How To Win With Affiliate Marketing As A Digital Nomad

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There are tons of ways to make money as a digital nomad. However, none of them are easy.

Building location-independent or passive income always requires a ton of work upfront.

Funding your full-time travels or choosing to live location independent comes with a whole host of challenges, all of which are made way worse and stressful if money is also a concern.

Here’s my advice, don’t set off on the road if you don’t have your finances figured out.

Thinking that you’ll just “make money on the road” is a great way to cut your travels short. But what to do? What makes consistent reliable money that allows you to set your own hours?

Well, freelancing does of course. Which is why everyone does it.

The problem with freelancing is that, while you can work whenever you want, your income is still tied directly to your time. No work, no money.

If you can wait some time before setting out on your trip (or lifestyle change) then looking into affiliate marketing is a great option.

Affiliate marketing as a digital nomad fits the bill for many reasons:

  • You can detach your time from your income. If I don’t want to work on my sites, I don’t. They still make money. Most people can figure out how to turn $100 into $1,000 with blood sweat and tears but to have you money make money without you is a real skill. Now, I do have to continue to feed the beast but if I take a month off, very little will happen while I’m gone. Our thrift-store flipping, on the other hand, requires consistent upkeep to keep churning out profit.
  • The sky is the limit. There are affiliate marketing sites that literally make millions of dollars every month. Ever heard of BuzzFeed? They’re an affiliate marketing company at heart. It’s not out of the question to make thousands of dollars a month after working by yourself for a year or so.
  • You can make your company nearly entirely passive. Once your affiliate business is established, hiring someone to run it is simple.
  • You can “do what you love” You can pursue almost anything as an affiliate. You can be an affiliate for a surf company, an interior designer, any product you can think of, sports, or whatever else you have in mind. If it exists, there is typically a way that you can monetize it as an affiliate.
  • You can get a consistent paycheck. I get 5 different paychecks that hit my bank account of different days of the month. Amazon pays on the 30th, Adsense pays on the 21st, etc. Having a consistent schedule makes it much easier to budget and plan out my travels.
  • You develop a marketable skill-set. If my sites went down tomorrow, I would be frustrated but not worried. I have the skills to build them again or if I had to, get a job as a writer, social media marketer, or any of the other skills I’ve had to learn.

An affiliate marketing website example:

There are lots of ways to get into affiliate marketing as a digital nomad but building an affiliate website is, without a doubt, the easiest and most reliable.

Here’s a meta example for you, you are currently on one of our affiliate sites which drives income for us month after month.

We have been full-time eBay sellers (between travels) for almost 6 years and so we decided to create this site to help others do the same.

But this isn’t our only site. When home, we are full-time resellers and when we’re on the road we’re full-time affiliate marketers.

Check out the stats for this site that I build last year:

Affiliate Site Income

About 18 months ago I got an itch to start another website. It’s not actually anything remarkable. It’s a product review site with 83 “Best X for Y” product round-ups/buying guides. 83 articles may sound like a lot but, for a website, it’s quite small.

Check out the income it’s made (just on Amazon) in the first three months of this year:

affiliate marketing as a digital nomad income example

With the addition of ad income and other affiliate programs, the site was making around $10,000 a month at the one-year point.

What it took to get it to that point:

During the first year the site was live I wrote all 83 articles by myself. It could have been done much faster if I had outsourced the writing but I had the time and desire to do it myself.

If I had found a good writer, all of the content on the site would have cost me less than $10,000.

Now, it wasn’t a small time commitment. I typically wrote around 2 articles a week for the site in addition to a few hours doing social media, housekeeping, etc.

I estimate that, for the first year, I worked 10-12 hours per week on the site.

What it takes now:

I haven’t written a new article on that site in around 4 months. I touch up 3-4 articles a week to keep the site fresh and ensure they keep their ranking but do almost nothing else on the site.

All in, I spend 2-4 hours a week on the site now. If I were smarter (or had more time) I could now simply outsource some more content and grow the site with very little effort.

It’s also worth noting that, if I wanted to cash out and sell the site, the fair market value is around $300,000. All for a year’s worth of work. I’ll have to be honest, selling on eBay has made us about $300,000 as well…but it has taken more than 5 years to do so.

Now here’s where it gets really interesting. That’s just one site. If you build a site in the right way, it requires very little upkeep. I currently have 5 sites (plus this one) in my portfolio which is probably about three too many since I do it all myself.

If you want to outsource your affiliate site, you can do it faster and on an even larger scale.

How To Start In Affiliate Marketing As A Digital Nomad (Or Before)

So why doesn’t every digital nomad turn to affiliate marketing? Well, many do. They just don’t succeed.

You have to realize that, when you start writing, you’ll be publishing articles to a ghost town for months. You’ll spend hours upon hours researching articles and writing them knowing that nobody will see them soon…or over.

So people give up!

The formula for affiliate marketing as a digital nomad is simple (but not easy):

If you get each step right, you’ll make money. It just takes time. However, that’s a much larger topic than we can cover here. Just know that, if you’re interested in full-time travel, affiliate marketing is a great way to make money to fun it!

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