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Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing – $0 to $1000’s – [Step-by-Step]

how to make money with affiliate marketing for beginners
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If you’re looking to learn how to make money with affiliate marketing for beginners, you’re in the right place. In this article, I’ll be showing you step by step how to earn your first dollar, and scale it up to $1000/mo. I’ll also show you how you can get more hands-on training and support, so you can make this dream a reality. Lets get started…

Getting started with affiliate marketing has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. Maybe my experience may sound familiar.

Going back four years (when I started being interested in making money online), I had been in the US Air Force for 9 years as a Public Health Technician. Over my time in the military, I had several side hustles, and realized, I really love business.

I had written and published 15 books, and found that I really loved writing, and I wanted to make money with a writing business of some sort. I spent thousands of dollars on courses to learn how to be a successful author, but none of them really worked out, so I found myself trouble shooting quite a bit until I decided to quit for awhile to work with my husband and make money for our family. I worked in his General Contracting business for a full year, then when I had my daughter, I decided, working on home renovations wouldn’t cut it with a newborn.

When I decided to get serious about affiliate marketing, I was a mom of two young kids: one newborn and one 10 year old. My husband was still very busy with his General Contracting company, so I was the primary caretaker for the kids, but I really wanted to make my own income. As a result, I started making money online offering freelance marketing services, but when my son got very sick, I couldn’t juggle going to doctors’ appointments, caring for him, and tending to clients, so I had to stop freelancing.

From there, I had to start from scratch. I thought about getting a “real job”, but I knew, working in a job meant:

  • Less flexibility for my kids
  • Less location freedom
  • and a potential glass ceiling with my income

I was pretty sure I’d be fired with all of the flexibility I needed to juggle the health situations in my family, so getting a job wasn’t a really viable option for me. Instead, I decided to be serious about affiliate marketing, and commit to making it work.

Who Am I?

My name is Tiffany Domena. I’m a full-time affiliate marketer who started 20 months ago with the site you’re on: How to Entrepreneur. Before this site, I started other sites like Kingdom of Heaven Ambassador, Money Growing Mom, and Healthy Living Mom, but I really didn’t know everything it took to be successful, so I didn’t get real results until buckling down and focusing on this site.

Being honest, over the last 20 months, I’ve had alot of personal circumstances that have made it difficult to prioritize my business, but I’ve still been able to get my blog from $0 to over $1000 every month, and I know I’ll be taking it even further from here. Blogging has allowed me to make an income while having two kids at home (without childcare), and since I’ve had childcare, it’s grown much more!

Some people look at blogging as if it’s a scary task. They think it’s something they have to do:

  • After their kids are grown
  • Once they have childcare
  • After they’re great with tech stuff
  • After they know very successful people
  • Or, the list of obstacles can go on and on!

I’m here to tell you that you can start a blog and make money now. In fact, you can use this and create a free WordPress website now if you want. Hahaha…

Also, here’s a free course I made with hours of resources I’ve created about affiliate marketing…

All About Affiliate Marketing

How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing for Beginners – 7 Steps to $1000/mo

In this article, I plan to show you how easy it is theoretically, to go from $0 to $1000/month blogging. Of course, taking action requires work, but if you can comprehend the steps and you commit to it, you’re well on your way.

Step One: Choose Your Audience or Topic

Boy, Oh boy…

This step gets so many people hung up. They want to choose the perfect audience or topic. They want 100% guarantees that their audience will buy from them and they’ll make money, but it doesn’t work that way! Unfortunately, there is some risk factor to it, but there are steps you can take to eliminate the risk.

Do your Research

I’ve done some of the research for you to identify 100+ great blog niches, so you can pick a niche right from that list! If you decide to be a little more “unique”, then make sure to do your research, so you know that your creating content that people are looking for online. Most blog topics can work, but if you’re creating content that’s not what people are looking for, then the blog is bound to bomb. Sorry to put it to you like that.

Don’t Carry too Much Overhead Costs

Another way to eliminate some of the risk of starting an affiliate marketing business is by keeping the startup costs as low as possible. It can be tough to decide what’s a need and what’s not with all of the salesmen online trying to make money off of new affiliate marketers, but if you connect to a good community, you can save yourself lots of money because experienced people will tell you what’s necessary and what’s not.

Choose Something You Can Commit to (and Enjoy!)

Lastly, when you’re picking a niche, you want to make sure you choose something that you’d be okay creating videos about, creating articles about, doing interviews about, and talking to people about when you network. If you pick a niche you’re embarassed about or you hate, it’s much harder to put in the effort.

