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Welcome to the very first Friday Q&A of the year. Friday Q&A is a regular series where I answer questions from readers submitted via email, comments on the site or questions that I find relevant submitted through other channels like social media.
In today’s Friday Q&A, the question comes from a Wealthy Affiliate member from Africa who goes by the username ‘kenzis’.
He asked via my profile page:
“Jay, what do you require to be able to earn money online because I’ve tried many and most are scams. Please help!”
This is a very good question as many people think that they need some magic software in order to make money on the internet or that they need some special skill that they’d have to pay a lot of money to learn.
In most cases, these people are not to blame because if you’ve seen the latest sales video from some guru trying to sell you his bogus product, he’ll tell you how doing certain things is a waste of time. Like building a website for example. They’ll tell you that you don’t need to waste time doing that – just get their 3 click software. Most of the confusion comes from the lies these gurus are spreading.
There aren’t a lot of requirements for making money online and if you start out not having any of these at all, they’re not hard to obtain. I started with nothing and no experience and eventually I got to where I am.
Three basic requirements that you need are:
- an internet connection
- a computer
- an email address
I’m not going to even mention these in my list of requirements because if you’re asking questions on the internet then I assume that you already know this and have these things in place.
I’m going to share with you the answer I gave to “kenzis” and expand on them. Here are the requirements for making money online with affiliate marketing.
1. A Step by Step Plan of Action
Whenever you attempt to do anything, you need instructions. Step by step instructions work best because you have a starting point followed by other steps that you can check off as done as you go along and a final step that when completed should result in whatever you were trying to achieve.
Recipes have step by step instructions. So do manuals for assembling a bicycle.
You’re going to be learning a new skill and you therefore need step by step instructions on how to make money online with affiliate marketing.
There are many good sites online dedicated to teaching affiliate marketing that have step by step instructions. I personally prefer Wealthy Affiliate‘s training courses because they have a step by step plan of action that is task based. As you read through the easy to digest lessons within the course, you get tasks that you can implement and check off as you go along. At the end of each course, you should have accomplished a major part of the process, whether it is getting a website online or getting traffic to that website.
The courses are easy for beginners to follow and you can get support on each lesson by asking questions directly below on the lesson page.
2. Good Support for Getting Questions Answered
There is no need to feel like you’re in this alone. There are many programs out there that give the instructions but when you get stuck, there is no way to get a hold of anyone to answer the questions that you might have.
This can lead to you doing to wrong thing and confusing yourself even further. It can also lead to you not progressing past the point where you got stuck.
No progress means that you’re eventually going to fail and you may even go as far as to say that this doesn’t work.
When you can get support, you can get stuff cleared up and move forward. You can do the things that you need to do in order to reach your goals.
Again, I think that no other program online has as many support channels as Wealthy Affiliate. Within Wealthy Affiliate, the fastest way to get support is through the Live Chat. You can ask a question at any time of day and get a response within seconds of asking. There is always someone on chat since Wealthy Affiliate is open to members worldwide.
Then there is private messaging if you wish to ask someone something sensitive about a campaign you’re doing. For example, you may not want to reveal the niche of your website, so you can ask someone via private message.
You can also receive community answers by posting within the various classrooms. Classrooms replaced the Wealthy Affiliate forum that used to be the main discussion area up to about 4 years ago.
Another way to get support is to make a blog post on your personal WA profile blog and wait to receive answers from the community and people who follow you. You can also post questions to the profile page of someone who you think is knowledgeable and wait for an answer.
With lots of ways to get support at Wealthy Affiliate, there is no way you should ever get stuck with the lessons or any issue that you’re having.
3. Time and Effort
Ever seen the “student” in one of those scam guru videos giving a testimonial that goes something like this?
“All I did was spend 5 minutes setting up your software and I haven’t done anything else in the last two weeks but I’m making around $5000.00 per day!”
Lies. Lies that can mislead people into thinking that making money online is as easy as clicking the button on some magic software.
