I’m excited about this week’s making extra money post because we get to hear from a successful blogger who has been able to turn her side income from her blog into a full time job and you are going to learn exactly how she did it! The format this week will be a little different. I’ve interviewed Michelle Schroeder-Gardner from Making Sense of Cents and I’ve included the answers for you below. I have known Michelle for a few years, she even managed my blog for awhile when I stepped back for awhile to pursue other things. She is a trusted friend and a wealth of information on the topic of making extra money with affiliate income (currently earning $100,000/mo.), so let’s get started!
Today is part 5 and we are going to talk about making extra money with affiliate income. I love talking about this topic with people and brainstorming ways this can be done. Oftentimes, making at least a little extra money is quite simple to do but for some reason does not come easy for people. Let’s change that!
The point of this series is to help you take small & incremental steps to start earning extra income. Earning extra income can come in many ways (some you might not expect) & some may surprise you!
It can be hard to think outside of the box in your own situation, so that is where I come in. I’m doing this 10 part series on making extra money to help you think outside the box and bring some extra money in.
Once you do that, you’ll be able to use the extra money to build up your emergency fund, pay down debt, give back more or take a vacation & design a life you love. So let’s have fun with this and work together to come up with ideas to make extra money!
What is Affiliate Income?
According to the website Smart Passive Income, affiliate income can be explained as :
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.
Sounds pretty simple, but how do you do that? Let’s go to my interview with Michelle to explain more about that.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog, Making Sense of Cents, What is your main focus or area of expertise?
Hello! My name is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I run Making Sense of Cents. Me and my husband sold our house last year and we now travel full-time with our two dogs, all due to our personal finance blog.
On Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about different ways to make extra income, money saving tips, living your dream life, RVing (me and my husband RV full-time), and more. I love running Making Sense of Cents and I am very happy that this is now my full-time career, my business, and pretty much my life.
2. You’ve had a lot of success with your blog. Can you briefly tell us about how you got started and where you are today?
In August of 2011, I started my blog with the hopes of teaching people how to save money after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. I became absolutely fascinated in that website and my interest in blogging just grew from there.
It’s funny because before August of 2011, I didn’t even know that blogs existed. I didn’t know what they were, I didn’t know that they could make money, or anything like that.
I did not create my blog with the intention of making money blogging. It was really all just a hobby. I then realized how much I loved blogging and realized that it was for me, so now I am a full-time blogger! It’s funny how life can change so much.
Over the past several months, I’ve been regularly earning around $100,000 per month, and I expect it to continue growing from here. I’m extremely happy with the success of my business and I can’t wait to see what else the future has in store for us.
3. What’s it like to travel full time & live in an RV? What does a typical day look like for you?
Traveling full-time an living in an RV is truly amazing! We absolutely love it. We’ve only been RV’ing for over one year, but we already see ourselves doing this for several, several more.
A typical day varies, but sometimes they go like this:
- I wake up, answer some emails, do some work on the blog, etc.
- We take the dogs for a long walk.
- Have breakfast.
- Work a little bit.
- Do some exploring wherever we are (we like to explore during the day, so I usually try to save work for night time).
- And, that usually repeats throughout the day, with meals, a little bit of work, and breaks to explore.
Being able to work and travel is an amazing thing and I definitely recommend anyone with a travel itch to try it out!
4. What has blogging (and specifically having affiliate income) allowed you to do that you never could have dreamed when you got started?
Blogging and affiliate income has opened up our lives in ways that we never would have imagined.
The biggest thing would be that we absolutely love running Making Sense of Cents. We love helping people, creating content is a ton of fun, and it’s a great business to have. Plus, we earn a great income and we get to travel full-time. Who doesn’t want that?
5. What does having this type of freedom mean to you?
This type of freedom means everything to me. Life is great and I have no complaints.
6. What is one piece of advice you’d give someone who wants to get started with affiliate marketing?
My best piece of advice would be to just try! I waited so long to try my hand at affiliate marketing, and I regret waiting so long. Even if you have a low amount of followers or if you are a brand new blogger, you can still be successful at affiliate marketing.
How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing
Does the topic of affiliate marketing interest you more now that you’ve seen someone do it and you can see what is possible? I have tried affiliate marketing in the past and I can tell you I wasn’t very good at it at first because I really had no idea what I was doing or how to do it. I didn’t have a system for what I was doing and my efforts were spread all over the place with very little results to show for all my hard work.
So I gave up on it for awhile, went on a did other things (which I do not regret because they led me right where I needed to be) but then kept getting pulled back. I was seeing the success Michelle was having and kept wondering ‘what am I missing?’ I can tell you now what I was missing was the teacher to teach me how to do it!
