How To Get Started in Affiliate Marketing With No Money

June 11, 2013 Posted by Tyler Cruz

A number of months ago, a reader requested that I write a post on how people can get started in affiliate marketing with little to no money, including not having a credit card.

I put it on my list of blog topics to write about and now finally have time to address it.

It’s a common question, and a valid one at that. Unfortunately, you guys probably won’t like my answer:

You Can’t… or Shouldn’t Anyway…

While some people may say that you can technically start without any money such as relying on search engines, using free traffic methods such as Craigslist and forum signatures, etc., those aren’t really viable ways of getting anywhere meaningful.

In my opinion, the best way to get started in affiliate marketing is to jump right in, spend money, and learn from hands-on experience.

Risky Business

First off, you need to understand that affiliate marketing is a very risky business and that in the beginning, everybody loses money. In fact, the majority of super successful affiliates who are making millions still lose money when they first start campaigns.

As a result, you should only be using money that you can AFFORD to lose, and be okay with it (in fact, you should expect to lose most of it when first starting out). Don’t put money on your credit card if you can’t pay it off immediately.

If you’re in debt (mortgage is okay), you should not starting doing affiliate marketing until you fix your debt problem. Affiliate marketing requires a person to have reasonable money management skills, and if you’re debt, chances are you need to work on that first. Fix your debt, get some extra spendable cash for affiliate marketing, then jump in.

Okay, so let’s say you currently have $0 in funds that you are able to risk and lose with no problem. You’re not in debt, but you don’t have that extra cash to "invest" in your campaigns.

Get a Job/Save

And here’s my main point: If you don’t have the cash, the best way to get started in affiliate marketing, in my opinion, is to get a job if you don’t have one, and save until you have the money to do so.

Despite what so many people say, making money online isn’t easy, and your time would be better off spent by simply working a "real" job and saving until you have that initial seed money, as opposed to trying to spend $5 here and $10 there on traffic or building an e-mail list by spamming Twitter or Facebook.

Affiliate marketing is all about spending money, and so you need a half-respectable amount. You will get nowhere fast trying to spend $50 a month.

I recommend saving up to at least $1,000. That should last you around 1 month. For the very first month, I’d recommend at least $1,500, as you will have some added costs so that you can purchase software and services.

For example, I’d definitely recommend getting CPVLab, a membership to a private affiliate marketing forum such as StackThatMoney, a SSL license, private domain registration, private webhost, and a few other things as well. The bigger ticket items such as tracking software will be one-time costs.

This will allow you to spend around $30/day on your campaigns, which is a healthy amount. That would give you plenty of data to work with, since you’ll have a lot on your belt from just starting out and learning the ropes.

You could spend less, but I feel that anything less is not enough traffic to do a whole lot with.

I don’t really know how much the average person makes, but it’s probably around $130 a day. $1,000 is only 7-8 days worth of work. Can you imagine how long it’d take to try to earn that from the Internet from nickel and diming gigs on Fiverr or from your website’s AdSense earnings?

If you’re already working a job and that money is still leaving you with $0 in extra cash, then perhaps think about getting a second job for a while, or else consider cutting down on some of your luxuries. Cutting out your TV bill and restaurant/drinking bills could save you $300-$400 a month right there. Three months of that, and you have your $1,000. It just depends how bad you want to get into affiliate marketing.

Get a Credit Card

The guy who requested this blog post also mentioned how to get started without a credit card.

Again, he probably won’t like my answer which is: get a credit card.

While it is absolutely and entirely possible to get started in affiliate marketing without a credit card, I don’t advise it. There are plenty of traffic sources out there which will accept PayPal, cheques, and bank wires, but these are not advisable for a number of reasons. Here are a few of them:

Limited Sources

Most traffic sources require a credit card for payment. Right off the bat, you’re eliminating yourself from the majority of traffic sources out there.

Slow Processing

Depositing into a traffic source without a credit card will leave you with slow processing times, ranging from a few days at best, up to weeks. Compare this to using a credit card which is instant.

Extra Fees

Many traffic sources will charge extra fees if you want to deposit using PayPal or through other means. Affiliate marketing is hard enough as it is – why make it even harder for yourself by paying extra fees?

Wasted Perks

I get 1% cashback on my credit card. Check out this post to see the Visa cheque I received for my 2012 year. In 2013, I’ll probably make at least $7,000 from my credit card.

By not using a credit card, you’re wasting on all these extra perks.

Wasted Credit History

No credit card? No gained credit history.

Get a Credit Card

In the end, there’s no good reason not to get a credit card. Just be responsible with it and don’t spend more than what you have. I actually always have a credit on my balance so that Visa and MasterCard owe ME, not the other way around.

