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My Affiliate Marketing Experience as a Beginner – First 6 Months

My Affiliate Marketing Experience as a Beginner - First 6 Months

When I sold my house in the Netherlands I retired from my 35-year old graphic design studio as well. Most of my clients were my age and retired in about the same period, so I didn’t let down anyone. I passed on the remaining few to a former colleague and went traveling.

My husband Tom and I had an amazing year with everything we needed in the car, renting houses or apartments along the way. In hindsight, I should have been an affiliate partner then as well, so I could have built on my affiliate marketing experience. We both wrote every day on our blog about our adventures and discoveries. How well that would have fitted with the right links.

At the time I considered myself retired and even more so when we found our dream house in the south of Spain and resettled. LOL, after 2 months I had enough of retirement.

Entrepreneurial spirit

Coincidentally or not my son had just finished a challenge in those days and convinced me it was exactly what I was looking for. You can read more about that in a former article. It marked the first step in a career change.

The challenge aims at cultivating the right mindset, so that you are able to set up a great business. Affiliate marketing can be a part of that, but it is not a necessity.

For me it was a totally new approach of looking at the internet and its possibilities and meeting interesting people.

Being a lifelong student

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear

I loved it! The energy and drive were such an inspiration and stimulation. That was what I had missed in the last years of my design practice.

A small detour: before being a designer I was a high school teacher for 11 years. During that time I finished a second education at an Arts Academy and various training courses in all kinds of subjects.

It amazed me how few colleagues did the same. Most of them struggled through their lessons and rushed home. At the age of 30 already waiting for the day they could retire.

Keeping an open mind and staying curious makes life fantastic. Even a working life. So you might understand why I never understand people that hate their job.

Network of like-minded people

A Buddhist proverb says: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. The same way the One Funnel Away Challenge popped up on my path, Wealthy Affiliate came my way. This network holds the same high energy and drive I loved so much during the OFA challenge.

It would give me a hard time if I have to choose what I fancy most: my results as an affiliate partner or the group of enthusiasts I ‘see and speak’ every day. The quotation marks indicate that I don’t see and speak to them in real life of course, but virtually.

Especially in this trying time of COVID (we are in our 3rd lock down momentarily) these contacts mean so much to me.

How about my principles

Principles and affiliate marketing

The other day I was called a green terrorist. Another person thought he was insulting me by growling that I acted like a hardcore feminist. Although terrorist and hardcore are not terms that I consider part of me, neither remark affronted me.

But being green presents difficulties for me at times. It limits the range of products I want to be an affiliate partner for. Everything that is packaged in single-use plastic is off-limits. Cheap products that have to travel half the world as well.

That is not insurmountable. I solely want to mention it because I wish more people would feel that way.

What are good affiliate partners?

I don’t have much experience yet, half a year is nothing. So the tips I share might need some adjustments. (If you have additions, please share them in the comment box).

1. A few good affiliate partners will suffice

What I definitely did wrong in the beginning was applying a lot and quite randomly. Most companies will payout after a threshold is reached. With a lot of different companies the chances of reaching the threshold reduces.

Some companies have an affiliate program of their own. Most are represented by a network that takes care of all the administrative hassle. Here is a list of affiliate networks.

2. Are the businesses and your website a good fit?

affiliate marketing experience: Wealthy Affiliate

Is there a match between the subject of the website and the affiliate partner? My objective is primarily to help people. If the products are overpriced without any additional value I can’t recommend them.

3. Delivery

My websites aim at an international public. Most of them will live in either the US or Europe. Does the company deliver worldwide and if so, are the sending costs reasonable?

4. Cookie time

When someone uses your link a temporary cookie is placed on their computer. Some companies will leave it there one day, others 30 or 45 days.

Something to consider is the way people buy. Amazon for instance has an app that is very useful for clients. However, for affiliates the link is lost unless the buyer has used a specific setting.

5. Commission percentage

Percentages differ hugely. I can’t state that a big percentage is good and a small is bad, because it is not that black and white. A large percentage ultimately borne by the buyer is not a recommendation for me.

Some companies offer 100%. Are they mad? No, they will make their money in a later stadium and know that their affiliates will do their utmost best for them.

Keyword tools

affiliate marketing experience: Jaaxy

SEO is an integral part of affiliate marketing. As I am a newbie I am not going into the ins and outs too much. For me tools like Yoast SEO, All in One SEO or Rank Math are an enormous help. Just one tip: use common sense as well. It is not that hard to get all indicators in a SEO tool turn green without adding any meaning to your website’s findability.

