Raelyn Tan: Blogging & Digital Marketing Strategist

What is Affiliate Marketing, And How Does It Work?

This is part 1 of the affiliate marketing series.

Part 1: What is Affiliate Marketing, And How Does it Work?
Part 2: 18 Top Affiliate Marketing Programs to Join
Part 3: 10 Crucial Tips to Make Money With Affiliate Marketing
Part 4: How to Multiply Your Affiliate Income Using The 80/20 Rule
Part 5: The Ultimate Guide: Step-by-step Affiliate Marketing For Dummies

If you’re a complete beginner and want to know more about what affiliate marketing is, this post is for you.

Starting with the definition, of course 🙂

What is affiliate marketing?


Affiliate marketing is the process of recommending someone else’s products or services, and earning a commission from the sale.

Is Affiliate Marketing Really Worth It?

It can be an ebook, online course, physical product or a service like coaching…

If you have ever launched anything, you would know just how tedious creating your own products/ services can be.

People glorify the launch and revenue numbers, but creating the product itself is tiring!

When you recommend someone else’s product, you get to earn some commission AND save the trouble of actually creating the product. However, you may not want it to be your monetization end-game.

For me, I view affiliate income as “bonus” income. I do not focus on it but I welcome any additional revenue I get.

For some others, they even go to the extent of affiliate marketing websites: Websites that are specially created to be monetized by via affiliate products.

What about you? Let’s break it down.

Affiliate Marketing Basics 101: What is affiliate marketing and how does it work for your website and business? + Tips on how to make money with affiliate products in this 4-part affiliate marketing series!

Pin me, please?

Advantages of affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing can be an incredible source of income!

You don’t have to create the product


This is by far the biggest advantage of affiliate marketing. You don’t have to bother with creating the product.

A quality course can take weeks/ months to plan, create, and perfect.

You need to come up with the content. If it’s a video course, you’ll have to record videos. You’ll have to create that membership site.

As an affiliate, you save a ton of time – this is especially great for beginners who have just started their online business and want to start earning some affiliate income.

Plug and play, my friend!

You don’t need to update or maintain the product

Especially with niches like tech or finance, things change fast.

You have to continually update your course to make sure that the content is still relevant.

For instance, my traffic + list building course (Traffic, Subscribers, Yours) was launched only in August, and it has to be updated already.

You can ride on the credibility of proven products


Don’t have a brand that stands out? No problem.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that successful products will sell better.

Most affiliate products have a strong reputation. This means a ton of testimonials and social proof.

Building a trusted product takes time. With affiliate marketing, you don’t have to build the rep of what you’re selling – that’s on the creator.

This saves you a lot of money.

Sales materials are provided


Most notably, you don’t have to create a sales page, hire a copywriter, or worry about conversions.

You don’t need to hook up your payment processor, you don’t need to serve customers or bother with refunds.

Often, the sales page, sales emails, and other marketing materials will be provided – making the sales process easy as you’ve everything you need.

This leaves you with learning how to market your business online – which is already complex enough without everything I mentioned above!

Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing isn’t all sunshine and butterflies… here’s why.

You leave money on the table


You already have the customer… why give money to other people when you can get 100% of the revenue if you create your own thang?

You don’t have full control over your income


I’m a big fan of being in complete control of your business.

This is why I constantly ask people to start their blogs via self-hosted WordPress and to focus on building an email list. You need to be in full control of your business if you want a sustainable business that will be here 10 years from now.

When the food on your table is dependent on the sales of someone else’s products, it is dangerous because the viability of your business will be dependent on someone else’s business.

You also risk losing the trust of your audience if the product is crappy.

This is especially if a large chunk of your income depends on 1-2 affiliate products. That’s not very wise.

Diversify your eggs, yo!

Touch-and-go relationship with buyers


You lose a chance to impress! I’m a big fan of heart-centered online businesses. An online business model that’s based purely around affiliate marketing is too touch-and-go for my liking.

For one, there’s no need to cultivate trust or a relationship – trust in the product is sometimes enough. Second, you don’t serve people with paid content. When you provide stuff for free there’s a limit to how much you can help.

Not only are you are losing your most valuable leads to someone else, you are giving someone else the opportunity to provide value to your customers. There goes your chance of potentially selling your customers something related and serving them even more.

Ready to rock affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is like popping pills. It’s easy and it gets you results ($$$) fast.

But you do lose a chunk of the revenue and lose a chance to impress your best people.

Now that you know what affiliate marketing is, it’s time to learn how to rock your affiliate income.

This is part 1 of the affiliate marketing series.

Part 1: What is Affiliate Marketing, And How Does it Work?
Part 2: 18 Top Affiliate Marketing Programs to Join
Part 3: 10 Crucial Tips to Make Money With Affiliate Marketing
Part 4: How to Multiply Your Affiliate Income Using The 80/20 Rule
Part 5: The Ultimate Guide: Step-by-step Affiliate Marketing For Dummies

Proceed to part 2: 18 Top Affiliate Marketing Programs to Join, rockstar!

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You’re making a great choice for your future.

Yay! I’ve just switched comments on. Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below:


I personally believe affiliate marketing is worth all the trials and errors in pursuit of online business greatness. I know for myself affiliate marketing is real and no one can tell me anything else. The only downside to building an affiliate business online from scratch playing the game of patience. One thing I learned is that this line of work is not for people are impatient. You have to be willing to stay the course keep pressing forward even on days you don’t make money from promoting affiliate programs.

Affiliate marketing is not for the faint hearted because you have to be in it for the long haul before starting to benefit from any type of financial gain. I love discussing everything affiliated with affiliate marketing, because it personally helps me to stay on my content marketing and affiliate promotion grind. It’s easy to get discouraged looking at what’s happening in today’s world and where I am.

Affiliate marketing will test anyone to see what they are truly made of as an entrepreneur as previously mentioned. Thank you for this thought-provoking post on” what is affiliate marketing,” and hope to read more posts about Internet marketing on your blog in the near future.. 🙂

Hey, you’re welcome and thank you for stopping by!

I wish this article existed when I started my site. Once I learned that affilaite marketing existed, I had a hard time figurig out how to get started. I kept posting messages on blogger forums, but no one answered my questions. This series would have saved me hours of research and trial and error!

Hey Rene, I am so happy to hear that! 🙂 xx

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