how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s

how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s

how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s. You’ve probably come across an affiliate marketing company if you’ve ever bought something online that an influencer recommended.

Brands frequently form collaborations with online producers to promote their products and services. For each sale, they receive a commission.

Affiliate marketing is a rapidly expanding field. According to Statista, affiliate marketing spending in the United States is expected to reach $8.2 billion by 2022.

The upfront costs, such as purchasing a domain name, eCommerce hosting, courses, and books, are a challenge for many new affiliate marketers. So, can you get started for free?

Yes, it is correct. This post will show you how to make money with affiliate marketing (without any upfront costs) and will walk you through the process step by step.

What is the process of affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the technique of earning a commission by suggesting another company’s product or service. It’s a tremendously profitable business concept because the company compensates you for each sale you suggest.

However, not all affiliate programs are created equal. Some will pay varying commission percentages, while others will offer a flat incentive, and yet others will offer free products or services in exchange. Successful affiliate marketing may turn your side hustle into a profitable business endeavor with time and effort.

how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s

At first, the road to becoming an affiliate marketer may appear difficult. It is much easier to achieve your goals if you break them down into smaller steps.

  1. find a niche
  2. choose an affiliate program
  3. determine traffic source
  4. create content
  5. grow audience
  6. engage and promote your product

Find a niche

how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s
how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s

Establishing oneself within a niche is the greatest approach to thriving in affiliate marketing. A niche is a subject on which you will become an expert. Some of the most promising niches are:

  • Hobbies include travel, photography, golf, and being outside.
  • Investing, bitcoin, personal finance, credit cards
  • Yoga, fitness, nutrition, veganism, weight loss
  • Luxury, airlines, fashion, and jewels are all part of the lifestyle.
  • Baby items, pets, plants, and security at home
  • Technology includes web hosting, VPN, games, and software.
  • Personal development, marijuana and CBD, and natural therapies are all options.
  • You need a specialization because if you recommend a wide range of things, people will not regard you as an expert they can trust. People can tell you have experience in a specific field if you just advocate a single type of product and write content about it.

It also helps you with search engine optimization (SEO) on social media and, if you choose to develop one later, with your affiliate website.

So, how do you pick a niche?

Start with niches that have a great potential of being profitable. For example, according to our research*, business-related programs pay the greatest commissions, whereas apparel, books, and media pay the lowest:

These aren’t your only alternatives, and some niches work better on certain platforms than others. Remember that affiliate marketing isn’t a “get rich quick” scheme. To stay motivated, you’ll need to have a personal interest in your niche.

To limit your possibilities, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you interested in learning more about your field? Keeping up with local trends and business news is critical for remaining relevant to your target audience.
  • Do you have prior experience or training in a specific field? If you already know a lot about a subject, you can accelerate your study and get ahead faster.
  • Is it possible to develop content without investing any money upfront? If you don’t already have the necessary equipment or material, some sectors, such as technology or travel, might be quite costly.
  • Is it financially viable? You want to make money in the end. You risk not making a profit if your niche is either too large, resulting in too much competition, or too narrow, resulting in not enough individuals interested in it.

Choosing a niche is a delicate balance, and finding the sweet spot can take some time and practice—don’t be discouraged if you don’t notice immediate results.

choose an affiliate program

how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s
how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s

After you’ve decided on a niche, you’ll need to pick which affiliate programs to join. Choosing a program or affiliate products that are related to your specialty makes sense.

Many YouTube channels, for example, offer Virtual Private Network (VPN) services so that their viewers can watch them from anywhere in the world. Derek Simnett, a vegan fitness and lifestyle educator who is also a VIVO Life supplement affiliate, is a good example.

You may identify acceptable affiliate programs in your niche in two ways: directly and through marketplaces. You can approach brands in your field that have affiliate marketing programs directly and sign up for them (affiliate programs are usually free to join), as Derek did with VIVO Life.

Another alternative is to join an affiliate program marketplace or network, which allows you to search among thousands of programs and sign up for them directly through the marketplace.

Thousands of businesses in many niches are available through affiliate networks like the ones listed below:

  • ShareASale
  • ClickBank
  • Awin
  • FlexOffers
  • Amazon Associates
  • CJ
  • Rakuten Advertising

While these are all trustworthy possibilities, there are a few things to consider when selecting an affiliate network, including the commission rate and earnings per click (EPC) rate. Even if a program has a low commission rate but a high EPC, it can still be a beneficial investment.

determine traffic source

how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s
how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s

You’ll need to start thinking about your traffic source at this time.

People frequently believe that you must become a blogger with your own website (which costs money). Though having one later on when you’re ready to reinvest in your business and build up is beneficial, it’s not required.

Other (free) traffic sources, such as social media platforms, YouTube, and forum-based sites like Reddit and Quora, can help you start earning affiliate income. Let’s have a look at the benefits and drawbacks of each channel:


  • Pros: Facebook is the most popular social networking platform. You can reach a large number of people.
  • Cons: Younger audiences will find it less appealing. Organic reach is poor.


  • Pros: Instagram is a highly visual platform that is ideal for presenting products and services. Video material, such as Reels and Stories, receives a lot of attention.
  • Cons: Organic reach for feed posts is lower.


