Can Affiliate Marketing Be a Career? (And When To Quit Your Job)

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Hello, I'm Hannah & I'm part of the editorial team here at Commission Academy. I launched my first successful affiliate business in 2014 & now I enjoy sharing the information I've learned to help others do the same. I hope you enjoy my posts! :)

Quick Answer: Yes, affiliate marketing can be a career (and it can make for a very lucrative career too) but don’t expect overnight riches as it takes hard work, consistency and determination to succeed.

Looking at some of the top earners who use affiliate marketing, it’s common to assume it can be a full-time job.

The idea of earning from home sounds like a lot of fun because it would free up time while reducing transport and clothing expenses… And without a boss, it could enable you to live life on your own terms.

But many websites claim almost guaranteed success with affiliate marketing, and that’s simply not the case.

From selecting an affiliate program to producing content, a lot of work is required for you to earn good money.

Can affiliate marketing be a career? If you’re up to the challenge, this is a question worth exploring & that’s exactly what we’re going to dive into below.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

To better understand whether affiliate marketing can make for a full-time career, let’s firstly run through a quick overview of the process that’s actually involved.

Affiliate marketing is a strategy where an affiliate promotes a company’s products or services in exchange for a commission if a successful transaction is made.

An affiliate marketer is someone who provides promotional content on their platform.

How To Earn Commissions Online

It is a type of marketing strategy that brings income to the affiliate while boosting the company’s sales.

And that might lead you towards assuming that it is a win-win situation for both because this strategy enhances the earning potential…

However, affiliates have the burden of persuading visitors to take appropriate action that will lead to sales.

The required action is usually a completed purchase or a successful sign-up.

How Do Affiliates Get Paid?

Compensation is paid via commission, which may vary based on the conditions of the affiliate program.

Ecommerce firms often pay affiliates based on a revenue-sharing model, in which affiliates get a certain portion of the customer’s checkout total.

Some companies might not offer a per-sales commission but a fixed rate instead.

This setup revolves around a pre-agreed amount based on the traffic generated by an affiliate to the company’s website.

Many affiliate marketers prefer the standard performance-based commission because on the surface it appears as if it can earn them more money.

But on the other hand, the fixed-rate setup is not necessarily bad despite often offering seemingly lower earnings.

It allows the affiliates to earn some money even if the engagement doesn’t result in sales.

Parties Involved In The Process

Here are the parties involved in the affiliate marketing process:


Companies are the ones that offer affiliate marketing programs to increase sales or memberships.

Manufacturers or retailers usually represent the party the affiliates have to reach out to in order to be a member of their programs.

Affiliate Marketers

The affiliates are responsible for promoting via blog posts, product reviews, articles, paid advertising or social media posts.

Various marketing efforts around the items or services are required to persuade their followers.

Most affiliates often utilize written content combined with pictures and, in some cases, related videos.

Target Market

No sales or commissions are possible without the involvement of customers.

Affiliates have to make an effort to reach as many potential buyers as possible to boost the chances of conversion.

Those with a large following before joining an affiliate program have a significant advantage over those just starting out in the industry.

Building an audience is arguably the hardest part because it involves creativity, reputation, and dedication.

Popular Types of Affiliate Marketers

Before asking yourself whether or not affiliate marketing can be a career, learning about the different types of affiliate marketers is essential.

You might be surprised, as some of these methods can even fit around your current day-to-day life without comprising your studies or day job. In fact, many people do affiliate marketing in their spare time.


As the name suggests, influencers are people who tend to appear on the front page of social media sites.

Generally, they produce viral content that captures the attention of a multitude of users.

Due to the success of this new form of celebrity, even traditional actors and models are joining the trend.

That’s why influencers and affiliate marketing are a natural match.

They have a considerable following, so every post made will reach more people than a standard website or magazine at a faster rate.

Most influencers make their fortune on Instagram and TikTok, where the majority of young people spend most of their time in.

For better or worse, young social media users tend to be impressionable.

Because of that, it’s easier for a popular public figure to promote a product successfully.

In addition to affiliate marketing, influencers can earn more as companies today pay top dollar for sponsored posts.

If you are confident enough about what you can offer, you can have a career as a social media star, which comes with countless earning opportunities.

Website Publisher

Not everyone is suited to be an influencer. One needs to be of the right personality, creativity & appeal.

Also, the life of being a public figure means privacy and anonymity are out of the question.

While influencer marketing is often seen as having the most potential in affiliate marketing, building a website with promotional content can also bring decent revenue.

And one advantage of having a designated platform is the freedom to promote just about anything.

