What I’m about to share with you might shock you. It’s the worst part of my entire business and something that has held me back for nearly three years. I’m almost ashamed to admit it but the worst part of our company is…
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The Worst Part of My Entire Business: Why You Need to Hire an Affiliate Manager
What I’m about to share with you might shock you. It’s the single worst part of my entire business and it’s something that’s held me back for nearly three years. I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but the worst part of our entire company. So the title of this episode, if you read the full thing, is the worst part of my entire Business Why You Need to Hire an Affiliate Manager. And that’s a little bit of a tease, right? If you read the full title, you’re going I may have figured out what the worst part of Matt’s business is, but surely it’s not affiliate management.
Well, it is. The worst part of my entire business for the past three years has been affiliate management. Now I’m going to explain why that is and how we solved that problem. We have solved that problem. But the reality is that I started realizing about three years ago that it’s hard to be my own affiliate manager. I feel like I might be the best in the world at what I do. And yet I am now managing a team of more than ten people. I am now the CEO of a fast-growing company.
I’m responsible for just like many of you and many business owners. I’m responsible for the management of our content. I’m recording this podcast right now. This 20 minutes or so that I’ll record this podcast is time that I’m not being an affiliate manager. The hour or so that I go live every Thursday is a time that I’m not an affiliate manager. The time I spent prepping for that is time that I’m not an affiliate manager.
The time I spent planning the content and planning our promotions and planning all of our stuff and answering questions from the team and what do we want to do here? And delivering the webinars that we do with our partners, adds up to tens of hours a week, 2030 now close to 35 hours a week that I spend doing the management. I didn’t have time to be an affiliate manager for my own company. And it really hit kind of a breaking point.
A few years ago, we were running a big launch. This ended up at the time, it was our biggest launch that we’d ever had and we were on track to basically just shatter all of our records and our goals. And I remember the second to last night we did a six-hour live stream. I feel like we started at like 05:00 p.m. And I went till after 11:00 p.m. And this is the night before cart close day busy. This is huge. Like, all of our affiliates are getting ready for the next day and all of their plans and I’m live for 6 hours.
I remember I think I was going to say I took a break at the top or bottom of every hour for like three minutes to run to the bathroom and one of my old team members was on with me and he’d take a break. Like we kind of alternate like every half hour. One of us would kind of take off for like two or three minutes. And I remember I took like a ten or twelve-minute break at halfway through it was like 08:00 p.m. Went up and just took a quick break just to decompress and then came back on.
But I remember getting text messages about the launch from our affiliates who have questions about their affiliate manager and I’m like trying to text them under the table. It was ridiculous and it was unsustainable. And the worst part of that whole launch was the affiliate management. And I’m like, okay, something’s got to change. And so all throughout this though, when I’m running people’s affiliate programs, I’m the best in the world, but it’s the worst part of my business.
So the solution was that this year we hired someone and I want to talk today about why you should too. Now first I want to address the things that I’ve talked about before. Early on, I believe you should be your own affiliate manager. And then if you’re not, I feel like you need to know more about how to run an affiliate program. You need to understand it right? This is the number one mistake.
I see entrepreneurs who start an affiliate program when they’re starting out, they know they need some help running it. So they hire an affiliate manager and they promptly abdicate all responsibility for their program to him or her. And then they wonder why it keeps getting smaller and not larger. Do not make this mistake. You need to be involved and early on you need to be the one doing almost all of the work on your affiliate program early on. But then as you grow, you begin to have different needs and you need to possibly hire one.
I’ve mentioned before kind of some of the problems with affiliate managers. I’ve been one for 17 years, but I want to be honest. I want to share some of the problems. I want to share the solution. I’ve seen three major problems with affiliate managers over the years. In fact, I’ve contributed to some of these problems. These problems are exactly why we now spend a lot of our time coaching entrepreneurs on running their affiliate programs and coaching affiliate managers on how to be better affiliate managers so that they aren’t contributing to these problems.
