Have You Made Serious Dough Via Affiliate Marketing?


Have You Made Serious Dough Via Affiliate Marketing?

That depends on what you mean by “serious dough” – one person’s “serious dough” might be another’s pocket change.

It also depends on where you live.

In the Western world, $3,000 – $5,000 per month allows you to live comfortably for the most part but with that income in the Philippines, you’d be making a very, very good income.

It also depends on how much money you need to run your life and the lifestyle you want to lead.

If you’re all about making money, then $3,000 – $5,000 per month is probably a disappointing amount.

For me, affiliate marketing is not solely about making money.

It’s a strategy for bringing in enough to cover living expenses and a nice bit of play money.

And it’s about working a few hours a day, when I want, freeing up my time for other interests, hobbies and time for friends and family.

I’ve been a full-time affiliate marketer since 2004 – it’s allowed me to live life on my terms not someone else’s.

It’s allowed me to build my dreams, not someone else’s.

I stopped having to worry about daily commutes, traffic jams and the frustration of being stuck in them.

It’s freed up that time for my own use because, when you come down to it, commute times are part of your job – it’s more time you devote to your employer that you don’t get paid for.

I also no longer had to worry about all the office politics and B.S. that goes along with it and having to work with some people I didn’t like or incompetent bosses.

So all that stress disappeared.

Affiliate marketing has given me a much, much better work/life balance.

I don’t dread Mondays or feel that my weekends are too short.

And I can take a day or more off when I want without having to ask anyone’s permission.

I can book a doctor’s appointment when I need one and not have to worry about days off sick, getting paid for them or having to provide a sick note to a boss at my own expense.

With all the life-changing aspects that the money I’ve made from affiliate marketing has brought me, I would say I have made “serious dough”.

What I earn has liberated me from the rat race and the expectations society told me I needed to meet.

I make more than enough money for my needs.

If you’re looking at affiliate marketing as just a way to make a bucket-load of money, you’re approaching it the wrong way and you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Slow and steady wins the race in affiliate marketing – you are building a real business here.

It’s not a sprint to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Far too many people have been suckered into that way of thinking by unscrupulous marketers.

Can you make boatloads of money with affiliate marketing?


But it will take time, focus, consistency and effort.

It won’t happen in 30 days.

I know marketers who’ve made millions of dollars from affiliate marketing .

They’re not typical marketers and are very self-motivated and driven to continuously improve themselves and what they can achieve.

And they’ve educated their students into becoming master marketers themselves.

And their incomes range from high-5-figures to 6-figures per year with one or two becoming millionaires themselves.

None of them got this money handed to them on a platter though.

They all set goals for themselves and the kind of money they wanted to earn to suit their own personal circumstances.

So, give a thought to what you are going to do with the money you do earn as an affiliate marketer.

Are you going to hoard it, spend it on yourself or spread it out among your loved ones?

Do you plan to help others with your good fortune such as donating to charities and worthy causes?

The pursuit of money is a vacuous goal.

It won’t make you happy (except maybe in the short term).

But, yes, it will allow you to be miserable in comfort.

Apparently, once someone makes about $76,000 per year (about $6,300 per month), the average American has all their financial needs met and allows them to start saving so they’re no longer living paycheck to paycheck.

There’s more than enough to cover the inevitable emergencies.

And you can really start living life on your own terms.

Everything you earn after that is pure gravy.

It’s play money essentially.

Now, you might have personal ambitions that go beyond that and making more is what you’re aiming for.

Just remember that money is a tool you use to achieve your goals, not an end in and of itself.

But only you can determine what is “serious dough” in your life.

I originally posted this answer on Quora.

All the best,

Gary Nugent

Check out my Instagram posts and reels here:

P.S.: Don't forget, if you want to create an internet income of your own, here's one of my recommended ways to do that:



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  1. As to making serious dough in affiliate marketing ourselves, we are scratching the surface, getting a steady income. We are putting all our training and talent and education and increasing our traffic and ROI. Glad that you have written this article to help grab our attention. Affiliate marketing seems to be the go to thing but you must crack the code to keep it going and in a cycle.


    • Hey guys, thanks for stopping by. Affiliate marketing is definitely a very dynamic thing with algorithms changing, platforms coming and going, marketing trends changing and so on.

      But the fundamentals stay the same – build a list and market to it. Everything else is about driving traffic to your list. Having a list is the only way to guarantee that you get repeat customers. Everything else is a crapshoot! 🙂

      The easiest way to crack the code is to learn from someone who’s had proveable success and who’s willing to share all their knowledge with their students.

      This is a minefield for newbies and eve some medium-level affiliates. Some people launch a coaching program because they’ve made a few thousand or tens of thousands of bucks and think they know “the method”. They don’t. The question for these coaches is can they repeat their success time after time for years on end building up a substantial income and fortune in the process?

      If they can’t be seen to have done that, then why should any of their students expect to do as well as that coach?

      And then there are the coaches who tell you to “Do as I say not as I do“…because they don’t tell you what they’re actually doing to make money. In other words, they’re not sharing how they really make money with their students.

