Home Business With Minimum Investment
There are so many reasons why people look to start their own business from home. They may be unemployed, want a great side hustle or want to change their whole lifestyle. The problem with starting traditional businesses, is that there are so many overheads. Therefore many people struggle to get started. But, the internet gives people the opportunity to start a home business with minimum investment.
I could go through a load of options like I have in my post How Can I Make Money From Home?, but I am just going to tell you about the main way that I do it here.
The main thing I do to make money from home is affiliate marketing. So in this post, I am going to go through all the ins and outs to get you clued up on it. Amongst other things, you will know how it works, what is good and bad about it, what it takes and how to learn how to do it.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
I will go in to all the details later, but affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other people’s products and services though a content based website. When somebody buys through your website, you earn a commission.
Why Affiliate Marketing Is A Good Home Business
I have been affiliate marketing for a while now and I get to enjoy the benefits. These benefits allow me to live the lifestyle that I do and I wouldn’t change it. So what are these benefits?
Cheap To Start
Affiliate marketing is one of the best examples of a home business with minimum investment. This is because in the early days all you need is a computer, an internet connection and a hosted website. The most expensive part of this is a computer, but you don’t need anything too flashy to build and manage a website.
You may want to spend money later on after you start to see some success. For example, you may want to pay for the plugins that give your website certain functions and features (but you can stick with free ones). Additionally, you may want to pay for adverts to increase the reach of your website.
Gives You Flexibility
Flexibility is my favourite part of affiliate marketing and it comes in two forms. The first way, is that I can choose my working hours. This means I can make the most of my life and and enjoy myself. But having this flexibility isn’t just about having fun, it also allows me to work on other income streams. For example, I manage social media accounts and write blogs for local businesses. This ability to manage my time to suit me isn’t something I could do while working for somebody else.
The second element of this flexibility, is that affiliate marketing can be done from anywhere. I have no plans to move from where I currently live, but if I had to, I could carry on my business as normal from wherever I end up.
I work from home, but if I fancy a change of scenery, I can take my laptop to a local cafe or I can sit on park bench with it tethered to my phone.
Great Earning Potential
Of course, starting a business has to be worth the effort, especially when it is hard work. But affiliate marketing has great earning potential. How much you can earn all depends on how hard you work, the niche you choose and the products and services your promote. But if you could make $30 per sale, the infographic below shows how much money you could earn.
As you can see, it is worth putting the effort in. Now imagine having a whole website with content that has this type of earning potential. Also what if you had more than one website?
Things You Should Know About Affiliate Marketing
This all sounds great, but I really want to give you the full picture, so I need to tell you about the stuff that isn’t so great and what you need to do to be successful.
It Takes A While To Start Making Money
You will encounter “gurus” that will tell you that they have the secret to making money overnight with affiliate marketing. This is not the case and affiliate marketing is not a business to start if you expect to or need to make money quickly. Affiliate marketing is a long term business strategy that you build now for your future.
In many cases it takes 18 to 36 months to real income from affiliate marketing. By “real income” I mean significant to be able to give up your job. This is because you need to build an audience, get ranked in search engines, building the trust of your audience and creating content. This all takes time, so it is common for people to start their affiliate marketing businesses along side their current employment.
You Need To Be Disciplined
This is probably the most challenging part for me. This is because nobody is sets a daily agenda for you or tells you what you need to do. Therefore, all this stuff has to come from you. Therefore, you need to set your own goals and make sure you reach them. If you don’t you only have yourself to blame.
When you work from home, there are a lot of distractions and no immediate pressure on you. Therefore, it is easy to let your attention drift away from what you are doing. So this is where good discipline comes in.
You Need To Be Consistent
This is a part of being disciplined really, but you need to work on your website every day. This is because your audience and search engines like to see websites that are constantly updated. Your audience likes to stay informed, and search engines realise that your website is fully functioning and a good source of information.
This continuous posting also means that you have more content that will reach your audience. The more people you reach within your niche the more money you will make.
There Is A Lot Of Competition
As affiliate marketing is a home business with minimum investment, there are a lot of people doing it. However, if you start your website in a good niche (I will go in to this later), you can reduce your competition.
If you research your competition, you will find lots of great websites, but you will also see that many people are not doing a particularly good job. You will find poorly designed websites with terrible content. Therefore you need to make sure your content is better than theirs (I will go in to this later too)
There are tough parts to any business, but if you are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to learn the techniques and produce great content, you will be able to make a success of affiliate marketing.
How Affiliate Marketing Works
I briefly mentioned what affiliate marketing is earlier, but now I will go in to how the process works.