SEO is driven by keywords. Until last year Google had a Keyword Research Tool that delivered a lot of information. Nowadays you can only use that tool if you are an advertiser.

Part of Wealthy Affiliate is a keyword tool called Jaaxy. The free version has its limitations of course, but it is very useful. Even if you are not a part of Wealthy Affiliate you can apply for an account.

My first half year as Affiliate Marketer

To close my explanations of affiliate marketing: I am really happy. I love writing and am equally passionate at helping people, especially if I can earn a side income by doing that.

It is argued that it is not obvious to earn anything within 6 or even 12 months of starting affiliate marketing. So you can imagine that I am incredibly happy and grateful that I have already earned something.

Read my post about it on Wealthy Affiliate: ‘Cause I am happyyyy 😀

Put any questions you have in the comment box below. Or if you’d rather ask me anything privately, email me. I’ll be happy to answer wherever I can.

20 thoughts on “My Affiliate Marketing Experience as a Beginner – First 6 Months”

  1. Wow, I just love your story. You are so enthusiastic about life. My husband and I are also retired and also taking life by the horn. No sitting around waiting to die for us. We love adventure and keep very active. We love sailing and are anxiously awaiting a solution to COVID so worldwide travel can resume. We have a sailboat and there are so many places we wish to set sail for.

    I am sorry to hear you are in your third lockdown. I am afraid we may be put into our second soon if the numbers keep rising. Understanding you are in lockdown but other than your online blogging business what activities will you indulge in when restrictions are lifted?

    • Thanks, Deb. If your sailboat is seaworthy you can cross the ocean and visit Spain! 🙂

      We almost bought a camper, right before the first lockdown. Glad we didn’t, because it would have made the lockdown even more unbearable, to have that in front of the house and not be able to use it. But as soon as it is safe again we are going to the Netherlands to visit family and friends. And if we do have a camper by that time, we’ll make it a round trip through Europe!

  2. Travelling around for one year must have been an amazing experience! That would indeed have been a good time to add some links to your travel blogging 😉 On the other hand, I see it as you getting ready for the online affiliate world 🙂 A nice preparation.
    I understand about what kind of products you want to promote, and it is good to have strong principles.

    I have sometimes wondered if I didn’t sign up for a too little amount of affiliate marketing platforms, but now that I read your post I think I made the right decision by sticking to a small amount of affiliate platforms. If you are promoting here, there, and everywhere, it may indeed slow your approach to the payout treshold. Good points! And great artice!

    • Oh, that’s a nice way to look at it, Christine! A preparation. A soil where the seeds fell in.
      Yes, we had an amazing year. And really feel locked up at the moment. But we’re all in the same boat, so we’ll live up to the rules and hope the situation will improve in time. 🙂

  3. Hi Hannie,
    It’s good to see you are doing something you love for making a passive income online through affiliate marketing. Considering the current harsh situation brought by COVID-19, it seems that we all need to find another income source. For example, affiliate marketing!
    Keyword researches help my articles get better ranking even when they are quite new for the internet. Sometimes, I found them ranked better than other giant websites, so it surely a MUST-DO for affiliate marketers. Love to see Wealthy Affiliate includes this as part of the membership. Thanks for sharing today.


    • Wow, Matt, congratulations your articles get even better ranked than the giants at times. I am still struggling with that part. After all, my remark that it isn’t that hard to get all the SEO indicators on green didn’t fall from the sky – I was doing that myself when I first started out.

      My keyword capabilities are improving, but there is still a whole world of unkown things to discover. Unknown to me, that is. 🙂

  4. I love your adventurous spirit and openness to learn. Your story is very inspirational. Affiliate marketing is a great way to remain connected, inspired, creative and intellectually stimulated. It’s a wonderful opportunity to focus on affiliate marketing around things you enjoy. Your tips are really helpful and you must be doing something right to have earned in a short time. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks, Martine. Yes, it’s what makes life worth living in my eyes. Always stay curious and willing to learn something new. Does wonders for my well-being and my relationships. 🙂

  5. Your story is inspiring, and I will gladly share it with my Nana. I’m just a 23-year-old who’s trying to make ends meet, and the fact that you told me you were a lifelong learner motivated me to push through and focus more on improving my craft.

