A few years ago I was drowning in debt, had a serious hatred for my job, and felt an overwhelming sense of "is this really it?"
It was soul-crushing. I felt like I was just moving through my days on auto-pilot, disenchanted with the life I had created for myself.
And I wasn't the only one. The majority of people I knew hated their jobs. They were sick of the grind. They were tired of office small-talk. Their cubicle mates drove them insane and answering to a boss who loved to power-trip made their eyes twitch.
It wasn't just us either, studies show that 70 per cent of Americans hate their jobs or feel disengaged while at work.
We were clearly a statistic, yet each of us dreamt of sipping fruity libations on tropical islands, traipsing the cobblestone streets of Europe, wine tasting our way through South America and temple-touring through Asia. But it all seemed like a pipe dream...
Until I met my husband.
You see, he worked online, was immersed in running an online business based on affiliate marketing. He made more money than I had ever seen anyone make, while working far less than anyone I knew.
The minute he explained it all to me, I was hooked. Hooked and committed to making this lifestyle a reality.
Now, if you just audibly pulled an "affiliate what now?" don't stress. I'm about to break it all down for you and explain how you can leverage the power of affiliate marketing to replace your income, screw the 9-5 and live the life you've been meaning to live!
What the heck is affiliate marketing?
Before we dive into the how-to of this simple online business model, you probably want to know what the heck it even is.
Simply put, affiliate marketing is the process of creating a small, basic website and recommending a product to anyone who is searching the web for information on it.
Now where the money comes in is when you link to the product you are recommending, using a personalized link with a tracking code attached to it. If the reader then clicks your link and buys that product, you receive a commission.
I mean, not only is it easy to get your site up and running, but this model is the lowest barrier to making money online, apart from hocking some random skills and services on Fiverr.
Oh, and it's incredibly easy to scale.
So, how can you get started with affiliate marketing and move towards escaping the 9-5?
Step #1: Pick a Product to Promote
Although this is just the first step of the process, a lot of people can get hung up on the fact that they want to find the "perfect" product. But here's the thing: What may seem like the perfect product to you, may not jive with what your potential customers really want.
And ultimately, you are selling to them, not you.
Instead, use this simple hack to find a solid product you can promote on your website...
Go to Amazon.com, click on "shop by department", and scroll through the list of sub-categories that sit under the major product categories. By doing this you should be able to see which products seem to be the most popular within those sub-categories, making your job that much easier when it comes to identifying a product people will actually pay money for.
Start creating a list of at least 10-15 products you could promote, and move onto the next step.
Step #2: Vet Your Chosen Product
Now that you have found a potential product to promote, it's time to vet that bad boy and see if you can make any money off it.
To do this simply open up a Google search and compose your search as such: product name "affiliate".
This way of searching will tell Google that you only want to see results that are relevant to that product and have the words "affiliate" somewhere on that page. Typically this exists in the form of a link which you can then click to go directly to the affiliate program.
From there, just read through their instructions and guidelines and apply to be an affiliate for them.
Once that is taken care of you will need a cyber-home to promote that product.
Step #3: Create a Simple and Basic Website
I know, this is starting to sound intimidating, but trust me creating your own website these days is jaw-droppingly simple.
All you need is Wordpress and a few YouTube tutorials!
While it might take a little tweaking to get it right, you can have your site up and running in under a week flat, and best of all, for under $20. Yes, seriously.
Step #4: Tell People About Your Product
Once you've got your site up and running, you're going to have get something up on that site that entices your readers to buy.
These days, the key to almost every single online business is content. No ways around it. So if you really want to make a good go out of your new affiliate website, you are going to have to buck up and write a few hundred words on the product.
Fortunately, there are 4 simple styles of content you can create to captivate your ideal customer, get them to click on your links, and buy the product.
- Product reviews
- Does [product] work?
- How to treat/fix/create/solve/do [pain point your product helps to solve]
- A list of the "best" products within your niche that helps to solve the pain point
Just remember to always position your product as the go-to option for any reader looking for a solution.
Of course, if you just not sure what to say about the product start reading some articles other people have written on the product, or niche in general, to stoke your creativity and inspire your inner writer.
Step #5: Get Your Site Ranking in Google
This is the final piece of the puzzle and the one that will require most of your effort, because in order to get your site ranking in Google you need to wrap your head around this little thing we call SEO. Or if you want to get really specific, backlinks.
Now backlinks is just the smartypants term we online marketers use for the process of getting another website to link to your own website, essentially "vouching" for it.
The good news is since you have a small website you don't need that many links to get you ranking in Google and eyeballs on your site.
But how can you get your hands on these links?
The easiest way I know of is through guest blogging. Not only will this help to drive links to your website, but it will get your name out there in your chosen niche, get your site in front of your ideal customers, and make sales without you having to do much more than write a solid, high-quality post.
Just be sure you stick to a regular routine of guest blogging (there are so many articles on how to do it effectively, including a few on my own site) so you can keep a consistent flow of traffic to your website.
From there it's all a matter of tweaking, testing, and scaling.
But, let's be honest, wouldn't you rather spend your time building your own income online than building someone else's business between the hours of 9 and 5?
That's what I thought. *wink *