Affiliate Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Although you won’t pay any more for any purchases you make, the commissions will enable me to continue to provide free content to readers.
Ever wonder how to grow your business and make more of an impact for your family? I know I have! As a business owner and homeschooling mom to three kids, you can be sure I need to know how to maximize my time and energy, as well as my profits. The famous saying is true: work smarter, not harder.
What Most Profitable Small Businesses Know
The most profitable small businesses know they become more productive when they are not exchanging time for money. When you become stuck in this transaction, your income will always be limited. Why? Time is a finite resource, and there is only so much we can do in a day. Scratch that. There is only so much we can do well in a day.
And while I can’t speak for you, I know I like to spend at least part of my time with my family, catching up with friends, reading, and binging on Starbucks and Netflix. It doesn’t mean I want to limit my earning potential by working less.
I don’t want to keep raising my rates either, because I want my services to be accessible to the entrepreneurs I work with, and it’s vital to stay competitive. I could outsource some of my work, but I am still paying for time, and having to charge extra to cover the extra labor.
Does that mean I am doomed to live in an income plateau forever? Are you?
What Most Profitable Small Businesses Do Instead
So what’s the secret? These profitable small businesses are finding and creating opportunities to earn passive income. You know, that money that is made while you are living your best life. Maybe that’s vacationing, maybe it’s homeschooling your kids, (maybe that’s just me), or whatever it is for you.
What is Passive Income?
While the simple idea is that passive income is, well, passive. It’s not exactly all sitting back and doing nothing. Generally, there is an initial investment of either money or time, maybe as simple as trying a product or service, and then sharing that with others. When they opt to use the product or service based on your recommendation, you are earning passive income.
It’s no different than getting together with your gal pals and swapping “good deals”… I got this on sale at Target for $XX. XYZ store is having a sale on kids clothes, etc. Affiliate marketing is very similar. Sharing what you love, but the difference is you are getting paid for sharing!
Pretty cool, right?
Other examples might be real-estate (initial investment of your money to purchase the property and time to fix it up, but you earn money on the monthly rental) or the stock market (you invest in the business’ product and receive a share of their profits when they do well).
Is Passive Income Taxable?
In the United States (sorry international readers, I can’t help you out here), passive income is not taxed (woohoo!). For that reason, they have a strict definition of what qualifies as passive income. They define it as money earned from activity in which the investor does not materially participate. In other words, you can’t be involved in the continual business operations. Which isn’t your goal anyway?
Why is Passive Income Good?
So to recap so far: passive income is good because you don’t have to work harder to earn it, you don’t need to raise your rates to increase your earning potential, income is earned following your initial investment of time or money trying a product or service, and the money earned isn’t taxed if you aren’t actively engaged in the day to day operations of the business.
All this sound good? And I mentioned examples of passive income like stocks, real estate, and sharing products. You might be thinking you don’t have the time or the money to invest in learning about the stock market or the real estate market right now (although HGTV is pretty amazing). And the last time you shared a recommendation about that great new local bakery that opened, they didn’t even give you so much as a free cupcake, so that’s not paying the bills.
Enter the right types of affiliate marketing programs for you and your business.
The Three Ways the Most Profitable Small Businesses Use Affiliate Marketing to Boost Profits
Above I talked about one type of passive income being linked to sharing products and services with others. Within our industry, you might be familiar with affiliate programs such as ConvertKit for email marketing, Interact Quiz software, or my personal favorite Tailwind for Pinterest and Instagram scheduling. Income might be in the form of a credit on future services, gift cards, or actual dollas.
Recommend Services You Use and Love
The most profitable small businesses only recommend the products and services they use and love. I know this is true for me and my business. I feel it preserves my integrity, and it helps me to be authentic and genuine with my audience. I am a role model in my business for others, and for my children, so I definitely don’t want to come across as sleazy or sales-y in anything I do.
As a Pinterest Strategist, you know I use Tailwind in my scheduling. So you trust me to recommend it. Same with ConvertKit. As a female entrepreneur, I cannot recommend enough the value of a like-minded tribe of supportive businesswomen, which is why I recommend Strategy by Design. I also recommend products and books I buy from Amazon in my gift guides. Sharing what you love doesn’t have to be hard. By the way, chocolate is my favorite sweet fix, but I didn’t get paid to say that!
Reward Others Who Promote Your Business
The most profitable small businesses reward others who promote their business. In business, this is a genuine way to say thank you as a tangible expression of gratitude because they value the time it took to share about you and your business. So many businesses do this! How many times have you seen (and shared) a referral code with a friend where you each get $25 off your first order or something else amazing? One coupon to use, and one to share with a friend.
Stitch Fix and Grove Collaborative are great examples of this. In my business, I give a $50 Amazon gift card to my biz besties when they refer my services as a Pinterest Strategist just as a fun way to say thanks!
Create Residual Income Opportunities for Others
The most profitable small businesses create more residual income opportunities by helping others create referral programs. Think of complimentary service providers who help to grow your business and how those reciprocal relationships can help you both grow much faster than it would be possible for you to do on your own.
These are also known as JV (joint venture) partnerships and there are several ways to do these. You can swap email lists, do an Instagram takeover, do Facebook lives or masterclasses for each others’ audiences. It can be an informal agreement or if it is a higher-priced product or service, you may want to have a contract to spell out what each party agrees to do and what the terms are such as what percentage will be paid out and when.