Applying SEO techniques is also advisable, making the website more visible & attracting visitors from search engines, which is actually one of the main methods we teach here at Commission Academy.


Bloggers and influencers have similarities, but the former usually don’t use social media to post their content.

If you are starting a blog for affiliate marketing opportunities only, you might be better off creating a review website instead.

People read blogs to learn about the blog owner’s perspective and personal experiences.

Blogs often have unbiased opinions on products and services, making them authentic and trustworthy.

And as you probably already know, trust is hard to establish.

If your audience sense that you are just hard-selling rather than sharing an experience, you may lose them.

On the other hand, an informative, well-written blog focused on educating can do wonders in making some money out of affiliate marketing.

Can You Quit Your Job With Affiliate Marketing?

If you feel good about your chances of success in committing to affiliate marketing full-time, you’ll find that it’s not as easy as it looks.

That said, leaving your stable job can be an option, provided you fulfil specific conditions.

Once you start earning an income level that regularly matches or exceeds your full-time job salary, it’s a good indication.

However, it’s not the only factor worth considering, as your success is also dictated by the following you have.

Assess carefully if your audience grows consistently.

Keep in mind that followers come and go, which means that your earnings can be in jeopardy if the visits or engagements are not increasing.

You can’t quit your job even if you are getting good money for just a few months (this is a huge affiliate marketing mistake!), as you always have to account for changes and updates.

We recommend re-evaluating your career options at least one year after starting affiliate marketing.

This duration ensures that your numbers, like income, followers, and engagement, have more weight.

If you assume that every month will be as profitable as the last one, you are being overly optimistic… And we would always recommend that you build up a big pot of savings before taking the plunge, just in case things don’t go as planned.

But we are leaning very much on the side of caution here & we don’t want to be buzzkillers because the truth is that for many, affiliate marketing can prove to be much a much better career than their current full-time job.

They can get more time, more flexibility & they can potentially earn in excess of 10x more than their current salary.

What Are the Challenges of Affiliate Marketing?

There will be some challenges to affiliate marketing success, just like in any industry or life in general.

Being aware of these hurdles can prepare you better once you become an affiliate marketer.

Tough Competition

As a popular digital marketing method, you will find that countless individuals are competing for audience and conversion.

Many blogs and websites have promoted this marketing strategy for a long time.

You will be up against more experienced affiliates that know more and have a substantial online presence.

You also have to consider that because it’s easy to sign up for a program and build a website.

In other words, there are also newcomers that will do the same thing, which further saturates the market.

Inconsistent Revenue

There is no guarantee that a performance-based source of income will provide consistent revenue.

Some accounts claim that many affiliate marketers earn zero dollars for months, which is not reassuring if you want to do it full-time.

The volatility of making money online is a double-edged sword.

You can have months where the revenue pays more than a regular job, but low to no income is also possible.

Expecting a consistent rate can only lead to disappointment, especially if you are just starting.

Requires Patience

When it comes to affiliate marketing, you need to have a mindset that success won’t happen immediately.

The first challenge in this industry is bringing traffic to your website or your social media account.

Sure, a few individuals have an easier time building an audience, but most affiliates don’t have that luxury.

It takes time to solidify an online presence, reputation, and skills related to content-making.

Finding a Niche

Even if you have prior experience in sales or copywriting, there is no guarantee that affiliate marketing will be a lucrative opportunity.

Research is a must in choosing niches because you need to find the balance between popularity and personal interest.

This is one of the reasons many affiliate marketers quit after some time. They either fail to focus on a profitable niche or only promote products they are familiar with.

This aspect is connected to patience, as you won’t easily determine the subjects that will work for you.

By properly researching your target market and evaluating your knowledge and preferences, you will determine the categories that fit your setup.

Can Affiliate Marketing Be a Career?

Earning online has become a full-time job for many individuals.

But the harsh reality is that not everybody has what it takes to be successful. I mean, the process of affiliate marketing isn’t difficult, but it takes time to begin earning & many people just aren’t willing to wait around.

Unfortunately, we live in a society where people want things “now” & if it doesn’t happen instantly, they throw in the towel. It’s the same with weight loss – some people go to the gym & they succeed in their goals because they stick it out, whereas others go once a year & never again.

So, in answer to the question “can affiliate marketing be a career” the answer is yes, it can, if you’re willing to put in the work required to make it happen & stay consistent with it even though you may not begin earning for some amount of time.

And the good news is that if you are willing to do what it takes, we’ve got a free course that’ll show you step-by-step exactly how you can make it happen. 💪

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