How To Make Money with Affiliate Marketing – Interview with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Have you ever wondered how to make money with affiliate marketing?

You hear about entrepreneurs generating passive income online through affiliate marketing. But you’re not sure what exactly it is or where to start.

Well, you’re in for a treat. In this post, we’ll be chatting with Michelle Schroeder-Gardener, one of the most successful affiliate marketers ever! Michelle consistently makes $50,000 a month from affiliate marketing on her personal finance blog, Making Sense of Cents. She knows a thing or two about this business model. 

Michelle will share her best tips for affiliate marketing success, even if you’re brand new or have tried and failed before. Afterward, you’ll get a sneak peek inside Michelle’s signature course for new and aspiring affiliate marketers, which is one of my personal faves. Let’s jump right in. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links as explained in my disclosure policy.

1. Could you give us some background about yourself. How did you get started with affiliate marketing? How are things going right now?

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner Bahamas photo

I am the creator of Making Sense of Cents, a personal finance website that helps readers learn how to save more, earn money, and live more. I was able to pay off $40,000 in student loan debt in just 7 months, by side hustling like crazy, which is something I talk about in great detail on my website. I currently travel full-time with my husband and two dogs via sailboat.

I also have a course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. I have earned well over $1,000,000 through affiliate marketing over the years, and teach all about it in my course. 

I got started with affiliate marketing after I saw other bloggers making an income through it. Once I learned about it, I knew that I wanted it to be something I was a part of as well.

Things are going very well right now! I have plans to continue to grow Making Sense of Cents, and I am very excited for the future.

2. What makes affiliate marketing such a great online business model?

I really enjoy affiliate marketing, and I think it is a great online business model. 

Affiliate marketing can feel quite passive and it makes location independence and traveling full-time much more enjoyable. You can create just one blog post or social media post, and potentially earn money from it years down the line, as long as you maintain it and keep generating traffic to it. 

With affiliate marketing, I can enjoy life more and know that I am still able to earn a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy.

Plus, all blogs talk about something (that’s literally what a blog is!), so it’s a no brainer to help your readers and earn a living at the same time.

3. What are some of the early affiliate marketing mistakes you made? What did you learn from them?

The biggest mistake probably is thinking that I needed a huge audience in order to make money through affiliate marketing on my blog. Instead, I have learned that it’s all about applying the correct affiliate marketing strategies. 

Affiliate marketing isn’t as simple as just slapping affiliate links across your blog, instead, you need a plan!

4. Why do you think you have been so successful with affiliate marketing over the years?

I think I have been successful for many reasons, such as:

  1. Always thinking about my readers. I am always trying to help my readers and not try to sell them something that they do not need.
  2. Not coming across as salesy. No one wants to be sold. 
  3. I only promote products that I believe in. I do extensive research before I promote anything on my blog.

And more!

5. What is the mindset of a successful affiliate marketer? Are there any particular mindset shifts you’ve had to make to grow your affiliate income?

One mindset is that you will always want to be learning something new. In the blogging and affiliate marketing world, there is always something new to learn. Whether that may mean new affiliate marketing strategies, ways to grow traffic, and so on, it simply never ends. But, that’s not a bad thing! In fact, I find that part enjoyable as things never get stale.

6. Tell us a little more about Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Who is it for and what does it cover? 

My course is for you if:

  • You want to start making money from your blog.
  • You’re already making blogging income but want to increase it with affiliate marketing.
  • You want to earn money while you sleep and other times when you’re away from your computer.
  • You want to write a blog post and earn money from it for years down the line, with minimal work needed.
  • You tried affiliate marketing in the past but didn’t see success.
  • You want to spend more time with your loved ones and have a better work-life balance.
  • You love blogging and want to be able to grow your blog, build trust with your audience, and help more people!

In Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, there are 6 modules, over 30 lessons, several worksheets, bonuses, an extremely helpful and exclusive Facebook group, and more. I go through everything that you need to know about affiliate marketing for bloggers, and more.

