“Forget going into work, man!”
That’s what Joel Peterson said twenty years ago when he saw that he’d made $40,000 in one day with affiliate marketing! At the time, he was still working a day job full-time and building his affiliate business on the side – but it was a crucial moment in his decision to leave his job and forge ahead on his own path with affiliate marketing.
As Senior Content Strategist at ClickBank, I had the pleasure of meeting Joel at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah and learning more about his journey to success as an affiliate and a seller on ClickBank. Enjoy watching Joel’s story below and read on to hear some of the most important takeaways from Joel’s experience as an affiliate marketer-turned-Platinum seller on ClickBank!
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Who is Joel Peterson?
Joel Peterson is an affable dad, husband, and business owner based in a Salt Lake City suburb. When ClickBank’s Creative Producer Dylan Harrell and I arrived at his impressive house, Joel escorted us into his living room.
He has a couple of objectively adorable little dogs who act fierce until you get to know them for a few minutes – then, they will follow you around wherever you go and clamber up to sit on your lap wherever you take a seat.
Joel’s personal story started out fairly typical. He was one of 9 kids growing up and his family was pretty poor, but they made the most of it. As he got older, he planned to go to college, but ended up dropping out within a few years with an eye on starting his own business.
He worked at it for a while, but had some bumps in the road and ended up going to get a job at a chemical factory. Not only was the $9/hour pay too low, but the work itself was actually dangerous – and Joel decided he had to do something different in his life.
Luckily, he found affiliate marketing.
Joel’s Affiliate Marketing Journey
After a brief stint on eBay, Joel found out about ebooks from a friend. He officially started his affiliate marketing journey promoting digital products on ClickBank – specifically, $37 ebooks in the e-biz affiliate niche.
As an affiliate, Joel’s success hit a turning point when he got the product he was promoting on the front page of AOL through paid ads – and he cleared $40,000 in profit in ONE day! Following that huge milestone, Joel kept at it and managed to triple the income he was making from his job in his affiliate business in the next nine months.
Then, he quit his job for good. That was more than 21 years ago.
Joel’s Seller Journey
Buoyed by his success as an affiliate, Joel was ready for his next challenge: creating his own digital programs that he could sell (and ideally, getting affiliates to go and promote his products).
Part of this path made sense because he’d developed the skills of selling a product to this e-biz audience from years acting as an affiliate, so he knew he could sell his own digital programs on the front end – and with a high-ticket price point, he could attract quality affiliates to drive sales of his products as well.
Over the years, Joel has created wildly popular digital biz opp offers around topics like blogging and crypto. That includes his current high-ticket ClickBank offer, The Crypto Code.
Joel has leaned into using affiliates to drive a lot of his sales, especially those with email lists of people interested in business or making money online – and he swears by evergreen webinar funnels to take those leads and convert them into buyers.
Joel sticks with ClickBank because the platform makes it easy to attract, manage, and pay affiliates. He views their sales as “bonus money” and can’t imagine not utilizing affiliates to grow his business.
NOTE: Joel also still acts as an affiliate in his business, promoting other offers alongside his own –but the bulk of his focus is on creating successful digital programs that teach other people how to find success online.
Anytime someone asks Joel how he got started doing his own thing as an affiliate and a seller, he always tells them:
Top 3 Takeaways from Joel Peterson
I can’t even begin to capture all of the wisdom Joel Peterson had to share in just the day we had with him. If you haven’t watched the ClickBank interview with Joel Peterson, I encourage you to check it out!
But I also want to share a few of the biggest tips I took away from our time with this incredible ClickBank Platinum affiliate-turned-seller.
Tip 1: Make the Time
As someone with a demanding full-time job, I personally know it’s not easy to spend time on a side hustle. Joel said the same thing. When he was still working a 40-hour a week job, he had 4 little kids and plenty of responsibilities.
Obviously, he didn’t have the time for affiliate marketing… But he made the time!
In Joel’s case, that meant working on the business before work, working on the business during his lunch breaks, and working more on the business after his kids were in bed each night. He also mentioned not watching TV for a whole year so he could focus on getting his business where it needed to go.
In Joel’s mind, those sacrifices upfront gave him the financial cushion and the skillset he needed to finally quit his job and pursue his affiliate marketing business full-time. Now, he feels like he’s been retired for years, because he gets to work on what he’s interested in and he’s in full control of his time and income!
Tip 2: Build a Brand, Not a Guru Business
Here at ClickBank, we often talk about the 5 primary types of affiliates. As an affiliate, your job is to promote other people’s products – and that doesn’t necessarily require you to have a brand.
In fact, most media buyer affiliates are never really tempted to become a “guru” where their audience get sto know them – but if you’re acting as an affiliate as a content creator, influencer, or product owner, you may be tempted to make yourself the brand!
