A couple years back (wow has it been that long!?) I wrote a post about failure. The basic idea of that post was that you have to fail a lot to succeed.

Since then, my thinking has changed a little. Instead of thinking of things as ‘failures', I've started to simply think of them in terms of results. I either get the results I want, or I don't.

What I've seen over the years of coaching people is that the more people use the word ‘failure', the more discouraged they get. I'll see people posting about failed campaigns, failed businesses, etc. Now, for many people this isn't an issue. They just accept that failed campaigns are a part of this. For others, using the word ‘failure' slowly chips away at their resolve. This is mostly subconscious – these affiliates don't say ‘I just had another failed campaign' and go cry in the corner (well, some do but that's another blog post).  The point is, they don't realize the damaging effect it's having on their mindset.

Imagine you were going to college to become a [insert profession here]. You would have to pay for that education to graduate, get your degree, and land a job. Most college students just go to class and know in a few years they'll get a degree, then a job and don't think a ton about each individual class they take. Now, imagine if you went to class every day and after each class you told yourself you were a failure because you hadn't got your degree & job yet. Doesn't make sense does it?

This thinking is exactly how affiliates treat the word ‘failure' though. If you look at an unprofitable campaign as a failure, you need to shift your thinking. How can you expect every campaign to be profitable? Even successful affiliates might have a profitable campaign ratio of 1 out of every 20. Especially if you're just starting out – you need to think of your campaigns as gathering data or paying for your education. The reason the above college example doesn't make sense is because it's just accepted that you have to do X amount of classes to get your degree. Affiliate marketing isn't like that exactly, but the idea is similar. You have to learn the business before you can expect to have some success.

You can do a few things to help combat this way of thinking:

1. Instead of a failure, look at a campaign as simply collecting data.

You can actually think of unprofitable campaigns as a ‘success' – you found out what doesn't work. That's great because then you know what doesn't work, and are that much closer to figuring out what does work.

2. Look at all campaigns as getting an education

You wouldn't think twice about paying for college, so why should putting money into campaigns be any different? You have to run campaigns to learn how affiliate marketing works, so look at any campaign you do as part of your education.

3. Think in terms of results

This sounds kind of zen but – there is no failure or success, only results. You either get the results you want, or you don't. If you don't get the results you want, you change your approach until you do get the desired results.

I think it's really helpful to stop thinking of things in terms of failures. You might not realize it, but you could be quietly discouraging and sabotaging yourself. Try to think of things in terms of results and I bet it will get easier.