• Complete Beginner’s Guide to Making Money with Affiliate Marketing

    Whether you are a blogger or YouTuber or building an online business, you likely want to try making money through affiliate marketing. It is one of the best and fastest ways to make money online.

    Even as a small YouTuber I was able to earn over $500 a month so affiliate marketing is a great way to start earning money as a beginner. 

    My Favorite Affiliate Marketing Platforms 

    If you are just here to get some places to sign up to make money, here are my favorite platforms where you can find affiliate programs to apply for and earn money with affiliate marketing.

    How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing

    If you want to start making money right now with affiliate marketing – even as a beginner – then you are in the right place.

    You have likely heard about affiliate marketing before. Maybe you heard of it in a sleazy way like influencers who take advantage of it or in an inspiring way like how Michelle from Making Sense of Cents earns  $50,000 per month from affiliate marketing. Or maybe you have no idea what affiliate marketing is and you just landed here because you know want to make money online.

    I wrote this complete guide to making money with affiliate marketing because it’s something I love doing and many of my fellow YouTubers continually asked for advice in masterminds. They wanted to know how I earned more in affiliate income than advertising most months during my income reports. Like me, they were inspired by people like Michelle who were making tens of thousands of dollars every month while only working 10 hours a week and traveling the world. They wanted to know how I got started and how I make money with affiliate marketing so this post is my answer.

    Making money with affiliate marketing is not hard and it doesn’t have to feel bad. You are providing a service of connecting people with services or products they need and your commission on a sale compensates you for that work – at no cost to the customer! 

    If you want to better understand what affiliate marketing is and how to make money from it then this post will be for you. I wrote this guide to share everything you need to know to get started as a beginner, share my best tips on making money, and give you actionable steps so you can get started earning as well. 

    What is affiliate marketing?

    Affiliate marketing is where you promote products to your audience and then earn a commission when someone makes a purchase through your unique affiliate link. 

    You earn money by selling other people’s products.

    The commissions for those sales can range from 4% to 70% of the product sales price.

    As you can see, you can earn major amounts of money when you are earning 50% or more of a product price without having to create the product.

    Affiliate marketing works in the same way as many old school referral programs and allows people to earn money through their blog or social media platforms by talking about things they love. It actually works well for all parties involved because you are only paid when you make a sale, it does not increase consumer cost, and the company providing the product does not have to pay upfront in case you don’t provide sales. 

    There are affiliate programs for all types of products and in every industry. There are affiliate programs where you can earn money promoting clothing, makeup, crafts, credit cards, bank accounts, ebooks, online courses and more. Regardless of what you plan to talk about online there will be an affiliate marketing program that will fit into your niche.

    Affiliate programs will pay commissions in three different ways:

    1. Pay per sale – You will earn a commission only when someone makes a purchase through your affiliate link.
    2. Pay per lead – You will earn a commission if someone signs up for a free trial or creates a free account or somehow otherwise gives a company their email address as a lead.
    3. Pay per click – This style of program is where you are paid money whenever someone clicks through one of your links.  

    There are many types of affiliate marketing programs but the most common one is pay per sale. That is what I will be referring to and giving tips to since it is what I use the most. 

    Is affiliate marketing scammy?

    Affiliate marketing had a really bad rep for a while because some people abused the system in bad faith but generally affiliate marketing is now a much more popular and regulated industry. It is a great way to earn money and to help your audience connect with the products they need that you do not provide. 

    By recommending products you actually love and trust you are adding value for your audience.You are connecting them to something they need but didn’t know about until you made the introduction. 

    Personally I only ever recommend products I love or have used myself and think will add value to my audience. My motto is “if I wouldn’t recommend it to my mom, I won’t recommend it to you.” This lets an audience know that they aren’t stumbling through products by chance but instead are able to trust your recommendation.

    If you are wondering whether you not you should promote an affiliate product, a great rule of thumb is to consider whether you would share it with your friends or family or not.

    Affiliate marketing is amazing because you get paid for telling people why you love something!

    Is affiliate marketing legal? 

    Affiliate marketing is a legal and common online practice where content creators and major companies earn revenue. 

    There are guidelines from the FTC about what you can and can’t do with affiliate links. You will need to include disclaimers on your site and disclose that your content has affiliate links included in the content. 

    The guidelines from the FTC mean you should disclose you are making a commision for the links on your site. It must be:

    • Clear and conspicuous where it can be seen
    • Easy to notice by anyone using your site
    • Easy to understand and not confusing legal jargon
    • Free of distraction

    As long as you are being upfront and sharing information about your affiliate links then you have nothing to worry about when doing affiliate marketing.

    How is affiliate marketing different from referral programs? 

    People are very used to “referral links” where someone recommends a product or service they use via a link inside their account. In return for the referral you may get a free month or other benefit from the referral. It’s a common way apps grow their user base.

    An example of a referral program I promote is Robinhood. They do not have an affiliate program but when I refer people to Robinhood I get a free stock and the new person signing up get a free stock.

    Affiliate marketing programs are different because they are special partnerships that not everyone has access to. Many have special requirements like a certain number of followers or website traffic and some even require a certain number of signups per month.

    Affiliate marketing programs most often give affiliates cash or a similar form of compensation for their work to create sales through driving traffic through their links. An example of affiliate programs are when someone signs up for a program I’ve shared and I receive $50 in return. 

    What are the benefits of affiliate marketing? 

    There are so many benefits to using affiliate marketing as a way to monetize your online business / YouTube channel / blog. It’s a great source of income for content creators like bloggers and YouTubers (I know from experience with both).

    A few of the benefits of affiliate marketing:

    • Easy to get started. It’s the easiest way to get started making money online. You find affiliate programs you want to join either directly or through affiliate marketing program marketplaces (many listed below). 
    • Passive income. Once you’ve created your content containing affiliate links you are done with the upfront work. You can create one piece of content like a blog post that continues to earn you money every month because it gets good amounts of traffic and has affiliate links. 
    • Great for newbies. Affiliate marketing is amazing because it is one of the best ways to earn money before you have a huge audience. If you have a very niche audience or just a small audience because you are new then you can still earn a decent amount of money with affiliate marketing. 

