• 3 Affiliate Programs Every Blogger Should Join

    Blogging is an excellent money-making opportunity. Many bloggers post monthly “income reports” where they report hundreds, even thousands of dollars income simply from blogging. Income like this does not just happen: it is the result of intentional and strategic work over time. It happens when bloggers find their perfect niche, and the perfect affiliate programs for their target market.

    Think of affiliate marketing as seeds in a forest: thousands of seeds will fall on the forest floor. Some will grow; others will rot. It’s right place and right time (and we’re using a random example here, rather than strategically placed links). It takes time, but these seeds grow into a mighty forest. Well-placed affiliate links can result in high results.

    There are 3 affiliate programs that every blogger should join, and let me tell you why.

    Bloggers Should Join the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program

    Q: Why?
    A: Almost everything that a human needs to live can be purchased on Amazon.

    That’s right, friends. The Amazon affiliate program is an excellent affiliate program. Whether you blog about nail polish, clothing, coffee, banking and finance, unicorns, cooking, social issues – you name it, you can find products on Amazon that appeal to your target audience.

    How it works: you apply for the Amazon Associates program, and once you are accepted, you will see a strip at the top of your Amazon account. When you find the product you want to link to for your blog post, grab your unique affiliate link from the top bar, and put it in your blog post.

    Note: don’t be shady. Amazon wants to see where links come from. Don’t hide them in “pretty links” that mask the fact it is a pretty link. Folks should be able to mouse over the link and see that there is an affiliate code in there.

    Bloggers Should Join the ShareaSale Affiliate Program

    Q: Why?
    A: ShareaSale allows bloggers to have strategic partnerships with companies, products, or services that they use on a daily basis to promote on their blog. Many bloggers opt for ShareaSale rather than Google Ads (that’s a blog post for another day).

    ShareaSale is fairly simple: once you apply and are accepted, you then request to be added to affiliate programs of ShareaSale partners. No matter your niche, you can probably find ShareaSale partners that are right for you. When selecting ShareaSale partners for me to select, I found a few that I use daily:

    Oh, and did I mention, ShareaSale has their own affiliate program? Get a dollar for each lead you send to ShareaSale (yeah, you know already – all the times ShareaSale is hyperlinked is an affiliate link, so go ahead, you know you’re intrigued and want to apply).

    The best part of ShareaSale is that bloggers can use the prime real estate in their sidebars to earn income without going with the gamble that is Google ads. Bluntly speaking, as an end user, I do not prefer Google ads (they are coming off my site soon). The payoff for Google ads is low for a beginning blogger, plus, they are targeted to customers. Let’s assume that I write a blog post about my website hosting, and my reader has been searching for new hosting. They read my post (with affiliate links) but Google presents a targeted ad with a different hosting company. That ends up appearing as a conflict of interest. ShareaSale allows bloggers the freedom to control the “ads” that appear to their readers so that they are strategic and targeted.

    Go ahead, you know you want to. Apply here; what can go wrong?

    Bloggers Should Have an Affiliate Link for their Blog Hosting

    Q: Why?
    A: Hosting has the potential to bring high payouts for successful affiliate bloggers.

    I have not done extensive and detailed research into this, however, many bloggers that are successful in affiliate marketing have affiliate links for their blog hosting. Many income reports that I have skimmed in searching for “how to make money blogging” specifically mention hosting, which makes sense.

    When my basic hosting came to an end at the beginning of June, I investigated hosting that would have good affiliate potential. At the recommendation of Nicole from saunders says, I chose SiteGround (you can read more about the ins and outs of why I chose SiteGround at the hyperlink). Affiliate opportunities abound with SiteGround:

    • 1-5 sales per month = $50 payout per sale
    • 6-10 sales per month = $75 payout per sale
    • 11+ sales per month = $100 payout per sale

    As I continue to build my audience and connections in the blogging world, and encourage new bloggers in their blogging journey, I must strategically place myself in a position to be able to passively leverage that influence. Hosting provides an excellent opportunity to grow that income.