    Same as you, I just started affiliate marketing like 5-6 months ago, but I wasn’t lucky enough to make a sale. Thank you for inspiring me to push forward, and know that I wish you the best of luck! 🙂 <3

    • Like you are wishing you were in my shoes, I am wishing I was in your shoes, Gorjan. To be 23 and already discover the path of affiliate marketing!! Bliss. It has no use for me to regret anything that happen or didn’t happen in my past, but wow, do I wish at times I knew back then what I know now.

      Keep on learning and doing what you do, you will get that, I am sure! 🙂

  6. Hi Hannie

    Your story is very inspirational. Seems like you are living the life. We all want to retire early and comfortably but you are done retiring after 2 months lol!

    I’m glad you have success with affiliate marketing at a very short time. I’m juggling with 2 kids and me-time is sparse. I hope you can share more tips about how you drive traffic, or how long do you set time per day for work?

    As always, your article is an eye opener, especially about green affiliate. I never think of that. Glad you mentioned it.
    Looking forward to more posts from you!

    • Thank you so much, Ina, you have made my day by mentioning your eyes were opened to being green. My goal is to inspire loads of people to be more conscious in that regard. 😀

      As to your questions: I have yet to figure out about traffic so there is nothing sensible I can say about that yet. I will if I do find the secret to it, because it is such an essential part.

      All counted I work about 5 hours a day. Every day. So that will be about 35-40 hours a week. Besides that I read a lot of professional literature. I do that walking, so I don’t sit too much. 😀

  7. Hannie, I love your spirit and drive. Most of all I love that you are always striving to work as hard as you can at the subject of your focus. Believe it or not you are still being a teacher for some. That some might just be me ? I love reading about your experiences, and I am very eager to learn. If we can continually learn from other we will all reach our goals quicker right?

    I am currently looking for a good affiliate partner to work with and I am happy to see the criteria you use to choose them. I have been struggling to find one that is a good fit for me and my content. Is there any advice you have about just picking one to get started with? Thank you as always

    • Hi Cheyenne, thanks for the compliment! And you’re right we sometimes influence people without even knowing it and that way are still teachers.
      Coincidently someone mentioned UBUNTU, which is a South African word that means collaboration. We indeed reach our goals quicker by working with instead of against each other. 🙂

      Your niche is food. I am a huge fan of Your Super (read my review here) but I am not sure that will fit you. Have a look at them. I wouldn’t know of other ones at the moment, but I’ll let you know if I bump into something.

  8. Hi Hannie,

    It is good to have principles, and never mind what people call you; at least you have your principles, and not everyone sticks to their principles. I think that “green terrorist” is a little exaggerated. I wish that more of us would share your principles – big companies included 😉 .

    I also have my principles for one of my websites, and there will be certain products and brands that I cannot promote. I think that having those principles and sticking to them is what makes the difference. People will be more inclined to trust a conscientious marketer, right?

    • Most of the time I am content having my principles as well and sometimes I really get fed up with it. Making it difficult for myself and seeing so many others who couldn’t care less. But then I look at inspiring people like you who are making a difference as well. 🙂

  9. This is an amazing story Hannie and always love the value that you share as well. One Funnel Away Challenge was such a great course. Just learned the other day why they started that program. Very interesting and so worth knowing the background of it as well. Keep on crushing it Hannie!!! Rooting for you.

    • Thanks sweetie, I am always so grateful for your support!
      Now you’re making me curious, Klaas, because I don’t know that story (yet). Please tell us. 😀

  10. Hannie,


    I’m proud to have been alongside you for your journey and watched you “grow” during this 6-month period.

    I think just your zest for life and enjoyment comes across in everything you write and share, and people are naturally drawn to your fun (yet serious when needed) personality.

    Even I could tell from afar, and only knowing you via the internet, that “traditional” retirement would never suit you.

    I think you’ve done a fantastic job with your sites (and let’s not forget Tom) and it’s a joy to visit and read your awesome content.

    You’re definitely in for a successful affiliate marketing journey.


    • Aren’t you the sweetest man (LOL, although Tom comes first 🙂 ). I don’t regard myself as funny at all, so I take that as a huge compliment. And I am really pleased that you think I have grown during this half year. What better compliment can a student get! <3

      Haha, funny isn't it, that I seriously thought I was retired. Oh well, so much for making plans and changing them whenever necessary or advisable.


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