Step 1 - Customer Search
The customer searches online for information. This could be how to do something, information on a particular product or it could be a problem they want to solve.
Their online search brings up a number of results. But they see that you have the information they require and click on the link to your website.
Step 2 - Your Website
The content you have created on your website helps the customer with what they are searching for. For example, this could be a review of a product or some information on how they can solve their problem. You give the customer your recommendation on what the best course of action is. This could be that they should buy a particular product or service. But you have a link on your website, that takes the customer to the online store where they can purchase it.
Step 3 - Customer Buys Product Or Service
The customer simply buys the product or service as normal from the seller’s website.
Step 4 - You Make Money
The link you have on your website that directed the customer to the seller’s website is unique to you and the product. This is an affiliate link that tracks the sales you have generated and rewards you with the commission.
How To Build An Affiliate Marketing Business
Now you know why affiliate marketing is a good option of a home business with minimum investment, how it works and what it takes, I will now go through the steps you need to follow to build an affiliate marketing business.
Step 1 - Choose A Niche
I mentioned that affiliate marketing involved a lot of competition. But you can reduce the amount of competition you come up against by choosing a good niche.
A niche is group of people with a common interest. You need to choose a niche that your website provides information on, so you can target an audience. I go in to all the details in my post how to find an affiliate marketing niche, but I will talk about the two main characteristics here.
The first thing you need to make sure of, is that your niche should be quite narrow. By this I mean that you need to target a specific group of people, rather than choosing a niche that is broad. An example of a broad niche, would be “food and drink”. This is one I tried to target expecting to appeal to everyone from vegans to whisky drinkers. The problem with doing this, is that I instantly gave myself a huge amount of competition. In addition to this competition, the amount of work I had to do to make a website like this successful was unrealistic. Also, the few visitors that I did get did not see enough content relevant to them, as it was so varied.
A website that targets vegans or whisky drinkers would have been a better choice. This is because it would have enough content on either subject to be relevant to the intended audiences and would have held their attention.
One of the other things you need to make sure of when choosing a niche, is for it to be something you are interested in. Yes I am interested in food and drink, however, I am not a vegan or a much of whisky drinker, so although I was writing about lots of things I do like, I was also writing about a lot of things I had no clue about. This meant that I was doing a lot of reading about things I had no interest in. This takes far too much time and is really boring.
I have learned a lot since then!
Step 2 - Choose A Domain Name
You may think coming up with a domain name is pretty simple. But I can assure you it takes a lot of consideration to find a good one that isn’t already in use. There are a few characteristics that a domain name should have:
- Not in use
- Easy to say
- Easy to type
- be a .com
- Contain niche keywords
If it doesn’t meet these requirements, you will run the risk of leaving a bad first impression and you can make it difficult fo people to visit your website. I go in to all the details in my post how to choose a domain name for your business.
Step 3 - Build Your Website
The majority of affiliate marketing websites are based around WordPress. This is because it is very easy to use, as you don’t need to know how to code. The look of your website is determined by choosing an appropriate customisable theme. The features and functions all come from various plugins.
But the first thing you need to do, is to register your domain name and find a website host. When it comes to hosting, I recommend that you go with Bluehost. This is a reliable, fast and well priced web host. Bluehost also makes it very easy for you to install WordPress. There is another way that I recommend that will make life a lot easier though, which I will come to later.
Step 4 - Create Great Content
Your content is what makes your website, as it is how you communicate your information to your intended audience. I touched on content earlier, but examples of content you need to create are:
- Buyer’s guides
- Blog posts
- Personal experiences
But there is a certain way that you need to create your content, as it needs to serve two purposes.
- It has to appeal to your intended audience – Your content needs to be informative and engaging, so the reader takes on board what you are saying and takes your recommendations.
- It has to rank as highly as possible – Search engines rank content depending how relevant it is to the search term. Therefore, it looks at your content to determine how it compares to your competitors with regard to its relevancy. Therefore, you need to use SEO techniques to show search engines what your content is about.
The SEO techniques are not particularly complicated, but you do need to remember to use them. But the key to cresting good content that appeals to both readers and search engines, is to be as helpful as possible and write naturally. Don’t be tempted to try and cheat the system, it won’t work. Search engines are getting smarter and will reward the best content with high rankings…eventually.
Before you start writing, you need to know what to write about. If you just start writing about things you think people want to know, you may be wasting your time. Therefore, you need to do some keyword research. Keywords are what people type in to search engines and there are a number of ways that you can find these out. Once you have a good list of keywords, you need to see how popular they are and how much completion they have. This is so you know that they are worth spending time on.