    Those are a few of the biggest benefits of affiliate marketing. It is definitely one of the best ways to monetize as a beginner and many people earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars withing a short time frame. 

    Why is affiliate marketing a great way to monetize for beginners?

    I always recommend beginners start monetizing with affiliate marketing because it’s the best way to earn money with the best risk and reward ratio.

    I say this because most new YouTubers or Bloggers are not getting much traffic so adding ads to their content results in very low rewards. It’s easy to use but ads do not earn much.

    Creating products on the other hand is much harder, requires a lot of upfront work, and may flop because as a beginner you don’t have an audience.

    Enter affiliate marketing, where you don’t have to create a product yet can earn a large commission if you can sell the product.

    Affiliate marketing is also great because as a beginner it lets you try out different things. You can try multiple different affiliate programs and try promoting different products. Maybe you promote something and no one is interested, but that’s ok because it’s not your product and you can just move on to the next one.

    Once you find something that works you can replicate your success and continue to grow your income with affiliate marketing. The great thing is that all the things you’ve done in the past that worked can be passive income as you continue to grow! 

    How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing

    Getting started with affiliate marketing is pretty easy. 

    If you are a YouTuber, add affiliate links to the description box and pinned comments on your most popular videos. 

    If you are a blogger, add affiliate links to your blog posts especially the ones bringing in the most of your traffic.

    Many people start their affiliate marketing with Amazon Associates program that allows you to link to Amazon products and earn a small commission from anything that customer purchases on Amazon. 

    The affiliate program at Amazon has low commissions and only a 24 hours cookie length but it can be a great way to get started and earn money ongoing. I use the Amazon affiliate program sparingly but still earn a couple hundred dollars most months.

    Finding Affiliate Marketing Programs 

    In addition to Amazon you can find many different affiliate programs within your niche. Niche specific affiliate programs are the ones where you will ultimately have the most success and earn the most money. There are so many affiliate programs out there and there are single products and services in each program. You can find products from fashion, beauty, travel, home goods, personal finance and more. 

    To find these programs you will want to use Google to search for things like “pet products affiliate marketing programs” or “fitness affiliate marketing programs” to find affiliate programs in your niche.

    When you search for affiliate programs you will come across both affiliate programs and affiliate networks when you are trying to find programs to use.

    Affiliate programs are independent affiliate marketing programs run by the company that you will be promoting.

    Affiliate networks are sites that give you access to many different affiliate programs in one portal.One of the most popular affiliate networks are ShareASale and Awin where you can join and have access to thousands of affiliate programs in one place. These networks make it easy to try multiple programs and stay organized. 

    You should make sure that you are only joining affiliate programs that fit your audience and their needs instead of chasing every single shiny object and high paying affiliate program.

    My personal favorite affiliate programs have been ones I found within the affiliate network ShareASale but that is just worked for me and there are many others out there.

    Best Affiliate Marketing Programs and Networks for Bloggers

    If you are here and want to know where to earn money with affiliate marketing then you probably want to know what the best affiliate marketing programs are to join. I’ll be going over my favorite affiliate networks which give you access to many programs inside them.

    Affiliate Networks

    I have incorporated affiliate networks into my affiliate marketing strategy and it’s been one of the best strategies because it has allowed me to find more programs than I could have found on my own.

    These large affiliate networks connect you with many affiliate companies and products that will earn you money. You can also use these affiliate networks to search for popular products to promote. 

    ShareASale

    ShareASale – ShareASale is an affiliate network which means it is a platform where you can sign up for multiple affiliate programs within it. There are a couple great programs within ShareASale but for this specific niche of budgeting planners the best one is Erin Condren.

    The Erin Condren affiliate marketing program gives you 10% of each sale you refer to them which is often quite high since their average sale is $73.71 and your viewers are likely to be planning to buy there anyway.

    Things you can recommend from Erin Condren are planners, stickers, and other related accessories. It’s a great program and I routinely earn money from it even though I don’t use Erin Condren products! If you do you should get paid for your efforts instead of only getting free products through referrals. 

    I’ve also created a video about how to create affiliate links in ShareASale to make it super easy for beginners:

    To promote Erin Condren you should go start an account with ShareASale and search for Erin Condren under merchants. 

    Awin

    Awin – This is another affiliate network where you can sign up for multiple programs in one place. There are many good programs here and Awin consistently earns me hundreds of dollars monthly, but mainly from one program: Etsy.

    That’s right, Etsy has an affiliate marketing program! They offer their affiliates 4% of anything someone purchases through an affiliate link. While 4% isn’t much, it can really add up if people are buying budget sets monthly and more.

    I highly recommend you use the Etsy affiliate program to link to your favorite budget sticker shops on Etsy. You get a small 4% kickback but it doesn’t cost the shop or the customer anything extra. It comes from Etsy’s fees and is a great way for you to earn money by promoting small businesses on Etsy.

    To promote Etsy sticker shops you should go start an account with Awin and search for the Etsy affiliate program. 

    FlexOffers

    FlexOffers is an affiliate network that has many high paying affiliate programs so it’s a great option if you have a channel about budgeting or any financial topic and want to get into some higher paying affiliates or promoting credit cards.

    Within FlexOffers there are a number of financial programs on multiple topics. They have so many programs for any niche and have been specifically really great for me in the personal finance niche with programs on money management, budgeting, credit repair, mortgage loans, and more.

    Clearly FlexOffers is the place to be if you are running a channel about personal finances and want to find affiliate programs to promote!

    To promote these financial products you should go start an account at FlexOffers and search for any of the programs in the

    Affiliate Marketing Tips For YouTubers

    If you are a YouTuber and want to start use affiliate marketing to earn money then here are some of my favorite tips:

    • Mention your links in the video and direct your audience to your description box.
    • Include an affiliate disclaimer link in your description box that is clear you will make a commission.
    • Link to specific products you use instead of the general page. The less steps between a buyer and the purchase the better. Specific links convert better than generic ones.
    • Use products in the programs that you are promoting as an affiliate. If you have a choice to use products in the program or not, use the ones you can promote as an affiliate. People always want to know where you got things.
    • Leave a link to what you used in the video in a pinned comment.
    • Respond to any questions where people ask where you got something and give them the affiliate link. (This is just polite practice as well that builds trust with your audience.)

