(This post probably contains affiliate links. Our full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here.)

Recently I posted my September Blog Income and Traffic Report.

Blog income in September was significantly higher than ever before for me. And it was (in large part) due to the fact that I got serious about affiliate marketing.

But let’s be totally honest for a minute here. There are over 150 million blogs out there, and a fraction (I dunno, less than 10%?) of bloggers are earning any money at all. And even fewer are earning full time income. The fact that I was able to join the ranks of “the full time income earning bloggers” just 7 months into blogging has sort of baffled me.

I’m pretty grateful. I’ve prayed for this, and I have worked for this.

But is it a fluke?

Can I make this much money again? (Update: Apparently, the answer is yes! In October, I made over $2200.00 with affiliate marketing – just 2 months after taking this course – Read my October Blog Income Report here.) 

Do I really know what I’m doing now? The truth is, when I say learning about affiliate marketing is a big part of the reason my blog did so well last month, you shouldn’t necessarily take my word for it. I have exactly one month of great affiliate marketing experience to share (since I’ve finished working through the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing). I’ve seen affiliate marketing in action, and I know it works now. But I don’t have it all figured out, and I’m not really the person to tell you about how to do it and why it’s amazing. So, I had a chat with the lady you DO wanna learn about affiliate marketing from.

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner makes over $50,000 / month from affiliate marketing. She is her own boss, and lives the dream life (on the road) with her hubby. She’s recently released a course on affiliate marketing, right from the what-it-is to the how-to-do-it (legally) – and the results her students (like me) have seen so far have been incredible.

Here’s what Michelle had to say about affiliate marketing and blogging in general (- and one really interesting statement about who can implement affiliate marketing!)

What got you started down the work for yourself path? Why did you choose blogging?

I never thought I would grow up and become a full-time blogger, haha. I graduated from college in 2010, and again in 2012 with my Masters with an emphasis in Finance. I started out as a financial analyst, and worked in that position for 3 years.

In August of 2011, I started my personal finance blog with the hopes of teaching people how to save money after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. Due to that website, I became extremely interested in personal finance blogs, and my interest in blogging just grew from there. Before August of 2011, I didn’t even know that blogs existed. I didn’t know what they were, I didn’t know that they could make money, or anything like that.

I did not create my blog with the intention of making money blogging. It was really all just a hobby.

But, I came to really love blogging (and I still do!), and eventually left my financial analyst job so that I could blog full time.

Best. Decision. EVER.

On Making Sense of Cents, I talk a lot about different ways to make extra income, money saving tips, living your dream life, RVing (me and my husband RV full-time), and more. I love running Making Sense of Cents and I am very happy that this is now my full-time career, my business, and pretty much my life.

What do you think when you hear people say “don’t start a blog to make money”?

I agree with it- sort of. I believe that in order to become a successful blogger, that you need to be passionate about your blog. Whether that means that you are passionate about what you’re writing about, you’re passionate about helping people, that you just love blogging, etc., I believe that blogging is a business that needs to be enjoyed. I believe this because there is a LOT that goes into blogging, and it’s not always easy. It’s a continually growing process and a person needs to always be on their toes in order to succeed.

How did you discover affiliate marketing was the thing for you to pursue?

I absolutely LOVE affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing can feel quite passive and it makes location independence and traveling full-time much more enjoyable. You can create just one blog post or social media post, and potentially earn money from it years down the line, as long as you maintain it and keep generating traffic to it. With affiliate marketing, I can enjoy life more and know that I am still able to earn a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy.

Can anyone be successful with affiliate marketing? What does it take to be successful?  

I think that anyone with an influencer platform can be successful with affiliate marketing. It’s all about approaching your audience and affiliate marketing in the correct way so that you can do it effectively and efficiently. These are all things that I teach in my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Course.

How much can a person expect to earn (say – in their first year) with affiliate marketing?

That is a very difficult question to answer, as everyone is different. With my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course:

  • One blogger went from $87 a month in affiliate income before taking the course, to over $1,700 a month after!
  • One blogger received their first affiliate sale just two days after taking the course (and they were a brand new blogger too!).
  • Another blogger doubled their monthly affiliate income from $2,500 to $5,000.

Is affiliate marketing for bloggers only?

Nope. Affiliate marketing is for pretty much anyone and everyone. If you even just have a social media account, you can find a way to effectively promote it- without being “salesy” and without scaring followers away. There is a correct way to promote affiliate offers, which is what I teach in Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

What is the best advice you could give to someone considering trying to make a living with affiliate marketing?

My best piece of advice would be to just try! I waited so long to try my hand at affiliate marketing, and I regret waiting so long. Even if you have a low amount of followers or if you are a brand new blogger, you can still be successful at affiliate marketing.

How has being location independent changed your life?

Location independence is great! We’ve been location independent for a few years, and me and my husband sold our house last year and we’ve been full-time traveling since.

We absolutely love it. We get to work from wherever, all from the comfort of our home on wheels 🙂

You can check out Michelle’s Blog at www.makingsenseofcents.com

So, have you tried affiliate marketing and been wildly unsuccessful? (Or not tried it at all?)

Before I took Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, I had all the affiliate links up on my blog, but I wasn’t seeing many conversions. There is a right way AND a wrong way to use affiliate links, and Michelle walks you though all of that.

(Also, did you notice Michelle said you don’t even need to HAVE a blog to be a successful affiliate marketer?! I thought that part was pretty interesting. Meaning affiliate marketing would be a great side income option for anyone who was willing to learn to do it and put the effort into a social media account – like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.)

If you’re interested in learning more about the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, check it out here. (And if you’re interested in reading that September Blog Income Report I mentioned, you can find it here!)

And if you haven’t bitten the bullet to start your blog yet? I have an easy to follow tutorial that’ll walk you through the how-to of setting up a blog. If you have any questions just get in touch (admin@carlyonpurpose.com) and ask ’em!

New to Blog world and looking for other blogging tips? Check out these posts:

How to Start a Blog for Profit and Work From Home
Choosing a Theme You Love
Creating Your First Blog Post in WordPress

5 Very Important Things to do Before You Start Blogging
WordPress Settings, Permalinks & Google Analytics
How to Install WordPress Plugins

7 Ways to Make Your Blog Look Less Like a “Newbie” Blog
Printable Blog Organization Binder

affiliate marketing: can you really make money with it?