In a world where you got somebody knocking on your door, trying to sell you a pyramid scheme’s worth of essential oils and fat loss supplements, or these young kids who just got out of high school trying to convince you to give them $50,000 so they can build you this passive income FBA Amazon Store yet have no credibility to back up their promises, what is the best way to build an actual legitimate form of passive income?
None of these business models!
In Multi-Level Marketing, and I mention this in every MLM Review that I do, there is a 99.6% chance that you will lose money in an MLM, and for those who are addicted to the idea of building that downline, and refuse to quit, and we enter that territory of conflicts between the direct seller and their friends and family, well that tends to be the time period where the direct seller loses a lot of money.
In the case of doing wholesale or Amazon FBA, here’s the problem with that.
Tons of Costs:
In the FBA business model, you have to rent warehouse/storage space to manage inventory, and that includes product returns. In addition, you must purchase and make your own barcode labels for all of your products, add on to the fact that these have to be perfect, and Amazon can decline your barcode labels if anything at all is wrong with them.
It’s a lot of stress and work.
Now, you can partner up with a company like Elite Automation Group to get yourself in a Done For You Business Model with Amazon FBA, but the problem is, you have no control over your store, and in addition to that, even if the DFY agency fails, the responsibility is 100% on you! Also, the most important detour that steers people away from considering hiring a DFY Agency is that typically, your costs of hiring these agencies range from $10,000 minimum to over $50,000+, with a usual recurring fee of $1,000 yearly.
Most people who are beginners in business or trying to build their first ever stream of passive income cannot afford a risk like this, and even if they could, the stress of trying to run an FBA-styled business or even a dropshipping store is simply overwhelming.
Why Affiliate Marketing blows everything else out of the water:
You can work anywhere, anytime you want, all you need is a cheap laptop and an internet connection!
You have no limits on what you want your business can be about, all you need is a product that offers an affiliate commission in exchange for your promotions. So unlike MLM, you won’t get sued by your boss because you decided to promote a different form of overpriced essential oils. It’s free reigns to promote any item, and any brand that you want, based on whatever niche you choose.
No need to hold any kind of inventory, no need to own the product, and no need to have headaches trying to get the right shipping labels in your products like in an FBA business model.
With Affiliate Marketing, to get started, you simply need to choose a segmented market that you can promote to, learn what they are looking for, and create content surrounding their best interests, or in other words, products that will solve their problems, or if not problems, the pleasures they are looking for.
All you have to do is drive traffic to offers:
The thing with every business model out there, whether you are dropshipping, running an FBA store, or even promoting an MLM slushy drink, is that you have to drive traffic to offers, but here’s the thing with Affiliate Marketing, driving traffic to offers is the only thing you have to do.
No cold calling or talking on the phone, no paying outrageous amounts of money for shipping labels, no double checking those shipping labels to ensure they are correct, just good old classic content writing and driving traffic.
Now I know, these short few paragraphs make it sound easy.
Affiliate Marketing is not easy, but it is worth it for those who can persevere through the tough times!
The reality is that there are no get-rich-quick business models, every single business model that you could ever think of requires hard work and hours upon hours, days and days, months and months, years and years of dedication.
Every business model, every pathway to get rich is going to have those low motivation sprints, sometimes sprints that last over a month where you just don’t want to work on your business at all.
It’s okay to take breaks, it’s okay to want to quit, but for those who can persevere, they unlock passive income, the likes of which they could never imagine!
“Never give up, you may be close to your goals than you can see”
Hopefully, I have managed to paint you a small picture of what it’s like to be/become an affiliate marketer, with both the good and bad things that go with the business model. Now then, let’s get more in-depth with the pros and the cons of affiliate marketing.
The Pros Of Affiliate Marketing:
✔One of the Easiest/low-cost businesses you can start
The average cost for a website domain name is about $15, and the average cost for hosting your website is $400 per year. While this may seem like a lot of money for some, compared to having to spend between $2,000 to $10,000 starting a brick-and-mortar business, or spending $50,000+ to build an Amazon FBA business, I would say that this is a steal!
Many hosting plans also have monthly payment options, so if you just want to get your feet wet and have a discovery phase, you can pay what is typically a $40/50 monthly bill for your hosting instead of a $400 annual bill. That way, if you give affiliate marketing a try for a month and decide you don’t want to move forward with this business model, you can cancel, no questions asked.
It’s a low-cost investment to potentially earn millions and all from the comfort of your own home or wherever it is you choose to work!
