LB Note: If you’re at all interested in growing your affiliate income on your blog, I highly recommend Michelle’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course. Best of all, in conjunction with this interview, she’s running a sale on the program! From Thursday February 16th to Sunday February 19th (it will end at 11:59 p.m. PT), use coupon code 28FEBDISCOUNT to receive $28 off the course so it will retail $169. The value this course provides is easily worth the regular price, so I encourage you to take advantage of this sale! Click here to enroll.
I wonder if you clicked on this thinking that the headline was fake. It isn’t. Many of you have watched my transformation from freelancer writer to money-making blogger monthly via my online income reports.
In January of last year, I was sitting in an office working my butt off to turn over articles I wrote for my freelance clients. I was frustrated and burnt out, and so I took a break from writing to calculate up just how many articles it would take me to reach my monthly income goals. The number was f*cking staggering.
…Sure, I was probably undercharging, but the fact remained I still had to turn over dollars for my time. I vowed then and there I was going to figure out some way to have my website itself (then called L Bee and the Money Tree, for those who are new here) generate enough income for me to let go of my writing clients completely.
One year later, I now only have one writing client (and can scale up or down depending on how much I want to earn) but the biggest shift in my online business has been in ramping up my affiliates, and selling my own products.
Even though I’ve been blogging for five years, I only started really monetizing with affiliates at the beginning of last year. I had some mid-level success, mostly with my BlueHost tutorial (which has since been taken down, you can read about that here.) But it wasn’t until I took Michelle’s course in July of last year that things really started to sizzle.
Do you know Michelle?
Many of you probably do, but if not, she’s the author of the mega-popular blog, Making Sense of Cents. On the site, she writes about savvy money management and chronicles her own journey and income reports. She makes over $100,000 each month from her websites and affiliates are a large portion of that. Her million dollar blogging business was recently featured on Forbes, and she’s an all around kind soul and badass girl boss, AND she was kind enough to do an interview with me!
What follows below is full of great tips you can use to ramp up your own affiliate income, however, I fully recommend you consider taking her course.
LB: When did you have your first “aha” moment with affiliates?
Michelle: I don’t remember what my first affiliate sale was (I wish I knew because that’s a common question I receive!), but I do know that I was extremely happy about it.
I’ve been interested in affiliate marketing since just a little after I created Making Sense of Cents, due to the passiveness of it and the fact that it could help me learn how to make extra money
if I put the effort towards it.
However, I never thought it was possible before. I always thought that a blogger had to have a huge following and a ton of page views in order to be successful with affiliate marketing.
But, I now know that’s just a myth.
One day I decided to give myself a goal of earning affiliate income, and I worked towards achieving that goal. I started by making a little bit each month, and then it just continued to grow month after month and now I know that you don’t need a ton of page views or a huge following in order to make a great income through affiliate marketing.
I now earn over $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing, and it’s fairly passive. I don’t generally do any big affiliate launches – it’s 99% evergreen and just done by promoting affiliate links strategically.
LB: For someone just getting started, what is the #1 thing they can do in the next ten minutes to get started with affiliates?
Michelle: The number one thing I recommend doing is taking your top post from Google Analytics in the past 30 days and adding affiliate links to it. However, you do want to be smart with how you add affiliate links, as you can’t just slap affiliate links in a blog post and earn money. Instead, you need to figure out how to best promote affiliate links to your readers, disclose that it’s an affiliate link correctly, and more. These are all things that I teach in my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course.
LB: What is your favorite part about working with affiliates?
Michelle: I love affiliate marketing because it can feel quite passive, as I mentioned quickly above. With affiliate marketing, a blogger can create a blog post or social media post, and potentially earn money from it years down the line, as long as they maintain it and keep generating traffic to it.
With affiliate marketing, I can enjoy life more and know that I am still able to earn a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy. This is especially great because it allows me to travel full-time without worrying about where my next dollar will come from. Instead, I can make money while I’m traveling, while I’m sleeping, and so on.
Think about affiliate marketing this way: If you already enjoy a product, why not get paid to promote it?
LB: Do you ever worry about the business model not being sustainable?
Michelle: Nope, I’ve never once worried about this. As long as you promote affiliate links the correct way and continue to grow the amount of loyal readers that you have, affiliate marketing should always be sustainable. Affiliate marketing isn’t much different than a store selling items, and I don’t see that changing because people always need things! 🙂
LB: Where do you hope to see affiliate marketing go in the future?
Michelle: For my affiliate marketing future, I hope to see my affiliate income continue to increase. And, I definitely believe that it will.
For affiliate marketing in general, I think that more and more companies will see the value with affiliate marketing and having influencers promote their products. Due to that, I think affiliate marketing will continue to grow and more people, as well as companies, will continue to benefit from it.