Building community is key to building an online business.

I shared some tips in a previous post, that I’d labeled ‘my first most painful experience’ of affiliate marketing, but now I see they were valuable gifts in my education.

My Valuable Gifts

Firstly, it is a state of mind.

I knew nothing of affiliate marketing but I was pretty desperate and I wanted to believe that I could get rich quickly without doing very much work.

Being made redundant (a horrible word, used in the UK means to lose your job for all manner of reasons). In my case, It was a five-year contract with the NHS.

I was 57 at the time and doubted there would be further job opportunities. Getting a job was a daily torment. It would take a painful two years to be employed again.

My Dream

I had this amazing vision, work from home or from anywhere! All I need is a computer and Wifi! I will be able to help myself, and my family, end our financial struggles!

To that end,  I purchased a service whereby for $2000,00 I would get a domain, a lead magnet free info product, email swipes, and a 1000-member mailing list.

Wait, I hear you say that sounds like a good deal… Well Done?

I took the plunge, and almost drowned!

Lost At Sea

The first mistake was very silly and I missed a very valuable and important moment.


I am feeling mortified to tell you but in this blog, I must face my fears…..

Excuses, Excuses

How it happened I cannot explain except that I must have missed a critical directive.

I may be procrastinating but am trying to give context…

My understanding was that I had only one job.

Send daily affiliate links to my 1000-member list.

We were given a list of several options to get traffic and I decided on a site that housed a variety of digital products and posted a link daily to my email list.


Are you smiling? Can you see any issue/s that is coming to knock me sideways?

Ok, ok, so embarrassing!!

Lessons Learned

This mistake is still traumatizing to me but for you, dear reader?  you will learn from that mistake without the excruciating pain and embarrassment!

1. Track Your Numbers

For the first 3 to 6 months, I followed faithfully my understanding of the process.

Except that I did not understand nor recall any training on how to track sales.

One day while viewing the affiliate site looking for a product to promote, I stumbled onto my site account!

I’m trying not to make a big deal out of this but looking back it’s so basic that it’s hard to acknowledge.

Perhaps it is what coach Dean Holland says, “You don’t know what you don’t know”.

I discovered that there was $600 in my account.

Ok, you say that’s ok what’s the big deal?

Well for one,

I had missed the joy of discovering when I had earned my first $1.00!!

you see, each step builds momentum…. so what happens when you miss a step?

I guess you stumble.

My thought oh yes! exactly!…

(You don’t know what you’ve missed until you’ve missed what you don’t know)


All Downhill from here…

Now I am very confused, I try to backtrack to see which products were sold and who was buying!   Think I am back on track but I don’t know for sure!

I feel something is missing…

I was overwhelmed as I began to consider what to do with this list!

You see, I had not been building a relationship with my list, I was just posting affiliate links daily.


I was not using the products and had no way of knowing whether they were useful or not!

I feel bad and I feel guilty.  What to do?

I stop emailing my list.

That was my first experience with email list building.

My Valuable Gifts/Tips

  1. Be conscious of your state of mind, and try to be calm when making big decisions. Be clear about your mission and why you want to have an online business.
  2. Choose a company that you know, like, and trust, and choose a product that you have used yourself!! (from the previous post)
  3. Know your numbers, and track your sales. Know your current expenditures and your financial goal.
  4. Get an accessible coach, training, and a system. Having a coach who gives you the big picture AND takes you through each step is invaluable as I am currently experiencing.
  5. Don’t be in a rush, take the time to learn your craft, It does not happen overnight.
  6. Affiliate Marketing is about building community and is the foundation for any online business.


What experiences do you have in affiliate marketing? What did you learn?

Are you feeling the fear and pushing onwards?


Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Be Brave and Daring.



25 thoughts on “Build Community in Affiliate Marketing”
  1. OH, how I relate, Eleanor, except to my shame I must admit that the same process for me has repeated itself over and over! Maybe it’s the guy thing of feeling like I have to go through the school of hard knocks in order to learn? LOL. But, I want to say that your steps toward the end are spot on, and things that I too have been following (some of those lessons learned after getting too many bumps on my head). Approach makes the difference! Keep going!

