In my humble opinion, “easy money” is a myth.
As entrepreneurs, we all work our tails off for every dollar that comes in, one way or another.
We may outsource some of the work to virtual assistants and team members, but we had to chart out that work.
We may hire ghostwriters to help create our content, but that content reflects ideas that we envisioned.
There are tons of tools we can use to make our working lives easier, like workflows and templates, but someone has to customize those tools … and it’s usually us!
Still, we should always strive for a balance of labor-intensive work (like one-on-one client interactions) and money-making tasks that require less work and oversight.
“Easy money” might be fiction, but some dollars are easier to earn than others. And those dollars typically come from passive income streams.
What’s the Difference Between Passive Income and Affiliate Marketing?
Before we dig into implementation tactics, let’s talk definitions.
When I work with newer business owners, they’re often confused about how passive income differs from affiliate marketing. And while both give entrepreneurs access to recurring income, they are far from identical.
Affiliate marketing is when a business allows non-employees to promote its offerings, and those non-employees make a commission on any sales they generate.
For us, this may mean joining someone else’s program (like Amazon’s) and promoting products through our channels … but it may also mean encouraging our followers and fans to promote OUR offerings and paying them a commission.
This stream of income is powered by people, so if you’re just building your business and have a small following it might fall flat.
Affiliate marketing is ideal for entrepreneurs with large and loyal followings.
Passive income is a lot more varied. It involves doing work upfront to create a relatively evergreen product or offering and then continuing to sell and generate income from that product or offering over the long term.
For instance, if you create an 8-week bootcamp program you may spend a month putting it all together, and then be able to sell it for several years without updating your materials.
These products and streams work best if you’ve got gobs of fans, but can also be a great way to build your following!
Passive income is a fabulous vehicle for entrepreneurs with original ideas, deep knowledge, or useful methodologies to share.
Both of these revenue streams require a little legalese to make sure you’re compliant with FCC regulations. Any time you post a link that may generate commissions, you’ll need to disclose that fact.
And if you’re collecting information about users through passive income stream sign-ups (or anything else), be sure to post your privacy policies!
Key Benefits of Passive Income Streams
The most obvious benefit of creating passive income streams and affiliate opportunities is that the revenue they generate is recurring.
Some of the best affiliate marketing programs offer repeated monthly revenue as long as your offered customer keeps purchasing the service you’ve suggested.
For example, online business platform Kajabi offers a 30% lifetime commission for any new member you sign up who stays active past their trial period. So if you sign up just one member who sticks around for 2 years, you make about $1,000! (This isn’t always the case; some products are a one-time offer, so read the fine print.)
If you’re already using products with established affiliate programs—like ConvertKit or SendOwl—why not join up?
In addition to recurring revenue, both passive income and affiliate programs let you drive more leads to your website, improve your SEO score and add more value to your content.
This is especially true if you create an affiliate program for your own offerings and ask your fans to spread those links around, but it also works if you promote links yourself.
And with passive income, you work once by investing time and money upfront, then get to promote that product again and again. So long as you refresh your marketing materials once in a while, you will reach and draw in new customers every time!
Whether you’re writing e-books, creating online courses, starting a YouTube channel, or creating an online store, you’ll be setting yourself up for a long-term promotional strategy.
Tips for Making Affiliate Programs Work for YOUR Business
It can be tempting to go wild over affiliate programs, but try to hold back!
You don’t want to bombard your audience with offerings and links, overwhelming them and driving them away. Here are my pointers for doing affiliate marketing the right way:
- Choose quality over quantity: Pick 3 powerful and relevant affiliate programs to utilize instead of signing up for EVERYTHING.
- Consider relevance: Choosing relevant affiliate programs IS crucial to your success! Who will buy if no one will be interested in your offer?
- Check commissions: Make sure the commission rate is worth your time. On average, Amazon pays around 5% per sale which really isn’t much unless you’re selling thousands of dollars of products per day. Smaller programs may have commissions that start at 10% but average around 30%. Doesn’t that sound way better?
- Believe in what you’re selling: Selling only products you truly love and USE yourself is the fastest route to successful affiliate income.
- Make it easy: Create a resource page on your website to house all of your affiliate links and reference this page whenever possible.
Wondering how to get started? Sign up as an affiliate with Share-a-Sale and Amazon Affiliates/Influencer program, both of which are simple and intuitive to use.
Then, quickly start linking to the products you use on your emails, social media, Insta stories, and other posts.
Watch as the sales roll in, get comfortable with the medium, then expand your passive revenue empire bit by bit!
Again, there’s no such thing as straight-up “easy money” … but when you utilize passive income and affiliate programs, your money-making efforts will take less oversight, less time, and less effort.
So not fully easy, but definitely easier!