When it comes to making money online, I’ve tried it all.
Affiliate marketing, freelancing, paid surveys… You name it, I’ve tried it.
So, in this blog post, I’m going to put affiliate marketing head to head with freelancing, outline the pros & cons of each & explain the reason why I decided to give up on freelancing to pursue my career as an affiliate marketer instead.
Meaning that if you’ve found yourself at a crossroads wondering whether you should choose affiliate marketing or freelancing, you’ve landed in exactly the right place to find out the answer.
And we’ll begin by ensuring you have an absolutely crystal clear understanding of how each one works.
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What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing involves promoting products or services online in return for commissions.
This link would be unique to you, meaning that if somebody clicked it & made a purchase on the website, the company would know it was you that sent them there & they’d reward you with a commission.
I like to refer to it as “freelance advertising”. You’re advertising products or services on behalf of companies & you’re getting paid based on the performance of your efforts.
And that’s obviously great, providing that your ads perform.
But if you don’t know how to promote your affiliate links online effectively (& don’t have access to a great affiliate marketing course like ours), you could find yourself doing a lot of work for little reward.
On the other hand, if you do learn how to promote your links effectively, affiliate marketing has the potential to make you a millionaire.
What Is Freelancing?
Freelancing involves selling a skill to a client in return for a fixed payment. This could be writing articles, doing graphic design, building websites or transcribing videos.
And, as you can imagine, the more advanced the skills you have (and the better you are at them), the more money you can typically earn as a freelancer.
For example, whilst you can still earn a decent amount of money by writing articles, you’re likely going to earn a lot more as a full-stack web developer.
But that’s not necessarily always the case because freelancing does also require you to be good at marketing your services as well.
So you may have desirable skills, but you also need to know how to get clients.
My Personal Experience With Freelancing
When I first began my affiliate marketing journey, I also tried my hand at freelancing for a good couple of years to make sure my income was “solidified”.
After all, I was unsure how stable (or unstable) income generated from affiliate marketing could be.
So, because I’d learned how to build websites, I decided to offer this service to others as a freelancer through the website Freelancer.com.
And was I successful?
Well, yes, in short, I did pretty well with freelancing & earned a relatively handsome amount of money.
It was by no means anything life-changing, but it was enough to cover me in the instance anything went wrong with my affiliate marketing income.
However, to earn this “nothing special” level of income as a freelancer, I had to work around the clock on many different projects.
And the reason for that was that the industry was so competitive, which meant I had to carry out jobs for really low prices to stand out from the crowd & get chosen by the project creator.
It was tiring, not very rewarding, & I eventually found myself suffering from burnout.
Especially because clients would try & squeeze every last bit of work out of you for the money, meaning they would request change after change & you would be forced to do it through fear of getting a negative review which could ruin your chance of getting future freelancing jobs.
But the real “throw in the towel” moment came when I got scammed by an employer.
I spent weeks working on their project, only for them to later run a chargeback on the payment they sent me, which meant that the money got clawed back from my account.
As you can imagine, I was furious.
But thankfully, by this point, I’d gained a bit more faith in my affiliate marketing income & I became brave enough to start focusing solely on that instead.
After all, I needed a break… And I’d seen so many affiliate marketing gurus boasting about the potential for passive income generation that it can provide.
Now, over 10 years on, I can safely say I have never looked back.
Freelancing has a place & it helped me out for a little while, but there’s absolutely no doubt about it in my mind, affiliate marketing is the better option long-term.
Why I Believe Affiliate Marketing Is Better
One of the primary reasons I believe affiliate marketing is better is the fact that it truly does enable you to generate passive income.
You see, freelancing is stressful. But it’s made worse by the fact that you feel you can never catch a break.
Because you’re working for such little amounts of money, you’re essentially forced into working every hour that you can to make ends meet.
If you stop working, the money stops coming in & worse, clients start complaining.
Whereas with affiliate marketing, it’s completely different.
I mean, sure, affiliate marketing can still be stressful from time to time… But if you stop working, the money can still keep coming in.
In fact, due to a bit of content creator burnout, I actually took a break for FOUR years.
I mean, saying that now still sounds kind of crazy. What other industry could you be in that enables you to get paid for four years without working?
But that’s not the only benefit. There are many more.
- You don’t have to talk to anybody (or show your face)
- You don’t have to deal with clients complaining
- You decide how much you want to earn, not the employer
- Your income can be scaled as high as you want
- You can earn from things you actually enjoy
- And you don’t have to trade your time for money
Can You Make a Living From Affiliate Marketing?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, you could make a very good living from affiliate marketing & with the correct methods, you could even find yourself becoming a millionaire.
Of course, it will not happen overnight, but with hard work & persistence, you could certainly make a living from affiliate marketing.
And the best part is that you don’t need any prior skills or experience. Anybody can do it.
So the potential to earn a living from affiliate marketing is definitely there & I can be a testament to that as I’ve been doing affiliate marketing full-time for over 10 years.
In fact, if you’d like, you can even see what a day in the life of an affiliate marketer looks like right here.
Affiliate Marketing vs Freelancing: Pros & Cons
Whilst I personally believe affiliate marketing to be 100x better than freelancing in the long-run, it is not without flaws & freelancing does still have some pros.
So let’s take a look at the pros & cons of each below to give you an easy to view side by side comparison.
Pros of Affiliate Marketing
- Potential for your income to become passive
- You can earn as much as you like
- You can work on your own terms
- You can make a living from things you’re passionate about
- You can remain anonymous
- There are no skills required to get started
Affiliate Marketing Downsides
- It can take a little while to earn your first commissions
- There’s no guarantee of revenue
Pros of Freelancing
- You can get paid quickly if you manage to get work
- You could potentially find long-term work
- Finding work will be difficult without highly-desired skills
- You’ll typically be paid low amounts for your work
- You will have to communicate with employers
- You will have to work to deadlines
- There is no opportunity for the income to become passive
Is Affiliate Marketing Beginner Friendly?
One of the biggest reasons people seem put off affiliate marketing & lean more towards freelancing is because they think affiliate marketing isn’t friendly for beginners.
However, in actual fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Affiliate marketing is hands-down one of the best business models for beginners, especially when you have access to step-by-step training like you do here at Commission Academy.
So don’t be put off affiliate marketing simply because you think it will be challenging.
I can tell you, from experience, that freelancing is more challenging overall. More importantly, it is more stressful & less rewarding in the long-run.
So whilst freelancing may seem like a tempting opportunity because you can earn money relatively quickly (if you manage to get work), affiliate marketing will work out better if you stick with it.
But, just as I did, there’s nothing stopping you from doing both.
You could get become an affiliate marketer & at the same time, take on some freelancing jobs.
That way, you could grow your affiliate marketing business in the background & use the freelancing work to provide a bit of stability.
Then, as your affiliate business grows, you could gradually wind down your freelancing efforts & begin reaping the passive income as an affiliate. 🤑
The Bottom Line
In my opinion, affiliate marketing beats freelancing hands-down. It’s less stressful, more flexible & gives you the opportunity to earn as much as you like.
Freelancing, on the other hand, can enable you to earn some money relatively quickly but will likely see you suffering from burnout in the long run & getting massively underpaid for your efforts.
So if you’d like to start affiliate marketing, be sure to check out our free affiliate marketing course.
In it, we walk you through the process of getting set up step-by-step, right from the very beginning.
But overall, whatever you decide to do, I hope that you found this post helpful & if you have any further questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.