According to Joel, you shouldn’t. He doesn’t believe in that approach for a few key reasons:
- It keeps your brand from being agile. Say people get to know you as the “Crypto King,” but then market trends shift and now the next big thing is NFTs. If your whole business is you, and people know you as an expert in crypto, now you have to start over trying to build your reputation on a new trend. If your business is the brand, it’s easier to roll with changes in the market and even recruit outside experts to teach new programs (if you do digital products like courses, for example).
- It makes it harder to exit the business. If you build a successful business based around content or digital products like Joel did, there’s a lot of intellectual property value there. But if the brand is you, then as soon as you go to sell the company, the value tends to go with you. Build your brand on something more solid so your business can be just as valuable without you.
Admittedly, Joel is well-known in certain online circles, especially communities around crypto or some of his other product niches.
But he still doesn’t want it to be “the Joel show” all the time. He’s just focused on adding value. Ultimately, he knows that if he teaches people and is genuine about it, he can attract the right people to his programs, and that the programs themselves are valuable enough that they’ll still be worthwhile without him being a “guru.”
Tip 3: Seek Monthly Continuity
One of the most interesting tips I picked up from our conversation with Joel centers around monthly continuity. You might also know this as subscription revenue, residual income, or passive income.
Joel has developed his comprehensive and incredibly value-packed programs with a high upfront price point (think four figures). This is fantastic as a starting point, but it means he has to keep looking for new customers constantly in order to continue growing revenue.
That’s why Joel makes sure his digital programs include a unique software or tool component, along with some kind of coaching or mentorship, that his students maintain access to on a monthly basis. That means charging $1997 one time, plus a $97 monthly continuity fee that students are happy to pay, because it enables them to continue working the system Joel taught them in his program, using the unique tools he developed for his system as well.
That’s great if you’re a product owner, but what about if you’re an affiliate? Well, the same idea applies – can you find affiliate offers on ClickBank that share ongoing revenue from rebills? (Hint: you definitely can.)
Some supplements feature rebills for customers who restock, while software and digital offers like The Crypto Code also share monthly revenue with the affiliates who brought them customers. (In fact, Joel’s flagship program currently offers an average of $40 per month in rebill income. If you sold just a handful, those rebills would add up fast!)
It’s well worth building your affiliate business and selling your own products not just around one-time sales, but with monthly continuity as well!
BONUS TIP: Stick With What’s Working
The allure of shiny objects can be overwhelming for entrepreneurs and marketers. There’s something exciting about learning a totally new business model, targeting a different audience, or marketing on a different traffic channel.
But according to Joel:
“Once you figure one thing out that’s working, stick with it – forever. Don’t change it up all the time!”
He adds that it’s easy to assume once you have success in one area, you can suddenly do other areas and neglect the one you’re good at. Instead, you should stick with the winner and nurture it!
It may not seem sexy to get familiar with one business and then keep doing it for years or even decades, but success really starts to build if you don’t succumb to shiny object syndrome. Take it from Joel, a man who’s stuck with the same business model for more than 20 years!
Joel Peterson Story Wrap-up
“My life is completely different.”
As we finished up our interview, Joel Peterson reflected on just how far he’s come and how different his life is now that he’s found long-term success as a Platinum affiliate and product owner on ClickBank.
(NOTE: A “Platinum” client has generated sales of at least $250,000 on ClickBank in a year. Learn more about the ClickBank Platinum Program).
From modest beginnings, Joel has proven that the right mindset is all it takes to find tremendous success in the world of affiliate marketing.
To recap some of those key takeaways we learned from Joel:
- Prioritize Your Passion: Joel’s journey exemplifies the importance of dedicating time and effort toward what you truly care about. It’s hard to commit to your vision and follow through unless you’re passionate about the work and about the outcome.
- Choose Brand Over Ego: While this may not be true for everyone, Joel firmly believes in building a brand, rather than becoming the brand. In his mind, the goal should be to create a business that can survive and endure without you.
- Embrace Continuity: When you emphasize monthly continuity and think about ways to deliver consistent value every month, you’ll retain more customers, foster loyalty, and ensure a steady stream of revenue. Monthly revenue is a game-changer, because you’re not staring down every single new month starting at zero.
And of course, consistency is key. Find the business you want to build and then stick with it no matter what. Because if you don’t consciously do something different with your life, you’ll just end up going down the default path – and who wants that?
Thanks again to Joel for sharing such incredible nuggets of entrepreneurial and affiliate marketing wisdom with us. We hope everyone gets a lot of value out of what he had to share!
If you want to follow in Joel’s footsteps, but you don’t have a firm foundation in affiliate marketing yet, I encourage you to check out Spark by ClickBank. Spark is the official affiliate marketing education platform from ClickBank. It gives you the courses, tools, and community you need to shortcut your path to that first affiliate paycheck – and beyond!