Using Affiliate Marketing as a Successful Side Business

Last Updated: Mar 22, 2021
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Affiliate marketing can be a very lucrative side business to set up and operate alongside a regular paid job or on the side to help top up your income from self-employment or your own small company operation.

A lot of people wonder if you can really make any serious money with affiliate marketing. The answer, of course, is yes, but like any other business venture you try, it will take time and effort to become successful.

An ideal business to start after 5 PM

Signing up for affiliate programmes can earn you a little extra money on the side and could eventually provide you with a full-time income from the comfort of your own home when given enough time and attention.

Just like any extra-income idea that you try from home, your success will not come from what you choose to do, but the fact that you actually do what needs to be done to build your business in a consistent manner.

The main issues with choosing affiliate marketing

If you Google the term ‘Affiliate Marketing’, your search results will be full of links to so-called internet gurus that promise many different get-rich-quick schemes based on AM (affiliate marketing).

Most of these gurus will try to convince you that you need to do almost nothing to earn a decent amount of money, but in truth, there is no way in heck that a ‘set and forget’ method will work. This is where you are encouraged to set up an affiliate website and then forget about it until you want to transfer your commission earnings.

In truth, there are very few people that have managed to become filthy rich from AM. Most of these guys were either there right from the beginning years ago when the competition was extremely low, or they got rich from promoting extremely high-ticket price items to a niche market of already-rich people.

While it is true that there are many thousands of people making a comfortable side living from AM working from home, there are also just as many that are not making a penny.

So, is it worth trying?

The short answer is yes, as long as you can make AM work for you.

There are certainly some very positive aspects of starting an affiliates marketing business. For example:

  • It is very inexpensive to get started
  • Most affiliate programmes are free to join
  • You can choose to promote products that you like or enjoy for yourself
  • It can be an enjoyable sideline business
  • You do not need to make your own products to sell
  • You don’t need to buy and store any stock
  • You don’t need to ship any products

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Is it a good use of your spare time?

Many people enjoy spending time on their hobbies during their free time. We all need a bit of downtime, right? But what if your hobby or pastime has the potential to earn you some money?

You could be in a fantastic position to still enjoy your passion, but also share your knowledge with others who are just as enthusiastic as you are about your topic.

With affiliate marketing, you can work at it around your main job or business in your spare time, plus you can work from just about anywhere that has internet access.

Fitting affiliate marketing around your own business

One of the most tempting aspects of AM is the potential to earn a passive income while you are busy doing other things. You could add on a bit of affiliate marketing on the side of your current own home-based business set up to add an extra top-up passive income stream without it actually interfering with your everyday business tasks.

Affiliate marketing is something you should seriously consider adding to your income stream, especially if you work in any of these areas:

  • Business coaching
  • Sports or exercise coaching
  • Blogging: Diet, fitness, healthy eating, fashion etc.
  • Freelance writing
  • Existing Amazon or eBay trader

In fact, anyone with their own website can add affiliate marketing as another string to their income bow.

Affiliate marketing isn’t difficult, but just like any business venture, it requires some background knowledge of the products you want to sell, and you need to put in a steady level of consistent effort to make it generate some passive income.

Apply your own knowledge

Like any home business idea, you will be more willing to put the legwork and effort into building it up if you have a passion for the subject and have plenty of knowledge to share with others about it.

Choose your products carefully and make sure what you want to promote is of high quality and will be something that is going to be very desirable to your niche audience. Choose something that you would be happy to buy for yourself – if you wouldn’t be happy to buy this product, why would anyone else?

How to make a start

Start off by creating your own blog where you can write about your chosen subject. This is where you will create your content, provide useful information and include your affiliate link for people to click on and purchase the product.

Stay on niche here – you want to build your blog so that in the future you will come to be seen as an authority on whatever subject you choose to promote. Yes, you can also market associated products or services that are relevant to your main niche, but the idea is that you will eventually build your reputation as an expert in your field.

