4 Steps To Creating A Successful Online Business You Love!

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Yes, you CAN create a business you love. How? By creating one that is completely passion-driven. In other words, you can create an online business around a hobby or interest that you’re already passionate about.

Alright, I’m going to simplify this process for you as much as I can because there is so much misinformation and outdated and confusing information as to how affiliate marketing works.  It isn’t complicated at all, and you are just as capable as I am of creating an affiliate marketing business (if you have the drive to succeed). 

So if you have a few minutes, I am going to show you how to build a successful affiliate marketing business through the WealthyAffiliate.com platform that I have been part of for years. This platform taught me everything I needed to build my own successful affiliate marketing business, and I know that it can do the same for you.

So let’s have a look at the process of affiliate marketing, and how that works… then I’m going to be jumping directly into what the process of starting an affiliate marketing business looks like and how you can get started TODAY (no joke), with your own business online.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

There is a plethora of information out there on affiliate marketing. The problem is that like everything else on the internet, you’ll need to weed through the good, the bad, and the ugly to find the information that will be truly helpful to you, and that’s a time-consuming process, not to mention the fact that you may never find the correct information!

Nothing much has changed about affiliate marketing in recent years. The same “simple formula” that worked years ago, continues to work to this day.  That’s because affiliate marketing is really a very simple business model. You have a product, and you have a customer.  Your job as an affiliate marketer is to align these two things.  That’s it!

Here is a diagram outlining how affiliate marketing works:

diagram of how the affiliate marketing process works

LOL, OK. I’ll admit I am simplifying this just a tad, but I’m doing it for a reason.  I don’t want you to be scared of the word “affiliate marketing”, because you are just as capable of creating a full-time and very successful affiliate marketing business as me.  All you need is the right training, the right guidance, and the tools necessary to get you there. 

The truth is, affiliate marketing at its core is very simple.  Here are a few terms that you will want to become familiar with.

Affiliate (YOU).  You are the affiliate, which means that you can join companies like Etsy, eBay, Walmart, and Amazon (and 10,000’s others) and promote their products and services.  When you join these companies’ Affiliate Programs, they will give you a special “affiliate link” that is exclusive to you and allows you to track all of the sales you generate.  

Affiliate Program (a company like Amazon).   Most companies have an affiliate program, 99% of all of the brands in the world in fact can be promoted online and you, as an affiliate, can earn a commission.   Amazon is one of the biggest affiliate programs in the world and will allow you to promote 100’s of MILLIONS of products, with a single account.  Pretty awesome right?  

Earning Affiliate Commissions. Affiliate programs will give you a commission if you can send people to their website, and they end up buying something. Say you send someone to Amazon through your affiliate link, and they end up buying a fridge. Amazon will pay you a % of the total sale.  Amazon offers around 3-6% commissions, so a transaction like this may yield you $50-100 (depending on the price of the fridge).    Depending on the company and affiliate program, they will typically pay between 2% and 75% in commissions. 

Unlimited Potential.  As an affiliate marketer, your potential has no limit.  The more people you can get buying through your affiliate links, the more money you make.  Some of the most successful affiliate marketers make at least several million dollars per year, and this can be a reality for anyone that is willing to put forth the effort to build an affiliate marketing business.  But HOW do you build an affiliate marketing business?  I am going to cover that in the next section. 

The 4-Steps to Starting a Successful Affiliate Marketing Business

So how can YOU create your own successful affiliate marketing start-up?   There are actually only 4-steps to creating a successful affiliate marketing business, and if you can follow these and have access to the training, tools, and support necessary to run your business (which I will be helping you with), you are going to be off and running!

Step 1: Choose an Idea, Passion, or Interest (your niche)

The first thing you are going to need to do before you start the build-out of any business is come up with an idea for your business.  This is called the “choosing a niche” stage of your business, where you get to choose the audience and the category of your business.  This could be anything, from training a puppy to basketball sports betting to video games, etc.  There are literally millions of potential directions that you can head with your business.  This is the exciting part.

