Have you been wondering how to start affiliate marketing with no money? The good news is, you can start an affiliate marketing business with little to zero startup cash.
I understand being in that place where you have no money to invest in expensive courses.
I have been there myself and I want to show you that there are other ways. You can either let having no money hold you back and stop you.
Or you can let it spur you on and be a catalyst to prove to everyone who says it can’t be done, that you will do it. Here’s how to start affiliate marketing with no money right now!
How To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money?
Unlike most businesses, affiliate marketing requires no financial investment. There’s no limit to how much you can earn and it doesn’t cost anything to do.
Many successful business owners started with nothing, pro affiliate marketers included. And, the main reason they became successful was that they didn’t see having little money as an obstacle – they just found a way to do it for free.
And it is possible to start affiliate marketing with no money!
Want to Make More Money?
Become a member of HerPaperRoute today and get a toolkit packed with resources to help you make that paper. All for FREE!
What Exactly Is Affiliate Marketing?
If you’ve been reading other articles on my blog/podcast or elsewhere, you may already know what affiliate marketing is.
But if you don’t I will give a quick outline.
Here are the basic steps that explain affiliate marketing;
- You sign up with an affiliate network or as an affiliate for a product you love
- A unique affiliate link is given to you which tracks any clicks
- You promote the product via your chosen channels eg; social, email, a blog, in person
- When someone buys after clicking on your link, you get a commission
- Win/win situation for you and the product owner!
I wrote a very in-depth affiliate marketing guide for beginners if you want to really dig your teeth in! Affiliate marketing needs a lot of work upfront when you start promoting a product.
But, after you gain more authority in a niche, you can make passive income even when you sleep.
The Benefits of Starting an Affiliate Marketing Business
Affiliate marketing can be extremely beneficial as a side hustle and can even turn into a full-time lucrative career if you have the grit to stick at it and take the required action.
Some high ticket affiliate programs will pay you anywhere between 50-80% of the sale and some are recurring.
Once you set up your affiliate marketing business and start promoting a proven product to the right niche, you can build a thriving, repeatable, and scalable income.
- It can be lucrative and scalable
- You can start for a minimal cost or even zero cost
- No expertise is required, you can be the relatable beginner sharing your journey
- Once you do the work upfront, you can make commissions even while you sleep
- It gives you an independent, flexible work-life
- You don’t even need to create your own product to make money
- Promotion of your chosen product can be done on free social media sites
Why is Affiliate Marketing a Great Business Model?
There are multiple reasons why it’s a great business model. One of the biggest reasons is you can start affiliate marketing with no money and earn 100% profits!
Other reasons are;
- Profits can become passive and are hugely scalable
- You can promote products in any niche that suits you
- It’s possible to start making commissions without a website
- You can run your affiliate marketing business from anywhere
- It’s beginner-friendly and simple to start in a few hours
Is Affiliate Marketing Profitable?
Yes, it can be hugely profitable! Many affiliate marketers make lucrative profits from affiliate marketing.
You may start it as a side hustle but it’s totally possible to turn it into a full-time 7-figure income. I earned over $200,000 from affiliate marketing in 2020.
Why Start Affiliate Marketing This Year?
Affiliate marketing is a simple business model that is a win-win situation for the owner of a product and the affiliate marketer.
An affiliate marketer helps the owner of a product get more sales and the affiliate marketer makes a commission from getting sales through their affiliate link.
It’s likely that you are interested, skilled or super passionate about one type of product or a course you’ve taken? Why not tell other people about this super awesome product or thing and make money for doing so?
- Do you have a blog or website for your business?
- Are you active on social media regularly?
- Is there a particular niche or sub-niche you know a lot about or are particularly passionate about?
If you said yes to one or all of these questions above, you could start affiliate marketing to make passive income and eventually scale it to a full-time business.
(If you don’t have a website or blog yet, then you need to take this free course! It shows you every step you need so you can set up your website correctly for monetization this very weekend.)
You can start affiliate marketing if;
- You want to break free from the 9-5 grind of your day job
- You dream of starting your own online business
- You are happy with your job but you’d also like an extra passive income stream
- You dream of traveling as a digital nomad and want to make money online
- You’re a stay at home Mum and want a new money-making side hustle
- You are retired and want to bump up your pension
- You just want to make money from home and be your own boss
- You can start affiliate marketing with no money, and there’s no limit to how much you can earn
Being able to work from home so I could raise my kid while making more money online, than an employer would ever pay me were my main reasons for getting into affiliate marketing.