    Those are my top three affiliate programs that every blogger should participate in – what affiliate programs do you use? What do you recommend? Let me know in the comments; I’d love to hear!

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  • Why I Chose SiteGround for My Blog Hosting

    A beginning blogger has a lot of one-time tasks and big decisions. What theme should they choose? What hosting should they purchase? A quick google search brings an overwhelming number of options that all seem to be the same. And for the most part, they are the same – hosting covers an industry-standard, relatively basic set of features. There are a few that differ from hosting service to hosting service. I recently switched my site over to SiteGround, and I’m here to tell you why, so that you can consider if SiteGround is the correct hosting service for you.

    SiteGround Offers 24/7 Chat Tech Support

    Game. Changer. That’s right, friends, CHAT TECH SUPPORT. I love being able to fix a problem in the background – I may be working on another task and multi-tasking with my tech support window in the background. Call me a millennial, but I LOVE being able to use a chat feature. Additionally, most chat tech support sessions can email you a transcript afterwards, so you don’t have to deal with a hazy memory afterwards. For some people, a phone call is better and easier. For me, I will always choose chat. SiteGround wins a million points for this option.

    SiteGround Will Move Your Services For You

    I don’t want to start with “game. changer” again, but friends. I am not the most technologically savvy on the one-time tasks. I fear accidentally deleting hours and hours of hard work. A “404 page not found” error sends chills down my spine. This kind of tech is simply above my pay grade, and I do not want to invest the time into mastering this when I do not intend to do it repeatedly.

    I purchased my hosting for a year with SiteGround, sent them my previous hosting information, and within 6 hours, they had it completely transferred and up and running. My site transfer went over without a hitch – I’m so impressed!

    Also – did I tell you – this service is FREE when you purchase hosting. Yep, my favorite “f word.” If you have other hosting and want to switch, they have your back.

    SiteGround Has a Strong Affiliate Program

    My dreams for the future have a house overlooking the ocean, completely paid for by my blog. I live in Southern California; I know that real estate is not cheap. I am openly working on a strong affiliate strategy to better monetize the blog, and hosting is typically a great option. SiteGround offers a good program with a minimum starting referral bonus of $50 per purchase, and that number increases when your monthly referrals increase.

    Overall, SiteGround was a winning choice for my blogging strategy. I would have been content to stay with my provider that I had previously selected; nothing against them and the services they provided. In the end, for a blogger looking for ways to increase my affiliate income, SiteGround beat out all the competition.

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  • Should I Quit My Job to Pursue Direct Sales?

    I cannot tell you if you should quit your job to pursue direct sales (you were hoping I would give you the answer, weren’t you? SIKE). There will be those who tell you to simply “jump and your wings will grow.” I think that’s rather irresponsible – you are, after all, replacing a full-time or part-time job with a business – you have to make smart business decisions.  Next time you ask yourself “should I quit my job to pursue direct sales,” here are a few questions to sit down and ask yourself.

    Does My Job Fulfill Me?

    People are shocked when I tell them that I have not quit my job. In a nutshell, I edit government documents – environmental impact studies and such. They’re all public documents; I have no access to government secrets. It’s no secret that I LOVE what I do. I’m a military brat (go NAVY!) and my job lets me be part of something that has been a threadline through my life. Is it silly? Perhaps. It makes me feel special and I love it. Plus, it uses my skills that I have acquired over years of workplace experience.

    Not everyone has that privilege, and I KNOW this. My day job fulfills this unique piece of who I am and always will be, and I’m thankful for that. Some people actually do love their careers and want to continue doing what they are doing….and friend, that is OKAY.

    How Will Your Bills Be Paid?

    Bills don’t pay themselves. Before making any major decisions, sit down, and calculate out what you need to survive.

    But in addition to the day to day bills that you pay monthly (or are auto-deducted from your bank account), there are quite a few items that are often part of workplace benefits. They may not be covered in whole from your job: in fact, many of the costs for these are shared with my company, and my share is auto-deducted from my paycheck so I don’t feel the weight of the cost of that benefit.