Maintaining transparency and building trust with your followers by supplying them with useful information is the best way for you to raise your profile. Your followers, in turn, will be more willing to share your useful posts to their friends who share the same passion or interest in your niche – and then your blog can snowball without you spending a single penny on marketing.

Don’t forget to create an email list! The worlds most successful affiliate marketers all make sure they leverage their email list to sell more products and earn more commission.

Influencer marketing

Overall, your plans for making money from home with affiliate marketing are going to be no better or worse than trying any other sort of home based business opportunity. However, you must realise that AM can become a lucrative income stream if you are happy to treat it as a ‘slow-burn’ business.

With affiliate marketing, there is no overnight success. Your success will depend on how well you execute your business plan and how prepared you are to invest your time and effort into growing it.

This brings us on to another aspect of AM that you may or may not have heard about: Influencers!

What are influencers?

Influencers are basically high-profile people that have very large followings on social media. These can be major or minor celebrities or well-respected experts in a particular field.

It doesn’t take much browsing of YouTube before you spot an ‘influencer’ that has 100,000+ subscribers to their channel, no matter what field you choose to search!

Basically, these people have a great influence over their 100K+ followers that trust their opinion and judgement. One mention from them in a video about how much they love a particular brand and shade of lipstick, a sports drink, a workout video etc. and the stocks of these products on Amazon or eBay can be wiped out within a few hours.

Imagine the commission you could make off one of these products that are mentioned by an influencer?

Zoella is an example of a well-known influencer on YouTube. She has become one of the most well-known beauty video bloggers across the world and runs two channels, one that focuses on beauty and the other about her life in general. She currently has 11,844,496 subscribers at the time of writing.

Amazon and influencer marketing

Always on the cutting edge of marketing trends, Amazon has now created it’s own ‘influencer programme’ where you can sign up and get your own Amazon storefront. This is like your own personal Amazon store where you can recommend the products you like from Amazon.

You will then earn commission on every sale that is made via your Amazon store. Simple, right? In other words, this is nothing more than a glorified affiliate programme – but it has been created to attract only those with large social media followers.

You could look at your own affiliate marketing side business as something that could eventually lead you to become an influencer. After all, this is exactly how a lot of YouTube influencers started out, so why not you too?

Unfortunately, not everyone can join the Amazon influencer programme. You need to meet with their criteria first, which includes a large social media following. But in the meantime, you can join the Amazon Associates programme and promote your chosen products that are sold online through Amazon.

Approaching influencers

A very under-used tactic for boosting your affiliate sales is approaching people with large social media followings and persuading them to promote your affiliate product(s).

For example, you could be marketing a range of organic shampoo and conditioner that only use natural ingredients. You could approach a beauty blogger that is an influencer with a large following.

You could offer the influencer a special deal for their followers, or even supply the influencer with free samples or products from the range for them to try out and talk about on their broadcasts. This is why you need to have total faith in what you choose to market. Your product needs to be high quality and desirable to a niche audience.

Protecting your business name

Building up a successful business of any type, whether that be your own affiliate marketing business as a sideline or as your main source of income, will always be at risk if you don’t protect your business name.

The last thing you want is to work on building a successful affiliate marketing blog for a long time only to see it copied or ripped off by someone that is out to steal your customers.

Unless you protect your business name by registering it officially with Companies House there is no law against someone coming along and setting up the same business and trading under your name or a very similar one.

Take a look at our digital package for protecting your company name. The Digital Company Formation Pack at the time of writing costs just £7.48 and includes all fees.

This company package includes digital versions of company documents, which will be sent to you electronically via email as PDF documents.

The digital package is ideal for those who want to form a company to protect your business trading name without paying for any additional extras, or who want to reserve a company name for future use.

If you need more information or help with protecting your business name, do not hesitate to contact our friendly team. We are here to help support you and are happy to answer any questions you may have.

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