You’re probably wondering which income method is best for you.
Affiliate marketing vs Freelancing, which is better based on your situation?
Regardless, the two are distinct and popular ways for an individual like yourself to earn money online. In fact, each offers its unique advantages and challenges.
By the end, you will have a clearer understanding of which path aligns best with your interests, skills, and long-term goals. Let’s explore the exciting worlds of both affiliate marketing and freelancing.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
In short, Affiliate Marketing is not a work arrangement. It’s a income generating strategy where you’ll be earning commissions, instead of hourly pay. As an affiliate marketer your job is to create content using your preferred digital channel.
As a result, an interested customer will see your content, that person becomes interested in what you are offering, clicks on your unique affiliate link, which results in you earning a commission.
Furthermore, this method aligns best with people, don’t have any plans on creating their own product and or service. And prefers not to offer their skills or time in exchange for money.
Instead you prefer to be your own boss, while promoting products, that belong to other business owners.
To clarify what I mean, you’ve decided to lock arms with a company – of your choice, and that company uses a marketing strategy that’s called an affiliate program.
What Is Affiliate Programs?
This question gets asked a lot, so I’ll take a few seconds to explain what an affiliate program is. An affiliate program, is a marketing relationship between an affiliate (YOU) and a business (also known as THE COMPANY OR MERCHANT.)
When joining an affiliate program or an affiliate network, you will sign an agreement called an “Affiliate Agreement.” It’s different in nature from a job application. In stead of you filling out your work history, you will be agreeing to a legal contract that outlines the terms and conditions between you and the merchant.
Typically, this form will tell you what you can do and what you can’t do as an affiliate of that affiliate program. For instance, most affiliate programs do not allow their affiliate to bid on their brand keywords.
Another example of the most common don’ts within an affiliate program, is that usually affiliates can’t self-purchase. Meaning you can not use your own affiliate link to purchase the product so that you can earn a commission.
The commission that you can range from 5% up to 150%, it all depends on the program, the product, and the merchant. Furthermore, commissions are typically paid within 60 days or less. Some programs pay sooner while other take the entire 60 days to pay.
The point here is that affiliate programs are less demanding, all you are really doing is establishing a relationship with the company. After establishing the relationship with the company, the merchant will provide you with the marketing material and a specially coded link, which is called your affiliate link. This is all done in efforts to help you promote their products and services better.
Affiliate Marketing Examples
Amazon Affiliate Marketing
You’ve Probably crossed this term before, Amazon associates. It’s one of the most popular ways beginners get started with affiliate marketing business because Amazon is a well-known marketplace to the entire world. And selling products from that platform to a large audience can be pretty lucrative but, of course this takes time to make that happen.
To further explain this explain, usually what happens is an affiliate will write a post reviewing a specific brand of boy clothes or accessories. Within that article, the blogger includes affiliate to the products that they are reviewing. It the reader enjoys what they are reading, then the reader will click on the link and make a purchase. After making the purchase you as the affiliate will receive a commission from Amazon within approximately 60 days.
Pinterest Affiliate Marketing
Pinterest affiliate marketing is where you as an affiliate can drive traffic, using the Pinterest search engine. When you promote a product that is in high demand, you will surely get product sales, if done right. On Pinterest affiliates typically build a profile based on the center of a specific niche or theme. This could be anything from fashion, home decor, DIY, or recipes. Having a focused profile helps your target audience understand what you are all about.
It’s worth mentioning that, although you can promote on Pinterest without a website, it works even better when you have one.
eBay Affiliate Marketing
Here is where it’s important to understand what business model you want to use.
With eBay, you can do two things. You can either sale your own products on this marketplace or you can join the eBay affiliate program, and promote other people’s products.
While both allow you to earn money online, there’s still a difference. In fact, I sell on eBay right now, and in my opinion, selling your own products on eBay is very time consuming.
I’d rather become an affiliate and not have to worry about sourcing, shipping, returns, customer support, and buying supplies.
Not too mention that you must keep track of all your expenses, loses, and returns by Google sheets, or some sort of QuickBooks software.
On the hand, as an affiliate, you will not have to worry about handling any of this extra foot work because, the merchant has a team that does all of this for you.
By the way, you can also receive credits on your eBay fees if you share your products outside of eBay.
It’s as simple as joining their free eBay affiliate marketing program.
In fact, I’ve learned affiliate marketing from a community that not only teaches you how affiliate marketing works, but, allows you to earn extra money in addition to their affiliate training course.
Pretty, cool right?
Pros Of Affiliate Marketing
Sort Of Passive Income Or Leveraged Income
For long time, I believed affiliate marketing is passive income. However, I think it should be explained differently.