Step Two: Build Your Affiliate Site (Or Blog) the Easy Peasy Way

If you’ve been looking around to learn how to make money blogging, how to start an affiliate site, or how to start affiliate marketing, it’s likely you’ve seen the recommendation to “sign up with Bluehost”. It’s common advice because they’ve been around for awhile now, but there’s other options–more tailored for affiliate marketing.

To start your affiliate website, you need:

  • Web Hosting
  • A Blogging Platform

In this guide, we’ll be using WordPress as the blogging platform and Wealthy Affiliate for the hosting because this combination is perfect for starting an affiliate marketing business. You’ll be provided with exemplary hosting, live affiliate marketing training weekly, thousands of hours of recorded training, access to a community of 1 million+ entrepreneurs, 1-on-1 coaching, and you can get started for free. Shall I say more?

Take a second and think about what website name you might want.

How do I Start a Blog for Free?

When you have the name in mind, enter it in the website builder below, and within seconds, you’ll have a free WordPress website.

If you decide you want to move forward with your affiliate marketing business (after you finish reading this article–haha), then you can transfer this website over to premium hosting later very easily. In fact, Wealthy Affiliate’s tech support team will migrate your site to paid hosting whenever you want after you upgrade to premium (which is $19 for the first month!–that’s a steal)

How Much Does it Cost to Run a Blog?

Like any business, an affiliate business does require tools to run. For getting started, I recommend keeping it to the basics. You’ll need:

  • A Domain name (which we’ve accomplished above)
  • Web Hosting (which we’ve accomplished above)
  • Training (which we’ve accomplished above)
  • Support to help answer questions you might have (we’ve accomplished that one too!)
  • A WordPress Theme
  • Landing pages or Web Design Tools (optional)

These basics will get you quite far in your business. You’ll be able to start making money with these tools alone, however, once you get to a certain point, you may want to consider other tools like these 24 Affiliate marketing tools I recommend.

Is there a Quicker Way Besides Blogging?

Yes, there are quicker ways to make money than blogging–that’s not the point. Also, make sure to avoid these myths where people tell you all the “quick” and “easy” terms you want to hear because they can be setting you up for failure big time.

The reason for recommending blogging as the route is because it’s low startup cost, low risk, and high rewards. You can have the benefits of time flexibility, location freedom, and unheard of income potential and get started for cheaper than starting a lawn care business! That’s crazy!

Step Three: Select a WordPress Theme

So your site is just about set up, but the website builder is requesting for you to choose a theme, and there’s lots of options to choose from. At this point, I hear lots of new affiliates say, “Which theme is best?”, so I’ve written a guide to show you the best free themes I recommend for affiliate marketers.

In summary, my favorite is Astra, but that’s followed by Generatepress and some others you can check out here. My list of themes has proven to work for several affiliates, and they’re so customizable that several sites use them and you can’t tell they’re using the same theme!

Step Four: Get Design Inspiration (and the Right Software to Create Them)

Once you’ve set up your theme, it’s time to customize it and make it look “suitable for your brand”. Don’t overdue this step. Alot of people get stuck here because they want their sites to look like Fortune 500 sites or sites that have been around much longer than they have.

Instead, spend maybe 1 or 2 days on this step (at most) and move onto the most important steps that get your customers.

Take a look at some websites and choose a concept that you like. Once you find something, you can add on a plugin called Elementor that can help you to design your website and make it look nice. You can start using Elementor for free, and the free version is sufficient for most startup affiliate sites.

Step Five: Begin Writing Your First Blog Post

Once your site is designed nicely, it’s time to start making your website like a robot that spits out quality answers your potential customers would be looking for. You want your website to answer the search queries your target audience might enter into Google, Bing, or Yahoo (and maybe more places).

In order for your website to serve as a resource center, you have to load it with valuable content. I’ve provided you with blog post templates you can use to help make your blogging process more efficient.

When many affiliates sit in front of the blank screen to write a blog post, they go blank. I know it’s happened to me, and you might be able to relate! Somehow, you sit at the computer, and every thought leaves your mind–that’s where blog post templates come in. They help you to come up with ideas, to avoid rewriting the same outlines over and over, and overall, they help you save time. Get the free blog post templates here.

Recommended Reading: How to Write Product Reviews – $0 to $1000s – [Step-by-Step]

Step Six: Choose Good Affiliate Partners to Monetize

As affiliate marketers, we can start a business without developing products or delivering services because we sell other people’s products and services.

What are Affiliate Partners or “Merchants”?

Every business wants more customers. Some prefer to focus on creating products or services. As affiliates, we focus on getting more customers to the business who create products and services. We simply build the audience and recommend solutions, but the ones who deliver the products and services are the affiliate partners or “merchants”.

How do they give me credit for sending the customer?

You get credit for sending the customer because of what’s called “affiliate links”and “tracking cookies”. Let me explain…

What are Affiliate Links?