  2. Eleanor, thank you for sharing this great post. I agree; it is so critical to track your numbers, not only to celebrate the wins but to understand what is working for you and what is not.

  3. Hi Eleonor,
    Congratulations for opening up about your fears and for not being someone who gives up. I must tell you that the majority of us trying to establish an online business have faced failure more than once. What makes a person a loser is not the fact that they fell, but that they didn’t get up and try again. That’s the difference between those who succeed and those who lose. Winners don’t give up in the face of defeat; instead, they learn from their mistakes and push even harder the second time and as many times as necessary. I wish you the best in your journey.

  4. Oh Eleanor. You and I need to be friends. I was lost too!
    Trying to put things back together. I went and redid week 5 funnel building because I had to have missed a step.

    It seems like you are on the right track.
    Can’t wait to hear about your next accomplishment. ((Hugs))

    Sandy. Going to be 60 this year and I’m so done with my full time job! 😊

  5. Eleanor thanks for your openness and sharing. Keeping track of your numbers early on always seemed to me to be an exhausting task, not because you have to fill in a sheet but because it always seemed to shout zeros. This is something I’m gonna have to try and be consistent about.

  6. Building relationships with an eye for major shifts in perception (mindset) is the real learning curve here, as you describe so well. Anyone can learn tech, but making connections with real people is an art- and even a science if emotional intelligence is brought into the equation! Dean is a coach extraordinaire. What a gift he is!!

  7. There has been time when I thought that affiliate marketing consisted in putting here and there on a website pages, banners and links to sell whatever products. Obviously when I tried that it didn’t work. I had no idea at the time what traffic would mean or how to get an audience. Now things changes. I have learned about generating traffic and how to capture leads from it. I have learned about nurturing relationships with an audience and how to manage a mailing list. In fact, I have learned how to make a business with affiliate marketing and I have learned all that because I got a mentor to teach me.
    Nice post Eleanor, thank you!

  8. Hi Eleanor, thank you for sharing your story.

    You are definitely not alone. Looking on the bright side, you did make $600 back.

    I have bought similar services before, from a supposedly trusted guru. I bought a list of 5000 subscribers, only to realize that I have a 0.1% open rate, like 5 out of 5000 subscribers open my email.

  9. Great set of tips, thanks

    I think the last two go hand it hand, you need to take time to learn and it takes time to build a community, so we need to be ready to take the time required to do both.

    I sometimes think about the other cars on the motorway, some are going further than others, some faster, some slower, they have different vehicles, but they are all moving towards a destination.

  10. Eleanor, thank you for being so open and honest in this blog I know it’s not easy. And I think you find that many many people starting off to build an online business are in a similar situation. You may know from my blog that I made many many mistakes and I did lose a lot of money. What I think really helps is now that you have Dean to guide you, let go of what happened in the past it doesn’t matter. You’ve learnt from it and you can now move on with the knowledge and wisdom. Just follow his steps, get the guidance and coaching from his team and keep going. I didn’t realise you were in the UK. I am too in the London area. You’re doing great just keep going. I look forward to your progress soon. Thanks, Atif

  11. I think so many of us aiming to make a living (or just earn some extra cash) online have rushed into buying what seems like a fool proof program. All those shiny objects…
    I have for sure, more than I care to remember. But I’ve also learned a lot on the way, and wholeheartedly agree with your tips!
    Cheers, Katrin

  12. Thank you for sharing your lessons learned! I congratulate you for sticking at this process. Your willingness to share is very helpful to these like me just starting out. And, your Gifts/Tips are truly VALUABLE!

  13. Eleanor, I think there is so much valuable lessons from this post! I have heard of several new affiliate marketers who stumbled into this journey doing exactly what you did…. and just as Dean said, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” What you provide here is a wonderful lesson to many about trying to do this journey without taking the proper time to learn the “ropes” and gain confidence and a solid skillset. And oh my gosh… look how far you’ve already come?! Thanks for sharing such wonderful insightful tips. We all can learn so much from your experience!

