Are you looking to harness the power of the internet to give you an additional stream of income? That’s great! There are many benefits to working from home which I will discuss later in this article.
Bad Guy Disclaimer
If you’re hellbent on looking for a silver bullet scheme which claims that you can start earning tons of money with little to no effort, then stop reading. Nothing like that exists. If someone tells you otherwise, then they’re lying to your face.
I want to be the one pulling you out of the shark tank, not the shark swimming in it.
How it Works
Simply put, all you do is direct traffic to websites (like Amazon, Clickbank, Commission Junction, ShareASale, B&H, etc.) and earn commissions when a customer buys something. If someone clicks your link but ends up making a different purchase, then you still get credit for that sale!
There are tens of thousands of businesses whom you can promote for. Find one that best suits you. Each company’s affiliate program has different commissions rates between 1% and 80%, give or take; almost all are free to join.
Joining a program does not make you a company employee. Therefore, you’re not on the payroll, not entitled to receive benefits, and you don’t to show up to the office. You’re considered an independent contractor who helps promote products.
Instead of receiving a W-2 at the end of the year, you are given a 1099 and are 100% responsible for your taxes. In other words, nothing is deducted come payday, and you receive your full gross. With that said, set aside some cash for tax season.
Finding a Program. An Example
If you want to see if a company has one in place, simply go to their site and scroll down to the bottom of the home page and look for a link to their affiliate page. Here we’ll use bhphotovideo.com as an example:
You can also accomplish this with the search engines. For example, if you like the company B&H and want to promote their products, open up a Google search page (or a search engine of your choice) and type in: “B&H + affiliate program.”
Some sites flat out don’t offer these programs, while others do, but don’t advertise it. If you can’t find anything, then shoot them an email and ask what they have available.
How to Become an Affiliate Marketer
While getting your website ranked on the first page of the search engines has it nuances (keyword research, SEO, outperforming your competitors, creating content, etc.), online marketing is a pretty straight forward process: Direct web traffic to the site you’re affiliated with so customers can buy goods and services from them. The steps listed below provides you with a high-level view of how to create your online business:
- Discover a niche
- Build your website
- Join an affiliate program
- Get ranked in the search engines
- Earn money from your traffic
Discover a Niche
A niche is a problem a specific group of people have, whom are looking for solutions to. I cover what a niche is in this article.
Having trouble coming up with an idea? A good place to start is figuring out what you like to do as a hobby. There are tons of people who share your interests. They’re your potential audience. If there’s a large demand on a subject you well enough about, then you could be sitting on a goldmine.
Build Your Website
If you’ve made it this far, then you’re probably thinking, “Whoa, I don’t know anything about building websites!”
Creating your own site has become VERY easy over the years. You can have your own piece of online real estate without knowing how to code.
Places like WordPress automate this process, and provide you with several thousand complementary themes. You can customize your site, and have it running in seconds.
Start now if you want! Don’t worry, it’s free. Think of a site name and type it in the box below:
Join an Affiliate Program
Once you have content on your site, the next thing to do is to join a company and promote their products. While you can apply to join a program at anytime, some companies require you to have a website already in place. You’re given a unique affiliate link once you’ve signed up for a program. This link helps you earn credit, and keeps track of the traffic you drive to their website.
Get Ranked in the Search Engines
Create high-quality content to get your website ranked. Write articles and blog posts about the products you’re promoting. Your content should give your audience a lot of great information about what they’re looking for.
The more relevant and useful your content is, the better the chances your website will rank. Ideally, your pages should rank on the first spot of the first page of the SERP. Your site will get traffic if it’s well within view of your audience.
Earn Money From Your Traffic
You earn commission whenever someone from your traffic stream makes a purchase. There is no window of time a customer must adhere to when buying something. It can be done at anytime during a 24-hour period, 365 days a year, potentially making you money while you sleep.
As I mentioned previously, this is a high-level view of how affiliate marketing works. It will take some time before you see results, but it’s well worth it. You can turn this into a lucrative career if you stick with it!
Of course, you can do all this without a website. You can promote via discussion forums, social media, and online classified ad sites, but that’s like manually pumping water from a well versus using a motorized pump. Work smarter, not harder. Build a website!