When you sign up for an affiliate program and get approved, the merchant or affiliate network will provide you with affiliate links or tracking links. These links make sure that when you hyperlink to the merchant, the transaction is tracked by dropping a code or “tracking cookie” into the reader’s browser. As a result of this “tracking cookie”, the reader can go to other websites, then choose to make a buying decision, but the credit will still go to you.

How to Find Relevant Affiliate Programs

I\’ve successfully found relevant affiliate programs three ways: getting to know my target audience and brainstorming solutions, reverse engineering other people\’s funnels, and shopping for affiliate programs at affiliate networks.

1. Identify Solutions for Your Target Audience with Empathy Exercises

Once you go thru the Target Audience exercise on the blog post template, you’ll be able to put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes–this is where you can start to choose optimal solutions and affiliate partners that would be relevant for your blog posts. By researching and getting to know your customer, you can brainstorm about things that could solve their problems, and search for merchants with a solution.

2. Reverse Engineer Other People’s Funnels

You can also reverse engineer other people’s funnels to find out affiliate programs and products that work well for your niche. They say “success leaves clues”, so when you follow the trail all the way thru, you can find affiliate products, programs, and ideas that can help you to build a successful funnel too.

3. Shop Affiliate Programs at Different Networks

There are several affiliate networks with hundreds or thousands of affiliate programs! You can browse the affiliate networks by entering keywords, then you can apply to relevant affiliate programs, so you can insert your tracking link or affiliate links into your blog post.

Once you have some ideas for good affiliate partners, you’ll want to apply to their affiliate programs.

Do the Math

Often times, I find new affiliates will try to monetize using the Amazon Affiliate network and link to low ticket offers. Considering the math, if they’re linking to a book on Amazon and the commissions are less than 5%, they’d make less than $5 (often less than $1). It would take a long time to make a full-time income.

Instead, it’s important to choose a mix of products and services that would serve your target audience well, and offer a good commission. For many of the top affiliates, they become very successful from selling a mix of low and high ticket products, high demand products, or they get recurring commissions for products that have high retention like software, courses, investment products, or high ticket physical products. I like looking at income reports because some will show WHERE they get their commissions from, and it can help you to see the math, and potential programs to join.

I’ve seen sites become very successful selling Amazon products like dirt bikes or solar, but lower ticket products don’t usually create full-time Amazon affiliate sites. I’ve also seen recurring affiliate programs help to stabilize an income because they don’t require you to constantly go looking for new customers. Instead, you can help to balance new sales and retention–this combination works very well.

In fact, majority of the income I make comes from one recurring commission affiliate program (my favorite one!). You can check out my list of best recurring commission affiliate programs here and see if you can find some that would be relevant for your niche.

You should also check out my 2-part series on High Ticket Sales (for Wealthy Affiliate premium members) here. Get 2+ hours of content on high ticket sales for $19 here.

Step Seven: Rinse and Repeat to Build Lots of Useful Resources

While steps one thru six sound very easy, the most common problem that stands between the successful and unsuccessful is commitment. Many people will experiment with affiliate marketing for one to three months, but when they don’t see optimal results, they quit.

I get it. It’s hard to keep working without seeing the results you want. The funny thing is many of the most impatient people wouldn’t mind spending hundreds of thousands on a University education and years studying, but they won’t invest one year and a few hundred dollars to start a business that could change their lives. Hahaha.

It doesn’t make much sense, but it’s the reality I’ve noticed.

Be Consistent

In order to see real results with affiliate marketing, you have to be consistent. Many people hear the perks like “overnight success” from fake gurus and they expect to put in a little and get out alot, but it doesn’t work that way. Not in affiliate marketing or anywhere.

You have to be consistent because you’re offering a service. You’re offering to provide content that solves problems, and you can’t expect to make a lifetime income from poor service. Consistently create fresh and valuable content and you’ll see results. I’m living proof, and there’s people who have proven this even better than me.

Create a Schedule

When you have a job, you’re typically given a schedule with expected show times and clock out times. One of the great benefits of an affiliate marketing business is that you can pick your own schedule, but this doesn’t mean you skip working altogether. No.

Instead, you can pick whether you work nights, days, or midday, but you still want to be disciplined and make sure you’re doing the work we talked about in steps one thru six.

Treat Your Business Like it’s a Job

Over time, your business will have passive components. I’ve had times where I’m at the amusement park with my kids, and I’m getting constant messages saying “Congratulations! You’ve got a new commission!”. It’s so exciting. I might even be addicted to getting those. Hahaha.

You don’t get the passive benefits without the active work though. In order for me to start getting those messages while I’m on vacation or having fun, I had to treat my business like it was a job. I wake up, get my kids dressed, and ready, and act like I’m going to work for someone. I respect my business more than I’d respect anyone else’s, and I recommend others do the same.

