Resolutions Require Resolve

It’s mid-January. The holiday revelry is over, Christmas decorations have been packed away and the leftover turkey in the fridge is turning green. What about your New Year’s resolutions? Are they also becoming stale and moldy?

Are you still hitting the gym regularly, forsaking Haagen-Dazs and renewing your determination to avoid the evil weed with each nicotine fit? What about your resolutions to improve your affiliate marketing business this year? How are you doing with those?

What’s that? You didn’t make New Year’s resolutions related to your affiliate sites? Well, that comes as no surprise, as only a tiny percentage of those who make New Year’s resolutions include goals to improve their business. What is surprising is that a smart affiliate marketer would choose to give their competition such a big advantage to start the year.

Consider this. Super-affiliates who made resolutions and set goals are already executing plans to increase their annual income through market research, new site creation and customer base expansion. Existing pay-per-click advertising campaigns have been reviewed, ineffective keywords tossed and new campaigns and traffic-generation strategies are being put in place. Phone calls are being made to enhance relationships with affiliate managers, negotiate commission increases and forge new strategic partnerships. Last but not least, working methods are being organized and streamlined to save time, money and effort.

While statistics suggest that most of the “resolvers” will venture down the familiar path that ends in this year’s broken resolutions, the “super resolution makers” will stick to their plans and substantially increase their share of the commission pie.

So, do you want a bigger piece of that pie? Well, better belated than never. There’s still plenty of time to boost your affiliate business in 2006 by making and executing a few well-planned resolutions.

Here are 10 tips to avoid the pit of broken resolutions and reach your affiliate marketing business goals in 2006:

  1. Be realistic.
    “Make 10 million bucks” is a lofty aspiration, indeed. However, your chances of reaching that goal are about zero to none, unless of course your super-duper affiliate marketing company netted $5 million to $9 million in 2005.
  2. Be specific.
    “Make big heaps o’ cash” means different things to different people. Use specific numbers to define what you mean by big. Consider resolving to increase annual gross revenue by 20 percent or to deposit $2,000 in your savings account each month.
  3. Set a deadline.
    A goal without a deadline is just a wish. Do you wish to learn HTML, or will you actually learn HTML and upload three pages to a free Geocities domain by Feb. 15, 2006?
  4. Put it in writing.
    Write down precisely what you want to achieve and post it in a place where you will see it every day. The list will remind you what you’re working toward.
  5. Make a plan.
    When vacation planning, we research destination options, decide when and where to go, how to get there and then make reservations and an itinerary. You may use a similar approach to creating a step-by-step plan for your affiliate marketing business activities.
  6. Use positive terms.
    Frame your resolutions from a positive perspective. For example, instead of writing, “Stop joining low-commission nonproductive affiliate programs,” reword your goal to read, “Research and apply to one new recurring or high-commission-percentage affiliate program in my primary niche each week.”
  7. Commit to your plan.
    What will motivate you to stick to your plan? Is it the thought of how appealing you’ll be to the opposite sex while driving your shiny new sports car with the top down, or perhaps you dream of a vacation to some exotic and exciting destination? Maybe it’s the promise of creating a better future for your children with a hefty college fund. Whatever your goals, visualize and reaffirm them frequently to strengthen your commitment to the plan and enhance your chances of success.
  8. Be flexible.
    Today’s hot market may become tomorrow’s dog – just ask some formerly successful pharmaceutical affiliates. Although it would be terribly discouraging to see your time and hard work wasted, be ready to revise and rework your plan if required.
  9. Be persistent.
    According to a study conducted by Elizabeth Miller, a doctoral student at the University of Washington; and director of UW’s Addictive Behaviors Research Center, Alan Marlatt, of those who succeed with their resolutions, only 40 percent do so on the first try. Don’t despair. The rest succeeded after multiple attempts, and only 17 percent required six or more tries to succeed.
  10. Reward success.
    Don’t wait until you’ve saved enough for that brand-new Mercedes to reward your success. Take credit when you achieve a resolution and treat yourself. Also, don’t blame yourself if you fail. Instead, discover and dismantle the obstacles that were in your way and change your plan accordingly. The beauty of resolutions and goals is that you can create and revise them throughout the entire year – not just at New Year’s.

Do I follow my own advice when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions? Yes. In addition to my annual “lose weight, exercise more and watch less CNN” resolutions, I did make a few that are directly related to my affiliate marketing business.

For example, to eliminate the annual tax-time stress-fest during which I plow through an enormous pile of unsorted receipts, statements and stubs, I have resolved to do my bookkeeping on a monthly basis. Maintaining the books in a timely manner should spare what remains of my accountant Glen’s hair and save about $1,000 in bookkeeping charges at tax time.

Will my resolution succeed? Well, I’m not sure whether preserving Glen’s hair is sufficient motivation for me to stay the course. However, the prospect of an extra grand in my pocket to buy another pair of Stuart Weitzman boots guarantees its success.

Happy 2006. May this be the year that you reach and exceed all your goals and dreams.

ROSALIND GARDNER is the author of the best-selling guide to affiliate marketing, The Super Affiliate Handbook: How I Made $436,797 in One Year Selling Other People’s Stuff Online. Her book is available on Amazon and www.SuperAffiliateHandbook.com.