And I am so thankful that everything worked out – as nowadays I can work less than 20 hours a week, from my couch, happy kid by my side, never having to set foot in an office or a commute ever again.
Forbes may suggest that many people dislike working from home but that is just crazy to me.
I think their ‘research’ has holes. Because being at home, cozy, happy and independently wealthy is the best!
Now you know why you should start affiliate marketing, and the benefits you can get from this business model. Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to get started.
Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money – Beginner Steps
To start affiliate marketing with no money, it’s a good idea to do some research and planning before you get going. This post will detail the things in order you need to consider.
One point to remember is; affiliate marketing is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme.
There are many people online that will tell you it’s easy and promote fast-track ways, but these are usually just people trying to get you to buy their products without actually offering in-depth training or resources.
While I understand you want to make money as soon as possible.
You have to treat affiliate marketing like a proper business and build healthy foundations. If you have setbacks, just learn from them and move on – do not give up.
This guide includes everything you need to know and do to start affiliate marketing this year and beyond.
Not too long ago, I published a massive, ultimate guide to affiliate marketing. It has helped many people get started with affiliate marketing.
If you haven’t read that post yet, I would invite you to pin it and read it, in addition to this post below.
When you start to research affiliate marketing, it can seem like everyone and their dog is earning a ton of money just lying around by the pool with their laptop!
The thing is, if you want to start affiliate marketing and get to this stage, it’s not actually as easy as some make out. My success with affiliate marketing is something that has grown over many years.
I didn’t go from $0 to a million instantly. As always, I want to be real with you, as I think a lot of people online are not.
Some people promote affiliate marketing as a ‘get rich quick’ type of thing, as if you can be financially free in a matter of months.
But I like to think of building wealth with affiliate marketing the same way someone would fill a swimming pool:
Do you decide one minute that you want to go swimming, put a hose in an empty pool and then start swimming one minute later? No. The pool takes time to fill, over a good amount of time.
Truthfully, affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online for anyone, but it does take hard work, dedication and a never-give-up attitude.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, an office worker looking to break free, an aspiring digital nomad, a blogger or anyone else in-between, affiliate marketing is a great way to add another passive income stream to your life.
If you’re still interested after reading all of the above, let’s take a look at how you can start affiliate marketing now.
Here are your steps to starting affiliate marketing with no money
1. Decide on a Niche That Interests You
When you start affiliate marketing, you need to decide on a niche to promote products in.
You will be spending a lot of time talking about this niche, so make sure you have some knowledge about it or it interests you at least.
Consider what you enjoy doing yourself, what hobbies you have and what types of products you buy.
What products have you used in the past that you think are brilliant?
Do you have any skills in a particular area like fitness, finance, dating, animal care or nutrition for example? Have you overcome a big problem in the past?
Some examples are;
- Losing a lot of weight
- Clearing yourself out of debt
- Broke free from a job you hated
- Worked out how to travel on a budget
- Taught yourself the piano in 30 days
There are so many ideas for affiliate marketing niches. Some of the most profitable niches are; health, wealth and relationships.
This is because everyone wants to be healthy/look good, we all want to be wealthy and everyone wants a good relationship. Once you’ve decided on your niche, narrow it down into a sub-niche.
If you have chosen ‘losing weight’, you can sub-niche this down to ‘women over 40 losing belly fat’ for example. Narrowing your niche will help you carve out a name for that particular area.
If your topic is too broad, there can often be many popular influencers to fight against. Once people see you as an expert in a certain field, they will be more likely to buy from you.
Here’s a really great list of different ideas for monetizing different blog niches.
Before you even choose a product, you need to choose a niche that you are passionate about, have used or at least have some skill in that certain area.
Affiliate marketing works best when you choose one area to work in and position yourself as an expert.
If you try to sell anything and everything, this will not make people trust you and buy from you. Another thing to consider is; is there money to be made in that niche?
While I’m an advocate of following your passion, if you’re never going to make money, you may need to think out of the box slightly. An idea is to look into sub-niches.
So if your passion is sharks for example – there might not be a lot of money to make around that topic with affiliate marketing.
