Why I Recommend Starting an Affiliate Business
My mission with Get Paid Boot Camp is to help people get a profitable online business up and running. However, many business models require either too much money upfront or, have too much of a learning curve before people see any results. Sometimes, it's even a combination of the two. However, one business model that is both easy to learn and doesn't cost much (if any), is an affiliate marketing business. This is often why I recommend starting an affiliate business.
What You Will Learn in this Module
- What an Affiliate Business Is
- Why Vendors Love Affiliates
- Advantages of the Affiliate Model
- Disadvantages of the Affiliate Model
- Is Affiliate Marketing Become Too Competitive?
- Do You Need Training?
- Affiliate Businesses Can Be Done Part-Time
- Should You Pay for Expensive Coaching?
- How to Get Started with Your Affiliate Business
- Affiliate Roadmap For Success
Affiliate Disclosure: The website owner may receive commissions from the purchase of products via the links and banners on this website.
What Is an Affiliate Business?
The underlying concept of an affiliate business is quite simple. Vendors pay you a commission for driving sales from their product pages. A vendor who supports affiliate programs (which is most), will give you access to a special code that is embedded in links and banners. You simply display those links or banners on your website. When visitors click on them and make a purchase on the vendor's site, you earn a commission.
NOTE: The video suggests clicking on a link at the end of the video. That link would bring you to this page. This video is taken from YouTube which people would click the link to this page.
Why Vendors Love Affiliates
It should be fairly obvious why vendors love affiliates. It is a low-cost sales avenue for the vendor. Think about it. As an affiliate, you are responsible for driving traffic to your website. It's your dime, not the vendor's. The vendor simply reaps the rewards.
Advantages of the Affiliate Model
For affiliates (that's you), you can sell products that are related to your website theme or niche. Even better, you can do so without setting up payment processors, carrying any inventory, or handling orders. There's no dealing with customers directly. The vendor handles all of this.
All things being equal, affiliate marketing is one of the easiest businesses to run. You create a website or blog that is focused on a certain market or niche. You find vendors that offer an affiliate program (easier than you think). Then, you create value-added content around the products the vendor sells and include your affiliate links so the vendor knows the traffic came from you. When a visitor buys from you, the vendor credits you with a commission.
No Muss. No Fuss. Easy Peasy.
NOTE: This is an oversimplification. There are methods you need to learn (more later) that show you the right ways to set up your affiliate business. Don't be lured in that it's as easy as throwing up a bunch of links and getting millions of dollars worth of sales!
Disadvantages of the Affiliate Model
No business model is perfect. Affiliate marketing has received bad press where affiliates are using black hat promotional techniques to generate sales. This tarnishes the vendor's reputation. Due to this, many vendors have become more selective in who they choose to represent them.
Because it's considered easy, the affiliate business model has become seemingly competitive. However, I will address this as I believe it's not as bad as it seems and it is good aspect to have.
Due to the few bad eggs who abuse the privilege of affiliate marketing, governments all over the world are cracking down. This means you need to be careful to stay compliant.
Is the Affiliate Model Too Competitive?
When people learn about something being low-cost and easy to do, they jump on it. This is known in the business world as being a low barrier to entry. It doesn't take much to create an affiliate business. Therefore, people will naturally choose this type of business. This means it's getting competitive.
My experience is that competition can be a good thing. First, it let's you know which niches are worth pursuing. If there was no competition, that likely translates to no sales as well.
In this business, competitors work with each other and help each other out. With outreach and joint ventures, everybody in the arrangement wins. The customer often wins with these types of collaborative approaches.
More importantly, however, is that most people will fail in their affiliate businesses. Therefore, the competition is not as heavy as people will have you believe. The affiliates who learn the proper ways to set up an affiliate business, will win out over those who treat it as a way to blast web pages with affiliate links (don't do this - it doesn't work!)
The good news is if you learn how to create an affiliate business in the proper manner, you won't have as much competition as you think.
Do You Need Training?
The affiliate business model truly is one of the easiest ways to start a business online. Because it's "easy" you may be tempted to believe you can go it alone. How hard can it be, right? Why would you need training?