    Those are just a few of my best tips for how I’ve managed to share products I love like my favorite budget stickers shops and cash envelope makers while also earning income for doing it!

    Affiliate Marketing Tips For Instagram

    If you are running an Instagram account and want to start earning money from your account, affiliate marketing is a great option. Here are some of my favorite tips:

    • Use your affiliate links in your bio or within a linktree or similar platform to share multiple.
    • Use your stories to ask yes/no questions about whether someone is interested in something and then respond to the yes answers with useful info and your link.
    • Work to get to the 10k mark so you can use the “swipe up” in stories where you can include affiliate links.
    • Use / show / review items and tell the viewer where the link is to also get the item (bio, swipe up, etc.)

    Those are just a few Instagram specific affiliate marketing tips!

    Affiliate Marketing Tips For Bloggers

    Blogging is the traditional king of affiliate marketing. Some bloggers have made millions of dollars in affiliate marketing income. Michelle who created Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing has earned over $100,000 a month from her blog. That’s crazy amounts of money and she is not the only blogger who has done it.

    Blogging is a great way to earn money with affiliate marketing. Here are a few of the ways you can earn money through affiliate marketing through a blog:

    • Use affiliate links in your blog posts. This is the easiest way to do this as a blogger.
    • Use the Pretty Links plug-in if you have a WordPress blog to make the affiliate links easier to manage. It creates custom, pretty links and tracks your clicks which is useful.
    • Write how to posts that show readers how to do something and link to the product or service they need to make it happen. How to and tutorial posts are very high converting types of affiliate posts.
    • Use attention grabbing clickbait style headlines that people will click on because you need to get people to your posts to get them to your links.
    • Write review posts where people are searching for the product you are trying to sell and are at the stage right before buying – right before clicking your affiliate link. You can write reviews about all sorts of items but just make sure you are doing an honest review with good and bad parts about the product.
    • Create a round up post of multiple affiliate products where your readers are getting value by getting the best of a certain category or a list of products to buy for a certain trip, etc.

    Affiliate Marketing Tips

    No matter which platform you are using there are some general ideas you should stick with when promoting products with affiliate marketing.

    Here are some general affiliate marketing tips:

    • Explain the benefits of why someone would want to purchase the product you are promoting.
    • Share personal experiences about using the product or service. This is the best way to do affiliate marketing – sharing your experience about what you already use and love. Personal experience build trust and increase conversions.
    • Show proof of success or that the product actually worked or improved your life. General benefits won’t sell people on buying a product but seeing actual proof helps.
    • Be honest about your reviews when talking about products you are promoting. Never lie and always share both the good and bad of a product.
    • Don’t over do it or be too salesy. You don’t want to be the pushy annoying person that only promotes links to earn money. It’s not effective and it also just comes off as annoying and will turn people off you in general.
    • Include a call to action so people know what to do in order to take the next step and actually purchase the product. Call to actions are things like “grab your copy today” or “click here to sign up”.
    • If you are promoting a high price product, you can also offer an incentive and give something extra to anyone that uses your link.
    • Always disclose that you use affiliate links no matter which platform you are using. Stay up to date and in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

    Those are a few tips to get you started!

    More Affiliate Marketing Questions

    I get a lot of other questions about affiliate marketing so I’ve shared some of them and the answers below!

    Do I need a blog for affiliate marketing?

    Nope! You don’t need a blog to do affiliate marketing. You don’t need any certain platform to get started with affiliate marketing. 

    What you need is a platform where you excel and plan to invest in building an audience. Your audience is what will earn you affiliate marketing income so cultivating an audience on any platform can work for affiliate marketing. However, you should be aware that certain platforms do better than others when you are trying to earn affiliate income.

    While you don’t absolutely need a blog for affiliate marketing it will make it easier because having a blog is one of the easiest and most profitable ways to make money from affiliate marketing. Even if you don’t fully utilized your blog and plan

    How do you get paid? How much can you make?

    Before you get started you probably are wondering how much you can make and what types of ways you can get paid.

    Flat rate is one of the ways you can get paid. As an example, website hosts like Bluehost will pay a flat rate of $65 per sale when someone signs up with your link.

    Percentage of sale price is another way you can get paid. This is the most common and commission rates vary widely. If you are promoting a product that costs $100 and you will earn a 10% commission with that affiliate marketing program then you would earn $10 per sale.

    Do you need a lot of followers or traffic?

    Nope! That’s the best part of affiliate marketing! You don’t need a lot of traffic or a huge following to be successful!

    In fact, some people with huge followings can hardly sell anything with affiliate marketing because their audience doesn’t trust them or isn’t connected. Often with a smaller audience you are more connected with your followers and they are more connected to you which means they are also willing to support you by trusting your opinion on products and using your affiliate links.

    I made my first affiliate sales with less than 500 followers and not that many views. It was because I was sharing products I actually loved and was happy to be using. I never promote things I don’t like or don’t feel comfortable with because being real is what works with affiliate marketing.

    As long as you are providing value with your recommendations then you will be able to earn money with affiliate marketing with a small following and feel good about it.

    Why share which affiliate programs I use?

    The affiliate marketing programs I shared here are the top two programs I’ve used to monetize my budget planner channel and they’ve worked very well for me. I’ve made thousands of dollars over my two years of being on YouTube from these two programs in those affiliate networks.

    Yes, giving them away does mean I have more competition for the links but I’ve also found that helping more people eventually benefits me as well. I will earn a small amount if you sign up for those affiliate networks as well which will help make up for some revenue I’ve lost. Plus, I like having good deeds on my side.

    I also, really, really like helping people figure out ways to earn income online and improve their lives through doing things like affiliate marketing or making digital products. I’ve got a passion for helping other people make money! 

    How can I be successful with affiliate marketing?

    While I have covered everything you need to know as a beginner starting affiliate marketing, to be successful you will need two things:

    1. Try and test things to find what works.
    2. Learn from people who have been successful.

    If you want a deep dive into how affiliate marketing works for both bloggers and YouTubers too you can take a more in depth class: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing I took Michelle’s course when I wanted to grow my affiliate income on YouTube and it’s helped me grow that income source a lot even though I already understood the basics of affiliate marketing.

