Are you disabled or living on a low-income and hoping to achieve financial independence? If so, I have some great news for you: affiliate marketing could be the perfect solution.
It is possible to create passive income from your home, with little-to-no upfront cost. Affiliate marketing is about endorsing products that you love, and making commission whenever someone clicks the affiliate link you provide. There is a plethora of online marketing tools, softwares and other things you can use to build a successful affiliate marketing business.
In this beginner’s guide, I’ll show you how to choose the right affiliate programs, some trips and tricks on promoting them well, and more. You CAN achieve financial stability, and I want to help you!
the power of affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is a disability-friendly, low-budget & home-based business model that can help you achieve financial independence. As an affiliate marketer, you promote products to your audience, and your unique affiliate link leads to commissions once someone clicks on it and makes a purchase.
The beauty of affiliate programs is that you don’t need to create a product or handle customer service. There is a wide range of products and services out there! Affiliate marketing can be set up easily: find an affiliate program that fits your niche, sign up, get your unique affiliate link, and start promoting products to your audience.
It really is THAT simple to start. It goes without even saying, though, that starting doesn’t mean instant money.
* Unironically, this website may contain affiliate links which means that I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase from a link found on my site.
The good, the bad, and the ugly of affiliate marketing
The Good: if you got here by following my blog post 5 Easy Ways to Earn Passive Income at Home you already know quite a bit about the good sides:
- Affiliate marketing has low entry costs as you don’t need to create a product, handle inventory, or ship products. You only need to find an affiliate program and promote the products to earn commissions.
- Once you set up your affiliate links and start generating traffic to your content, you can earn passive income even while you’re asleep. Plus, there is no limit on earnings. The amount of clicks determines the amount of money you make, no matter how little or how big that is.
- Affiliate marketing can be done from anywhere with an internet connection, and you can work at your own pace.
- As an affiliate, you don’t have to deal with customer inquiries, returns, or complaints. The merchant handles all customer service.
- Most affiliate programs don’t care about your view count or follower count. They will pay you if you get someone to click on the affiliate link and buys something, end of story. There are exceptions, of course, but it’s not the norm.
- As an affiliate, you rely on the merchant to provide you with accurate tracking and timely commission payments. If the merchant’s tracking system fails or if they delay payments, it can impact your earnings.
- While affiliate marketing can provide passive income, earnings can fluctuate depending on a variety of factors; which is why you shouldn’t use this method alone, but that goes for any passive income stream
- Unfortunately, there are some affiliate programs and merchants that are scams, promising high earnings with little effort. It’s important to research programs beforehand to avoid wasting time and effort on scams.
- There are legal requirements for affiliates to disclose their relationships with merchants and to divulge their status of affiliate marketers. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in fines and legal issues.
The Scams go both ways
Between you and me, this is basically common sense, but: don’t promote stuff you don’t know about. Promoting shady stuff, or promoting things because they give a high amount of commission, is not a good way to get into affiliate marketing.
Like me, you’ve probably seen a fair amount of dubious ads with questionable claims, and it’s kind of obvious that these people are hunting the highest-paying affiliates and making empty promises for a quick buck. It’s important to only promote products and services that you really believe in, because your audience will remember who told them to get the bad product.
You want an audience that will return to you often. They won’t buy everything, but someone that views half of your videos has more chance of buying one or more things than someone who views one video in passing. Same thing if the person watches the one video and gets a terrible product (or like me, a shoddy hosting service that sold my phone number to scam callers. IT’S BEEN YEARS AND I STILL GET CALLS).
It pays to have a satisfied audience who believes in you.
The start of a journey
Let’s begin, shall we?
It may be an easy thing, but if you’re anxious like me, you may get some jitters at the idea of signing up for your first affiliate marketing program.
Worry not! I got just the thing. When it comes to starting something new, there is nothing better than an easy sign-up in something of no consequence: I’m talking about amazon affiliates.
Not in a bad way, either! The Amazon Associates Program is simple to use, gives you great insights (and even an “idea hub” to look for current promotions, giving extra value to your viewers) AND, my favourite thing: in the “Product Linking” tab -> “Link to Any Page.”
You sign up to this one program and you have the entirety of AMAZON to promote… that’s called having options!
The reason why I call it “something of no consequence” is twofold: the commission rates are nothing to write home about, and the fact that amazon associates gives you 180 days to get your first 3 link clicks.
As a beginner, having an affiliate program that gives you half a year to get some results is great. It may not seem like a lot of time, but it’s a fair amount, really. A lot of affiliate programs are more demanding.
The commission rates, while decent, are nothing more than a good starting point. Building your affiliate blog, vlog or social media account through amazon associates will allow you to test the waters, mess around with the systems, and get comfortable. THAT’s the valuable part.
See what I did there? You did, you were just ignoring my terrible pun? Yeah, fair play.
So you’ve got your Amazon Associates account all set up and ready to go. If you’re unsure what type of medium you’ll be using for your link-sharing, you should probably think about that right now!
If you think that was out of order, think again. I wanted you to sign up to Amazon associates first, so that now you’re motivated and want to give it a go!
Blogging, Vlogging, Tik Tok, Instagram, Pinterest…
Choose your weapon! The concept is the same for everything: you get your unique link and you direct your viewers to the product.