      My belief is that any mentor worth considering should have made at least $1,000,000 in commissions, not sales and can prove that. You also want some who teaches what they themselves do, day in day out, and informs their students when they learn something new or change how they do things.

      And you want a mentor who’s there for you, to answer your questions and provide support when you need it. Some mentors just leave you high and dry once you buy their course. It;s up to you to figure out what went wrong when things don’t work out.

      Trying to reinvent the wheel by learning everything from scratch (much of which may not be needed for your online business) is just a waste of your time and energy. You might have some initial success but you’ll eventually reach a plateau that you can’t climb above no matter how hard you try. That’s what happened to me and I ended up getting my own mentor to take me up several levels.

      Learning from someone else is the shortcut to success. It’s what education, of all levels is about. Know any successful doctors, lawyers, dentists, etc who became successful because they learned everything themselves? Some trades or professions you can teach yourself and become an expert at. Others you can’t. And in my view, Affiliate Marketing isn’t one of those.

      But, yeah, you’ve always got to keep learning just to stand still 🙂

      All the best,

  2. Hi Gary, Probably only made maybe 2k altogether in coming up to 3 years doing affiliate marketing.

    I’m definitely still figuring things out I think but I’m sure we can both agree that it’s something you have to stick it out with. I’m definitely going to give it at least another year. I can only assume that in another 2 years as more begins to happen I will make more money.

    5 years after that I’m sure if I’m still doing this without a doubt I should be living quite comfortably. Although, honestly I do think where I am now, someone could be in 6-8 months. It is just a matter of knowing what to do with your published work.

    I like what you have done with publishing your questions you’ve answered on Quora. How does this work? do you need to add a rel=cannonical tag or something?

    • Hi Alex,

      You should have made more than $2,000 in 2 years with affiliate marketing unless you haven’t got a lot of time to put into it.

      If you’re following a course at the moment, maybe it’s just not suited to you. Not every course is suited to every student as I’ve found out through personal experience.

      It may be worth looking at alternative or supplementary courses that provide different approaches to building an online business and driving traffic.

      I’ve built a lot of websites and written a LOT of blog posts in my 18 years as a full time affiliate marketer. And, while these were very effective in getting people’s attention along with sales, I find they’re a lot less effective now.

      Blogging is hard work and you have to do all your site and post promotion yourself and hope you don’t break any SEO rules that can get your site penalized by Google. Let’s face it, no other search engine comes close to having the reach of Google.

      Video has been a trending thing online, probably for at least a decade, especially where marketing is concerned. So Youtube was the obvious place to upload your videos if you made any.

      I hate, hate, hate appearing on camera so it’s not a marketing strategy I approached with any great enthusuiasm. I did play about with online video creation tools that didn’t feature me or my voice, but the videos never got much traction.

      I’m probably to blame for this either through poor video editing or poor video content and I just wasn’t consistent enough in publishing videos regularly. Plus, it took about as long to create a 5-10 minute video from scratch as it did to create an in-depth blog post (about 3 hours for me).

      People’s attention spans have shrunk considerably since the introduction of the smart phone. Nowadays, everyone has their head buried in a phone almost to the exclusion of everything else. How many times have you seen pedestrians walking along while looking at their phone? Or using a phone while driving (even though it’s illegal).

      While video is the fastest-growing way of consuming content online, even YouTube is suffering as people are moving away from watching longer videos to watching shorter ones. That’s why the popularity of TikTok has risen so rapidly in the last couple of years. And all the other social media platforms have scrambled to jump on the short-video bandwagon.

      Facebook has introduced Facebook Reels and Instagram Reels (since they own Instagram). YouTube has introduced YouTube Shorts.

      That’s where the trend is today. Short video will get a lot more exposure than long videos and way more exposure than written blogs.

      I suspect that it’s older people who consume written blogs more than video content as they were raised on reading written content and had attention spans that lasted more than a few seconds or minutes.

      The younger generations don’t want to have to work to consume content. They want it to wash over them passively instead.

      So, despite my dislike of creating videos, that’s where I’m going to be focusing my marketing efforts in the future. I can repurpose other people’s content and build a following that way without ever having to appear or talk on camera. It’s how I plan to build out my email lists as well. It’s free traffic and a lot of it will be of poor quality but among all the dross, there will be valuable leads.

      All that said, whatever way you build an online business does require consistency and commitment, both of which you have.

      One thing I’ve done is put some of my profits into cryptocurrency projects as well as buying specific crypto coins. It’s definitely not for everyone and is hugely risky – you only have to look at the crypto markets at the moment to see how bad things are currently. But I’m in crypto for the long haul. 2022 has been a really bad year and most of the projects I invested in have gone belly up or suffered in some way. But the tiny number that are still standing are the ones I’ll continue to invest in.

      As to crypto coins themselves, I made the mistake of selling all my Bitcoin during the crash in 2018 as I panic sold at the time. It’s not a lesson I’m repeating now. I see the low prices of coins as a buying opportunity and, at some point, the market will go back up and cryptos will become profitable again.