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing is not a poor man’s game. You need some initial seed money in order to buy traffic.

If you don’t have the money, then save up until you do. Work overtime, get a second job, and/or cut down on your living expenses.

Only spend what you are able and willing to lose, and apply for a good credit card with good perks (I prefer cashback) if you don’t already have one.

Good luck!

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Posted: June 11th, 2013 under Affiliate Marketing  

35 Responses to “How To Get Started in Affiliate Marketing With No Money”

  1. Matt says:

    Another thing people can do to help with the credit card problem if all they have is PayPal is to get their debit (or credit) MasterCard. I have the debit card so I don’t have to wait 3-4 days for the money to transfer to my bank. But I’ve also used it for POF, and the money was available quick.

    • Wayne says:

      I did it. Thanks for the info

      • Andrew says:

        I totally feel being cheated to provide all my personal information including SSN, driver license photo and bank account when I sign up peerfly. Here is what they reply for my signup:

        —————————————————————————–
        Thank you for applying with PeerFly. Unfortunately, in the interest of our advertisers, we will not be able to work with you without a traffic reference from another CPA network. Are you a publisher with any other CPA affiliate network that is similar to PeerFly (non-incentive, non-HasOffers) that will vouch for the quality of your traffic? All you have to do is send us their website link, your affiliate managers email and we’ll do the rest. In order for the network to count as a reference you must have earned at least $750.00 with them. Keep in mind that ClickBank and Amazon are not a CPA networks and we cannot accept references from them.

        ​If you’re not with any other networks we suggest joining the networks below. You can then send us a reference with them.
        PointClickTrack
        Adscend Media
        CPATrend
        Amped Media​
        Please let me know if you have any questions.

        —————————————————————————–
        I asked more question:

        Are the network you provided free to signup?
        What are the difference between peerfly and those you provided?
        I haven’t been with any network before. What if they ask me the same thing.

        ————————————————————-
        Are the network you provided free to signup?
        Yes.
        What are the difference between peerfly and those you provided?
        Support and offers.

        ————————————————————-
        I feel being cheated:

        So you are not answering my last question?
        I feel I was cheated by you guys and Tyler Cruz to provide you all my personal information. Why don’t you have that requirement specified during the sign up process?

        • Tyler Cruz says:

          I signed up to PeerFly years ago. I don’t know if they have a new reference policy for new sign-ups now. From what you pasted though, it seems as they might, in which case, why don’t you just sign up to another network instead?

          I mean, signing up to an affiliate network is the EASIEST thing in affiliate marketing… so if you’re struggling at this stage, you should really rethink about getting into this industry.

  2. Mark says:

    Definitely agree, you have to keep in mind to test, test and test again. This means spending money. Agree you have to spend only what you can afford. The question (for newbies) is to find a real valuable resource to start learning from BEFORE spending any money. Nowadays is quite hard to catch worthy coaching programs/courses. If you know what do to earlier, you can waste less money.

  3. Tom says:

    As a student I can’t get a credit card because you need to show your paychecks from the last 3 months. Would a Prepaid credit card work?

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I got my first credit card at around age 13 or 14. Had my mom co-sign it or was the guarantor of it… something along those lines. Might want to check if something like that is available to you.

      On the other hand – how do you plan on spending money if you don’t have a job? $1,000 may last you 1 month, but what if you don’t profit from that initial $1,000 (which is likely what will happen… it takes time to learn)? What will you do then?

    • Eagle says:

      Please keep thwnriog these posts up they help tons.

  4. Adam says:

    So let me summarize your post. The title means nothing because you show exactly zero ways. You also don’t actually discuss any affiliate marketing other than dropping a few of your own affiliate links.

    Wow, tell me more my wise teacher!!

    I expected more from you Tyler.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Here’s a 1-hour screencast video I made last month: https://www.tylercruz.com/affiliate-marketing-campaign-walkthrough/

      Calm down.

    • Dirk says:

      Stop expecting him to feed you winning campaigns with a spoon jezus…

      • Phoebe says:

        I was the one who asked Tyler to write this because I understand the issue with making money online.

        What people are lookking for is what type of info, tools and newb ways one can start.

        Tyler left out some of the biggest things in this post like… seeing if u can gain traffic with bloggger and later move it to wordpress if the traffic is increasing.

        Making a small facebook group and others can invite friends.

        Usinf affiliate networks to monetize some posts.

        Even if a person is clearing a few hundred a month is worth it, if they are seeing $0.00 in their account month after month.

        If I ask a CPA marketer this question, I wont ask him what is he promoting and this is a response from people who are paranoid and actually do not understand how to teach.

