From Zero to Six Figures: Interview with Tricia Meyer

A lot of people question whether or not you can make money with affiliate marketing. A lot more question whether THEY can make money with affiliate marketing. Despite telling my story of coming from nothing to being a very successful affiliate marketer many times, I think a lot of people find it hard to believe that with enough effort, they can really make not only a full time income, but a six figure income, with affiliate marketing.

tricia meyerMany folks think there must be some advantage, some trick, to being able to reach that level of success.

And to be fair, all the bullshit info products from folks who promise you can make 1,000 dollars a week by doing nothing certainly don’t help.

The truth is that affiliate marketing takes work. BUT, if you’re willing to put in that work, you CAN see success. And eventually, you can see a healthy AND passive income.

So I put out a call to Twitter and asked if there were any affiliates that went from zero to making six figures a year with affiliate marketing who were willing to be interviewed. Several folks answered the call. Below is one such story. The story of Tricia Meyer. Tricia is the owner of the coupon and cash back site SunshineRewards.com, which makes its revenue through affiliate programs.

Tricia did it. And there’s no reason you can’t do it too. Read below to learn a little about her story.

What was your life like before getting involved with the Internet?

I always worked remotely for my company, so making the transition to an Internet-specific job wasn’t much for me. The biggest difference before was that I wasn’t as “connected” to my work 24-7.

When did you first come across affiliate marketing?

In 2003 I launched a forum for moms and started spending time figuring out how other moms were monetizing their forums. The few who were doing it successfully were using affiliate marketing and I decided that if they could do it, I could do it too. I had to do a lot of digging and link tracing because people weren’t talking very openly about it, or at least in a way that I could pick up on easily.

What are the primary ways that you actually do affiliate marketing? (SEO, PPC, Social, etc)

My main site is a cash back and coupon site that requires me to do a little bit of everything but mostly building a loyal membership base including by newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and my forum. All of my other sites are niche sites that get their traffic through my SEO efforts.

What were you biggest challenges in the early days?

Early on it was hard to get approval for branded merchants because I didn’t have enough traffic or a big enough name.

How long did it take you before your affiliate efforts became profitable?

My first year was basically spent hoping that I would hit the Google Adsense minimum payment amount at least once a quarter. At about the one year mark my sites truly started showing a profit and I quit my full-time job at about the 15 month mark.

What went through your mind the first year you made six figures through affiliate marketing?

I was astonished that it was really happening and kept thinking that it had to be a fluke. We didn’t make any lifestyle changes at all in our house because I kept thinking that the “good times” had to end. Yet it was a terrific feeling to make money based on a direct result of my efforts after coming from a corporate culture where people made the same no matter how much they worked or how creative they were.

Was there anything special that you bought yourself?

The only thing I really invested in was more technology to make my job easier–smartphones, bigger monitors, a lighter laptop, etc.

What do your family and friends “think you do” online?

My kids thought for the longest time that I was some kind of online store manager. I have no idea why! Now they understand because they help with it. My mom and husband are both in the industry with me now, so they completely get it. My friends think I make my money by being social because I spend so much of my time doing just that!

If you could give some advice to newbies that are just starting out, what would it be?

Find what you are passionate about and go with it. The people around me who are the most successful are the ones who love what they are doing so much that they would do a lot of it even if they weren’t making money off of it. When you have to pull yourself away from your computer because “just one more minute” turns into hours, you know you have found something you can keep doing for a long time even if you face adversity in it..

What are you biggest challenges now?

My biggest challenge now is probably focus because I see so many people doing incredible things and I recognize the potential in those things. Some days I want to write ebooks and other days I want to launch new niche sites. Then I pull back and think I want to do new and different things with my existing sites. There are just such a variety of interesting aspects to affiliate marketing and I want to do it all but know that I can’t.

Where do you see yourself, business wise, in three years?

I’m hopeful that in 3 years I will have a larger team working around me on the day-to-day aspects of my sites so that I can focus more on the bigger issues of my sites, the industry as a whole, and my consulting work.

About Rae Hoffman

Rae Hoffman aka "Sugarrae" is an affiliate marketing veteran and the CEO of PushFire, a search marketing agency specializing in SEO audits and link building strategies. She is also the author of the often controversial Sugarrae blog. You can connect with Rae via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Sugarrae runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

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The theme is not only highly customizable, but it has allowed me to run Sugarrae more professionally, with a much more targeted focus on monetization than it ever has been able to achieve before.

You can find out more about Genesis below:

Comments

  1. Great interview, Rae!

    I am a “zero to 6″ gal myself and I can relate to so much Tricia shared in this interview – especially wanting to all the cool stuff!