The Good Things About Being an Affiliate Marketer
- Set your own work hours
- Low cost. An online business is a lot cheaper than a traditional brick-and-mortar business
- You can work from home, a coffee shop, or a location of your choice
- Passive income. You can make money while you sleep once your business is up and running
- Potential to create a full-time income
- You don’t have to maintain an inventory, or ship products
- Customer service issues are handled by the seller
The Bad Things
- It can take months to get your income rolling. Don’t be in a hurry. You won’t get rich overnight, but there’s tons of income potential. Stay focused and remember WHY you got into this business in the first place
- You can get easily distracted. Stay off Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., unless you’re using them as mediums to promote your site
- You can find yourself slacking. Create a schedule where you update your content regularly. Stick to it
- Affiliate marketing is very competitive. Finding smaller niches within a niche (aka sub/micro-niche) is a crucial step to your success
Tips on How to Become Successful
This could be the dawn of a new chapter in your life. You can potentially create a career which will open doors to financial and time freedom. Paving your own career path will have its challenges, but it’s very doable! Here are some tips on how to successfully take the road less traveled:
The one thing you must have when you start your journey is patience. Squelch the “instant gratification” mentality which may have been ingrained into your head. People who expect immediate results are the ones who fail the quickest. Cool you jets and enjoy the ride.
If you’ve ever tried teaching yourself how to speak another language, play the piano, or develop some other skill, then you’ve experienced how challenging it is to learn something new. Obviously, developing a new skill set requires effort.
Affiliate marketing is no different. It takes a lot of persistence and dedication before seeing any success.
“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.” -Joyce Meyer
The fact that you may not see instant results causes you to face a lot of ups and downs. It’s discouraging not being able to enjoy the fruits of your labor right away. You’ll begin to question if it’s all worth it.
This is normal, and everyone who ventures into this line of business goes through it. The ones who develop a thick skin and and stay the course are the ones who see the most success. Stay positive and focused on your goals. Surround yourself with people who will support you in your journey.
Stick With One Project From Start to Finish
The beauty of the whole thing is that you can join as many programs as you want. Though, there is a downside to this, especially if you’re just starting out.
The goal is to to not spread yourself too thin. Discover a niche, create a website around it, and move on once it’s finished. You’ll end up spinning your wheels if you take on too much. Multitasking has its advantages, but don’t overwhelm yourself by putting too much on your plate.
Take a step back from your first site once it’s completed, then move on to your next project. Don’t completely abandon it, though. Update your completed site once or twice a week to show your audience and the search engines that your site is active.
Avoid Being Scammed
I don’t have to tell you that not everything you see, hear, and read on the internet is true. No one is naive enough to believe that…right? 😉
With that said, there are so many scams plaguing the online market. Many of these self-proclaimed online marketing “gurus” know that people want nothing more than to quit their day job and work from home.
Many people are underpaid, and overworked. Now, it’s not uncommon for someone to have two jobs to make ends meet. There are so many who want to get ahead, and this is where these frauds sink their teeth in.
They’ll play to your emotions and try selling you some hyped up product. You’ve probably seen these “autopilot” or “turnkey” marketing schemes while scouring the internet and social media networks. Set it, forget it, and watch the money come pouring in.
If it were that easy, then EVERYONE and their brother would hop on board and quit their day job. More often than not, these garbage products don’t even remotely live up to the hype.
Finding products that teach you the right way to create a lasting source of online income are far and few between. This can be costly if you’re not careful. Thoroughly research a program and determine if it’s trustworthy before buying into it.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t have to spend no more than $100 a month tops.
Have Fun With It
Learning a new skill is challenging, but you don’t have to hate it. Take your ultimate goal and break it up into smaller, manageable pieces. Set a time frame to reach those smaller goals, and challenge yourself to meet those deadlines.
It helps being surrounded by a group of positive, like-minded people when breaking into this business. You can turn to each other for encouragement, bounce ideas off one another, and ask questions when you’re stuck. Putting yourself in this position makes the learning process a lot more fun vs. doing it alone.
Questions and Comments
I hope you found this blog informative. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!