    If you’ve signed up for the affiliate networks above and still feel lost on how to seamlessly use affiliate marketing you might want to try the course. It’s great for beginners to walk you through how to use and grow your affiliate marketing income. I will say that it is geared toward bloggers but the basics are the same for bloggers and youtubers.

    (If you do decide to buy Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing through my link send me a copy of your receipt and I will send you all of my online income related printables!)

    Congrats on learning about and using affiliate marketing to grow the income!

  • Living With Roommates To Save Money & House Hack

    When you are saving money to pay off debt or afford a big expense like your first home, you likely will be looking at a number of options to save money. One area where you can save a lot of money is by living with roommates.

    Why live with roommates?

    Living with roommates is actually a great way to get social interaction and save money!

    When you live with roommates you are able to save money because you are splitting your rent costs. Rent or mortgage costs are generally the largest line item in most people’s budget. Getting a roommate to cut down on that expense makes a lot of sense when you are trying to save money.

    Another benefit of living with roommates is the social interaction and community. This can be a huge positive when you have the right roommates and love the people you live with. They can greatly add value to your life, but you have to be careful because it can also go the other way.

    Those are the top two benefits I personally found when living with roommates but there are plenty of others!

    Living With Roommates

    I’ve had plenty of roommates over the years during college and after. I’ve lived with friends,  family and strangers.

    In fact, I’ve never lived alone until I briefly lived alone for 6 months in my late twenties. And even after that brief stint living alone I realized I still wanted to live with other people!

    The reality is that living with roommates is harder than living alone because you have to share space. Communication is important and resentments can come up when there are disagreements about how the space should be used. Conflicts can arise over things like chores, cleaning, and sharing food.

    Ultimately the reality of living with roommates is that it takes a lot more work on interpersonal relationships but provides benefits that greatly outweigh the level of work you must put in for most cases.

    Why I Lived With Roommates 

    So why did I still live with roommates when I know it involved a lot of extra work? Why was I willing to deal with the tradeoffs?

    I wanted to save money on rent.

    That’s it! The number one reason to live with roommates was the reason I did it. Living with roommates was the right choice for me because it was the cheapest living option. Regardless of what city I’ve lived in, or my spot in life, living with roommates has always been the cheapest living arrangement.

    Living with roommates might not always be ideal or what you expect, but I know it’s what is best option to save money!

    House Hacking With Roommates

    A popular solution to not only saving money but eliminating your mortgage is house hacking.

    House Hacking is a phrase coined by BiggerPockets podcast host Brandon Turner and it just refers to the strategy of renting out portions of your primary residence to generate rental income that is used to offset the cost of your mortgage and other expenses associated with owning a home.

    Basically, you get roommates to live with you in the house that you own and your roommates pay your mortgage! You save money, build equity, and can generate positive income in the right locations.

    House hacking is often a way to get into a more expensive home or home ownership in an expensive location where you can’t afford the home on your own. It’s also a great way to squeeze all the value possible out of owning a home so you benefit financially.

    Living with roommates in order to house hack is possibly the very best way to utilize living with other people because you achieve accelerated financial benefits from the arrangement.

    Here are some of the benefits of living with roommates in order to house hack:

    • Lowering your monthly housing cost through generating rental income
    • Renting out portions of your property means you still get to use it
    • Lowering your taxable income base by acquiring extra tax write offs (mortgage interest deduction)
    • Having the possibility of removing your mortgage payment, insurance, and maintenance expenses completely through the rental income
    • Learning how to be a landlord without as much upfront risk
    • Transitioning into the world of real estate investing again without the huge unfront risk

    There are clearly a lot of positive benefits of living with roommates and this is not even including all of them!

    Tips For Living With Roommates

    If you are single it’s a lot easier to live with roommates because you can simply move into a house with a lot of people or rent a room out from someone.

    If you are married this is still possible. It’s also an option for you to rent or buy your own place and then bring in roommates. This will give you more control as you will be in the position of power to set rules and evict the person if things go wrong.

    It always helps to have a written agreement or lease with people you are living with even if it’s just a temporary situation or you are the person moving in. This covers both parties in case something goes wrong and there are disputes to settle later. It might be awkward at first to bring up the fact that you want a written agreement to cover your roommate situation, but it’s a very smart idea in the long run!

    Additionally there are many things you can do to be a good roommate and ensure that nothing goes wrong. Be a good roommate by:

    • respecting your roommates space and privacy
    • doing the dishes and other household chores when needed
    • not being nosy about the roommates life
    • setting clear boundaries for each other and respecting them
    • picking up after yourself, especially in common areas
    • respecting the other person’s right to reserve and use common areas
    • being a happy and positive person in interactions with roommates

    Do those things and you won’t have any problems at all living with roommates. In fact, it might be the best thing you ever did!

    Help With Living With Roommates

    If you want to be extra prepared for living with roommates, or don’t know how to handle a situation that has come up, try reading books and blog posts about how to deal with roommates.

    There are several inexpensive ebooks that you can get to help you navigate the world of living with roommates. Try these to start:

    These books are a great way to learn about roommate living and learn how to solve or prevent common problems that arise among people living together. You can spend $10 on all these ebooks and save yourself from unnecessary strife.

    Good luck with your roommate living. I know it’s for me and I hope you can find a way to make it work for you too!

  • 6 Most Profitable Digital Products To Sell Online

    I love selling digital products and I’m glad I finally started selling digital products in 2019 after years of dragging my feet. It has been an incredible and profitable income source in my online business!

    Selling Digital Products In 2020

    Selling digital products is a highly profitable way to earn money online while also helping your customers solve a problem and improve their lives. It’s truly a win for everyone.

    Selling digital products is actually my favorite way to make money online (here are the ways I make money online). I sell digital products that make me hundreds of dollars every month and sometimes even thousands in passive income. I love making products once that I can then sell thousands of times.  

    Whether you are a blogger, YouTuber, or online business owner, selling digital products is a great way to earn money online in 2020 and beyond.

    Even if it is not your main revenue it can become a great side income that helps you earn money to pay for items you need.

    Why Should I Sell Digital Products?

    Maybe you are wondering if you should even sell digital products or why digital products are such a great way to earn money online. 

