How to Build a Profitable Business Online by Selling Nothing

You can start earning passive income online via revenue sharing thanks to a tactic called affilliate marketing.

Imagine a business that contains no fulfillment, deliverables or customer support and can be sold for 25 times its monthly net profit.

Now, imagine this business also maintains a consistent 30 percent margin and could be managed without any full-time employees.

You can start earning passive income online via revenue sharing thanks to a tactic called affilliate marketing.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not.

It’s called affiliate marketing and it’s a business model drenched in time and location freedom, impact and profit. It’s also the first business my wife, Jill, and I started together back in 2012.

You see, back then Jill had a social media management service and my business (which had started feeling like a job) was coming to an abrupt end. We had been researching potential business models (hello, selling physical products, online courses, done-for-you services, coaching, consulting — you name it) and finally landed on this little thing called affiliate marketing.

If you’ve never heard of it, don’t sweat. Because once I’m done, you’ll have a three-tiered strategy you can use to build a wildly profitable business … by selling nothing.

Sound good? Great. Let’s dive in!

What is affiliate marketing anyway?

Simply put, it breaks down into three simple steps:

  1. A visitor comes to your website.
  2. You recommend relevant tools, products or services in your content via outbound affiliate links.
  3. If the visitor clicks on any of those links and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

Basically, you are the “connector” between your audience and a product creator or service provider you’ve either used, like or believe in. What’s even better is commissions can range anywhere from 4 percent (like Amazon’s associate program) to 75 percent (by selling digital products through Clickbank) depending on the industry and the offer.

Not too shabby!

So, how do you get started? First, you need to find and sign up for an affiliate program. Now, it’s very possible that an individual merchant will have its own in-house program, however the easiest way to get started is to join relevant affiliate networks.

Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of 10 affiliate networks you can sign up to today. What do you do once you’ve registered though?

Strategy 1: Product reviews

Good news: Creating a persuasive product review is pretty simple.


Because there are millions of people searching for honest reviews of the products they are interested in purchasing. Think about it: Have you ever Googled a product you wanted to buy to see what others have said?

This is where your product review would come in. If you can produce a high-quality objective review (and you understand the basics of search engine optimization), you can rank on page one of Google — allowing you to generate commissions from one single post.

(Hot tip: It’s always best you use the product so you can speak honestly about it.)Strategy 2: Strategic partnerships

Fun fact: According to Statista, ecommerce sales are expected to hit close to $5 trillion globally by 2021.

Five. Trillion. Dollars. Let that sink in for a second.

Since there is no shortage of new industries or products coming onto the market, why not collaborate with companies that line up with your values and spread the word on them? One of the ways we’re doing this is by building strategic partnerships with existing course creators in our space.

And since the global e-learning market is projected to hit $331 billion by 2025, there is a ton of opportunity for collaboration. 

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