Recently I made my first few dollars with affiliate marketing on Amazon. It isn't something that happens overnight, and I am still learning better ways to market the products I believe in. But what's most important is that a small purchase is all that is required to KEEP yourself eligible as an Amazon affiliate. And what is really extra cool about Amazon is that if a customer clicks on the link of a product you promote, and then, once on Amazon.com, they buy other products as well as the product you promoted, you get commission on everything in that purchase! That's what happened for me! You have a specified number of days to fulfill this requirement and through that one link click, I finally did it.
I need to do better than that for my income's sake, however. And I admit all I have done so far is social media promotion of the product posts on my website. (Up and down fatigue had limited me from doing much more.) I want to increase traffic and commissions, and I will. I have read Pat Flynn's little pdf guide on affiliate marketing, which is FULL of great advice, and will be digging into some of Amazon's helpful resources soon. I am considering some marketing tools such as email lists and YouTubes. There are many different ways to market products as an affiliate and lots of resources out there.
I have tried to become an affiliate for a few other companies but at this point, I need more traffic on this website and through my new social media accounts associated with this site, for them to consider me. Fortunately, they let you reapply, which I will do as traffic increases. At least Amazon gives you a chance when you're a newbie! Their commissions aren't as high as some companies offer, but it is a great place to start, to learn and to grow.
You can find more information about affiliate marketing on Amazon here- https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/
Another VERY IMPORTANT thing that you must do when you become an affiliate is to familiarize yourself with FTC Disclosure Guidelines. Pat Flynn covers that in his materials available on smartpassiveincome.com/. Recently these guidelines have been updated and it is essential for you to stay in the loop about changes so you don't end up in hot water. It is easy to stay within the guidelines, but you just need to be aware of what they are! Here is a recently updated article that spells it out (originally from 2013) - https://tricia/me/2013/03/14/affiliates-take-note-new-ftc-disclosure-guidelines/
Whether you are a beginner or an expert at affiliate marketing, I would love to hear your feedback, tips, concerns, experiences, whatever, in the comments! And remember - Don't give up! Slow and steady wins the race!
I have had days where I am too exhausted to clean the leftover hummus out of the recyclable PET container, so I chucked it into the trash. And I felt guilty. But I try to remember something I read recently - I will paraphrase the quote: There is more positive impact on the planet when a lot of people do things less than perfectly, than when just a few people do things perfectly. What this means is that if we can do as much as we can, when we can, in terms of recycling, reducing the amount of single-use plastics, reducing our carbon footprint and buying socially-responsible products, we can be a powerful force in helping this planet, even though we aren't perfect.
For example, we can forgive ourselves if not every recyclable container makes it to the recycling plant when we are not feeling well, but we can be as diligent as possible. We can also ask for assistance from others to get the recyclables to the drop-off point if we don't have regular pick-up service. Again, we can do the best we can.
We can use public transport and ride service vans to lower our carbon footprint. We can also plan our drives around town, running a few errands when we have other appointments. Of course, it depends on our energy that day. But we can also ask a friend or caregiver to accompany us and go into the shops to pick up what we need. We can also be sure our vehicles are in good running order by having them serviced a few times a year. These little changes can make a big difference in what our vehicles dump into the atmosphere.
We can choose produce that isn't wrapped in plastic, buy in bulk using our own containers, purchase products in recyclable containers as opposed to those that can't be recycled at our local center. My local center recycles PET (#1) plastics but only if they are clear. The colored PET items get chucked into the landfill. Find out what can and can't be recycled at your local center; they usually have a list online and/or a printed brochure available to the public.
Try to avoid single-use plastic packaging when possible. One single-use item that ends up in landfills is the good-ol' toothpaste tube. Colgate has recently come out with a vegan toothpaste in a tube made of the same plastic as milk cartons. This is great news; more and more corporations are starting to "get it" about their responsibility to this planet, thanks to public pressure. However, the new Colgate, available in the US and UK, is not cheap. At all. Until socially-responsible items become the norm, you will pay dearly for them.
There is a way around the extra expense: make it yourself! I have been making my own tooth powder for several months now. I am saving a heap of money, my teeth feel like I've just had them cleaned at the dentist, my breath is fresher and no more tubes go into the rubbish!!
My recipe is very simple, and you can adjust the amount easily by doing simple math:
-1 cup baking soda
-4 teaspoons fine sea salt
-2 teaspoons powdered ginger (optional)
-2 teaspoons powdered cinnamon (optional)
-2 teaspoons ground clove (optional)
-stevia or xylitol to taste (optional)
-For extra flavor, you can also add ground mint or sage. (Avoid essential oils - they may be irritating to gums and some should not be ingested.)
-If you need to remineralize your enamel because, like me, you are older and have fine cracks, or you are prone to cavities, you can add 1/2 - 1 cup of food-grade calcium betonite clay. The clay also acts to draw out toxins.