    There are a ton of reasons why you might want to start selling digital products. Here are a few:

    • Passive income – create products once and sell an infinite number
    • No physical inventory to worry about – everything is done online
    • Low start up costs – you can create digital products with free programs
    • Easy to create products – time to create digital products can be low
    • Easy to sell – plenty of avenues to sell your products 
    • Easy to create products for multiple niches & interests

    These are very compelling reasons for why every person wanting to create an income online should be making and selling digital products. It is a fantastic opportunity to create passive income for yourself while also creating useful products for others. 

    How to Sell Digital Products Online

    There are many different ways to sell digital products online and each have their pros and cons. 

    You can sell on sites like Etsy where you don’t own your platform but can reach a huge amount of customers quickly. 

    You can sell on your own website as well which takes more work to setup but you keep more of the money and have more control over your products. 

    First, you will need your own website or at least a domain for selling on your own website. See how to start a website or blog here. 

    Next you will want an e-commerce platform that will allow you to both take payments and deliver your digital products to your customers. There are many different e-commerce platforms that make this possible so let’s look at the best ones for selling digital products specifically.

    Etsy – I love selling on Etsy because you don’t have to find people to buy your digital products – they are already on the platform and Etsy is bringing them to you! It’s easy for beginners to start and Etsy shop and you can get 40 free listings through this link.

    Podia –  Podia is a more robust platform that will allow you to not only sell digital downloads but also offer memberships and online courses. If you have plans to grow a full online business it’s the ideal platform to use to keep everything in one place. Get a 14 day free trial of Podia here

    SendOwl – This platform is specifically designed for selling digital products. You upload the digital products and start selling immediately. This platform is just $9 per month with no additional fees taken our from sales you make. Get a free trial of SendOwl here.   

    Woocommerce – WooCommerce integrates easily with existing WordPress websites to sell digital downloads. WooCommerce is not specifically for digital downloads but they have made the process super simple for sellers and do not take additional fees from sales. I currently use WooCommerce to sell my digital downloads on my website. Get started with WooCommerce.

    How To Determine Profitable Digital Products

    There are tons of digital products you can sell online but if you are looking for maximum profitability from your efforts then you need to think about your end customer.

    If you are aiming for a market of people who don’t have much money then you can’t price your items that high. If you are looking to sell to a group of people that won’t get anything besides personal satisfaction from your product that drops the level of profit for you as well. The customer you are targeting will determine how profitable your item will be.

    You want to look for markets where your future customer is going to gain high rewards from your products therefore they will be willing to spend more which increases your profit.

    The most profitable items help someone earn money or achieve a goal especially if it financially benefits them more. An example of this is selling editable marketing materials to real estate agents. These products are profitable because you can charge more for them because the customer is willing to spend more to save time in creating these materials and will make money in their business from them.

    Next let’s look at some of the most profitable product ideas and examples of each.  

    6 Most Profitable Digital Products To Sell Online

    If you are planning to add digital product sales to your online income streams, then you likely want to make sure you choose the most profitable digital products to sell so your time is used wisely. Below are my top picks for the best digital products to sell in 2020 and beyond. 

    1. Ebook templates
    2. Marketing templates
    3. Swipe files
    4. Spreadsheets templates
    5. Online courses
    6. Elements for creators 

    These are incredibly profitable areas of digital products because they are things that help other people make money. Generally people with money or making money are the ones who are willing to spend more. 

    There are dozens if not hundreds of other digital product ideas for things you could sell online, in fact I’ve shared more than 60 digital product ideas you can sell online!

    Regardless of which digital product you decide to sell, your profits for creating a digital product will always be higher than a traditional product because you are creating a product once you can sell again and again.

    Growing A Digital Product Business On Etsy

    Etsy has downsides but it’s also an amazing place to build a business and earn an income.

    If you want to grow a business selling digital downloads on Etsy I recommend my friend Sharon’s Etsy Entrepreneur course where she walks you through the process of setting up an Etsy shop and growing it to make $1,000 a month or more. She grew her Etsy store of digital downloads to more than $1,000 a month and has inspired many people to do the same.

    Remember that your business growth will depend on being consistent and growing over time adding valuable products. For most of us we begin with one product and grow over time building on what works.

    Over time you will learn tips and tricks to grow your digital products shop and find that success can be far beyond you expected when you focus on profitable digital products.

  • 63 Digital Product Ideas To Sell To Make Passive Income

    Selling digital products on Etsy is a great way to make passive income! You may have heard this before but what exactly can you sell? What are digital products?

    Today I’m talking about A LOT of digital product ideas you can create and sell on Etsy or any online platform in order to make passive income. If you don’t know what to create to sell on Etsy this will give you a great starting off point on digital items you can make.

    63 Digital Product Ideas

    The digital product ideas in this video range from the standard items you can make like SVG files to ones you might not have thought about selling like Instagram story highlights.

    Here are 50 digital product ideas you can create and sell for passive income:

    1. Art prints
    2. Birthday cards
    3. Birthday invitations
    4. Build plans
    5. Bullet journals
    6. Business cards
    7. Business logos
    8. Business planners
    9. Cash envelopes
    10. Checklists & trackers
    11. Clip art
    12. Coloring pages
    13. Craft patterns
    14. Crochet patterns
    15. Digital papers
    16. Ebooks
    17. Embroidery patterns
    18. Etsy banners
    19. Excel templates
    20. Facebook templates
    21. Flash cards
    22. Fonts
    23. Funny cards
    24. Gift tags
    25. Graduation invitations
    26. Greeting cards
    27. Holiday cards
    28. Instagram story highlights
    29. Instagram templates
    30. Invitation templates
    31. Knitting patterns
    32. Leather making patterns
    33. Lightroom presets
    34. Meal plans
    35. Party banners
    36. Party decor
    37. Party invitation
    38. Party signs
    39. Phone wallpaper
    40. Pinterest templates
    41. Planner inserts
    42. Printable backdrop
    43. Printable envelopes
    44. Printable photo props
    45. Printable stationary
    46. Printable stickers
    47. Quilt patterns
    48. Quote prints
    49. Resume templates
    50. Selfie frames
    51. Sewing patterns
    52. Shower invitations
    53. Snapchat filters
    54. Social media templates
    55. Stock photos
    56. SVG cut files
    57. Sympathy cards
    58. Thank you cards
    59. Website themes
    60. Web store themes (Shopify themes)
    61. Wedding invitations
    62. Wedding signs
    63. Workbooks

    This is a huge list of digital products and even this list is not comprehensive. I left plenty of digital products off the list! Since this list mainly focused on items you can create to sell on Etsy I didn’t even include things like courses!