Maybe you could look into promoting a digital marine biology course online or some tools marine biologists might need. This is an extreme example, but hopefully, you can see what I mean!
But, if you want to get into the most profitable niches, these are health, wealth, and relationships. Everyone wants to be healthy, everyone wants to be wealthy and everyone wants that great relationship!
You don’t have to worry about these niches being saturated, as there is always going to be demand for products in these areas.
Also, even as a beginner, you can make money up against marketers with big social media followings. You just need to know how to create an irresistible offer.
2. Find an Affiliate Program
The majority of affiliate programs are free to join and there are many to choose from.
You can sign up to affiliate networks and browse through their products to find which will fit your audience.
But I like to make things easy for you. So I made a huge database of high-paying affiliate programs! Skim through and apply to all the ones that appeal to you! Some of the top affiliate networks to search for products are;
- Ultimate Guide To Making Money WIth Affiliate Marketing On Pinterest
- How To Make $100k Promoting Travel Blog Affiliate Programs
- How To Promote Clickfunnels As An Affiliate
Another way to find affiliate products to promote is by searching Google. Type in your keyword + (affiliate program). Examples would be weight loss + affiliate program or cameras + affiliate program.
Some will allow anyone to sign up to their affiliate program but some may require you to have an active website.
Note: You should have a website no matter what. Here’s how to start your website or blog step by step.
Also, have a think about what products you already use.
Have you recently taken a course online? Do you always buy the same makeup from one company?
Most established businesses these days have an affiliate program for their product as they know how powerful it is.
Search on their website for an ‘affiliate’ tab or ‘partner’ tab. There are a few different ways to find great affiliate products to promote. As mentioned:
- Search big affiliate networks like ClickBank, JVZoo and ShareASale
- Become an affiliate for a private affiliate program
- Get yourself a copy of the affiliate program database
Think of the products you use and love already. Those companies could be ideal for you to promote as an affiliate because you already know and believe in them.
You may be enrolled in an awesome course.
One that you believe is the best out there and will change anyone’s life if they’re willing to put the work in. After going through the training, become an affiliate for the course!
When searching for affiliate programs to join, consider:
- The product has a high average sale price so you make a good amount per sale
- The gravity score s high. The higher it is, the better it is selling
- Click on the product to check it has a professional sales page. This is what the customer will see initially you want it to be good
- Click on the affiliate page link to see what the affiliate structure is like, what promotional tools they give you and what other affiliates are saying about the product.
Remember whatever you decide to sell, will be a reflection on your reputation for the rest of your career. Make sure it’s proven, has great reviews, and will get awesome results for your customers.
3. Choose a Traffic Source
While many affiliate marketers use niche websites to promote affiliate products, it’s not essential to have a website.
But having one will make things easier! It is a great idea to start a niche blog and you can get started for only $3.95 a month on Siteground.
If you decide not to start a blog, there are many other free ways to generate traffic.
You can use your social media accounts to build up a following and connect with potential customers. Choose 1-2 accounts you are most prevalent on and focus on carving out your brand message.
The good thing is, it’s not essential to have a website to start affiliate marketing. The best social media accounts to build your affiliate business on for free are;
- YouTube. Video content is fast overtaking the written word and is going to continue to grow in popularity. Starting a niche channel around your product is a great way to go. Over 5 billion videos are watched a day on YouTube alone!
- Facebook. This giant is still one of the most popular out there and is a great way to connect with potential customers and build your own brand page and group. You will find most niches in a group somewhere on Facebook and by connecting and providing value to them, you can potentially get them interested in what you’re selling.
- Instagram. This platform is another way to connect with customers in your niche. Work on building up your following here with great images, interesting text, stories and funnel people through the link in your bio to your product.
- Twitter. Another big player in the social media game, Twitter is a great way to show off what you do/what you’re selling. Post valuable and inspiring content and chat to potential customers.
- Other platforms to consider using; LinkedIn, TikTok, Quora, Pinterest, SnapChat and Reddit depending on your target demographic.
- Quora and Reddit
It’s totally possible to start affiliate marketing with no money on free social media platforms. Do not just start spamming your links everywhere, but re-organize your accounts so they relate to your niche. Tell people how you can help them in your bio and post useful content daily.
