There are a number of ways to make money passively. One of the most well known ways is to do affiliate marketing. My goal here at Have Work Will Travel is to teach you how you can leverage affiliate marketing to make money without having to clock or clock out thereby allowing you to live anywhere in the world and still make money. So let’s jump into it.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is promoting or marketing someone else’s product or service and earning a payment normally a monetary commission. This is the most common form of affiliate marketing and when you think of it we have all recommended something before and not been paid a dime. Similar concept except this is company A saying if you send me a customer that buys my product or service I will pay you the marketer a percentage or fee.
Why do companies use affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing for the company can be a powerful tool to gaining new customers. And typically businesses can actually save more money by having you send them customers than they would having to pay to market on billboards and in newspaper or on Google. Another benefit is you get to give a unique perspective that your followers can identify with and that type of brand messaging goes a long way. Even I use affiliate marketing with my coffee mug line Mean Coffee Mugs. It’s been a powerful tool in growing my business.
What’s the main benefit of affiliate marketing?
The primary benefit of affiliate marketing for you as a person that wants the freedom to travel internationally and be in different times zones working when and where you want is this is truly a great passive income strategy. No inventory to track. No products to make. No customer service issues. You avoid all the headache and reap all of the reward. Another benefit is your audience doesn’t pay more and in many instances they are offered special discounts so they may even save by coming through you to the company you are promoting. It’s win-win all around. Personally, if I am recommended a product on a blog I make a point to click the link. One, I’m all about supporting the little guy which normally is you as the influencer or blogger but two if there is a special discount tied to their offer then I want to make sure I get it. Facts.
How do I make affiliate marketing work for me?
The key to affiliate marketing is building your audience. You want an audience or followers that trust and rely on you to give them accurate recommendations. I want to tackle the most common myth I hear from people about who can be an affiliate marketer. The most common myth is that only attractive, super fit people can build a huge following. You don’t have to gorgeous, fit, or meet any other superficial standard to do this. What I have learned after over 14 years as a business owner and publishing two books one of which was an Amazon bestseller is that someone is waiting to here it in your voice, with your face, and your perspective. I truly mean that. When I was writing my first book I suffered from so much self doubt. I worried who would really want to here from me. I would tell myself, I’m just a girl from the southside of Chicago. And what I can tell you is what I had to teach myself. Get out of your own way. On the other side of your fears is the life you are dreaming of. People cannot follow you if you do not give them something to follow. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy but I am saying it will be worth it. I use affiliate marketing successfully in my blogs including this one right here. And in addition in my ecommerce business I manage and pay out to affiliate marketers every single month. Click here to learn more about my brand ambassador program.
How does the company know to pay me?
This is an excellent question that is important to understand the mechanics behind the process.
- First, you find a program to sign up with. More on this later.
- You will be given a special hyperlink or code to give your following.
- You will place that link on whatever mediums you plan on using to promote said products.
- When one of your audience members clicks the link or enters the special code this tells the company where and from whom this customer originated from. I won’t get into the weeds on this but essentially know that whoever recommended is given their credit for the sell.
- Every program has some sort of dashboard. In fact, I would steer clear of any program that does not have a dashboard where you can track who is clicking your links or using your special code. With my company Mean Coffee Mugs, we not only have a dashboard but we also pay a bonus based on how many sales you have for the month. This ensures you are rewarded for all your hard work.
- The merchant or company will then pay you the affiliate at the end of each pay period.
So now that we have covered the basics let’s jump into the nitty gritty.
Should I choose a niche or product first?
This is the million dollar question and you are in the right head space. Here is the thing. No matter whether you are creating a blog or vlog you will be spending an immense amount of time researching and talking about a particular topic. And like any good marriage it’s a lot easier when you love it. Jokes, jokes. But seriously, there is a high correlation between sticking with a thing through the good or bad and actually loving it. Meaning the more you like a topic the easier it is to dive into the finnicky details and provide a valuable platform that people can learn from. Also when you are engrossed in researching a topic or niche you will more readily spot deficiencies in the market. Create a parking lot (a list) of these cause they could be your actual goldmines. While the ultimate goal is to turn a profit in order to get to that goal you have to build trust. And the caveat is once you build that trust you will find yourself very protective over not breaking that trust which means you will be very selective about what products or programs you suggest. I cannot tell you how many companies I get approached by that want to market to you guys. Everything that glitters is not gold. And I believe in karma so I am very selective about who I allow on this blog and making sure it has the correct securities in place to protect your information. And further to that point there are things that I offer on this blog that are not affiliate links. My ultimate goal is to become a trusted resource and I do that by providing fresh content that helps solve your query about creating a reliable income stream that allows you to travel and live where ever you please.
The answer to this is 2-fold. First you want to make a list of topics you are interested in. There are so many topics that you can discuss so have some fun and really allow your mind think creatively. Imagine it’s 2am and you need to write 2000 words on this topic…you staying up or laying down? Once you have about a dozen topics do a little searching to see what is out there. Start with products you already use and do a Google search and see which companies offer an affiliate program. Remember this is just a temperature check. What you want to find is that there are options out there and a gauge on what the commissions look like.
