I’ve decided that I’m going to inflict progress reports on my return from my extended maternity leave upon you. Perhaps it’ll help me more than it helps you, but I hope it might at least provide passing interest if nothing else.
My Sympathies Newbies
I wouldn’t like your job. Like many people who return to work after quite a while surrounded by children, or go through a major life change (or both) I have suffered a little with issues of self confidence.
As I mentioned previously, I have been lucky. Affiliate marketing supported me right through 3 years of babies, nappies, and difficult pregnancies. Despite starting my family at the worst possible time in terms of a period of huge change at the hands of the Google menagerie – I’ve done OK. However, I doubt I could have left things much longer. My sites were really on their last legs in terms of revenue, and I was / am now reliant on one merchant for a distressingly large proportion of my income. That’s not cool.
Rebuilding The Mindset of Success
“I can’t do this anymore, there’s too much competition, I’ve let things slide too far, and small time affiliate marketing is dead”
K.McCubbin, March 2015.
There were days when inspiration eluded, and I focused on how degraded my revenue streams have become. I was plagued with self doubt. However, knowing how I’ve found revenue streams in the past, and still being able to see a lot of untapped niche areas using the same old tried and tested techniques from days of yore – I at least had the core belief that I’ll get there to fall back upon.
I’ve also been able to hold onto an understanding that self doubt is fine so long as it is consigned to the “this too shall pass” corner of my head. Tomorrow is a new day. And when you have a bad day, you just have to do all you can to step away, adjust that headspace, and take another run up the next time you sit down at your desk.
Slowly my confidence has returned. Affiliate marketing for the small operator is not dead. How ridiculous. It’s just not as easy any more. But who enjoys things being easy? Pah.
It’s important to have aims. It’s important that they are realistic. It’s important to set a benchmark for your own performance and record your progress against that. Through the quite painful and anxious return to full time work (and the UK!), I’ve often been distracted by my reliance on that one large merchant. Getting into a pattern of thought where you look at how you’d be affected if they vanished from the scene is a bit depressing to say the least.
Eventually, I realised that this had to be my focus, but in the positive rather than the negative. And if you are reading this thinking “that should be obvious”. Well duh. But I’ve squeezed just about every super-stressful life change someone could possibly go through into the last few months. Then tried to go back to work after 3 years almost completely off. Nothing is clear. Logic has been a struggle to grasp. There’s been no cogent plan. Instead, in an attempt to kick start that rabid focus I bloody well know is in there, I’ve just been trying for the small wins.
As those small wins have slowly built, and the trauma of my big move has faded, my mental clarity and drive have slowly returned. And a cogent plan and direction have formed.
And this is what my journey to date looks like. The below isn’t a representation of my overall income. It’s a representation of the income that isn’t from that one large merchant looks like. A graph including that is meaningless. And confusing, because the income flucuates a lot from them.
This graph is quite interesting to me, the somewhat pleasing upward trajectory recently dates from just about exactly when I created the graph. The visual representation seemed to provide clarity way beyond “oh look, there’s what I’m earning”. Presumably because I couldn’t sit and stress about how much I’d be left with if “Mr Big Merchant” were to be lost.
And where did I get my spreadsheet? I downloaded it from my own blog, because I didn’t have it any more. It’s kind of odd that this blog helped me the way I hope it used to help other people.
Thanks Kirsty 😉