Alongside posting on your own accounts, join relevant groups where your ideal customer hangs out. Make real connections daily and find out how you can help people in your niche.
With this human approach, you will eventually get people coming to you and wanting to buy what you have.
There are different ways you can start affiliate marketing with no money and begin promoting your product.
One way is to build yourself a niche website and start adding valuable content into the blog section that will give value to your customers. Here’s how to build a niche site!
You can even skip building one altogether and just buy a niche site that is already profitable, and grow it more!
Make sure your website is easy to navigate and has a fast loading time so you don’t lose potential customers. Increase the SEO of your website by:
- Including inbound and outbound links (use LinkWhisper).
- optimize your website for mobile
- insert and improve your metadata
- make your articles informative and keyword-rich
- install a WordPress plugin like Rank Math which will analyze each article and give you tips on how to improve SEO
To learn more about SEO, enroll in my free SEO course.
4. Build Your Authority Daily
People buy from people they know, like and trust. This will not happen immediately and you need to spend time building your authority in your chosen niche.
Show your ideal audience you have the answers to their problems. This can be done by posting relevant content on your social media. Go into Facebook groups and answer questions!
You can also answer questions on sites like Quora and Reddit as well, which have huge audiences looking for their problems to be solved.
Is your business protected legally? Get the Business Foundation Legal Bundle to make sure!
5. Create Free Lead Magnets to Build an Email List
Giving away helpful, easy-to-consume content for free will engage your audience and build your authority. It allows you to follow up with contacts when they don’t buy straight away.
Only a very small percentage of your audience will buy from you immediately. Building email sequences allows you to take a subscriber on a journey from cold lead right up to hot lead, where they can’t wait to buy what you offer.
Some good ideas for free lead magnets are;
- A short EBook that solves a problem or answers a question
- A cheat sheet showing how to do something faster, easier, more affordably
- Mini video series
- Free templates or printables
- A coaching or strategy call
- Swipe files of your best emails, social media posts or high-converting funnels
- A short email series teaching something relevant
Check out this big list of awesome lead magnet ideas!
6. Start Producing Informative, Engaging Content Consistently
Once you have your product, niche and chosen traffic channel, you have to start producing content that will position you as an expert in that area.
The key here is to be consistent and produce content in the form of videos, blog posts or social media posts daily. This will build your brand and attract potential customers to you.
Some ideas are; review posts! This could be in the form of a video or written post, talking about a product or service in your niche that will be useful for your customers.
Another way is to write informative blog posts that address your niche market’s pain points, issues, or common problems. How-to posts, list posts, roundups, and long-form guides do well here.
Creating free informational giveaways is another useful way to educate your audience and to get them onto your email list. Building an email list is essential to use as another way to keep in touch with your tribe and put your offers in front of them.
Ideas are; an e-book, a PDF, a mini video series, a free planner sheet or a mini-email course.
Get Your Affiliate Marketing Profit Planner.
7. Connect with Your Audience and Have Real Conversations
I can’t stress more how important this is. Many affiliate marketers just sell, sell, sell and turn people off them. No one likes to be sold to constantly and just seen as a cash machine right?
On your chosen social media accounts, spend time actually connecting to people like humans.
Don’t start a conversation with ‘’do you want to buy this….’’ Begin with ‘’Hi, how are you? I see you are in to in x,y,z… me too!’’ Over the next few weeks have normal conversations, ask questions, find out about their hopes, dreams and struggles. Answer questions if you can.
Only after you’ve built up a rapport should you even mention your product. Once you become proficient with affiliate marketing on your social media, you won’t even have to mention your product.
People will eventually start asking you about what you do. Never be desperate or chase the money. People will smell this a mile off and you will lose a lot of opportunities.
After creating your content, you should be promoting it on your social media channels. This should get people to follow you naturally if your content is excellent. Also, you can go into other groups in your niche on Facebook and Reddit to be helpful and engage.
Post informative posts, answer questions and talk to people. If you help people, they will check out your profile and want to know more. People buy from people so show them you’re human!
Strive to actually help people out without just trying to sell to them, and they will eventually see you as the answer to their problems and ask you what you have to offer. Other ways you can connect with your audience are;
- Writing on high-traffic sites like Medium. This platform gets over 60 billion unique views a month! If you start to write informative content on here regularly, you will be able to connect with more people in your niche.
