Disclosure: Please note that links to merchants mentioned within this post might be using an affiliate link which means that - at zero cost to you - I might earn a commission if you buy something through that affiliate link. That said, I never recommend anything I don’t personally use and find to be a valuable asset to my business.

Finding the Money to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing


  1. Geno Prussakov says:

    Good post, Rae. Another place to get the money is a credit card. Most people have access to lines of credit that they are using in other ways, but seldomly to invest into projects that require up-front investments, but pay back (if you’re persistent, and handle things in an educated way, of course) later.

  2. Rae Hoffman-Dolan says:

    It’s funny – that slips my mind as an option because when I was starting out, there was no sane place or person who was going to give me a credit card at the time. :D … I didn’t get my first credit card until I was about 28… after I’d long gotten myself out of debt with my income from affiliate marketing. :) But it’s a definite option for those who have them!

  3. Patty Gale says:

    Love it, Rae! I get so tired of hearing people complain they don’t have money to get started, yet they have no problem paying $100+ for cell service or $40 every 2 weeks to get their nails done.

    I was pretty cash-strapped when I first got started 10 years ago, but there was no other option. I either made it work or the alternative was going back to corporate America and leaving my daughter in daycare.

    I decided the latter simply wasn’t going to be an option.

  4. Really like the line: “And if you truly put in the time an effort, your site should be paying its own operating expenses within six months or less”. I think that is a very realistic goal for most people to shoot for. Except in extreme rare cases affiliate marketing isn’t the sort of thing that people can go from zero to $10K in a few months. It takes a lot of trial and error, a lot of work, a lot of knowledge, and a lot of skill to really make a living at this.

  5. fiverr is also an interesting place to get some initial funds: do something original for 5 dollars! Sing a song, write some poetry, send a postcard!

  6. Heather Allard says:

    I LOVE THIS, Rae!

    I hear so many times from my readers that they have no money to spend on their business. WHAT?!?! Then get some…somehow…someway…sometime soon! :)

    You gave such great examples of ways to get the cash to start. Everyone can do at least one of those things, if not several.

    Thanks, Rae!

  7. Agreed, I wish lack of funds was holding me back instead of lack of traffic, poor conversions, lack of time, yada yada yada ;)

    By the way Rae, can you be persuaded to talk us through another affiliate site development? I know you had to bail from the last one, but I reckon that would be a massive help to us strugglers.

    In any case, thanks for your guidance. All the best.

  8. My comment is awaiting moderation, so, I guess I can speak my mind and if you decide not to post it, then it will be for your eyes only. 95% of affiliate marketers don’t make it- 5% make a substantial income. I bought into an ‘affiliate program’ last October and for $50.00 I got a cheesy template that makes your site look like the Taj Mahal. I knew nothing about websites and affiliate marketing and wish I had stumbled across your blog back then. I didn’t even know what WordPress was, then. I am sure you will rub elbows with the guys, whose program I joined at Affiliate Summit. I am not saying I am giving up on it, but, it isn’t all Cherry Pie and Ice Cream; matter of fact, I have yet to see a ROI- this includes time, adword campaigns, networks, etc.

  9. Cleofe Betancourt says:

    Affiliate marketing can be an intimidating undertaking for many marketers, and your post offers great perspective! Lose the cable, budget your meals, cut out a few excesses and you are on your way. Now if they would only stop expecting to get rich on email submits…

  10. Rae Hoffman-Dolan says:

    Chas I absolutely believe only a small minority of people who attempt affiliate marketing will have high level success. But I also believe considering the low barrier to entry, it’s worth a try. If I’d have said “oh, most people don’t do well at this, I’m not going to try it” ten years ago, I wouldn’t have the career, home, family, husband and everything else I have now. I’m a big believer that everyone should always believe they can beat the odds – at least while they give it a great try. If five years later, you’re still not covering your hosting expenses, then you need to take another look at if affiliate marketing is for you – which I mentioned in the post.

    “I bought into an ‘affiliate program’” – that’s not an affiliate program. True affiliate programs don’t cost money… I covered that in avoiding scams.

  11. I was naive and didn’t have your knowledge; I thank you for your feedback and am glad that you are helping others with what you have learned.

  12. Amen! If you are willing to spend every waking moment making sure you succeed – an amazing thing happens – you do!

    In the 90’s I remember thinking – if only i had money to invest in domains – I wish I had come across this article and taken it to heart then.

  13. Jessica Dillard says:

    Okay, I’m late to this thread, about 4 years late, but I recently learned about the Sugarrae Community and boy am I glad I did. To compliment my existing business I’ve adapted an open mind to affiliate marketing. I agree, any business takes hard work. If you eliminate the get-rich-quick mindset you can endure the learning curve.

    Thanks Rae for all your helpful advice, strategies, tools and tips!

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