Social media, like Tik Tok and Instagram (is Facebook even relevant anymore?) are more fleeting, which means you’ll need to dish out content more regularly. Think about your Instagram feed; when’s the last time you saw the same post more than once? Doom-scrolling and constant-refreshing doesn’t count!
Pinterest is a bit halfway between social media and blogging. It does require consistent pinning and interacting, but I still see interactions on much older posts in my notifications.
YouTube is probably the best platform for Vlogging. A good title will be easy to find in searches, whether it was published a week or a year ago! YouTube’s monetization system, once you hit 1000 followers and a certain amount of hours watched, is also a solid money-maker to have as a secondary stream of income.
Having a website
No matter what you choose to do, having a blog or a website is my recommendation. Whether you use that website mostly as an intro landing page, a links page to your other stuff, or a full-on blog, your website is your safe space.
Social media accounts can get shadow-banned, just plain banned, or the algorithm can change and it can seriously affect your reach.
Your website remains. Besides, it’s an amazing idea to have a subscription page for an email list on your own website. It may seem daunting, but setting up an email list is not overly complicated, and don’t feel like you’re imposing on people; they can just unsubscribe if they wish!
How the Heck do i set up a website?
For this, I’ll invite you to check out Sadie Smiley’s Blogging 101 course. It’s a free resource, and she makes it SO simple! I am utterly tech-dumb and I had little hope of setting up a website by myself, but with Sadie’s help, I did it three times already!
Sadie also offers a 7$ membership where you will get your money’s worth (and then some!) in information, tools and help. It will also give you access to Blogging 102, which is a more advanced course, but just as useful as 101. It covers quite a bit on affiliate marketing as well, and it’s great information!
- Domain: Namecheap is a good place to get domains. The pricing is pretty good, and the process is hassle-free. Be sure to get domains that end in .com, it’s much easier to be found that way!
- Hosting: BigScoots. If anyone tells you to use Hostinger, DO NOT. This is where I got my scam call nonsense. Bluehost is in a similar situation – no scammy calls, but the commission rate is amazing, so people promote it more for the money than for being a good hosting service (’cause it’s not).
- Canva. I started with the free version because I couldn’t afford more, and the Pro version is seriously useful, too!
- Creative Fabrica for fonts and graphics, whether you’re an artsy person or not. It includes a good commercial license so you can use most of these to make things to sell. Also, I totally have about 593 fonts in a folder because… they’re all so pretty! I’ll use them. Eventually. I DO use quite a few fonts from Creative Fabrica, there’s just a lot more to play with!
- RankIQ for your keyword needs. It’s a bit of an investment, but the tool is easy to use, the information is easy to understand, and it’s very valuable to know about how well the keywords rank, so you can use the best keywords for your endeavors.
In fact, one could argue that all you really need is Namecheap at the beginning. Having your domain name locked-in will let you create a logo/graphics including the domain name or a name similar to it, without worrying about the possibility that the domain name will be taken.
Why am I saying BigScoots isn’t necessary yet? Because you don’t need to have a website up and ready to go if you don’t have any blog posts to put up.
Learn From My Mistakes
Everyone has different experiences, and I can only tell you about mine, so here it is: I started out with buying two domain names (blame my ADHD for the shiny-new-thing syndrome) and setting up one blog, then the second. Lost myself a bit in the graphic side of things (don’t do that, just slap some colors on it and keep it simple at first) then I realized that a month had passed, and I still had only one blog post. On one of the two blogs.
Hosting is a monthly fee, and it was doubled for me due to wanting 2 different blogs to begin with. That was an ill-spent 16 dollars… All thanks to my ADHD!
Here’s what I suggest if you think you may fall in a similar trap:
- After choosing the obvious things like your niche, your audience and you know, WHAT you’ll be doing, go on Namecheap and pick your new awesome domain name. The fee is pretty low and it is not monthly, but yearly, which gives you some time!
- A domain name should be kept short and simple. You want it to be easy to remember and easy to search for.
- Get writing – you need some blogs posts ready to go! While we both know it’s not something we get to choose, now would be a good time to get a hyperfocus moment.
- A pretty good starting point would be to have 25 blog posts. If you want, you could also wait until you reach the 50 mark, but once you get around there, it’s definitely time to open up shop.
- Start designing! You will need some graphics along the way, but you don’t need to pay. You can use Canva for these, although if you want a logo with a transparent background (aka no rectangle of color as a background, which can clash with other stuff) you’ll need Canva Pro. There’s nothing wrong with using the free trial for it and then stop the subscription, though!
- As you design your logo, you’ll figure out what you want your website to look like – colors, fonts, etc. There’s a lot of free fonts on Canva that can be used, and WordPress (which you’ll be using soon) also offers a lot of fonts at no charge.
- In Canva, make a page for your recurring theme. Colors, fonts, your favourite graphics – they should all go on that page, where you can find them again anytime you need. I like to include the color numbers along with the swatches so I can easily set up the color elsewhere when needed.
- OKAY NOW you can get your hosting set up and do the thing.
I realize that this is a bit much right now, but don’t worry. The big takeaway, if you’re iffy about starting a website of any kind (I know I spoke of writing blog posts but that’s not necessary what you want to do and that’s okay) is that you can start by picking a name and locking it in for future use, then you can make content without even posting it until you have a fair amount.