    Here’s a list of bills you might not have thought of:

    • Health Insurance
    • HSA/FSA Accounts
    • Life Insurance
    • 401k
    • IRA
    • Dental insurance
    • Vision insurance

    I’m not a naysayer in the slightest – in fact, SO MANY PEOPLE have quit their consistently paying day jobs. However, those expenses are often hidden but are a factor in making this huge of a decision.

    Will I Be Able to Get By on Tough Sales Months?

    Most of the time, direct sales folks consider the implications of quitting their job during the best of the best of months, when sales are high, the team is on fire, and the world is their oyster. However, what about during the lean and mean months? Those months when you just hang in there, tighten your belt, and say “if I can just make it until (insert event, special, shopping holiday, etc)”?

    There is no motivation like “do or die,” but you can be smart about it. If your sales income is not enough to pay the electric bill when your time is on a budget because of time spent in your day job, then make plans to posture yourself. My local business coach and accountant told me to ask myself, “if the time spent doing xxx brings in just a few dollars, but my time spent doing sales brings me exponentially more, it’s time to cast off those smaller tasks!” Growth in direct sales can be the trigger that makes you realize “I have better earning potential with my direct sales company than I do with my day job.”

    Do I Have a Plan B?

    Or, the sub-question to this point is, will I be bitter if I fail? Remember that results are not guaranteed in sales. It all depends on a myriad of factors, including your promotion of the product, the economy, and even the overall health of the direct sales company (some direct sales companies have gone under without warning; others have built up to it). Quitting a steady job with a paycheck is something that should be researched and not taken lightly.

    Have you ever watched a trapeze artist? They soar through the air, performing amazing feats without hesitation. However, if you look below them, there is a safety net. A safety net is not a sign of failure: in fact, it’s the opposite! They can more easily let go of the trapeze and somersault through the air, knowing that if their partner doesn’t catch them or misses, they’re not dead. The net will catch them.

    That’s how a plan B works. It’s not posturing for failure. It’s saying “I believe in myself and my ability to follow my dreams, and I believe that so fervently that I will posture myself to be as successful as I possibly can be.”

    These are the questions that I consider when thinking about if I should quit my secure day job – what are factors that you keep in mind when thinking about this decision? Tell us in the comments, and come see how part-time direct sales works in my VIP community!

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  • 5 Questions to Ask Before Changing Direct Sales Companies

    One of the most interesting parts about being active in the direct sales world is that there are opportunities everywhere. Each time you turn around, you’ll see folks offering a ground floor opportunity with yet another company. Greener grass abounds. We all know that But what if it’s not just imaginary greener grass? What if it IS time to visit another opportunity? Here are 5 questions that every direct seller should ask themselves before changing direct sales companies.

    Am I Just Burnt Out?

    Burnout is a very real thing in direct sales. Consultants have to be involved in so many aspects of their direct sales company – keeping up with new products, managing community, promoting new products, and in some cases, packing and shipping product. Direct sales can be a juggling act (but with flaming chainsaws, let’s be real), and one that gets exhausting.

    Before quitting, take a good hard look, and ask, “am I just burnt out?” If you are, then find a way to rest and recharge. It will help.

    Am I Experiencing Shiny Object Syndrome?

    Ground floor! Brand new! Be a MILLIONAIRE! These are the trademarks of a new direct sales company – the companies rely on their reps to help get the word out about the company as a brand ambassador if you will.

    Let’s be real, every direct sales company has bad days when you think “OMG THIS IS DRIVING ME INSANE” and you look longingly at another company. Well, friend, let me tell you, that company’s feet stink too. They surely have an underbelly of issues exactly the same as the ones you’re dealing with, and if they don’t have those issues….well, let’s just use the word YET.

    You may be shocked to hear this, but there is no such thing as a perfect company: there are flawed companies that you believe in and choose to represent. If you’re searching for perfection, you’re going to be disappointed.

    Why Am I Leaving My Current Direct Sales Company?