        We are not looking for his campaigns, we are asking what tools do I need to get started and Tyler is a CPA marketer There is no good coaching out there for newbies. The info is all rehashed and you cannot learn when someone tell you about a campaign they had last year, and how it made them money.

        Nobody wants an Autobiography when they are looking to make money online.

        The paid forums are not for newbies because they have some sick inflated prices vs what they offer. CPA marketers are a tight group of individuals who share among themselves and if you are not in that circle you are just a money maker for them.
        is different from all the marketer I know who clear 6 figures a year and make no PPC campaigns ever 🙂

  5. Sunday says:

    Hi,

    Ironical, the response you gave in this post is far from what the title of this post suggests. So, everyone wanting to start affiliate marketing should be prepared “financially” with it.

    Well, I can imagine you are writing out of experience, and there is no doubt that what you have stated is right. I have learned from this post, and would gladly share it with some of pals who are keen on becoming affiliate marketers!

    In the IM social site – kingged.com the comment above was shared and the post “kingged”.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://www.kingged.com/how-to-get-started-in-affiliate-marketing-with-no-money/

  6. Marinho Gomes says:

    Thanks for the tips. Actually this post is more of an eye opener for most people that want to do affiliate marketing without money.

    What he is saying is… if you have no money to spend or lose don’t do it.

    • Phoebe says:

      It takes less than 10 dollars to start in Affiliate marketing. I went from 0- 11k and spent $5.00 Anyone can make a free website and grow it by spending time and effort it they have no money.

      if you are looking to work on a PPC campaign in online marketing. DON’T do it if you don’t already have thousands u can afford to loose.

  7. Darek says:

    So what would you say about those people that managed to make lots of money with affiliate marketing without spending too much money from their pocket as you said in your post. Affiliate marketing isn’t an easy job for everyone that’s true but you can still make lots of money with free traffic sources and building an email list, it all depends on your skills and your strategies to increase your sales.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      If you can make “lots of money with free traffic sources and building an email list” then you don’t have the “no money” problem. My point, as stated in my post, is that it’s much faster to just work a regular job to gain that initial seed money than to try to earn the income from the ground up through making money online if you’re not already making a decent amount.

  8. traffiking says:

    Tyler, I appreciate your insight and have rollers your journey for years. I actually had a network is adsense sites and forums modeled after Merendi Networks. I know your the real deal. I like that you don’t sugarcoat anything. Once panda hit my network I went back to square one. I actually had a job but not enough left over for my campaigns. So I went and got a better paying job because I wanted to get started and I was not willing to get a part timer. No excuses. And anyone that wants to jump into add mktg. Pull out the card and spend. The process is simple. First you purchase data. Second you purchase optimized traffic. Third you scale. And if you are anything like Tyler, you give back so that a peasant can one day become a king.

  9. Robert says:

    Spending money is the right way to get a fast start as affiliate marketer. However, there are still ways to make money online without spending too much. You still need a hosting account, a good autoresponder service and maybe a few other tools or services.

    If you don’t want to spend money on traffic, it will definitely take much longer and quite a lot of action taking will be required.

    The formula is: provide value – build relationships – let the entire world know what you have to offer (guest posting, quality forum posts, social media…) .

    This can be done on weekends and evenings and is a great way to build a solid fundament for a successful online biz.

  10. Aldo Vargas says:

    Hello Tyler,

    Thanks for your post.

    I have a question for you, since you recommend two PPC dedicate forum

    StackThatMoney and IMGrind , I’m not sure what to join and learn from the start.

    Please let me know which will be the best for me, i come from the SEO and organic traffic world i know i want to diversify my income.

    I will be waiting for your feedback.

    Thanks.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I’m a member at both. Both are good…

      If you can afford it, I’d recommend just signing up for both and then seeing how you like them, and if you prefer one over the other. Then you could choose to just stick with one if you decide you prefer one over the other or only need access to one.

      STM even has a refund policy.

      If you’re still undecided, STM is slightly more expensive but offers a lot of free tools and software in addition to the forum. IMGrind is slightly cheaper and is primarily the forum.

  11. Riza says:

    Nice tips, Tyler! I left the following comment on the IM social networking site, Kingged.com where your article has been shared and “Kingged”.

    A slap in the face from a friend is better than a kiss from the enemy. People don’t want to be deceived but sad to say, they also don’t want to face reality that in this business, money is important. I like the honesty, Tyler. It might hurt to know that affiliate business does involve money,but sometimes truth hurts.

    Riza, Kingged.com contributor
    http://www.kingged.com/how-to-get-started-in-affiliate-marketing-with-no-money/

  12. kathrene says:

    I did started with affiliate marketing lately and yes i also did saved $1000 but as soon as i almost setted up about 10 niche sites and started working on them Within two months all $1000 were lost on outsourcing the work like Article creation services, SEO Services, hosting and domain. So i brought down all of my sites due to shortage of money but now after reading your post i am determined to start it all fresh. 🙂

    Also i had a question. will Blogger be good for my niche sites or i should go for paid hosting with wordpress.?