For people looking for the best bundle of tools required for Affiliate Marketing, consider checking out Wealthy Affiliate’s hosting plan!
Now risk factor plays a lot on where you are in your affiliate marketing journey, but if you are a beginner, you have practically little to no risk starting out in affiliate marketing. In fact, you can be risky, you can say the things you are afraid to say out loud on a blog.
If you chose to, you could even have fun and create a character, you can experiment, and find what kind of content you need to use to be able to relate to your audience.
You may be interested in the following article: Pros and cons of using a pen name for affiliate marketing
The whole premise of the business model is for you to get your audience to a product that you believe will help them. While it’s important to pick a specific niche market and stay consistent with that niche, in the beginning stages of affiliate marketing, the world is your oyster, with an endless supply of products to choose from and promote, you can choose any kind of style of promotion that you want in this business model!
✔Work Anywhere And Anytime You Want!
Now I know a lot of scammy gurus make these claims, but outside of that fact, it actually is true. With Affiliate Marketing, you can work anytime and anywhere you want. You in fact can “make six figures working on your laptop while chilling at the beach”
Once you embrace the “laptop lifestyle” there’s no turning back!
Affiliate Marketing is one of the only business models that allows you to earn a livable income and beyond, with the only necessary requirements for success being a device where you can type out words, and a source of wifi, you could even get by with a wireless hotspot from your cellphone.
✔Endless Products and services to promote!
You know how if you were a Verizon store salesman but knew you could get a better deal on a plan based on AT&T or T-Mobile, if you mentioned that competitor’s plan to the customer, not only do you not get the sale because the customer goes to the competition but you also kinda maybe probably if not most definitely will get fired?
Or how about being a shill for an MLM and then realizing that the company’s product is actually terrible, so you switch companies, or just do anything that formats you in giving the former MLM a bad review! Boom, Lawsuit, you signed in NDA!!
No bounds no limits with Affiliate Marketing. With Affiliate Marketing, you can promote both Call Of Duty and Battlefield. You can promote both The Avengers and Justice League. You can promote both Keto Diets and Vegan Diets.
Are you picking up what I am putting down? You are the owner of your blog and YouTube channel, or whatever reigns of affiliate advertising style you chose to use. You can’t get sued because you aren’t a part of some company, you are a third-party promotor/affiliate marketer, and you can provide your services to any vendor you see fit!
Just look at all these amazon products that want to give you a commission!
For some inspiration and to gain some understanding as to how vast affiliate marketing works, please read some of my favorite articles I’ve ever written at Safe Money Makers! (P.S, I really want to write more of these niche exploration articles)
✔You probably don’t have to sign an NDA to promote an affilaite program
Now, I can’t speak for every affiliate program out there ever made, but getting back to my earlier point in the heading right above this one, MLM companies, and many times DFY Agencies as well will force you to sign an NDA when partnering up and working for the specific company or partnering up with the specific service!
Ripping people off and then suing them for speaking up about it is how a lot of these companies make their money!
When it comes to affiliate marketing, for 99.9% of affiliate programs, you simply apply for them, and they either accept or reject you.
✔The merchant for your chosen product in most cases does the promotional work for you
For example, my chosen promotion, also my #1 recommendation for making money online has made all of these banners, and inside these banners, there are affiliate links.
The point is, in most cases of scenarios, you don’t have to be a graphic artist to make cool-looking affiliate link banners or cool promotional material.
Most affiliate programs will have you covered!
✔Some Affiliate Programs have affiliate managers that help you out with your campaigns.
What’s one of the worst things you can do when working tirelessly to promote an offer on your blog? Doing it alone.
Some affiliate programs have affiliate managers. What these people do is they get in contact with you, and they help you promote their business.
For people who are beginners at affiliate marketing, or for people in general that don’t specifically understand how to promote a certain product, this is a godsend!
Affiliate Managers are angels because they want you to succeed, and in addition its a thing of course that goes both ways, they also want their company to succeed, but because they want you to succeed, they are willing to put the time in to get you and your business successful and profitable.
✔You don’t have to sell anything in order to make money!
My article How to make money online with Anime shows you how this blogger made a website called Quote The Anime and makes an estimation of over $70,000 per month. That’s not annually, that’s $70K a month.
All the blogger does is make content that talks about specific animes, perhaps anime episode reviews, character breakdowns, and analysis, and the blogger also does many blog posts highlighting their favorite quotes from a specific anime character.
