Well. You already know Luke. I won’t believe you if you say you don’t. Anyways you might not know some facts about him, so let me introduce him properly.
Luke Kling for most affiliates that have been in the space for more than a few years known as LukePeerFly. He started working for the PeerFly affiliate network shortly after it’s launch and worked to grow it into one of the top affiliate networks for 10 years. When PeerFly shut down last July (2019), he decided to focus on running his own company.
This company consists mainly of 2 businesses:
affLIFT – one of the most popular and active affiliate marketing forums in the affiliate marketing industry, with over 35,000 members on board.
FPTraffic – Social media marketing tool that helps marketers better manage their social media activities
I’m focused on businesses that operate on a high margin and have monthly recurring revenue.
Luke also has been running affiliate marketing campaigns for about 15 years straight to this very day. So he knows a thing or two about the business.
Outside of work Luke enjoys playing golf and spending time with his two daughters.
Productivity and work. How to effectively run two businesses and dozens of campaigns.I don’t have a set amount of time that I try to work because I think that’s silly. Click To Tweet
How many hours do you normally work?
I work from home which means I’m nearly always available to work, but I try to limit my work time from 8am-4pm with many breaks between. I track all my time working and average about 30-35 hours a week. I don’t have a set amount of time that I try to work because I think that’s silly. Instead, I focus on getting specific tasks done that I know are going to help continue to grow my businesses.
However, as you already know because it took me about 3 weeks longer to get this interview done than I had hoped, I am very busy. Running 2 growing businesses requires a lot of my attention and having 2 daughters under the age of 5 means I get a lot of distractions 🙂
I have to be good at prioritizing tasks and know what I can and cannot do on any given day. I use Todoist to keep track of all my tasks for me (highly recommended).I have looked at every single post that has been published on affLIFT (nearly 50,000 as I’m writing this). Click To Tweet
What does your working day look like?
I usually start the day by skimming my email. I have multiple email accounts so I just skim through them all to see if there’s anything alarming that I need to stop and focus on first. Most of the time, there’s nothing too demanding so I continue by focusing specifically on affLIFT.
affLIFT is the first thing I work on every morning. I go through my email inbox and messages on the forum and clear them all out. I like this because then it gives me a fresh start of the day. Any new messages that come in during the day can be quickly answered and it helps me provide a level of support for my members that my competition simply does not do.
I then work my way through new threads on the forum. I have looked at every single post that has been published on affLIFT (nearly 50,000 as I’m writing this). I reply to the ones that need my help or that I can provide value on.
Once I’m caught up on affLIFT, I will take a look at my Todoist and see what I need to get done for the day. I have many recurring tasks setup that I do on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. For example, once a week I check my Google Ads campaigns for affLIFT and see if I need to make any changes and twice a week I post a new Article (similar to a blog post) on affLIFT.I’m not always motivated. I experience burnout just like everyone else. But, I really love what I do. I look forward to Monday mornings when I know I have 5 days to push hard to grow. Click To Tweet
After that, I work through my FPTraffic customer support emails, setup social media posts, and do other fun stuff related to that business.
I start my day with a latte, I drink another one about 2 hours later, I take a break for lunch (usually a long break), I come back and catch up on what happened while I was gone, I drink another coffee, and I finish any leftover tasks.
Throughout the day, I am communicating with my Community Leaders on affLIFT (we currently have 4) and my developer on FPTraffic.
I try to finish my day between 3-4pm.
What drives you forward and motivates you to act?
I really just enjoy watching my businesses grow. I get Google Analytics reports emailed to me every morning that shows our progress. I track the specific metrics that I am trying to grow closely. I have goals set.
However, I’m not always motivated. I experience burnout just like everyone else. But, I really love what I do. I look forward to Monday mornings when I know I have 5 days to push hard to grow.
What is your tools-set? Apps that you use always and like the most?
I have an iMac and Macbook. Lately, I’ve been working more on my iMac since we’re all on lockdown because of the Coronavirus. On my Mac, I primarily use:
- Google Chrome
- Gmail (G Suite)
- Coda (IDE)
- CleanShot (screenshot software)
- Rocket (emojis)
That’s a majority of software I need/use to operate my businesses.
How do you organize and manage your tasks?
I’ve mentioned Todoist a few times now and it’s the only task management system I use. It’s perfect. I started using Todoist a few years ago and I’ve never looked back.
The trick is not just having a task management system, but learning how to use it efficiently and actually figure out what tasks you can do that are going to make the small incremental improvements every single day to what you are trying to accomplish.
affLIFT – we’re all here to help each other succeed
How is affLIFT doing at the moment?
We celebrated our 2 year anniversary since the launch of affLIFT about a month ago and things have been INSANE since. Our daily activity was up prior to the anniversary, but it has gone up significantly over the past month.
Our Community Leaders have been releasing amazing guides and in April we did a contest with Zeropark that had $3,500 in prizes.
