When I was nine years old, I made my first money online via Adsense.
Using Blogspot.com, I wrote about animals, and actually got some decent traffic!
It’s somehow still online today after misplacing the login years ago.
Several years later at 17, I made my first affiliate sale on a cryptocurrency education site.
Looking back, these sites were TERRIBLE.
After reflecting on this for a bit, I thought it would be cool to ask other affiliate marketers about their first affiliate sale.
Here’s what they had to say!
Kirsty McCubbin – BlokesUndies
I was working for an SEO agency back in 2003, and got asked to manage an affiliate program for a client. I’d never heard of affiliate marketing before and was immediately intrigued.
I decided to play around with some pet food offers in my spare time, and made my first sale within 24 hours.
I was hooked!
This was Pre-Florida update, I barely had a site. I had several thousand spammy meta refresh doorway pages.
Title, meta tag, affiliate link, lovingly fashioned with a spreadsheet and an auto page generator. Post one day, traffic avalanche the next.
Mark Webster – AuthorityHacker
In 2008 there was a range of ultra-small laptops called Netbooks.
I had one so when I was looking to start my first site, my researching consisted of looking around the room to get ideas.
I started a Netbook site with reviews and comparisons. I ran Google ads to it and managed to drive my first sale that way.
I ultimately lost money on the campaign but gained a ton of experience.
Jay Yap – Leadspring
My first affiliate sale was when I first joined Leadspring in 2015. I was very new to affiliate marketing at the time, but found an interesting topic that we wanted to get into in the beauty niche.
We built a simple website based on the top products (with the highest traffic volume) that we found.
We gave it a little time to rank and when the traffic started coming in, we applied to the affiliate programs of the product pages that had traffic.
At that level of traffic, it took a few days to get our first sale but given how new the site was, we were pretty ecstatic to find that the niche was converting well.
Turned out, the niche was a goldmine!
Matt Diggity – DiggtyMarketing
My first affiliate site targeting the keyword “yoga travel”. Seems as if it was repurposed into a PBN.
It never made more than maybe $400 of affiliate money over its life time.
Turns out there’s zero buyer intent for yoga mats and other yoga stuff when people are searching for “yoga travel”.
Newbie mistake learned.
Matt Giovanisci – MoneyLab
Ok, If I’m being honest, I don’t remember…
It would’ve happened sometime between 2004 and 2006, on SwimUniversity.com. I remember using Googles Affiliate program tool.
Was it called DoubleClick?
I know they bought it from someone. I remember loving it but they shut it down and I had to move to LinkShare which became Raukten.
I probably got a check in the mail for somewhere around a $50 or $100 threshold breach. And I would’ve been meh about it because I’m terrible at celebrating wins or anything good that happens to me.
Work is my reward and I’ve always enjoyed it no matter what.
Will Hatton – DitchYourDesk
My first affiliate sale was a sit-on lawnmower, which is amusing because I have at no point been in the garden niche.
I remember I was sending maybe thirty people a month to Amazon though my VERY new and amateur blog and then one day – BOOM! – somebody bought a $800 lawnmower and I made $80 (this was back in the glory days of generous amazon commission structures).
This sale highlighted to me the value of a CLICK and how it can be much larger than one would think, it also proved to me that it was possible to make money online.
Since then I changed my strategy so that it was easy for my small audience (at the time) to click through to affiliate programs and for me to store as many tasty, delicious tracking cookies as possible per visitor.
Five years later and I’m running a dozen websites all paying the bills through affiliate marketing so heck – it was a valuable lesson and I’m glad I learnt it early.Follow Will on Instagram
Spencer Haws – NichePursuits
I made my first $1 online back in 2006 with Google Adsense.
I don’t believe I even had any affiliate links on my site, so an affiliate commission wasn’t even possible.
But I definitely remember the first time I logged into my Google adsense account and I have that first click that paid a few cents.
I was ecstatic!
My first site was a financial blog that was never very successful, but I learned the ropes and it began my journey to growing my online business.
Hayim Pinson – MuscleAndBrawn
I found out about affiliate marketing after meeting Austin, and his brother, in Austin, Texas in 2018.
There was a blanket startup and that offered $20 Amazon gift cards per referral so I posted it on a bunch of random coupon sites and forgot about it.
4 months later, I woke up to 3 emails with $60 worth of Amazon gift cards!
After that, I realized I wanted to do a more sustainable method of affiliate marketing and turned to niche site building and SEO.
I’m now running one of the largest supplement, nootropic, and vitamin blogs out there and having a blast.
Josh Ternyak – Joshternyak.com
I first learned about affiliate marketing and SEO in January of 2020 when my older brother Daniel introduced me to his friend who runs a successful affiliate site.
A few weeks later, I helped my brother start a site in the cleaning industry that we would later do affiliate marketing on.
We saw our first Amazon affiliate commission around 6 months after we started the site. I believe someone purchased a vacuum cleaner on Amazon through one of our affiliate links on our site, which made us around $5 in commissions.
Even though that wasn’t much money for us, the first sale we received gave us confidence that our site would continue to make us passive income through affiliate marketing and SEO.
Thank you to all of our contributors for making this post happen!
We hope this post helped show, that anyone can make money online, and live life on their own terms. Whether it was me at 9 blogging about animals, or others in the post that got started in their 30s.
Clearly, the beginning won’t be sexy, a big win, or any other instant gratification.
But who knows, over time it could turn into a business and a lifestyle, like it did for all 9 contributors here.