#1: Working Soft and Playing Hard

When compiling a list of the top five mistakes would be marketers make, you definitely have to put working soft and playing hard at the top of that list.

I don’t know where it originated from, but the first time I ever hard “work hard, play hard” was during an in house consulting stint I did for a company. It was the favorite mantra of the company’s owner and one that his early employees took seriously.

The general sentiment was that he believed that employees who worked hard should and would be rewarded by being able to play hard. It was a doctrine many of his employees took with them when they left the company to move onto other things, myself included. In fact, for a handful of us, the phrase became more a way of life than a quotation to pin to your cork board.

When you see successful affiliate marketers tweeting the day away or taking a elaborate trip, it is easy to ignore the fact that they worked very hard for many years to get where they are able to do so. Successful marketers (meaning those successful in financial terms) are able to take the day off today because they busted their ass for five days six years ago to get into the position where they could.

During my early days in affiliate marketing, I often burned the candle at both ends. Many of my longtime friends can attest that I was often up until 3 or 4 am in the morning, working until I couldn’t hold my eyes open anymore. And those late nights couldn’t stop me from getting up in the morning either since I had kids to care for. And I’m not alone. Every other successful affiliate marketer that I know has a similar story of late nights and exhausted minds before they finally started to see the fruits of their labors and were able to live a different life thanks to all the hard work they’d put in.

If you’re in your early years, you can’t work soft and play hard. You can’t afford to be on Twitter a few hours each day. You can’t afford to be chatting on MSN all day about the latest gossip. You can’t afford to spend a few hours a day commenting on Sphinn. You can’t afford to sleep in during morning conference sessions.

To keep it simple – you can’t afford to fuck off. Period. You haven’t earned it yet. And if you don’t dedicate yourself to working hard before you play hard, you’ll always be faking it because you’ll never actually make it.

And once you are finally making more money at affiliate marketing than you did when employed and can take that leap to being your own boss? Never stop moving. Don’t get comfortable. Learn to delegate your responsibility so that you have more free time, but never let your business sit still.

I made this mistake about five years ago when I started to see what I thought at the time was insane success online. I got comfortable, stopped working as much myself and didn’t hire anyone to expand my business. When I look back and realize that I could have taken advantage of so many more opportunities and what those opportunities would be worth now, I want to kick myself.

Hard.

To this day.

Things change fast. We don’t know how long the affiliate marketing sector will have the absolutely lush opportunities it does now to churn out “unlikely success stories”. It is already harder today than it was yesterday. Think big and kick ass.

Work hard. Play hard. There is a reason it is said in that order.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at how playing the fame game can hurt you, otherwise known as part two in the Reasons you fail at affiliate marketing series.

About Rae Hoffman

Rae Hoffman aka "Sugarrae" is an affiliate marketing veteran and the CEO of PushFire, a search marketing agency specializing in SEO audits and link building strategies. She is also the author of the often controversial Sugarrae blog. You can connect with Rae via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

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