Imagine that there was a program through which you could get paid for promoting and selling someone else's product without having to deal with the packaging, shipping, servicing, refunding or any of those things. Guess what! There are programs like that – they are called affiliate programs and you would be an affiliate.
After you join such a program, you are free to promote the product however you like – you could make a website, write articles about it, put up banners advertising it, send emails about it, join forums and talk about it, use social media sites like Facebook or Pinterest or however else you prefer to spread the word about it.
Whenever someone buys the product by clicking on one of your links related to the product, the merchant pays you a portion of the profit.
How Much Can You Make? And How Do You Get Paid?
Affiliate programs differ in the ways they pay out. Some, like Amazon, give a percentage of the amount the customer paid. Sometimes it also depends on how much the customer spends or how many items he buys. Other programs give a set amount for each sale irrespective of the amount of the sale. As far as answering how much you can make…. well, that depends totally on how well you promote the product and how many people buy it through your link.
And about how you get paid and how often you get paid – that varies from program to program. You would have to check on the particular site to find out specifically. But in general, most affiliate programs pay through PayPal, by check or direct deposit into your bank account.
Are There Very Many Affiliate Programs to Choose from?
You would be surprised how many affiliate programs there are. You can find them for nearly any topic. All you have to do is type this into Google: affiliate programs + your_niche.
For example if you wanted to search for calculus related affiliate programs, you would type:
affiliate programs + calculus
But you do need to be careful that the affiliate programs you choose are reputable and that you will actually get your share for the promotional work you do. Amazon and ClickBank have reputable affiliate programs and sell thousands of types of things. But there are many others out there as well.
You also want to research the product you promote to know that it is good – do you want to recommend something that you wouldn't use yourself? Besides that even from the business point of view, you won't develop much trust among customers without good products. And even if you offer a refund, do you really want to go through the hassle of selling something just to have to refund it?
How do You Join Affiliate Programs?
Generally, there will a simple form to fill out on the affiliate area of the site. When you fill in your details, you are usually given your own affiliate ID link or whatever information you need to get started. Many programs have short videos or tutorials to help affiliates get started. They often have a page with affiliate links, banners and other such promotional material.
Is This Something You Can Do Anywhere or Any Time?
Yes! Ideally you need a website to be able to properly promote the product. If you don't know how to go about it, there are programs like Wealthy Affiliate and Bring the Fresh that can help you learn the ropes. Personally I prefer Wealthy Affiliate – it is a very supportive online community that has more learning material than you can digest in a life time!
Anyone is welcome to share any interesting or really good looking affiliate programs below. Just leave a note so the rest of us can check it out too!