The main reason you will need training is that you have to use certain techniques to be successful. They also have to be the right techniques. There is plenty of garbage training or expensive training that won't do much to help you succeed. It will simply make you poorer.
When you learn the correct techniques right from the start, you increase your chances of being successful. It's an obvious statement but, one that many people overlook. They jump on the next shiny object that comes their way and then months later, they wonder why they aren't making any money.
Do it right from the beginning. I can help you with that!
You Can Do This Part-Time
One of the biggest challenges with people changing careers or starting new businesses is the income stream from their old job dries up. That makes people hold off on starting up new ventures.
With an affiliate business, you can create it while you keep your current career. You can do this for as long as you want, or when you start making substantial income from your affiliate business, you can pull the plug on your regular job. The good news is you get to decide.
Even if you never decide to leave your job, companies are scaling back on raises and bonuses. Having a part-time affiliate business can supplement your income to make up for corporate stinginess. It's amazing how the jerks at the top of these companies keep awarding themselves bonuses and raises, isn't it? You can fight back by creating an income stream outside of the job!
You do have to commit to it, though. The thought of creating a side income is great but, it's meaningless unless you take action. Set aside one half hour each day to devote to your affiliate business. You will be amazed at how much you can get done.
Also, as mentioned before, when you know what you are doing (via training), you can concentrate that half hour on the right tasks rather than do what most others do, i.e., flounder their time not knowing what to do!
Should You Pay for Expensive Coaching?
As you catch the "make-money" bug, you are undoubtedly going to run across offers for coaching that will "get you there faster" or "streamline your success." The problem is most of these coaching programs cost thousands of dollars, with many of them costing tens of thousands of dollars.
Are they worth it? Here's my take. Suppose someone offers you coaching for $15,000. You could take that money and instead of coaching, hire people to do all the work for you to set your business up. It's true that the coaches will give you some training on how to set your business up. But, unless they offer an ironclad guarantee of success (which they won't do), you aren't any likelier to succeed with these coaching programs than you will on your own.
Are they scams? Many of the coaching programs are not scams, although you find plenty of scams as well. However, it doesn't matter much because if you pay that amount of money without some kind of guarantee, you're going to increase your stress level in trying to succeed with the business.
That's how these high-priced programs get you. They use the psychological factor that you paid serious money for the program so you had better succeed. And you will hold the belief that they must be worth it if they cost that much. After all, others have paid that much and supposedly succeeded, right?
The trouble is when people put extreme stress on themselves (which will happen when you pay those high fees), they tend to do stupid things which cause them to fail. Also, are the coaches willing to publish how their failure rates, which is large for most who join.
Bottom Line: you don't need expensive coaching to make money online. You can learn the proper techniques without spending thousands of dollars. In fact, you can do so with less than $100, especially in the beginning.
How to Start Your Affiliate Business
Here are some guidelines that can help you get started in your journey towards affiliate success.
Do Not Spend Any Money
Most programs will have you spending money at the start. Don't do it. Below, I am going to point you to training that is completely free.
This training will give you insight on creating an affiliate business as well as show you how to set up a website that you can use for your affiliate business. In the beginning, you can use a free website. I'll map out the entire strategy for you later in this post.
When you start gaining traction with your business, then you can choose to spend a bit of money. But, why not get a solid footing before doing that?
Follow All Instructions
I am going to map out all the steps you need to take to get your affiliate business running. Please, don't skip these steps and commit to doing everything I suggest.
The fact that it won't cost you anything is a double-edged sword. Because it doesn't cost, you can learn what you need without spending any money. However, you may not be motivated because you have no "skin in the game."
My suggestion is to do the tasks in small chunks of time. Don't try to get everything done in a day. If you do, you'll be overexcited but also overwhelmed. You will lose interest if you take this road.
I've seen this happen way too often. People get enamored by the concept of an affiliate business. Then, they go through some of the training but don't put what they learn into action. This is a serious recipe for failure. Always has been, always will be.
Just follow the instructions in the training and do what is shown. That's it. That is the recipe for success!
Be Persistent and Consistent
As I stated, the excitement level is always high when people start any business, no matter what type. However, people become disillusioned as to the amount of work that is required to run a business. The first sign of difficulty and they are heading for the exists.