    How To Decide What To Sell

    If you have been trying to decide what to sell then this will definitely help get you started! Most of these ideas can be created in free programs like Canva.

    You don’t have to have design skills or a background in digital marketing in order to create and sell digital downloads. You don’t need a formal education or design background to create digital products and earn money selling them – you just have to be curious and willing to learn!

    When deciding what type of digital product to sell I would recommend picking an area where you have a passion in life and then deciding the types of products. For example, maybe you think you should make SVG files because they are popular, but you really love making spreadsheets to keep your life and business organized. I’d focus on that instead!

    Or maybe you like planning parties so you think you need to create party invitations. But I wouldn’t limit myself to one digital product. I’d think about what types of products would complement each other in a shop that helps my target audience. You can create listings that complement and link back to each other like related party invitations, party signs, party photo booth backdrops, photo booth props, and more.

    Creating Digital Products Online

    There are a number of ways to create digital products online these days. It’s possible to make digital products to sell for free with a number of programs!

    Adobe InDesign

    Adobe InDesign – I personally use Adobe InDesign for creating all my printables because it’s the best, most reliable and has the most flexibility. There is a learning curve because it’s a professional program but it’s worth it for the hassles it removes. Try creating with Adobe InDesign’s free trial.

    Adobe Illustrator

    Adobe Illustrator – This program is a must have for all graphics creators! It allows you to do so much and the only limit will be your creativity. It’s perfect for creating wall art, clip arts, designs for SVGs, etc. Try creating with Adobe Illustrator’s free trial.

    Canva

    Canva – Canva is one of the best free editing programs where you can create a digital products and the paid version is even better with bonus features that help take your work to the next level. Try creating with Canva.

    PicMonkey

    PicMonkey – This might be a photo editing heavy program but you can also create digital downloads through PicMonkey and edit photos for stock photos sales as well. Try creating with PicMonkey.

    Selling Digital Products Online

    You will want an e-commerce platform that will allow you to both take payments and deliver your digital products to your customers. There are many different e-commerce platforms that make this possible so let’s look at the best ones for selling digital products specifically.

    Etsy

    Etsy – I love selling on Etsy because you don’t have to find people to buy your digital products – they are already on the platform and Etsy is bringing them to you! It’s easy for beginners to start and Etsy shop and you can get 40 free listings through this link.

    Podia

    Podia –  Podia is a more robust platform that will allow you to not only sell digital downloads but also offer memberships and online courses. If you have plans to grow a full online business it’s the ideal platform to use to keep everything in one place and is cheaper than most other platforms. Get a 14 day free trial of Podia here

    SendOwl 

    SendOwl – This platform is specifically designed for selling digital products. You upload the digital products and start selling immediately. This platform is just $9 per month with no additional fees taken our from sales you make. Get a free trial of SendOwl here.   

    Shopify

    Shopify – One of the most popular platforms to use for selling goods online. Shopify has emerged at the top of many seller’s lists for the ease of use, beautiful designs, set pricing, and powerful backend. It offers everything you need to sell digital or physical products and scale your business too. Get a free trial of Shopify here.

    WooCommerce

    WooCommerce – WooCommerce integrates easily with existing WordPress websites to sell digital downloads. WooCommerce is not specifically for digital downloads but they have made the process super simple for sellers and do not take additional fees from sales. I currently use WooCommerce to sell my digital downloads on my website. Get started with WooCommerce.

    Marketing Digital Products Online

    Once you’ve created your digital downloadable products and have them ready to be sold, you have to market them! People won’t know your products exist without a little effort on your part. While Etsy makes this the simplest (you just need a little SEO to go!), you should still work to promote your items in oder to make sales. The following items are what I’ve found work best for promoting digital products to the right audience.

    MailChimp – Email marketing sells more products than anything else and should be at the top of your list when you are planning to create and sell digital products. MailChimp makes it easy and cheap to get started and can scale with your business growth. Try MailChimp for free.

    Grow Your Passive Income With Digital Products

    Digital products are amazing because these are things that you can create once and sell online over and over creating passive income and freedom in your life. This benefits you but it also benefits the end user who gets something they need at a lower price point and quicker. Not everyone has the budget to pay top dollar for custom designed work so digital products have revolutionized how consumers are able to get what they need. It is truly a win win for us all.

    If you have been wanting to sell some type of digital products in order to earn passive income I highly recommend it! I started my Etsy shop to share what I had made for myself during my own budgeting journey. I definitely did not know everything about Etsy and have figured it out along the way while also selling thousands of dollars worth of products.

    If you want to grow on Etsy I recommend my friend Sharon’s Etsy Entrepreneur course where she walks you through the process of setting up an Etsy shop and growing it to make $1,000 a month or more. She grew her Etsy store of digital downloads to more than $1,000 a month and has inspired many people to do the same.

    Regardless of whether you continue to learn on your own or pay for education, I hope you keep going and keep creating products for the world to use and enjoy. You are capable of creating the products that can change your life while also helping others.

  • April 2020 Online Income Report – $2,054.34

    Welcome to my April 2020 monthly online income report! Each month I share how much I make from my part time online content creation hobby.

    I’m dive into how I make money online selling digital products and making videos about our personal finances on my YouTube channel. These are passion projects I’ve done since before I made any money so it’s amazing to see the income risiing.

    Each month here on the blog I go into more detail about what I earned from online endeavors like this personal finance blogmy YouTube channel, and my Etsy shop. I like sharing real numbers to inspire myself and others and I value transparency which this report allows me to give you.

    I’ve been slowly building online income over the last two years while working on my blog and YouTube channel part time during my off hours after working a full time job. This is a hobby and a part time side hustle for me.

    Growing my online income has helped me achieve financial goals like paying off debt faster! I use all of my income from these endeavors to pay off debt. I’m building an income producing asset to help pay for the liability of debt.

