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EXECUTION $30,000+ in first year as affiliate. Now looking to SCALE.

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by Husky, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Husky
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    Husky Contributor

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    $30,000 in a year isn’t sexy.

    It’s not quit-your-job money. But as a side hustle that is mostly (I shudder to use this word) “passive”, I think that’s a pretty respectable amount and shows promise that I can actually do this. And by “do this”, I mean “make a whole lot more”.

    Actually, 30k is a ballpark figure. It’s a bit more than that. The graph is trending upwards at the moment too. Next month I’m projected to clear over $5,000, and the previous month was $2.5k

    I still have my day job. But it’s nice knowing that something I basically stumbled into and which hasn’t cost me almost anything in the way of overhead or time costs is bringing me in the same amount as a small rental property.

    Again. 30k is not big money. If we’re talking big money, we only need to look at what I’m making the companies I affiliate for. Obviously I’m not giving any of that away. Suffice it to say these are largely niche products in relatively boring industries with low competition but high demand and are big ticket items with a respectable commission percentage. Basically put, I’m not affiliating paperbacks on Amazon here.

    So here’s my progress thread for scaling this little operation.

    I’ll give a little rundown of what I think has worked for me to get to this point. Then I’ll spitball some ideas for scaling this thing. And, of course, I would really appreciate any advice from experts who have been there and done that. Not just to help me, but for anyone else who follows this thread and is looking to make a go at the same line of work.

    I think a lot of what I’m going to write here will apply more broadly to any other area too. Whether you want to follow in the footsteps of @Fox and go the web design root, or maybe you want to try what @Lex DeVille is doing with his copywriting, there should be a lot of cross-applicability.

    How I made $30,000 in passive affiliate income in my first year.

    A quick note on this “passive” buzzword.

    It wasn’t passive when I started.

    Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t put much work in. I just found a couple of niche products I knew a lot about and knew what the people buying them were looking for. After a few months, when I saw things start taking off, it became way less passive.

    I was working on it several hours a day and thinking about it all the time. Then towards the end of the year, life got in the way and I got a bit complacent because the money kept coming in no matter what and I took my foot off the pedal.

    Despite having some great months in my most lazy/“passive” time, I know full well that I’m able to enjoy this trickle of cash coming through now because I put the work in earlier.

    Now it’s time to put the foot on the pedal again. I’ve said no to things that were taking up time before and now I’m allocating that new time to this endeavour.

    Onto the advice.

    - Know your product.


    And by that I mean, know it better than anyone else in the space.

    This is where product selection is really important. It’s easier to know your product better than anyone else if there aren’t too many other people in the space selling it.

    Sure, there are a bunch of really sexy affiliate programs you could join (think technology, fitness, makeup), but you’ll also have to compete with established people in the space - people who already have millions of eyeballs on their little slice of cyberspace real estate.

    Now, I’m not discounting those big popular niches and I actually plan to experiment in them myself this year because I’m sure scooping up crumbs from that space can still result in a sizeable chunk of change (e.g. you don’t have to be the best).

    But if we’re talking about what I did to get to around 30k in a year, I made sure there weren’t too many other people in this space and that even if more did show up (and they have) I could still be the best or one of the best because I not only KNOW these products like the back of my hand but I also KNOW the customers buying them.

    - Long-form is key.

    I can’t talk about PPC advertising or setting up landing pages or funnels or any of that stuff yet.

    I just went the old fashioned route and put out evergreen content around the different products and made sure that the content was deep.

    You can beat out a lot of competition by being comprehensive.

    That used to be more true a few years back. Now people are getting wise to this and you’ll see a ton of really deep comprehensive product reviews all across the net. That’s okay. You can still aim to be as comprehensive as possible.

    I don’t do much of anything in the way of keyword research (maybe I should going forward?) but by virtue of being comprehensive and simply writing A LOT about the product, I’m sure I hit enough keywords that whatever algorithm Google is using is able to pick up on it.

    - Getting traffic is something I’ve never much thought about beyond the first initial push.

    When I was starting out, I searched out some specialist forums where I thought my customers might be hanging out and just spent some time being useful over there.

    Sometimes I’d provide value and answer questions related to the product or industry, but most of the time I’d just have some fun and shoot the breeze.

    I never overtly advertised or spammed my affiliate pages. I just put a little link in my bio and enough people clicked over so that I didn’t have to worry about traffic again. From then on, popping up in different search engine results just seems to happen organically all by itself.

    - Help people.

    Affiliate marketers get a bad name because most of them (no hyperbole here, yes most of them) are sleazy scumbags who have never used whatever they’re selling and don’t give a damn how it affects the people buying so long as they get their check.

