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.

Is Pinterest part of your marketing plan?

Check out my recent case study that shows how I generated 234,000+ pins (and counting) to a site with only 45 posts. I give you all the details (with specifics) here.