    It’s been a lot of work in terms of a side hustle but I’ve enjoyed both earning income and helping people by sharing what we’ve done financially.

    Why Share An Online Income Report

    I’m sharing my online income reports as a YouTuber, digital product creator, and blogger to show people that it is possible to make money online in a non-sleazy way that helps people.

    Lots of people want to know how much small YouTube creators make with videos and if you can make money from a small audience online. Fellow YouTubers want to know how I make money with affiliate marketing and digital products not just ad revenue because they know it is hard to survive on YouTube ad income.

    Income reports allow me to share what I’m doing with Etsy and YouTube while building my online income so other creators can benefit and it lets me be fully transparent with my audience about how much I am making.

    It’s amazing that we can earn money creating and sharing content online.

    Previous Online Income Reports

    If you’re interested in past income reports, you can see all of them here:

    As you can see from past income reports, my online income in the first few months of 2020 trended much higher than my income last year. The growth is not viral or explosive but it has moved up and is consistently over $1,500 each month.

    I’ve been consistently earning $1,500 a month now which is far beyond my original goal of earning $600 per month with my YouTube channel.

    I like sharing these numbers to show small YouTubers what is possible with a channel that isn’t huge or growing by hundreds of thousands of subscribers in a year. While that would be amazing, it is possible to still earn income as a small channel and blog.

    You can find ways to monetize outside of ads in order to build an income and diversify it.

    April 2020 Online Income Report

    Here are the main income sources broken down by what I earned for the month of April. I’ve included referral links to each if you want to join too!

    Advertising Income – $856.72

    • YouTube Advertising Channel 1 – $741.23
    • YouTube Advertising Channel 2 – $100.36
    • Adsense & Sponsored – $15.13

    Affiliate Marketing Income – $706.78

    • Shareasale – $2.63
    • Awin – $40.51
    • Robinhood – $130.17
    • Amazon – $148.47
    • Impact Radius – $385.00
    • Rakuten – $0.00
    • Capital One – $0.00

    Product Sales Income – $480.59

    • Etsy Products – $355.44
    • Website Sales – $125.15

    Patreon – $10.25

    • Patreon $10.25

    Total Income: $2,054.34

    This is the amount earned in April 2020 before any fees, expenses, or taxes.

    That means I don’t keep all of it it and at least 25% will be gone for taxes before it hits my personal bank account. I also won’t be paid all of it in the month it is earned since each source pays out at different times. In the video you can see the difference between what I earned and what I received in April.

    There are multiple expenses I’m now paying for each month:

    However, I must say with much excitement: I finally hit $2,000 in a month!

    I’ve consistently made $1,000 a month then $1,500 a month and now this is my first month earning $2,000. I can barely believe it.

    I hit the goal of earning $2,000 in a month from mostly YouTube generated activity which is insane and exciting and worth all the work that has gone into it. I’ve been making videos for over 2 years now and not a single one has gone viral.

    It’s amazing to me that I’m able to earn $2,000 in a month WITHOUT going viral. It just goes to show that consistent and steady work does make a difference.

    What I Worked On In April 2020

    I have been continuing to work on a few different priorities growing income sources and I even added a new one this month too!

    Diversifying Income

    In March I started selling on my own website to get off of relying completely on Etsy (I am still selling on Etsy since so many people love and use the platform!). Etsy has been a great place to start a digital download shop, but it has some downsides as well, mostly high fees, which I hope to combat with my own website sales.

    (I’m testing out multiple platforms to sell with like Podia, SendOwl, WooCommerce, and Shopify too in order to see which I like the best currently for selling digital products.)

    In April 2020 I decided to test out another revenue source: Patreon!

    I started a Patreon to include my monthly budgeting printables along with some of the future printables I plan to create around different areas of life like meal planning, online business, and planning. I’m hoping the Patreon offers another revenue source for me an also allows people to get MORE for their money since they will get access to a large library of items for just $10 a month.

    The Patreon will also allow a lower level $2 per month option for anyone who just wants to support my work. I ended up with $10.25 for the month which is a decent start for a new revenue source! I’m hoping it continues to grow.

    Creator Pennies Academy

    Another great thing about Patreon is that I’m adding a level for creators!

    I’ve been sharing content about creating content recently and since everyone has a lot of questions I’ve decided to add a “Creator Pennies” level on Patreon where I can do weekly prompts, tips for earning, monthly live videos answering questions, and answer your questions via messaging.

    I’ve set this price point at $20 which is still pretty low compared to most similar academy type programs so I’m very hopeful people are interested and want to learn about and grow with me.

    Made for videos for two YouTube channels.

    In April I decided to use my second channel more frequently by uploading more content. I decided to start making and adding at least a couple videos a month with a goal of one per week.

    For so long I only had my second channel with very old videos and no strategy. I’m now going to test out a new strategy that is very different from my main channel where I talk about financial topics.

    In April I made videos for both channels.

    Added new affiliate marketing partners.

    I have continued with my implementation of ideas learned from Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course and in that regard I’ve added a couple new affiliate marketing partners.

    I don’t plan to add too many or add any I don’t actively use myself. I find it is easier and more authentic to only promote programs I actively use. It’s similar to how I only buy stocks of companies I actively use and adore. It’s just easier to be myself and share what I truly use and love than try to make quick cash (gross tactic anyway).

    Adding new partners that I’m loving will be so helpful in growing the affiliate income because it is not hard to share these products.

    What I’m Working On Next

    So what’s on tap for next month? I’ve got a few things planned:

    Grow the products in my shops. I plan to create more items and also promote what is already there on both Etsy / my website / Patreon. I still have a goal of having 100 listings on Etsy and I want to get to that by the end of the year.

    Create more affiliate focused videos. These videos tend not to kill it in ad revenue but they are great income producers with affiliate marketing income.

    Looking for sponsors. I’d like to start doing sponsored videos where a good company I love and have vetted sponsors all of my videos about budgeting for a month, or my 4-5 Transfer Tuesday videos in a month. I’d like to try to start doing a bundle of sponsored videos to provide more value to the sponsor and also bring in more income.

