When it comes to freelancing vs affiliate marketing, I have done both. Both options have their pros and cons. However, I choose affiliate marketing over freelancing every time.
Back in the day, I was a freelance web developer, but my dream was to be a full-time affiliate marketer. Although I am a full-time affiliate marketer now, it is a non-stop learning process.
In this post, I will share my experience with both freelancing and affiliate marketing. Keep reading to find out why I favor one over the other.
Freelancing VS Affiliate Marketing – How Each One Works
The one thing that both freelancing and affiliate marketing have in common is that you can work for yourself. Other than that, they differ greatly in how you earn income.
Pretty much any job being done today can transition into freelance work. When I worked as a web developer, many of my co-workers also did freelance work on the side.
It can be a challenge to transition into full-time freelance work but many people manage to do it. Most people that do so often want the freedom of being their own boss.
For some, it is about having creative freedom. Whatever your reason, freelance work can offer many benefits that a regular 9-to-5 job can’t.
The Benefits of Freelance Work
- Choose the clients you want to work with
- Creative freedom
- Earn more per project
- Set your own hours
The Downside of Freelance Work
- Always chasing payments from clients
- You wear all the hats (project manager, bookkeeper, etc.)
- You often work longer hours (60 to 80 hour work weeks)
- Difficult to locate and land new clients
Affiliate marketing is different than freelancing in that you don’t deal with any clients at all.
You deal with everything online and your job is to promote other company’s products and/or service in exchange for a commission when a sale is made.
In most cases, you will have a website and you promote affiliate products using affiliate links (special links that have tracking IDs) that credit you when a sale is made.
The Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
- You don’t need your own product
- Millions of affiliate products to promote
- No clients
- No shipping or handling
- Work from anywhere with an internet connection
- Lifestyle freedom
- Unlimited income potential
- It’s actually fun
The Downside of Affiliate Marketing
- The learning curve (you must learn online marketing skills)
- Income can fluctuate a lot
- You often work long hours
Which One Makes Money Faster?
When you are wanting to get into one of these options in order to earn income quickly, your best bet would be freelance work.
At least with freelance work, you can land a client faster through referrals and word of mouth. My first freelance clients came from a referral and one was a previous co-worker.
You can make money with freelance work as soon as you start. Affiliate marketing takes much longer. You often have to start with a website (usually a blog), create a lot of content, and also market your content.
Unless you have a budget to pay for ads, affiliate marketing can take many months before you begin to make sales. It is a long process but can be well worth it in the long run.
How to Become a Freelancer
In most cases, it is easy to do freelance work on the side. Many people with full-time jobs also do freelance work. If you are wanting to transition from your 9-to-5 to freelancing, it’s ideal to build up your clientele and ensure that you can replace your income.
How to Find Freelance Clients
It’s always a good idea to start off with the network around you. Let your family and friends know that you are doing freelance work.
If you have done freelance work on the side, also notify your current clients that you are taking on more freelance projects.
How to Become an Affiliate Marketer
It is also easy to become an affiliate marketer. It is free to join affiliate programs and there are hundreds of thousands of them that you can choose from.
The easiest way to get started is by creating a niche blog. Think about a niche that you like (examples: parenting, personal finance, etc.)
Then think about the types of products you could promote and seek out affiliate programs for them. You can then begin creating helpful content on your blog that helps answer questions related to your niche.
As mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing takes a bit longer to begin earning. However, once you do generate a consistent income, it can last for years to come.
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I set up some of my websites with HostPapa and they make it really easy for beginner bloggers to be up and running.
Why Not Do Both?
There is nothing keeping you from pursuing both options. Affiliate marketing is convenient and can fit around your schedule. Therefore, if you want to freelance full-time, you can still do affiliate marketing on the side.
My Preferred Option
In the end, I choose affiliate marketing. When I freelanced full-time, it was still a job. I still had to meet client due dates, I had to deal with last minute changes and often did more work than was agreed upon at the same rate of pay.
Affiliate marketing takes a lot of work in the beginning but provides you with more time and flexibility in the long term.
Here are some benefits that I enjoy being an affiliate marketer versus a freelancer:
I Have Full Control Over My Time
- Unlike freelance work, I do not base my schedule around client timeframes. I can work for as long or as little as I want. This is especially helpful when I have appointments, need time off due to a cold, or simply want to take a long weekend.
Affiliate Marketing Income is Passive
- You no longer trade time for money as an affiliate marketer. The work you did 6 months ago will pay off for years. Sales occur while you’re sleeping, shopping, or on vacation. It is a great way to earn passive income.
I Enjoy Affiliate Marketing
- Being an affiliate marketer does not feel like a job at all. I enjoy doing it and although I work a lot of hours, it is because I want to. I still have personal goals that I want to achieve and I’m constantly learning. It is a joy to make my own decisions in regards to how I want to market products.
I feel affiliate marketing is a good option no matter what you currently do. Starting a niche blog is easy and can be built while you are working full-time.
That is exactly what I did and with consistent effort, I was able to transition out of a physically demanding retail job to work for myself.
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