Affiliate Marketing, MLM or eCommerce – How to Decide?

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Why ditching the traditional path of a job to build your own online business is the way to go!

I’ve always been on the hunt for a way to work from home, especially once I had children, so I could spend more time with them. But now as I’m getting older what drives me has changed a bit. I still want to free up my time to spend with family and grandchildren (when they come along!) but also have the resources to explore new places and live somewhere different that’s not governed by my job. I want the freedom to own my future and live exactly how I want. I’d even love to build a completely sustainable living cottage……..but that’s another story!

Melissa with pooch Polly

I’ve tried my hand at MLM, started up an Amazon FBA business, and now, I’m excitedly building an affiliate marketing business. I’ve learned a lot over the years, and now I want to give you my personal experiences. Not just theories here!

It makes perfect sense that millions want more choice and freedom in their lives, so they are ditching the traditional job scene to pursue the opportunity of their own online business. But with so many options – MLM, eCommerce, Amazon FBA, Affiliate Marketing – how do you choose the right one to give you and your family the lifestyle you dream of?

Let’s get stuck into what I see as the pros and cons of each, the hidden challenges, and what I think is the secret sauce that can skyrocket your success.

Pros & Cons MLM
Pros & Cons Amazon FBA
Pros & Cons Affiliate Marketing
Who is this training for?
Conclusion

The real secret sauce: it’s not about picking the “best” model. It’s about investing in yourself
and gaining the skills you need to build any online business.

So, whether you love MLM, eCommerce, or you’re an Affiliate Marketing newbie, keep reading. I’ll show you the roadmap for how you can get the skills you need to not only generate an income online but to build something you love.

1. MLM (MULTI-LEVEL MARKETING)

I was an MLM baby. My parents became involved, and by extension, I did as well. I loved all the positive mindset and personal development taught at the conferences and meetings.

Go straight to the Pros and Cons of MLM

MLM is about selling products and building a network of people who also sell products. Like a sales team, yet everyone essentially has their own business. The more volume going through your business and those “downline” from you, the more commission you make. If you’re with a good, reputable company with quality products, the model is sound.

But the aspect of MLM that I constantly struggled with was that to grow, I had to continue to recruit other people into my network. Friends, family, and neighbours. The guy behind the counter at the grocery store. My dentist. My doctor. Anyone I came in contact with, I was encouraged to add to my list of prospects. I felt the pressure of always looking for new prospects to add to my list. Someone who might be interested in joining our network to sell products and, in turn, recruit others to do the same.

Constant Pressure

I felt the constant pressure, to consider everyone I met as a potential new recruit. Looking through the lense of “could this person be a good prospect” rather than just enjoying their company.

I even became embarrassed to admit to anyone that I was a distributor, even though I loved the products. I heard others talk disparagingly about how they’d been hounded by someone to join. Or how they’d been invited around for dinner only to find themselves propped up in front of a whiteboard to watch a quick presentation! The whole thing didn’t sit well with me. I wanted to feel proud of what I was trying to build. And I didn’t want to alienate my family and friends.

How Can I Secure My Future?

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How Can I Secure My Future?

However, the drive to achieve more, build a business of my own, be my own boss, and have an income I could scale based on my efforts, not settle for what my boss told me I was worth, never left me.

This intensified when I went through a divorce. I had limited savings for retirement, and so as I looked ahead, I faced the prospect of having to work well into my 60s.

Divorce is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. It was a period of change for my family and not at all easy. I was only in my mid-40s and I worried about the future. How would I give my kids the life I wanted them to have? Where could we afford to live? What would my retirement eventually look like? It was stressful, and I found myself lying awake at night worrying, unable to turn my mind off. I had to do something about it. I had to find a way to change my circumstances. I was sick and tired of feeling not in control of my own future and feeling like life was getting away from me. I was sick of playing and living small.

2. AMAZON FBA

In 2019, I decided to learn how to sell on Amazon. I invested in some training to learn how to sell existing brands on Amazon through a wholesaling model. I learned to source products from within the US and send them directly to Amazon warehouses to fulfil. This is known as fulfilment by Amazon, or FBA. I learned valuable skills, and I started to build good momentum with some bigger months of sales. I thought I’d found the right business model for me, but I struggled to find enough suitable suppliers within the US, and I couldn’t control the Amazon fees that seemed to keep escalating.

