Someone wise once said “I would rather own little and see the world than own the world and see little of it,” and I thoroughly agree.
But there’s not much more satisfying than seeing the world AND owning your fair share, thanks to minimalism and some good old-fashioned entrepreneurship.
As a digital nomad, I make all of my money online.
Right now, the bulk of my income comes from writing blog posts, magazine articles, and sales copy, but affiliate marketing is rapidly becoming my go-to for pulling in passive income.
In this post I’m going to show you evidence that affiliate marketing works, second, how it works, and third, a strong introduction to how you can create a stream of passive income that flows into your bank account while you sleep.
You know how it usually goes right?
Yes, marketers are notorious for scummy, fluffed BS proof like driving around in Ferrari rentals, posting videos and selfies of them working happily on their laptops on a beautiful white-sand beach in the Bahamas, or worse yet, clicking through their income reports like we don’t know that video editing and photoshop exists.
But I know they’re not all con-artist liars, and I’ll show you why.
Frankly, I don’t buy most of it, because lots of them say you can make thousands, right off the bat; overnight even.
That’s a common myth, and unfortunately, there’s a lot of myths in this business. More on that soon.
Truth is, affiliate marketing takes hard work on the front end. A lot of it.
And it takes a lot of time too.
So I’m going to give you the best evidence I have of affiliate marketers who regularly make $100k+ per year, and I’m going to give you an introduction to how you can do the same.
What is Affiliate Marketing Anyway?
First things first — what is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is where you promote someone else’s product or service, you send traffic to their website, they do all the work, and they pay you a commission.
Nothing new there right? It’s been around forever. People have been partnering with each other way before the Internet was conceived in the mind the brilliant SOB who invented the idea, whoever he was (shut up Al Gore).
As soon as the Internet grew into the great digital universe we all know and love, affiliate marketing took off like a rocket.
But here’s the problem.
In the beginning, pretty much anybody could promote anything, and lot of people did some shady stuff.
They started spamming affiliate links in emails, building cheesy, useless affiliate sites — shoving those flashy popups in our faces and more.
The result? Companies stopped letting just anybody promote them anymore.
But the damage had been done.
Affiliate marketing has a tainted name to this day.
Trust me, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about when you start promoting things yourself. Companies don’t respect their affiliates the way they used to. They keep changing the rules, your links, and everything. So it’s kind of a pain sometimes.
But when you do it right, with the right partners, it’s more than worth it. After the hard work on the front end, it really is pretty easy, and it’s good money.
3 Myths About Affiliate Marketing
Myth #1. Affiliate systems are fast and easy to set up, and make money fast.
Nope. In fact, according to Three Ladders Marketing, only 0.6% of the affiliate marketers surveyed have continued on the affiliate marketing path since 2013.
The rest gave up, because like ANY viable business, it takes hard work and time and if you believe that myth, the only thing that’s going to be fast and easy is burn-out.
Myth #2. Affiliate marketing is obsolete.
(See next section Proof That Affiliate Marketing Works.)
Myth #3. You need a popular niche for affiliate marketing to work
Yes, it helps. A lot.
But more than anything, affiliate marketing relies on your direct advertising and SEO skills:
- Driving traffic to your promotions.
- Native advertising.
- Creating new content regularly and updating old content to make it fresh.
Now, I’d never advise building a business exclusively around affiliate marketing — that’s filling one basket with all of your eggs.
It’s much better to run your own business, have your own products or services, and “own” your own clients.
I would say that affiliate marketing is a great way to make some extra cash within your business, but I wouldn’t build a business solely around affiliate marketing.
Can it be done? Sure. My proof of performance entrepreneur that I’m about to introduce you to does exactly that.
But income diversity is key for any digital entrepreneur.
The Evidence Weighs in Favor of Affiliate Marketing
Evidence is the most important weapon in the affiliate marketer’s arsenal.
Because who’s ever created a successful business they didn’t believe in?
So let’s jump right into it.
My favorite affiliate marketer is John Crestani, because you can tell that he’s genuine and doesn’t have an ounce of BS in his system.
That’s my personal opinion anyway, and I like to think I have a pretty solid BS radar.
But that’s not proof.
For evidence, I’ll point you to Business Insider, which says that he built “an affiliate marketing network that currently generates $250,000 to $500,000 per month.”
Forbes gives us his background story:
At 22-years-old, Crestani got a “real job” working for a marketing firm in Los Angeles. The firm specialized in pay-per-click advertising on search engines. Crestani taught himself the trade and was soon running more than 20 client accounts, drafting compelling ads, and smart bidding strategies to drive sales.
He got so good at paid advertising that he multiplied a client’s business by 40X. His firm’s boss was bringing in more than $110,000 per month of extra business from the account. And Crestani was now an online advertising star within the company.
So he did what any self-respecting professional would do: he politely asked for a raise. “My boss looked at me across the table when I asked for the raise and said, ‘Or what?’” recalls Crestani.
Instead of appreciating his value to the company, his boss taunted him and told him to get back to work. Crestani was flabbergasted.
Crestani mentally checked out of the job from that point on and eventually got fired. But he’d been hustling on the side to get clients for himself to keep him afloat while he pursued the real dream: build a multi-million-dollar business where he’d never have a boss again.
Forbes, like Business Insider, claims that Crestani earns $250,000 to $500,000 per month from his affiliate business.
That’s some solid evidence that affiliate marketing works, and works well, but there’s a little bit more I’d like to share.
Here’s a couple other examples of internet marketers who make the bulk of their living off of affiliate marketing, and evidence that they’re legit:
- Pat Flynn (makes close to $90,000 per month on affiliate marketing alone)
- John Chow ($30,000 per month in affiliate income)
Why Honest Affiliate Marketers Make More
This is the million-dollar question: what should I promote?
The best advice I can give you is this:
If you’re using products and services that you love and believe in, then go ahead and promote those.
I always make more money promoting things that I personally use and love.
Promoting something just for a commission — it doesn’t work.
Sure, you could sign up for affiliate networks like CJ and ClickBank, they have thousands of products and services to promote. But don’t expect to feel good about your business IF you make anything to begin with. Buyers are smarter than they’ve ever been, and I like that because honesty and quality recommendations are finally being rewarded as a result.
So, you can either choose what to promote based on numbers, or you could ask yourself this simple question:
What are my favorite products and services?
Think about it for a second.
What products do you love?
What services have you used that you’d happily point your friends and family to?
Promote those, because you’re going to make a heck-of-a-lot more money that way, because the best sales person of any product is always the satisfied user — the believer.
When you promote the things you personally love, you’re inevitably going be more convincing, your calls to action are going to be more compelling, you’re going to make more sales, and best of all, you’re going to love what you do, because you know, at the core of you, that you’re enriching people’s lives by giving them the opportunity to use the things that have made your life better.