My Affiliate Marketing Business Earns $500K/Year Profit [No Employees]
Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
My name is Spencer Mecham. In 2016 I first heard about an industry called affiliate marketing and in 2017 I founded Buildapreneur, an affiliate business.
Affiliate marketing is selling other people’s products instead of your own. When you get a sale, you split the profits with the company.
This business model appealed to me because I was very good at online marketing, learning algorithms, and making content go viral. But the idea of going out and starting a full-fledged business with products, support teams, investments, etc. just didn’t appeal to me.
Affiliate marketing requires 0 start-up costs. You simply start creating content and build up an audience. When the time is right, you can start promoting to that audience. All of this can be done over time, by yourself, without any initial investment.
Today my company is the top affiliate of multiple major affiliate programs. I’ve won multiple cars and done 6 and even 7 figures with various affiliate programs. My team consisted of only me until after the business had brought in more than $500,000 in profits.
These companies include ClickFunnels, Legendary Marketer, and Builderall.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I first heard about affiliate marketing when I was working at a digital marketing agency after college. One of my co-workers showed me a blog that he had started that was bringing in a fairly significant income.
All the blog did to make money was review vacuum cleaners.
My business is currently yielding more than half a million dollars a year in profits. And it does that with very little expense.
I figured if he could find a way to make reviews of vacuum cleaners work for him, I could find a way to make that space work for me as well. Turns out it wasn't quite that easy.
I struggled with starting a blog for almost a year. I put out articles almost every single day, I learned how to do web design and development, and I built dozens of backlinks.
I came up with this stock market blog.
None of it yielded any results in the first year.
After that, I tried moving on to Instagram. I tried Instagram unsuccessfully for a few months as well. My first victory in affiliate marketing actually came almost by accident.
One Day I decided to create a few videos about my Instagram page. After making the videos, I hosted them on YouTube and added links to them from Instagram. Unbeknownst to me, one of those videos actually blew up on YouTube and got hundreds of thousands of views.
Imagine having your first success by accident. I had been working for 12 months at this point trying to be successful and my only success was by accident.
I soon learned this happens a lot. The more you put yourself out there. Create content. Build relationships. The more random good things start to drop in your lap.
This is a lesson I’ve learned and relearned over the last few years.
I could tell story after story where I make a video or a post on Facebook and something unexpectedly good came from it.
In fact just earlier this year I thought I’d make a TikTok about how I’m building my real estate portfolio.
I mentioned a company I use to find deals with one time in the video.
Three months later the CEO of the company took me to lunch and handed me a $2,000 check.
Apparently that TikTok had brought in a significant amount of business and they felt they should reward me.
And stories like this happen all the time.
Put yourself out there.
You never know who is watching.
Sure, it’s luck, but only luck that comes to those in the right place doing the right things.
I quickly pivoted to YouTube and that has been my number one source of affiliate income from that point forward. I love YouTube because you can create content that lasts forever. I still get views from that video that blew up in 2016 and those views turn into profits.
Take us through the process of getting started with your affiliate business.
One of the most appealing things about affiliate marketing is that you don't have to go through all the pain of product creation, support teams, HR, etc. All you have to be able to do is marketing.
If you can build up an audience on any platform you will do well as an affiliate. So my growth process simply involved growing my online influence.
You need to spend time learning, but then you need to go out and create and apply what you learned as soon as you can. You will learn a lot more from that experience. Then once you are stuck, you need to go out and find someone that's done it and start again. Learn, apply.
I started by pumping out YouTube videos every couple of days. Each video got me a few more subscribers on YouTube. I quickly realized I needed multiple ways to access this audience and so I started to capture email addresses from those that watched my videos.
Soon I branched out and created a Facebook group about the same subject as my YouTube videos. Facebook started to promote my group and it grew by about 30 people a day. Just as with YouTube, I captured their email addresses to give myself better access to my audience.
Later I started to do the same thing with Tik-Tok and blogging.
Each time I would get somebody into one of my promotion channels I would capture their email address and then send emails to try to get them to follow me on other platforms. The goal was to have as much access to my audience as possible so that I could promote products to them and make affiliate commissions.
Today my audience across all platforms is nearly half a million people. I have access to a lot of these people through multiple channels and when I choose to promote a product I'm able to mass promote it.
Describe the process of launching the business.
This is just another reason I love affiliate marketing. You don't have to have a big launch. You don't have to make a big splash on the scene. You just start and you grow.
My launch was literally me putting out my first YouTube video on my new channel. It didn't do that well. But a few days later I put out another, and another, and another. My growth was slow, but it was fairly steady.
That first video on Buildapreneur only got a few hundred views. But the next one did a lot better. Of course my 3rd and 4th were worse than either of the first two, but then my 5th beat them all.
Each time I put out a video I learned a little more and improved a little bit.
You can see over the past 3 years it’s been an incredibly steady growth and consistency has definitely paid off.
For the first two years, I continued to work at a 9 to 5 job and this was literally just a side hustle. It wasn't until I had been working at the hustle for two years that I was able to feel comfortable quitting my job and going full-time into the influencer business.
My job was just a marketing manager at a small local company in the medical field. It was a good job and paid decently well. Affiliate marketing was just supposed to be a small side hustle to bring in another $500-$1000 a month to pay for the fun things in life like traveling.