The same effort and discipline I’d exercise when I was in the military–showing up on time, taking care of my health, being as productive as possible– is the same discipline I have now working in my affiliate business and it pays off!

Work Harder for Yourself than Anyone Else

Lots of new affiliates work in a way they’d be fired if they worked for anyone else, and they expect to see success in this business. I think you should work harder for yourself than anyone else especially in the beginning–that’s the only way to start seeing results. The less work you put in, in the beginning, the slower you’ll see results.

Build Traffic Then Conversions–Not the Other Way Around

In order to make sales, you have to have people who see your products and services. Some people would like you to believe it’s best for you to spend lots of money on design, funnels, software, and back-end stuff that helps other areas in your business, but don’t fall for that!

Instead, it’s best to focus on building your lead generation system and getting traffic when you’re trying to get from $0 to $1000 per month. Then, to take it up from there, you have to stabilize your traffic, continue growing it, and work more on conversions and back-end stuff. Don’t skip steps though. You can see all of the steps that it takes in my Business Growth Framework e-course that you can get for free here, but make sure to focus on traffic then conversions. Otherwise, you’ll be spinning your wheels.

Stay Connected with a Community of Successful People

While it’s amazing to work from anywhere (even from home), it can often mean that you don’t have anyone to ask your questions when you have them. When you don’t have a community to turn to, it can often mean that:

  • You find yourself troubleshooting for hours to find answers
  • You’re piecing information together
  • You’re trusting all the wrong people and wasting time and money as a result
  • And, what could take minutes, takes hours, days, or months!

It’s very important to join a community of affiliate marketers with the same goals. Some communities I recommend are:

Ask Lots of Questions

With my first blog, I used to spend lots of time asking my questions to Google and Youtube, which are great resources! The unfortunate thing is if you’re new, you won’t know whose legit and whose not, so you can waste alot of time following advice that won’t work–that’s what I did.

Now, I ask my questions to others who have lifestyles I want, and who aren’t trying to upsell me in every conversation. Hahaha. I recommend you join a community so you can have people who you can ask your questions to because it’s very important for you to ask lots of questions and get solid answers.

Wealthy Affiliate has lots of question-answer opportunities built in: live chat, classrooms, live weekly classes, 1-on-1 coaches, and the ability to ask questions to the entire community from your profile.

Stay Motivated

The chitter chatter that’s in your head can be so powerful! It makes people who know the right thing to do, do the wrong thing! Just think about how many times you knew it was best to eat a vegetable or fruit, but you ate sweets instead. It wasn’t because you didn’t know the fruit or vegetable was a better option, right?

This same thing happens in the affiliate marketing business. There are times when you might come home from work, and you have the option to watch a television show or create content for your blog–these types of situations will come up over and over. If you really want the business to work, you’ll have to stay motivated, stay hopeful that it’ll all be worthwhile, and make sacrifices–that’s where the Enterprise Builder community comes in.

I send motivation and encouragement to members to help you stay focused on growing your business. Check it out.

For me, I didn’t have a job when I started my blog, but I’d have people coming over my house unexpectedly when I was trying to work. I’d have to say, “Can we meet later? Now I’m working”. Sometimes, I hurt feelings. Not because I wanted to, but because I took my work seriously, and I had to enforce my boundaries in order to make the time to perform.

Expect Incremental Results

If you read income reports like I did, they can make you interested in the “big results” without really understanding what it takes to get there. I used to constantly stay focused on thousand-dollar increments or tens of thousand dollar increments, so when I’d get have 5 or 10% increases, I couldn’t be grateful. I’ve seen other affiliates with the same attitude I had.

The reality is business usually grows incrementally, and it doesn’t matter which one you choose. You have to learn the skills. Sometimes, you’ll see growth, sometimes, you’ll see drops, and once you get things working, you’ll usually see incremental growth. The “overnight success” stories usually have details left out, or they’re anomalies. What’s typical is to have incremental growth.

You make your first $1, then $10, then $100, and so on until you learn how to make your first $1000, then you learn how to repeat the process.

The  Bottom Line – How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

The process is doable. It’s all “figureoutable” as Mary Forleo would say. You can do this. I’ve laid out the basic 7 steps for how to make money with affiliate marketing for beginners, and I’d love to encourage you, coach you, and support you along the way. If you’d like more guidance as you start and grow your affiliate marketing business, join me at Wealthy Affiliate here, and I’ll show you the ropes.

You’ll get lots more training and you’ll be a member of a community of 1 million+ entrepreneurs, so you’ll always have somewhere to go to ask your questions. If you’re ready to take the next step, join me here.

Ready to Take the Next Step to Grow Your Business? If so, Start Here

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