Given that I now spend the majority of my time helping people to get started with affiliate marketing through my free Commission Academy course, I naturally receive a LOT of questions from learners.
Questions such as “how much can I earn with affiliate marketing?”, “how soon can I start earning money with affiliate marketing?” & even questions such as “is affiliate marketing actually legit?”…
So in an effort to not only help me to answer those questions more efficiently going forward (by referencing this article), but to also help others who may not be a member of my course, I have decided to put together this in-depth affiliate marketing FAQ.
In it, I’ll be covering the top affiliate marketing FAQs & providing my own personal answers to every question.
And just to give you a bit of background (in case you don’t already know), I’ve been doing affiliate marketing full-time for several years now & have even been recognized as a Super Affiliate by the world’s largest affiliate marketing training platform.
So without meaning to sound like I’m tooting my own horn, you can safely rest assured that I certainly know my stuff.
But that’s enough of the tooting, let’s dive into the questions & we’ll get started with the big one…
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Put simply, affiliate marketing involves promoting products or services for third-party companies in return for commissions.
So, as an example, you could sign up as an affiliate of Amazon (which is free to do) & then once approved, you would get a special link to their products that is unique to you (known as an affiliate link).
All you’d need to do is promote the products via the link & if somebody happened to click through & make a purchase then the sale would be tracked back to you & you’d be paid a commission.
You can kinda think of it as “freelance advertising”. You’re promoting products or services for companies but instead of being paid a flat-fee, you’re being paid each time you manage to generate a sale.
I mean, obviously, there’s a little bit more to it than that but stripped back to its most basic form, that’s how the core process works… And I think you’ll agree, it’s pretty darn simple.
For a more detailed overview of the full process, you can also check out my beginners guide to affiliate marketing here.
How Do You Become an Affiliate?
Becoming an affiliate is really easy… All you need to do is find an affiliate program & then go right ahead & sign up. Once approved, you’ll get your links & you can begin promoting.
However, it’s worth noting that most programs have eligibility criteria – so you’ll likely need to show them that you either have a website, a YouTube channel, a strong social media following or some other way that you could effectively promote their products or services.
If you don’t have an effective way to promote then you shouldn’t be signing up to affiliate programs, instead, you should be learning what you need to do before signing up to affiliate programs.
Is Affiliate Marketing Legit?
Absolutely. I mean whilst it’s got a kinda fancy name, in its simplest form affiliate marketing is essentially just advertising… And as I’m sure you already know, advertising is perfectly legitimate.
The only main difference between affiliate marketing & typical advertising is that instead of being paid a flat-fee up front, you’re paid commissions based on the sales that you manage to generate.
Now, it’s worth pointing out that there may be illegitimate companies out there that have affiliate programs, but as a standalone method, the means of affiliate marketing is 100% legitimate.
How Much Can I Earn With Affiliate Marketing?
Honestly, the sky is the limit. You can earn as much (or as little) as you want with affiliate marketing… And there are several affiliates who even earn as much as 6-figures per month.
Yes, 6-figures! That wasn’t a typo.
Obviously, affiliates earning that level of income are “fewer and farther between”, but it certainly highlights the amazing potential that affiliate marketing can provide…
And the good news is that whilst those affiliates are fewer & farther between, there are many affiliates earning 5-figures & 4-figures per month with a whopping 48% of affiliate marketers globally earning $20k a year.
And don’t forget, many of those affiliates are doing it in their spare time. Amazing stuff!
How Long Does It Take To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?
The most honest answer to this question is “how long is a piece of string?”. You see, “how long” depends on a number of factors, but primarily it depends on YOU & how much effort you’re willing to put in.
Heck, you could make your first commission the very next day… Or you even make it the very same day that you get started… But being realistic, if you’re completely new to affiliate marketing then you should give yourself at least 6 months before expecting a profit.
And whilst 6 months may sound like a while, just remember that on average, a typical “brick & mortar” business doesn’t turn a profit until its third year – sometimes it takes even longer.
So in comparison, affiliate marketing provides a pretty “fast” return… And as I already mentioned, you’re in control.
Is Affiliate Marketing Profitable?
Yes, without a doubt – but only if you’re promoting a company that’s profitable & have an effective marketing strategy.
For example, let’s say you’re promoting products from a well-known site like Amazon… Chances are you’re not going to have much of a hard time converting visitors into sales & turning a profit.
