April 22

Why I Stopped Promoting Other People’s Offers As An Affiliate


It’s official!

From this day onward, I’ve decided I can no longer promote anyone else’s offer / launch as a JV / affiliate partner EXCEPT for the Mega Collaborations I am planning to do in the future (I’ll share more about this towards the end of this article).

If you’re reading this, chances are you are either curious as to why I would make that decision OR you may have asked me to be your affiliate partner and unfortunately, I had to say no.

And instead of just saying “No” and leave it at that, I wanted to write to share a little bit about why I am making this decision and what I am doing instead.

One, as a way of putting my thoughts on “paper” and two, so it can act as a learning moment for all entrepreneurs who are on a journey of fast growth.

Honestly, I am a little afraid to share my thoughts on it…

Maybe you’ll look at this article and choose to no longer promote my products as an affiliate (which I totally respect and it’s not a problem at all).

Or maybe it inspires you to up your boundaries in certain areas of your life.

To me, what’s more important is that I make decisions that feel aligned with the business and that I maintain the level of freedom I want, while also continuing to serve my mission of helping 1m+ entrepreneurs make their message famous through the Viral Marketing Stars® brand!

So if this upsets some people, then that’s a risk worth taking.

My background as an affiliate

My journey as an entrepreneur began in 2015!

At the beginning, I was mostly promoting my own offers but one thing became apparent very quickly.

I was incredibly good at building and monetizing communities.

In fact, I grew my first 1300 followers within 3 weeks of being on Periscope (an old live streaming app that no longer exists).

And over time, I built trust with my audience and brand awareness, which led to people looking up to me for their next recommendation.

It was in 2016 when I had my very first taste of how powerful affiliate marketing was.

I bought a $2000 course that helped me tremendously, so when the opportunity to be an affiliate for it came up, I decided to give it a try.

Although I only had 850 people on my list at the time, because I believed in the course so much, I managed to make over $100k in affiliate sales in 2 weeks and earn $50k commissions (spread over 12 months) and be in the top 3 leaderboard alongside marketing giants like Amy Porterfield and Ryan Levesque.

I loved it not just because of the crazy cash injection, but also because I was able to provide bonuses for everyone who bought through my link and that connected me with some incredible people who became long term clients and friends.

After all, I was still only a year in business and building connections was important!

Being a top affiliate attracted influencers wanting me to promote them

After promoting the $2k course so successfully, I had an influx of influencers coming in my inbox and asking me to affiliate for their offers.

Part of me was flattered, another part of me was looking for the nicest way of saying “No”.

After all, I only believed in promoting products, services and people I know and trust.

My relationship with my audience was always my number one priority, even in those early stages when I was a nobody.

And over time, I found my way of dealing with these situations and saying “No”.

The good news is, the requests were manageable.

I was probably receiving 1-2 requests per month, which was quite easy to say yes/no to.

The unintentional affiliate craze

A few years later, I started my own affiliate program.

I mainly created it because I had so many of our customers share our products with their friends and I wanted to reward them and say thank you.

When we launched the Viral Content Templates™ in 2019, I didn’t expect that we would make 500 affiliate sales in the first 3 weeks of promo!

Frankly, I was kind of winging it on the spot.

And after a few short weeks, I found myself with over 100+ affiliates.

By 2021, we reached 1000+ affiliates promoting Viral Marketing Stars® offers!

To this day, I still feel shocked that so many people love and promote our products!

I never take it for granted and do my best to create the best affiliate resources and tools to help my affiliates make more money!

And this will always be a huge focus of mine – helping our affiliates succeed!

Not only we have 1000+ affiliates but we also have 10k+ customers who are all entrepreneurs, many of which serve other entrepreneurs.

So why am I choosing to no longer be an affiliate for other people’s launches / campaigns?

With over 1000 affiliates, 10k customers, a team I manage and the amount of products we create every month, I have finally reached a breaking point and I knew it was time for a change.

I can no longer commit to promote anything for anyone outside of our planned marketing schedule at Viral Marketing Stars®, which we prefer to personally curate based on the priorities and needs of our customers.

