Archive for

Affiliate Business Explained

This is the first of a series of special articles on building a profitable affiliate business. If you want to know how affiliate works and how to build a profitable affiliate business in the shortest time possible, this article series is for you. In this first article, you’ll learn:

- What is an affiliate business

- Why it’s the BEST business model EVER discovered.

- 4 key benefits of affiliate.

- Why everyone – whether you already have an existing business… or… you are completely new and looking at having your first own business – should have an affiliate business.

On the next article, I’ll reveal to you…

- How to get started in building a profitable affiliate business

- How to effectively market your affiliate products

But before I get started, I’d like to acknowledge that the information I’m about to share with you in this article is based on an eBook authored by Sean Rasmussen-an affiliate expert who built an outrageously successful affiliate business and became financially independent in 3 years! (To discover my personal experience with Sean, please go to my blog following the link at the bottom of this article.)

Now let’s get right into the meat of this article. First…

What Is Affiliate?

Well, it’s simply an online business model where you market and sell someone else’s products instead of your own. For example, if you come across a book about investing which you think is great and very helpful for anybody who’d like to learn how to invest successfully, then you simply join its affiliate program and start to market the book on behalf of its author or publisher. When people buy the book through your marketing, you earn a commission. The commission rate varies from one affiliate program, or even product, to another… but typically you may expect a commission rate of 30-50%.

If you think about it, affiliate business is truly the best business model EVER discovered-whether you already have an existing business and want to expand it or build a different line of business… or… you’re completely new and want to start the first ever business of your own.

Why? Because, first, you can set it up and get it running in a few minutes… you don’t need to have a website (though it helps if you have one)… you don’t need to have your own products… you don’t have any upfront cost to pay (signing up affiliate programs is free)… and you have no financial risk whatsoever (I’ll talk more about this in a moment)…

And you can market and sell any products on the internet that have an affiliate program for you to join-there are literally a countless number of great products (and I mean great, not mediocre to average) existing and available on the internet. All you have to do is spend a little time surfing on the internet to find them out and join their affiliate programs. When you become more familiar with internet surfing, it becomes very easy and quick for you as you’ll know exactly where to go and search for new, high quality products.

4 Key Benefits of Affiliate

There are many advantages of running an affiliate business against other conventional online and offline businesses. Here are four of the key ones:

1) No financial risk whatsoever

You see, with an affiliate business you have…

(a) No overhead cost-You don’t need any money to set up an affiliate business and get it running. Because signing up affiliate programs is free. And although it helps to market your affiliate products if you have your own website, it’s NOT essential to have one, especially in the beginning where you’re just starting out and trying to get familiar with how affiliate works. You can market your affiliate products on free classified websites, social networking websites, article websites and so on (more on this in the next article…)

(b) No production, manufacturing and delivery costs-This is straight forward. Since you only sell other people’s products, you don’t need to worry about paying anybody to create a product, manufacture it and deliver it (if it’s a physical product). The owners or distributors of the products will do all that for you.

This is one of the big advantages for NOT having and selling your own product, because you will free yourself from all the headaches of owning a product.

(c) No marketing and advertising costs-You have a choice on this. You can choose to advertise your affiliate products on free classified websites, social networking websites, etc… Or, you can choose to pay a small amount of money to advertise your products at premium locations.

My recommendation is first test your advertisements on free websites or standard locations which are free. When you are confident with your ad and are sure that the websites are ideal to reach your potential buyers, then slowly roll out to advertise at premium (paid) locations. This way, you can minimise your risk of paying advertising without a return.

(d) No way you can lose money on an affiliate business-By now, it should be obvious to you that you can’t possibly lose any money on an affiliate business. Why? Simply because you don’t need to fork out any money to get your affiliate business up and running.

All you have to invest is a little bit of your time to find the affiliate products you want to sell and learn how to market the products effectively so that you can earn a big commission.

Therefore, even if you’re a complete novice in business… or… you already have an existing business and want to expand it, but you prefer NOT to risk a single dollar of your own money, affiliate business is definitely for you.

Now listen: You have absolutely no financial risk for running an affiliate business, but you have a VERY GOOD CHANCE of making truck loads of money, because you can…

2) Sell any, and as many products as you want.