Affiliate Marketing, still requires consistent work. There is no magic trigger. If you believe passive income exists, then why would the billionaires have to consistently work today. What I believe makes affiliate marketing seem as passive income, is that the work you put in today, can still earn you money years down the road.
Moreover, affiliate marketing should be viewed as “Leveraged Income”. The evergreen content that you create and publish today, (preferably by website) is what will continue driving active traffic to your affiliate content, this is what can help you to continue earning commissions as long as your website stays active.
The point is that, effortless income doesn’t last long, so keep in mind that you must continuously be working on creating helpful content.
Affiliate Marketer: Scalability
Overtime, as you learn what you are doing as an affiliate, the scalability of affiliate marketing can be diversified by your efforts. Promoting on more channels to expand your audience while also collaborating with different merchants can help you scale your affiliate marketing efforts. With affiliate marketing you essentially choose where you want your income to be.
You Make Money Without Product Creation, Customer Service
As mentioned earlier one of the attractive things about affiliate marketing is that you do not provide customer service, shipping, or create the product. In fact, you’re not the one handling any of the money, refunds, or discounts. Therefore, you are not responsible for any administrative tasks, which includes not having to manage various clients.
Cons Of Affiliate Marketing
Income Instability Which May Not Work For All
As an affiliate your income can be unpredictable, especially in the early stages. Many affiliate gurus will tell you that you will make all this money within X amount of days or months. However, that is simply untrue. With affiliate marketing there are a lot of puzzles pieces to learn.
First you need to learn exactly how affiliate marketing works. Then you’ll need to choose a niche and learn what digital marketing channel you will become an expert at. Also, you’ll need to learn about the products and services that you will be promoting.
Therefore, due to many factors which include affiliate policy terms, seasonal variations and consumer behavior, income from affiliate marketing is unpredictable. With that in mind, relying solely on affiliate marketing to pay your bills immediately as a beginner can risky and challenging. Instead, you would need time to build your audience, create content, and gain trust before you can generate any significant income.
Reliance On Data Content Creation And Traffic Generation
Reliance on data, content creation and traffic generation is a crucial aspect of being successful as an affiliate marketer. Analyzing Google data helps an affiliate understand their audience and marketing trends. Content creation helps build trust with your audience, if you create valuable and high quality content which overtime then leads you to become an authority within that niche. Furthermore, traffic generation is essential for affiliate marketers, is what will help drive traffic to your affiliate promotions. Overall, all of this takes time to learn each concept, which can also be a challenge when first starting off.
Disclosures And Compliance Requirements
With affiliate marketing, disclosures and compliance are crucial for several reason. It helps with transparency, promotes ethical marketing practices, and avoids any misunderstandings. The drawback to the disclosures and compliance requirements is some beginner affiliate marketers have limited knowledge of these aspects, which fosters trust and protection for both you the affiliate and merchant.
As an affiliate marketer you are the middle man between the business and customer.
Who Should Consider Affiliate Marketing?
The good news is that affiliate marketing, can be done part-time, alongside your current job or any other commitments. If you start part-time this will allow you to test the waters and gradually transition into a full-time affiliate, if you choose to.
The bottom line here is that, affiliate marketing is for anyone who wants to be an online entrepreneur, without having to provide products, customer support, or shipping. The people who should avoid affiliate marketing are the ones that believe its a get rich scheme and it requires no effort.
Therefore, if you are seeking immediate income this may not be the best suited opportunity for you.
What Is Freelancing?
Freelancing is almost how it sounds.
In short, it means you’re not committed to just one company or client. As a freelancer you are not working for an employer, you’ll be spending time, with different clients.
Furthermore, it’s a work arrangement where individuals known as freelancers, offer their skills, services, or expertise to a client or clients and sometimes businesses on a project by project basis.
In other words, you will not be employed by one single employer. Therefore, you’re free to complete tasks for whoever you please.
For instance, instead of working for one organization. You can work with multiple organizations.
As a freelance worker, you’re considered either a contractor or an independent worker, working for yourself.
As long as you can handle multiple work loads, you can spread your talent around to many different clients if you choose too, which most freelancers do.
Flancers Platform Examples
Yes, Fivver you’ve probably heard of this popular freelance platform. It offers opportunities for a wide range of services. This platform works on a system called Gig based. After signing up for an account, you will outline your specific services or skills that you offer. Whenever a potential customers comes across your profile and likes what they see, they’ll make a purchase. All you need to do from that point forward, is complete the project.
Flancer is one of the worlds largest freelance marketplaces, if you have a certain skill this website most likely has an opportunity for you. With over 1800 plus skills available to clients, the possibilities for a freelancer are endless. All you need to do is complete a profile, find the job that fits your skills best, and put your best foot forward.