It wasn’t until I was making almost $5,000 a month that I even thought of quitting my job.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers and grow your business?
My business grows 100% on content marketing efforts alone. This just means that I choose a platform like Facebook or YouTube, and I start putting out content that will appeal to my perfect customer.
For example, one of my YouTube channels is in the cryptocurrency space. I make videos that explain how to get started in cryptocurrency, where I think cryptocurrency is going, how to buy specific cryptos, etc.
My primary sources of traffic and growth are Facebook, YouTube, Tik-Tok, and my blog.
Each of these sources feeds into my email list through free offers. I am very careful to make sure my free offers relate and appeal to my perfect audience.
When someone views my content, all of my content refers to my free offers. Everything is cohesive. The piece of content appeals to a specific audience, the free offer appeals to a specific audience, and then all of the affiliate products I promote through email down the road appeal to that same audience.
Most of my profits come through the email sequence, not directly through the marketing channels.
I have a fairly unique email sequence that sends emails for nearly one year. These emails are not all simply boring marketing emails. Instead, I try to build relationships with the emails, build trust with the emails, provide value, and of course sometimes I sell.
A great example of this would be a few emails that teach cryptocurrency, followed by a few emails that explain how I got into cryptocurrency and who I am, followed by a few emails that actually sell something in the cryptocurrency space.
The other way that I keep building relationships with my customers is through a Facebook group. My group has almost 17,000 members in it. They are all interested in one core subject. When they have questions or concerns about that subject matter many of them turn to the group first. The group has become a forum for those in my space to discuss and network.
The group provides a lot of value and keeps my name top of mind when they are thinking about my niche. I can also promote products in the group when the timing is right and they do very well.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My business is currently yielding more than half a million dollars a year in profits. And it does that with very little expense.
Since I don't run paid ads, all of my expenses are simply software and a few part-time employees to help deploy content.
I’m not against paid ads, I’ve just done so well organically I haven’t had to use paid ads.
At some point, if I decide I want to scale past the mid-6-figure mark, paid ads will likely become part of my business.
The best part about it is that because it's been systemized and most of my traffic comes from sources like YouTube that continue to yield traffic on old content most of the income is passive.
I can disappear for weeks, or even months, and not see major declines in business profits.
As I continue to put out content, My overall audience continues to grow, and my prophets continue to grow. Old content continues to drive leads, and new content does the same, making the growth nearly exponential.
I am now in the enviable place where I just have to put out content across three or four platforms every week and the rest of the business runs by itself. So that’s what I do daily.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that of focused fortitude. I have three to four yearly goals I try to accomplish each year. Everything I do is focused on accomplishing those goals. If I can't tie it directly into one of those goals, it won't be done.
This has allowed me to avoid distractions that typically derail new business owners as they chase multiple opportunities.
Another important lesson that I have learned is the importance of traffic. A lot of new business owners start with a good idea or a great product. They spend a ton of time creating it, only to realize that they have no idea how to get eyeballs on their project. Their business fizzled away, even though the idea and product were great.
I have come to realize that traffic is the most important part of any business. I have seen businesses with terrible products explode because they are masters of getting traffic. I have also seen businesses with great products implode because they can't get enough people to find out about their products.
Find a platform that your audience is on, master that source of traffic, and watch leads pour in for the foreseeable future.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
The number one tool that carries my business forward is my email autoresponder, Active Campaign.
Once a lead is created, almost all of the selling takes place inside Active Campaign automation. This automation determines what the lead is interested in, sells them the proper products, and helps me to make money while I'm away from work.
There are a lot of email autoresponders out there, but I have never seen anything that can do close to what Active Campaign can do to provide a personal experience to each one of my leads.
It looks something like this.
The second tool that holds my business together is Zapier. Think of Zapier like the glue of the internet. I'm using almost a dozen different software to run my affiliate business.
Quite often these software's need to speak to each other and pass information to each other. Zapier is the platform that makes that possible. It is literally the glue that holds together all the different pieces of my business.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
The book Rich Dad Poor Dad can easily be called the most influential book I've read in business. While I don't do most of the tactics in that book, The mindset shifts that that book will bring into your business will help it grow and also become passive.
Other than that, I don't do as many podcasts and book reading as a lot of people. I believe a lot of people spend far too much time listening to podcasts and reading and not actually applying and building a business. There is a time and place for both, but I believe people overdo the learning because it is easier than actually trying to create.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
As mentioned in my response previously. I believe many entrepreneurs struggle with what I called the learn/apply loop.
There are two types of entrepreneurs. One is the type that loves to learn. They watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, read books, and fill their mind with information. And while they have a lot of information in their mind, they have very little experience and spend very little time creating.
This is the most common type because it is easier. It is easy to listen to a podcast and feel good about what you did that day.
The other type is the more prideful type. I fall in this category. We simply start creating and don't spend time learning from those that have already mastered their craft. We believe we can figure it out without the help of others.
To be successful you need to mix these two. You need to spend time learning, but then you need to go out and create and apply what you learned as soon as you can. You will learn a lot more from that experience. Then once you are stuck, you need to go out and find someone that's done it and start again. Learn, apply.
I believe the most successful entrepreneurs are constantly in this learn/apply loop.
Where can we go to learn more?
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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