Affiliate Marketer’s Hierarchy of Needs

I was thinking about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs the other day. Not only because it interests me, but also because it is one of the only things I remember from my five years of college. That and how Edward Hall was the “Father of Proxemics”.

University of Maryland alum — Fear the Turtle!

Anyhow, if you’re not familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it’s a theory proposed in a paper by psychologist Abraham Maslow in 1943.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a pyramid, and the five stage model of needs (starting with the more basic needs at the bottom) is broken down to physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.

While the original hierarchy is based on the needs experienced by most humans, I’ve adapted it for the needs of the affiliate marketer.

Physiological Needs

There are a handful of essentials for affiliate marketers to get started and survive, and they include quality hosting, good domain(s), Wi-Fi, naps, caffeine, foods that won’t ruin a keyboard, and exercise.

Safety Needs

When physiological needs are fulfilled, safety comes next. The safety of an affiliate marketer is really the safety of their company — separate finances from personal for tax purposes. Incorporating your business is important for personal asset protection, enhanced credibility, deductible expenses, and tax benefits. Also, get a business bank account and credit card, so you can keep your finances separate from your personal stuff.

Love and Belonging Needs

After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third level of affiliate marketer needs is the feeling of love and belonging. This comes in the form of networking and establishing friendships online and offline with mentors, colleagues, confidants. The love and belonging can be fulfilled in forums, email lists, Facebook groups, meetups, and conferences.

Esteem Needs

We all feel a need to be respected and valued for our efforts, and this includes self-esteem and self-respect. This can come in the form of an industry accolade, or a social share from somebody we admire. Esteem also comes from support of family and friends outside of the industry, and this is a key need, because family and friends can either be the biggest skeptics or cheerleaders.


Finally, self-actualization is the realization of an affiliate marketer’s full potential with their business and site(s). This need is self-defined, and it can take the form of accomplishments such as flipping a site for a windfall of cash, becoming cash positive, quitting a day job to focus on affiliate marketing, or whatever measure of success is established at the start. But in order to understand and realize self-actualization, you must accomplish and maintain the first four needs.

Think about where you are in this process. Maybe you’ve even made your way all the way through once or more. If so, are you ready to do it again?