I tend to recommend that people choose a passion/interest as their niche.  This way, you will truly love your business and when you love what you do, you never have to “work” a day in your life.  The Internet and the affiliate marketing industry have afforded us all this very opportunity. 

How to Choose Your Idea: 
 Choose a niche or a passion.  There are close to 5 BILLION people online now, so even the most obscure niches have vast audiences.  If you are a member of Wealthy Affiliate, you have direct video classes walking you through the niche selection process along with direct help from the community (and myself) who can give you feedback on your niche. 

Step 2: Build a Website (your foundation)

Your website is the foundation of your business.  Think of it like a shop within the offline world.  If you have no “storefront”, you don’t have the ability to attract and help customers, or the ability to sell anything.  Your website is in essence your storefront, where you are able to help your audience, communicate with your audience, and promote products/services to your audience.

If you don’t have a website, you don’t stand a chance of running an online business.  It is the first and key necessity you need to create a long-term business. 

How to Accomplish:  You can build high-performing and profit-ready websites with ease, at Wealthy Affiliate.  You can even get up and running with one for completely free, within the Starter account.  Another perk to using the website platform over at Wealthy Affiliate is that their hosting (where your website lives) is high-speed and ranks better than other providers.  This can give you a competitive advantage and can lead to a lot more opportunities as you build out your website. 

Step 3: Get Traffic (attract your audience)

In the Internet world, your website is also the place where your “traffic”, or your potential customers, will visit you.  Without people coming to your website, there is no way to make money.  So it is important to understand how to attract traffic to your website. 

Traffic can come in many forms, but one of the most sustainable and long-term traffic methods is search engine optimization.  This means, getting ranked in search engines like Google, and as a result getting all sorts of FREE traffic to your website.  Once you have traffic to your site, you have endless opportunities.

So this is the next focus, once you have your website up and running.  Building out your website in a way that leads to traffic.

How to Accomplish:
 You need proper “traffic” training, along with a website that is set up to rank well within search engines.  These are both things that are provided within Wealthy Affiliate. You have access to elite SEO training, along with classes and access to experts that will personally help you with your traffic campaigns.  

Plus, there are many other ways you can get traffic to your website as you build it out.  Social media channels, YouTube and video blogging, podcasts, and paid traffic channels.  These are all covered in detail within the training at Wealthy Affiliate. 

Step 4: Make Money $$$ 

Last but not least, the “make money” part of your business.  This is where you earn money through affiliate programs.  Basically, there are over 550 MILLION products/services that you can promote as an affiliate marketer, in exchange for a commission.  You will be adding these special links on your website from companies like Amazon, Etsy, Nike, Apple, eBay, etc…and you will then earn a commission if someone goes from your website to theirs and ends up buying something. 

The affiliate marketing industry is growing at the fastest pace ever, and affiliates stand to earn $12 BILLION online this year…with this growing even more next year. You can get your chunk of this pie. 

How to Accomplish: 
  Finding affiliate programs can be an inefficient task at the best of times. You typically have to go through a bunch of Google searches, just to find what you are looking for.  Within Wealthy Affiliate, you have instant access to an Affiliate Program search where you can search through 10,000+ affiliate programs, across some of the top affiliate networks online. 

Not to mention, the training you will be getting on how to properly integrate affiliate promotions into your website to maximize conversions….along with some insight into the customer purchase lifecycle. This is critical information if you want to become a high-performing, and successful affiliate marketer online. 

So there you have it, how to effectively start an affiliate marketing business in a nutshell.  If you are interested in creating your own affiliate marketing business and have no experience, or you are currently trying to build out or scale an affiliate marketing business and you are not getting the results you want, I CAN PERSONALLY HELP.  I am helping people just like yourself every single day within the Wealthy Affiliate platform.

I personally discovered the wonders of affiliate marketing way back in the early 2000s, but it wasn’t until I became a Wealthy Affiliate member in 2016 that everything clicked. And the reason it clicked is that Wealthy Affiliate provided me with the tools and training that I needed to be successful in affiliate marketing.