Number one, they aren’t you. I can’t be you. When you hire Matt McWilliams Consulting to be your affiliate manager, I can’t be you. And there are certain relationships that you need to have as an entrepreneur you are the best person in those relationships. Nothing I can do can replace that. And so we tell people all the time, hey, when we take over, we take over running your affiliate program. We’re going to take care of 98% of the stuff. We’re going to take 98% of all the responsibilities off your plate. What are the 2% relationships? Relationships.
As an affiliate manager, when a company hires us to run their affiliate program, the very first thing we do is schedule 90 minutes to two-hour-long meetings just for us to better understand your company. We go through I tell people that one of the big things is we’re trying to craft a narrative. I want to know, what are the stories? What are the cool stories from people who, you know, your students, your clients, your customers? What are the results you’re getting? What’s the narrative? Who’s this product for? Who is it not for?
Like, all these things, I want to know these things. I want to be able to speak your language and speak the language of your affiliates and your clients, but I can never do it as well as you. And so with some of those top partners, you’re going to need to be the one that kind of has at least a part of that relationship. So let me be clear. Early on, there’s no one better than you to run your affiliate program when you’re first starting out under six figures, especially, there’s no one better.
The second problem with affiliate managers is that their incentives are wrong by definition. They are often incentivized to grow your program, but at what cost? So when you have growth at all costs strategy, they allow things like trademark bidding and rogue affiliates and affiliates who use nefarious tactics to attract customers. Right. They’re hard to police and they can cause brand damage. These are things I worry about in my company. It’s why when we hired the person that we hired, it was a five-month process.
I know Jim is amazing. And if you’re interested, by the way, in being an affiliate for any of our stuff, just reach out to partners. At MattMcwilliams.com, you’ll get Jim Atkins and he’s going to absolutely help you. And he’s 100% on board. He has been trained by me, and he’s still being coached by me. So if you want an affiliate program run as well as any, it’s going to be ours now. Not before he took over. Before he took over, I sucked at it because I was too busy doing everything else in our company. So their incentives are wrong.
And then thirdly, their first priority is always their job. Their first priority is protecting their job. Looking good, keeping you as a client or an employer making the most money for the longest amount of time. And so I remember, like, there have been times I hate to admit this, but there were times back when our company as affiliate managers when we ran programs like Shutterfly and Adidas and other big companies we need to be very careful not to grow too fast. Publicly traded companies don’t want you to grow too fast.
They don’t want you to grow by 60% this quarter and then only 20% next quarter. Even though that is better than 40 40. If I go 40 40 that’s actually less growth than 60 20. Just because math is right and so they’re worried about their stock price so we would purposely hold back growth. Entrepreneurs don’t want that. I want to grow as fast as possible. If Jim comes to me and goes hey Matt, just so you know we got this deal and they’re going to do a million dollars next quarter but nothing the rest of the year I’m going to go cool.
I have literally no problem with that. I don’t get it. So you don’t have to have someone run your affiliate program for you. You need to learn how to do it and you need to understand some of the principles. You need to understand the relationships but it reaches a point where you just can’t do it. You’re busy running your business. You can’t be on a live stream and at the same time be communicating with your affiliates. So you need a full-time affiliate manager and you need someone like us to take that over for you. And just to be clear I’m not selling you on our agency.
We work with the best of the best. Yes, maybe I am. A little bit. We work with Ryan Levick and Stu McLaren. We worked with Michael Hyatt and Ray Edwards. We work with Trisha Brooke and just literally if you look at an affiliate program over the past five or six years pretty disinterested. We ran it. There’s a reason for that. But that’s not what this is about. Whether you hire us and we’ll do an amazing job for you or whether you hire somebody full-time who we coach, we can coach them on how to do it.
