According to statistics reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 18.3 million home-based businesses in the US alone in 2011, generating US $427 billion a year in annual revenues (according to Entrepreneur Magazine). Separate studies show that a new Home-Based Business is started every 12 seconds, and that 70% of Americans would prefer to be self-employed.
This is against a backdrop where corporate downsizing has seen swathes of traditional jobs disappear whilst telecommuting has become more accessible and productive because of the Internet. The Digital Economy continues to expand apace every year, and with that growth more online money opportunities are continuously being created.
Those who work from home will point to the advantages it confers such as more freedom and less stress. No more time wasted on the daily commute, no boss or office politics with which to contend, no need to dress-up or clock in by a certain time. You get to choose your own hours, manage your own schedule, and take holidays when you want. At least in theory! This leaves you more time for family and friends, and personal projects.
There is also the opportunity, provided you have the drive, self-discipline, and time management skills, to make a lot of money online, with the advantage you get to keep all of it (well, with the exception of the bit you have to give to the tax man!) The harder you work, the more you can earn.
A whole host of new opportunities are now available for online workers. Programmers, website and graphic designers are continually in demand, both from existing corporations looking to outsource projects, and from start-ups and small businesses looking to enhance their digital footprint. Freelance writers (included related disciplines like proof-readers and copy editors) are always needed to write articles, blogs, product reviews and social media posts, because of the voracious demand for online content. Then there are the online marketing and PR jobs, data entry, virtual assistant and tutoring gigs. Even some senior management roles can now be performed remotely. The list is virtually endless, and limited only by the ability, and, in some cases technological capability, of the individual. The entry requirements are also minimal – you just need a computer and an internet connection.
Affiliate marketing is one of these opportunities. The principle is simple – you earn a commission by selling somebody else’s products or services. For the beginner, affiliate marketing can be an attractive position. There are minimal start-up costs, and you don’t need to come up with a new product or idea – you are promoting something that is already for sale. You also do not need any expert knowledge – you just need to know enough about the product or service you are promoting to market it to somebody else. Furthermore, it can be a great source of passive income which can earn you money time and time again. If you carry a link to the affiliate on your website, for example, and somebody clicks on it, you can continue to earn money as long as you carry their link.
Why would somebody pay you as an affiliate? The answer simply is that it is a great way to promote a product or service online, and a lot cheaper than other marketing channels like Google Ads. Commission is only paid when an affiliate makes a sale, and even if you are paying them 10%, or even 20%, for each sale, acquisition costs are a lot cheaper than other online marketing channels.
There is a huge array of affiliate programs for almost any product or service online. So, if you are prepared to work hard, push their links and promote a company and its services, there is the opportunity to make some serious commission through affiliate marketing.