7. What motivated you to create Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing?

I decided to create Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing because I was always being asked about affiliate marketing. What seemed normal and easy to me, isn’t always as easy for everyone else, so I wanted to create a course to help others. Affiliate marketing is great, and I want others to benefit from it as well.

At first, I was coaching others on affiliate marketing, but that was one-on-one. I didn’t find that to be the best use of my time, as many people were struggling with the same areas when it came to affiliate marketing. So, a course just seemed like much more sense. Instead of rehashing my same strategies and tips over and over again, I could put together a course for everyone to learn from.

8. How would you respond to those who say that affiliate marketing is too saturated and too difficult to make money from nowadays? 

I honestly have not heard anyone say this. As long as products are still being made and people are still buying things, affiliate marketing will always be around. It’s simply just another way for companies and brands to market themselves. 

In fact, I would assume that affiliate marketing will just continue to grow, as many companies are only recently starting to see the huge positives of it.

9. How much does it typically cost to start and maintain an affiliate marketing business?

You really only need a website, and that can be done very affordably. I started my first website for less than $100. Another expense that you’ll want to have is an email list, which I highly recommend.

10. How do you stay consistent with your affiliate marketing strategy? 

My affiliate marketing strategy is pretty laid back, which is what makes affiliate marketing great!

One thing I do to stay consistent is that I simply publish at least one blog post a week. This helps to keep readers engaged and coming back to my website.

11. What skills do you think are essential to make a full-time income from affiliate marketing?

The skills that I think are essential include:

  • The desire to learn. As discussed above, there are always new things to learn. 
  • Creativity. Blogging and affiliate marketing means that you will want to be creative. Now, don’t let that scare you away, though. I definitely did not think that I was creative when I first started my blog. It gets way easier, though, once you start.
  • Problem solving. When sharing affiliate links with your readers, you are most likely trying to solve a problem for them, and that is why they are going to purchase through your link. Whether that mean helping them find a book that they are interested in, finding a course, etc., you will be helping your readers solve problems.

12. What advice would you give to someone who is just getting started with affiliate marketing?

Well, my very top tip would be to take Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing 🙂

Outside of that, I recommend just getting started! So many bloggers are afraid to start with affiliate marketing because they don’t know what to do. Well, you won’t know unless you try.

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Michelle Schroeder-Gardner! Now, let’s take a closer look at her course: Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

A look inside Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course banner

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is an online course that teaches bloggers how to make money with affiliate marketing. It’s an introductory course for beginners who want to understand the ins and outs of affiliate marketing and earn a consistent income from it. This text-based course covers common questions that new affiliate marketers have, such as:

  • How does affiliate marketing work?
  • How do you choose the right affiliate products to promote?
  • Where do you find affiliate products to promote?
  • How do you join affiliate programs and networks?
  • How do you promote your affiliate links?
  • What legal disclosures do you need to add?
  • How do you track your affiliate sales?
  • When do you get paid for affiliate sales you generate?

Click here to learn more about Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

The course comes with 6 modules. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll learn in each of them:

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing modules

Module 1: What Is Affiliate Marketing?

You’ll learn about what exactly affiliate marketing is, why companies have affiliate programs, and how affiliate links work.

Module 2: How To Find and Apply To Affiliate Programs

You’ll learn about how to choose the right products to promote and where to find affiliate programs. 

Module 3: Follow The Rules

You’ll learn about the legal disclosures that you must include in all affiliate posts to abide by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines. 

Module 4: How To Get Your Readers To Convert

You’ll learn about the strategies to get readers to click on your affiliate links and make a purchase. 

Module 5: Strategies and Ways To Promote Affiliate Links

You’ll learn about the best promotional channels to advertise your affiliate products so that you can increase your chances of earning commissions. 

Module 6: Rinse and Repeat

You’ll learn about how to maintain a long term affiliate marketing strategy. This section includes an affiliate strategy maintenance checklist.

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