  • Pros of YouTube: Excellent for search engine optimization. There are almost two billion individuals on the planet.
  • Cons: Most niches have a lot of competition. Professional and high-quality videos are required.


  • TikTok Pros: Short video snippets that don’t need to seem “professional.” More genuine and real experiences. TikTok is where trends begin.
  • Cons: Description links are not clickable.


  • Pros: Organic reach is excellent. Professionals have a well-established platform.
  • Cons: Designed primarily for business-to-business audiences.

“But I don’t have a social media following!” you might be thinking. “How am I going to make money?” If you don’t already have a following, now is the time to start. To be sure, you don’t need a massive following to make money; all you need is the correct audience.

Many affiliate marketers rely only on social media for their income. Papery Thoughts, a YouTube channel (among other social media accounts) that publishes YouTube videos about journaling, is a great example.

The producer includes onscreen links to products in the video description to create affiliate sales for the channel. Joining Facebook groups in your sector and answering questions, or stitching answers to important TikTok videos in your industry, are two other methods to use social media. Participation, not just spamming people with affiliate offers, is the key to growing an audience.

create content

how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s
how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s

Regardless of which platform(s) you choose for your affiliate marketing activities, the next step is to begin developing content that will help your target audience gain trust. Internet users spend an average of 145 minutes per day on social media in 2020. What keeps us logged on for more than two hours every day? Excellent content.

Building a content library takes time, so make a content calendar or strategy ahead of time. On any given day, your calendar can include outlines of the kind of content you’ll publish, such as:

  • Tutorials
  • Product reviews Q&As
  • Tips and tricks on how to

Keep a keyword strategy in mind while creating your content strategy, especially for YouTube SEO (if you choose YouTube as your platform). After all, if you don’t optimize your content for search results, even high-quality content can get lost in the shuffle.

With a little study, you can figure out which keywords to employ. Try searching for your competitors’ channels on YouTube, for example. Look at their most popular videos and pay attention to the titles, descriptions, and tags they employed.

Remember to include links to your affiliate items or services, as well as a disclaimer stating that they are related.

grow audience

how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s

While you’re developing content on your preferred platform, you should also start growing an email or SMS list. There are two primary motivations for doing so:

You have control over your contact list, so you don’t have to rely on social media to communicate with your audience. All of the big platforms have outages from time to time, so if yours does, you can always contact your audience via email.

While some affiliate programs don’t allow you to include affiliate links in your emails (the most well-known being Amazon’s affiliate program), you may still generate traffic to any of your content by emailing links to it.
Using your email list to provide even more value to your audience is a terrific way to establish authority in your niche issue. Here are some content ideas to get you started with your email list:

  • Industry news or reports
  • New blog posts are linked here.
  • Interview summaries or roundups
  • Behind the scenes of your personal or professional life
  • Deals on promotions (every once in a while)
  • Digital downloads for free

When it comes to establishing an email list for free, several email marketing software providers, such as Shopify Email, Mailchimp, and MailerLite, provide free options. It’s worthwhile to browse around to find which one best suits your needs.

You can start promoting high-ticket affiliate programs once you’ve established trust with your audience. These programs you the opportunity to earn up to $5,000 per sale. However, to persuade customers to buy more expensive things, you usually need to have a well-established specialty and influence.

engage and promote your product

how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s
how to start affiliate marketing with no money in your 20s

When you like and answer comments on your videos on TikTok, for example, those comments will get a distinctive badge that says “Liked by the creator,” which sticks out among the rest.

These conversations are crucial because they show your audience that you read and value their opinions. As a result, they’ll be more engaged with your future content (and maybe even encourage others to do so, too).

Responding to your audience allows you to learn more about what they want from you in the future, which is a win-win situation.

Related: How to start a Blog as a Complete Beginner?

What makes affiliate marketing such a successful business model?

“A business built on recommendations?” you might be thinking at this point. It appears to be too good to be true.” While it’s smart to be skeptical, the average affiliate marketer in the United States earns roughly $52,000 per year, according to PayScale.

Isn’t that good for product recommendations? Because affiliate marketing is a viable business concept, it is possible to make a livelihood from it. This is why:

  • It’s a low-risk situation. Businesses only have to pay you if your referral is successful (versus paying a fee for influencers). Affiliates can keep their costs minimal (if they have any at all), so the only time they lose is if they miss the mark.
  • It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. The company benefits from the sales you generate and then rewards you. Customers, on the other hand, gain from having a trustworthy recommendation to meet their needs/wishes.
  • You can work from any location on the planet. Affiliate marketing can enable you to call wherever your workplace if you’ve ever dreamed of living the digital nomad life. Keep in mind that any work-related tax or labor requirements must be followed.
  • You can earn money while you sleep. It takes time to build a library of high-quality content. However, after a while, you’ll notice that content you’ve already generated continues to generate affiliate commissions months, if not years afterward.

“Affiliate marketing requires long-term thinking, especially when you’re a beginner with no initial money,” explains Vivian Tejeda, a writer and affiliate marketer. “You should start with the basics, such as deciding on a niche and traffic source.”

There are several free platforms for creators to explore when starting out as affiliate marketers, according to Vivian. “You can register an account for free on Instagram, TikTik, YouTube, and blogs, and start creating content right away.” Affiliate networks provide novice marketers with free and immediate access to thousands of trustworthy affiliate programs.

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