But on the other hand, let’s say you’re promoting a little-known company that has a really poor & untrustworthy website. The chances are that in this scenario, you’ll be much less likely to turn a profit.
So making affiliate marketing profitable is all about choosing the right program to promote & then promoting it effectively to a relevant audience. Do that, and you’ll certainly turn a profit.
Does Affiliate Marketing Cost Money?
Yes & no. You can technically do affiliate marketing for free by simply signing up and attempting to promote your link but if you’re new to the game then the chances of you seeing success will be pretty darn slim.
Finding success with affiliate marketing is all about knowing how to promote your links effectively & convert visitors into sales… So realistically, you should expect to spend some money on training & tools.
The good news, however, is that typically the costs are VERY low & you will usually be able to run a start-up affiliate marketing business on less than $100 per month (including your training).
And to help you out, I’ve even put together my own free starter course.
As your business grows those costs may rise (especially if you have a website & begin getting more visitors) but even with a very profitable affiliate business (5-figures+ per month) you likely wouldn’t see yourself going over $500/mo in expenses unless you’re running paid ads.
And by that point, your profits will be (or should be) covering the costs anyway.
Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?
To be brutally honest, there are times when affiliate marketing can get stressful & you can find yourself questioning “is this really worth it?”… But the answer is yes, it definitely is.
Affiliate marketing can provide you with time freedom, money freedom AND location freedom… And the best part is that you don’t need any special skills or talents to get started with it.
But as I mentioned above, it can get stressful at times because the reality is that even though it’s easy to get started with, it’s still a business… And life as a business owner at times can be tough.
How Do Affiliates Get Paid?
How you get paid as an affiliate varies program by program but the most common methods are either bank transfer, PayPal, cheque, gift cards & Bitcoin.
It simply depends on how the people behind the program decide they want to pay you… And if they don’t offer a payment method that you can facilitate, then you just go look for another program that does.
For example, let’s say you can only accept payments via PayPal but you sign up for a program & they don’t offer that as a payout method – all you need to do is look for an alternative program that does.
There are literally thousands upon thousands of programs so generally, it’s not difficult to find one that suits.
Is Affiliate Marketing Dead?
Absolutely not. I see this question getting asked a lot because people spread rumours that “affiliate marketing is dead” but the only reason people say that is because they’ve failed & want to blame something other than themselves.
And the reason they failed is simply that they didn’t work hard enough.
You see, there are lots of people that assume affiliate marketing provides some sort of magical way to make money & that you can just push a button & get rich but obviously, that’s simply not true.
Instead, it takes work & dedication… Something that not many people are willing to put in.
So what do they do instead? They quit, but rather than telling people they quit & feeling embarrassed, they claim that “affiliate marketing is dead”.
But it’s not dead, in fact, there’s actually more opportunity than ever before… There’s never been a better time to get started.
And if you do want to get started, be sure to check out my Commission Academy course. It’s there that you’ll learn the exact steps you need to take to put it all into action & begin making money.
What Is a Super Affiliate?
The term Super Affiliate is a term that’s used to describe an affiliate that has generated outstanding results.
So as an example, if there were 500 affiliates in one particular program but there was one affiliate who was generating 10x the number of sales as the other affiliates, that affiliate could be described as a Super Affiliate.
And due to the high performance of Super Affiliates, it’s typical that a Super Affiliate will be generating a high-level, extraordinary amount of income – such as 5-figures or even 6-figures per month.
So, in short, a Super Affiliate is a high-performing, high-earning affiliate… And I myself have actually been officially recognized as a Super Affiliate by the largest affiliate training platform in the world.
Interested in learning my secrets? You can discover 7 of them here.
Is Affiliate Marketing & Network Marketing The Same?
They share some similar characteristics, but they’re definitely not the same.
Network marketing is technically legitimate, but it works on multiple levels (very similar to a pyramid scheme) & it can be very difficult to a legit network marketing opportunity from a fraudulent one.
As a result, network marketing companies often try to disguise themselves as “affiliate programs” because they know that affiliate marketing has a much more positive reputation… But don’t be fooled.
An affiliate program will typically only pay out commissions on 1 level – meaning that you promote a product & you get paid for the sale. You don’t get paid for recruiting other affiliates.