It’s probably not something that once you hit high five figures or six figures that you need to be doing yourself because it’s going to suffer. I feel like I’m the best in the world at what I do and I can’t do my own affiliate program and run our business at the same time. It’s just not possible. I can’t run it at the level that I know it needs to be run at. And part of that, admittedly, is my expectations, my standards. But part of that is I know that if I invest in a good affiliate manager, if I go out and hire someone, and just so you know, for us or somebody else, you’re going to pay between 60 and $125,000 a year. If I go out and invest $100,000, I’m going to make 510, 30 times that amount of money.
Just to be clear, you pay us $125,000. You’re making about 20 times that. I know that it’s going to be worth it. And it’s going to free me up. And I’m not going to feel the stress of, okay, I’m on this live stream and I have my ten-minute break. I have my ten-minute break in a six-hour live stream. Ten minutes to go talk to my wife, put my feet up, drink some throat coat tea, and just go to the bathroom and rest for 6 seconds. And what am I doing? I’m feverishly texting affiliates back and replying to emails.
That’s not the way it should be. And if you don’t want that kind of life, you’ve got to hire an affiliate manager, not make the mistake that we made. I’ve been saying for years, you don’t need to hire an affiliate manager, which is odd considering that I run an affiliate management agency and you don’t when you’re first starting out, what I don’t want you to do is make the mistake. A lot of people may go, well, one of these days when I can hire an affiliate manager, I’m going to start an affiliate program. What? That’s absurd. One of these days when I can afford to hire a weight loss coach, I’m going to lose weight. No, I love Alan Thomas, who works for us, and he’s a weight loss coach. I love him to death. But you don’t have to wait.
One of these days when I get married, I’m going to start dating. What? That would be ridiculous. That’s absolutely absurd. You keep waiting, it’s not going to happen. But once you reach a certain point, and typically that point is going to be somewhere between it’s going to be represented by revenue somewhere between 100 and $250,000. Somewhere in that range, you need to hire an affiliate manager.
So if you’re looking for an affiliate manager, you’re looking for somebody like us. You can reach out to us anytime. Just the best way to hire us is to email me at Matt@MattMcwilliams.com. If you’re interested in coaching for someone that maybe you already have hired or you’re looking to hire or you do want to get started, you say, Mad, I’m doing 30,40,50,65, 75 thousand dollars a year and I want to get to that point where I need to hire somebody. I want to get to that $200,000 mark. Then go to your affiliatelaunchcoach.com and we’ll talk about coaching. You are coaching someone on your team. So don’t make the same mistake that I did.
As I said, it’s kind of weird to come on here and admit the worst part of my business, but I remedied that this year we hired Jim Atkins. He’s a rock star affiliate manager. Like I said if you’re interested in partnering with us, promoting our products, making some killer commissions, then reach out to Jim. Partners@Matt Mcwilliams.com and Jim will give you the hook-up. We’ll schedule a webinar or something, we’ll do something cool together but definitely reach out to him.
As I said, don’t make the same mistake I did. If you’re in that position, start to look at how much time are you spending on your affiliate program? Or more like me, how much time do you wish you were spending? Mine wasn’t that, oh my gosh, I’m spending 5 hours a week. Mine was that I really need to spend 20 hours a week and I don’t have those extra 15 hours. So make sure you do that. Make sure you don’t make that same mistake. And make sure you hit subscribe so that you don’t miss the next episode.
I’m going to share with you about well don’t launch if you don’t want this. We’re going to talk about not doing stuff like don’t do a product launch. If you don’t want to be known for that. It’s going to be a fun episode. Make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss that. And you know somebody who needs this message. You know somebody who’s right where I was. They’re in that $200,000 range or higher. They might be already in a million dollars.
They’re running their own affiliate program and they need this message. Don’t do them a disservice. Share this episode with them so they don’t miss out on this content. They don’t make the same mistake that I did. So with that, I’ll see you in the next episode. I’m going to share with you when you should launch and when you should not. We’ll see you in the next episode. Thank you so much for listening today.