Side Hustle Series – Affiliate Marketing

Have you ever heard someone talk about affiliate marketing? I used to associate affiliate marketing with get rich quick adverts that would pop up, and I wrote it off as it seemed a little shady. In the last few months my opinion of it has changed somewhat as I’ve learnt more about it. I now use affiliate marketing to assist in paying for the costs of running my blog. So in today’s article, I’m sharing my experience with affiliate marketing as part of our side hustle series.   

Please note that we live in Australia so this experience may not be applicable to your situation.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

As per the Investopedia definition

Affiliate marketing is an advertising model in which a company compensates third-party publishers to generate traffic or leads to the company’s products and services.

In general speak those who use affiliate marketing to make an income will use their platform (this may be a blog, social media, website, etc) to link their followers to a particular product (or service) that rewards them for generating sales/sign ups. If a follower uses the link (or code) provided then the owner of the product or service owner will then provide compensation to the person who helped generate the sale.

It’s more than likely that you have used an affiliate code before (sometimes also known as a referral link). I personally like using someone’s referral codes as it usually comes at a benefit to me as the customer (e.g. $10 for signing up with X if you use a code). I often will send out a message to my friends or on social media asking for a referral link to something new I’m keen to try so I can benefit from a discount when signing up.

Why am I using affiliate marketing?

First off I want to make it clear that I never set out to make money from my blog. My blog is an outlet for me and is an expensive form of therapy. It’s amazing how much it costs to run any website/hosted blog: from hosting the site, design/software subscriptions, investing in additional website security, computer hardware, electricity, data charges, and of course the time I put into the content I write.

The opportunity for me to get into affiliate marketing was by accident. After many months of using Pearler I was recently invited to become an affiliate partner of theirs. I already had a personal referral link in place which gave me and any of my followers a free trade, but this was an additional opportunity where I would receive a monetary amount for each new sign up. So before committing to the opportunity I spent some time weighing up the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Continue to provide a free trade to any followers who use my code to sign up at no cost to them at all (Affiliates that I partner with don’t pass on the costs to you).
  • Allows me to invest more into my blog and improve the quality of content (All income earned goes back into the site).
  • Keeps untargeted and spammy advertising off the blog (I don’t want to have advertising on my site that isn’t related to our journey to FI).
  • Continue to provide affiliate links to products and services that can help others on their journey (I only use products and services that I personally use, and that I believe have helped me).
  • An opportunity to share my experiences with readers on Affiliate Marketing as a side hustle.

Cons

  • Some could see this as a shady move and I may lose readers.

After weighing up the pro’s and con’s I decided to go ahead on the proviso that I would be honest and transparent with my readers in line with the Frank on FIRE ethos of “Honesty” and write about it. I also decided that it might also be a subject that people might be interested in learning more about.

How many hours do we spend on this side hustle? 

I don’t spend a set amount of time on this side hustle, and view it as pretty passive as an income stream. I already blog regularly and so where appropriate I use my affiliate link. I don’t write my content with the intention of imputing a link, but if it fits with the subject matter then I will add it.

How much does this side hustle make?  

This month is the first month that I have been paid as an Affiliate Partner and I was paid $260. This amount is before tax and all of this income is taxable. Income for future months is not guaranteed at all, and after this article the income may dry up all together. For those who have used my affiliate link in the last month I really do appreciate it as you’ve helped me keep doing what I love (and I do really believe in Pearler as a platform). I share all my side income amounts in my monthly side hustle income posts.

Will you continue to do this side hustle in the future? 

Yes, however I only believe in affiliate marketing in the following scenarios:

  • Links to products or services that give my readers a direct benefit.
  • Links to products or services that I personally use and have helped me on my journey towards financial independence.
  • Only partner with affiliate marketing partners that don’t pass on the benefit I get at your expense.

Would you recommend using affiliate marketing? 

If you have a blog, site or other platform then I think that there is no harm in affiliate marketing, however I do think you need to be open and transparent about it. I encourage you to come up with your own rules or standards for doing affiliate marketing and stick to them.  

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Photo by Tnarg on Pexels.com

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