I can't believe it, but the Aff playbook Forum is officially 5 years old. When I first started it, I had no idea it would grow into what it's become.

I've had a blast running the forum for the past 5 years! It's truly been a life changing experience for me, and for many of you. In the past 5 years I've had a unique position where I get to see lots of affiliates on the road towards success.

This has helped me refine my own approach to my business, and also learn how to help members reach success themselves.

I've seen people make the same mistakes over and over, and I've seen people push past those mistakes to become very successful. It's been really interesting, and taught me more than I could have imagined.

In this post I'm going to share the top 5 ‘secrets' (although there really aren't any) that I've learned by watching thousands of affiliates come through the forum.

1. You can't be afraid to spend money

Everyone would like to find success right away, but that rarely happens. One thing that keeps people stuck more than anything is a fear of spending money. I'm still not 100% sure why, but people get locked into this idea that they're ‘losing' money when they don't make a positive ROI on their campaigns. This is the exact opposite of the mindset you should have.

The successful members I've seen come through here aren't afraid to spend money. It doesn't mean you need a $10k budget to find success. It means you can't worry about spending $25 on a campaign and not getting a conversion. It means you have to look at this as building a business.

If you went to college, you would pay a lot of money for classes but you wouldn't expect to make money from your degree until you graduated. Similarly if you opened a pizza joint, you wouldn't expect to make money until you rented a storefront and spent money getting the business up and running. Why should affiliate marketing be any different? This is a business, not a get rich quick scheme.

Instead of saying you ‘lost' money, say that you invested in your education and your business.

The people that really embrace that philosophy have a much easier time on their road to success. If you're constantly worried about losing money, you'll go nowhere fast.

2. Follow along campaigns pay off

One thing many of our successful members have in common is doing very detailed follow along campaigns. It's not just posting though, it's their approach to it.

Instead of just asking for advice and posting stats, they use it almost like a personal journal. They talk about what worked and what didn't. They analyze what they're doing and if it's working or not.

They aren't posting and just waiting for answers/responses, they're really journaling their progress. Of course, they get advice along the way I'm just saying that's not their sole reason for posting the thread.

Posting your thoughts like that might not seem that magical, but it really can be. There's something about getting your thoughts out of your head and onto the screen that let you view and analyze in different ways.

So it's not just posting a follow along campaign, it's posting a very detailed journal. Check out some of the threads in the hall of fame section to see what I mean.

3. Most people don't put in effort

Affiliate marketing is hard work, and most people simply just don't put in the effort required. What's interesting is it doesn't always take a lot more effort than people are putting in. Here are a few examples:

– Throwing up a landing page and spending 2 minutes writing a couple bullet points of copy vs spending 20 minutes really thinking about who the audience is and figuring out how to ‘sell' to them.

– Spending 10 minutes scraping some keywords or targets vs spending an hour going the extra mile and finding some great keywords. Most affiliates are going to go for the most obvious keywords, so why not put in a little more effort and put yourself ahead of 90% of affiliates out there? It doesn't take a lot of effort to do more than most people are doing.

– Not researching your niche vs spending a few hours reading blogs and message boards to find out who your audience is and what they respond to. This is something almost nobody does, and it's such an important step.

Do you know why people want your product/service? Do you know what their major concerns are? Do you know what emotional triggers get them to take action? If not, spend a few hours researching, it will put you so far ahead of other affiliates you wouldn't believe it.

4. You have to be consistent

Successful people are consistent with their work ethic. Don't confuse what this means though – it might be different than you think.

They don't work 12 hours per day every day. Some people have the idea that successful people sit down and are productive for hours on end. The truth is successful people work smarter not harder. I know successful people who only work a few hours per day, but it's VERY focused.

It would be better to work a smaller number of hours consistently every day, than try to do crazy marathon work sessions and get burnt out.

Another interesting thing is that you don't have to be super motivated or love what you are doing all the time. I used to think that successful people were super motivated, jumped out of bed every morning excited to make money, etc, etc. Some people might be like that, and that's great, but the majority of successful people just do the work whether they feel like it or not. They don't want until they're motivated or excited, that's a secondary thought. Whether they're motivated or not, they sit down and work.

The difference between amateurs and professionals is this – professionals do the work no matter what they feel like. Amateurs sit around waiting to get motivated and squeak in a few hours here and there when they are.

Successful people don't always love what they do. I'm not saying you should do a business that you hate, but every job has parts people don't like – affiliate marketing is no different. So don't feel bad if you're not loving every second of what you do – focus on the outcome. You like money right? So focus on that – “Ok building this keyword list might be boring, but it's not boring spending the money I'll make from this campaign”.

So don't think you need to be some ultra productive, enthusiastic person to be successful. You just have to do the work – put in consistent effort. Even a little bit pays off over the long run.

5. Networking is crucial

Lots of affiliates are introverts, and don't socialize that much. It's easy to sit at home by yourself and you can make good money doing it. If you really want to get to the next level, you have to network. Fortunately, there are many opportunities to do it.

Talking and getting to know people through the forum is one way. Attending our virtual meetups is another. There are industry shows like Affiliate Summit where we hold meetups just for this purpose.

Networking gives you people to bounce ideas off of, share ideas with, or partner up with. There's only so far you can go by yourself, so don't be afraid to do this!

There you have it! 5 of my observations from coaching thousands of affiliates. I would love to hear what you guys think of these!