    Popular Content

    Here are some of my top videos for the month of April

    April Monthly Budget | Big Emergency Savings & Investing Small Amounts | Budget With Me

    $2,900 Stimulus Check Arrived!! Save & Pay Off Debt With Me

    How We Budget $3,000 | April Paycheck Budget Planner | Budget With Me

    I’m glad to see these videos did well and hope to create more that are also doing well. A lot of the top videos in April had to do with the corona shutdown and stimulus checks which was a very popular topic.

    Looking forward to sharing my May online income!

  • Trying New Budgeting Styles | April Paycheck Budget

    Our April paycheck budget has a ton of new changes because our lives are different now and it felt like a good time to change up the budget as well! We are now trying out a pay yourself first method which we will soon combine with a percentage based style like 80/20 or 50/30/20. I’ll be sharing more about these as we try new stuff out!

    While our lives are so different as we navigate the current financial crisis and global pandemic we’ve adjusted our goals for the year and it felt like a good time to change up how we budget because everything else is different too!

    Our main focus for paying ourselves first is our savings for our emergency fund and building up 3 months of expenses because $1,000 is not an emergency fund.

    Budget With Me!

    In the video you can budget along with me as we cover the budget necessities: bills, fixed expenses, variable expenses, debt payments, and sinking funds.

    This is the first time we have implemented the pay yourself first method where we put all of our goals first and make sure those are covered before anything else. That means savings, investing, and debt repayment comes first in our budget before bills of expenses like food and fun.

    If you are new to watching our budgets, here’s a little run down of our situation! We both work full time, I do freelance work and earn income from my YouTube channel and this is our take home income that I am budgeting. I cover bills, variable spending expenses, sinking funds and the goals for the month. This month we are super focused on increasing our emergency fund which we are trying to cover 3 months of expenses and eventually even more.

    April Paycheck Budget Setup

    During this paycheck our main goal was to continue building our emergency fund.

    April monthly goals:

    • Save $2,000 for our emergency fund
    • Don’t do unnecessary online shopping

    Goals for this paycheck for me were:

    • starting a new type of budget
    • setting up business payments biweekly
    • emergency fund growth

    With that in mind we broke down our April 2020 monthly budget into a more specific way for this paycheck budget.

    April 2020 Monthly Budget

    Here’s the breakdown of the paycheck budget for the first half of April 2020.

    Salary$2,599
    Extra Income$26
    Pennies Not Perfection$400
    Total Income$3,259

    With $3,259 in planned income for the month we broke it down this way.

    Pay Yourself First:

    Emergency Fund$1,130
    Student Loan$220
    Roth IRA$50
    Robinhood$10
    Ellevest$10

    Fixed Expenses:

    Mortgage$600
    Therapy$130
    Netflix$15

    Sinking Funds:

    Phone$50
    Life Insurance$35
    Car Insurance$75
    Car Repairs$50
    House$25
    Christmas$25
    Emergency Fund Extra$45

    Variable Expenses:

    Food$350
    Gas$50
    Medication$30
    Birthday$50
    J Personal$100
    M Personal$50
    Giving$100
    Misc$50
    Buffer in Acct$9

    Paying Yourself First

    Paying ourselves first is super exciting! Let’s be real, it’s fun to save money and invest money once you realize what that money can do for your in the future.

    Paying yourself first isn’t hard it just means prioritizing things like saving, investing, and paying off high interest debt. Paying yourself by doing these things before anything else in your budget is a great way to hit goals.

    We plan to continue trying this style of budgeting and see how it helps us better hit all our many goals!

    Our Emergency Fund Savings

    Because we aren’t playing many different expenses like daycare or going out to eat or going to events or throwing parties (the list goes on) we are able to save a lot more money in our emergency fund!

    We recently determined what we need for our emergency fund to equal 3-6 months of expenses.

    Looking at our monthly expenses and cutting out many things for an emergency situation means we need roughly $3,000 a month for our expenses. This means for a 3 month emergency fund we will need $9,000 saved. For a 6 month emergency fund we will want to stock up $18,000.

    We have a plan for our emergency fund and hopefully things go well and we can save it up with our extra income coming in and big paychecks from the government.

    Now with planning to save $2,000 a month we will also be adding a lot of our regular income to our emergency fund. This means we will be able to save up to $9,000 much quicker than I originally expected.

    This paycheck we were able to save over $1,000 to the emergency fund which moves us even closer to our goals.

    Investing To Hit Goals

    While we are prioritizing savings during this time due to potential job security, we are also continuing to invest small amounts into the market and dollar cost average our investments.

    One of my goals this year is to max out my Roth IRA and because I haven’t started on that goal yet it felt like a good time to get going on that goal.

    I’ve been investing for a long time now and I love investing when markets are going up and when markets are going down. In fact, my shortest time frame investments are for at least 15-16 years from now when I want to use the dividends to help my daughter.

    Because I am not investing money for the short term I don’t worry much about the markets year to year ups and downs because I know that in a long time frame that money will continue to grow. That’s why I’m still investing small amounts even when I have bigger goals to achieve, because I know small amounts I won’t miss now will add up to huge amounts later.

    I’ve talked a bit about the investing platforms I use for different purposes and here are the ones I plan to use this month:

    Because all of thee accounts have different goals and allow me to try out the more popular investing platforms I’m able to try different things and also work toward multiple goals in the far off future.

    Trying New Budgeting Styles

    I don’t call myself a budgeting expert and probably never will because there are too many styles of budgeting. What works for me for a while doesn’t work for me at another time. What works for me may never work for you.

    The thing is that creating a budget and following it during times of uncertainty and times of stability both helps you create a sense of calm and control. And if budgeting doesn’t feel like it’s working for you? Try a different method!

    Some people love budgeting by paycheck. Some people love Dave Ramsey’s method. Some people adore YNAB. Some people do 50/30/20 percentage based budgeting. There really are many styles of budgeting and one size does not fit all!

    I plant to go through a few more styles of budgeting to see if we can improve on what already works for us. I think it is great to take the best bits of advice from various sources and make them work for you. Best practices from others can improve your life very quickly and that includes with budgeting!

    No matter what your goals are, continue with budgeting and using your money wisely and consistently to hit your goals. You don’t have to be perfect with your money but you do need to be consistent!