How to Start a Side Hustle with Affiliate Marketing (In 3 Steps)

Side Hustle Affiliate Marketing_Pretty Links

According to a recent survey, one in three Americans plan to start a side hustle. However, running a business when you already have a full-time job can be a daunting prospect. 

That’s where affiliate marketing comes in. Often referred to as passive income, a successful affiliate website can generate additional revenue with minimal ongoing effort.

In this post, we’ll discuss why you may want to start a side hustle with affiliate marketing. We’ll then show you how to turn any WordPress website into an extra revenue source. Let’s get started!

Why You May Want to Start a Side Hustle With Affiliate Marketing

There are many reasons why so many Americans choose to run their own businesses on the side. However, according to a Zapier report, almost half are motivated by the promise of creating passive income. This is any revenue source that requires minimal input and labor in order to maintain. 

If that's your goal, affiliate marketing can be a very attractive side hustle. As an affiliate marketer, you’ll promote a merchant’s products or services on your site using unique links. These URLs contain codes that the merchant can use to track all of the sales originating from your content.

You’ll then earn a commission from each sale. This model is ideal if you're looking for passive income, since you don’t have to manage inventory, deal with shipping, or even interact with customers directly. 

All of this means you can launch a successful affiliate marketing business with minimal startup costs and effort. In fact, if you already have a website, you could monetize all of your existing content within minutes.

This can also be a lucrative side hustle, with U.S. affiliate marketing spending forecast to reach $8.2 billion dollars by 2022. What's more, top-earning affiliates can make $100,000 per month, while even humble “middle class” affiliates tend to make between $1,000 and $10,000 per month. That could make for a healthy additional revenue stream! 

How to Start a Side Hustle with Affiliate Marketing (In 3 Steps)

If you don’t already have a blog, you can easily start an affiliate website from scratch. However, if you do have a website, it’s easy to monetize all of your pre-existing content. Here’s how! 

Step 1: Decide on a Niche

When considering the products you want to promote, it typically makes sense to focus on an area related to the current content on your website. For example, if you run a wellness blog, you may want to promote products related to health.

Alternatively, if you share recipes on your site, you might want to market your favorite quality ingredients. By advertising relevant items, you can maximize your chances of converting existing readers into paying customers: 

Affiliate marketing side hustle website for asian recipes.

If you don't already have a specific audience, we also recommend focusing on a niche. When you try to appeal to everybody, you run the risk of coming off as inauthentic (and appealing to no one as a result).

By promoting products that are highly attractive to your very specific target audience, you can achieve more conversions. This gives you the greatest chance of turning your side hustle into a profitable business.

When you hone in on a narrow audience, it’s important to ensure there’s enough interest to support your business long term. To help you determine whether your idea is viable, you can evaluate the number of people who are searching for keywords related to your potential niche. You can do this using a tool such as Google Trends or Google Ads Keyword Planner.

Step 2: Join an Affiliate Program

If you really want to catalyze your affiliate side hustle, you might want to consider joining an affiliate marketing program. There are plenty of programs to choose from, but you can generally group these networks into three categories. The first specializes in niche products with high payouts, such as ConvertKit’s affiliate program

The ConvertKit affiliate network.

Since these programs promise high commissions, they’re also highly competitive. As such, if you’re looking to establish a new revenue stream with minimal effort, these networks may not be the ideal choice. 

There are also affiliate programs for products that have mass appeal and pay high commissions. The most common examples are credit card affiliate programs. These programs tend to attract experienced marketers who have the budget to promote lucrative products to a large audience.

However, for a beginner-friendly side hustle, we recommend focusing on programs for products with low payouts but mass appeal. The classic example is Amazon’s affiliate program:

Amazon Associates affiliate marketing program.

With such a huge variety of product offerings, you should have no problem finding links that fit perfectly within your niche. Amazon is also an instantly-recognizable brand, so you shouldn’t have to invest too much time and effort into convincing visitors that your affiliate URLs are trustworthy. 

If you do choose Amazon as your network, you’ll want to pinpoint the highest-converting links upfront. With over 75 million products to choose from, this can seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, Amazon has various pages highlighting the products with the biggest potential, including Best Sellers:

How to start a side hustle with affiliate marketing.

This page displays the most popular products based on sales made within the last hour. You may also want to take a look at Movers & Shakers:

The Amazon Movers & Shakers page.

This displays the biggest gainers in sales rank over the past 24 hours. Both of these pages can be a great way to discover the products that are likely to deliver conversions right now.

Step 3: Instantly Monetize Your Back Catalog

Once you have access to relevant affiliate links, you’ll need to add them to your content. You could comb through all of your existing posts and pages manually. However, the ideal side hustle shouldn’t take too much time and effort to set up.

With this in mind, you may want to take a look at Pretty Links. Our plugin can scan your entire back catalog and insert relevant affiliate links at every opportunity. 

After activating the plugin, you’ll need to register your affiliate URLs. To do this, go to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Pretty Links > Add New. You can now insert your first affiliate URL:

How to start a side hustle with Pretty Links.

After registering this link, click on the Pro tab. You can now specify some relevant keywords where you want to embed this URL:

The Pretty Links dashboard.

Pretty Links will now scan all of your pages and posts, and add the link everywhere your chosen word or phrase appears. This enables you to monetize your entire catalog of content in just a few clicks. You can then repeat this process for all of your affiliate links.


A side business can be a great way to boost your income. However, it’s important to ensure that this venture is easy to set up and maintain. After all, there’s a reason it’s called a side hustle!

Let’s quickly recap the three simple steps you can take to start a lucrative side business with affiliate marketing:

  1. Decide on a niche.
  2. Join an affiliate program, such as Amazon Associates.
  3. Instantly monetize your back catalog using Pretty Links.

Do you have any questions about how to start a successful affiliate marketing business? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Categories: Affiliate Marketing
About John Hughes

John is a blogging addict, WordPress fanatic, and staff writer.