Go straight to the Pros and Cons of Amazon FBA

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The other major challenge I found was that just when I got good traction on a product listing, other sellers would come in on the listing and push the price down. My margins gradually eroded and sometimes were next to nothing. You have to be prepared to ride these waves on shared listings and either compete in the “race to the bottom” on price or maintain your price level and hope the other sellers sell out of their stock quickly.

The final straw was when my best supplier decided they would no longer sell to Amazon sellers. Suddenly, I had no stock to sell.

If you have the money to invest, you can go down the path of building your own unique brand and developing your own product line to sell. This gives you more control over your supply (often sourced from China), and because it’s your product, you remain the only seller on your product listing on Amazon. This also means you can dictate the price based on your own research rather than getting into a discount war with other sellers of the same product. Building and developing your own brand is a long-term commitment, but it’s definitely worth it if you’re willing to put in the time and have the resources to do so.

Support and Training

The other point I would make is that if you are going to invest in training or tools of any kind, you should make sure the company has a good track record and is going to stick around to keep providing you with the support and ongoing training you need.

I found that the company I did my Amazon training through decided not to continue supporting and upgrading the online research tool they had trained us on, so I have to admit I felt cheated in this aspect and not completely confident in continuing to invest with them for my continued learning.

How to Generate Financial Security and Freedom

Learn New Skills
Learn New Skills

Still looking for a solution for how I could generate financial security for myself and my kids, and build a business that I loved, I realised I had to invest in educating myself further. To up-skill in an area that was booming so I could better protect myself financially and ensure I always had a way to create an income. The answer, for me, was to learn digital marketing.

I toyed with different social media and digital marketing trainings, knowing this was the way I wanted to go but not sure where to invest my hard-earned money. I knew I needed training, tools, support, and mentoring to succeed. I was more than ready to put in the required effort and allocate the time and money needed to build something that was sustainable and aligned with my values. I just needed to find the right company that I could trust to deliver those things and stay around for the long term. I wanted to learn from someone who had “walked the walk” not just “talked the talk”.

The Solution

Then, last year, I stumbled across a guy online who shared his story about how, after being made redundant in his job, he and his wife had invested a lot of their money in setting up a Bed & Breakfast. Of course, then good old COVID came along and shut them down, so they had no income coming in. They had to do something to stop the haemorrhaging of their savings. His solution was to learn how to market online and initially build an affiliate marketing business. The organisation he was learning through provided all the education, support, tools, and mentoring needed to get up and running in your own online business. They now have several websites, each earning them money.

I clicked the button and subscribed to get access to the free training videos so I could see if this was the solution I’d been looking for. It was. You can see the same free training videos here.

3. AFFILIATE MARKETING

I’m passionate about building a business I love that provides value to anyone who comes in contact with my brand. Affiliate marketing allows me to promote products or services from any company that I feel aligns with my values and that I know is going to provide value to others. And the best part is that I don’t have to have my own products or services. This means I don’t need to source, store, or distribute anything. And the vendor company will deal with the sale and all customer service activities.

Affiliate Marketing Pros and Cons

Sustainable and Solid Online Business

However, affiliate marketing is a long-term business commitment, and it takes patience and commitment to learn and hone your online marketing skills.

Lifestyle of Freedom and Choice

I’m now building not just an affiliate marketing business, but I’m using Authority Marketing to build an Authority Brand in my online business that I will continue to grow. Affiliate marketing will be just one revenue stream. The potential is HUGE. However, it’s crucial to have access to coaches, mentors, cutting-edge training, and a community of like-minded people who both inform and inspire you to reach greater heights. I’ve found this now. I’ve found my tribe and know that I’m in the right place to help me build my online business and, in turn, the lifestyle of freedom and choice that I desire for me and my family.

If you want to get going, start by watching these free intro training videos.