Rarely, an affiliate program will pay out commissions over 2 levels… But in these scenarios affiliates certainly won’t be required to buy anything in order to “qualify” to earn (as they often do in network marketing).
But if it pays out over any more than 2 levels, it’s a network marketing program… And that’s where you enter the territory of potentially getting caught up in joining an illegal pyramid scheme.
What Is an Affiliate Disclosure Statement?
An affiliate disclosure statement is simply a short statement that lets people know you’re affiliated with the products that you’re promoting so that they can better determine if you might be being biased or not.
For example, whilst I personally would never let a commission influence my verdict of a product or service, there are several affiliates who (sadly) would… So disclaimers are designed to help try & combat that.
If the reader is more informed, they can make a better decision as to how much they can trust the information that they’re reading.
And you’ll have no doubt already seen them dotted around as you browse different websites. They typically say something along the lines of “This website is reader-supported. If you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission”.
Is Affiliate Marketing Allowed on Facebook?
Yes & no. You can definitely promote as an affiliate on Facebook, but what you cannot do is simply “spam” your links. Instead, you need to add value to the platform.
So, in short, what this means is that you cannot simply head to Facebook & start blasting out your link to every Tom, Dick & Harry.
Instead, you will need to create value-giving promotional pages & then create value-giving Facebook posts that ultimately link through to the promotional pages you create.
But even though you *can* promote on Facebook, it’s generally not a very good means of promoting anyway. There are many more effective ways of promoting, such as by starting a blog or website.
How Can You Promote Affiliate Links?
There are many ways that you can promote your affiliates links. From as simple as sharing them on Facebook & Twitter, to creating a blog or website… Or even running paid ads.
But what’s the “best way”?
Well, there isn’t really a “best way” as such… It all depends on what you’re promoting & where your audience is, but generally, I find that starting a blog is the best place to start… Then you can introduce other methods (such as paid ads) as you progress.
Is Affiliate Marketing Better Than Dropshipping?
In my opinion, yes – hands down. The reason I say that is because affiliate marketing involves a LOT less effort, yet it can still yield the same (if not greater) results than dropshipping.
You see, with affiliate marketing you only have to focus on ONE job – promoting. You find a product or service, promote it to others & then get paid on any successful sales.
Whereas with dropshipping you need to source products, arrange deals with suppliers, take payments, handle customer support, deal with orders & refunds… You get the idea.
So as far as I’m concerned, there’s a clear winner & that is affiliate marketing. Plus, because there are a lot fewer things that you need to do, I also believe that affiliate marketing is much easier to get started with.
Do You Have To Pay To Join Affiliate Programs?
You shouldn’t have to pay & in 99% of cases, you don’t have to pay… But there is one network (Awin) that requires you to make a £5 deposit before you can join.
They claim that the fee is to help weed-out unethical activity & it’s also refunded to you once you make your first sale… But other than that, you generally shouldn’t have to pay to join an affiliate program.
And if you do, you should be asking “why?“.
Is Affiliate Marketing Difficult?
Not at all. In fact, I firmly believe that affiliate marketing is one of the most simple business models in existence.
All you need to do is find a product or service that you’d like to promote, join the affiliate program & then promote it… And promoting that program could be as simple as just handing over some cash for advertising.
I mean, yes, turning a profit may be slightly more difficult – but the method in itself certainly isn’t difficult at all.
I firmly believe that anybody (yes, anybody – including you!) can do affiliate marketing. It doesn’t require “skills” or “talent”, it just requires the willingness to learn & put in the work.
Can Affiliate Marketing Be Done Without a Website?
Yep, you can do affiliate marketing without a website… But whether or not you will be successful at doing affiliate marketing without a website will depend primarily on the reason you’re asking this question.
If you’re asking this question because you want to find an “easy way” to make money with affiliate marketing, then that’s the wrong way to be looking at it & being brutally honest, you’re probably not going to see much success with an attitude like that.
But if you’re just curious as to whether or not there are other methods then yes, there are – such as paid advertising. You don’t need a website to buy ads & promote an offer because by doing that, you’re leveraging somebody else’s website.
The problem, however, is that if you don’t have your own website then you’re likely going to have to pay money to leverage somebody else’s… So, in my opinion, the best option is to just start a website.
And heck, even a 5-year-old could build a website these days… The modern tools make it SO easy.
Then, once you’ve built a website not only can you promote things without having to pay for ads, but you can also sell ad spaces to other people as well which makes it a kind of win-win scenario.