So the short answer is find your niche first then products.
What are affiliate programs?
Now on your search you will find affiliate programs coming up. Some of the very companies you are interested in promoting may be under this program. Most are pretty easy to enter and many require you to already have a web address so they know where you will be promoting their products. Below is a convenient and easy list to see the most popular affiliate programs. The image above is an example of affiliate marketing.
Now, with any good affiliate program whether it’s direct from the company or thru a program you will find they make it incredibly easy to promote their product. Not only will you receive custom links to track your ads but you will also be given banner images and side bar images that contain the same tracking links.
Expert Level Tip Alert!
Because I love y’all so much and I want you to succeed on your journey to financial freedom I’m laying out right here and now a expert level tip! Are you ready for this? Listen I know that my readers have a specific goal to gain freedom to live anywhere they choose and it would only make sense to be able to promote or market to people no matter where you are. One drawback for many is that let’s say you are traveling out of the country and you strike up a conversation with someone about your blog and they pull it up and nothing applies to them cause all your links are for readers in your country. Well Geniuslink has solved that issue. Geniuslink re-targets your affiliate links to the country of the reader! It’s completely safe and you still earn you commissions. Click Here to learn more.
How To Go About Building Your Blog or Vlog
No matter whether you decide to build a blog or vlog which are the two most common methods for affiliate marketing the beginning stages are pretty much the same. My recommendation is to research what people are searching for in your niche first. Make a parking lot (a list) of about 30 topics. You can use free resources like Google by beginning to type a topic and it will auto suggest options based on what they typically see people searching for. Make a note of these options.
The next steps is to see how many search results are coming up. Create a chart are see how many search results. Now, let me go ahead and add in some tips and tricks to make your searches more efficient. Google Trends is a great way to figure out what people are searching for. In addition I always set the time back to 5 years so you get a peak at whether any topics are of more interest during certain times of the year and if demand is increasing or decreasing in a topic.
Once you have about 30 topics you will want to organize them. Imagine you no nothing about this topic and had to teach it to someone. Just like learning the basics you will create blogs that teach someone that may be entirely unfamiliar with the topic. Most bloggers don’t start to get traction until about 30 posts. Even with this blog you will see over the course of the first few months it was just one post after the other very rapid fire. Now, once you have created your blogs or vlogs you want to post them your website. I have not seen a difference if you post one at a time or wait until you have the 30 and post them all at the same time personally so do which ever feels right to you.
Post Considerations To Always Keep At Top Of Mind
- Create timeless content. Now, I know that sound hypocritical from someone with a year in the title so let me explain. A post like this I will update and refresh every year so while it’s technically dated you will see majority of our posts do not include dates and they tackle topics that don’t or won’t vary much year to year.
- Address The Pain Point. It’s marketing 101. When someone hops online they are searching for information that will do something to answer a question or solve a problem. Be that resource.
- Give them a reason to stay in touch. Your blog is most likely attracting a particular type of person interested in your topic. Don’t give them all this valuable information without also giving them a reason to give you their email. If your research is good they are going to want to keep in touch and you in turn are creating another touch point that can become a major revenue driver for you. Offering bonus material or more in depth information in exchange for their email is the easiest way to do this.
- FTC Compliance – Always be compliant with government regulations. People should know that you may receive a commission for links in your post.
- Longer Posts Rank Better – You may be thinking what’s long. 2000 words or more. The top ten websites in organic search results on Google were found to have posts of 2000 or more words.
When should I start?
This is a great question. The time to start is always now. There is no after this or that happens. Once I have these ducks in a row. The right time to start is right that heck now. The only thing we are guaranteed is that life will continue to happen. And this will become less of a priority unless you start investing your time and energy into it. Using myself as an example. I had the idea of starting a blog 15 years ago. I had a great topic and niche. But it seemed like way too much works. Fast forward 15 freaking years later and all I can think is you know the behemoth you would have created had you stuck with it. Well coulda, shoulda, woulda. The time is now. And you can do this.
Here are some tips that helped me get started
- Create measure-able goals – We tend to be overly ambitious with a new idea and then quickly we run out of steam. Pace yourself and create a sustainable goal. Let’s says 2 blog posts a week.
- Take it one step at a time – Triage the work. Tackle the most pressing needs first. There is a book called Eat That Frog that tackles this very concept.
- Try a project management tool – Like Monday.com I use this to create my parking lots and set deadlines and follow ups. It helps keep me on track. Even if you are not ready to invest in a program you can use a calendar on your phone to set deadlines and a notes app to jot down ideas so they don’t get lost.
- Remember your why – Being an affiliate marketer isn’t what I would call hard but I wouldn’t call it easy either. It takes steady long term persistence. And this is why you need a strong why. I wrote about finding your why here. Check it out. A strong why makes you put in the effort needed to make it to the finish line and it will be paramount to seeing any sustained changes in your life.
To round things out if you have decided to write a blog then there are a number of other questions that have probably popped up into your head. Like how do you start a blog? Where do you host a blog? How do you maintain a blog? Check out my next post to learn the answer to this and more.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.