Question for you.
Have you ever dreamed of quitting your exhausting nine to five, chilling by the beach for the rest of your life, and never having to worry about money?
Of course, you have.
We all have.
And while not many take actual steps towards achieving this dream…
…a few hop on Google to find out if it’s possible, and how they can do it.
So if you’re ever opened your search browser and typed, “how to earn passive income,” you were probably hit with one big answer.
The truth is, people have made millions in passive income through affiliate marketing. (Think Pat Flynn, who earned $3 million in his first six years as an affiliate marketer.)
But of course, there are questions.
“Can I succeed at affiliate marketing too, or is it only for the few “lucky” ones?” “How much money can I make with affiliate marketing?” “Is it hard to make money with affiliate marketing?”
If these are buzzing around in your mind, you’ve come to the right place.
In this blog, I’ll show you:
- How much money you can expect to make with affiliate marketing
- How soon you can start earning from affiliate marketing
- How to strategically map your way to success (instead of taking the long route and guessing your way to your goals)
- Tips on increasing your chances of making it big in affiliate marketing
- Real-life samples from my own affiliate marketing campaigns
- And more!
Let’s dive in!
How Much Money Can I Make with Affiliate Marketing? (A Guide)
Let’s start with a disclaimer.
Making consistent passive income isn’t a sprint.
It’s a marathon. (Or half marathon, depending on how well you plan your campaign. 😉)
The same is true with affiliate marketing.
A ton of people go all out on it for a month, see no results, and then quit.
That’s not the way to success.
Instead, you need to buckle down. Nail your strategy. Keep going for half a year, or more, even when there seem to be no results.
I know, it takes patience and persistence.
But it’s worth it. (Unless you’d rather patiently and persistently wait for your life to end in your 40-year nine to five job.)
Now that’s out of the way, check out how much money you can expect to make with affiliate marketing.
How Much Money Can I Make with Affiliate Marketing? (The Three Stages of Earning)
As with everything else, not all affiliate marketers are made equal.
There are some who make it to seven figures, and others who make just enough to order that extra appetizer at their favorite restaurant or go on a week-long trip to the Caribbean every six months.
To give you an idea, here’s PayScale’s take on an affiliate marketer’s average income per year.
Now, let’s go into specifics.
1.How Much a Beginner Affiliate Earns
Affiliate marketing isn’t a get-rich-overnight scheme.
So in your first months as an affiliate marketer, be prepared to spend instead of earn (unless you decide to do the blogging yourself – in such a case, all you need is a standard web hosting package, which you can get at less than $60/month).
After six months to a year (depending on the saturation of your niche and your overall strategy), you can start earning up to a thousand per month.
In my case, I started earning around $2000/month after a year of persistent effort.
However, this was way back in 2011, and I was in a small niche.
Today, most niches are saturated, and it can take you longer to get to your goals than back then.
But hey…starting any kind of business involves work, right?
2.How Much an Advanced Affiliate Earns
One thing I love about affiliate marketing is its snowball effect.
You start out with a tiny ball, and the longer it keeps rolling, the larger it gets.
So after a year or two, you might be earning a couple of hundred dollars a day.
Then, years later, this can skyrocket and you’ll find yourself sitting on a nest egg and earning as much as four figures a day.
Here’s a look at my affiliate earnings from Real Estate License Training.
This example comes from only one of my affiliate programs.
Here’s another one:
Overall, as an advanced affiliate marketer, I make roughly $40,000/month.
3.How Much a Super Affiliate Marketer Earns
Super affiliates are top of the line. They’re the “gurus” in affiliate marketing.
Of course, they come in different shapes and sizes.
But if you want to think really big…
…super affiliate Pat Flynn earns up to $100,000 a month.
Can You Make Good Money with Affiliate Marketing? (5 Tips to Boost Your Chances of Becoming an Advanced or Super Affiliate)
I said it before, and I’ll say it again.
You can’t go from beginner to advanced affiliate marketer overnight.
But the thing is, it’s not all about time either.
You can’t pick an awful strategy, keep at it for years, and expect to succeed simply because you were patient. (If success was based on patience alone, we’d all be millionaires. 😉)
To make it in affiliate marketing, you need persistence + the right strategy.
Here are five tips to follow if you don’t want to end up in the “meh” zone, which is full of people who either give up right away or wait for years and still see no concrete results.
- Promote the Right Products
This sounds obvious, but a ton of people actually make the mistake of going for “easy” products which turn out to be totally wrong.
For instance, if you go for $2 products, you aren’t going to scale unless you hit the jackpot and a rich prince from somewhere decides to buy one million pieces of what you’re selling.
Here are three ways to know you’re choosing the right product.
- It’s in a Profitable Niche
If the shop down the block started selling square-shaped onions…would you offer to sell them on commission?
Because the thing about onions is, nobody cares about their shape.
This means, there’s probably not a huge market for square-shaped ones.
The same is true when choosing which products to promote as an affiliate.
Make sure there are enough people who care enough about the product to buy it.
- It’s not too Mainstream
According to AuthorityHacker, the top seven most profitable niches are:
- Home and Family
- Alternative (like essential oils or personal development)
But the thing is, you can’t dive straight into a niche and expect to succeed.
Remember, the more profitable the niche, the more saturated it usually is.
The key is to balance between profitability and difficulty.
Also, you can go for a niche within a niche.
For instance, if you choose “hobbies” as a niche, you can further niche down and go into “snorkeling for seniors.”
- The Price is Right
It’s logical to think selling $2 soaps will be easier than selling $5,000 programs…
…but the truth is, it depends.
It can be difficult to earn thousands per month on $2 products.
