Please welcome our first interviewer Shawn Collins. He has been an affiliate marketer since 1997. So he has a huge experience in the affiliate marketing. He started with an interest in Journalism, then Radio, TV & Film, before finally settling on Communications. Now Shawn is a Co-founder of Affiliate Summit, the premier affiliate marketing conference, which was founded in 2003. He is also publisher, editor, and writer for FeedFront Magazine focused on affiliate marketing and founder of GeekCast.fm, a marketing podcast network where he hosts the weekly 7 Minutes in Affiliate Heaven show.
Shawn Collins wrote a great book ‘Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants‘ which I recommend to read each affiliate manager. He wrote the Amazon best-selling book, Extra Money Answer, as well as Affiliate Manager Boot Camp: Recruiting, Educating, and Retaining Affiliates. Also, he co-publishes the annual AffStat affiliate marketing benchmark reports.
I like reading his blog AffiliateTip.com where Shawn posts regularly Affiliate Summit news, his views on affiliate marketing and much more. I asked him to answer some questions related to his life. I invite you to get to know him a little better.
1. How did the idea to create the Affiliate Summit appear? What was the purpose?
My partner, Missy Ward, and I were frustrated by the lack of a professional gathering of affiliate marketers. Even though we didn’t have any experience running a conference, we decided to give it a try, so there could be a formalized event for people in the industry to network and learn.
We started small (200 at our first event) and have paid special attention to feedback along the way to make changes to the conference.
2. Did you have resources (money, time, knowledge) to organize such a large affiliate marketing conference? Or did you have investors?
We really didn’t have either – we were both essentially working lots of hours to pay the bills, and we had families, so the work to organize Affiliate Summit had to be squeezed into spare time at night and on weekends.
The initial investment was just the cost of the domain name. Everything else was either us doing things as best we could or calling in favors.
3. Why do you think it is important to continue to support the Affiliate Summit?
It is essential to have an event for the industry that offers opportunities to learn and build business that is not overseen by a network, so there is objectivity. Nobody is excluded in the process and every topic is up for discussion.
Also, we focus on making the resources available to anybody who wishes to take advantage of them, so all issue of our quarterly magazine are available to download and read, and we post all of the educational sessions for free on YouTube.
4. Do you help startups to develop?
We don’t have a program focused on startups, but we provide a variety of ways for people and companies to get free passes to the conference.
5. What is your favourite activity in your free time? Does it help you to distract from work?
I love to go boating – it’s a wonderful feeling to be out there on the water, and it is a great distraction. I typically go on weekdays to take a break from work and clear my head.
6. You are a co-founder of the Affiliate Summit, a Co-Editor-in-Chief of FeedFront Magazine, you write a daily blog on affiliate marketing news. My questions is when do you find time for your family? How often do you go with your family on a vacation?
I was working too much for many years, and I finally realized that was no way to live. So, about five years ago I made a concerted effort to cut down on my hours and focus more on family, friends, and fun.
And a great thing happened… I was more productive. I realized that I was working these really long days, but I was fatigued and not doing much at a certain point each day. I was at my desk, but the results were small.
We took our first full week vacation since I’ve had children, which dates back to 1999. In the past, I would go on long weekends, or maybe 5 or so days, but not a full week. This past summer, we took a cruise, and it was refreshing to have no access to my phone and limited Internet.
7. I saw that you have a vacancy Marketing Coordinator. What type of people do you want to see in your team?
That position has been filled for a while now. As far as the type of people, we’ve never searched for a particular type, but it has turned out that I am the only guy in the company.
8. What can you say about the future of affiliate marketing (in 2, 5 and 10 years)?
Mobile will be increasingly important, and I think in the next several years, we will see far more commerce on mobile than desktops. So, it’s essential that affiliates and merchants have their sites on mobile-friendly platforms.