Affiliate Marketing: how to ACTUALLY make money with it

Affiliate marketing has skyrocketed my blog income (- ANYONE can make money online with affiliate marketing!)

Blog income in September 2016 was significantly higher than ever before for me. And it was (in large part) due to the fact that I got very serious about affiliate marketing at the end of august.

I went from earning a few hundred dollars per month to a few thousand dollars per month. (WITHOUT an email list – OR a dedicated audience.)

But let’s be totally honest for a minute here. There are millions of blogs out there, and a fraction (I dunno, less than 10%?) of bloggers are earning any money at all. And even fewer are earning full time income. The fact that I was able to join the ranks of “the full time income earning bloggers” just 7 months into blogging is sort of unbelievable. (Only, do believe it, because it happened!)

I’ve seen affiliate marketing in action, and I know it works.  I’ve been paying alot of attention here, and I also know why it doesn’t work. There is most certainly a right way and a wrong way to tackle affiliate marketing to make real money.

(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)

So, I had a chat with the lady who taught me the right way to do affiliate marketing (enough success that I created my OWN course), and believe me, she’s definitely got some great insight on how to get started.

If you’re asking, “how much do affiliate marketers make” – well, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner makes over $50,000 / month from affiliate marketing. She is her own boss, and lives the dream life (on the road) with her hubby. She’s recently released a course on affiliate marketing, right from the what-it-is to the how-to-do-it (legally) – and the results her students (like me) have seen so far have been incredible.

Related: The Secret to Making Money with Affiliate Marketing

Here’s what Michelle had to say about how to make money with affiliate marketing and blogging in general (- and one really interesting statement about who can implement affiliate marketing!)

What got you started down the work for yourself path? Why did you choose blogging?

I never thought I would grow up and become a full-time blogger, haha. I graduated from college in 2010, and again in 2012 with my Masters with an emphasis in Finance. I started out as a financial analyst, and worked in that position for 3 years.

In August of 2011, I started my personal finance blog with the hopes of teaching people how to save money after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. Due to that website, I became extremely interested in personal finance blogs, and my interest in blogging just grew from there. Before August of 2011, I didn’t even know that blogs existed. I didn’t know what they were, I didn’t know that they could make money, or anything like that.

I did not create my blog with the intention of making money blogging. It was really all just a hobby.

But, I came to really love blogging (and I still do!), and eventually left my financial analyst job so that I could blog full time.

Best. Decision. EVER.

On Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about different ways to make extra income, money saving tips, living your dream life, RVing (me and my husband RV full-time), and more. I love running Making Sense of Cents and I am very happy that this is now my full-time career, my business, and pretty much my life.

What do you think when you hear people say “don’t start a blog to make money”?

I agree with it- sort of. I believe that in order to become a successful blogger, that you need to be passionate about your blog. Whether that means that you are passionate about what you’re writing about, you’re passionate about helping people, that you just love blogging, etc., I believe that blogging is a business that needs to be enjoyed. I believe this because there is a LOT that goes into blogging, and it’s not always easy. It’s a continually growing process and a person needs to always be on their toes in order to succeed.

How did you discover affiliate marketing was the thing for you to pursue?

I absolutely LOVE affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing can feel quite passive and it makes location independence and traveling full-time much more enjoyable. You can create just one blog post or social media post, and potentially earn money from it years down the line, as long as you maintain it and keep generating traffic to it. With affiliate marketing, I can enjoy life more and know that I am still able to earn a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy.

Can anyone be successful with affiliate marketing? What does it take to be successful?  

I think that anyone with an influencer platform can be successful with affiliate marketing. It’s all about approaching your audience and affiliate marketing in the correct way so that you can do it effectively and efficiently. These are all things that I teach in my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course.

Can I make money with affiliate marketing? How much can a person expect to earn (say – in their first year -) with affiliate marketing?

YES, you can make money with affiliate marketing. But the “how much in the first year” – that is a very difficult question to answer, as everyone is different. With my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course:

  • One blogger went from $87 a month in affiliate income before taking the course, to over $1,700 a month after!
  • One blogger received their first affiliate sale just two days after taking the course (and they were a brand new blogger too!).
  • Another blogger doubled their monthly affiliate income from $2,500 to $5,000.

Is affiliate marketing for bloggers only?

Nope. Affiliate marketing is for pretty much anyone and everyone. If you even just have a social media account, you can find a way to effectively promote it- without being “salesy” and without scaring followers away. There is a correct way to promote affiliate offers, which is what I teach in Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

What is the best advice you could give to someone considering trying to make a living with affiliate marketing?

My best piece of advice would be to just try! I waited so long to try my hand at affiliate marketing, and I regret waiting so long. Even if you have a low amount of followers or if you are a brand new blogger, you can still be successful at affiliate marketing.

