What Type of Affiliate Marketer are You?

Tortoise and Hare Affiliate MarketerI believe there are two major types of affiliate marketers:

  • One type I like to call the Tortoise
  • One type I like to call the Hare

This idea came to me from the old fable of “The Tortoise and the Hare”.

Obviously, Aesop didn’t think about affiliate marketing when he wrote the fable, but the principles are easy to recognize.

I think it’s important to recognize your “affiliate marketing type.”

The reason?

This choice will have a huge impact on the success of your affiliate marketing business.

So are you a…

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Tortoise Affiliate Marketer[/title]

What I call a Tortoise is a marketer who likes to slowly build a profitable business. For this *type*, an authority site is the only choice because it focuses on creating reliable income.

I personally like the Tortoise model.  If you read my manifesto on “The Shocking Truth about Niche Sites”, you already know that I prefer to build slowly, but surely on well established markets, in order to earn steadier income.

There are plenty of advantages to acting like a Tortoise:

  • Your success builds on a solid foundation over months – Even years.
  • Your income becomes steady, once you become knowledgeable about the market
  • Your activity can lead to a full time income from a single niche

Of course, there are some things you may not like about this model:

  • It takes time to build a solid, reliable income
  • It’s easy to get frustrated when you don’t see immediate results
  • It’s hard to write the kind of content that attracts a large audience

For those reasons, many people avoid the “Tortoise Affiliate Marketing” game.

That’s why they often choose to be a…

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Hare Affiliate Marketer[/title]

I definitely have my preferences towards being a Tortoise affiliate marketer.  But there are some advantages to focusing on a business that generates immediate income.

Unlike the Tortoise, who likes to build slowly on an existing market, the Hare affiliate marketer focuses on the so-called niche sites. The Hare basically likes to jump from one thing to another, without spending too much time on a market.

If this model suits you better, you should go for it  (But not until you read the conclusion to this article.)

The Hare needs to stay on top of the news and what’s currently popular. Money making opportunities come and go with the speed of light, and what works for a few months will not make even peanuts after it is no longer trendy.

Here are the benefits of the Hare model:

  • It works fast
  • It doesn’t take a lot to get started
  • It does not keep it stuck in a single area of interest

Of course, there are plenty of disadvantages, as well:

  • You need diverse income sources and traffic to make this a long-term option
  • You can easily get burned out by juggling dozens of websites
  • You rely heavily on Google which often penalizes niche sites
  • You have a lot of competition because you’re not building a site that matters

There are pluses and minuses to each affiliate marketing style.

But ultimately you have to …

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Choose YOUR Affiliate Type[/title]

Do not get me wrong. I think you can make money following the Hare model. However, making money on what is trendy and popular at one point is not likely to produce steady income in the long run.

I like the Tortoise model because it’s geared towards lasting success over a period of years – Not months.

To prove my point; let me tell you a quick story.  It’s one that illustrates the importance of building a business that lasts:

[box color=”silver” type=”square” ]My story is a simple one about two affiliate marketers.  The first is a guy called Mark and the other is someone named Steve (sounds familiar?)

In late 2006, Steve invested $1,400 on an affiliate marketing coaching course where he met Mark.  The two of them instantly connected because they shared a similar background.  (ie: Jersey guys in their late 20’s who loved watching Yankees baseball.)

Unfortunately that’s where the similarities ended.

Every week they received affiliate marketing lessons with specific homework assignments.  Steve FOCUSED on the assignments and took immediate action.

And Mark?

He built online businesses like “the Hare” and hopped from one trend to the next.  At best, Mark slapped together “thin-content” websites that provided little value to the reader.  At worst, he experimented with different “get rich quick” schemes.

Fast forward five years…

In March (2011) Steve and Mark reconnected over Facebook.  Mark’s story was a full of tragedy:

  • He’s $23,000 in debt from money he spent online
  • He’s at the same 9 to 5 job that he HATES
  • He’s STILL falling for the “get rich quick” crap

Meanwhile, Steve built a six-figure income because he acted like “the Tortoise,” focused on a single niche, and maintained slow, but steady progress.  [/box]

As you probably guessed, this isn’t a fable.  Mark is a real person who let the “Hare Mindset” get the best of him.  Instead of building something that lasts, he hopped from trend to trend.

Well, that’s my story for today.

The moral?

When building your affiliate marketing business, think about the Tortoise and the Hare.  Sure, it’s tempting to be like the Hare and go after quick income models like niche sites.  But, in the end it’s the Tortoise who will have the best long term success.