You are leveraging each other’s audiences which is far faster than you growing your email list. You should probably have similar audience sizes or you can sometimes reach out to micro-influencers to help you as well.
Who uses affiliate marketing?
If you are a female entrepreneur, have an inbox, or are on social media, and are reading this article during February, chances are you know Marie Forleo has an affiliate marketing program for her business course, B-School. Her affiliates range from Amy Porterfield, Denise Duffield-Thomas, Gabrielle Bernstein, Jenna Kutcher, and so many others.
When you watch their presentations or click on their offers, the link leads you to Marie’s B-School registration, and you are on your way. There is another B-Schooler in the ranks, and her affiliates have earned their commission.
Other people you might know who use affiliate marketing as part of their business model include Neil Patel, the digital marketing guru, and Spencer Mecham (just think ClickFunnels).
3 Biggest Misconceptions About Affiliate Marketing
When I first became involved with my business and considered adding a leg of affiliate marketing, I know I had a lot of mindset work to do around it. I kept telling myself it was salesy and opportunistic. I felt my audience wasn’t large enough (after all, I am not any of the influencers I mentioned above). Would I be confusing my audience? And I honestly was a little confused about how it all works.
Is Affiliate Marketing Complicated?
Affiliate marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. When I first started learning about the steps involved, I have to admit; any Google search was overwhelming with information. There is a lot of fear-mongering online (surprise!), and I was hesitant to keep researching. Would I have control over fulfillment or payments? Would I be provided with the tools and data I needed to succeed? Was I choosing a good program?
A lot of this was set aside once I started aligning myself with trusted, reputable programs, and businesses. A business is only going to succeed if the people sharing it can do so correctly and if they are compensated adequately according to the terms. Confusing directions? No commission? No one will share the offer. It makes total sense.
Did I Need a Large Audience to be an Affiliate?
Another big concern I had was that my audience wasn’t broad enough. I know there is a lot of competition for clicks and engagement online. As entrepreneurs, we know already this is true of all the business we do.
In the same way, we need people to sign up for our courses, programs, and services; we do our research. We find the best keywords, hashtags, create captivating copy, engaging content, click-worthy graphics, and we market. The investment of our time on the front-end rewards us with passive income.
Will My Audience Be Clear About What I Do?
Finally, I worried that my audience would be unsure about what I offered. Did I provide amazing Pinterest support, or was I an affiliate marketer? Well, honestly, I could be both. Actually, Pinterest is a great passive way to earn affiliate income by creating a pin that links to your tutorial blog posts or resource libraries that have affiliate links in them. Win, win!
By being exactly who I am, a busy homeschooling mom with an online marketing business, the need for a viable passive income stream is genuine in my life. And maybe yours, too which is why I love talking about how Pinterest and affiliate marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly! Plus I love helping other moms do the same thing. If I can do it, so can you, really.
It’s natural to be cautious when starting something new. But James Wedmore, and others, have stated time and again millionaires have seven streams of income. Since you aren’t likely getting seven jobs (as if there was time!), a wise decision is adding a passive income stream like affiliate marketing to your portfolio.
Remember where we started? Work smarter, not harder.
How You Can Learn to Implement the BEST Affiliate Marketing Opportunities Quickly and Easily
Remember I told you some of the things I was concerned about when beginning affiliate marketing? I wanted to make sure I got into it the right way. The same way I learned about using Pinterest and other systems within my business, I didn’t want just to throw spaghetti on the wall and hope I was doing it right. I wanted to learn the correct way to do it from someone I trusted. Especially with my concerns about competition, links, SEO, my banking information (hey, they needed to know where to deposit my money, right?), and taxes.
When April Lewis announced her program, Master Affiliate Group Marketing, it was an answer to everything I needed. I was so excited I literally said sign me up, take my money, and I forgot to sign my name. Luckily, I was on her email list and we know each other! Oops.
April is an affiliate marketing coach and practices what she preaches. She always said the fastest way to make money is to sell other peoples’ stuff. She teaches what she has implemented and makes a cool $2k every month just in passive income.
What would you do with $2k per month that just shows up in your bank account?
Going through the course helped me to map out an entire affiliate marketing plan that works for me in my business. I felt so supported with her knowledge, she answered questions I didn’t even realize I had and shares everything she knows. She truly wants you to succeed by helping what works for your business and what you are comfortable doing.
April helped me choose the best programs for me and my audience and how to implement them, all the legal stuff, and if I want to help create affiliate programs for other businesses as a service, I could simply add that to my list of services.
I am not about being sales-y just for the sake of making a few dollars. I still have to answer to my audience, to my family, and God about the choices I make in my business. I want to maintain authenticity, and I wouldn’t share products and services that I don’t use and love myself.
Plus I think people are pretty smart. Long gone are the days of the used cars sales slimy approach. If I am darn excited about a product, the enthusiasm, and interest I show in sharing shine through.
I can’t recommend April’s Master Affiliate Group Marketing program enough if you are interested in learning a variety of ways to make money with affiliate marketing. She shares how you can make affiliate marketing as a service provider with no email list too. April has tried it all and shares what works and what doesn’t. It’s just not plastering affiliate links everywhere (which BTW is the wrong way to do it and a surefire way to make people walk the other way when they see you!)
I can’t wait to see you in the private Facebook group.