Affiliate Marketing

  • Mercari App: Turn Clutter into Cash

    Over the past few months, I have been decluttering. Now that I am no longer a LuLaRoe retailer, I no longer need a lot of the clothing that I wore in the past. I don’t necessarily have need for all the accessories that I had. Nor do I need some of the more brightly colored shoes that I purchased to go with outfits for photo shoots. Since May, I have made more than a thousand dollars, just putting items up and waiting for someone else to buy them. The Mercari app is a great way to turn clutter into cash.

    Best of all – use this link to create a Mercari account, and you can get a $10 coupon for your first purchase (even if you don’t use it, I get a $2 credit, so take advantage of it!)

    How the Mercari App Works

    Using the Mercari app is fairly simple:

    • