Money management for affiliates: manage or perish
Profit in your tracker is not the profit in your pocket © Wise affiliate
Remember that uneasy feeling when all of your shopping has already passed the cashier’s hands while you are still fumbling to take your credit card out? Or that day when you had to refrain from buying something because you didn’t take enough cash with you? These are just small glimpses into money management. It’s the same with managing your affiliate budget only on a bigger scale. You have got to plan your steps carefully.
So you see, managing your cash flow is not an easy task even if we are talking about your day to day life. It gets much more complicated when your business and general well-being is at stake. It is not enough to just deduct all the visible expenditures from your revenue. There are hidden traps we would like to tell you about.
If you think that you have already taken everything into account — count again. Affiliate marketing is not an easy job, it’s a full-time occupation and one should take it seriously or it will take you to the financial bottom. Let’s take a better look at the biggest points you should remember.
Your outgoing cash flow comprises much more than just the sum you pay for the traffic. It’s likely that you host your landing and pre-landing pages on a server. If you want to make your job efficient you would employ trackers, spy-tools, graphic and video editors, automation tools, etc. Or maybe you have taken a step further and outsourced some tasks to a professional. All these bills need to be paid, otherwise you will face a stall in operations and lose a lot.
It is easy to forget about taxes if you don’t have a desk job and are not even registered as an entrepreneur. Tax regulations may vary depending on the country. It may be an income tax, a property tax, or a self-employment tax for example. These are plenty and it is easy to get lost in them. But this is an important issue to tackle, especially if you work in a team. So, make sure to create a “Taxes” section in your budget plan.
You should also remember that not all the money you want to invest reaches the target, and not every penny you earn gets into your pocket — ad networks and payment systems take their commission. The rule of thumb: check the terms thoroughly when choosing networks and payment services. The percentage may vary, so do the minimum and maximum thresholds. So your basic management approach will be: trying to choose the services with lower fees yet with a decent reputation (big affiliate communities like STM forum will help you there). The ideal solution will be finding such payment systems (Paxum, Webmoney, PayPal, Payoneer, etc.) that can both receive your payouts and are accepted as a top-up method in the ad networks you work with. So you would not have to pay extra fees for withdrawing your money and then depositing them somewhere else to pay for traffic.
Always keep a book
Being an affiliate marketer may sound like an easy job, but it is a solid business if you treat it seriously. This means that you should track all your incoming and outgoing cash flows. The easiest and virtually free way to do that is using basic accounting freeware like Akaunting, FAS (Free Accounting Software), ZipBooks, etc. There are plenty of software tools and templates online specifically for budget management. All it takes is your dedication to do daily, weekly, and monthly checks. You may opt for specialized accounting software, it will take some getting used to but it’s a step in the right direction. Or you may take it even further and hire a bookkeeper. Only don’t forget to add their salary to your expenses while you are still pondering the matter over and are doing the books yourself. And maybe learn to read a proper cash flow statement before you ask your bookkeeper for one.
Stay on the safe side
By this we do not mean that you shouldn’t be adventurous, should quit experimenting, and better never take a risk. Not at all. Yet there are basic things that may lead you to an empty fridge and overdue bills if left unattended. These are some financial “common sense” rules that will come in handy regardless of your occupation.
Don’t put everything you have at stake. For example, a new heated legislation may pass that would freeze a whole affiliate vertical (say hi to gambling in some regions). Or you may simply make a big mistake in your hypotheses and be running a suddenly failing campaign.
Always put aside a portion of your income to keep you solvent and your campaigns running no matter what.
Don’t put all your eggs into one basket
Once again, you cannot control everything in this world, and bad things do happen. This is why it is reasonable to keep your finances in separate places. Always have some cash put aside for a rainy day. Use more than one (or even two) e-payment services. Consider keeping several bank accounts. And of course, remember to monitor all those stashes and keep a book!
As we have mentioned above, taxation depends on the state legislation and may not apply to you. However, if it does it will be better to comply and to lead a crystal clear business. Your reputation is a bigger asset that you may realise, so keep it clean.
Well, friends, we have reached our destination here and if there is only one big takeaway from this article it’ll be — account for everything. There is no such thing as unimportant expenditures. Cut the costs by negotiating better terms for hold periods and payout schedule. Optimize your cash flows to avoid paying double fees. Diversify — that is choose several payment systems, ad networks, and banks to work with. You can’t be too cautious here.
And the Yep Ads team will always be on your side providing good terms and strong support. Take care!