Can you actually make a living with affiliate websites and affiliate marketing?
The short, quick answer is yes – you most definitely can.
For any sensible person, I know that can sometimes be hard to believe since it’s sold as some wild “get-rich-quick-scheme” but;
- If you know what you’re getting yourself in,
- What you need to do to actually pull it off and
- If you do the work required, then yes;
You can make a full-time income with affiliate marketing, & I’m going to show you how to do it in this guide.
Here’s what I will be covering today;
- How to make a living with affiliate websites
- Is affiliate marketing really profitable?
- How much money you are going to need to get started
- How to manage your “affiliate marketing business”
- How long will it take before you can make a full-time income with this
- Can affiliate marketing make you rich and also;
- How to become a very-profitable super-affiliate.
If you make it all the way to the end, I also have for you a great training course I’d like you to check out, but that’s only after you see the potential of affiliate marketing and make a decision on whether this is a business model you want to get into.
Ready to get started?
Let’s get to work.
First things first…
What Are Affiliate Websites (& How Do They Work?)
Let me first explain to you what “affiliate websites” really are.
See, affiliate marketing is a business model where you sell a product (that you have not created) and then you get a commission off the sale.
Anyone can do “affiliate marketing” – as long as you have an audience, however;
Affiliate websites are built from the ground up to target a specific audience with a specific problem and a specific solution/product.
In other words, affiliate websites are built to make money.
From day one, from ground zero – the only “aim” for an affiliate website is to make money with affiliate marketing.
How Do You Build An Affiliate Website?
I won’t go through all the details about how to build one here as I’ve covered that many times in the past, you can see some of my previous guides about that here:
- What Niches Are The Most Profitable In Affiliate Marketing?
- How To Pick Profitable Niches For Affiliate Marketing Success
- How To Build An Amazon Affiliate Website (From Scratch)
- How To Build Autopilot Niche Websites (That Make Money)
Can You Make A Living With Affiliate Marketing?
The main question of this article is to see if you can actually make a living building, selling and profiting from affiliate marketing websites.
As I said at the beginning of this guide; you most-definitely can but as I’m sure you’ve realised, it’s easier said than done.
Starting an affiliate website is one thing, having the patience, grit and work-ethic to make it a full-time source of income is another.
It’s not that it’s impossible, but it’s something that’s not as easy as it sounds.
Today, I find myself running a portfolio of 16 different affiliate marketing websites. Best one earning $5,000+, the “worst” ones earning $0 (still in build-up mode).
I break down my strategy on how and why I do this in one of my previous posts here.
So, how can YOU make a living with an affiliate website?
You have to pick a niche you’re going to target, then you need to build out your website with content, then you need to learn how to get traffic to your website and then you need to have enough traffic coming that (assuming any conversion rate from reader to paying customer) would make it enough to replace your full-time income.
Again, I won’t go through how to build a profitable website here as that’s not what this article is about, but you can check the linked resources above, or – you can even join this free training course (the same one I’ve followed) to learn how to do it all one-step-at-a-time.
How much income you need from your affiliate website(s) in order to make a full-time income is not something that I can answer for you.
What you need to do is figure out how much you need to live comfortably, and then work towards that goal.
Do not quit your day job…
While I’m one of the most vocal critics of the 9-5 lifestyle – I also advise you to really be careful when you’re thinking about quitting your job to become a full-time affiliate marketer.
If I had to give you some advice about this, I would tell you to;
First, get your website earning as much (ideally more) than your current salary for 6 consecutive months and second;
Have at least 6 months (12 months would be ideal) of living costs saved up.
I admit, I didn’t wait that long but in hindsight, I probably should’ve.
The more you do not need the income from your affiliate website, the more you can pump the profits you are making back into the business – so you can grow it bigger – quicker.
When it was time for me to quit my job and go all-in on my affiliate marketing business, I had no debt, no mortgages, no family to take care of and I was still pretty young so the risk involved was one I was willing to take.
(Luckily, it worked out – although not without challenges, setbacks and disappointments)
Again; you need to asses your situation and make this decision for yourself.
Here’s a great video from the guys from IncomeSchool that explains well what you need to prepare for if you decide to quit your job and try to make a living from blogging & affiliate marketing:
Is Affiliate Marketing Really Profitable?
Of course, it is.
I would even say it’s one of the most profitable business ventures ever.
Affiliate websites are very cheap to start, you can build one for free (if you work on it yourself) and a simple domain name and hosting plan (which will cost you about $100 a year) is all you need to keep it running.
I have two “mega-websites” that I work on, which collectively bring me a steady $5,000 a month in income (& growing) and I also have a slew of other smaller websites with the aim to get them to $500-ish per month and never work on them again.
I have sites which I’ve built years ago now making a steady $200 to $500 a month and I never even visit the website myself – yet they keep earning me money like clockwork.
