Building An Affiliate Business With $0 Investment

That’s right, I’m sniffing for linkbait again.

When I use the term “Super Affiliate”, what image springs to your mind? Is it the picture of a top baller, sprawled across a sunbed, dripping Armani, and occasionally snapping his fingers to make more dollars fall from the sky?

Is it the eternally vivid image of Shoemoney wedged between a flock of scantily clad wenches at the Playboy Mansion?

Part of the reason why most marketers will never get close to that super affiliate lifestyle is because they’re looking at it from the wrong angle. They only see the rewards, and never the groundwork that the smug bastard covered to build his platform to brag from.

Behind most successful “super affiliates” is a sound business plan. One of the things I hear quite often from new marketers is the complaint that they don’t have the money to invest, or the freedom to spend enough money to attain this super affiliate state of luxury. Have you taken the time to look at the background of most top affiliates? The only shared quality is a desire to be successful.

Some people start with $10000 to invest. Maybe they’ve tucked away their savings and prepared mentally (or read a shit ton of blogs) to get started like a virgin mountaineer would at the foot of K2. To achieve something out of nothing. To reach the summit with knowledge in their head of what lays ahead, but no real experience of handling it. These are the marketers you probably hate if you’re built in the same mould that I was.

I had zero cash to invest other than the leftovers from my monthly pay packet. I’d guess that many aspiring affiliate marketers are in the same boat. You want to make it, but you just can’t fathom a way to generate income out of so little. I think it’s perfectly possible to build an affiliate business with a lack of start-up investment, and I believe that because I managed it myself.

How do you get visitors to your site without money? How do you generate leads organically without having the spending power to use paid traffic?

Get your thief on, we’re going hunting for coupons.

It’s always perplexed me why so many affiliates fail to see the appeal of coupons. I don’t use them anymore, but I would never be sitting at home scratching my balls right now if I hadn’t sniffed them out and used them as my “risk free” assessment of paid traffic. If you can plug a $50 voucher in to your Google Adwords account, you have a very rare situation where it’s possible to make what I’d call a “return on virtual investment”.

I was lucky enough to stumble across a campaign that was making me 300% ROI on Google Adwords when I was getting started. With the money I had in my bank account, it simply wasn’t possible to spend more than $200/month without having to jump London’s Oyster barriers or steal my lunch from the back of a van. But with coupons, ANY money you make is a profit.

If you’re from the UK, and I can’t believe I’m about to recommend this…but fuck it. Get down to your local WHSmiths. Search for a magazine called .Net. Look inside and you should find a free voucher worth £40 on Google Adwords. Jack that shit and clear out the pile. By the time you get back from your lunch break, you should have an Adwords budget of £200. And it isn’t even your money. I did this and with a 300% ROI, I was technically making £800 from…zero.

I should use this opportunity to thank .Net magazine. The secret to Internet riches, quite clearly. Or a criminal record if it goes wrong.

I have my tongue in cheek, thank God. There are ways to get your hands on free advertising coupons without stealing. Check out both Digital Point and the Warrior Forum. You can probably buy a $75 voucher for 10 bucks from some dude with no better business idea than to steal them from WHSmiths (ahem).

The point is, when you have no money to invest, you have to be looking for opportunities like this to give yourself the launch pad to start spending your own money. It didn’t take me long to use coupons to get on to weekly payments and to generate enough revenue to be able to re-invest it in to my business. But obviously that wasn’t the only opportunity I saw along the way.

There are two free traffic sources, right under your nose, that have incredible potential for making money without investing a penny. Only the currency of your time. Those traffic sources are classified sites and Yahoo Answers. Now as I understand, it’s a lot harder to make money on Yahoo Answers these days. But do you see why it was an open gold mine?

People asking questions, people looking for specific solutions to their needs…Christ, if you’re in the business of lead gen, your eyes would water at how simple it could be to game the system in to huge profit at no expense of your own. There is easy money out there if you expand on Yahoo Answers and look further afield for similar opportunities.

Classified sites were an enormous boost for me when I was assembling my cash to invest in the early days. I’m not going to venture in to detail about how you make money on sites like Craigs List and Gumtree. But any straight thinking affiliate should be able to smell opportunity like Justin Dupre outside the gates of an all-girls Thai college.