Is Affiliate Marketing Halal?
I actually published an in-depth article covering this exact question but the verdict I came to was that yes, the method of affiliate marketing is halal, but it depends on the products or services that you’re promoting.
And it depends on how you’re promoting them.
In my opinion, if you are promoting haram products then you’re actions are haram… But the good news is that there are actually several Muslim affiliate networks that specifically list halal products only.
But there is actually another important point to consider here & this is the fact that through some affiliate programs you can actually be compensated even if the visitor buys a different product from the one that you were initially promoting.
This means that you need to be careful & check what other products are in the marketplace you’re promoting if you’re concerned about a visitor potentially buying a haram product via your link, even though you promoted a halal one to them initially.
But that aside, in general, I definitely believe the method of affiliate marketing itself is perfectly halal.
Can Affiliate Marketing Make You a Millionaire?
Heck yes, it can! There are many, many affiliate marketing millionaire success stories & I am confident that there is probably a new affiliate marketer somewhere in the world becoming a millionaire every single day.
What’s crazier is that it can actually be pretty EASY to become a millionaire as an affiliate. And I know that might sound like a bold claim, but from my experience, it’s actually very true.
For example – all it takes is for a search engine like Google to decide to rank your website at the top of its search results for a popular search term & you could find your income skyrocketing overnight.
Or it could just take one successful paid ads campaign to scale your business over that big 7-figure milestone.
I mean, obviously either way it will take work – but in comparison to trying to become a millionaire through another business model, I firmly believe that affiliate marketing provides a much easier opportunity.
Is Affiliate Marketing Oversaturated?
Definitely not. In fact, as more people are now beginning to make the move towards shopping online there is more opportunity to make money with affiliate marketing than ever before.
Despite this, you’ll still hear rumours that affiliate marketing is saturated but these rumours are just spread by the people who’ve failed to have success & are looking for something to blame (other than themselves for not putting enough effort in).
It’s easy (and less embarrassing) for people to say “affiliate marketing is saturated, that’s why I didn’t succeed”… But it’s simply not true.
The market is growing, more new people are coming online for the first time ever, more people are spending online for the first time ever & more affiliate commissions are getting paid out than ever before.
There are countless opportunities for the taking & in reality, saturation is simply just not possible.
Is Affiliate Marketing Income Taxable?
Affiliate marketing income is just like any other income that you earn, so if that’s taxable in your country then yes, your affiliate marketing income will also be taxable.
Of course, the important thing to take note of here is that I am not qualified to offer financial advice & so if you’re unsure whatsoever then you should certainly seek help from a professional financial advisor.
But generally as an affiliate marketer, you don’t need to worry about taxes until you actually start earning commissions & then at that point you can simply employ the help of a professional advisor.
What Is The Best Way To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing?
There are many ways that you can get started with affiliate marketing. For example, you could try to promote via social media, you could dive into spending money on paid advertising… Or you could start up your own website.
But what’s the best way?
Well, as far as I’m concerned the best way – especially if you’re new to affiliate marketing – is to start up your own website.
And the reason I say that is because building a website is very low-cost & it also provides you with the opportunity to be able to get visitors coming to your pages completely free of charge via search engines.
This means that you gain the opportunity to be able to “play around” and figure out what works & what doesn’t without having to burn through real money like you would do if you went down the route of paid ads.
Then, once you’ve figured out what works & what doesn’t you can dive into the other areas of promotion such as social media, YouTube & paid ads.
But the best part is that by going down this path, you’ll be able to use the profits from your business to fund the scaling of your business rather than having to put your personal funds at risk instead.
And in my opinion, that’s the best way to go about it.
So if you’re interested in getting started with affiliate marketing & would like to pursue the “easiest/safest” option that I’ve just mentioned above then be sure to check out my Commission Academy course.
In the course I outline the exact method of setting up a website, getting visitors, finding products to promote, adding affiliate links & then scaling your business using additional methods.
And I’ve put it together in a complete step-by-step format meaning that even if you’re completely new, you’ll be able to follow it through with ease & build a successful business all the same.
If you like, you can learn more about it here.
But either way, whatever you decide to do, I just sincerely hope that this post has helped clear up some of your affiliate marketing related questions & if you happen to have any additional ones then by all means feel free to leave them in the comments below.