So I’ll leave you with a simple question:

Are you a Tortoise Affiliate Marketer?

If so, then it’s time to take that next step and discover a proven way for generating a six-figure affiliate marketing income.

Take Action. Get Results.

27 thoughts on “What Type of Affiliate Marketer are You?”

  1. Great analogy here! You can tell especially when you go to an internet marketing forum like the Warrior Forum and see all the people talking there about trying to make quick profits and so forth. A lot of the “hare” type of affiliate marketers don’t really treat their online “business” as a business – instead just a way to try and make cash fast. Most likely not going to work out for them in the long run though.


  2. Definitely. I see that ALL the time – Especially when it comes to the Warrior Special Offers forum. There are lots of great deals there. But there are also a few outright scams that set my teeth on edge.

  3. I know a “Mark” as well. Except he blew $40,000 on information products O_O

    I think it comes down to personality. A hare affiliate marketer is more of a gambler. For these people, the thought of writing long, in-depth blog posts would be boring.

    Another kind of “hare affiliate marketer” is the type who’s always promoting new offers, setting up landing pages and buying PPC/PPV traffic. There are people who make this model work for them. They match their need for novelty with how affiliate networks have an endless pipeline of offers.

    Although I have a tortoise personality, there is one significant downside to building an authority site: it’s easy to delude yourself for YEARS in the wrong (i.e. unprofitable) direction. Maybe you get some fans, some nice comments, and think you’re doing okay. When actually you’re no closer to making money than when you started. You haven’t answered the hard questions about monetization, sales, and targeting customers.

    With paid traffic, you find out fast if you’re going to make money or not. That adds a level of “business discipline” you don’t get from blogging. If you’ve got real money at stake, you’re much more invested–mentally as well as financially. So you will know when to cut your losses.

    Since blogging is relatively low-cost, it’s easy to slack off and not worry about making money–often postponing it forever. You do get feedback in the form of e-mails and comments, but those are a very poor quality of data. Tim Ferriss said it best in The Four Hour Workweek with the “car trunk test.” If you ask people to buy, they’ll say, “Yes” just to be nice. But if you follow up with, “I have two dozen in my car right now, how many do you want to buy?” Then the polite refusals come.

    There’s a different best model for everyone, is what I’m saying. If you like doing new deals every week, then be a hare. If you like concentrating on one project and making it awesome, then be a tortoise.

    • $40,000??? Holy crap. That’s more than most people earn in a year. I can’t imagine wasting that amount of money..

      I have to agree that there is a risk of “making excuses” with an authority business. Often, it’s too easy to ignore an unprofitable site by saying that you’re focusing on building a business. At some point you have to sit down and implement specific strategies that help you turn a profit.

      Anyway…liked your comparisons on the Tortoise and the Hare. It’s something I always keep in the back of my mind when I read about a new “can’t miss” business strategy.

  4. Once I heard someone say “slow but sure” and this is the same principle of the tortoise. Making money fast is good but you are better off generating income even when the wells run dry.

    The best way to achieve that is building your business a step at a time. I would rather sacrifice today for the greater glory of tomorrow. Great advice

  5. I definitely see myself as a combination of the two, but I think it comes down to what fits right for me. When I tried again and again to do things that didn’t fit, I was the hare and I kept flitting between things without giving it a real chance. I let myself slow down to the tortoise pace when I actually found something that was right for me – even though it wasn’t making loads of money I didn’t mind the wait. I agree with Marcus about the pitfalls of doing it the slow way, though, and it’s something that can catch people out.

    • Hey Ruth –

      Thanks for stopping by! Like what you’re doing with your website … It’s cool to see find another person who is able to travel and make money from the Internet at the same time.

      I’d agree with both you and Marcus. It’s important to make slow progress with a business, but you also have to make sure it’s becoming increasingly profitable. That way you’re justifying the slow and steady road.

  6. Interesting way to relate the story to the matter at hand. For at least some people it may not be a set and cut forced all-or-none choice, as for some maybe it is possible to have a mix of the two, some deep sites with many pages that gain authority, and a few side niche sites that if blessed can also add on.

    • I am finding that some people really depend on a mix of the two. To me, that makes sense because you’re avoiding the trap of having your business get slammed by any changes in the marketplace (ie: Google)

      Though….I will ALWAYS prefer the Tortoise (aka: Authority) style of website.

  7. Thanks Arwin. It’s actually something I always think about whenever I see an offer for a brand new IM product or system. If it sounds like a “Hare Product,” I avoid it like the plague.

