How to Start a Profitable Affiliate Marketing Side Hustle

how to start a profitable affiliate marketing side hustle
Sep 26, 2023 min_read

According to an April 2023 Bankrate survey of 2,505 US adults, 53% of Generation Z's have at least one revenue source generating side hustle, as do around 40% of millennials. But starting your own business when you already have a full-time job can take time and effort. 

That's where minimal effort side hustles such as affiliate marketing come into play. Affiliate marketing, a business model currently exploding in popularity, is a great way to earn passive income without wasting too much of your precious time and money.

Here are the ins and outs of how to start a profitable affiliate marketing side hustle!

social media

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a low-risk online business that doesn't need high startup costs compared to other online side hustles. Often celebrated for being a great passive income source, a successful affiliate marketing website can generate extra money with minimal ongoing effort.

The main three categories of ways to make money from affiliate marketing work: earn extra cash as you promote products through your own website (blog, e-shop), email marketing, or by putting your marketing efforts into placing a referral link on your social media account, such as your YouTube channel.

How Do Affiliates Earn Passive Income?

In affiliate marketing, you become an affiliate marketer and then earn passive income by promoting products in high-quality content that other companies or individuals sell.

The affiliates get a unique link (an "affiliate link") from which clicks can be tracked — typically using cookies or tracking links. The cookie then follows the user to see if they buy the product. The affiliates will earn extra income if they do so within a set amount of time.

After a company can sell products to customers using your affiliate link, you earn extra income. It's that simple!

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How Much Can You Earn?

How much money affiliates can make with digital marketing can vary. Affiliate sales payouts differ depending on the affiliate network and the affiliate's offers.

On the low end, you could get around 5% of the sale, but in some cases, you might get paid as much as 50% for each product sold. Specific affiliate marketing programs pay you a set amount of money per sale instead of a percentage.

In general, the amount of money online you can make with this business model depends on how often you create content – the more affiliate products you offer and the more content marketing you do, the more you can earn.

If you're shooting for the stars, you can combine your affiliate marketing side hustle with other ways to earn money online by looking into other passive income apps, such as making money on TikTok. The more the merrier!

How to Start a Profitable Affiliate Marketing Side Hustle

To become an affiliate partner, there are a few steps you need to take before you can generate income. First, you'll need to gather all the tools necessary, including a stable internet connection, a laptop or PC, or a phone.

Approach affiliate marketing by researching the products that are in demand right now, looking into joining an affiliate network (more on that later!), and reviewing your online presence – do you already have a popular blog or an Instagram or Pinterest account with a larger following?

If you don't, we recommend starting with a platform like Pinterest, where all you have to do is create an account and upload a photo of a product with a relevant description. Most importantly, remember to insert an affiliate link that’ll guide the end user to a platform where the product you promote is sold.

You can try contacting other affiliates because they could help you gather helpful advice and information. Marketing is a social business, so making money goes hand in hand with networking with fellow affiliates! Don't be scared to reach out and say hello!

Choose a Relevant Niche

Affiliate marketing works best when the products you promote are helpful or interesting to the end user. While a larger audience can technically mean a more considerable earning potential, in the long run, a niche loyal base of customers will result in a bigger reward for all your marketing efforts.

That's why choosing a niche is essential – look into relevant products that you’d buy or into products that are popular right now, as the high demand will mean a successful affiliate marketing side hustle!

You can start building trust with your audience by offering to promote a few niche products in a different category and using a tracking link to test the sort of products with the biggest target audience.

After you've warmed up with a few affiliate offers, venture into different products and add a new revenue stream to your affiliate marketing side hustle.

The affiliate marketing business is very dynamic, so while choosing a niche to make the most passive income, it is important to be flexible to stay on trend with your affiliate offers. You know what they say: ''I stay cool and dig all jive; that's the way I stay alive."

affiliate program

Join an Affiliate Program

An affiliate program is an agreement where a business pays someone ('the affiliate') money to drive traffic and sales their way. This can be achieved through web content, social media (like Pinterest), or product integration (like in a video on your YouTube channel).

You should check out a few affiliate programs if you want to promote products or services. Joining an affiliate program can get you exclusive access to new content and special deals for your audience — all while earning you passive income.

Check out some recommendations for choosing an affiliate marketing program:

Search affiliates

With this affiliate marketing program, marketers spend their money to advertise affiliate offerings on search results pages or other online advertising networks, including Facebook Ads.

This is a fantastic option for affiliate marketers with an SEO background who want to A/B test to see which ads result in the most referrals.

Influencer Programs

If you’re a blogger with your own website or social media influencer who interacts with a particular audience, think about collaborating with a business whose products or services might interest them.

Ideally, if your audience likes the things you're marketing, this will result in a more significant revenue stream.

The bigger your social media following, the more money you'll make!

Email Marketing

If you work for a marketing firm, you may collaborate with a business that provides design tools and includes an affiliate link in emails sent to design customers. As well as giving your clients an additional money stream, this can help them in producing high-quality material.

Sending mass emails to those uninterested in the marketed goods or services is not a good idea. However, this approach could work if your email subscribers are carefully considered.

Affiliate Networks

Instead of just offering products from one company, an affiliate network acts like a marketplace and provides a more significant number of brands and deals to choose from.

This option may appeal to beginner affiliate marketers because you don't have to manage multiple partnerships simultaneously. Additionally, there is no limit to the number of affiliate networks you can join, so the possibilities are endless.

In general, joining an affiliate program can be helpful to those who need help deciding where to begin, so look around and choose wisely!

mistakes to avoid when setting up an affiliate marketing side hustle

Common Mistakes While Setting up a Successful Affiliate Marketing Business

Mistakes are hard to avoid when starting a new job or a side hustle. But we all try our best, right? To help you out in your journey as an affiliate marketer, we've collected the most common mistakes that a beginner affiliate should avoid:

Promoting Low-Quality Products

When buying something online, we all expect to receive a product that we can use for a long time. Affiliate marketing is no different – you must take responsibility for the products or services you promote.

Before you promote products and services, please do your research – read past customer reviews, Google the company, and ensure that what you're marketing are high-quality products.

Using a Single Platform for Affiliate Marketing

As with any successful business, you must have more than one revenue stream earning you money. This means marketing everything on a single platform, like Pinterest, will only be successful for so long.

For an affiliate marketing side hustle to make a lot of money, you must expand your horizons and use more than one social media platform. Many cover their bases by using Pinterest, YouTube, and Amazon!

online traffic

Saying No to Networking

Working online can sometimes get lonely. Moreover, hesitating to contact your fellow affiliate marketers in the marketing game might cost you cash and opportunities!

As we mentioned above, affiliate marketing is a business that thrives on human connection. Don't be afraid to reach out to brands and companies for partnerships. Speak up for yourself and open the doors to future possibilities.

What's more, it's helpful to build relationships and trust with other affiliate marketers – share your experience and good practices and learn something from them in return.

With all the affiliate marketing of products, remember to market yourself!

Affiliate marketing may have started as a simple side hustle, but now you can quickly turn it into a passive income-generating machine. It's up to you and how much time you will spend on it! It’s time to jump on the affiliate train before the market speeds right past you.

And if you realize that affiliate marketing isn’t the right side hustle for you, we invite you to join Honeygain – the first-ever app that allows you to make money online by simply sharing your internet connection. 

Download the Honeygain app on your phone or laptop and make money online!