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7 Essential Skills Needed For Online Success

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You’ll receive money making advice and actionable tips and strategies directly from James Martell when you subscribe to his weekly podcast by email, RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow James on Twitter. Recognized as a leading expert in affiliate marketing training, James is the host of the "Affiliate Marketers SUPER BootCamp", and host of the "Affiliate Buzz", the first ever and longest running podcast for affiliate marketers in the industry. A sought-after speaker, James has presented at Commission Junction University, Affiliate Summit, The System Seminar, Digital River Lab, Pubcon, Affcon, and more.

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7 Essential Skills Are Needed For Online Success

The interesting thing about affiliate marketing is that entry is open to anyone. Although merchants these days have become more selective, usually all you need is a website (or the promise of one) to get approved as an affiliate or associate.

And in the vast majority of cases it’s free to join.

But having a website or joining an affiliate program won’t make you a dime in this business. In fact, I’d guess that most entering this marketplace fail miserably or make only modest amounts of money.

The sad fact is that most quit before even trying.

Are You Cut Out For This Business?

I’ve been doing this since 1999. That was the year a friend walked into my home office and showed me a little website he had that was earning him cash for referrals to a free ISP start up. I was so intrigued by this that I asked him to show me what to do. He did.

Soon I had my own site up. And very soon after that I made $5,000 U.S in one month. When the check arrived I was so skeptical it would bounce that I drove across the U.S border (10 minutes away) to cash the check from the bank it was issued. It cleared.  :)

Halleluiah, I thought! The money train has just arrived!

Problem was that many months later, after I felt I really got things rolling, the company went out of business, a victim of the dot com bubble burst, taking my latest commission check with them.

My question to you is: what would you have done in those circumstances?

It Takes A Lot To Succeed At Anything?

I hate to be a downer but you know those Internet Marketers promising instant wealth if you buy their “system” (before it’s taken off the market to avoid saturation – wink, wink) – well, do you think they are levelling with you?

Let me say it another way, do you want to believe their B.S. because deep down inside all you want is an easy way out – or a quick fix to a dire financial problem? Are you looking for a “system” or are you looking for a legitimate business opportunity?

People win the lottery. And I guess a lucky few stumble into a lot of cash in a short time without much effort. Heck, even I got lucky out of the gate.

But, trust me.

More people fail at any business than succeed. That is a stastical fact. So think about it. Do you have what it takes? Ask yourself if you have any or all of the qualities listed below. If you can see yourself haveing some or all of what’s required, then give it a go.

In fact, you can even take a look at a no-risk I offer for one of my affiliate marketing trainings if you feel you’ve got what it takes.

7 Key Skills for Online Success

  1. Goals – You must start with a clearly defined goal. Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve. Is it a part-time income to shore up retirement? Do you want extra money for vacations? Do you want money for school? A new Career? Wealth beyond belief? It’s all there. Just be clear with yourself on what goal you are shooting for and be realistic about how long you are willing to work at it.
  2. Resilient – You must be able to handle adversity. As I said above, I started off with a bang but quickly ran into a wall. Could you have persevered under those circumstances?
  3. Supportive Environment – Hate to say it but I often see people fail in affiliate marketing because of an unsupportive spouse or other significant family member. So sad, really. Because if you’ve got someone chirping at you in a negative way every time things don’t go as planned you’ll not be able to muster the needed effort when thing go awry. And thing do go awry from time to time. Trust me.
  4. Focus – A former marketing mentor of mine used to drill home to us reps the following slogan: No Hocus Pocus, Just Focus. Does your mind wander? Do you give up on ideas quickly? How many ebooks and trainings promising online income have you taken so far? Did you start them all? Did you finish any of them? Are you making any progress? If not, I suggest you pick one idea and stick with it. You may surprise yourself at what you might achieve.
  5. Proficiency – You’ll need good work habits, a basic understanding of computer applications and possess an excellent understanding of English if you plan success in the English speaking online publishing world.
  6. Coachable – You must be ready and able to learn. If fact, you would be well served to take the attitude that any real online opportunity will require life long learning. This is not like high school or college where once you get out your schooling is done. No, the Internet is a global work-in-progress. And to stay current will require constant learning. Are you ready for that?
  7. Positive Attitude – above all, do not expect success if you fall for all that media negativity so prevalent today. I’m referring to all that stuff on CNN and “rant radio”. Get your head out of there unless it pertains to you personally – which it doesn’t. Overexposure to “news” will make you prone to despondency if you’re not careful. If that sounds like you then I suggest you get a few books on goal setting or success and break that “news” habit right away.

Listen to one of my affiliate marketing podcasts (on if you’d like a good source of inspiration to get you going. Could be just the thing you need.

About the Author

James Martell lives in White Rock, BC with his wife Arlene and their three children. James is a pioneer in the affiliate marketing industry and was successfully profiting with affiliate websites as early as 1999. Visit his website for the very latest in news and tips on how to make money with affiliate programs.



  1. Jake

    Another important aspect for affiliate marketing is utilizing SEM to make sure you get people to visit your page. These days, there are so many blogs, directories and websites trying to have high rankings that if you do not pay attention to your SERP (Search Engine Rankings Page), you will have no visitors, even if you have quality content. Therefore, make sure to utilize SEM by using Search Engine Optimization and Paid Search.