Imagine you have a “virtual store” selling tens… or even hundreds of various kinds of products ranging from books, home-study courses, health care products, weight-loss products and so on… Each one of them has been proven to be a best-seller and is expected to pull in a lucrative profit.

Can you imagine that? But… That’s literally the case with affiliate business. Because you can pick and sell as many affiliate products as you want… without any cost or financial risk to you. There’s no limit on the number and the kind of affiliate products you can sell.

Let’s say the average commission you make out of one affiliate product is (conservatively) $100 a month. So if you have 10 affiliate products, you’ll make an average of $1,000 a month… Or… if you have 30, you’ll make $3,000. Now what if you’re really good at marketing your affiliate products and each one of them brings in an average of $1,000 or $2,000 a month? That’s completely within the realm of possibility. And you can do the maths if you have 20 or 30 of such affiliate products!

A word of warning though: Don’t sell any affiliate products that you don’t believe in… or you won’t buy or use for yourself. You definitely want to sell ONLY great products to your customers in order to build a long-term relationship with them. When they know that you can be trusted, they’re more likely to come back to you and buy more products from you in the future… or they will buy products on your recommendations.

A simple, handy tip is to sell best-selling books or products because they are success proven products-People are already buying and feeling happy about these products. So all you need to do is simply ensure that the potential buyers get access to these best-sellers via your marketing.

Can you see how easy you could be making a lot of money without any financial risk with an affiliate business?

But that’s not the end yet! Another key benefit of running an affiliate business is…

3) You’re in total control

You get to decide when and where you want to work. You can decide how quickly or slowly you want to build your affiliate business.

Plus, you also get to decide the affiliate programs you want to join… or… fire them when the programs (or products) no longer serve you or meet your strict criteria.

4) Have Affiliate products to complement your own product range

If you already have an existing business selling your own products or services, then you can use affiliate products to complement your own product range. This way, you will not only expand your business without any extra cost to you, you will also be able to better serve your customers by providing a range of other products or services that could be of great benefit to them.

For example, if your business is about coaching to small business owners, then perhaps you can have affiliate products such as books on how to build a successful business, how to trade stocks, how to invest in property, etc… Most business owners will be interested in these topics and when they buy through you, you’ll make extra profits without any extra cost to you.

In the next article, I will talk about…

- How to get started in building a profitable affiliate business

- How to effectively market your affiliate products

Errand Business

There are several reasons why the errand business came into being. However shortage of time is by far the most important reason why people engage errand service providers to take care of every day or weekly tasks for them. So if you have been thinking of going into business for yourself as an errand service provider then this is the perfect time.

Longer hours spent in commuting to work, longer hours of work and the wide spread chaotic conditions of modern day living have led to a boom in one of the most simple yet profitable business ventures of all times, the errand service business. Right from stay at home moms or parents to college and school going kids, the errand business can prove to be a great way of earning good money.

Although there are a lot of people who prefer doing this part time, there are an equal number of people who have recognized the importance and economic viability of this business to make it a full time job.

The errand business has several streams that are profitable in their own way, provided you are able to tap into the right market segment. Some of the services include but are not limited to

· Personal shopping
· Concierge services
· Picking up laundry
· Paying of bills
· Gift shopping
· Dropping off mail and parcels
· Taking children to school/play dates/after school activities

Capital investment/start up costs:

This is one area of a business that most people worry about. What is it going to cost to get a business off the ground?

Well, how does $50 sound? Indeed, if you have transport, a valid means of communication such as a pager or a cell phone then all you need to invest is on buying some basic office stationery to keep details of the administrative aspect of your business and to create invoices for customers.

Income Potential

In this business, even if you only concentrate on home and residential customers you can easily expect to make $15 to $25 an hour. However if you can break into the corporate or business market, your income can substantially shoot up. In fact anyone with some basic office skills is offered real good money to step in a couple of times during a month and take care of mundane tasks. With regular clients your business can easily touch $35k and upwards a year.

Financial Planning – Not Just Investments – Part 1

FInancial Planning, who needs it? Many say my bank or stock broker is doing it for me. Is that enough? What should be included in your financial plan? Everything!