    I spent six months struggling over whether or not to leave LuLaRoe before I finally pulled the plug on my business. I still do love the business and think that there is great opportunity, however, I knew that I could no longer keep up with the time and business commitment needed to be successful. Being okay with that was something that I had to learn.

    I wasn’t leaving because I had a bad day; I wasn’t leaving because I had a bad month. I wasn’t leaving for any reason other than that I simply could not do what needed to be done to achieve the compensation to make it worth it for me. Most of my time spent on the business was in maintenance tasks, rather than the tasks that would help me to grow my customer base.

    That’s why I opted for a business that directly shipped to customers – I could spend more time promoting the business and connecting with team and customers.

    What Do You Want to Accomplish?

    In the direct sales industry, many sellers have their “why” – the driving factor behind everything that they do. It varies from spending time with family, finding confidence (for themselves and others), having spending money,  or perhaps even having an excuse for a “girls night out.”

    Before making any changes, it’s important to ask: “is this serving my purpose?” Does the company accomplish that you’re looking to achieve? If it does not, then the entire reason you join a direct sales company has been completely negated. A careful review of what the company has to offer you and your specific dreams is important to make the decision of staying or leaving.

    What Feeds Your Soul?

    We’re about to get deep here. You don’t want to spend your time doing something that you don’t love doing. In fact, direct sales is presented as an alternative to the average American 9-5 job – this is to help those who don’t WANT to go to an office for work every day. The income from direct sales is often touted as an alternative to the traditional job. However, if a direct sales company starts to suck at your soul, then it might be time for some change. While it’s not a decision you should make quickly and lightly, there’s truly something to that “gut feeling” when you just know that it’s time for a change.

    Are you considering a change? I’d love to introduce you to my new business – ColorStreet! You can join my VIP community under the “community” tab up top, OR you can join my opportunity group to learn more about the business aspect of it and why I made the switch. I’d love to answer any questions you might have.

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  • How to Create the Perfect Hostess Packet

    I’ve had a few folks ask about my ColorStreet hostess packet, so we’re just gonna whip up a nice blog post about it. It’s important to spoil your hostesses up front so that they are going to do the extra work in their parties in order to get better rewards. Here’s a breakdown of what I put into the perfect hostess packet.

    The Perfect Hostess Packet Breaks Down Party Rewards

    In every hostess packet, I include a print out of the host rewards that a hostess can earn at the party. I make sure to mark on that sheet: my host needs to know the potential of what they can earn! This includes all potential booking specials from the party.

    Don’t be afraid to have a goal for the party. Make sure to circle the “goal” for the party, and say “let’s shoot for these rewards!” This helps the hostess have a goal to work towards, and you help build confidence by saying that you believe that she can achieve these levels.

    The Perfect Hostess Packet Includes a Booking Gift

    One of the unique things about ColorStreet is that it puts it upon the stylist to give the first gift with a nail bar. My preference is to give a hostess a full set of nails, preferably a special set (if it’s around a holiday, a holiday set, or a summery or spring looking set).

    With the set, I include a note that says “just because I believe that you can hit the $150 in sales to get the free gift, I’m going to start you out with this!” That shows the host that I believe in them and their party (do you see a trend of instilling confidence?). Additionally, I want the host to have a full set of strips so that they can apply LIVE during their party to show folks how easy it can be! The way to make sure that they do it? Send them a set. Easy peasy.

    The Perfect Hostess Packet Includes a Catalogue and Helps With a WishList

    It’s the digital age; I know. Everything that you need to know about everything is already on the internet. Let’s be real though, there’s something magical about a catalogue so that you can mark all your wants and desires. However, don’t just send a catalogue – mark a few of your favorite designs for your host, AND include a set of sticky notes so that she can mark her favorites too. You may direct her to a few things she never thought of before.

    The Perfect Hostess Packet Includes a Little Extra Somethin-Somethin

    A Starbucks gift card rounds out my hostess packet. I put it In the packet just as a little extra something so that she can have an extra little something to enjoy as she makes her wish list. Here’s the thing: at a party, a host should feel special and appreciated. Why NOT send a gift card to a popular coffee shop? This also helps create a set-aside experience to make the wish list.