Gun.io is isn’t for every freelance. It seems to appeal more to developers. Either way, it’s another freelance platform, where your past work speaks for itself. It’s worth mentioning that Gun.io tries to decrease your stress by helping you bill your clients, guaranteeing your payments, and they support you during your engagement. Furthermore, with this platform, the rate you name are honored. And the fees are not charged to you but, your client. If you interested in this platform, I encourage you to do further research on how you and their team can facilitate interviews between you and a potential client.
Pros Of Freelancing
Diversity And Portfolio Building
The diver opportunities that come with freelancing can lead a freelancer to continued learning and skill development. It helps you as a freelancer, expand your knowledge and as a result can lead you to attract top tier companies.
Freelancing is become more and more popular, therefore this is worth mentioning. In most cases, remote work allows you to work from anywhere with an internet connection. It can also potentially allow you to set your own schedule and travel in the future.
Potential Of Earning High Income
Cons Of Freelancing
Client Management And Administrative Tasks
As a freelancer, you can encounter challenging tasks as well as clients. This could make the work that you need to perform difficult at times. Keep in mind that meeting clients expectations, analyzing and considering their feedback, and the way you communicate to the client is all important skill for a freelancer.
furthermore, the responsibility that you have as a freelancer is to keep track and organize your administrative tasks, like invoicing, your contracts, expenses which can become time consuming and demanding if you do not streamline your responsibilities.
When first becoming a freelancer, you are trying to get a hang of the routine. This can cause an income fluctuation, especially when slower times come around. With that said, there may be times in your journey when projects are scarce or lead you to believe that there is no financial security.
Freelancers need to market themselves, continuously. This is what helps attracts your potential clients. In the end, this can also cause you time and effort to build a solid reputation which would eventually lead to a steady stream of clients and or projects.
As a freelancer you do not have a middle man, nor are you considered a middle man. You will be selling your skills directly to people.
Who Should Consider Freelancing?
Freelancing is for individuals with a wide rang of skills, or preferences. If you want to balance your skills with your personal responsibilities such as family, then freelancing could be for you. It’s a versatile career opportunity that caters to needs and circumstance of many people.
Furthermore, freelancing can help you earn extra money, gain real world experiences, and helps you monetize the talents that you have.
On the other hand, if you are seeking job security and need immediate income this may be an opportunity that you want to by pass as a full time career. Instead you can start off as a part-time freelancer.
What Is A Freelance Affiliate?
In simple terms, a freelance affiliate is a person who engages in both activities. So, whenever you see the word freelance affiliate, all you have to remember is that it’s a fancy word for a person who is an affiliate, plus they do freelancing on the side.
In other words, that person promotes products or services offered by other companies and earns a commission for each qualified sale. And they offer their skills as a service to clients for a fee.
Freelancing Affiliate Examples
Search Engine Optimization
As a freelance affiliate, you can specialize in SEO to optimize content and websites within the search engine. The way you gain this skill is by learning to build websites, and improve their visibility in search results.
After you have the ability to attract more organic traffic to your own affiliate links. You can not only operate your own website but, you can offer your skill to other bloggers or clients that need the help. Platforms such as Upwork, can help you offer your SEO skills as a service.
As a matter of fact, many freelancers have their own blog where they offer their skills directly from their blog, or they use the blog for marketing purposes.
As you know Artificial intelligence is becoming extremely popular, well if this industry interests you, there are opportunities that allow you to be a freelancer and earn commissions at the same time. One example of this is RemoTasks.
Another example is that UpWork allows people with various talents join their platform. In fact, they even have opportunities for people who have machine learning skills to offer their skills and services.
Digital Marketing Knowledge
While both affiliate marketing and freelancing allow you to learn skills, you will be equipped with digital marketing knowledge, if you were to apply both opportunities together. a freelance affiliate has a broader understanding of how digital marketing concepts, such as SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and sometimes paid marketing works.
What Are The Main Differences between Affiliate Marketing and Freelancing?
If you’re still confused on what the differences and similarities of the two. Below you will find more details that will help you decide.
Nature Of The Work
Affiliate marketers do not provide their skills and services to clients, where as freelancers do. Also, affiliate marketers do not work on a project by project basis, where as freelancers do. Furthermore, affiliate marketers do not necessary have to rely on any skills, where as a freelancer has to align their projects up with their expertise, interest, and skills.
As an affiliate marketer you are paid on when you earn a commission on a qualified sell. Meaning a customer has to click your specific affiliate link, and make a purchase. This is the only way that sale counts as any money. With that in mind, affiliate marketers do not set the commission rate, the dates they get paid, and how they will be paid.