Overall, things have been great!I believe affLIFT may be the most active affiliate marketing forum online. Click To Tweet
How many active members do you have on board?
We’re at about 35,000 members in the community. I don’t disclose daily active users, but we’re consistently seeing 100-300 users online at any given time.
I keep an eye on our competitors and I believe affLIFT may be the most active affiliate marketing forum online. I’ve heard members say the same 🙂
From your point of view what is the percentage of people who finally succeed in affiliate marketing?
It depends on what you consider succeeding. I believe that when someone starts affiliate marketing, they have about 6 months to start to see some sort of profit before they give up.
Most people on affLIFT stick around longer than that so we’re definitely providing a lot of the content they need, but people new to affiliate marketing seem to come into it with higher than realistic expectations (thanks mainly to gurus) so many who could be successful or are even seeing good results will stop prematurely.
What are the three most common questions that you see on the forum?
We do a pretty good job of directing people to content based on their experience after they introduce themselves to the community (it’s the first thing everyone is asked to do), so we don’t have a lot of the same questions over and over. However, themes people struggle with consistently are:
- Setting up their track/tracking
- How to find good offers
- How to setup landing pages
Also, I created a Beginners Course to help new members get started with affiliate marketing. It walks them through setting up their tracker, getting approved on an affiliate network, and running their first campaign with a low budget of just $10.
What is the core value of affLIFT?
I think that the thing that sets affLIFT apart from any other community like it is that we actually care about helping affiliates at every level.
I realized while working for PeerFly that there is a THIRST for good information on how to do affiliate marketing. Even more importantly, there is a NEED for it at an affordable price.
I took advantage of that gap in the market and created affLIFT. Then, I lead the community in creating a culture of inclusiveness and friendliness that is hard to beat.
I like to say we’re the most friendly, helpful, and open community in the industry and I believe it’s true. Leave your ego at the door. We’re all here to help each other succeed.
What are your future plans to grow and develop the community?
We’re going to just continue to do what we are doing. We’re seeing a nice monthly growth and we’re not in a rush. I will continue to grow our team. I hope within a year that we’re at around 10 Community Leaders from all over the world producing the best content in the industry.
Feature wise, we already have a lot more than our competitors including a ton of free public content like these awesome threads or our Link Directory full of reviews of industry resources (like trackers, traffic sources, spy tools, and of course affiliate networks).
I’m also leveraging the relationships I have and the business/revenue we generate for Partner companies on affLIFT to provide more value to the community. For example, we do bi-monthly follow along contests with thousands of dollars in prizes. I also enjoy doing giveaways for members 🙂
Learning and Thinking – how to become better at everything you do
What websites/blogs do you read to become better at what you do?
When it comes to affiliate marketing, affLIFT is definitely the site where I have learned the most. I know that sounds like bullshit because I own affLIFT, but it’s true. I’ve learned a ton from our members and my Community Leaders like Servando Silva.
I run campaigns, but these guys and girls are the ones in the trenches battling bad clickthrough rates and spending hours analyzing and optimizing their campaigns.
As far as where I have learned how to run my businesses, that has come from a variety of sources. I do not specifically follow any site/blog, but instead just use Google to research the topics I need help with and digest the sites I land on. I am not sure if that’s the best strategy, but it’s what I’ve always done and it seems to be working.
Do you listen to any podcasts?
I do not listen to podcasts, but I listen to audiobooks using Audible almost every single day. I listen to about 20 books a year depending on the size of them and how often I am able to actually listen. I quit listening to music when I am driving and listen exclusively to audiobooks (when my daughters aren’t in the car with me) and that’s helped me listen to around 100 books. I actually just finished a long book called Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. and I recommend it to any entrepreneur 🙂
What are the books that impacted you the most as an entrepreneur?
One of the reasons I am planning to start a personal blog again is specifically so I can share the books I am reading and what I am learning from them.
I have listened to so many good books lately it’s hard to name just a few, but the ones I would definitely recommend are:
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
- The Compound Effect: Multiply Your Success One Simple Step at a Time
- The Art of the Click: How to Harness the Power of Direct-Response Copywriting and Make More Sales
- That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea
- The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand Out From The Crowd
- Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business
- Ca$hvertising: How to Use More Than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone (this is an affiliate marketing classic)
I could go on and on, but those are some recent ones that have had a good impact and are geared towards marketing or business.
After I graduated from college, I quit reading books. I told myself that I didn’t have time and that I was consuming enough online. I was wrong. Chad French, the CEO of PeerFly when we were in business, convinced me to try audiobooks and I am forever grateful. Listening to books is one of my hobbies now. I enjoy getting in my car, turning on my Audible, and driving 15 minutes to get a coffee just so I can spend a half hour listening to a book.