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      It sounds like you’re doing an extremely low quality attempt at making money online. And by low quality, I mean the typical spammy attempt that most 2nd/3rd world people tend to make… spin articles, SEO spam, etc.

      If you want to go the content route, strive for high quality instead of blind volume. Make 1 high quality site instead of 100 crappy sites that are literally worthless.

      But really, this is not affiliate marketing in my eyes, this is just SEO-based content sites. Affiliate marketing you don’t even need a website, you can just direct link. Or you can make a simple 1-page lander. It’s all about buying traffic and send them to CPA-based offers.

  13. Phoebe says:

    Thanks for this post Tyler. I asked you to write this a few months ago and glad you could take some time out and slap me in the face. hahhaha

    I like that you can tell the truth about getting started. A lot of people will try to tell you that it only takes ” buy my course” and you can make money.

    In the past even though I had no real money to spend on campaigns, I knew I could make good Facebook Campaigns without any offers for diets, dating or insurance. I did all niche marketing from Neverblue and Shareasale. I targeted people who were addicted to Farmville some years back.

    The reason I stopped is because of the cost of promotions with FB. I could have had some good campaigns if I stayed.

    I am focused more now on Niche Websites and just creating websites and no CPA marketing at all, unless it will be on my sites. No more paid traffic.

    There is a difference between types of Affiliate Marketing online and some people who say “you can’t make money online” try to start off with PPC and not their own websites. They jump into something they cannot afford.

    I think anyone who just wants to make money, need to focus on what area of affiliate marketing. I know for me it will have to be with niche websites, since it cost very little to start.

    PPC is not for me. At least not at this moment.

    Thanks again for taking time out to write this up 🙂

    Phoebe

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I started making money online through building quality content sites and monetizing them by slapping on basic CPC/CPM ad code from ad networks (like AdSense) and selling private ads. This is definitely a cheaper route to go. I had good ‘seed’ money from that, which is why I was able to phase into affiliate marketing pretty easily.

  14. Phoebe says:

    I should also add, I have had my domains for years and none would be third world type… example Female health and Political Topics. Adsense is a winner for anyone who wants to create a niche website where they focus on Conspiracy Topics also. ( maybe i should have kept this to myself?)

  15. Phoebe says:

    I would suggest people go lookup Lisa Irby and how she is a sucessful online marketer without the tens of thousands in PPC ad spend.
    Also read a website called NichePursuits

    These are two good websites that will cost nothing to learn.

  16. J says:

    I like this post because I believe what you wrote is honest and truthful and it is something I haven’t heard others say. However, it is something I have believed and that is going with no money at affiliate market may not get you anything. One of my sites went down because of the fact that I didn’t understand that I needed to have money to buy seo. I tried to do it all and it did not work. Thanks for the info.

  17. Josh Brancek says:

    Tyler, thanks a lot for these tips!!! I think that affiliate marketing is getting harder and harder to get into.

  18. […] this manner is not advised. This is something Tyler Cruz spoke about recently. He stressed that you shouldn’t get into this type of affiliate marketing unless you have a lot of money you can afford to […]

  19. […] this manner is not advised. This is something Tyler Cruz spoke about recently. He stressed that you shouldn’t get into this type of affiliate marketing unless you have a lot of money you can afford to […]

  20. sean s. says:

    Thank you sincerely very..VERY much. You are the first to be so blunt and honest. You have saved.me an enourmous amount of frustration and loss..you have dispelled any illusions i had about getting into affiliate marketing. I see.clearly, thst now is not the right time for me in this biz.. Thanx for helping me get my feet on the ground.

  21. WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for entrepreneur

  22. Andrew says:

    Great article, tons of valuable information here. Depending on which route you want to take ­ some are obviously better than others. In my opinion you want to build a business that’s long-term, sustainable, and actually gives you the freedom you want! (that’s why we ALL want more money, right?)

    Probably the most effective way to do this is affiliate marketing. There’s tons of great free training out there, and you can literally turn your passion into a paycheck ­ if you’re willing to work for it that is.

    One of the best affiliates I know of is only 21 years old, and although he’s drifting towards the coaching side of things ­ he’s got some great stuff to really get your affiliate business kick started….

    You can check out my favorite free training courses where he shows you the step-by-step process to making a 6­figure income as an affiliate marketer, it’s definitely worth a look:

    [Link removed for possible spam]

    Once again great article, I’ll definitely be subscribing and following the blog for more awesome content.

PeerFly

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