The website has some affiliate links tucked around here and there, mainly under the promotion of gifts, but overall, most of its monetization comes from ad revenue.
They don’t promote anything, offer discount codes, try to tell you why you need manscaped or NordVPN, they do not sell anything! They literally make $70K per month, and all they do is write in text their favorite things about anime!
If that does not prove that you can absolutely make huge profits in a niche you are passionate about or just any niche in general, I don’t know what does!
Related Article: Can you make money with any niche in affiliate marketing?
✔As you become more successful and/or you have a lot of money, you can automate the process!
This is the stage where your affiliate business transforms into an empire! Now, this is not a stage to take lightly, it requires strategy, trial, and error. However, the rewards of successfully transitioning from a 1 person affiliate business to a content agency are tremendous.
The mountain climbing process of starting a small affiliate business with no profits, to eventually $100/$500 a month, to $1000’s a month, to $3000-$5000 a month, to quitting your job, to $10,000+ per month is incredible. It is a ton of hard work, and a huge amount of dedication is required, but it is still an amazing, fun, and inspiring journey!
But let’s be honest, even when you quit that job, writing daily, every single day, that is going to take its toll on your mind! I’ll be frank here, I’ve only written around 76 articles for Safe Money Makers, and it sometimes just feels dull and exhausting to write at this point! I don’t know how I am going to do it, but I am going to crush through 400 more articles because I know I’ll be making an insane amount of money by then, which I will use to automate the process of how this website, Safe Money Makers is run.
I think that everyone who wants to go on this affiliate marketing journey should first learn the ropes, write a good 200 to 300 articles for their niche, and then automate the process!
I think both should be a goal. It is important to struggle and go through the trenches of becoming a successful affiliate marketer because, in order to be a CEO of a content agency, you must first understand the process required, and not by some course, some guru on YouTube, but through trial and error. You must learn through experience, you must fortify the foundations of your business with your bare hands!
Once achieving success by yourself, you will have an understanding of what is required to keep the foundation of your business working like clockwork.
That’s when you can automate the process, hire writers from Upwork or Fiverr, or whatever gig economy you fancy, and you can get other writers to write your blog posts for you.
Because your website is an authority in the space you chose to advertise, your articles will easily rank high on the front page of the search engines, and in addition to that, you are already seeing massive profits, and each blog post only gains a new source of traffic and brings in more money.
While you have to pay your content writers, freeing up your time, and plus the fact that each post will make you more money, your investment into your content writers is easily turning into a net profit because of the success of your authoritative website.
This essentially turns your content writers into people who print money for you while you sit in a hammock tied to some palm trees in Hawaii while you sip a pina colada.
The cons of Affiliate Marketing:
I hope that I have made it a point to help you understand that while there is a lot of potential in affiliate marketing, not everything is sunshine in rainbows. That paradise idea of being a digital nomad, working on the beach, camping out in an RV while traveling the world, and making money off of a laptop is a lifestyle that while possible, has to be earned!
The biggest issue with the viewpoint of affiliate marketing is that influencers and many scammers have painted the too-good-to-be-true aspect of affiliate marketing with scams and mixed truths. I say mixed truths because, technically when they talk about the laptop lifestyle or digital nomad lifestyle, whatever buzzword you want to use to describe it, they make it look way too easy than it really is
They often pitch it as a get-rich-quick scheme!
As a result, they misunderstand the process, they believe that they will make $10K a month after 3 months of work. After the 3 months, they still haven’t made a single penny, so they quit the business model!
❌Affiliate Marketing takes a long time for it to pay off!
I’ll use myself as an example for this. This website, Safe Money Makers, it has been around since December 2021.
I did not earn any money at all with this website until last July! It took about 8 months for me to see any revenue at all with Safe Money Makers.
In addition to that, my revenue is still not a return on investment. I have made enough to cover the $15 domain name charge, but I still haven’t made enough money to cover the hosting investment for this website yet.
Still, I push on because I know that I will get more traffic, more ad revenue, and over time more sales as well!
While it takes a long time to get an ROI on affiliate marketing and to see some serious money with affiliate marketing, that same statement can be applied to all business models!
❌Requires a lot of sacrifice in the beginning!
Continuing on with the fact that affiliate marketing takes a long time to pay off, to get to that payoff point, you are going to have to commit to a lot of sacrifices!
Now, if you are in a rare situation where you have a lot of money to invest, you can go to a place like Empire Flippers and buy a website that already is making a lot of money, or you can start a website and hire writers from Upwork and Fiverr to make your content for you.