Chad is also the person that convinced me to use Todoist and I credit Todoist with a majority of my productivity so I suppose I owe him for that one too 🙂
Affiliate Marketing – why it will never die
Do you run any campaigns yourself now?
Yes, I have been running affiliate marketing campaigns for about 15 years straight. I don’t always have a ton of campaigns running and there are times where I do not have any running, but the amount of campaigns I run has drastically increased since I launched affLIFT.
I share many of my campaigns on affLIFT (yes, even the many failures) so doing affiliate marketing helps me provide value and content for the community.
We were fairly early on affLIFT into the push notification game, but one thing I have told the community is that when the next big opportunity comes up like push notifications, we will be the first and most knowledgeable community about that opportunity.
You want to stay ahead of the curve so by running my own campaigns and sharing them with the 35,000+ people on affLIFT, my goal is to help the community get ahead of the next big opportunity curve.I’ve been doing affiliate marketing long enough now that I’ve seen its death predicted roughly 102,562 times. Click To Tweet
What are your reasons to be optimistic about the future of Affiliate Marketing?
I’ve been doing affiliate marketing long enough now that I’ve seen its death predicted roughly 102,562 times. Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but everyone always seems to think affiliate marketing is dying because this happened or that happened.
The truth is, the industry (and strategy) is constantly changing and has been for years. That’s what makes it so interesting to me. Strategies I was writing about and recommending for affiliates 5 years ago are no longer relevant and things I’m recommending now didn’t exist then.Fraud is and will always be a huge concern for the people in the affiliate industry. Click To Tweet
I am optimistic about the future of affiliate marketing mainly because it’s a channel of traffic for products and services that has very little downside. The risk of an affiliate generating fraudulent conversions is lower than paying an influencer thousands of dollars and not seeing any return from it.
A properly run affiliate program or affiliate offer should be able to provide a merchant with a massive upside for very little cost.
The biggest hurdle is simply affiliates looking for short term gains and taking shortcuts.
I’ve seen affiliates make companies millions of dollars as both a media buyer and online publisher so I know there’s ample opportunity. As an industry, we just need to continue to help companies and affiliates connect the dots.
You are always in touch with top people in the industry. What are their main concerns today?
Fraud is and will always be a huge concern for the people in the affiliate industry. It’s the biggest risk factor we have. Affiliates and networks do not want to float millions of dollars just to get burned by some fraudster.
There is an ample supply and demand for affiliate traffic. As an industry, we just have to work to actually provide value to the companies/individuals we are working with so we can create win-win situations for everyone.
One of the big benefits of running affLIFT is that I have been able to network with a lot of people in the industry who previously were too concerned about competition to really “be friends” with me. Talking to these people makes it apparent that the industry is in a pretty good position.
We’re going to have plenty of challenges ahead of us as has been the case for as long as affiliate marketing has been around (remember when we were killing it with acai berries and then that disappeared?), but I am certain there are huge opportunities just around the corner that we haven’t even considered yet.
Finance – get rid of your debt and save
Your top 3 rules on money management?
I grew up with very little money and have worked my ass off to get into a position where I don’t really worry too much about money anymore, but I have 2 pretty simple rules:
- Get rid of your debt.
I graduated with a pile of college loan debt. The first thing I did once I started making more money was pay that off.
I’m also not a huge fan of business debt. I know a lot of people probably think it’s okay for a business to take on debt to grow, but in most cases, you don’t need it and it could be a killer. For those of you considering running your own company and taking on debt, check out the Company of One book I mentioned above. That’s the strategy I’ve used and I run 2 high margin businesses with no debt.
I’m also a big saver. I always have been. I think when you grow up with very little, you go down 1 of 2 paths as you start to make money:
- You spend everything you make because you have little experience with money.
- You save because you don’t want to not have money again.
I’ve chosen the path of being a saver and would definitely recommend people start setting aside money as soon as they’re able to. I realize that is much easier said than done.
My next step will be getting into investing. I have some investments, but I imagine if you interview me again in about 5 years, I’ll have a 3rd rule about investing. It’s something I’m very interested in and there are many excuses as to why I haven’t gotten more serious about it until this point, but it’s next on my list of things to improve on (I’m listening to an investment book right now actually) 🙂
What is the best financial advice you have ever heard?
Unfortunately, I haven’t had much direction with finances in my life. I’ve put my head down and worked very hard to try to create my own financial success, but it wasn’t really based on anyone’s specific direction.
I do believe that one of the best financial decisions you can make is going to college. This is another thing that a lot of people will try to argue with, but it’s proven that people who go to college end up making more in their lifetime than someone who doesn’t (with a few millionaire and billionaire exceptions).
Aside from the potential financial upside, college is one of your last chances to really discover what you want to do with your life and grow in ways that are much more complicated afterward when you all of the sudden have more responsibilities than you expected. Then, you’ll be looking back at your college days thinking “what did I do with my time?”, but hopefully you won’t regret it.
That was Luke!
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