If you’ve been asking the question: “Is affiliate marketing worth it for retirement?”, I would definitely say yes — for lots of reasons.
The other day I was chatting on the beach with a friend when my phone pinged. I had a quick look and was thrilled to see that I just made an $80 commission.
“Oh, how I love it when that happens,” I said to my friend. “Here I am sitting on the beach with income rolling in whether I choose to do any work or not.”
After all, you don’t want to be spending your retirement working all the time.
Here are some other reasons:
- Passive income. This is when the money comes in without you having to work a 9 – 5 job. Everyone’s dream, eh? Of course, you have to set it up first, and there are ongoing tasks once your income stream is flowing. The work is interesting, though, and you can do it when and where you like.
- No products. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any products of your own. If you have, even better. You can affiliate market those too!
- No customer service. Let others put in the hard work of accepting payments, shipping products and dealing with returns. You’re the go-between, sending leads to the merchant.
- Low setup cost. If you do most of the work yourself like I did, the costs are minimal. If you have more to invest, you can outsource some of the tasks you don’t enjoy doing.
- Gives you a transition to retirement so you don’t suddenly have no purpose. I, for one, would get bored if I didn’t have something to occupy my mind. After all, there are only so many hours you can spend on the beach every day.
Build a Business Around Your Passion
So now we’ve answered the question is affiliate marketing is worth it as an effective way to bring in passive income after you stop working your full-time job. It’s great to have an additional passive income in retirement, especially these days when inflation is rising and our pensions and retirement funds are all being eroded by inflation.
The next thing that’s really important is to create your business around a topic that you love. It’s your time now, and you want to enjoy it.
An affiliate marketing business is far more likely to be successful if you’re passionate about what you’re doing. I’ve found a great deal of satisfaction and pride in building up my online businesses.
An affiliate business can also last long after you have gone. It could become a family business that your children or grandchildren carry on. A passive income could be useful to tide them over the hard times and set them up for their retirements too.
How to Set Up an Affiliate Business for Your Retirement
So how did I make it happen? It didn’t happen overnight. You can’t just create a passive income from nothing without putting in some hard work.
I built up my websites slowly over about 10 years. The income has grown gradually over that time, and it’s still increasing year on year. It doesn’t have to take that long though.
I was struggling with ill health and working for other people too. Sometimes I had entire years when I did nothing on my sites. Meanwhile, they continued to grow.
So start as early as you can. Why wait until retirement?
I’m now 59 and only work a few hours a week on my websites. They’re my main source of income these days, allowing me to retire early. If you have lots of time and energy, you can do it way quicker than me.
It’s like life. You get out of it what you put in.
Of course, that also means that 65% of people make less than $20K, and many of those earn little at all.
What this shows is that you need to know what you’re doing. I’m going to point you in the right direction for that. You also need to have passion to keep you motivated.
With those two things, you’re well on your way to success.
I have had three affiliate marketing businesses, though I sold one. (Three are too many to manage.) My three are a good demonstration of the fact that you can choose pretty much any niche and there will be related products that you can promote.
My businesses were about Art Deco, Pumpkins and the most successful one — Grief.
Most information you see about affiliate marketing recommends finding products you want to promote first. I disagree. I think that the niche is the essential place to start.
You need something that you know about. Something you can write about, teach people about. You need to create quality content to attract traffic, because without traffic you won’t be able to promote any products to anyone.
There are a few ways to get traffic. Some people do it with social media (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, etc.). I think that a good quality content website is the best way.
You can complement your site with social media and video, but you have total control over your own website and are not held to ransom by the big social media companies.
I explain the exact process I followed in this article on How to Create an Affiliate Marketing Website for Retirement Income.
What Are the Best Affiliate Programs to Use?
The best affiliate programs are the ones that provide the products you want to promote. There are two basic types.