But, if you are like most of us when getting started in affiliate marketing, you probably don’t have an extensive amount of money that can afford you these luxuries.
In order to put the time in to become a successful affiliate marketer, you are going to have to make a lot of sacrifices.
These sacrifices include missing out on being with friends and family, playing video games, watching your favorite show, etc.
You are going to have to sacrifice a lot of time to get yourself up and running, but eventually, with enough hard work, this time sacrifice will actually lead to you having more time to yourself because eventually, you will be successful, and you will have the money needed to replace your job, which means you’ll get an extra 40 hours a week to yourself should you decide to quit your job upon replacing the income provided by it.
😬High Competition In Some Niches
This one is probably the biggest detractor from starting an affiliate business. It also is the focal point to hundreds of arguments online about if you can have success in this niche or that niche. Affiliate Marketing can at times feel impossible to get started with due to the fact that some of the competition in Affiliate Marketing is absolutely fierce!
I know this from first-hand experience, and I am glad that I have experienced this.
I made my first WordPress website back in 2015. It was this website called Pulse Video Games. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but back then I just figured, hey, I like video games, I’ll just review video games.
So I reviewed any video game I could find, little did I realize, as a one-man operation, there is no way I am going to outrank other video game review sites, especially when there are hundreds of them covering every video game ever released, and they have a team of 10 to 100 writers each.
I did eventually find ways to get organic search traffic to the site, and I managed to reach a point where the website was getting about 50 views per day.
Ultimately, however, due to generally low commission percentages(yes, even back in 2015) I ended up deleting the website and I chalked it down to a learning experience.
Related Article: Can You Have Success In Any Niche?
I learned that just because some keyword tool tells you that the keyword is low competition does not mean that you will rank for it, keyword tools aren’t always right.
I learned that if you are getting into a high-competition niche, as a one-man operation, you have to learn how to stand out in the competition, and how to tackle topics people are searching for that not a lot of people in your niche are covering.
Can you have success in any niche? My blog is tackling the MMO (Make Money Online) which is probably in the top 5 most competitive niches in all of affiliate marketing.
I am seeing a good amount of traffic and I am making money off of this blog. I only have around 3 years of affiliate marketing experience (give or take between giving up here and there since 2015) and I am currently enjoying a small income from this blog. I would count that as a huge success, and if it is in the most competitive niche out there, then yes, it’s absolutely possible to have success in any niche!
❌Not All Affiliate Programs Are Created Equal
Some affiliate programs are much better than others. This is sometimes a sad case because perhaps you have a passion for a specific product. Then the bad news hits that the commission for selling that product is like 1%
Then the daunting realization that you need to get a huge amount of traffic to make promoting your niche worthwhile makes it seem like it might not be worth it.
Now you can be flexible when it comes to this, as mentioned in the pros section, there are endless products and services to promote, and you probably won’t have to sign an NDA with any of these affiliate programs, so its pretty easy to work around this issue!
❌You may be at the mercy of your Affiliate Vendor’s decisions
An incident that is famous in the history books of affiliate marketing, and something that will never be forgotten was the infamous Amazon Associates commission cuts at the beginning era of the pandemic.
Overnight, many affiliate websites and YouTube Channels that solely relied on the Amazon Affiliate Program saw their profits cut extensively, in some cases depending on the category, they lost over half of their monthly profits following the commission cut.
Affiliates for Furniture saw a commission cut from 8% down to 3%.
Amazon Fresh Products(essentially ordering online product foods) went from 5% to 1%
Now most affiliate programs are faithful to their affiliates and work hard to create a stressless working partnership, but Amazon being the biggest E-Commerce Website in the world, they don’t really need the business of their affiliates to still create record-setting profits each year, one can claim that they don’t care about their affiliates.
That however isn’t to say it’s bad to partner up with Amazon, I would still recommend it, amazon despite its hardships still has so many benefits that other affiliate programs do not, the #1 benefit being that its the most trusted E-commerce platform in the world within the viewpoint of the customer.
However, I do recommend diversifying the affiliate programs that you work with so that you have multiple sources of income, and also so that if one affiliate vendor changes their rules which results in bad news for you, you won’t be at their mercy as you have other affiliate vendors paying you for your promotions as well.
My process of building an Affiliate Marketing Empire:
Get through the trench days as fast as possible!
First, I would get through the trench days as fast as possible! My goal is to write about 200 posts on my blog as fast as I can. More content makes you an authority in your space. Becoming an authority gives you the ability to rank higher in the search engines.
