Diversifying your income is important, especially when you’re running your own business. It helps ensure you aren’t putting all of your eggs in one basket and gives you variety. If one income stream dries up, you will still have the others to fall back on.
If you offer a service-based business, one way to diversify your income is to incorporate residual income streams into it. My favorite way to recommend building up residual income is through affiliate commissions.
By creating packages around products that you are an affiliate for, you help create additional sources of income for yourself. Instead of just getting paid to do the job you were hired to do, you also get paid by the company for providing them with business.
This model is also known as passive income. It’s not truly passive because it does require some work, but generally speaking, the bulk of the work you do to make this money is done up front, with a bit of maintenance afterword.
One of the best ways to build up your residual affiliate income is to develop packages based on specific products that, when bought, will provide you with some commission. That’s what we’re going to dig into today — how to turn affiliate opportunities into a win-win-win situation — for you, your clients, and your affiliate companies!
What to Consider When Selecting Affiliate Programs to Join
The type of service you provide definitely impacts which affiliate programs you should use. Just because you can sign up as an affiliate for hundreds of different companies doesn’t mean that you should. Here are three key things to consider when deciding:
- Do you know how to use this product?
- Are you comfortable promoting this product?
- Will this product successfully solve your client’s needs?
If you can’t answer yes to these questions, it’s probably not a good fit. You can still be an affiliate for them if you’d like and use your links in blog posts or on social media. But, for the products you use as staples to your service packages, you should be able to answer yes to all three of those questions.
The third one is especially important. If you get a reputation for promoting services that don’t actually help your clients, your business will not grow like it could. It’s easy to get distracted by the potential money you could make, but ultimately your focus as a business owner should be solving the problems your clients have. If you keep your eye on that, you’re going to be much more likely to succeed.
Sample Affiliate Programs to Use
Here is a quick list of several affiliate products to consider, especially if you’re offering digitally based services like virtual assistance or digital marketing. This is not an exhaustive list, but just twenty you may decide to incorporate into your service packages.
- Seva (Formerly ConvertKit)
- Thrive Themes
- Elegant Themes
As you can see, there are affiliate programs available for a variety of different service providers. You just have to select the ones that you want to work with, learn in-depth and use them to build your initial packages.
How to Create Great Packages That Incorporate Affiliate Products
When you are ready to create packages to boost your residual income, it’s time to brainstorm. First, write down the services you provide (or would like to provide). Then, write down the tools that you use to successfully complete each task. Examples might include schedulers, email service providers, or plugins.
Spend some time researching these tools and highlight the ones that have an affiliate program. Make sure to read the terms of each so you understand how it works. You don’t want any bad surprises when you’re trying to grow your residual income.
Now, pick one service to start with. Your first goal is to create an “initial” package for this service. This will help your client get set up (or transferred) to the tool you are working with, and then you can also offer a monthly maintenance package if desired.
It’s important to note that you do need to legally disclose your affiliate relationship with all affiliates. Make sure you have a standard disclosure on each page of your website that includes affiliate links, and that you have a full disclosure page somewhere where your potential clients can learn more. You don’t want to go through all the work of developing your packages only to find out they’re not compliant.
How This Looks In the “Real World”
If you’re wondering how these packages look in real life, here are three examples of services offered, along with the packages including affiliate links.
Pinterest is a great source of traffic for many bloggers, but not everyone has the time (or skills) needed to create beautiful pins and get them posted. Mandi Holmes and her team over at She Can Coterie offer Pinterest Management Services, among other offerings. When you check out their packages on this site, you’ll notice there are links to Tailwind. This popular Pinterest VA course teaches you how to use Tailwind.
Keeping an accurate record of expenses and income is important for any business owner. However, accounting is not a skill everyone has (or enjoys.) Bookkeepers can integrate affiliate links into their packages, or work with a company like Xero, that has a partner program. Thought the details of these partner programs vary, often a service provider receives credit when a client signs up for an account and grants access to the service provider. Greencloud Bookkeeping features buttons on their services page showcasing their partner programs. You can learn more about becoming a bookkeeper here.
Email Marketing Services
Growing an email list can help business owners build a relationship and trust with their readers. Setting up the technical components of email marketing, along with developing content for consistent communication are both services people can offer. With your packages for these services, you can include affiliate links to the email service providers you enjoy working with.
Jennie Lyon’s services page offers an example of this. She offers packages customized to a variety of email service providers, and when applicable, these include an affiliate link. Since many email service providers offer recurring commissions, this can be a great way to boost your income each month.
Other Ways to Incorporate Residual Income into a Service Based Business
Planning your packages around affiliate opportunities isn’t the only way to add residual income into your service-based business. Here are four other ideas for creating affiliate income streams:
- Create tutorials people can view or read that include step-by-step directions and your affiliate links.
- Do Facebook Live videos showcasing a tool you enjoy using. In the comments, leave your link.
- Write an eBook guide for beginners who need a little extra help but aren’t able to afford to hire help right now. You can sell the book for an additional income stream and include affiliate links in it.
- Place affiliate banners on your site for the products you recommend
I just want to add that there are additional benefits to structuring your business this way. By creating packages around specific products, you begin to be known as an expert for that product. Instead of having to learn ALL of the options out there, you can focus on just the best ones. This can help grow your client base and help you become the “go-to person” for specific platforms or services. When clients and colleagues start sending referrals your way as a result, you’ve developed yet another source of income!
With so many options out there, I hope I inspired you to add residual income to your service based business. What package ideas do you have in mind?