This is the great thing about affiliate marketing and why it’s very possible to make a great profit with an affiliate website.
The upside potential is unlimited and the day-to-day running costs are ridiculously low.
One other huge profit-maker for affiliate marketers is building and then selling an affiliate website for a profit (something which I’m starting to get into now).
Build a website for $100, build it out till it’s earning $1000 a month, sell it on the marketplace for $30,000 (assuming a modest 30X multiple).
How’s that for-profit?
Again, this is not as easy as it sounds and this also depends on your strategy and what you want to do with your business.
I’m just showing you another way you can make a living with affiliate websites.
How Much Money Do You Need To Start Doing Affiliate Marketing Profitably?
Before I get into how to manage an “affiliate portfolio” and how long you can expect to wait to start earning some serious income, let me first address the $100 a year selling point.
The domain and hosting plan will cost you $100 – even less if you really want to shop around and try to find the best deal.
However, that’s not all the investment you need to make to build it out to be a $1/2/3/4,000 a month website.
The biggest expense will be the content.
You can either outsource it (and pay a hefty sum of money to content writers) or you can write the content yourself. While this will not cost you anything, it will cost you in time.
For most of the sites I build, I now outsource the content either to my in-house writer or to freelancers online but I still write some posts (for this website for example).
My strategy for building out niche websites is I like to get them to 30 published posts.
If I hire a content writer that does an ok-ish job, this usually costs me $500-$600 to set up completely (but I would still have to do all the SEO, all the publishing, images, etc).
On the other hand, if I want to be hands-off completely (not even publishing the posts myself), this would cost me about $3,000.
This is approximetly how much you need to pay to get started with affiliate marketing, but as I said – it will only cost you $100 a year if you write all the content yourself (which is what you should be doing if you are starting out).
One other option you have (if you have the budget), is to buy a ready-made affiliate website.
This is an investment that would cost you at least $20,000 to get a site that is making around $800 a month.
If you want to buy an affiliate website that will produce enough income for you to be able to make a living from it, you are looking at around a $60,000 to $100,000 investment.
You can see my guide on how to buy ready-made niche websites here if you’re interested.
How To Manage Your Affiliate Marketing Business
If you want to make a living with this, you are going to have to stop thinking of it as a hobby and instead treat as a business.
If you treat it like a business, it will pay you like a business.
Again, this depends on the goals you have for your business.
My goal is to be hands-off as much as possible so I can focus on building out projects I’m actually passionate about.
However, I do treat my affiliate marketing as a business and truth be told, I only started “making a living” from it when I made the switch from “hobby” to “business”.
You can read more about how to manage an affiliate website portfolio here.
How Long Does It Take To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?
I feel like I answer this question in just about every “affiliate marketing guide” I publish.
I also see it come up often from newcomers inside my training course.
How long it will take you to make money with affiliate marketing depends on a lot of things, but mostly – it depends on you.
If you are willing to put in the work, you are willing to invest in your business (and treat it like a business), then, of course, you are going to be making money much sooner than someone who just treats it like a hobby and only “works” on their website one hour a week.
As I’ve said many times – affiliate marketing is not easy and the worst thing about it is that it requires patience.
See my guide on how long it will take you to make money here for some insights on why this business is more of a waiting game than it is anything else
Can Affiliate Marketing Make Your Rich?
While it depends on what you mean by rich and what number you have in mind – you can most definitely become rich with affiliate marketing.
According to CNBC, you need an annual salary of $300,000 a year to be considered “rich” in the United States.
Can you make $300,000 a year with affiliate marketing?
100% YES – there are affiliates who make that in a month but again; this depends on you.
“Starting an affiliate website” is not going to make you rich.
Starting a website, learning how to make it successful, having the patience, grit and determination to make it successful will get you to $300,000 a year much sooner than you think.
How To Become A Profitable Super-Affiliate
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As promised, since you’ve made it this far – I want to share with you an affiliate marketing course which I think you will benefit greatly from if you are just starting out.
It’s called “Wealthy Affiliate” and you can see my official review of this course here.
Disclaimer: I am a bit biased in the review but that’s because Wealthy Affiliate is the reason I am here writing these words to you.
I was just about to give up on affiliate marketing once and for all when I discovered this community and after going through the training provided (and really understand what it takes to build out a successful online business) I finally managed to make my first sale and kept growing and growing from there.
It’s hands-down the best affiliate marketing course there is (I know because I’ve tried many) and it would be such a shame if you walk away without at least reading my review about it.
Trust me, you won’t be disappointed and you have nothing to lose (it’s free to get started with).
I hope this post has given you an idea of what it takes to make a living with affiliate websites.
I didn’t share as much “technical tips” as I usually do, but I hope this was as informative to you as you’d hoped for.