Don't let this happen. Creating an affiliate business requires a leap of faith. You have to accept that it does work and that the rewards are going to be sometime out in the future. That is not easy in this day of instant gratification.
Keep going. It's a simple as that. People tend to quit just at the point when their business is going to turn the corner. They quit because they don't see immediate benefits with their efforts. Don't do this. Just be consistent and persistent and you can make your affiliate business work!
Affiliate Road Map For Success
Here is the road map I talked about before. It is a step-by-step approach. If you do what is asked of you, your chances of having a successful affiliate business increases exponentially.
Step 1 - Learn How to Make Money Online
After completing this training (see action items for this step), you are going to have an understanding of how you make money with your affiliate business. This is an important first step.
These two training modules are a great introduction to the world of Internet Marketing. The first is specifically about the affiliate business model, while the bonus gives information about Internet Marketing itself.
Action Items for this step:
Training: Understand How to Make Money Online
Internet Marketing Intro
Step 2 - Decide on Your Market or Niche
What are your interests? Do you like to play guitar or piano? Perhaps you are into sewing and have been an expert tailor or seamstress for several years. Do you make crafts with no effort at all?
These are all ideas for choosing as a niche or market.
By the way, a niche is a subset of a market. Suppose you choose playing piano as your market. If you were going to help people learn Jazz, that would be more of a niche. Of course, you may need to refine or narrow your niche further. These will all be covered in the training modules.
The niche you choose can be anything you want. However, you should try to focus on niches that have the most potential to earn money, i.e., ones that are popular. Luckily, this covers a lot of ground. Most niches will have interest and can earn money. But, you will learn in the training how to hone in your interests and match it with money-making niches.
One Niche to Avoid (at least in the beginning): you are going to be tempted to choose the Internet Marketing niche. While it's possible to make money with this niche, it is probably the most competitive. It is legitimately competitive, meaning that there are people who haven't dropped out.
My suggestion is to choose a less competitive niche - which is just about any other niche 🙂
Another problem with the Internet Marketing niche is when you first start out, how can you convince others that you are a mentor with Internet Marketing? Unless you have been working with it for several years, that's going to be difficult. People will look at your experience and wonder why you think you have the authority to help them when you don't.
When you choose a market or niche that you do know well, you can build a business quickly. Then, after you start making money with that niche, you will have the experience you need to sell people on the Internet Marketing niche. You learned how to market the other niche so you now have credibility with marketing. It will be much easier to help others when you gain this invaluable experience.
Action Items for this step:
Training: What Is a Niche Website?
Training: Choose a Niche
Step 3 - Build Your Website
Did you know that creating a website is easy? It wasn't always like this. In the early days of the web, you had to either know web computer languages or hire someone who did. And it was expensive to hire someone. If you tried to do it yourself and you are not a designer, it showed. It wasn't good. Most DIY sites looked the part and were pretty ugly!
Luckily, Content Management Systems (CMS) came onto the scene and made it easy for just about anyone to put together a decent looking website. These CMS programs separate the look-and-feel from the content (text and videos). This gave web owners the ability to concentrate on the content creation rather than having to worry about how it looked. The CMS lets you change out your look any time you want.
You may have heard of WordPress. This is a CMS, and is by far the biggest. It is most supported which means, you'll have access to the most themes and the most plugins. A theme is simply an add on module that helps you with the look-and-feel. Plugins are, as the name implies, functions that you can add to your blog or website. This is all done within the confines of WordPress (or whatever CMS you may be using).
In these lessons, you will be given instructions on how to set up WordPress. Don't freak out, though. It is really easy. Most people can get up to speed in learning WordPress in a couple of days. That means you will be writing content for your website after a couple of days. Content is the key component that gets most websites and blogs to rank. I'll have more to say about this below.
Action Items for this step:
Training: What Is a Niche Website?
Training: Choose a Niche
Step 4 - Start Creating Content on Your Website
By now, you should have a decent framework for your website and an understanding of the process of making money online.
The next step in the process is to create content for your website. You may not consider yourself a writer and most people who start affiliate business feel the same way. However, it's not as difficult as you may think. You don't have to be a world-class writer, and you will get better the more you do it.