  8. I’m definitely a tortoise. I just couldn’t be a hare. No way. I’m very passionate about my niche so I’m quite happy if I have to wait years to turn it into a massive authority, but I will. I’d work on it in my spare time if I had to. Luckily I write a few articles per day for a client so I get to work on my site much more than if I had a normal job.

    Great article.

  9. Hey there Steve!

    Glad to see you’re stick rocking it! You know, it’s a great analogy you have here because I just finished up the e-course and my god, you have a product, a few kindle books and another free report?!?!

    I’m so out of the loop. 😛

    Nonetheless, when it comes to working the system, I’m taking the tortoise route that’s for sure. And in terms of affiliate marketing, I jumped in as a hare being lured by the ‘shiny objects’ but learned to filter out the goodies from the wannabes.

    And that correlation is pretty much the same with the tortoise and the hare, you don’t really know what’s good to start. However, in time, it will show. All those actions eventually will identify a pattern and slowing down to target what it is that works for you as Ruth says is where it matters.

    Thanks for the food for thought. I don’t have to feel so pressured to get things done in a haste just to start over again. Even though, slowing down does have it’s de-motivating factors, it’s really the journey that counts.

    Talk again soon,

    • Hey Thu,

      Yeah, keeping busy here. I’m actually making it a goal of releasing a Kindle book every month and maybe a course every six months. So lots to do!

      Glad to see you agree. I do think many people start as Hares. I know I did…But usually the smart ones see the error of their ways eventually and then start concentrating on building a long-term business.

  10. I’ve been taking the tortoise approach and this post was what I needed to see that its worth it in the end. I started out in a niche with great promise and no real competitors and am slowly getting the traffic that will help me make money. But I haven’t really come across any products I can firmly endorse to my niche.

    So, I started a consulting business that is applicable to a number of niches including the one I’m currently in. It has a much wider applicability and much more promise. Both the niche website and my business will take a few months to realize more earnings. But your post reminded me to take it easy and stay the course.


    • Hey Bill,

      Thanks for stopping by! It’s good to hear you’re taking the Tortoise; long-term approach. With that said, I would definitely start looking for a product to endorse and promote. You want to focus on building an audience, but it’s also good to have something to offer. Otherwise, you’re just building a website for the sake of building a website.

  11. Hi Steve

    I came across this blog from Peggy Barron’s blog and I’m really glad I found it.

    I think that your Tortuous and Hare story can be applied to many aspects of IM and is a very wise way to look at things.

    I love the blog – well designed and great posts. What do you use as the opt-in plug-in mate?? It’s really cool.



  12. Steve, awesome story of yours and love the analogy. But I have a slightly different model in mind that works at least for me.

    Neither hare nor the tortoise; or should I say BOTH hare and the tortoise.

    Well that sounds ridiculous – one can’t be a hare and a tortoise at the same time.

    But here’s what I have in mind. I am a tortoise marketer as far as my “main” niche is concerned. I put my sweat and blood to develop that niche business and I am all in for it. I reinvest a lot of my earning back to that niche, I equip myself with necessary skills (for the sake of that niche), I directly do most of the work (content creation, marketing etc.) etc.

    But on the background, I do maintain a hare where I test stuff. For this maintenance I don’t spend much of my time and effort; I outsource almost 99% of the job.

    I do this for two reasons: (i) I would like to diversify my income; don’t want to take the risk in case anything bad happens and (ii) just for fun 🙂

    Thanks Steve!

  13. Hey Steve,

    I like what you did here with the story analogy. 🙂 I can see that you’re totally a tortoise.

    Building my reputation, my brand, setting the posts in place for a solid structure is indeed a long-term tortoise approach and I am in it for the long haul. There are times when I supplement with some hare-like approaches… but only if my readers/subscribers can benefit. I try to build my business around what they need from me or from those around me that I trust.

    Thanks for the think.

  14. Sup Steve,

    It’s such a great way to knowing what kind of affiliate marketer you are. I’m like both of them but I’m kind of more on being a ‘Hare’.
    Thank you for the great post.


  15. I, definitely, am the tortoise kind. I make things slow but with consistency. They say slow is smooth and smooth is fast. I’m glad I don’t have Mark’s mindset.
    Thanks for sharing the story, Steve.


  16. Sometimes you need to gamble and a huge step towards success. Whether it’d be a success or a failure. The only thing that matters is that you get to learn from your mistakes and be able to get up from it and never look back. I prefer the “Hare” type.
    Great tips, Steve. Thanks!

  17. I used to be a hare affiliate marketer, but I’ve learned to slow down and focus. For me, by focusing on one thing at a time, I’ve gotten much better results.

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