When I started to look for ways to create an income online, I have two important criteria.
First – it has to be something within my means or learn-able
Second – as little starting cost as possible
Therefore, it was no surprise I was drawn to affiliate marketing. What is Affiliate Marketing? It is simply introducing to a group of audience a product that can help them. Anytime someone buys the product via your affiliate link, you get paid a commission from that sales transaction. It is very straightforward.
Merchants are companies selling their products via Affiliate Programs. The famous ones are Amazon, eBay, Shareasale, CJ, Clickbank etc. These merchants peddle their own wares and they provide affiliates (people like you and I who own our websites, YouTube channels) with commissions whenever we succeed in driving traffic and sales for their products.
Why is it attractive?
The most obvious advantage is that you don’t have to keep an inventory of product(s) you are selling on behalf of your affiliate programs. This is different from the traditional business where you have to deal with inventory, shipping, RMA and what not. Furthermore, if you are holding inventory, that means a significant amount of money is invested even before you see any coming in. Don’t get me wrong, we have to invest to get something in return but maybe not too much at the beginning.
For most people starting out to build an online business and income, bootstrapping is of paramount importance to keep costs low. You can consider doing Amazon selling (private labeling of products) for greater profit margin later when you have built up a certain capital from your affiliate sales.
Fee for joining as an Affiliate/Publisher
The upfront cost for participating in affiliate programs as an affiliate is next to nothing. The opposite side (as a merchant) will incur a certain fee for advertising their products on the affiliate networks.
Merchants are happy if you successfully promote their products and they don’t mind letting you earn even up to 50% commission. That is a bit steep and in most cases, you should be seeing anything from 4-20% commission fee. Amazon (if they have not changed) ranges from 1-10% for commissions.
The only essential investment is web hosting and domain purchase for your website where you will be posting your reviews. Prices are very competitive and you won’t be chalking up a large bill over this.
This article does not cover everything about affiliate marketing. There are a lot more resources available online but with the above, you already have a clear understanding of what it does, the potential cost outlay and you decide if you want to pursue an online business via this approach.
Personally, I recommend Affiliate Marketing as the ideal option for starters and you can branch into other avenues of making money online such as Kindle Book Publishing, Amazon Seller, Creating & Selling your own business education products, 1-to-1 Coaching etc. later to create a diversified portfolio of income streams.
Start it right, Scale it up!