There are many ways you can jump from having zero money to having $10000 in as little as a few months – without ever spending a penny of your own on paid traffic. But the most important leap of them all is that you realize this thinking can only ever be temporary. Once you’ve established money to invest, it’s important to shed your fear of spending it.

I doubt you’ll find a single super affiliate who hasn’t yet overcome that fear of spending money. It’s necessary to grow your business. Don’t get caught up by the fact that the gurus are dropping six figures a day on their favourite traffic sources. You will never compete with them from day one. It’s your job to scrap and hustle, to seek out opportunity, to establish your own business that gives you a chance to scale in time.

It’s a lot easier to operate CPA campaigns with enough money in the bank to be able to run on 20% ROI. The job gets easier in that respect. I like to use the mountain metaphor. If you try to catch up with the top guys at the summit, without building your base camps along the way, you’re probably going to get blown off the mountain altogether. To get to the summit, you have to grow your business in stages. And at each stage, you’re going to have to acclimatise to the new pressures and the new risks. Because the distance to fall gets a little greater every time.

It’s a slow process, and I could slap every guru out there who preaches otherwise. But even if you’re sitting at home with nothing. Zero, nada, a pint of water and Pot Noodle for lunch. All is not lost. There is opportunity EVERYWHERE for those who are willing to seek it out.

Need a larger slice of Finch?

I haven’t been posting much recently, that’s pretty obvious. I did take the time to do an interview over on Jonathan Volk’s blog though. You can check it out below.

Stuff you never thought you needed to know about Finch Sells

About the author

Finch
Finch

A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.

21 Comments

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  • Hey man, awesome blog you got.. appreciate your time and effort you put into this without selling shit, your awesome!

    one thing tho, could you make the feed so i can subscribe to it via email?? thnx!

  • I noticed a small type-o. Don’t worry, I fixed it for you…
    “smell opportunity like Justin Dupre outside the gates of an all-**boys** Thai college.”

  • LOL!!!

    Thanks for the mention and the great post. I got my start on Facebook with a couple of them coupons. I seriously had $200 in my bank account, and $200 in coupons. I turned it into 400 over a couple days and it just grew from there. Coupons are the fuggin shit!

    @kyle… we all know you were just laying down your fantasies in that comment buddy 😉

  • I actually started with a $250 Visa Gift Card I won on ConsumerIncentivePromotions.com. And all I needed to do was enter my zip code!

  • Yup, well said – me too. Started out with nada, zip, ziltch…now, cash, money, income streams, property in London and Cannes.

    It can be done, just never ever stop trying, experimenting, testing, tweeking…sounds like hard work? Well that’s because it is…but the end result is an awesome lifestyle.

    If you keep going, you’ll get there…guaranteed.

    See you on the beach…

    S

  • Nice work as always. You blog keeps on coming up with the goods…

    Just launched my own new one and blogrolled you so you’re benefitting from a WHOPPING PR0 backlink! Lucky you.

  • Old school super affiliate was someone who drove a lot of traffic and made a lot of moniez.

    The new age super affiliate is a fucktard who does really long blog posts and posts affiliate links to affiliate networks.

  • Finch, you and Mr. Green have probably the two most consistently useful marketing blogs on the internet for nearly everyone. I get a little happy every time google reader tells me there are new posts. Kudos.

  • Putting a bunch of money into the business before you know you can make money is crazy. Probably why most people fail and go back to Citgo.

  • very inspiring. I too look for coupons just to advertise. I actually get some in the mail for adwords. A while back, I got banned from facebook ads for using a $100 dollar coupon I found, apparently it was only for certain businesses to use 😛

  • I never got any of these coupons for the longest time. I invested my money, made some, put that money into bills. Never got ahead.

    Now, I keep getting Adwords coupons in the mail. A month ago Google themselves sent me $100. This month I got another from a different company partnered with Google. This company has sent me one before(didn’t know I had it until it was to late). Free money for those who know how to work it :D.

  • Whenever I’m bored or pissed off, I head over to this blog – Mate you got a talent for writing! I don’t really have a sense of humour, but your shit makes me laugh.

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