- Large affiliate aggregator companies
These are networks that bring together many brands into one program. You can choose products from a huge range of brands under one roof and only have to deal with receiving one payment for all of them.This cuts down on fees and admin. My favorites are ShareASale, AWIN and Impact Radius. There are many others.
- Individual companies
These range from the giants like Amazon and Zazzle, which are great because they have such a vast range of products to promote, to small brands that only have one or two products or services.If you choose a smaller company, with a less tried and tested affiliate program, because their products are a good fit with your site, contact them to see whether they respond to emails. If they don’t have decent affiliate support, find another business or program.
Find affiliate products by Googling items or brands relevant to your niche plus the words “affiliate program.”
My Top Tips for Affiliate Marketing in Retirement
1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Apart from the obvious reason that you need to diversify income, so if one income stream doesn’t work so well another might, there are some other factors that come into play with this.
Sometimes affiliate programs retire widgets, or brands close their programs or move them elsewhere. This can involve recreating widgets and links on your sites.
Having all your monetization eggs in one of those basket can be a problem. It can take time to replace widgets, or you have to pay someone else to do it. If your monetization is spread over several businesses or programs, you won’t so hard hit when these things happen.
2. Don’t spread your affiliate choices too thinly.
This may seem like the opposite of the above, and in a sense it is. Most affiliate programs have a minimum payout of at least $100. It may take a while to earn the minimum from a program if you use several. You might also have transfer fees cutting into your income as well.
It can be worthwhile to set your payout thresholds higher to minimize bank fees. Here’s an example:
This doesn’t mean you need to have exactly the same ad on all your pages. You can use an affiliate aggregator that provides links from lots of different brands so there’s a good range of products. You’ll be paid for them altogether rather than using many smaller affiliate programs.
3. Promote products that fit multiple pages.
As far as you can, choose products that you can easily add to multiple pages. For example, there are WordPress plugins that let you create shortcodes for products. Add the shortcode to pages. If the product info changes, you don’t need to edit the blog posts where the shortcodes are.
Solo Build It! lets you add products sitewide (on every page of your site). Change a product’s information on one page, and it will change on all the others.
It has another feature that lets you add a product to certain pages. If you need to make changes, make them to one. The other pages will all update immediately.
4. Choose established affiliate companies for product reviews.
If you have a product review or recommendation page where you recommend individual products, choose companies that have a long track record and regularly pay out commissions, as those are less likely to close their programs.
5. Consider linking to search results pages for the product instead of individual products.
That way the customer has a choice. If one product is discontinued there are plenty of others to choose. You’ll have less site maintenance too, trying to keep up with lots of individual products that could be dropped with no notice.
6. Use at least one of the huge marketplaces such as Amazon, Zazzle, or Etsy (via AWIN).
If your visitors don’t buy what you’ve recommended, they may very well buy something completely different. You’ll receive the commission for sending them there.
7. Don’t just choose high value items.
You’ll need a lot of traffic and make fewer sales if you only include expensive items. Choose a mix of price points for every pocket.
8. Be tax-compliant.
Make sure you always have your tax information on file with your affiliate program. For example, if you live outside the USA, you can easily get 30% of your hard-earned commission taken out as withholding tax if you haven’t submitted your tax form.
Most countries have a tax treaty, which means you’re eligible for lower amounts of withholding tax.
I live in Australia, so my U.S. withholding is reduced to as low as 5%. It’s a boring job to plough through all the paperwork, but you can lose a lot of income if you don’t. And some programs simply won’t pay out until your paperwork is in order.
Get Started Before You Retire
Now that we’ve answered the question “Is affiliate marketing worth it?” it’s time to jump in. The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll discover how fun and rewarding making extra retirement income can be.
And the sooner you start marketing those products, the sooner you’ll start bringing in income to supplement your retirement savings.
If you’re still working, try setting aside some time each week for writing content and building your website. Traffic grows over time, so the earlier the better if you want a decent income for your retirement.
Learn more about how to choose your niche with our free worksheet and fun exercise. To get started, enter your name and email below.