The reality is that the internet is just another medium for business. Affiliate marketing is a business model and just like any other real business, you need to put in time and effort.
There is no set and forget with affiliate marketing. You need to be constantly creating content and promoting whatever affiliate offer you’re trying to make money with.
If you’re lazy and think that writing a couple of blog posts per week is too much work to get a pay day then you might want to reconsider and forget about affiliate marketing. It’s totally worth it to set aside a couple of hours every day to build your affiliate marketing business.
4. A Niche Market
You need a focused topic to build your website around. Your step by step training (see #1) should show you how to find a niche market. This is done within the first couple of lessons of the Wealthy Affiliate training course and in the supplementary training material.
Ideally, you’d want to find a topic that you’re passionate about, something like a hobby or something that you have specific knowledge about.
I usually ask people what is it that they’d rather be doing right now? What is the one thing you can talk about all day and not get bored with? Is there something you’d like to learn or have interest in?
These questions can reveal a topic that you can use as your niche market.
Having something that you’re passionate about can make things easier and more fun for you. You won’t have to put as much effort into your work and you’d be spending time on something that you love anyway. Your website visitors will see that you’re an expert on the topic and this will result in sales commissions for you.
In the case where you don’t have a passion, or you’d rather not use that as a niche, there are other ways to find a niche market online. You can pick a product that is selling well and target that niche. You’d have to do more research for the content that you’re writing but it can be done. I’ve done it with success and many others have.
Either method works. The important thing to know is that you can make money in any niche at all online. If it’s for sale then you can make commissions on it as long as there is an affiliate program.
5. A Domain(s)
I would never recommend building your business on someone elses internet property. At one time, I didn’t build my own websites but instead used a process called bum marketing where I’d use places like Squidoo, Hubpages and Blogger to promote affiliate products.
This worked for a while, but eventually some of the content would get removed and I would lose a good money-making page here and there due to it getting removed by the service. Squidoo ended up merging with Hubpages and Hubpages became stricter when it came to affiliate promotions.
You’re using the property of someone else and they can do anything they want with it. This is why you need your own website so that you can call the shots. Owning a website starts with your own domain.
You need domain names but you first need to determine your niche market before choosing a domain name.
Over the years, I’ve had dozens of domains, some that I still have and some that I let expire because I lost interest in them. Domains are relatively cheap at about $9 per year so this isn’t such a big expense that you have to think too hard about. You should use the thinking cap when it comes to choosing a good name with a .com extension.
6. A Website
Having a domain name leads right to this requirement. You need a website built on your own domain name.
This means that you’ll also need quality web hosting which I haven’t included as a requirement because you can get it for free as a member of Wealthy Affiliate (where you can also get training and support).
I personally host my websites at an external host (Bluehost) because I have been doing so for years and have had no problems at all.
7. Access to Affiliate Programs
Finally, you’ll need access to affiliate programs in order to monetize your websites. This is how you make money.
You promote the affiliate programs, you make commissions and they send you a paycheck.
Affiliate programs are free to access and you can even sign up with affiliate networks that house lots of different affiliate programs. You can promote as many as you like this way and get paid one check with all the commissions you’ve earned.
These seven things are basically all you need in order to make money with affiliate marketing on the internet. There are other things that might come in handy like autoresponders for collecting emails and keyword research tools but they aren’t necessary. You can make money without those things.
When you start making money and can afford to add other tools to your marketing arsenal then you can always pay for those things. You can be even more successful doing so once you have an understanding of how to use them.
Notice that I didn’t mention shiny software tool. No software tool is going to make you fast money especially if you don’t have these 7 things in place. Don’t be fooled by the gurus.
If you are a member of Wealthy Affiliate where I received my training, you won’t have to worry about shady gurus and the lies they’re telling. Wealthy Affiliate is an all-inclusive community where almost everything is available that will allow you to make money online successfully. Check out my review and start your step by step training today.