How has being location independent changed your life?

Location independence is great! We’ve been location independent for a few years, and me and my husband sold our house last year and we’ve been full-time traveling since.

We absolutely love it. We get to work from wherever, all from the comfort of our home on wheels 🙂

You can check out Michelle’s Blog at www.makingsenseofcents.com

Have you tried to make money affiliate marketing and been wildly unsuccessful? (Or not tried it at all?)

Before I took Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, I had all the affiliate links up on my blog, but I wasn’t seeing many conversions. There is a right way AND a wrong way to use affiliate links, and Michelle walks you though all of that.

(Also, did you notice Michelle said you don’t even need to HAVE a blog to be a successful affiliate marketer?! I thought that part was pretty interesting. Meaning affiliate marketing would be a great side income option for anyone who was willing to learn to do it and put the effort into a social media account – like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.)

If you’re interested in learning more about the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, check it out here. (And if you’re interested in reading that September Blog Income Report I mentioned, you can find it here!)

If you STILL aren’t sure whether affiliate marketing is for you? Read more about it here! 

And if you haven’t bitten the bullet to start your blog yet? I have an easy to follow tutorial that’ll walk you through the how-to of setting up a blog. If you have any questions just get in touch (admin@carlyonpurpose.com) and ask ’em!

New to Blog world and looking for other blogging tips? Check out these posts:

How to Start a Blog for Profit and Work From Home
Choosing a Theme You Love
Creating Your First Blog Post in WordPress

5 Very Important Things to do Before You Start Blogging
WordPress Settings, Permalinks & Google Analytics
How to Install WordPress Plugins

7 Ways to Make Your Blog Look Less Like a “Newbie” Blog
Printable Blog Organization Binder

affiliate marketing: can you really make money with it?

 

16 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing: how to ACTUALLY make money with it”

  1. Good information about affiliate marketing Carly. I’m still collecting the way to make money by joining an affilite site. Would you like to give your opinion, what is the best affiliate site according to your experience?

    Reply
    • Hi Dody! I honestly don’t think that’s a question that can be answered with an one size fits all answer. The best site for affiliate marketing will be based on your niche, what you audience wants and what you are comfortable selling. I know lots of people that RAVE about shareasale.com – I personally haven’t had wild success with them because they don’t offer many products that I personally have found useful / easy to promote on my blog. I would strong suggest taking the making sense of affiliate marketing course – it will clear up any questions you have about affiliate marketing 🙂

      Reply
  2. Carly I’m so happy for you! And thankful for all you have done. Your series for the Computer Confused and Tech Troubled really helped me turn things around with getting my blog going. I still got a long way to go, but I’m making progress. It’s so inspiring to see your September income report and that you’re doing something that will allow you to realize your dreams of staying home with your child. I couldn’t be happier for you!

    Reply
    • HI Julie!! Thank you! I’m SO GLAD you’ve found the series helpful…I do plan to add more, I’ve just been so swamped lol. And my back hurts too much to sit at the computer most of the time, so that’s tricky. I’m happy to hear you’re making progress – slow and steady is good when it comes to blogging!

      Reply
    • Hi! I started a blog with the goal of earning money, and even though it’s been an uphill battle I absolutely LOVE it. Good luck!

      Reply
  3. Thank you for the great information. I have affiliate links on my blog but have only made around $15. I’m hoping to increase that because I see the potential!

    Reply
    • HI Sarah! I think you would love Michelle’s course – there is ABSOLUTELY potential. (Especially if you already have seen a tiny bit of income – you obviously have a good start! You just need to expand on that 🙂 )

      Reply
  4. Thanks for this post. I’ve learnt something new today. Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to monetize online content. Will suerely read more post from you!

    Reply
  5. Great post. Affiliate marketing has many advantages for making extra money on the side or potentially going at it full time!
    I’ve Been blogging Full-time for 6 years now and also found other opportunities online. If You Dread Your Boss, Then Jump In!

    Reply
    • HI!! Mine focuses much more on conversion strategies for the average blogging, hers is much more detailed as far as how to get started 🙂

      Reply
  6. SO I shouldn’t wait until I have more traffic? (since going self hosted my page views have gone down.

    Reply
    • Rebecca, it’s really up to you. The problem with NOT waiting is that some programs can kick you out if you aren’t making sales, so double-check the company you are an affiliate for. It’s probably better to focus your time on what is going to give you the best ROI. Newer bloggers try to do allthethings which sometimes backfires because you spread yourself too thin. Basically, there is not cut and dry answer regarding whether you should wait. It’s going to be dependent on individual factors related to YOUR blog. Good luck!!

      Reply

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