How to Build Passive Income in Affiliate Marketing

If you want to grow your business, building a passive income as part of your business model is a great way to supplement your revenue. Affiliate marketing is also a good way to get more revenue by using other businesses to attract their website visitors so you supplement sales through your existing channels. In fact, affiliate marketing is such a great deal that 84% of all publishers use affiliate marketing and its potential for passive income as a form of monetization on their platforms (including me). Extra reach and extra profits are always a good thing for business.

But, what is affiliate marketing? Read on to learn how you can build passive income by becoming an affiliate.

build passive income as an affiliate
Image courtesy of Big Commerce

Build passive income by becoming an affiliate

As you can see in the graphic above, affiliate marketing is super easy. And the income potential is great. While about half of all affiliates earn less than $10,000 a year, some earn more than $20.000 and some earn millions of dollars a year through affiliate marketing. The best part of affiliate marketing is that you earn passive income so it requires almost no effort once you create relationships with companies.

Becoming an affiliate is easy and free. First, you find companies offering affiliate commissions and fill out whatever forms they require. Once accepted into the program, the company provides a link to use on your website, images to drive sales, and other tools to earn commissions. The link takes your visitors to the partner’s website and when the visitor buys something, the link shows the partner who earned the commission. The partner pays the commission using the banking information you provided and the money gets deposited. All you have to do after setting up the initial partnership and placing links/ images on your website is go about your business as you would anyway. In other words, you publish content and attract visitors to your website just as you normally would, while the links provide passive income to supplement your other efforts to generate revenue.

How to become an affiliate

Through social media and blogs, posting affiliate links ensures you earn commissions on every sale you generate with your partner. Whether it’s SEO affiliates or web store affiliate links, you can find a variety of companies offering affiliates in almost every niche you can imagine. Affiliate marketing has become a very attractive and lucrative profession in recent years, especially among the influencers out there. It’s a second source of income for most affiliates supplementing income when done the right way. Understanding why it’s worth being an affiliate and engaging in affiliate marketing is a great additional income stream.

If you have an established community on social media, an engaged subscriber list, or an active blog with visitors attracted to read your content every day, you already have the basics to succeed with affiliate marketing. Next, you need to find companies selling products that your community will find attractive. Filling your publications with a bunch of affiliate links that aren’t interesting to them will cost you in terms of community numbers and trust in your brand. If you fill your website with a bunch of random affiliate links, you may also earn a penalty when it comes to SEO.

The first step toward building passive income is to sign up for affiliate programs. One place to start is to visit websites of companies you think might make a good fit. At the bottom of the page, you often find a link to their affiliate program with instructions on how to sign up as an affiliate. Some run their own affiliate programs but most use a third party like Impact to run their program for them. Third parties also make it easy for affiliates because you only fill out the form once and then go on to identify the specific programs of interest. Each company has criteria for acceptance into their program so you might not immediately qualify for every program to which you apply.

Affiliate programs pay when you’re responsible for a sale but each has its own criteria of what counts. For instance, Amazon requires that consumers you send to their e-commerce platform make a purchase during the visit while other companies might monitor consumers who used your link and pay you if the consumer makes a purchase within a specified time period. Some companies pay as soon as you earn a commission while others require you to meet a minimum amount of commission before you can withdraw funds. Affiliate commissions vary greatly from one company to another, so choose your partners carefully.

Another option to consider is Google Adsense. This works a little differently in that you host linked images or links (your choice) for companies using Google Ads. The platform uses visitors’ cookies to determine which ad shows to them. Commissions are earned not through sales but through clicks. Commissions are smaller but it’s easier to get visitors to click on a link than make a purchase. You even get a small commission based on the number of impressions the ad receives.

Why you should consider becoming an affiliate

Becoming an affiliate has a number of advantages.

You get to be your own boss. You keep your day job or run your business in any way you want. You don’t have to do anything special beyond adding the links while being an affiliate marketer and still find success. Everybody wants to be their own boss and not have to report to anybody. Everybody wants to work from wherever they want to work and leave whenever they want. Everybody wants to take their vacation days because every day could be a vacation day. You can decide how many hours you want to put into affiliate marketing, and you don’t have to worry about having a boss because you won’t have one anymore.

It’s no cost. When you start a business, you have quite a sizable startup cost to consider. Even if you’re not plunging money into an office space, you do have to think about the fact that building and growing a business involves spending money on advertising, employee salaries, and a host of other expenses. As an affiliate marketer, you can start very quickly with very little money or none if you already support a website, email marketing, and social media marketing as part of your main business. Almost all affiliate programs are free to join. The market reach is limited to the ability of the affiliate to promote their offers. If you understand what you are selling and who you are selling it to, then there really is no stopping you.

Work from anywhere in the world. As an affiliate marketer, you have the ability to work anywhere you like, from the comfort of your own home to an island paradise somewhere else. All you need is Internet access, and with Starlink as well as a host of other Internet providers including your smartphone, there really are no restrictions on where you can do business. You can make money while you sleep if that’s what you want to do.

You don’t have to set up any merchant accounts. It’s quite expensive and time-consuming to create the legal and financial structure for most types of business. But, as an affiliate marketer, you don’t have to do any of the normal business startup functions. Any processing payment costs are borne by the merchants, reducing the risk of fraud and chargebacks. You don’t have to worry about losing that merchant account either.

Being an affiliate is easy even for rank beginners. It’s not like one of those things where you need to have swathes of knowledge to get it right. You can be a complete beginner and learn from many different resources and mentorship programs. Following and learning their ways and starting to earn is going to really help you to get passive income going. All you need is a computer, an Internet connection, and a positive mindset for a few hours a week to start earning. Once you get started, you can learn as you go.

You get to choose what product you want to sell. We are in a digital revolution, which means everything that you get today, consumers can purchase online. There are very few things that you can’t get online these days. As an affiliate marketer, you can sell products or services of your choice, and almost all companies have affiliate marketing programs. All you have to do is find the ones that match your abilities and likely hold interest in the community you’ve built.


Affiliate marketing is a great way to build passive income to supplement your other income streams. It’s easy and doesn’t interfere with your other business operations. Setting it up takes very little time or effort. So, why not explore this option for your business?

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