Add the ingredients to an attractive container, give it a good shake to mix it initially, then shake it occasionally in case ingredients have settled. I drop in a small plastic scoop that came in a bag of coffee. When I'm ready to brush my teeth, I use about 1/3 - 1/2 scoop of the powder. I scoop it into a small dish (I picked a particularly colorful and lovely dish from the Pioneer Woman's collection at Walmart for just a couple bucks), wet my electric toothbrush and have at it! Unlike using tooth paste, you will need to spit and refill your tooth brush while brushing. You'll get used to it.
If you need to use fluoride to harden and protect your enamel, use a fluoride rinse after brushing. Remember to buy it in a recyclable clear #1 PET plastic bottle (some come in white bottles that might not be recyclable locally).
This formula without the calcium betonite clay costs just pennies to make. Adding the clay makes it pricier (I paid $16 at my local health food store for a 1-pound clear PET jar), but buying online will save you money (2-pounds for $16).
In coming months, I will share more DIY recipes for health and beauty products that are cheap, easy and more healthy for you and the environment. Meanwhile, try out this tooth powder recipe, share your green ideas and leave your comments below! Happy brushing!
This essay is reprinted from my book When Bodies Break: How We Survive and Thrive with Illness and Disability. It appears in Part Two of the Book - How We Learn to Live Well with Chronic Illness and Disability - Chapter 2: Your Passion, Your Purpose and Starting Over.
One of the most profound impacts chronic illness has upon our lives is the loss of sense of purpose, which ultimately leads to the loss of our sense of identity. This isn’t just something I noticed in my own journey with chronic illness; research supports this.
I am passionate about empowering and encouraging others with chronic illness to discover or rediscover their purpose by following their passions, regardless of their physical circumstances. Thankfully, the opportunities available online for this are practically infinite!
I learned about online business in early 2013 by listening to Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast. Since then I’ve become a strong proponent for building passive income using blogs and other online methods. As loss of income is a major issue for those of us with chronic illness, I hope to be an example for using one's passion to gain a sense of purpose AND financial freedom.
Passive income involves some kind of action, often on-going, that can be done at your own pace which is a blessing for the chronically ill. Here are some ways you can earn income online while pursuing your passion:
1. Blogging and E-books
Blogging and setting up your own website is a great, low-cost way to earn passive income. Attract others to your site by writing articles of interest. If you select topics for which you have a real passion and can write well, you can build an audience over time. The keys are to be patient, be consistent in writing content and get that content out to the appropriate audience – usually through social media.
How do you start blogging? I suggest signing up for a Wordpress.com or other free website to see if blogging is for you. Then start writing blogs about your passions. Seek out blogging podcasts, starting with Pat Flynn's Smart Passive Income (search for blogging in the podcast section). Also BecomeABlogger.com is a helpful podcast and site, as is Internet Business Mastery. Eventually you can buy a website on which to base your blog. I went with Bluehost for about $60 the first year, which includes the cost of the domain name.
To turn your writing into e-books, I recommend signing up for Pat Flynn's newsletter, which gives you a bonus free e-book - eBooks the SMART Way. Also, I discovered a great site -AmyLynnAndrews.com - which has step-by-step blogs about writing and selling an e-book.
If writing isn’t your thing, you can always create a YouTube channel focused on topics you’re passionate about. There are many blogs and podcasts out there to guide you on how to build online income this way. If you would like some guidance on finding resources, I’d be happy to help! Contact me at @GetUpNGoGuru on Twitter or via my Facebook page.
3. Affiliate Income
With affiliate marketing, you are rewarded as an affiliate for every customer you bring to the website of a designated business. When I learned about affiliate income, I got excited about its possibilities for earning money passively. The best tutorials on this topic can be found on Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income podcast, including a 3-episode series on what affiliate income is and all the types out there. (If you are reading this on Kindle, see this page for all the links.)
My tips for earning through affiliate programs:
• If you’re going to put affiliate ads on your site, make sure they look tasteful and don’t clog your site up. I get put off when people have ads positioned randomly through their blog posts (via Google Adwords)!
• Don’t spam. Use affiliate links where they are appropriate to your content and when they benefit your audience. Putting them up out of context on Twitter, Facebook or in emails will not win you any fans.
• Be genuine. I will only recommend something I have used myself or someone I really trust has recommended. You can earn affiliate income with YouTube channels by putting links into your videos and/or the descriptions. Once again, be sure not to alienate your audience. Serving your audience needs to be your main priority to be a success in the long-term.
4. Ads on blogs/YouTube/podcasts
There are a range of ways you can put advertising on your blog/YouTube channel/podcast. You can sign up for Google Adwords. From my experience, they often look quite tacky on a blog and you need a lot of traffic to make any decent money.
With YouTube you can just tick a box to allow ads to come up before and during your videos. This is cleaner than Adwords because YouTubers can close the ads at a certain point. In-video ads are possible but I would limit that to what’s relevant to your content – for instance, when reviewing a product.
