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Tiny steps to success
In the 10 years that I've been doing affiliate marketing full-time, the most powerful business lesson I've learned is that tiny, continuous improvements - tiny steps to success - eventually lead to dramatically high profits.
I first learned this lesson from multi-millionaire John Audette.
When John was building his Internet business, each night before he went to bed, he'd ask himself, "What did I do today to improve my business?"
If he hadn't done anything that day to improve his business, he'd go back downstairs and do something useful - no matter how small.
This article - the first in a series - is aimed at affiliates who are making less than about $1,000 a month. I'm going to show you how to take tiny steps to success to improve your affiliate business. I suggest you set a goal of making an extra $33,000 a year.
I chose the $33,000 a year goal because I want it to be low enough for you to BELIEVE with all your heart that you can achieve it.
You don't have to be brilliant to make a living at affiliate marketing. What you DO have to do is focus on doing the things that earn you commissions. Also, if you keep improving your affiliate business every day, you'll eventually succeed. It may take a while, but if you always keep improving, success is inevitable.
The concept of continuous improvement isn't new. The Japanese call constant improvement "kaizen", Tony Robbins calls it "constant and never-ending improvement". Others have called it the "cumulative effect" and "incremental improvement" or "incremental success". John Reese says: "You must do something every single day towards accomplishing your goal."
Incremental success - tiny steps to success - is a popular concept because it's so powerful. This series of articles was inspired by a report Paul Myers wrote on the topic. He was writing about Internet marketing in general. In this series, I'll be giving specific tips aimed at affiliate marketers.
Here's an example of incremental progress...
Imagine you do something every day to improve your daily affiliate income by a mere 25 cents. Keep doing that - improving your income by just 25 cents - every day for a year. At the end of the year, you'll be earning an extra $91.50 a day.
Those tiny, continuous improvements have pushed your annual income rate up by $33,000.
The first time I saw the enormous power of continuous improvements explained, I found it hard to believe that the figures were correct, so I worked out the calculations for myself. They're correct.
See below the cumulative effect of tiny daily improvements - tiny steps to success.
Here's how your extra daily income will rise if you keep increasing it by just 25 cents a day...
$1.75 (7 days)
$3.50 (14 days)
$5.25 (21 days. Have you formed a habit yet?)
$7.75 (31 days - last day of January)
$14.75 (59 days - last day of February)
$22.50 (90 days - last day of March)
$30.00 (120 days - last day of April)
$37.75 (151 days - last day of May)
$45.25 (181 days - last day of June)
$53.00 (212 days - last day of July)
$60.75 (243 days - last days of August)
$68.25 (273 days - last day of September)
$76.00 (304 days - last days of October)
$83.50 (334 days - last day of November)
$91.25 (365 days)
$91.25 x 365 = $33,306.25 extra a year
By the end of the year, you're earning an extra $91.25 a day, so you're earning at an annual rate of $33,306.25 extra a year.
Of course, your affiliate income won't increase by exactly 25 cents every day. You'll have leaps and bounds and quiet patches. The important thing is to always keep improving what you're doing, so that the average daily increase is at least the 25 cents you're aiming for.
Are you feeling more optimistic?
If your target is 50 cents more each day, your extra earnings shoot up by $66,795 a year.
If you can consistently push up your average daily earnings by $1, you can jump to an extra $133,225 a year.
That's the enormous power of continuous improvement.
So, do what multi-millionaire John Audette did. Do something every day to improve your business.
Make continuous improvement a habit
Make a note in your diary, put a sticky note on your computer screen, use a reminder pop-up, leave a note on your pillow... do whatever works for YOU to ensure that every single day you do some small thing that improves your business. Better still, do a LARGE thing that improves your business a LOT, but at the very least, always do SOMETHING, every day.
I've read that it takes about 21 days to form a habit. (For me, it seems to take a bit longer.) So force yourself to do this every day for a month. After that time, you won't have to force yourself.
After a month or so, one day it will occur to you that you're now always automatically looking for ways to improve your affiliate business. It won't be a struggle any more, you'll just do it. Making continuous improvements has become a habit.
When you sit down at your computer, you probably start the day by answering a few emails, reading a few newsletters, perhaps checking out a favorite blog... You have a break, have a cup of coffee and read a few more emails... If you're not careful, hours can slip by and you haven't actually done anything productive.
If that sounds like you, stop it.
You CAN change your habits. You CAN teach yourself how to be successful.
