The picture with this post was taken just as the Milwaukee Brewers won game 5 of the National League Division Series. My wife and I were at games 1 and 2 of the series as well. With one child in college and another starting next fall, I’m 100 percent sure our budget would not have allowed for this extravagance without the affiliate revenue I earn.
Your affiliate revenue choices
I don’t earn what I consider to be a ton of affiliate revenue. In good months, it might be equivalent to what some folks have as a car payment. It’s never even come close to approaching house payment levels, but I’ve met several people who make that kind of money with affiliate sales. I’ve also met some who make an income greater than most people ever dream of making. That’s the continuum of possibilities when it comes to affiliate sales commissions.
I suggest starting small
Unless your blog/website already has massive traffic, affiliate sales are going to start slow. My initial goal was to cover the annual expenses of operating my blog. Items like hosting costs, the cost of Thesis (affiliate link) my premium WordPress theme and the subscription costs of Scribe (affiliate link), which is the SEO optimization tool I utilize.
Once you’ve grown your audience and found a product mix that makes sense for them, it’s time to take it to the next level. We’re talking hundreds of dollars a month at this point and that’s the kind of money you should give some thought to how you spread around. I’ve used those proceeds to finance trips to places like WordCamp Chicago where Shelby and I presented our She Said, He Said live event for the first time.
Most recently, I funded the purchase of tickets for 5 playoff baseball games from affiliate revenue. Depending on your financial position, that money might be better used setting up an emergency fund for when the car unexpectedly breaks down. I won’t pretend to know what your best use of the money is but you get the picture. This is now starting to be a fairly substantial amount of revenue each month.
Where do you go from here?
My plan is to never depend on the affiliate revenue. I’ve seen states like Illinois and California change laws so that companies like Amazon will no longer sign up affiliates. You also need to be concerned about your Google rankings changing. For example, I had a series of posts generating more than a $100 a month of affiliate revenue. Then my Google ranking on those key words dropped and the revenue followed suit. Another nice source of affiliate revenue recently ended their program and, just like that, the revenue dried up.
My plan is to keep writing about one affiliate-related post a week and continue to work with quality affiliate partners. As the audience on this site grows and the product mix improves, my average monthly revenue will grow as well. I know I will have months with low revenue but I will also have some that just sneak up on me and become blockbusters.
If there are things you like to do but can’t always afford, give affiliate sales a try. It’s not for everyone, but if you run it like a business and view it like a part-time job, you can generate a sustainable source of revenue. Any affiliate sales pros out there want to chime in with your experience? Comments are open, jump right in!