While no one can truly say how search engine algorithms work and how they decide to rank keywords in their search engines, it is a widely known fact that the more content you put out there and the more consistent you are at publishing content within your niche, the more likely you will rank higher for more competitive keywords and keyword phrases.
In addition, once you hit the 200 blog post mark, you will likely be making some decent amount of money at this point. I can’t tell you how much you will make, everyone says that every journey is different, but you will potentially be in a position at this point where you will be able to afford to start hiring other writers to help you maintain a consistent content schedule, while also freeing up some more of your time in the process!
Start Automating the process
Personally, while writing can be fun, I also have other things I want to try, other business ventures I want to test, and I’d also like to be able to not be so hands-on with an affiliate website! I’d like to have periods of my life where I could take a two-month-long vacation to another country, explore the world, and so forth, and at the same time, not have to worry about keeping my blog up to date, which wouldn’t be possible as a solo writer and CEO of an affiliate business.
Now, you will still have to proofread your writer’s content, make sure it hits the objectives behind your intentions of the blog post, and so on, but I’d rather spend 15 minutes a day proofreading a blog post instead of 4 hours a day typing one out.
Decide what to do next after you transition into a content agency
Once your business is automated, the money is coming in, and all you have to do is spend 15 to 30 minutes making sure your content writers are doing their jobs and that they’re happy, you are pretty much free to do anything.
The money is coming in, the bills are being paid, and you don’t have a whole lot on your plate to be worried about.
You can be happy with the money you are making, and spend your days enjoying your life.
Or, you can make even more money, and you can decide for yourself how to challenge yourself next!
Do you want to learn a new skill?
Do you want to see if you can successfully build a second affiliate website from scratch?
Do you want to try your hand at Dropshipping or Amazon FBA?
Do you want to take a gambling risk and see if a DFY Business Agency can scale a dropshipping/E-Commerce business for you?
Do you want to purchase an already successful Dropshipping or Affiliate Marketing Business from Empire Flippers, and then scale it to make even more money?
When you go through the hierarchy of affiliate marketing, if you are successful, you can live in a world of endless opportunity!
Best way to get started with Affiliate Marketing?
I always preach this company as my #1 recommendation, and I don’t think that will ever change.
I recommend getting started at Wealthy Affiliate, and here’s why!
With their free plan, you get access to some awesome training that gets you started with affiliate marketing, and it teaches you some of the basic stuff behind this business model! In addition to that, for 7 days, you will have access to the community! In Wealthy Affiliate, there are several experts in this business model, people who have achieved six figure salaries.
This is incredible because you will be able to talk to them and pick their brains. This opportunity is invaluable
In addition to that, the free membership will also give you access to two starter websites. Obviously, these websites are not powerful, and nothing like what is offered behind their paid premium plans, but these starter websites can hold up to 1000 visitors per month.
To become a true affiliate marketer, you will have to eventually invest money into a hosting plan, but as a beginner, you likely won’t get to 1000 visitors until your 3rd or 4th month of affiliate marketing, so these free websites serve as a stepping stone to get your foot in the door of affiliate marketing.
✅World Class Website Hosting Service Provided For Less Cost Compared To The Competition
Wealthy Affiliate provides some of the most secure, and fastest WordPress hosting at a fraction of the cost!
WPEngine, one of the best hosting services known to the affiliate marketing world offers these same deals, but here is what they charge for this same service:
Plus Wealthy Affiliate also offers access to a Keyword Tool with their Premium/Premium Plus memberships (most common keyword tools can cost between $50/$200 per month or more as a standalone tool.
Some of the best training in the industry
Access to chat with experts in the industry!
✅Healthy community of affiliate marketers that are always available to help through private messaging, comments on profiles, or live chat.
✅Access to the Jaaxy Keyword tool which will help marketers understand what is trending in their niche as well as what topics to cover.
I recommend Wealthy Affiliate to everyone because it’s an inclusive platform that helps everyone become a better Affiliate Marketer, the community here is a gold mine!
In addition to that, Wealthy Affiliate provides an all-in-one solution for all tools required for affiliate marketing which generously cuts down costs for various tools if you were to blog outside of WA. If you were to blog outside of WA, you would have to invest in all your tools separately. You’d need to get standalone WordPress Hosting, standalone keyword tool, and standalone training if you wanted to purchase a course.
Wealthy Affiliate simply makes your life much easier by being there for your success, as well as a solution for all tools that you need to get rolling!
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