On the other hand, a freelancer, earns their income by charging people, clients, or businesses for their services or skills that they provided. In addition to that, they have control over what and how they will be paid. If they want to be paid by hourly, fixed rate, or per project basis a freelancer can come up with an agreement between them and their client.
Freelancer, work directly with a client or business. Therefore, you’ll have an ongoing relationship and communication with that person. Any concerns, complaints, or issues arise this will be handled between you and the client.
While an affiliate marketer does not work directly with clients or customers. They may answer questions and lend a helping hand but, as far as paperwork, money, and product issues are concerned the customer is directed to the business that the affiliate is affiliated with. The business handles that for the affiliate.
If you want to consider freelance affiliate marketing. You will deal with both sides of the fence. Affiliate marketers are the middle man, while freelancers are the man directly.
What Are The Main Similarities between Affiliate Marketing and Freelancing?
Self Employment And No Benefits
Here is a big debate, and you may be confused yourself. If you’ve seen some gurus say that freelancing is a job, and affiliate marketing is a business. This is half truth.
Freelancing and Affiliate Marketing are both considered self-employment, which typically does not come with traditional employee benefits such as 401K, medical or dental vision, vacation pay, or overtime.
Self-employment involves you taking on the responsibility of everything. From your time, discipline, work location to the work load, organization, learning, expenses, marketing efforts, and taxes. Therefore, regardless of what opportunity fits your needs and goals, it’s essential to keep track of your earnings and expenses for tax purposes.
The decision to pursue self-employment can seem to be a huge trade off at first because, you will learn the independent responsibilities that have been thrown upon you verse the traditional employment benefits. However, many people who decide to join the self-employment boat really see the value in their trim, freedom, and flexibility which comes with having control over your own schedule.
The great news is that both affiliate marketing and freelancing allows you to work remotely. Both online industries can work from any location as long as they have internet access, which provides them with flexibility to manage their personal life and work.
As a result, this can potential reduce commuting stress, and save you money because, both an affiliate and freelancer works directly at home. There’s really no need to spend on work attire unless you choose too, or outside meals because, working remotely reduces these types of office related expenses.
Shared Online Skills
Both a freelancer and an affiliate marketer can learn skills which helps them create a strong foundation for success in many areas. These skills that are learned can be leveraged so that the individual can achieve their financial goals. The many skills that an affiliate marketer and a freelancer shares are as follows:
- Digital Marketing
- Communicaiton or Relationship Building
- Adaptability and Continuous Learning
- Analytical Skills
- Time Management
- Being Their Own Boss
- Working Remotely
- Using Various Software And Technology
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Freelancing Better Than Affiliate Marketing?
Whether freelancing is better than affiliate marketing, depends on your skills and preferences. There are disadvantages and advantages to both. What may be a good fit for you, may not be the best fit for another person.
Is Affiliate Marketing Considered Freelancing?
It depends on how you refer to the word freelancing. Affiliate marketing is when a person promotes other people products and earns a commission for it. While a freelancer is typically defined as a person that works for different clients and gets paid on a per project basis, hourly or fix rate.
However, if you view freelancing as a person that is an independent contractor looking for ways to earn income without having an employer involved, then I guess you could say freelancing is a form of freelance work, which is also known as freelancing.
It is worth noting that they are both distinct in the business model.
Is Freelance Digital Marketing Same As Affiliate Marketing?
No! As a freelance digital marketer, you will work directly with clients. You need to understand your clients needs, feedback, and communicate well with them. You will have to execute these strategies to achieve your goals. Also, income is earned based on a per project basis, hourly, or fixed rate.
While with affiliate marketing, an affiliate does not offer their skills to clients. They get paid based off of performance. Instead of delivering executed projects, they promote services or products for other businesses and earn a commssion for any successful sales.
Final Thoughts Of Affiliate Marketing VS. Freelancing
Thank you, for staying to the end of this affiliate marketing vs. freelancing guide.
Ultimately, the choice between affiliate marketing and freelancing depends on you as an individual. You’ll have to know what you prefer, the skills you have, and what are your goals. As you learned today, you do not have to stick with one over the other.
Some people combine both affiliate marketing and freelancing to learn new skills and diversify their income paths. I myself, am always seeking out different opportunities, so I would say I fall more in line with the freelance work and affiliate marketing category.
The bottom line here is, consider your strengths, interest, and long term goals, which can potentially help you determine your desired career path. All else, fails try it and see which one works out best for you.
Which method would be best for you? I’ve never tried freelance work myself. So, the only business model I can say is I prefer affiliate marketing. And the reason, I prefer this method is because, it allows me time and location freedom, along with