Having a clear focus on your financial goals is often an important place to start but few really have any idea of what they want financially in life. And even if they did, until they can see actual projections of how expensive a good lifestyle in the future will be, it’s impossible to formulate a savings strategy. With this in mind, consider developing you current financial plan complete with projections.

Begin with first collecting and organizing important data. You will need cash and investment account statements, pay stubs, income tax returns, employee benefits statements, insurance documents, estate planning documents and a well-thought out budget. Once you have collected all of this data, you can begin building your current financial plan.

Developing your financial position is the easiest place to start. If you have ever looked at a corporate annual report, think about how it is structured. In the beginning, smiling faces talk about what a wonderful year they had and detail all of their successes. Next might come the challenges that are ahead and a discussion about how the company will proceed to overcome these challenges. Finally comes the supporting materials – the financial statements. While the financial statements come last in the presentation, the accomplishments, challenges and action plan could not have been discussed until a current position has been established. Think of yourself or your family as a business and move forward accordingly.

Start with the balance sheet. The balance sheet lists all of your assets and liabilities. Assets include all of your bank accounts investment accounts, cash value insurance policies, real estate holdings, business entities such as partnerships; and personal property such as your home, car, boat, furniture, art, jewelry and anything else of value. Think about everything that you own that has a value and list it. Liabilities include your loans, credit card debts, car loan, mortgage and so forth. When you subtract the liabilities from your assets, what remains is your net worth.

Next, compile your cash flows. List all of your incomes. Include not just your salary but interest, dividends, rents and so forth. A good place to find this information easily is on your recent income tax return. Use your tax statement to reconcile the income generating assets on your balance sheet. If they don’t match up, you might have made a mistake. Add all your incomes together for the year and take away the expenses that you listed on your budget sheet. What is left is either a surplus or deficit. If you have a surplus, then you should have some idle cash sitting around in your back pocket or under your mattress. No? Don’t have a surplus? Well then, either you saved it or you spent it on items that you could not classify in your budget. Review your budget again and try to learn where the money went.

Make a list of your financial assumptions. Start with the balance sheet. Assign each asset class with a growth rate. Cash assets might grow at 0% to 2%, investment assets might grow at 3% to 8% (don’t include dividend distributions). Your home might grow at 3% to 5%. Be sure that your assumptions are rational. The same goes for your income and expenses. Determine how much your income will increase each year and in what year you will retire. List your assumptions about social security. Will you even receive it? If so, at what rate will it increase each year. Look at your expenses. How will inflation impact them in the future? Be sure to look at the historical inflation rate. While inflation based on government figures may be low now, most of us are certain that our expenses are growing at more than 2% per year. Be realistic. Bad assumptions will doom your plan. Finally, determine your life expectancy. Chances are that you may live to 90 or 95. Perhaps longer. Look at your family history to pick a good age. Don’t be too conservative. There is nothing worse than outliving your income.

With all your assumptions in place, you can now project your asset values and income statement out to your life expectancy. With these statements in hand, you can now realistically begin preparing your annual report. In you had a plan in place last year, you can gauge how well you have done from last year until now. You should be able to look at last year’s plan and see if your net worth has increased as you projected that it would. If it hasn’t, you’ll be able to identify what went wrong. It will either be that you didn’t earn what you thought you would, you spent more than you projected, or your assets didn’t perform as well as you predicted. With this information in hand, it’s easy to figure out a strategy to get back on track.

Developing your financial position is just the first part in your comprehensive financial plan. Income taxes, insurance, retirement planning, education planning, investment planning and estate planning are other elements you will want to include. As you can see, developing your comprehensive plan can take a lot of time and energy but in the end, will be well worth the effort.

If you choose to hire a fee-only financial planner to do the work, planning fees can range anywhere from $1,000 to $20,000 or even more if you go with a big name firm. For those who would prefer to try to do it on their own, there is a free resource that you can use. Visit Free Financial Planning Advice to see how to build your own plan. Whether you pay someone to do your plan or invest your own time to build it, the benefits you gain are sure to give you peace of mind.