Affiliate Marketing is not a Passive Income Business. Here’s why

I was beyond shocked when someone contacted me for my opinion about a particular affiliate marketing program.

He had a job and wanted to start a side business that could be giving him some passive income.

So, he reached out to me and said he was looking to “invest” in this particular affiliate marketing program so that he could have his “money working for him”.

My first response to him was that if you are looking to get your money working for you, then affiliate marketing was the wrong business.

In affiliate marketing, you’d have to be working for your money and not your money working for you.

In fact, I told him without mincing words that affiliate marketing is hard, and you need to have a very good marketing budget or a ready audience that is very engaged.

I know I killed his “ginger” but I was happy that I did. At least we won’t be having another dude throwing his money into fire and expecting gold dust.

So, if you are like this guy, I’m here to tell you that affiliate marketing will not give you passive income.

You can’t just set up your affiliate marketing shop and go to sleep while the money keeps coming. No, it doesn’t work that way.

To make money with affiliate marketing, you’ll have to do a lot of work. Create content, design your marketing system, engage your audience, test different copies and offerings, find and use different channels, and keep pushing until you start making sales.

There are many other areas of affiliate marketing that I’d like to touch.

Affiliate Marketing is not a Passive Income Investment

Affiliate marketing is not an investment. It is a business, and it would require some busyness.

You can’t just invest your money and hope that affiliate marketing will start giving you returns after a certain period of time.

Not so fast.

It is called affiliate marketing for a reason. Marketing is an action word. You have to market products or services, and you won’t make a dime until someone pays for that product or service.

Affiliate Marketing requires Constant Marketing

The funny thing about affiliate marketing is that once you stop putting your product in front of your audience, your sales go back to zero.

I remember taking down one of my affiliate links from my website and totally forgot about it. 

After a while, I logged onto the affiliate platform and saw that my sales for that product had dropped to zero. 

I became worried that people were no longer buying that product and I started to check what the problem was. Then I discovered that I had taken down the affiliate link and replaced it with another one.

It was so funny, but that is the stark reality of affiliate marketing. The moment you stop marketing, that is the moment your income dries up.

Affiliate Marketing requires a Sales System or Platform

If you have no digital marketing skills, then your money wouldn’t matter in affiliate marketing.

If you like, purchase the best affiliate marketing program in the world. Without an efficient sales system or a responsive audience, you’ll keep struggling to make money.

A sales system would comprise of where you get your leads from (e.g. Facebook) and the funnel you take them through to the product purchase page.

A platform could be a blog, a Facebook group, WhatsApp group, YouTube or Instagram. Here, you have people who follow you because they love your content.

You need to have any of these two to set your affiliate marketing business on a successful path.

Affiliate Marketing Audience requires Constant TLC

This is one of the biggest reasons why affiliate marketing is not a passive income business.

When you have an audience or an email list or WhatsApp list, you don’t just sell to them.

That would be selfish and insensitive.

You have to keep them engaged with the type of content that brought them to your platform or system in the first place.

You have to nurture your audience with some Tender Loving Care.

This requires constant work. You’ll need to write emails, write blogs, create videos, do graphics, etc; just to keep your audience engaged.

Then you throw in your affiliate product once in a while.

If you build an audience and try to choke them with only affiliate links and products, then you’ll discover that your platform would get empty as quickly as possible.


If you’re contemplating investing your money into affiliate marketing and pray that it brings you some return in the future, my advice to you is, don’t do it.

But if you understand the requirements of doing affiliate marketing, are ready to learn fast, and you have a reasonable budget to fire your marketing, then you can go for it.

Affiliate marketing can make you rich if you find the right product, the right audience and know how to connect both sides of the coin.




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