  14. Hello Elanor, luckily this is my first venture in online anything. With the stories I’ve come across like yours hopefully I’m smart enough to learn from them and not make too many mistakes along the way. Thank you for sharing this story, I do plan on learning from it. Have a great week ahead and I look forward to your next blog.

  15. Hi Elanor,
    Great post and thank you for sharing your story!
    Mistakes need to be made in order to learn and move forward.
    It’s like Dean Holland says “fail forward fast” 🙂
    You made mistakes and you continue to work toward success.
    I’ve made many mistakes in 4 different online business models in the past.
    It’s hard to go through but if we learn through the experience like you did, we can make it!

  16. Eleanor,
    My journey into the Affiliate Business world was pretty similar. I started, but the money wasn’t pouring in. I realized I wasn’t building strong relationships with my customers, and that’s crucial for a business to thrive. Totally on board with the idea that Affiliate marketing is all about creating a community. Cheers to building our businesses!

  17. That’s a great reminder for us to track our numbers including sales. I have always been an astute number cruncher. Some might even call me a data junkie. I think that the biggest mistake I have made with affiliate marketing has been in over-estimating what I can handle for a paid advertising budget. I have learned to not have this blind faith that big money in = big money out. And as you mention – I was missing the building of my community first. I would also say that it is the fear of not building a community that pushes me onwards.

  18. Eleanor,

    First no need to be embarrassed. You are not alone. I have read over 100 blog posts where similar people have gone through the meat grinder of affiliate marketing, so to speak. Myself included in that list. Instead of beating yourself up learn from the experience and shout it from the roof top to help others not commit the same mistakes. Wait a minute, that’s what you are doing here.

    Keep shouting it and saving others from the purgatory of affiliate marketing plunders.

  19. Thanks for writing this, Eleanor. Most of us, including Dean, have made similar errors.
    Thomas Edison, who, I think finally came up with a commercially viable light bulb is quoted as saying something like: “I, and others before me, did not fail for years to invent the light bulb, we succeeded thousands of times to discover ways that didn’t work”. So, take that attitude into your affiliate marketing journey, keep moving forward, stay with Dean, and one day, you’ll succeed, whether that’s by blogging or any of the many other techniques that Dean and his team teach.


  20. Oh how I can relate. Not the affiliate marketing part as I’m merely an infant in that sphere, but the ignominy of being made redundant. Three times in two years. Some valuable lessons there and thanks for being so open about your experiences. I have faith that you are going to succeed with this program. I look forward to hearing you future encounters. Best wishes.

  21. Eleanor,
    Thank you for sharing your steps, and the mistakes you have made, then the lessons you learned from them. It is all part of the journey. We all have them, but to share them with others is enlightening. It’s helps other know they are not alone, and that the mistakes can be turned into lessons, and you move on from there. Keep going! You are doing great!

  22. Eleanor, thank you so much for sharing your experience! I’m learning that learning isn’t a failure! Along the way, we can view what we didn’t understand as a failure, but if we keep going, it’s just learning.

    It’s been so long since I attempted to do something I had no idea how to do that I’ve forgotten I don’t need to take learning so seriously. If I’m not taking myself so seriously, I’m able to adjust to what I’m learning without beating myself up for what I didn’t know.

    I hope that makes sense. Lol! It’s been part of my learning curve!

  23. Hi Eleanor!
    Your post is very helpful for many of us who are new to affiliate marketing. I appreciate your openness in sharing your previous experiences with lessons learned. Please know that you are paying it forward and helping others with your posts! Thank you for being you and sharing your gifts/tips as well.
    All the best!
    Milissa Neirotti

  24. I really loved reading this, and found it comforting and useful all at the same time. Thank you.
    I’m sorry you were made redundant, that’s rubbish.
    Find some comfort that for things to change, something needs to change. You weren’t meant to stay in the NHS, you were meant to find affiliate marketing and flourish! I look forward to reading your next blog post.x

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