Can You Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

Updated: May 14, 2022
by Ray Alexander

Can you make money with affiliate marketing? The business model has definitely become ubiquitous over the past decade. Technically, anyone could start it with little preparation at no cost. But you know the rule - you don't generate revenue by selling what everyone else is selling, using the same selling technique everyone else uses. It's hard to find your own affiliate marketing style that's irresistible to people. To find something that makes people think it's worth investing money in.

So it's no surprise that those who don't have enough time to put in all the effort drop out easily. And it's a shame that they're often disillusioned by the whole concept of making money by promoting other people's products.

If you are competent enough to work systematically, you know you'll be able to outperform others and, yes, you can make money with affiliate marketing.

Can You Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

Do You Need To Be Determined?

This may sound like an obvious question but yes, just like any other business, your determination to make it a success will play a big part. And unless you are a naturally very self-motivated person, it's important to be determined right from the start. Because the fact that affiliate marketing is so easy to start can actually prevent you from learning seriously. 

You decide what you want to promote, sign up with the affiliate program, and when your application is approved (which usually won't take more than a couple of days), you are already an affiliate marketer at that point. But that's the easiest part. Your affiliate link should be;

  • Promoted by email - You'll need to build a list of subscribers first.
  • Placed on your website - You'll need to build one and learn to drive traffic.
  • Placed on your YouTube platform - Create your YouTube channel and learn to drive traffic!

Other methods include the use of paid advertisements and also the use of some social groups for your niche.

You are likely to be working alone from home, so you may need something to keep you motivated, a mentor or an affiliate marketing community.

You Are Not Selling

You may have heard this before. As an affiliate marketer, your primary focus should not be on "selling" but to focus on helping others. Because you're not a seller. You're not contracted with any seller as a sales representative, and you have zero obligation to sell third-party products. You'll certainly be rewarded by a seller if you successfully get someone to purchase their product through your affiliate link. But your affiliate agreement should state that you mustn't appear as if you are a part of the selling team. As a third-party affiliate, you should be making your position clear that you are only there to help other users by recommending products.

Problem Solving

All the products and services in the world are created and sold to solve problems, right? Like, food to stop hunger. And people continuously innovate to provide us extra a gourmet food range, automatic parking system, or AI-generated chatbot for cost-saving and accuracy at the same time. 

This is more so with affiliate marketing. We're not sellers, we are in fact at the opposite end, i.e. users. We need to help fellow users by giving advice and telling them about our experience with the products. That will help sellers sell, and your affiliate commission only comes in as a result of that.

Earn with Neil Patel

Forget About The Money

If you do something just for money, you'll unlikely to see positive results. People pay in exchange for a product or service when they feel the price is fair. If your mindset is simply about transferring money from someone else's wallet to yours, no healthy trading relationship will exist... Universe doesn't allow it, to put it spiritually!

Our own happiness and success are primarily dependent on giving and, only unselfish mindset can see what others really need. When you're able to genuinely help, that's when the money starts to come in.

You Have To Love What You Do

Money and Love Affiliate Marketing

You won't go very far by doing something that you don't like just for the money. Although money can motivate you and you might see a short-term success if you're lucky, it's generally unlikely and it's definitely not sustainable.

Choosing a niche is very important with affiliate marketing to start with. You should be prepared to learn about the niche inside out. This means the niche should be something you love, something you're passionate enough to spend money yourself for and willing to research and hear other people's opinions by reading user reviews & comments continuously. Because people buy your absolute confidence in your niche, and the only genuine factor to gain confidence comes from your passion!

Be Yourself And Believe In Yourself

You don't have to try to be perfect to gain the trust of others. You certainly shouldn't try to be someone else rather than you. People see through you if you pretend. The only way to stay unique is to be yourself and be sincere. There are so many others, but you are the only one (stating the obvious!)

And more importantly, believe in yourself - if you don't believe in what you are or what you do, you will never believe in your income!

...Or Lie

On the other hand, some successful affiliate marketers choose to go incognito and promote every product under the sun day-in, day-out. Everything that they promote is rated 5-stars, so new users are tricked into buying it. If anything goes wrong and it causes a bad reputation, nobody knows who really they are. (They use a fake name and a stock photo) So all they do is disappear and come back using a different profile. 

Personally, I could never do that for the money. I think it'd be rather stressful and unfulfilling. But there are people who make money with affiliate marketing that way... I'm just saying.

Negative Product Reviews

Negative Product Reviews

Producing negative product reviews has been criticised as a deceptive affiliate marketing method in the past, but it has become pretty popular now. The idea is to raise a negative opinion toward products in your affiliate niche and recommend your own affiliate product instead. The method itself is not "deceptive" but it's been criticised because;

  • Some reviewers criticise every product one after another, to stop users from buying any of them, just to get them to buy their affiliate product instead.
  • User reviews can always be subjective. Some reviewers fail to be fair and unbiased, for example, criticising the price without mentioning the value for money. ("$200 is far too expensive! I would recommend my affiliate product because it's only $50.")

Helping others means that if you wouldn't buy a product, you tell your readers so, and tell them why. That's fair enough, but whether your opinion is unbiased or not decides whether you'll gain your trust or not.