You can immediately connect with me right inside WealthyAffiliate.com.  Upon creating your account, you will get access to training, websites, hosting, research tools, networking, mentorship, and direct support.  And I’ll be there to help you too!

It’s also free to try!  You can get a “test drive” Starter account for no cost…with no credit card required.  I highly recommend if you are even the slightest bit interested in becoming an elite affiliate marketer, you get rolling right now with your account.  I will be reaching out to you within 30 minutes or so, of your joining.

—>> Click Here to Create Your Test Drive Wealthy Affiliate Account!

And if you have any questions you want to leave here for me, feel free to do so.  Just drop a comment below with your question and I will make sure I get back to you as soon as I can (usually within a few hours).

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  1. Great post Mary. It’s a good reminder that its easy to over complicate affiliate marketing and it really comes down to the steps you shared. It really is amazing to realize how many products are available to promote. I liked your perspective that your website is really your online store with a potential customer base of billions. I’d love any suggestions for companies you’d highly recommend to promote as an affiliate marketer early on in the process.

    1. Hi Laura, the companies that you choose to promote really depend on the niche that your site is in.  There are literally thousands of companies that have affiliate programs for their products and services.  That being said, if you’re in a “product” niche and the products you promote can be found on Amazon, that’s a great place to start because while your website visitors may be referred to your specific products on Amazon, they may well purchase additional items while they’re there!  So you have the chance to make some additional sales that way.

  2. Hello Mary! I just finished reading your article “4 Steps To Creating A Successful Online Business You Love.” I really enjoyed it! I really think those infographics about affiliate marketing are truly key here in helping people understand how affiliate marketing works. It’s not that complicated! Even though people think it is. 

    As a member of Wealthy Affiliate myself, since 2015, I love the community aspect you get while being a user of the WA platform. And the best part: They give you ALL the tools you need to create a successful niche affiliate marketing online business/ website. All you need to provide is the drive to succeed! 

    Compared to any other platform I have used over the years, they have been the best I’ve seen yet. Step-by-step training videos, so even if you aren’t super tech-friendly, the steps are broken into bite-size pieces and show you exactly what you need to do in each training video, to do things correctly. And you can get help 24/7 in the live chat on the WA home page. 

    You can also reach out in your messages to either of WA’s founders, (Kyle or Carson) if you need help, and usually within a few minutes, hours, or a couple of days, they will be sure to get back to you to answer all of your questions. You can also just comment below the training video you are having issues with, and Kyle or another WA user will reach out to your comment and help you out with whatever it is, you’re having trouble with. 

    The teachings and tools within WA are absolutely the best I have ever used and are truly EVERYTHING you need to get set up for an online niche affiliate marketing website that can turn a profit one day and will be quite successful in the future for you. The best thing about this is, you can “wash, rinse, and REPEAT” with these methods.

     Once you have one site up and running and it is generating traffic, and results, you can totally start another website and repeat the exact same steps you did with the first one, just with an entirely different niche idea. And so on, and so forth. And that’s what I love about using WA, the earning potential is ENDLESS once you have mastered learning what you should do to create, and maintain your first website. 

    Loved your article, Mary! As a WA user myself, I can attest, it’s the BEST platform I have used yet! And I continue to use it, year after year personally as well. 🙂 

    1. Thanks, Cal!  You’re spot on with your assessment of the WA platform.  I completely agree with everything you said, and I’m so excited about the possibilities that exist here for so many people!  

  3. This is an excellent article explaining the nuances of affiliate marketing Mary, I commend you for putting it together and know that this will be a tremendous resource to all those folks out there searching the web trying to figure out the best ways to make money from an online business.

    The chart you placed at the beginning is very helpful in helping me understand the overall flow of the way a search engine optimized website works.

    Nichè is such a fancy word but how exciting to get to choose the field you’re going to work in every day!

    1. Hey Joseph, glad you found the article helpful!  And yes, you’re right.  It is kind of exciting to be able to start an online business that’s built around something you love.  A lot of people don’t realize that’s possible.  

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