Mentors to help you build your business
Build an Authority Brand

MLM

PROSCONS
Start your own business with low start-up costs.Most sales happen face-to-face which takes time.
Flexibility: build it whenever and wherever you are.A good income can be difficult to achieve.
Access to a lot of positive mindset training for personal growth.A lot of rejection involved.
You can plug into the program and marketing materials provided by the company.Restricted to the products and services of the company you have signed up with.
Ability to buy quality products and services at wholesale and sell them at retail.Pressure to recruit other distributors.
You don’t need to create your own products or manage inventory.If you are building a distributor network, it relies on building and maintaining relationships that can sour, and your network (and income) can disintegrate.
Training from the company to give you good product knowledge.It takes time to build a good network of distributors and your own retail customers.
Unlimited earning potential.Negative reputation due to unethical practices by some companies and distributors.

Amazon FBA

PROSCONS
Amazon will store and ship the products for you.Reduced profits – FBA costs will eat into your margins.
Bigger chance of getting the Buy Box on a listing.Cost to dispose of damaged stock in their warehouse.
Leverage the credibility and reach of the Amazon marketplace.Amazon’s “no question asked” returns policy can increase the volume of returns.
Fast, reliable delivery to customers with often cheaper rates or free for Prime customers.Long-term storage fees that any of your slow-moving items may incur.
Amazon takes care of most customer enquiries and return requests.Specific packaging and labelling requirements for stock going into their warehouse can be costly and time-consuming.
You can expand into other markets by listing in other countries.If selling in the US, they have a complex sales tax system that is state-based.
It’s easy to set up a listing and start selling.High competition by other sellers and on shared listings.
Communication with your customers is limited to the buyer-seller messaging service, making it difficult to build your brand.

Affiliate Marketing

PROSCONS
Your own business: part of an industry that’s worth over a billion dollars.It is not a quick business to build. Requires patience and persistence.
Low cost to start up.There are different types of commissions from different vendors. You need to check you are with a reputable vendor.
Flexibility: work from wherever and whenever you want; start part-time if you want.It can be a lonely road if not plugged in with a good support network.
Promote products and services for multiple companies – no restriction.Some affiliates engage in spammy types of marketing that affect the reputation of the industry.
Ability to scale up: the more products or services you promote, the more revenue streams you have.There is no guarantee of income. You are working for yourself, so it all depends on your effort and expertise in marketing.
You don’t need to handle the product – no sourcing, storage, and distribution.You need to make sure you stay relevant to your audience or risk losing credibility.
Sales and customer service activities are completed by the company, not you, the affiliate.No control over the affiliate program; you must follow the rules set by the vendor company.
Marketing materials are often provided by the vendors.
Flexibility to choose any marketing channel to market to your audience (eg Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google Search)
Passive income: once you build your business you can make money while you sleep.

CONCLUSION – What’s the Secret Sauce to Building an Online Business?

I believe learning Authority Marketing is one of the best investments you can make to ensure you have the skills to not just build a solid, profitable online business that you love, but also know that you can create or scale your income at any time. These skills are so transferrable, that no matter what business model you decide is best for you (affiliate marketing, network marketing, eCommerce, Amazon FBA), you can use your valuable Authority Marketing skills to grow your business and generate income.

You will know how to build your business organically as well as through paid advertising to create marketing campaigns on any number of platforms, like Google, YouTube, or Facebook. If you want, you could even get paid to build those digital assets for others.

Who is this training for?

It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you have no technical skills or no idea what product or service you could market. You can even start it part-time alongside your existing job. No matter which way you look, these skills are in huge demand, and that spells security and choice about the lifestyle you can create for you and your family. This training is not for someone who not prepared to put in the effort and work consistently towards building something of value.

But you need to get the right education that is up-to-date and at the forefront of what’s working right now.

Make sure you have access to superior tools, support, and coaching. Be plugged into a community of people who have done what you want to do. Where you can interact with like-minded people who are collaborative and supportive.

If you have all these things, it’s really just up to you.

Put in the effort and recognise that creating something of value takes time, commitment, and persistence.

And just start.

Start to take the intentional steps each day that will move you steadily towards the life you really want for you and your family. Own your future.

Taking action, even imperfect action, trumps all.

If you have any questions, I’m more than happy to answer them – just email me at melissa@lifebyintent.com

Melissa Phillips

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