I wouldn't like to write negative reviews on my blog sites over & over again though. If I'm convinced that a product is an outright scam, then I'd like to warn others. But otherwise, even inferior products should have some good points. If you believe in the Law of Attraction and Positive Thinking, you should always find positives in negative elements.

"Passive Income" - Don't Be Fooled

A lot of experts often casually describe affiliate marketing as a passive income source, but that's not always the case. You'll only receive true passive income for a while if you've sold a membership fee - so long as your referral keeps paying a recurring charge (monthly or yearly), you'll keep receiving a percentage of the charge as a commission.

Otherwise... No, you'll have to keep working on publishing content (web posts, video clips) or spending money on traffic, and keep monitoring the performance to keep your affiliate commission revenue rolling. 

So don't be tempted by silly phrases like;

Traffic analytics
  • "Autopilot" 
  • "Earn while you're asleep"
  • "All-Done-For-You system".

When all is done for you, you won't be able to produce anything creative of your own. It means nobody will see anything valuable to pay money for, hence you really won't make money from it!

Never Stop Learning

No matter how successful you may become in the future, digital marketing trends will keep changing. It's essential to keep yourself updated with the latest technique - for example, SEO if blogging, and copywriting if you're doing email marketing

Can You Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

Yes you definitely can, as long as you maintain your mindset genuinely to help others, and take the right steps to learn. In this way, you won't have to find money but money will find you.

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Learn every step that I took to make $6,000 every month from blogging and niche affiliate marketing from here.

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About the author 

Ray Alexander

ASD. Recovering alcoholic. LGBTQ+ advocate. Semi-retired. 15+ years of web-designing experience. 10+ years affiliate marketing. Ex-accountant. I'm nice and real. Ask me if you need any help in starting up your home business.

Thank you for your Comments!

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  1. It is not okay to lie to readers. Affiliate marketing is becoming a household name, new people don’t learn it properly, they don’t know how to sell affiliate goods. They brag about making like tens of thousands of dollars per day asking others if they make as much as they do. Then they sell expensive courses or seminars but they never even bought them to try out. They don’t realize they are scamming people.

  2. Great article, Ray. Although I feel it’s easy to say “help others” and as much as I want to help others it’s difficult when I don’t have enough knowledge myself. I don’t want to give wrong advice. I guess I have to grow confidence. Thanks!

    1. Hi Dev, thanks for your comment. Good thing about content writing is if the readers don’t trust what you say in your article/blog post, they can simply leave and look elsewhere.

      So I suggest that you firstly find a niche that you do have some level of knowledge of, and secondly give your readers your honest opinions, what you think is a good advice. If you don’t know, tell them you don’t know – don’t pretend you know everything. That’s the main thing. Keep doing that and you’ll naturally grow your confidence.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts Dev. Good luck, if you have any questions or ‘help’ from me – I’m always here!

  3. Great post about affiliate marketing here.Definitely, it’s one of the most lucrative ways to generate a passive income online.
    However, not every blogger are able to get good money out of it.

    1. Thanks for your comment Steve. You’re absolutely right, and that’s why we need to keep learning, be consistent and never give up. I appreciate your input, and thanks again for your visit!

  4. Hey Ray awesome advice on affiliate marketing. You say you have to love the niche but if you love about affiliate marketing itself, what happens…. Can you keep writing about it and make money? Thanks Ken

    1. Hi Ken, thanks for your comment. Yes of course you can write about affiliate marketing and make money – that’s what I do with this very website, so do many others. You can write about affiliate networks, niche marketing training courses, review of affiliate marketing books and software. Take a look if you’re interested, and if you have more questions please don’t hesitate to get back to me. Thanks for your visit!

  5. Thanks for sharing your advice Ray, great points especially about negative product reviews. I also believe in the loa so am not keen on spending time finding out bad stuff. I’d rather move forward and turn blind eye to scammers. It’s not like I can eliminate all the scammers in the world, best to look for people or things that move us forward.

    1. Thanks Derv for your comment. I feel the same, any negativity on my own part (errors & mistakes that I’ve made) should be rectified and improved into something positive. But any bad stuff that I find around me, I tend to get away from it without thinking too much. Although I know the “scambuster” method is very effective in affiliate marketing in terms of helping others and guide them to the right direction. Thanks for your visit!

  6. Hi there. 🙂
    I like your post a lot. It’s one of the best texts about affiliate marketing in general I read on the internet. I can’t agree more with that you can’t be in for the money, because that never ends well. Of course you want to make some money with it but the primary reason has to be something else.
    That’s why it is better to be fully prepared for everything and I’ve learned a lot about this with Affilorama, affiliate marketing training program.

    1. Hi Alex, thanks for your comment. I agree with you on Affilorama, it’s another great program that provides essential trainings and useful easy-to-understand tools. I’m a Wealthy Affiliate member and personally prefer the way it keeps you motivated, though it’s not my main reason to stick with WA (the main reason is the secure web server/hosting, accessibility and technical support). Yes as you say, you need to be fully prepared for “everything” – without a full commitment you’ll unlikely to succeed in any business. Thanks for your visit!

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