- Answering questions on sites like Quora. Reportedly, around 3,000-5,000 questions get asked on this site daily. Look up questions in your niche and show what you know! Afterward, you can point people to your product or social media with a link at the end of a post or on your bio.
- Run a challenge or promotion. Who doesn’t like a challenge and if you’re in an industry where you are helping people in some way like wealth building, people need to be pushed to take action sometimes. Good ideas are; a 7-day live video challenge, connect with 20 new people a day challenge or make your first sale in 30 days – all ways to push people out of their comfort zone which is what they might not do on their own.
- Send out emails regularly. Email marketing isn’t dead, it’s still an important part of running and building a business. Your email list is the only online asset you actually really own. As social media accounts and blogs can inadvertently get shut down, with no explanation – and all your hard work and leads would lost!
7. Invest In Your Knowledge
Passion Will Get You Far But Training Will Get You Further. It’s entirely possible to start making money with affiliate marketing, without any training. Many people do it this way but often don’t talk about the huge learning curve they go through.
You can find a lot of information by reading about affiliate marketing all over the internet. But, getting some quality training from someone who’s achieved the results you want is invaluable.
I cannot stress enough how much difference it makes when you actually invest your cold, hard cash on a mentor or course. The learning curve can be long and steep when starting an affiliate marketing business.
Learning from a mentor who has made all the mistakes and got the exact blueprint to get where you want to be will shorten the time it takes you to get to success.
Free information can often be outdated and made by someone who hasn’t actually had the success they make out.
Check out this Make Affiliate Sales in 30 Days eBook.
This will take you through a simple 7- steps to make your first affiliate commissions.
When you invest your money into a quality affiliate marketing course, it will drive you to take action, to not give up at the first setback and to work as much as you can so you don’t waste your investment.
Having money in the game means when those thoughts of just ‘watching Netflix and chill’ hit, instead of writing that blog post, you’ll get your bum in gear and do the work!
Check out our handy Affiliate Marketing Profit Planner.
When Should You Quit Your Job for Affiliate Marketing?
Making a full-time income from affiliate marketing can take time and persistence.
It’s not usually recommended to quit your normal job until you are making a good level of income to replace what you are currently earning.
But, if you have a bit of savings to lean on, and you do decide to quit your job, you will find that you will have more time to work on your business so you may be able to grow and earn faster.
Or if you don’t have savings, the good thing is, starting affiliate marketing while you still have a full-time job is still no problem!
You may only have minimal time during your workday, but if you use that time wisely, you can start your new affiliate venture with little risk and have the funds to invest in a course to propel you forward faster.
Focus on leveraging the spare hours you have in-between your other commitments to do up to three main tasks for your new affiliate marketing business.
An example would be; writing one affiliate product review a week, studying for one hour a day, and writing a script for a new YouTube video.
Start getting into the habit of completing three tasks daily for your affiliate business and getting 1% better daily and you’ll start getting results.
Give yourself time to learn the basics and don’t beat yourself up if you make mistakes and get things wrong.
Building any new business is a learning curve and know that failures will teach you a lot if you let them.
If you stay focused, keep taking action and keep giving out value in your affiliate marketing niche, you will start making commissions.
This will lead to you making a full-time income from affiliate marketing and the time when you can say goodbye to the shackles of your current job and live life on your own terms!!
Conclusion – How to Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money
I hope you can see it’s totally possible to start affiliate marketing with no money. We are lucky to live in the age of free social media platforms that have ready-made, huge niche audiences that you can tap into.
Spend time on your chosen platforms engaging with your audience and developing your message. It does take persistence, energy, and effort but if you can stick at it, you will be rewarded in the end.
Once you do start making commissions, I highly recommend investing in a website and a mentor to take you to the next level. Investing in your business is essential in the long run to keep it growing.
It can be started for free, but building a profitable online business certainly isn’t free from effort.
You need to lay the foundations of your affiliate marketing business, keep building your digital assets (content) brick by brick, engage and give value to people and NEVER give up!
Now that you have made it this far, I know you are serious about learning how to become successful as an affiliate marketer.
I invite you to join my professional affiliate marketing program: The Blog Flipping Society.
This 12-month group coaching program will give you all of the tools, strategies, and support to see that you start and grow your affiliate marketing business on the right foot – saving you years of trial and error!