    Jennifer
    ~PotPieGirl

  2. Very powerful. I was about to give up on my affiliate marketing, but after reading this, I’ve decided to keep pressing on.

  3. Love the story! The more people hear how others have done it, the more confidence they will gain that they can do it too (if they just quit buying all that 4 figure crap that people are selling). It’s a matter of DOING. Thanks for ferreting out the people who can share their story too Sugarrae.

  4. Rae, I really appreciate you introducing me to Tricia. I’m happy to learn about women who are doing so well in affiliate marketing :)

  5. Thumbs up for Tricia and the community she has built around sunshine-rewards. How many other coupon/rewards sites out there rank for key-phrases like “whole turkey in a crock pot”? :)

    Relevant: http://imgur.com/YvuSM

  6. Rae,

    Very cool stuff. I am making affiliate marketing a priority going forward. Looking to move away from client work and more towards my own thing. Right now SEO client work pays the bills but there is very little freedom. Awesome job Tricia.

    Bill

  7. I agreed affiliate marketing is the great way to make pretty cool online income but it is hard to believe when you get started. I struggled for almost 2 years to make my first affiliate sale but the moment I made that first sale was a game changer. Now affiliate marketing is fully financing my studies (that was a motive to get started with internet marketing).

    Just loved the interview. It is motivational.

  8. Thanks to Rae for including me and to everyone else for your kind comments.

    @Kush, I did not even believe you until I Googled it myself. You just never know what we will be chatting about in our forum in any given day! It just goes to show that it isn’t always about the monetizing…it’s definitely about creating content and community–even when it is sometimes as incredibly random as turkeys in crockpots!

  9. As someone who has been with Sunshine Rewards since it was only a few months old, the fact that that little side site of Tricia’s is netting her six figures amazes me (in a good way).

  10. Great motivational article!! As one of the first members of Sunshine Rewards, I can say that customer service is top notch. Love Sunshine Rewards!

  11. Blessingandmiracle says:

    Great article! This is quite impressive! As a member of Sunshine Rewards I can say that their Customer Service is one of a kind and that sets them apart from all the others. Keep doing what you do Sunshine!

  12. Andrew Richards says:

    Nice interview. It seems that whenever I read about people who have succeed at IM they are the people who have spent anywhere between a few months to a couple years finding their way and making mistakes before they finally hit their stride. Nice work Tricia.

  13. The most interesting thing I got from the interview is how after Tricia hit it big with her coupon forum she immediately started expanding into niche sites, ebooks, consulting, etc. No doubt she’ll be successful at those too.

    I keep seeing this pattern with highly successful affiliate marketers – they can seemingly diversify at will and end up successful in most of their new ventures. Compare this with the vast majority of beginner online marketers who have a hard time gaining traction on ONE site, let alone five.

  14. Affiliate marketing isn’t as easy as what other affiliate marketing gurus say it is. It requires a lot of patience and determination. There’s always the time in an affiliate marketers life where he is in the brink of giving up but when the first sale comes in it always gives you the feeling of accomplishing something big. And then you continue doing what you’re doing.

  15. i enjoyed this article. But more than enjoyment I got a deep sense of the reality of what it will take to be successful in affiliate marketing. It is articles like this that will keep me going. Persistence & old-fashioned effort are the sure fire ingredients.

  16. Great interview, and thanks for listing her site. I also find value in the comment by Sanam- it helps me, anyway, to know that others have had struggles before they got their first sale. It is nice to have the pepper with the salt. Rae, I am wondering what you spent on Adwords on average per month during your first year in affiliate marketing? Or maybe Tricia could come back and comment on that.

  17. Nice interview. We should have this kind of article more often. Very inspiring. I’ll keep this in mind: “Find what you are passionate about and go with it. ” It says a lot… Thanks Rae and Tricia! :)

  18. Steve Fitzpatrick says:

    I love this story. It’s great to read about others success knowing that if you’re not afraid of hard work it can happen for anyone willing to learn.
    Well done and keep going!

  19. Great read, thanks. It is tough to stay motivated when some ‘get rich quick’ sites will have you beleiving you shoud be hitting $100k in the first year. It is reassuring to hear a story from someone that makes that kind of money, but it took a good while, and plenty of work to get there.

  20. Nice article. Currently employed, soon to be self-employed and very much looking forward to it! I have been thinking about including affiliate marketing on our blogs and after reading this it sounds like a promising additional source of income. I also just read your newsletter and can’t wait for the next one! Thanks Rae :)

  21. It’s great to hear that some people are doing so well from affiliate marketing. The problem with voucher code and cash back sites are that the market seems to be saturated with them at the moment. I think there is still a lot of money to be made from blogging and building your site up to being one that people would want to re-visit regularly

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