This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
At the end of October, I completed the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course by Michelle at Making Sense of Cents. For 2017, Michelle has consistently been making over $100K per month from her blog. In 2016, she earned internet fame by earning $1 million from her blog!
I have been reading Michelle’s blog for quite a while and even had the opportunity to meet her at the financial blogger’s conference Fincon. She is truly an inspiration to me. When I was faced with job loss and wondering what to do next with my life, I immediately thought of Michelle and the overwhelming success she’s had with her blog. I said to myself if she can turn her blog into a $1 million dollar business success and transform her life, why can’t I? I love writing and helping others, so why the heck can’t I give this blogging thing a go AND make money from it? Right?
My initial reaction to affiliate marketing might be similar to yours — I thought it was scammy and sleazy. For 16 years I was employed in corporate sales and marketing and often found it tough to balance caring about customers alongside what the company expected me to push on my customers. Hence why I’m now doing sales MY WAY. I prefer to promote products and services that I believe in and that I know from personal experience will add value to another person’s life.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to provide that value and monetize your blog — especially if you dislike Google Ads as much as I do. I loathe reading a blog post cluttered with banner ads throughout the material I’m trying to read and learn from. Ick!
Sidenote: I’ve seen as many as six banner ads throughout one 500-1000 word blog post. Yuck.
Affiliate marketing allows you to promote products you trust and believe in to your readers without clutter. What’s not to love about that? And, the best part? It doesn’t cost your readers a thing!
Let’s say you are a total fashionista like I am and love the minimal and quality fashion that Everlane offers — through my link there’s no cost to you and I get to share a company whose products I love and believe my readers would too. Simple, right? And not icky. I’m sharing something I love AND have personally tried.
It gets better too. In some instances, readers can even get a bonus for using an affiliate link. Yep, you my dear reader can get bonuses FOR YOU from some links. Like when you sign up for You Need A Budget with my link, you get a FREE month.
See? Simple and non-icky.
Although I’ve been blogging for many years, it’s only been part-time (I had 14-hour workdays plus blogging on top of that) and I’ve only recently put a focus on blogging full-time. For the past year, I’ve been dabbling in affiliate marketing but without much luck. But none of that stopped me, a 41-year-old blogger, from making $200 within a few short weeks of taking the course. Yep, I started gaining affiliate sales almost immediately when I applied the strategies from the course (and from some good ol’ fashioned hard work).
And my earnings have been steadily increasing.
In the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, Michelle shares her personal experiences, strategies, and tools for building a six-figure blog.
Why I initially stayed away from affiliate marketing
In a nutshell? I didn’t want to scare my readers away. I didn’t want to waste my time or my reader’s time. I thought making money from my blog was somehow wrong – like selling my soul. Or worse yet, I’m a minimalist and I’m promoting products?
These were all silly notions.
Readers are always looking for help on how to make their lives better, simpler, less stressful and minimalists still do buy things. We need to live after all! It’s simply that we curate and are intentional about what comes into our lives.
What I realized was affiliate marketing is sharing. It’s sharing what I use in my day-to-day life. It’s sharing successes by recommending courses like Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing that has earned me $200 in a few short weeks. It’s sharing products and services that help make life simpler and more intentional — such as minimal living books, natural skin care products, or quality garments that are made ethically and through sustainable sources.
Why affiliate marketing works
It’s not slimy.
It’s somewhat passive income.
It’s less work than creating a product.
You get paid for promoting what you believe in.
There are tons of options for everyone.
You can work from anywhere — Hawaii anyone? Yes, please. I’m in.
Do you need a lot of page views or followers?
The short answer? NO. You do not need millions of page views a month to make money. My blog averages 10,000 – 15,000 page views a month and I’ve started earning income.
“Having 1,000 loyal readers is better than 10,000 who don’t care.”
– Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, Making Sense of Cents
What can you learn from the course?
In the course, there are 6 modules, over 30 lessons, 20+ worksheets, bonuses, an extremely helpful exclusive Facebook group, and more. And Michelle covers everything when it comes to affiliate marketing, such as:
• What affiliate marketing is and how it works
• Why affiliate marketing is great
• The exact steps she’s taken to earn over $300,000 from a single blog post
• How to pick the right affiliate products to promote
• How to increase conversions
• How to build trust and not lose followers
• Required disclosures that you need to know about
• The one major tool you need for affiliate marketing
• Different strategies to use to promote your affiliate products
• How to use Pinterest to succeed at affiliate marketing (yes, this includes the newest Pinterest affiliate rules!)
How long will the course take?
The course is made up of 6 modules with a bonuses section. I work a part-time job in addition to blogging and it took me a month to get through the course material and exercises/worksheets.
If you have more time to dedicate, you could probably get through it in 2 weeks at most.
The section that took me the longest was finding my top 10 posts and optimizing them. That was the most extensive amount of work.
What is the cost of the course?
The price of the course is $197. It’s still affordable for those of us that are on a budget. And when you think about it, you’ll earn back the cost in a few months at most. (Update Nov 25: I already have! I’m at $306 in earnings). There are rumblings that the course may go up in price, so you should consider jumping in as soon as you can.
Along with the main course, you’ll receive several valuable bonuses, including a Pinterest strategy guide from a Pinterest expert, Rosemarie Groner of The Busy Budgeter (she charges $34 alone for the guide) and you’ll receive it free as part of the course.
And there’s also a FREE Facebook Mastermind Group only for those that take the course. This exclusive group will help you connect with others who have taken the course so you can get feedback, ask questions, learn from others in your community, and offer help of your own.
There are also special share days, such as Group Feedback day and Winning Wednesdays to share your blogging wins.
All in all, I highly recommend Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing for anyone who is looking to monetize their blog. It’s straightforward, no-nonsense, with easy to implement strategies. By taking the course, you’ll learn how to get your first affiliate sale without the guessing.
Ready to start a money making blog of your own? Check out How to Start a WordPress Blog.