Here are a few of the reasons that helped me make this decision now.

1. If I can’t be all in – I can’t be in it at all.

I don’t know about you but I’ve always been the kind of person who goes ALL IN or ALL OUT!

It’s been true for my personal relationships as well as my professional endeavors.

If I can’t give something my all, it never performs good enough for me and it ends up leaving annoyed at myself.

Being an affiliate for someone else to me isn’t about posting a random post here and there. It’s about going ALL in to supporting that person and becoming part of their team during their launch.

And while that used to be totally possible for me at some point, nowadays, I simply cannot do that.

If I go all in on promoting an offer, all other projects have to take a backseat for me.

I know so many of you reading this who can multi-task and promote multiple things at once and do it really well.

I am jealous and I want you to know you are so lucky!

Make the most of it as it’s an incredible quality.

If I was like you, I’d say YES so many more opportunities!

Me? I have to focus on ONE THING and ONE THING only or else everything falls through the cracks.

They say Human Design Manifesting Generators are BRILLIANT at juggling multiple projects at the same time.

I am not a MG!

And at the stage of business that I am at, for me to dedicate a week or more on a specific project, I need to have a gap in my diary with no outstanding projects and frankly, that hasn’t been the case for me for years.

We sell evergreen products 365 days a year and it’s a 365 day a year mental focus.

2. I physically cannot handle all the affiliate opportunities

As mentioned, nowadays I get weekly (if not daily) requests to promote someone’s offer or launch.

With over 1000 affiliates, you can imagine how many of them want my support.

And often, those requests come from my closest clients, peers and friends, which makes it even harder to say NO!

If I said YES to everyone, I’d have no time to have a life, nor a business.

If I said YES to some, but NO to others, I feel bad.

If you’re an affiliate of mine or a friend, peer, client, I deeply care about you and your success.

And if you’ve personally helped me, I wish to return the favour (although I know you never did me a favour with strings attached, you’re not that kind of person).

And because I deeply care, I end up saying YES, even when I should be saying NO.

And when I say YES, I later end up regretting it, because I find myself exhausted and in a dilemma for the next time I am asked to be an affiliate.

So it’s best to say NO to all and I will continue to cheer you from the sidelines!

3. I have too many products of my own that need love and attention

This is hard to admit but I’ve made some mistakes in the past like trying to bite more than I can chew.

I often over-extend myself by saying YES to projects when I struggle to finish my own.

It’s not because I don’t care to finish my projects, but with my ADHD, it’s very often that in the moment, I’ll feel excited about something and in the excitement, I’ll say yes, but after sleeping on it, I’ll realize it was a bad decision.

I should have said NO, but I ended up saying yes and it costed me more than just my time.

Because what ends up happening is our projects get delayed, students wait for modules and I end up disappointing people, which in turn makes me feel awful.

I don’t want to disappoint anybody.

My word is my bond and I care that I deliver on my promises.

But when I say YES to projects out of pressure or excitement, I end up saying NO to moving the needle elsewhere.

And that’s the biggest lesson I’ve had to learn.

Everything in life has opportunity cost.

At the earliest stages of my business, those opportunity costs were worth it.

Nowadays, I find they really aren’t.

Maybe I am just not doing it right?

4. It’s exhausting for me to context switch and shift focus & I end up losing time and money

I don’t know about you but I am not a multi-project juggler.

If I have zoom calls in a day, I can’t think about anything else that day.

If I have an affiliate promo one day, I cannot think of anything else that day.

So even though I only spend 1-2 hours scheduling all the emails and communication regarding such affiliate promo, the days that I spend my energy on them, my brain cannot create anything else.

So those 1-2 hours actually end up costing me days.

On top of that, I am not a good “batch-creator”, I am much better creating content “in the moment”.

But to do that, I have to be present for an entire launch.

And unless those affiliate promo and launches cover at least my day rate ($25k a day), then I am essentially losing $25k per day.

Hey, who knows, maybe if I was paid $175k upfront to participate in a week long affiliate promo + affiliate commissions on top, maybe that would at least compensate the time and loss and it would be worth the opportunity cost.