5. So many opportunities, so little time and space!
There are thousands of websites dedicated to the topic of earning income online; I can’t do justice to it all here. I’m happy to support you in any way I can to get you up and running, pursuing your passions and regaining your sense of purpose, while hopefully earning income from your toils.
(Editor’s note: be sure to research your sources thoroughly and be discerning before committing to an online income opportunity.)
I have wrestled with this question since I was knocked down by three heart attacks in 2005 that left my brain addled, my energy a.w.o.l. and my ability to deal with stress without consequence very iffy. I continued to ponder whilst other painful and mysterious conditions were added to the list.
I tried to go back to work again but was unable to get through four days of it. I was eventually able to obtain benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid, Section 8 and temporary SSI while I awaited approval for Social Security Disability. After appealing the expected denial, I was finally awarded SSDI along with back pay with the help of a lawyer and a very explicit letter from my cardiologist. I managed to keep my head above water.
When my father died, he left me a portion of a small retirement account. Though I lost all benefits except for the SSDI, I was able to live well enough in a region that had a very low cost of living. However, the doctors that monitored my rare condition were hundreds of miles away in New England and the travel was tiring and expensive. As I was aging with health issues, there was a growing need to be closer to good medical care and my family who lived in New England, as well.
The medical care in the Boston area is outstanding and the town where I chose to settle offers excellent amenities and services, is close to my family and has a low crime rate, all factors which combine to raise my quality of life. However, the outrageous cost of living limits me from fully embracing the things that bring me joy. I can cover my utility bills, food (which is mostly organic and gluten-free), rent for a tiny studio apartment and essential monthly expenses. Extra expenses such as medical and prescription co-pays, car maintenance and repairs, clothing and travel, usually come out of savings, or I go without. That money needs to support me until I die. I want to be able to have a better quality of life than I do now without leaving myself destitute in the future.
I went into remission from the chronic fatigue syndrome in 2015, though it comes back if I catch a virus. I had enjoyed being more energetic for several years until I commenced a year of cancer treatments in July 2018. I am still waiting to feel well enough so I can put a bit of effort into earning some income. I plan to start up my Reiki practice again and officiate weddings. I haven't practiced Reiki for years and I have only officiated two family weddings, but both are ways for me to earn a little income here and there, providing services that I really don't consider as work. They are things that bring me joy and they will help me raise my quality of life!
I have no intention of creating a new career. I am retirement age now and I doubt I will ever have the energy to be a full-blown successful entrepreneur. I truly can't take the stress, either. I am hoping that for a few years, I can earn enough with Reiki and weddings to help me keep up with expenses and enjoy what life has to offer in my local area as much as possible. But it probably won't be enough. For now, and probably forever, I also need to find ways to make passive income.
According to Wikipedia, making passive income "requires little to no effort to earn and maintain." That's why I created this website! Not only will it be filled with great ways to make your life better, including recipes, tips, products and more but it will allow me to earn some income, as well as help you to do the same! When I feature a product that I already use and believe in, and I become an affiliate marketer for that company, I earn commission when someone clicks my link and purchases the product. I don't have to buy anything special; these are things I am already familiar with, including the book, e-book and audio book that I have authored (all royalties are donated to autoimmune research but now through affiliate marketing, I can earn commission without taking away from the charity). I am already recommending these books and products to friends because I know they are helpful. Might as well get paid to do that!
Of course, if you want to start earning passive income you need to find out your income limits if you are on Social Security Disability or other benefits. And you need to be aware of how income will impact your tax bill in April. It is easy enough to find out these things - visit ssa.gov and your local assistance office for information on benefits and income limits; for free tax advice, a good place to start is a website like debt.com/money-tips/get-free-tax-advice/. You also need to keep track of your business expenses and income. A ledger and a calculator with a shoe box for receipts may suffice, or you may need software such as Quicken.
I will be posting more information on earning passive income and affiliate marketing soon. For now, if you would like more information, one of the top and most respected experts on affiliate marketing and other methods of passive income is Pat Flynn. Pat hosts both free and paid webinars, offers books on specific ways to earn passive income, and has lots of helpful, no-nonsense information on his site to get you started as an affiliate marketer and passive income earner. To learn more about Pat Flynn and passive income, visit smartpassiveincome.com/
For more ideas on earning income from home and online, visit pajamadaze.com/pajama-jobs and pajamadaze.com/online-opportunities. You can also find some wonderful inspiration from people with chronic conditions who decided to create a new, joyful life after diagnosis at pajamadaze.com/joyful-workers.
I'm just getting started on this adventure, so I will be sharing with you what I am learning along the way, as well as other great resources to help you get started! We all may have different financial and health circumstances, and our desired lifestyles may differ. But no matter what our abilities and energy level or how much we need to earn, the most important thing to remember is this - FIND YOUR JOY! Doing something, even on a small scale, that makes you happy, feeds your passion and gives your life purpose, no matter how much money it brings in, will increase your quality of life!
Cameron B. Auxer, your website creator and blogger, is a certified Holistic Health Educator and writer.