    Excited about creating a host packet? Here’s a list of recommended items from Amazon that you can use to create the perfect hostess packet! While we’re at it, you should check on my blog post on 3 Simple Ways to Turn Samples into Sales here. Interested in joining my ColorStreet team? I’d love to invite you to join my opportunity group on Facebook where you can ask questions.

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  • 3 Simple Ways to Turn Samples Into Sales

    If you’re part of a direct sales company that allows you to send samples, that’s a great thing! That means that you get to work with your clientele on a “try before you buy” basis so that they can see your product without risk; without paying for the whole thing. Most of the time, the ability to give samples leads to loyal customers later. However, samples require a great followup strategy in order for them to be effective – so here’s my answer to the question, “I’ve sent samples, now what should I do?”

    Follow Up on Samples in Two Days

    Let’s say that you’ve sent samples in the mail. You’ve collected their information (make sure you get a way to contact them; an email address or a connection on Facebook). Send them a message two days after you send the sample. Here’s a quick run-down of what that message should say:

    “Hey [friend], just wanted to let you know that your samples hit the mail two days ago and you should be getting them anytime now! I just wanted to make sure that you have instructions on how to use them – here’s a few links to get you started! I value your opinion, so I’m super excited to hear what you think of them!”

    Here’s what you did in that message:

    • Told them to be watching their mailbox, which builds excitement
    • Gave them needed information to be able to use the samples
    • Told them that their opinion of the product is important to you

    This message doesn’t necessarily require much of a response, so if you just get a thumbs up on Facebook, don’t be offended. You didn’t ask a question that necessitated a response, so you’re golden.

    Follow Up on Samples in Two Weeks

    Assuming you haven’t gotten an OMG WOW THIS PRODUCT IS THE BEST message from your person, you need to follow up. Two weeks from the time you dropped that sample in the mail, you should be sending another message. Here’s what you should say:

    “Friend, I am SO EXCITED to hear what you thought of the sample I sent you! Have you used it yet? I cannot wait to hear your opinion!”

    Here’s what you did in that message:

    • Reminded them that their opinion was important to you
    • Reminded them that you HAD sent them something
    • Asked them if they had USED the item you sent (an unused sample does no one any good)

    This gives you the chance to see if they’ve actually used the sample that you sent, and if they are ready to buy the real product – this is a great time to ask them if they’ve had a chance to look at your website, and what is their favorite. Keep the conversation going!

    Follow Up on Samples in Two Months

    This is my favorite part of the follow up process, has the potential to be the most fruitful, and is one of the most easily forgotten. Two months after the samples? Well, hopefully, the sample netted sales, but this is the perfect time to follow up and ask about hosting a party. Of course, don’t message that person if they provided negative feedback and hate your product – you’ll just annoy them, and end up frustrated.

    “Friend, I just wanted to see if you’ve given any thought to that sample I sent you – I LOVED that one for you! I know it’s been a while, but I was thinking that if you liked it, we should see about getting you some more for FREE! I love doing Facebook parties with my peeps – do Sundays, or Thursdays work better for you?”

    Here’s what I did:

    • Reminds them I haven’t forgotten them
    • Their sample was picked especially for them
    • Tells them that they can get MORE for FREE
    • Does not give a “yes or no” question

    This two month followup can often be JUST long enough, if they made a purchase, to catch them right at the time when they are ready to buy more, and your thinking of them at just the right time can net a party – and potentially even a future teammate. Want to learn more about follow-up? Take this course from the Sassy Suite.

    This magical two-two-two month follow-up will help you find and connect with excellent customers, and help build your team. I apply this to my ColorStreet business – would you like to learn more? I’d like to help coach and mentor you into an excellent and fulfilling business. Join my team’s opportunity group here to find out more. Here’s a post about how to choose a direct sales sponsor – I think you’d really like picking me!

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