Say whaaaat? 5 steps to replacing my income…easily?

No way. Not happening. I don’t believe you!

This is the conversation I imagine you are having in your head right now.

Am I close? Even a little?

Moving on…

So, it’s the beginning of 2014—a time of fresh starts, resolutions, and 40% follow-through rates.

It’s also a time when most people who are unhappy in their jobs, miserable working under their managers, and fed up with having to make small-talk, hit their limit.

They swear that THIS is the year they make it happen; this is the year they follow through with their dream of escaping the 9-5 and do something that actually matters to them.

But they don’t know where to start.

So they slowly but surely lose faith. They convince themselves that it’s too hard to start something new. After all, they have bills to pay!

Sound familiar?

Well, this is the year that everything changes. Because this is the year you replace your income.


Affiliate marketing, baby!

What the Heck is Affiliate Marketing?

Simply put, affiliate marketing is the process of creating a small website, recommending a product within a particular industry, writing a few pieces of content on that topic, including a personalized link with a tracking code (this is an affiliate link) within the content you have written, and getting paid a commission if someone buys that product through your website.

It might sound complicated at first, but it is actually one of the easiest and lowest barriers of entry to making money online.

If you’ve been searching for a way out, without having to learn a whole new complicated skill set, this is it.

So let’s get into it…

5 Steps to Replacing Your Income with Affiliate Marketing

Step #1: Pick a Product

Before you get started creating a website, or daydreaming about the vacation you’re going to take the minute you hand in your resignation, you need to pick a product.

But not just any old product, you need a product that a.) people want to buy, and b.) has an affiliate program you can join.

How do you find a product like this?

Follow this system:

1. Go to Amazon.com
2. Click on “shop by department”
3. Scroll through the list of categories, or more importantly, the sub-categories
4. Browse through the sub-categories to see which products are the most popular and have the most reviews and ratings
5. Narrow down your choice to 10 products (max) and create a list

See? That wasn’t so bad, was it?

Once you have your list you can move onto step two.

Step #2: Vet Your List of Products

Now that you have your list of products, it’s time to see which one might be the best option for you to focus on.

To do this, all you have to do is:

1. Open up a Google search
2. Compose your search like this: product name “affiliate program”
3. Scroll through the results and see if that particular product has an affiliate program you can join
4. Follow the instructions and join the affiliate program
5. Repeat the process until you find the best program for you

It may require a little trial and error to get this process right, but once you find one product, you can find hundreds!

The great thing about affiliate marketing is there are usually affiliate programs for just about anything you can think of—meaning there is endless opportunity for you to promote just about anything you can find through your research.

But, you’ll need a website before you promote anything…

Step #3: Create a Basic Website

A few years ago, building a website would have been a giant headache; requiring you to hire someone to do it all for you.

These days (thanks to WordPress and YouTube) you can do it all yourself, and in under 7 minutes!

It might take a little playing around to get it all looking the way you like, but the basic foundation of a website is incredibly easy to set up yourself.

Plus there are countless video tutorials on YouTube that will walk you through the entire process, step-by-step so you have no excuse for NOT setting up a website.

Of course, once you have a website set up you will need to add some content.

Step #4: Talk About Your Product

If you want people to find your website and buy from you, you are going to need some captivating content.

But where would you even start if you haven’t written for the web before?

Well, you could start with these 4 posts that are the backbone to just about every affiliate website out there…or at least the ones that make money. * wink *

Here are the 4 posts you will need to write:

1. A unbiased product review that highlights both the positive AND the negative aspects about the product
2. A “Does [product] work?” post
3. A “How To Treat (or fix/create/do/overcome/get rid of) [pain point the product solves]
4. A “Top 10” list of the best products in your niche, where you would position your product as the #1 solution. Note: You can use whatever number you like, it doesn’t have to be 10

If this all sounds great to you, but you’re not quite sure where to begin, start by doing some simple research and read other blogs that are promoting the same product as you.

This will help you learn more about the product (if you’re not already familiar with it) and give you the chance to model the information, add your own flavour, and make it unique to your site so your readers aren’t getting the same old recycled information.

Speaking of readers, you’re going to need some of those if you want to make money…

Step #5: Get Some Traffic to Your Site

If you’re going to make any money with this site of yours, you’re going to need some traffic!

And not just any old traffic, you are going to want targeted customers who are looking to buy exactly what you’re promoting.

But how do you get those people off Google and onto your page?

Oh just these little things we call backlinks. Or in non-web speak, you are going to want to find other websites in the same general niche as you to link to your site and essentially “vouch” for you.

How do you do this?

By incorporating guest posting into your overall business strategy.

Now this might sound a little intimidating, but it shouldn’t because there are likely a ton of websites in your chosen niche that are all looking for content—content you can write for them in exchange for a link back to your site.

So how do you find these sites? Well, you could check out my full-blown tutorial here, or you can follow this basic system:

1. Open up a Google search
2. Compose your search to look like this: your niche “write for us” OR your niche “contribute”
3. Comb through the results and see if anyone in your industry is looking for guest posts
4. Read through their submission guidelines and their content and come up with 3 topics you could write on
5. Pitch your 3 topics in a personal and friendly manner
6. If accepted, channel your inner author and write a high-quality post that they would be silly to deny
7. At the end of your post, include a link back to your website

And just like that you have driven your first link to your website! * high-five *

From there it’s all about scaling your efforts until you see improvements in your traffic and Google rankings.

Trust me, once you have got a handle on all of this it becomes downright addicting, and you’ll start to wonder why you waited so long to escape the 9-5.

After all, who doesn’t love making money while you sleep?

Jill is a wanderluster and affiliate marketer hell-bent on teaching others how to escape the 9-5 and live the life they’ve been meaning to live. She can usually be found at ScrewTheNineToFive.com or over on Facebook, scrolling through an endless sea of picture quotes and cat videos.

Image Credit: www.celebritynetworth.com