Michelle has put together a course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing to teach anyone who wants to learn more about it. (Special Note: From Friday, November 25th to Sunday November 27th (it will end at 11:59 p.m. PT on the last day), you can give use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY38 and receive $38 off the course!)
I bought her course, I went through it in about 4 days and now I’m off and running. After going through her course, I could finally see what I was missing and why my efforts in the past weren’t paying off. I’m now making affiliate sales and on the path to expanding my blog reach and my income, I’m so excited!
Who Should Make Extra Money with Affiliate Marketing?
If you are reading this and you are interested in making extra money with affiliate marketing, like Michelle said, just give it a try! If you are a blogger and you have not been utilizing affiliate income, this would be a great way for you to monetize your blog and make extra money.
However, if you don’t have a blog, you can still earn affiliate income. In my first two posts in this 10 Part Making Extra Money series, I talked about referring your friends and family to sites like Ebates and Swagbucks. When you do that, you are making extra money with affiliate marketing because you are referring someone to a product you like and that you see value in. While it is likely to be difficult to earn substantial amounts this way, you can still make extra money and see the benefit affiliate marketing brings.
It’s important to note that when you are promoting affiliate offers, make sure you have some experience with the product and you are honest when you are sharing it with other people. On my blog, I only promote things that have helped me and that I think will be a benefit to my readers. By doing so, I stay in integrity with my personal values and beliefs. The purpose of my blog has always been to help single women get out of debt, build wealth and (more recently) design a life you love. I will only promote products that I believe can help you do just that!
Pros of Affiliate Marketing
- One of the biggest pros of making extra money with affiliate marketing is it’s passive income. If your not familiar with what passive income means, Wikipedia defines it as:
Income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it.
Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? If you are using affiliate marketing on your blog, it can take some time to set up but once you place the links throughout your posts, all you have to do from there on out is promote your content and drive traffic to your site by putting out good quality information that benefits your readers. There are tools that can help you manage this as well.
- Another benefit to affiliate marketing is you don’t have to spend the time creating products, you can promote the products you believe in and still make money!
- It’s often two-fold. The person your referring gets a discount and you get paid as well. This is an example of how affiliate marketing benefits you (the reader) and me (the blogger). If you use my affiliate link to sign up for Airbnb, you will get $35 credit towards your first stay and I will also earn a credit as well. It’s a win-win for us both! In addition, if you sign up for an Acorns account, we will both get a $5 credit AND Airbnb will invest in you, here’s how:
It’s really amazing how affiliate marketing works and the potential that is available if you are focused enough to take the time to learn about it!
Cons of Affiliate Marketing
- It can take time for your income to grow through affiliate marketing. There are all types of factors that come into play with this but it does take time to build up your affiliate income. I know I got frustrated with this in the past and just gave up on it before I let it actually grow to what it could be! If you are patient (like Michelle) you can see the potential that is available when you stick with it.
- There is a level of organization needed when you begin affiliate marketing. It’s likely you will be working with several companies and you need to be able to keep track of which companies you are working with. A simple spreadsheet will help you do this, it doesn’t have to be anything complicated, just make sure you do it!
Companies to get started with Affiliate Marketing
Some of my favorite companies to work with for affiliate marketing are:
- iGain (please let them know I referred you!)
- Max Bounty
- Commission Junction
- Zaycon Fresh Influencer
- Ebates – Sign up and refer others & get cash back
- Swagbucks – Sign up and refer others & get cash back
- Pepperjam Network
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Program
If you are serious about learning more about making extra money from affiliate marketing, I highly recommend purchasing Michelle’s course (don’t forget touse coupon code BLACKFRIDAY38 and receive $38 off the course!). As I said earlier in this post, I have went through it myself and found it to be the most concise and easiest way to understand affiliate marketing. You will be able to immediately take steps to start earning affiliate income just like I did!
The current price of the program is a one time payment of $197 or two payments of $105/month. Michelle will walk you through exactly how she went from making $0 to $100,000 a month in affiliate income.
As I mentioned in the past, I gave up very easily on affiliate marketing because I didn’t know what I was doing. I also had some reservations about promoting things because I didn’t want to come across as sleazy, however I felt there were a lot of things I wanted to share with my readers that I knew could benefit them!
For me, this program clearly spelled out the steps to take to utilize affiliate marketing on my website (in a non-sleazy way) and helps me share the great content I want to share as well as be able to monetize my blog even further. I feel like this is a win-win which is why I highly recommend her course.
Affiliate marketing can be a wonderful way to earn extra income, Michelle’s story proves that! It can take some time to set up and patience to get in place, but the income you receive from it can be well worth it.
Are you interested in affiliate marketing? If so, what will you do to get started?