  2. Behrad

    Cool article… However I do miss one point which is having fun! What ever you do, you must like and having fun in it.. Without it you wouldn’t get far as you wouldn’t have motivation or drive to keep it going….
    Behrad recently posted..How To Customize The Context Menu ItemsMy Profile

  3. Usman

    I think to select and focus on your work is really important if you fail in this you will be fail in every thing.

    thanks for the nice write up.
    Usman recently posted..Ideas for Better online SuccessMy Profile

  4. scribbler1 says:

    7 skills. Perfect number. Very well, outlined. I specially like point number 2, Resilience. Interestingly, this is the most overlooked and this is where many trip over. My mother was a business woman and I remember seeing her so upset once because her investment didn’t yield a good return. Then I told her that before she invest she should also think about accepting losses. So point number 7, having a positive attitude goes hand in hand with Resilience and all of them.
    scribbler1 recently posted..Eleven2 Promotional CodeMy Profile

  5. Turkish says:

    Cool article..Perfect number 7.However I do miss one point which is having fun.Tankss..

  6. Mitz Pantic

    Hi James
    I think you should hang around with business people to become like them. You will not learn from non business minded people.

    People say I am always thinking and talking about money but when it comes down to it, money is the result of good business.. Why are we doing this anyway? I think that people need to admit that money is important and if you strive for it hard enough you will become a good business person.. (in an honest way)

    Also stand up and realize that YOU CAN learn from anyone each and everyday. Every person has something valuable to teach you.

    I used to own a business that employed 15-20 people and one day I was training a new junior. I was showing her how to use a machine and in the process, in a matter of seconds, she accidentally showed me a better way to use it. All she did was say “Hmm I wonder what would happen if I pressed this?”
    Mitz Pantic recently posted..6 Top Web Content Strategy Tips For Writing Killer ContentMy Profile

  7. brokejumper

    People tend to overlook #3 and underestimate how important a support system is, working from home really takes a lot of dedication and when you have an unsupportive household, progress can be greatly affected.
    brokejumper recently posted..Where are they Now Romel BeckMy Profile

  8. netshop01

    It’s true. I can’t tell you how many spouse’s I have seen torpedo their spouses dream of building a better life. It is a crying shame. It’s difficult enough keeping our own attitudes and beliefs in check — but having a little rain cloud following you around can quickly erode someone’s confidence. I fortunately have been blessed with a very supportive wife. She’s amazing.
    netshop01 recently posted..Google SEO Tip 101 – Where Is Google Heading In The FutureMy Profile

  9. shree says:

    Some nice skills you have got here. I think that # 4 is the most important point which is needed to gain online success. When focus is there, every work will be successful.
    shree recently posted..Technology And Its Role In The OscarsMy Profile

  10. Thomas

    I just love the: “It Takes A Lot To Succeed At Anything?”. That is just saying it all. There is no shortcuts to success. All it takes is hard work for a very long time and a good plan to follow.
    Thomas recently posted..Remove old settings from network cards that no longer are installedMy Profile

  11. Hi James,

    I am new to internet marketing. Pretty much all the points you made rang true for me. Being only 22 I find that many of my friends are not supportive in fact they think I’m crazy for exploring the possibilities generating an income online. Up till now Ive been pretty successful trading shares online.

    Ive found that a lot of negativity that comes from everyday people about things like affiliate marketing stem from the idea that selling products online is wrong or trying that you might be trying to scam someone. Although as one of my mentors told me ‘never sell anything online that you wont sell to your own mother’. So my philosophy is that I’ll only associate my self with products that I know will improve other peoples lives.

    And I think Ill stick to that! :)

    Awesome article
    Tiaan Nieuwenhuizen recently posted..What’s The Best Online Trading Program On The PlanetMy Profile

  12. Paul says:

    Yeah, it’s a good list. I’d highlight especially # 4 – focus on one idea at a time.

    I just couldn’t “get” the importance of that until one day I finally tried, and you’re right: the results and progress were simply excellent!

    Now I stick to that rule no matter what.
    Paul recently posted..Natural Cures For Panic AttacksMy Profile

  13. Serbia says:

    I’ve been searching in google for some ideas and fortuitously found your blog. Thank you for sharing this information. I find it very informative as I have been studying a lot lately on practical matters such as you talk about..

  14. nick90 says:

    Couldnt agree more.

    My main problem is being consistent, and it’s seriously affecting my websites. One week i do tons of work, next week i dont do any, and my traffic will plummet. Stay focused and you’re going to be much more successful.
    nick90 recently posted..LocusMy Profile

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  16. Kostas

    Setting specific goals it’s the most important thing in order to succeed in any business online or offline, in the beginning you should not set too big goals because these goals take a lot of time to be accomplished and you will most probably give up at the first failures (there is no success without even a small failure) so the key is to set small goals each time and when you accomplish them continue to bigger goals
    Kostas recently posted..What Constitutes a Good Online Marketing Opportunity?My Profile

  17. Toby Vittitow says:

    I absolutely agree of your 7 essential skills needed for online success, actually we all have skills it really depend to us on how are we going to use it and enhance it too. This is great James, thanks for taking time to post this!
    Toby Vittitow recently posted..CNA TrainingMy Profile


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