but I was later hinted that given the deep rooted conflicts between the Japanese and the US military, it was probably best for USAA not to associate with any Japanese-themed blogs. Interesting, and entirely plausible.
When you are rejected from a job opportunity, you will never really know the real reason. You might be too old, too young, too pretty, too ugly, or too annoying. Your interviewer might dislike you for going to a rival University where he got rejected. Your interviewer might be a racist deep down. Whatever the case may be, you will usually get a common courtesy rejection letter based on too many qualified candidates, or not the right fit. The same goes with getting rejected from affiliates.
ACTIONS YOU SHOULD TAKE ONCE YOU ARE REJECTED
* Don’t take it personally. Due to the sheer volume of applicants, it is impossible for an affiliate to thoroughly review each publisher. More often than not, they will assess your name, homepage layout, and that’s it. It is pointless to be upset or sulk. Business decisions are not personal.
* Find alternatives. There are plenty of substitute affiliate options you can choose from. I spent the next 30 minutes going through other opportunities and found eHealthInsurance as a fantastic insurance affiliate replacement. They are based right here in the Bay Area and provide some of the cheapest health insurance online for the unemployed, the person in transition, or the entrepreneur. Furthermore, their payout is much higher.
* Move your money. If you are a client of an affiliate, and the affiliate rejects you, then you should consider taking your business elsewhere. I will be withdrawing all three USAA CDs once they mature over the next several years into CD investment alternatives. CD rates are way too low anyway, and this rejection is an opportune time to look elsewhere. I’m also going to check out auto insurance companies like GEICO and StateFarm this year as well. If your affiliate doesn’t think you are worthy, there’s no point staying with them because the internet has made moving money so easy.
* Prove them wrong. Although the affiliate doesn’t believe in you, you believe in you. I’m now motivated than ever to write the best insurance, investment, banking, and retirement related articles on Financial Samurai. Every time I feel lazy and want to stop at 1,500 words, I will remind myself of my USAA rejection to continue doing research to write even meatier articles. I’ve used my rejections at the very beginning of blogging every single day. The Yakezie Network was born out of rejection.
* Stay professional. I’ve had a handful of affiliates accept Financial Samurai after Financial Samurai was first rejected. Unless the product is outstanding, I courteously decline their offer because I’ve already put in place affiliate products that I’m already using in my articles. I’m deeply loyal to those who believe in me since the beginning. For products you do still use after being accepted, now is the time to negotiate a higher payout rate. Most times, they will accept.
ALWAYS USE REJECTION TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Rejection is one of the most wonderful things to experience. Without rejection, life would be easy. We wouldn’t create as much and we wouldn’t try so hard. The best way to know whether you are testing your limits is to get constantly rejected. Eventually, you’ll find the right affiliate product. Just don’t stop until you do.
I’m currently consulting for Personal Capital and Motif Investing. I’m also considering consulting for Prosper Lending as well in the second half of 2015. Once you develop a relationships with your affiliates, then you can gain tremendous insight and earn extra income.