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After more than fifteen years of working in the performance marketing space and running an agency that understands and proves the value of the affiliate channel every day, I have finally become an affiliate.

No, I’m not giving up my day job running eAccountable, but I have found that one of my hobbies is something that I want to blog about and naturally, affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize.

So, earlier this month I launched CharcuterieStyle.com. It’s a site dedicated to showing off my skills in designing and assembling platters of cured meats, cheeses, accompaniments (olives, nuts, etc.) and of course, wine pairings. I’ve been putting together these plates for years and it turns out that my friends and family think I have a real skill in creating these delicious appetizer platters and began requesting that I bring them to parties and gatherings.

Over the years I’ve also noticed that those enjoying charcuterie were also into many of the things I love to do in my free time such as drink wine, travel, play golf, ski, eat good food and entertain. Hence, CharcuterieStyle is not just about the craft of artisan salumi and cheese, but more about a lifestyle that showcases relaxed, casual,  intimate entertaining with a minimalistic aesthetic that brings  people together to indulge in food that is presented in the most appealing way but is also bold , adventurous and delicious.

Because there are so many adjunct elements that encompass the charcuterie lifestyle, it makes the perfect niche for adding a huge variety of affiliate links – including everything from wine, wine accessories, platters, cutting boards, knives, travel, dining, and entertaining décor and accessories and more.

So, what have I learned in the few short months that I’ve been readying the website and giving my wife a crash course in affiliate marketing (she will be helping me run the site)? Well, there is a big difference between running and managing an affiliate program and actually being an affiliate. I’ve always enjoyed interacting with affiliates that we recruit into the programs we manage, but now I can empathize with their struggles not simply sympathize.

I’ve learned what it’s like to be the little guy applying to big programs (such as William-Sonoma and others). I found out what it feels like to be rejected or accepted into certain affiliate programs. I’ve learned that affiliate programs based on a passion are truly easier to maintain and generate content for. I’ve found out how certain programs interact with their affiliates and who is doing it right and who doesn’t get it.

Naturally, I expect that there are a lot of nuances and subtleties that I will encounter as we progress and hit our stride. But most importantly, I’ve learned that there is an affiliate mindset and living in the shoes of an affiliate has certainly made me even more appreciative of what these marketers do every day to make a living. I also expect the hands-on experience I gain as an affiliate will help make eAccountable even better at managing our clients’ programs.

I plan on posting more about my affiliate journey. Stay tuned.