I urge you to create a new habit. BEFORE you check emails or anything else, DO the most important money-generating task on your list. Even the so-called "urgent" emails can wait. It's YOUR business. YOU make the rules. Don't let other people's emails be your boss. Start every day by doing something that improves your business.
(Always prepare a to-do list of 5 or 6 items the night before so that in the morning you don't have to puzzle over which task to do first. If you put yourself in a position where you have to make a decision first thing, you may be tempted to do nothing or do something easier instead, such as clicking on your email icon. So go easy on yourself - make the decisions the night before.)
When you start work for the day, always start by doing something that improves your business. Accomplishing this task this will give you a glorious feeling of satisfaction, of progress being made, which will put you in a positive mood for the rest of the day.
Try this every day for a month. You'll form an extremely powerful new habit. Focus on doing things that increase your affiliate commissions. Keep doing it, day after day, month after month.
In this series, I'll describe specific steps you can take to improve your affiliate income. You have do your part. You have to work along with me, improving your business every day. Once you've formed a new habit, this will become easy.
After a year of making tiny improvements, you'll have improved your income dramatically and built a powerful base from which you can grow.
You'll probably find that progress is slow to start with. You may hit a brick wall at some stage where you need a lot of determination to keep going, to keep believing that lots of tiny steps to success will inevitably lead to massive success.
However, you may also discover, as I did, that at a certain magical stage your affiliate business takes off and grows exponentially - much faster than you'd ever imagined it would.
Make no mistake - tiny improvements DO lead to huge improvements in income. I can't guarantee what results YOU will get. No one can do that. However, if you keep improving what you're doing, success IS inevitable.
You may have read the advice: "If you want massive success, take massive action." That's excellent advice, but you need time and energy to take massive action.
If you already have a full-time job and other commitments, you may not have the time to do anything massive right now. Instead, you can succeed by making tiny continuous improvements which in total add up to massive action.
Steps to take right now...
1. Think about WHY you want to earn an extra $33,000 a year. Is it to pay your mortgage? Buy a new car? Have an overseas vacation? Pay off debts? Be your own boss? Help your parents? Invest in a college fund? Invest for an early retirement? It's really important that you picture yourself having the extra income and doing something specific with it. Whenever you need motivation, think about WHY you're doing this.
2. Add up last month's affiliate commissions. Work out what your daily affiliate income is.
3. Set a goal now for the extra daily income level you plan to achieve 12 months from now. I'm suggesting $91.25 extra ($33,000 a year) but what you choose is up to you.
4. Set up a simple system for keeping a record of your income and comparing it with your goal income. Place this note somewhere you will SEE it, such as on the wall in front of your desk. On the first day of each month, calculate your daily income for the previous month and compare it with your goal figure. You can use my calculations above to see if you're on target each month. Calculating the figure monthly allows time for natural ups and downs to even out.
Is your instruction manual gathering dust?
If you've read this far, you're serious about affiliate marketing, so you probably already own a good affiliate instruction manual, such as Rosalind Gardner's Super Affiliate Handbook. It's comprehensive and written by a super affiliate who knows what she's talking about. It's a modestly priced introduction to affiliate marketing. I strongly recommend it.
If you're like most people who buy marketing ebooks, your affiliate instruction manual will be sitting virtually untouched on your hard drive.
I strongly recommend you re-read it. Don't just read it, though. Find a quiet spot, without TV or any other distractions, and STUDY it as though you're studying for an exam.
Take hand-written notes of the most important points you need to remember. The physical process of writing seems to do something that typing doesn't do. It helps imprint the message in your brain. Re-reading your own notes 24 hours later will help boost your retention rate dramatically.
Write down action steps you need to take to improve your affiliate business. Let's face it, if you're earning less than $1,000 a month, you've probably paid for lots of good advice that you're not using yet.
Free alternative: If you can't afford Rosalind's affiliate handbook, study my free, 18-step Affiliate Program Tutorial, and take notes. Also, keep reading this series of articles.
Start TODAY, right now. Set your income goal and take action. Start making tiny steps to success an everyday habit.
I look forward to hearing your success stories.
In future articles in this series, I'll describe specific steps you can take to improve your affiliate business to help you reach your goal of an extra $33,000 a year.
The next article will be: "Have you chosen the right niche?"
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Learn from an affiliate veteran.
Your host, Allan Gardyne, has been earning a good living from affiliate programs since 1998.