I lost both my waitress and personal training jobs when the pandemic hit. I decided to take the loss as a cue to start the online fitness business I’ve always dreamed of.
I’ve sold 90-day fitness programs that include custom workouts and meal plans, as well as weekly coaching sessions through Zoom. I made about $1,000 to $2,000 a month and supplemented my income with savings and Covid incentive checks.
But in the end, I worked 10 hours a day and it hurt. After a year of trying, I decided to part ways with my fitness business and find another way to make money.
For months now, I’ve seen affiliate marketers—people who get a commission by an online retailer for their website traffic or sales—in my TikTok feed.
I was skeptical at first, but I had nothing to lose. I took an online course that convinced me that affiliate marketing could be a valuable business model, so I did everything.
In July 2021, I used my TikTok and Instagram accounts to market affiliate products. I started posting multiple times a day, giving tips on how to start a side business, earn passive income, and grow your online presence. All this time, I’ve been promoting business and wealth building tools and programs.
By October, I had 43,000 followers on TikTok, my biggest platform.
Since then, I have averaged $8,600 in passive income per month (commission from my affiliate posts, including posts selling several monthly posts and recurring subscriptions).
If you had told me a year ago that I could do what I love – create useful content right from my phone and work for just two hours a day – I would have laughed.
Now I have the freedom I’ve always wanted. At 24 I was able to move to a nice apartment in New York, I travel frequently and my life no longer revolves around work.
You don’t need to have a TikTok presence to start an affiliate marketing business. It could be through a website or another social media platform.
Success will not happen overnight; It takes a lot of time and effort at first. Here are my top five tips to get started:
1. Consult experts for guidance
Look for people who have done what you’re trying to do and study their strategies. Reach out and ask if they would like to guide you in starting your own business. This will save you tons of time, energy and money.
There are also courses, one-on-one mentoring programs, and online communities that can teach you how to start an affiliate marketing business. I used the 15-Day Business Startup Challenge to broaden my knowledge and skills.
2. Don’t start with multiple niches and products
To focus your efforts, start with a niche and find a winning affiliate product to promote. Once you’ve mastered marketing this product, you can start exploring other products.
I recommend brainstorming a list of your hobbies and interests, then doing some research on the best affiliate programs in each category before narrowing your niche down to one.
If you plan to add an affiliate marketing company to an already established account or website, your niche should match content that your target audience already likes. For example, if you have an Instagram account full of pictures with your dog, search for affiliate products in the pet area.
The way I see it, health and wealth creation are two of the top money-making niches because products in these areas are often in high demand.
3. Find winning, high-ticket products to promote
You spend the same amount of time and energy promoting a product that pays $2 in commission as you would in promoting a product that pays in commissions of $2. So the key is to find high-ticket affiliate programs and make them the bulk of your business.
I use sites like clickbank.com and digistore24.com to find affiliate offers that pay well. When deciding what to promote, I look for products that:
- high gravityor a large number of marketers actively promoting the product. If many other people spend time selling a product, it probably means that the product works for them.
- recurring subscriptionsor consistent monthly fees for the product so you get recurring commissions.
- Low payback rate, which means that most of the people who buy the affiliate offer are happy with it. This helps me make sure I only promote high quality products.
- additional sales opportunitiesThis means that when someone buys the base level offer, they also have the option to add an upgrade to that product for more money. Upsell deals help you save money for both low-budget customers and customers willing to spend more.
4. Build trust with your audience
No matter what platform you’re marketing on, make sure your content is authentic. People want to buy high quality products from someone they trust.
My content is always relevant and relatable to my target audience. I build trust with them by doing things like putting my email in my social media bio and responding to direct messages from my followers.
This lets them know they’re always available for any questions they have about the products I’m promoting.
5. Improve your marketing skills
Affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It requires you to learn skills such as copywriting, arousing consumer interest, and communication.
These are the skills that make a person different. good an affiliate marketer Good a — and there are many online courses to help you master these courses, such as Dave Sharpe’s Legendary Marketer and specialized courses on Skillshare.
Shannon Smith is a full time affiliate marketer who teaches others how to make money online. Follow him on TikTok @hustlewithshan.