Why did you choose your affiliate business Angela...what aspects of it were attractive to you?
Angela: I like to be independent. Most people work and work all their lives, just to make ends meet. Why work so hard to make someone else rich while you struggle to improve your own quality of life?
For people who have entrepreneurial personality traits, working for themselves may be more satisfying. No one tells you what to do, when to do it, or how to do it -- you make those decisions yourself! And no one decides how much you make; your income relies solely on you.
I chose to concentrate on the home business market to cater to these types of people - those who prefer their income to be a direct reward of their own efforts. This is a huge market that continues to grow - a perfect place for me to begin!
How did your talents and interests help your affiliate business to become successful?
Angela: One of the most common worries for eBusiness beginners is how to go about creating a website, uploading it, and all those other 'technical' details. This wasn't an issue for me. I'm an engineer and so I was able to avoid feeling intimidated by this stuff.
Instead, I was able to settle right in and started learning the important stuff: marketing.
My websites are heavily focused on tutorials. I've tutored and written documents and other learning materials ever since I was a teenager. So offering this type of content from my websites wasn't too difficult.
What personal qualities helped you to to stick with it and persist through the challenges of the start up phase of your affiliate business?
Angela: Pig-headed stubbornness. ;-) Seriously, I think you need a great deal of determination and persistence. Staying power was the biggest thing of all; I'm an impatient person and would have preferred to start making money within a day or two (wouldn't we all!)... but I'm also the type that will stick with a good idea and make it work.
What were the main challenges you faced in your affiliate business, and how were you able to overcome them?
Angela: Marketing is the toughest part for me. I am not a natural marketer! But because it's so vital, I had no choice but to learn.
I purchased several excellent marketing books, visited marketing forums online, and devoured all sorts of marketing articles. Then I put what I learned to practice.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I'm still constantly learning new ways to market -- I think the ability to keep learning is crucial to your survival and success online.
And, of course, there's the lack of time that everyone experiences. I find it more difficult to work when there are other people in the house, the TV is blaring, the dogs are barking, etc... so now I'm up at 5:30 every weekday. Starting my days early gives me the opportunity for some quiet work time.
What business strategies did you learn that worked well for you and helped your affiliate business to become successful?
Angela: Build relationships. Get to know your online colleagues - other webmasters or editors in your own niche. You can help each other with joint ventures, endorsements, suggestions, and more!
And treat your visitors well! There are times when your help may go completely unappreciated, even when you've gone out of your way to provide it.
But there are those other times when some of your visitors truly appreciate your help -- and they refer their friends to you, post nice things about you, and generally give you some great free word-of-mouth advertising. I've found that excellent service is what brings a great many people back.
What advice would you share to women just starting out in an affiliate business?
Angela: Focus on one thing at a time. We're all eager to start developing the "multiple streams of income" we so often hear about on the 'net. But it's all too easy to start more than you can handle effectively. Instead of working yourself to exhaustion only to have 5 unprofitable sites, work hard to create one profitable site first.
And don't toss together a bunch of unrelated stuff. If you have a gardening site, focus on gardening or gardening-related tools and supplies. Don't add dating services, business opportunities, or mortgage quotes to it. You'll never appeal to everyone; concentrate instead on appealing to your one niche audience.
Finally, be patient and have confidence. Set a few challenging but achievable goals and work towards them. If you try something and it fails, so what? You've learned what doesn't work. Just try again!
Angela worked as an engineer for many years, cloistered in a lab or squinting at a computer. She started her affiliate business in 1999 as an experiment... an experiment which grew to a point where she was able to quit her day job to work full-time from home. She loves the challenge, the independence, and the complete lack of office politics!
To help others escape the 9-5 grind for their own home businesses, Angela created Online Business Basics, a training course for eBusiness beginners, to help them build an online business with a limited budget. She sold this course successfully for many years and in 2005 focused her attention on other affiliate business projects.