An alternative is you can outsource the writing if you have some extra cash. But, that's not necessary.
What to Write About
You already selected your niche, so that serves as a good starting point for what to write about. Don't start writing about your pets unless your website is about caring for pets. It will seem out of place to write on topics that are not related to your niche. Keep that in mind, always.
Take a look at the most current news/stories that are happening in your niche. These can be great to springboard other stories.
You can do product reviews as well. This can be your bread and butter. But, you want to make sure you create content other than just reviews. The key is to create value for people in your niche. That is what will bring those visitors back.
The next tip is to write with your readers in mind. You picked a niche that you believe will help others in that niche. Help them. Find information, products, resources, etc., all aimed at helping these people that is somehow related to the niche. For instance, if your niche is organic foods, try to find stores that sell organic foods inexpensively.
Look at the top blogs in your niche. You can find these by typing in related keywords into Google. The results that return on the first page are the top blogs in your niche.
Don't Look for Affiliate Programs Yet
You are probably thinking how do you make money with your website. I already talked a bit about affiliate marketing and hopefully by now, you have checked out the training links I published and went through all the steps.
Which means you should be putting links or banners on your website, right? You'll get there. When your website first starts, it isn't going to get much traffic which means that putting affiliate links on your site is a waste of time.
In fact, search engines such as Google, don't like sites that are littered with affiliate links. It doesn't discourage their use 100%. But, it doesn't want you to create what is known in the industry as thin-affiliate websites, which contain mostly links to affiliate products and services.
The takeaway is that it's okay to sell but, that should not be the only focus of a niche website. It should create value for readers.
Action Items for this step:
Create three or more blog posts for your blog. Put it on your schedule do this every week. If you can only get two in per week, that's okay. Just be consistent. That is the most important action to take.
In the next installment of this series, I will discuss how to incorporate affiliate links and where to find them.
Step 5 - Learn About Amazon's Affiliate Program
There is no reason why you can't start learning about how an affiliate program works while you are building out your site. When you are ready to add affiliate links, it won't be a foreign concept if you take some time to learn during the first month or so.
You should know by now that Amazon sells just about any product on the planet. In general, if a product doesn't exist on Amazon, it doesn't exist on earth. That may not be entirely true. But, it's pretty close.
Therefore, it's a great affiliate program to start with. You won't have to search for products and vendors that fit within your niche. You will likely find a niche-worthy product or more on Amazon. This is why Amazon makes a good first affiliate program to join.
It's also why I suggest getting started right away on creating your content. You will need to apply to the Amazon program and they generally prefer sites that are somewhat established. A site that has no content has a smaller chance of getting accepted into the program.
You don't have to create volumes of content to get accepted into their affiliate program. But, the more content you have at the time you apply, the better.
Amazon Doesn't Accept Affiliates in Certain States
A few years ago, several states decided to come up with something known as Lexus/Nexus affiliate laws. Without getting into too much details, these laws force vendors who sell in these states to charge taxes on internet sales. It also specifies rules that apply to affiliates of those vendors. Amazon decided instead of trying to navigate those rules, they would simply ban affiliates who operate internet businesses in those states. The list changes all the time, so check Amazon to see if your state is affected.
If affiliates in your state are banned from the Amazon Affiliate program, unfortunately, there isn't much you can do. Some people get around this by setting up business in neighboring states where Amazon does permit affiliates to sell. This may or may not be feasible for you. It's also a logistical nightmare for people.
Amazon does alter its blacklist frequently. If you state is blacklisted, it remove it from the list sometime in the future. There is no guarantee this will happen, but it does happen.
An alternative to Amazon is Walmart and it does not seem to restrict any affiliates based on states. It also has an affiliate program. Walmart doesn't offer as many products as Amazon. But, there are certainly enough to be a decent alternative.
Even if your state is restricted, you should go through the training I have included in this section. You will learn enough to apply it to just about any other affiliate program. Further, if Amazon ever lifts restrictions in your state, you will be ready to hit the ground running.
Action Items for this Step:
By now, hopefully you can appreciate that the concept behind an affiliate is easy, but implementing it correctly is anything but. I have given you enough to get a really good start. Take it slow. But, keep going. I can't stress that enough.