I am an affiliate marketer and I am also a former web developer that has done my fair share of freelance work.
There is a huge difference between the two and I definitely prefer affiliate marketing over the freelance work.
I’ll share my experience with both models and explain why I choose one more than the other.
I’ll also share how you can get started in affiliate marketing today whether you are currently freelancing, working full-time, or both.
Affiliate Marketer VS Freelance Work
After having done freelance work and now being an affiliate marketer, I have to say that affiliate marketing is by far the better option in terms of earning income online.
However, that is only the case when you have built up your affiliate marketing business as freelance work can generate income faster.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
First, let me define what affiliate marketing is:
Affiliate marketing is the promotion of another company’s products and/or services in exchange for a commission when a sale is made.
To put it simply, you are recommending products or services that people are already looking for.
A good example of this would be starting a niche website about dry skin. You join several affiliate programs that sell skincare products that help with dry skin.
In your web content, you recommend these products using your affiliate links (tracking links). When readers click on your affiliate links and buy products from the merchant’s website, you earn a commission.
What is Freelance Work?
Freelance work can consist of doing any type of work on an hourly or fee-based basis.
The most common freelance work can involve writing, web developing, web programming, graphic work, voiceover work, video editing, and so much more.
As a freelancer, you must constantly seek out new clients. You either charge by the hour or you set fees for your services.
In comparison to affiliate marketing, you can make money faster as you gain clients, you can also get referrals easier from word of mouth.
The Main Differences Between Being a Freelance Worker Versus an Affiliate Marketer
Freelance Work Means Trading Hours for Dollars
I was a freelance web developer for several years. It worked out well as I had some good clients.
However, there were plenty of things that I disliked about freelance work. Although it was nice being my own boss, I was still trading hours for dollars.
You are at the mercy of your clients. There were many times that I had to work weekends when a project had a hard deadline to meet.
I often felt as though I worked more as a freelance web developer than I did as an employee.
Then, of course, there is the matter of maintaining a consistent flow of clients. That is difficult, especially when you are first starting out.
Chasing Down Your Payments Due
Another issue you may deal with as a freelancer is having to chase down money that is owed to you.
There were times that I sent invoices to some clients and two weeks would go by with no payment.
I’d have to chase down money that was owed and it was always an uncomfortable process.
Trading One Job for Another
In short, I feel that freelance work is trading one job for another. If you are wanting to be a full-time freelancer, expect long hours and wearing many hats.
Meaning, you will be doing your main job, also project managing, accounting, marketing, and more.
Affiliate Marketing Means Time-Freedom and Lifestyle Freedom
Unlike freelance work, you do not deal with any clients as an affiliate marketer and you are not trading hours for dollars.
Rather, you are building your own online business. You don’t need to buy inventory or ship anything.
The way I do affiliate marketing is by creating niche websites (blogs). I choose niches that I enjoy and create content related to that niche.
Within my content, I link to various affiliate products or services that I am promoting.
When visitors click on my affiliate links and buy anything on the merchant’s website, I make a commission (percentage of the sale.)
The one downside to affiliate marketing is that you do not make money quickly.
It takes time to grow your website (several months at least) before you make your first sale.
However, once your website gains traction and begins receiving traffic, you can start making money.
As your business takes off, you can literally work when you want and from where you want so long as you have a WiFi connection.
Reasons Why I Prefer Affiliate Marketing Over Freelance Work
It isn’t difficult to understand why I choose affiliate marketing over freelance work. I like the time-freedom and lifestyle freedom that it can offer.
Here are some of my favorite reasons why affiliate marketing is an ideal option when it comes to working for yourself:
- Millions of products that you can promote
- Tons of niches that you can choose from
- Easy to learn (no prior experience required)
- Low barrier to entry
- Low cost to start (all you need is a domain name, web hosting, and WordPress)
- Unlimited earning potential
- Work from anywhere with an internet connection
- No clients or customer service
- No shipping and handling involved
- You can literally make money while you sleep
Please understand that affiliate marketing offers many perks but it doesn’t happen overnight.
You must be willing to learn some new skills (primarily SEO) and you must be willing to put in the time and effort needed to grow your website.
The payoff is well worth it when you begin making affiliate commissions. There is no other type of online business that I love more.
How to Get Started as an Affiliate Marketer Today
There are no special requirements or skills that you need to become an affiliate marketer. All that you need to do is to decide it is something that you want to pursue.
Besides that, you’ll need four things to launch your affiliate website. These include:
1. A Niche
You’ll need to decide what niche you want your website to be in. You can choose any niche that you like.
I recommend choosing a niche that you have a genuine interest in. Otherwise, you can always choose a sub-niche under the big three evergreen niches which are health, wealth, and relationships.
2. Domain Name
Once you have your niche all figured out, you can register a domain name. I register most of my domain names with NameCheap but you can use any service you want.
I tend to stick to domain names that end in .com. That is my preference but domain names ending in any extension can rank well.
3. Web Hosting & WordPress
The next thing that you’ll need is to get your own web hosting and WordPress. You can get both in once place. You can also register your domain name as well.
For example, you can get low-cost, reliable web hosting at Dreamhost. You can register your domain, get web hosting, and have WordPress pre-installed which makes it super easy.
4. Join Affiliate Programs
Finally, you can search and seek out various affiliate programs related to your niche. These will be the products that you recommend on your niche website.
Many affiliate programs offer great commissions. For example, most of the affiliate products that I promote range from 30% to 50% commissions.
My Closing Thoughts On Affiliate Marketer VS Freelance Work
I know that this post is very biased towards affiliate marketing. That is because it is an awesome online business model. I’m not a fan of trading hours for dollars which is what you do as a freelancer.
Niche websites are what I use to earn a consistent income online through affiliate marketing.
It is one of the best ways to earn affiliate commissions. I make commissions while I am sleeping, out grocery shopping, or relaxing with my loved ones.
Beginners may find it a bit challenging to get started. I did as well so I followed a step-by-step training program.
That training program made all of the difference for me and I use it today to help others one-on-one with creating and growing their own niche websites.