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What is affiliate marketing and how do I get started?

What is affiliate marketing and how to get started.

My biggest fear in starting a blog and online business was that I would take on blogging bills and expenses that I wouldn’t be able to pay if my business didn’t become profitable quickly. And that fear held me back for over a year.

Having built several online businesses myself and having helped dozens of other people build their businesses through my advertising and marketing firm, I knew it would take some money to start another online business.

I’d have to buy a domain and hosting. There’s software I needed to buy and services I needed to subscribe to in order to get my business running efficiently and profitably. By my estimates, I’d need a minimum of $150 up front and around $100 a month to do what I wanted. I was also aware that most businesses require some time until they are established enough to create a steady income stream.

I needed money to get started

Before I started, I wanted to ensure that I could pay six months worth of blogging bills. Quite frankly, I didn’t have the extra money in the budget to pay those bills for six months or so while I created the content and systems that would allow the website to support itself.

That money might seem like pocket change to you, so maybe I should mention that we had THREE kids in college at the time.

That’s three college tuitions we were trying to help with every semester and let me assure you, even with student loans and scholarships, their bills took every extra penny we had in our budget.

Every cent I earned in my established business was going toward college expenses. The hubby and I weren’t going on vacation or eating out much. We’d sold some items we weren’t using and had garage sales to raise cash. We took on extra work wherever we could. I even got a part-time job as seasonal help at a department store to make some extra money to pay bills. (Hated that job!)

Most days the financial pressure made me feel like I was suffocating. Maybe you can relate.

And yet I had that dream to start another business burning in the back of my mind. Because of our financial situation, I knew if that was ever going to happen, I’d have figure out how to earn the money up front and ensure that I could pay those bills.

Choosing a side hustle

Yet there were limitations. I didn’t have money to invest up front, nor did I want to get another job outside the home. I didn’t want to get involved in multi-level marketing or have to use high-pressure tactics to coerce sales. Having a bunch of products laying around my house and gathering dust sounded like a headache.

I needed a quick and easy side hustle!

So what is the solution for people like you and me who want to make money from home with the minimum amount of fuss?

I did some research, explored some “make money online” articles, ran into a few scams. Thankfully, I finally stumbled upon the answer…or maybe I stumbled on the question. I kept running across blog articles and videos talking about affiliate marketing, but I wasn’t entirely sure what that was.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing, or partnering with established companies to promote their products and services in exchange for a commission, is the quickest and easiest way to get started making money online. Better yet, this side hustle fit all my requirements.

  • It wouldn’t cost me anything up front other than the time it took to fill out some applications to become an affiliate.
  • I didn’t need a website to get started.
  • I could work from home and set my own schedule.
  • No high-pressure sales involved or need to join a multi-level marketing business.
  • I wouldn’t have to invest in, resell, or store any products.

This business model is so simple!

You just promote affiliate products to people who need them and get paid when the company makes a sale based on your referral. With my background in traditional marketing, this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

I dove in and wound up making $90 my first week. You don’t know how much earning that money meant to me. After several years of pinching every cent, that extra income was a God-send! I felt like I could breathe again.

By then end of the month (21 days later) I’d accumulated $160.50 in commissions, which was enough to pay my upfront blogging expenses. Over the course of the next few months, I refined my strategies and got better at promoting my affiliate links.

I made thousands in affiliate income, giving me the money to launch my website. It paid for all the software and services I needed to make my online business flow smoothly. Plus it bought me a few extras like:

  1. Paying the monthly membership fee to join a mastermind group I love
  2. Covering the costs of two different conferences I wanted to attend
  3. Purchasing a pricey blog course and mentorship from a prominent blogger
  4. Giving me extra spending money and breathing room in my budget
  5. And peace of mind knowing that I had money in the bank to cover bills

How do I get started affiliate marketing?

The easy answer to that questions is, “Join some affiliate programs and start promoting your affiliate links.” My article “12 Affiliate Marketing Programs for Newbies and Non-bloggers” can point you to some programs that make it easy to get started right away. And “How To Choose The Best Affiliate Programs” will teach you what to look for in order to find the premium affiliate programs.

If you want to be successful in any online endeavor, there are tools, techniques, and tips that will help you bypass the steep learning curve and get right to the part where you earn some income from your efforts.

My decision to learn and use affiliate marketing to produce an income stream turned out to be one of the best business decisions I’d ever made. Since that day, I’ve learned a LOT, accumulated tons of resources and information, and developed systems that support my business and my family with income.

I’ve pulled all of that information together into a really affordable course called Social Media Side Hustle that teaches others how to generate income with affiliate marketing.

The course contains step by step instructions that walk you through the process and get you started right. It also includes:

  • where to find the best affiliate programs
  • how to evaluate programs so you work with the most profitable ones
  • how to stay organized so you don’t waste time
  • the legalities involved so you don’t get in trouble
  • direct links to over 60 affiliate marketing programs
  • direct links to more than 10 affiliate marketing networks
  • how to develop an effective affiliate marketing strategy

I also make myself available to all my students to answer questions, brainstorm, and help them develop their income strategies.

If you’re ready to build a work-from-home business you love, grow an online business you can run from home or anywhere in the world, or just create another income stream to help you pay down debts or enjoy a few extras, Social Media Side Hustle can help you build that dream.

I’d love to have you as a student and help you get started earning money online through affiliate marketing. If you’re ready to become one of those people who are making money working from home, check out Social Media Side Hustle and start earning by the end of the week.

Social Media Side Hustle course teaching you how to make money affiliate marketing on social media

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Lisa Mills

My name is Lisa Mills and I heart my life! I'm a wife, mom, and blogger who loves the freedom of working from home. I believe every person deserves a life they're passionate about, and I want to help you build yours if you're ready. Check out my Free Resources page to get started!