      I guess investing in cryptos is like a game of Chicken. Will you hold your ground as things get bad or cut and run?

      Since traditional forms of investment pay so poorly for the most part (forget about bank savings), cryptos are the only investments that can provide potentially huge gains. If you leave your money in a bank, it’s losing 10% of its buying power every year, just due to inflation. So an investment needs to make at least 10% per year just for your money to retain its purchasing power.

      And I prefer my money to work for me rather than for someone else.

      Anyway, back to your question about Quora, no I don’t use a cannonical tag. I simply link to my answer on Quora with Dofollow tag.

      All the best,

  3. I love affiliate marketing, but I love list building more.

    A list is the most important asset you will ever own. I have bought two houses with cash over the years as a result of my lists. They don’t just give me passive income they keep me in touch with my tribe. I poll them when releasing a new product so they in effect tell me what they want. It’s not all about the money. It is about the satisfaction of a job well done.

    The freedom I have to be a digital nomad as well.

    • Thanks for letting us know about the power of list building, Catherine. I think a lot of affiliate marketers skip building that part of their online business because they think it’s too hard or too costly (having to buy leads, for example).

      You’ve just shown an example of the potential income a list can bring in.

      Email marketing is still the best way of generating a passive income, even today. People have been saying that “email is dying” since the internet arrived and yet here we are in 2022 with everyone checking their email at least once a day.

      Sending emails to your list is the best form of advertising – it’s free, you can do it whenever you want and you have a captive audience of people who are looking forward to hearing from you.

      It’s the closest to having your own ATM that can print money whenever you want.

      So are you, dear reader, building your own email lists? If not, you really should be. Smiley

      Do you tell your subscribers about your life and what yo’re up to so that they get to know who you are or do you just send out offers to your lists?

      All the best,

  4. I first learned about affiliate marketing and started my first website in 2019. I have learned a lot and know more than I did 3 years ago, and I’m still learning.

    Have I made serious dough? No, A few small sales here and there but nothing that would allow me to live completely on my own terms – although I am a freelancer which pretty much allows me to live on my terms and gives me much freedom – but I’m still living from payment to payment.

    Affiliate marketing takes time and dedication. I am not giving up and I think that keeping my websites is an investment for the future, but I don’t know when I will start seeing some revenue from it. I’ll keep on working on it 🙂

    • Hi Christine,

      Affiliate Marketing is still the best way to build an online business and generate an income that can replace that of a 9-5 job. You’ve got the right attitude in sticking with it. Many marketers ultimately fail because they give up too early because they don’t see results as fast as they expected. Or they follow a course or coach/mentor that either isn’t right for them or isn’t as good as the sales page made them out to be.

      We all know that we don’t learn much of use from bad teachers but the good ones can really inspire us on to greater things.

      I’m curious – how are you promoting your website? It could just be that not enough people are seeing it to generate consistem sales. Many, many years ago, I used to believe in the “Build it and they will come” philosophy. That just didn’t work, even back in the mid 2000s.

      You have to herd people to your websites and offers, sometimes with free enticements and other times by paying people to send traffic your way.

      A lot of people will only ever visit your website and posts once and then they’ll be off to the next site.

      Trying to get sales from these kind of visitors is what I call “Drive-by sales”. You’ve got one chance to get their attention and then put something interesting enough in front them that they’ll buy it. And, whether they buy or not, they’re gone.

      That’s why it’s essential that marketers build their own email lists. They’re the only guaranteed way of being able to communicate with the same people over and over again.

      Is that something you’ve tried yet? And if no, why not?

      I put building a list in the long finger literally for years because it seemed so complicated and I didn’t see the real value in it. I lost a lot of revenue because of that as I later realized. Ah well, you live and learn.

      Definitely keep your site updated. The longer you own your domain name, the more valuable it becomes and your site will also grow in value as you add more content to it. There’s always the option of selling your site on the likes of Flippa down the road to recoup some of the costs that went into building it!

      All the best,

  5. Hi Gary,

    Affiliate marketing is the new oil well popularly known today.

    And let’s not make it sound easy because it’s just not a walk in the park. It requires lots of consistent effort. As you’ve rightly said, “It’s not a sprint to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”.

    Asides from the possibility of making huge money from affiliate marketing, I like the fact that it gives you control of your time. Another brilliant side of expanding your business in affiliate marketing is when you have a team of people you mentor and teach.

    • Affiliate Marketing is definitely a path to time freedom and a way to escape the rat-race, Femi. But, as you point out, it’s not as easy a path to follow as it’s sometimes made out to be.

      Yeah, having control over your time is the real freedom that building an online business can give you. You’re only answerable to yourself and you have a lot more time to devote to family, friends, travel and vacation and living the life you really want.

      Putting your time into building someone else’s dream is often costly, even if you fervently believe in that other person’s dream.

      Rich or poor, time is the only commodity we can never buy back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. It’s too precious a resource to waste doing things you really don’t want to.

      I think people owe it to themselves to build a life that they can live on their terms rather than somebody else’s.

      All the best,

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