But it still wouldn’t solve all the other problems.

So you see… it’s hard to win this.

Not everything is about money.

But the loss of time and money is absolutely a factor and I cannot lie about it.

5. I don’t like emailing my list too often

I don’t know, but I’ve never been one to email my list all the time.

Maybe because I don’t personally like to be emailed every day?

Or maybe because I simply find email marketing technology overwhelming.

I enjoy sharing relevant offers and content with my subscribers when it feels right.

And if I am doing affiliate promos, then I am having to email my list more often than I am used to.

That’s another reason I can no longer commit to doing affiliate promos and launches.

6. I want to deliver more JV workshops for Viral Marketing Stars®

One of my favourite ways to support other business owners is to deliver workshops for their audience.

In fact, one of the things my affiliates often say to me is “Katya, I love that you’re so good at delivering value and making sales fun. All I have to do is bring bums on seats and you do your magic. Thank you for doing this for me”.

That’s fun for me.

But there’s only so much energy I have for delivering workshops.

In fact, I can only handle 2 workshops per week max.

Any more and I get totally exhausted!

And on the days I have a workshop – I can’t do anything else.

So for me to have more energy for doing workshops, I have to free some time elsewhere.

I prefer to deliver workshops than to participate in affiliate promos.

7. I don’t have a relationship manager on my team

One  the biggest reason that is making this decision a no brainer is, I don’t have a relationship manager on my team YET.

It’s just me.

I am the relationship manager and the marketer and the CEO!

Meaning, if I had a dedicated relationship / affiliate manager, this could be their job!

And that, I could totally see the value in.

Unfortunately I don’t have the support on my team I need to make this possible.

And it’s just not a priority right now.

And even if I did have a relationship manager, their first project would be to support our affiliates anyway.

And since I don’t know if and when I will prioritize it, I’d rather just keep it simple and stop all affiliate promos than waiting and hoping for a time that I can.

8. I want to have more space to support our affiliates.

With over 1000 affiliates, relying on us, I feel it’s my duty to support them.

Just because adding extra $100k in affiliate revenue isn’t life changing for me, that doesn’t mean it isn’t life changing to our affiliates.

I want to give our affiliates the same opportunity I had back in 2016 when I was promoting the $2000 course!

It’s my mission to help 100+ affiliates generate over $100k in extra affiliate revenue through Viral Marketing Stars® in the next 2 years!

So this break will allow me to focus my time and energy on that!

Does this mean I no longer believe in affiliate marketing?

Absolutely not.

I love affiliate marketing.

And for the right person at the right time, affiliate marketing could be the best thing for their business.

For example:

  • Affiliate marketing is great for the times when you have nothing to promote / sell (e.g.  summer break).
  • Affiliate marketing is a great way to build trust and monetize your email subscribers who haven’t bought anything from you.
  • Affiliate marketing is a great way to serve your clients with offers and products they need which you don’t sell.
  • Affiliate marketing is fantastic for those of you building your brand, reputation and audience because it allows you to network and meet new people.
  • Affiliate marketing is also great if you’re the kind of person who’s amazing at bringing an audience together, but not so great at selling. Bringing a JV partner who can sell will make you a ton of money, while allowing you to do what you love the most.
  • Affiliate marketing is amazing if you’re unsure about your core offers and you wish to have a stable income.
  • Affiliate marketing is amazing if you have a system / team in place to make it passively (e.g. adding recommended tools to your website).
  • Affiliate marketing is so fun especially when you don’t have to write copy or make graphics because all of those are taken care of for you.
  • Affiliate marketing is perfect for you if adding extra $100k to your bottom line would be life changing!

So I absolutely love to encourage every single one of you watching to give it a try, even if you have a tiny audience.

My first $100k month happened because of affiliate marketing.

It showed me what’s possible.

Being part of a leaderboard and taking part in a healthy competition taught me so much about business.

This is why all my affiliate promos have a leaderboard with prizes for our affiliates too.

Because I want their experience to be such that they learn so much more by being my affiliate, than just earn an affiliate commission.