On the other hand, one sale of a higher-ticket product can get you closer to your goals than selling hundreds of cheap products.
2. Know Your Audience
“Know your audience.”
It’s the holy grail of selling anything online.
In fact, it’s the holy grail of doing anything. Period.
Miss out on this, and all your efforts will fall flat (seriously).
So before choosing a product, investigate.
Find out if it’ll match what your audience wants.
I mean, you can’t sell rawhide treats to a pet parent audience who does proper research, right?
So before anything else, step into your audience’s shoes.
Discover what makes them tick. Dig out their 3 am secrets. List down their desires, fears, and dreams.
If this sounds hard, don’t worry.
All you need is a little time to do your research.
One way you can do it is to hop on Amazon.
If snorkeling is a niche you’ve chosen, type that into the search field.
Click a popular item (a snorkeling set, for example), and scroll down to read the reviews.
Here’s an example:
And another one:
From these two reviews, you can guess that your audience is looking for a snorkel mask that doesn’t leak.
They’re also not extravagant, as many of them have bought sets for less than $40.
Sounds obvious, but imagine promoting products your audience won’t care about. (Like super expensive snorkel sets sprinkled with gold dust, for instance.)
3. Create an Effective Website
Sure, you can become an affiliate marketer with zero investment.
You can promote products on social media, or go and tell your grandma’s knitting circle to buy a product through your link.
However, blogging is hands down the fastest, easiest way to succeed in affiliate marketing.
Don’t worry, though.
You can get a web hosting package for as little as $60 per month.
Once you’ve set your site up, work on optimizing it.
- Make sure it’s fast (resize your images and skip the heavy animation).
- Submit your sitemap to Google Search Console.
- Install an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO.
- Provide Useful Information to Your Audience
Affiliate marketing isn’t about setting up a website and packing it to the brim with links.
It’s about being known as an influencer in your niche. It’s about building trust and helping your audience find the perfect product.
One way to do that is to publish content your audience will find useful.
Here are four types you should go for:
- Informational content. This type of content is educational. It helps your audience get from Point A to Point B in their lives, whether that’s starting up an online business, learning how to keep a cactus alive, or setting up their first aquarium.
- “Best” content. With this type of content, you help guide your audience to the best products in a certain niche. For instance, “best dog pools” or “best fishing rods.”
- Product reviews. In this type of content, you talk about a certain product your audience is interested in, listing down the pros and cons of using it.
- Brand comparisons. These are similar to product reviews, but more narrowed down. In brand comparisons, you usually put two products beside each other and talk about each one’s pros and cons. For instance, a good example of a brand comparison is “Mac vs. PC.”
Of course, you’ll need to be strategic in the kind of content you create and the keywords you use in each piece.
This brings us to…
- Be Strategic with Your Keywords
If your eyes are widening and you’re saying, “I came here to find out how much money I can make with affiliate marketing, not learn about SEO!”
Then hold on a second.
The truth is, you can do affiliate marketing without strategic keywords…
…but you can’t bank on success. (Sure, maybe you’ll stumble upon it by accident, but you’ll never be able to layout concrete plans so you’re moving in a straight, steady line to your goals.)
The good news is, picking the right keywords for affiliate marketing is super simple.
All you need is the right keyword research tool and a little time to lay out your plans.
In my case, I use KWFinder and Ahrefs.
These are amazing, user-friendly tools that give you in-depth data on any keyword, so you can decide whether to try ranking for it or to leave it completely alone.
For more on these tools and a step-by-step guide on using them, check out my guide here.
Now, you must remember that there are no magic formulas for success.
To “make it” in affiliate marketing (as in life or anything else), you need a strategy, patience, and persistence.
The good news?
With the five tips I mentioned above in your back pocket, you can start earning those extra dollars in as little as six months.
How Fast Can You Make Money with Affiliate Marketing?
I mentioned my story above, where I told you how I started earning $2,000/month after a year of persistent effort.
But yes, the year was 2011, and I chose to be in a very small niche.
I’m not telling you this to discourage you.
I’m telling you this to cheer you on!
If you’ve started your affiliate marketing efforts and the dollars are still trickling in slowly…
…don’t give up!
Keep going, and you’ll be surprised how far you get.
So, to answer your question, I’d say, “It depends.”
How fast you can make money with affiliate marketing depends on your niche, the audience you build, and what kind of products you choose to promote.
But to be safe, I’d say you could start earning within six months to a year with a small niche.
With larger niches, you might go on for two or even three years before you see profits. The payoff, however, will generally be larger with these niches.
Is It Hard to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing? (My Honest Answer)
I’ve been an affiliate marketer for over 10 years, and since then I’ve been able to make it to $40k/month, plus live the life of my dreams.
Check out my adventures in my blog, Where Did Mike Go?
Has it been easy?
Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy.
Has it been worth it, though?
To be honest, I’d rather invest a year or two in affiliate marketing before seeing any profit than be stuck forever in a job I hate which doesn’t pay me to live the life I love.
(I was a truck driver once upon a time. I loved it, but why not travel the country on my own steam, right? Read my full story here.)
So if you’re looking for a cue to get started…
…this is it!! 👏
How Much Money Can I Make with Affiliate Marketing? (Hint: More than You Think!)
If you’ve ever asked, “How much money can I make with affiliate marketing?”
…You’ve probably heard different answers.
Some tell you a few dollars here and there.
Others tell you a fortune.
Both can be true.
It all depends on your niche, your strategy, and how persistent and patient you are.
If you’re feeling doubtful and need help, check out my guide on building your own affiliate marketing website from scratch.
Then, read about how to choose good keywords for affiliate marketing.
I can’t wait to see your name up there with the “greats.”
All screenshots taken by the author, 07/2021.