Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
Depending on the price point of your products, you can safely say that once you're launching it, if you expose it to your customers and affiliates at the same time, you can expect to cover the cost of the software, I would say on average, within two to three months. Cover the annual fee of whatever software that you're paying if you stick by the initial strategies that I mentioned, and you're aggressive enough to get enough exposure to it.