Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As a young man, I learned how to make money online, initially to pay off my mother’s debt. I’ve used these same skills to create a lifestyle that many dream about, flying 96 times just this past year; living in such places as Johannesburg, Shanghai, Thailand and now Mexico, and speaking on stages all over the world. All because I’ve learned how to make a full-time income in my spare time with affiliate marketing.
I believe affiliate marketing is the easiest way to build a business online, because you don’t have to make your own product, nor build your own audience of people who want your product. Rather, find a product that already has a proven track record, that already sells, and market that product.
1. Find a product you can promote.
To begin, find a product you can promote as an affiliate. I prefer information products over physical products, because there is no production overhead or fulfillment cost, resulting in higher commissions for you. I recommend finding such products on sites like Clickbank.com, JVZoo, Share a Sale, Commission Junction or Peerfly.
I got my start on Clickbank, which organizes its products by category and ranks them by gravity, a score that quantifies how many affiliates successfully sell that product. As such, you want to choose a product with a high gravity score.
People buy information products for one of two reasons: in order to pursue a passion or solve a problem. Products that solve problems, what I like to call pain products, tend to be the most lucrative, because people are trying to solve a problem that is most likely affecting their well-being. One of the first products I promoted was “vertical leap” training to teach people how to jump higher in basketball. Then I started promoting potty training and erectile dysfunction products. Dog training is another lucrative market. Today, I’m in the business education niche, flying around the world teaching others how to start an affiliate marketing business themselves.
2. Find your audience.
Next, define your audience. Determine who would buy this product and the pain it would solve. A great way to do market research is to look at the media kits of magazines and publications. For example, if you are selling a potty training product, the media kit for a parenting magazine will tell you the demographics of its audience. You can use that information to market to the very same audience. Another place to do research is in…