I go in to all the details in my post, how to do keyword research for content marketing. This is a pretty in-depth post, so you may want to bookmark it and use it for future reference.
Step 4 - Make Money
Its all very well creating content that gets to the top of google searches, but how do you make any money?
You need to join affiliate programs. This is how you get your affiliate links that track sales that you have generated. These are simply copied and pasted in to your content and they take the reader to the relevant online store for them to buy the product. I go in to all the details of affiliate programs in my post what is an affiliate program and how does it work?
Many affiliate marketers join Amazon Associates, which is Amazon’s affiliate program. The good thing about Amazon Associates, is that you can instantly monetise your content without having to wait for approval. There are some rules you need to follow to stay in Amazon’s good books, but it is good for nearly all niches, as you can promote anything that is for sale on Amazon. Check out my post how does affiliate marketing work with Amazon?
Personally, I find it really beneficial to join an affiliate network. These are websites with a number of affiliate programs for all sorts of brands. They big advantage of these networks, is that they bundle all of your commissions together and pay you in a lump sum. This is way better than getting little amounts from all over the place.
How To Get More Insight
If this all sounds like something you may be interested in doing, you will want to get more information. The best way to really learn about it is by doing, but you may not want to invest any money in to it right now. This is totally understandable, as when I was looking in to affiliate marketing in the early days, I did not want to spend money on something that I didn’t know I was going to enjoy. I wanted to see first hand what I had to do and what it entailed.
I found the best way to do this through the Wealthy Affiliate platform’s Free Membership
What Is Wealthy Affiliate?
Wealthy Affiliate is a one-stop-shop for an affiliate marketer. I go in to more detail in my review Does Wealthy Affiliate Work?, but I will give you a little summary before telling you about the Free Membership.
Wealthy Affiliate provides fantastic training that takes you from having zero knowledge, to knowing how to expand your business by capitalising on the traffic you get. The main training comes in the form of the Online Entrepreneur Certification. This takes you through all the steps to getting you website up and running and earring money. At the end of each lesson, there are a number of tasks to do before moving on. This means you don’t miss out anything important.
There is also up to date weekly live training that you can attend. This is recorded, so you can watch it back at any time.
I mentioned earlier about finding a registrar and a website host. Well, Wealthy Affiliate has all this as part of its membership. This makes life a lot more convenient and easy to manage. The hosting is fast and reliable, too so you don’t need to worry about it.
Included in the membership, is a website builder. This gives you a hosted website, preloaded with WordPress to make life even easier.
But when it comes to creating content, you get access to the Jaaxy keyword research tool. Which gives you all the information in order to determine what content people want to see.
There is a load of support available at Wealthy Affiliate. This is a huge benefit, because if you go it alone, you don’t get this kind of service. There are a number of ways to get support about anything related to your website and business.
The support isn’t just limited to helping you make decisions of what to do. If you have a problem with your website, you will get a fast response after submitting a support request to the help centre.
The Wealthy Affiliate community is a very helpful resource. It is full of people that are only too willing to answer your questions. Members post blogs all the time within the platform sharing their success stories and things that other members may find useful.
In addition to this, the more experienced members create their own training. These usually highlight how they have overcome problems or top tips for doing certain tasks.
Why You Should Check Out The Wealthy Affiliate Free Membership
All you need to sign up to the Wealthy Affiliate Free Membership is an email address. This means that it is a risk free way for getting a good insight in to affiliate marketing.
I go in to all the details of what you get in my post What Is The Wealthy Affiliate Free membership About? But, in short you get the first 10 lessons of the Online Entrepreneur Certification included.
Also included, are 2 free hosted websites. Therefore, you can build genuine affiliate marketing websites from scratch while going through the lessons. Amongst other things, you learn how to build your websites, find quality keywords, content creation and how to make money.
Once you have done lessons you get with the Free Membership, you have three options.
You may realise that affiliate marking or Wealthy Affiliate isn’t for you. Therefore, you have lost nothing, so you can either forget about Wealthy Affiliate or close you membership. But you may still want to check out other ways to work from home.
Continue With The Free Membership
Your free websites have the ability to make you money, but I don’t really think that you will be able to make enough to consider it as a serious business move. This is because, as brilliant as the Free Membership is, the training only goes so far and the tools are limited.
The Premium Membership unlocks everything. You have access to all of the training, the community and business tools. The Premium Membership is what you need if you are are serious about your business and really want to make a success out of it. I go in to all the details of this in my post What The Wealthy Affiliate Free Membership Is About.
Affiliate Marketing Is The Best Home Business With Minimum Investment
What do you think? Is affiliate marketing something you are interested in? If you have any thoughts or questions about it, please leave them in the comments section below.