Digital Entrepreneurship, Affiliate Marketing and Covid-19

Affiliate marketing is nowadays a very digital form of business. Has Covid-19 had impacts on this very digital business?

Digital entrepreneurship is a new form of entrepreneurship that makes it possible for people to work remotely from anywhere in the world with clients from anywhere in the world. In this article we will shortly describe how Covid-19 changed the conditions in digital entrepreneurship in the field of affiliate marketing.

A digital marketing company X is being used as a case example. Digital entrepreneurship is discussed here shortly too, separately from the impacts of Covid-19.

Company X focuses on affiliate marketing both with client projects and own. It has one bigger client and two smaller ones. 80 percent of the time goes with the biggest client and 20 percent is reserved for the two others.

All these companies the company has had close relationships with for almost four years now. The company has only one employee who is currently working as a consultant for search engine optimization (SEO) and content management, closely with people from all over Europe.

Ever since the company was started (2018), the entire business has been completely digital. The services the company owner as a consultant offers are all related to affiliate marketing.

The services include content creation, content management and search engine optimization, both off-page and on-page.

Shortly On Digital Entrepreneurship

Digital entrepreneurship is a form of entrepreneurship that includes entrepreneurial pursuits that are occurring on digital platforms and IT. Digital entrepreneurs are expanding the traditional ways of working since participants are evolving constantly and the markets and work spaces are very diverse with a lot of digital opportunities. (Hattingh et al 2020)

Digital entrepreneurship has made it possible for freelancers in the field of digital marketing to start working remotely from anywhere in the world. Even before Covid-19 it was possible to start a business in one country, for instance in Finland, and be working full-time for marketing agencies all over Europe.

How to Succeed As a Digital Entrepreneur

To succeed as a digital entrepreneur, be it before the Covid-19 or now after, there are certain characteristics one needs. For having a digital entrepreneurial mindset an entrepreneur needs to be able to evaluate, discover and exploit opportunities and at the same time be adopting to digital technologies.

In today’s world these are needed even when the business is not mainly digital, but a digital entrepreneur needs to adapt to these quicker than regular entrepreneurs. (Soltanifar et al 2020, 7)

In company X’s case the key for the success in a digital environment has been high work ethics and the ability to learn new things very quickly. The company owner is very interested in technical search engine optimization and wants to learn more constantly.

The owner follows the industry news and blogs and is connected with SEO professionals around the world in LinkedIn. The owner also has very experienced SEO colleagues in the client companies.

The curiosity and passion for content creation, content management and search engine optimization are something that the clients value. In addition, the owner has a BBA in international business, marketing, which supports here performance.

The fact that the owner learns more constantly and is following what is happening in this very digital industry of affiliate marketing, makes the company as whole a more reliable partner than many other freelancers that could be seen as the company’s direct competitors.

Affiliate Marketing – A Challenging Business In Digital Environment

The process of earning commissions every time one promotes a certain company’s services or products and drives a sale, is called affiliate marketing. One example of a site that could be used for it is It is similar to a commission-only sales representative: the affiliate marketer gets paid only when a sale is made.

On the other hand there are exceptions to this since some companies are ready to pay also for instance for a loan application, which itself does not necessarily lead to a sale yet.

All the client companies of company X are working around affiliate marketing and all of the company X’s own projects are affiliate sites, too. The entire business environment is digital. The company owner does not go to face-to-face meetings but instead can join affiliate programs online. The company is also contacted on LinkedIn for new deals both for its own and its client’s affiliate sites.

The clients the company X works with have never seen each other face-to-face but instead they are using different digital collaboration tools for communicating. This has not changed with Covid-19: this was actually how things were done already before the pandemic.

Tools Used As A Digital Entrepreneur

Company X needs to use various digital collaboration tools for communication and project management. Some client companies are using tools such as Slack and Asana, others rely simply on Skype and Google Drive. Over the 4 years of working as a digital entrepreneur the owner has learned to adapt very quickly to new tools and has increased IT skills significantly. The company owner has even learned some coding, mainly HTML.

Other tools that digital entrepreneurs typically need are related to banking and accounting. In Finland a very popular tool for accounting is Netvisor, which company X is also using. In today’s digital economy it’s possible to open a business account for various platforms.

One does not need to use a traditional bank account, not even in Finland where the trust for national banks is usually very high. Many entrepreneurs are choosing services such as PayPal business accounts.

Changes After Covid-19

Covid-19 has had impacts for many workers around the world in various fields. Self-imposed isolation, lock downs and quarantines have forced people to work remotely. Covid-19 has broken technological and cultural barriers that were earlier preventing working remotely. Now, with the experience of being forced to work remotely, the benefits and also limitations that remote work has are more clear to organizations across the world. (Lund et al 2020)

As said, Covid-19 had massive impacts on remote work in many fields. This was seen also in the field of digital marketing. In company X’s case for instance, the pandemic had only positive effects on the working conditions. Now it was possible to get to higher positions with better salaries and benefits than it was before. Affiliate marketing companies understood that working remotely was as effective, if not more effective than the traditional way.

Earlier company X was producing SEO-friendly content for client companies, but content management and SEO-related tasks were assigned to people working in the client company’s head office. The digital marketing companies X was working with, at that time, thought that it wasn’t possible to have  for instance a Country Manager or an SEO Manager, working remotely when the rest of the team was at the office in another country. Covid-19 changed this way of thinking significantly.

Now the digital marketing companies were forced to work remotely, managers included. Companies quickly discovered that managerial positions can be handled from abroad also. This way company X was soon offered more demanding positions.

Covid-19 forced all kinds of companies to change the way they see remote work. Even though one might think that this had no impact on a business that is very digital, such as affiliate marketing, there were changes, and in company X’s case, only positive ones.

When digital affiliate marketing companies noticed that even the more demanding positions could be done completely remotely, things for digital entrepreneurs working as freelancers changed dramatically. The positions that were earlier impossible to get because one didn’t live in the same country as the client company, were now open for freelancers working remotely from anywhere in the world.


Hattingh, M., Matthee, M., Smuts H., Pappas, I, Dwivedi, Y.K., Mäntymäki, M. 6 March 2020. The Characteristics of Digital Entrepreneurship and Digital Transformation: A Systematic Literature Review. Accessed 3 December 2021.

Lund, S., Madgavkar, A., Manyika, J., Smit. 23 November 2020. What’s next for remote work: An analysis of 2,000 tasks, 800 jobs, and nine countries. McKinsey Global Institute. Accessed 3 December 2021.

Patel, N. 2021. What is affiliate marketing. Accessed in 3 December 2021. Soltanifar, M., Hughes, M., Göcke, L. November 2020. Digital Entrepreurship. Impact on Business and Society. Researgate. Accessed in 3 December 2021.

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