    I’m different because I'm not selling anything I haven’t personally used or benefitted from. I think people can pick up on that.

    When you’re genuine, it shows. It shines through in how you speak about something. A few copywriting tips will definitely help your writing (read Cashvertising or check out @Lex DeVille's threads), but really just be honest and talk about real stuff you have experience with (listing the good and the bad features) and people will read through and be convinced.

    - I’m not actually in the business of “convincing” anyone.

    My hope is that by the time people reach any of my pages, they’ve already made up their mind about the product. They just want a little extra push, learn about the features, know more about what to expect, before buying.

    So they read my comprehensive guides and maybe they click my link (because, hey, it’s right there) and I get a commission.

    I’m perfectly happy with people NOT buying after reading me. I really care that the right people will buy because I’ve always hated pushy salesmen myself. This has resulted in me having very good relationships with my affiliate programs because I send them good quality leads - that means these people are buying the correct thing, they’re not a hassle, and they don’t return the product.

    Off the top of my head, that’s what got me to this point. There’s probably a lot more that I’m missing so I’ll have to come back and add more to this.

    But what about where we’re going from here?

    Well… I have some ideas, but I’m also half in the dark. Obviously I brought a flashlight, so it’s not too bad. But if anyone else would like to shine some light on this whole thing, I’d be immensely grateful.

    I’m thinking things to do from here include:

    - Being more professional. This isn’t a hobby or side hustle anymore. Well… it is. But I shouldn’t treat it like that. So from here on out - proper bookkeeping, profit and loss statements, etc.

    - Working on this every day. No complacency. Momentum!

    - Double down on what’s working. 80/20 rule here. How can I get more out of the 80% that’s already bringing in the dough?

    - Find more products to affiliate. My industry (and related industries) have more products. But getting the agreements for the products I want in the first place might be an obstacle. Also I want to test everything myself. More products = more streams. Not being tied to one stream is a good idea.

    - Play around with ads.

    - Play around with lead generators and compiling a list of people who have bought before.

    That’s a whole lot of brain dump. Enough for now anyway. I’m gonna have a dance workout and recharge my batteries.

    Any questions, let me know! Although I’m not far along, I’m more than happy to help anyone who is starting out who might benefit from what advice I can give.
     
    klix, Dameron, Paolo_V and 9 others like this.
  2. Lex DeVille
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    Lex DeVille Sweeping Shadows from Dreams Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Are you doing this through YouTube at all? If you're already getting traffic and sales through a blog, then it seems like a short jump. A lot of channels make all of their income from product reviews and affiliates. I got an email this morning from a company pitching me on reviews. I only have like 1900 subs. You can embed the videos into your website so you strengthen your search rank too. Might be worth pursuing if you have the time for it.
     
  3. brockzilla
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    brockzilla New Contributor

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    First off congrats on your venture! I've always wanted to dab into AF marketing but have been afraid to lose money. I'vr been close to signing up for the smack that miney forum but I'm not sure if its necessary. How long did it take you to get to this point? What's a good starting point with funds to throw at your campaigns when you're starting out?
     
    Husky likes this.
  4. Husky
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    Husky Contributor

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    I haven't done YouTube yet, but I'm currently shooting some videos for the first time and aiming to add it to my arsenal soon. Definitely want to get my sites a bit more sticky on Google!

    It fills me with confidence that this recommendation comes from you, Lex! Thanks very much!
     
    Dameron, jpanarra and Lex DeVille like this.
  5. Husky
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    Husky Contributor

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    Thanks, dude. It took a year to clear $30k, but my mind was open to opportunities long before I took the first step. I read @MJ DeMarco's book quite a few years ago and had some practice copywriting as a side-gig.

    Start with reviewing a product or service you personally use and benefit from.

    My starting costs (aside from my chosen products) were:
    • Web hosting for one year + domain name = $46
    • Premium website theme = $60
    And that's it.

    For around a hundred bucks (plus the cost of the product you're affiliating) you can start experimenting.

    That's if you go the content/copywriting route like me. If you're asking about PPC advertising etc, you'll have to give me a little time to get back to you on that as I've yet to have a proper play around!
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  6. Mr. Wick
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    Mr. Wick New Contributor

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    Thanks for starting this thread!

    I am in the process of experimenting with affiliates as well. How did you find your offers? Were they through affiliate networks like CJ / Shareasale? Based on your description I'm assuming these are items not found on Amazon.

    I'm taking a more costly approach from you - where I'd like to find the right offer, and invest in content and links to rank for that product & keyword. Just need to find the right offers first!
     

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