Submitted by: Polina


Hi Scott,

I am thinking of starting a website and garnering revenue from adsense and referral programs. How much money do people typically make on that? I am a working mother and would like to start a business where I can work from home.


Polina – we specialize in working with businesses, but since we have a background in this area and several peers involved in it, I thought I’d help as much as I can.  Besides, the core concepts are just as valid for businesses as they are for a working mother or student or artist with a home studio.

Adsense and Affiliate Marketing (referral programs) are extremely competitive. We used to have clients in that market, and although there are some people that make $10,000 per day (yes, per day!), there are also people that can go years without making one cent even when they work hard and do most things right.

That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be the perfect business model for you, but it does mean that you need to have your eyes wide open, and don’t underestimate what it takes to succeed in those markets. I could type for hours on this subject, but a phone call might be easier to communicate what I’m thinking.

But, if you want my quick advice on being successful in affiliate/referral marketing and Adsense, here’s what I’d say:

(actually, in re-reading this, I’d probably suggest you don’t focus on AdSense revenue to start…)

1. Pick a niche that you know really well, but more importantly, that you are passionate about. This is probably the single most important tip I can give you. You might be able to make money putting up a teeth whitening or hair regrowth site…but unless you love it, you won’t have the energy to do what it takes to make the site better and better, and make you more and more money.

You have to love it, and be constantly thinking about what you can blog about, write an article for syndication about, create a video about, etc. If you aren’t, it becomes a job, and without that passion, you probably won’t make too much money due to all the competition and their deep pockets.

Some of the most successful bloggers out there picked something they loved, wrote about it for a long time, built up a following, and then wound up with a list of people they could market complementary products to.

Which leads me to item #2…

2. BUILD AN EMAIL LIST from the very beginning!!! If you are trying to make money by getting people to your website to buy something, maybe 1 out of 100 or 1 out of 200 will. If you can get paid more for that one sale than it cost you to get you the 100 or 200 people to your website, then congratulations… you are one of the rare people making money that way.

However, think of the other 99 or 199 people that didn’t buy – they are probably gone forever. If you instead offer them a killer free report (we call it an “ethical bribe”) to get them to give you their email address, then you can slowly build a relationship with them, and get them to know, like, and trust you.

The more great content you give them, the more they like you, and you set this all up automatically using what’s called an autoresponder. So, you write the messages just one time, and then schedule them in advance, and everybody that signs up for your list gets a personalized email at the right time that you set up, based on when they subscribed or opted-in.

After you’ve built up some value and trust (made some deposits into the “Karma bank” as we call it), now you can say “hey, if these tips on underwater basketweaving make sense, you can pick up this electronic book with all kinds of great tips and a video at this link…”

And of course, that is an affiliate link, so you get a commission for that sale.

Over time, you build up hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of people on your email list, and if you ALWAYS WRITE GREAT CONTENT, they will look forward to your emails…and your product/service recommendations.

So that was a little more than 30-seconds, but those are two very important things to think about.

I’ll leave you with one quick example…

A longtime blogger decided to start a blog on photography, which was a hobby he was passionate about. Over the years, he built up an email list of over 300,000 people because he writes awesome content (I’m on his list.)

The industry average for earnings from a current, responsive email list is about $1.00 per subscriber, per month. That means a TON of people will never buy anything, but some people will spend $10 in a year, some will spend $100, and some will spend $1,000+

Think about the photography guy – $300,000 per month, give or take. I’m guessing you could live on that, right?

Let me know if you want to chat, and I’d be happy to send you links to some of the best people in this industry so that you can read their stuff, and ignore the other 99.5% of the overpriced, out-of-date junk out there.

Hope this helped.