Affiliate commission are the cherry on the cake, not the whole cake.

The future of affiliate marketing

As you can see, I am a huge believer in affiliate marketing.

Because of that, this isn’t a goodbye forever.

It’s more of a… No More Affiliate Promos for NOW!

I have really big projects I am working on.

I want to finalize the Viral Bundles System® , which has taken me longer than I wante.

I want to upgrade the Viral Content Club®!

We launched a new product recently, 5 Minute Reels! I want to support our students going viral with reels.

I also need to update some of the trainings in the Viral Content Templates™!

I have a lot on our plate.

I am not saying GOODBYE to affiliate marketing.

I am still going to continue to share affiliate links and recommend resources.

I am just saying HELLO to focusing on the products that need the love and attention.

But also, I have some ideas for different kind of affiliate promotions.

Mega Collaborations Idea – My Plan…

One of my goals for 2022/2023 is to collaborate with other influencers with similar size communities to me but in a different way than most people do.

Not in your typical “I’ll promote during your launch” way.

But in a “let’s create something together way”.

One of my ideas is to create co-branded collections for the Viral Content Club®!

For example, I could partner with some of my colleagues like Christina Jandali (who I absolutely adore and our audiences are so aligned) to create the Christina Collection!

Her niche is helping experts market their business through growing a Facebook group, so we can co-create a collection of templates and marketing assets for Facebook group owners.

And this is a win-win-win-win.

Christina wins because she’ll serve her students and make affiliate commissions.

Her students win because they’ll get marketing assets designed by Christina and Viral Marketing Stars®.

Viral Marketing Stars® wins because we’ll bring new customers.

Our existing students win because they’ll have assets to learn and market through facebook groups and benefit from Christina’s expertise.

That’s what I call a MEGA collaboration where we co-create and sell a product together!

And the reason I prefer this is because I am already spending my time creating collections for the Viral Content Club®!

Might as well co-create them with a fellow entrepreneur.

On the other hand, the idea of sending emails and social media posts promoting someone’s launch.. doesn’t turn me on.

But this kind of co-creation mega collaboration excites me!

So stay tuned for Viral Marketing Stars® collaborations later in 2022!

Sidenote, if you have an email list of at least 25,000 people and / or a social media following of 100k+, hit me up on [email protected] if you’re interested in doing Mega Collaborations with myself and Viral Marketing Stars®!

What does this mean for you if you’re a Viral Marketing Stars® affiliate!

If you are one of the 1000+ affiliates promoting the Viral Marketing Stars®, this changes nothing for you!

Well, maybe it does a little bit.

It means I’ll have more time to dedicate into helping YOU and serving YOU as affiliates than I had before!

It means more affiliate assets.

More affiliate trainings.

More affiliate leaderboards.

I find that part so much fun.

So although I am personally retiring from affiliate marketing, I am DEFINITELY not retiring from running a World class affiliate program.

I am just no longer the affiliate, I am the mentor for the affiliate marketers.

And if you have an email list of at least 25,000 entrepreneurs and / or a social media following of 100k+ entrepreneurs, hit me up on [email protected] if you’re interested in doing Mega Collaborations with myself and Viral Marketing Stars®!

In Summary

If you read all the way here,  thank you for your attention.

If you’ve asked me to promote for you, I am sorry that I have to say no.

I am no longer able to commit to promoting anyone’s offers or affiliate launches.

My time is tapped, my energy is drained and I am just moving in a new direction with Viral Marketing Stars®!

Know that I love you and I cheer you on.

If you are promoting our products, I appreciate you!

If you have any thoughts or comments about this, I’d love to hear!

About the author Katya Varbanova 

Known as the Viral Marketing Queen, Katya has helped over 10k+ customers grow and monetize their social media since 2015. With an innovative approach for marketing, branding and design, Katya is on a mission to help 1m+ entrepreneurs make their message famous using a combination of organic and paid strategies. 


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  • Congratulations on your entrepreneurial endeavours.
    Please I wish to know what 2k course you bought? it may be of help to me.
    Do you have a course on how one can create and sell canva templates?
    Thanks in advance.

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