If you’re interested in working flexibly from your laptop, affiliate marketing might be an option. With many products online for affiliates to promote and many ways to promote them, it’s a very flexible business model which can give you time and financial freedom. Initially though many affiliates struggle to make sales. It’s a process to learn the skill of marketing affiliate products. However, if you’re determined to learn that skill, it can serve you for the rest of your life.Once you’re successful as an affiliate, you can live anywhere, work for yourself and never need another job or employee ever again. This is a large “prize” and one worth working for. But many drop out before they get to the point of even making a single sale.The learning curve for affiliate marketing can be a steep one, and there’s no guarantees. You’ll need to sell something before you can make anything. So if you’re desperate for money it’s probably not something you should rely on for income straight away. But if you’re serious about building an income from the internet, and willing to put in the effort, the rewards can be great.There’s many ways to do affiliate marketing and depending on your own circumstances you can opt for one of several strategies, or choose a couple. The general advice though is to pick a marketing strategy and stick to it for the long term until you get traction. Jumping from one strategy to another can mean you spread yourself too thin. \Any strategy can be tough, so it’s a good idea to stick to one you’re comfortable with. Blogging, or content marketing is a slower strategy than through using paid marketing. Some affiliates will invest in high ticket programs and then use paid marketing to build and scale their business quite quickly. This requires a lot more investment than someone who wants to use free programs and generate traffic through blogging, for example.Depending on your own particular circumstances you can choose a strategy to suit you and your budget. Free marketing strategies can take much longer though and require a lot more work. Blogging, or video creation are two such strategies. By uploading a video to YouTube each day, or creating a blog post, you shouldn’t expect too much to happen in the short term. But over months and years of doing this activity, you can generate a nice passive income through promoting affiliate products through your content.Over time, your content will grow and videos and posts you wrote years ago can still generate you an income. As your volume of content grows you should see your income growing from sales too. This will also depend on a number of factors too, of course. Depending on your topic and ability to create useful and interesting content, this can take several months or even years before you see regular traction in your online business.A much faster method is to use list building and paid marketing. With list building, you create a list of email subscribers and send them regular emails through an autoresponder. As your list grows, and you build relationships with your subscribers, they should get to know, like and trust you. You monetise your email list through providing useful affiliate products which will be of value to your subscribers.Initially though, as an affiliate marketer it can be tough. With a list of only 90 people, it’s much more difficult to make sales than with a list of 90,000 subscribers. In the early days it can be difficult to see this, and all you look at is the lack of sales you have made!Affiliates therefore need to be patient and understand than they are building a business. Many affiliates don’t see this though and quit far too early. Before even building an email list of 1000 subscribers, they declare that “it doesn’t work” and quit!A good analogy of affiliate marketing is to look at the Chinese bamboo tree. A Chinese bamboo tree gestates underground for 4-5 years before anything breaks the soil surface.Once it does break through the soil, it can shoot up to 90 feet tall in a six week period.Affiliate marketing is much the same. The gestation period can be months or years. This is the hardest time for affiliates because they have no proof that their business is working.There’s some other ways you can optimise your traction with an online affiliate business too. For years I struggled with affiliate marketing because I didn’t know this. I joined Amazon and eBay affiliate programs and worked hard building content only to make next to nothing!Later I found out about digital products which paid much more in terms of commissions. Amazon, for example pays from 1-11% commission on a product sold by an affiliate. Digital products typically pay much more and often from 40% to even 100% in some cases.Subscription digital products too offer the affiliate a greater opportunity to earn regular income from a small number of sales. As a beginner, it’s definitely worth using subscription affiliate products. These are things such as memberships and software products used by online businesses themselves.A subscription product can allow a relatively new affiliate to start earning regular commissions much more quickly. Since initially getting your first commission is the hardest part, subscriptions give you an added bonus and help you attain more stability with the same amount of work.High ticket products are another consideration for affiliates too. With a high ticket digital product you can earn much larger commissions for a single sale. A $100 product, for example might offer you a $40 commission. Whereas a $1000 product will give you a nice $400 pay day – with what amounts often to the same amount of work.It’s also worth joining an online community and getting the help and support of mentors, if you’re going down the affiliate path. With a mentor, you have support and guidance. In those moments when you want to quit, they will put you back on track and support and assist you. When there’s only you working alone, it can be very difficult when you’re not making much progress.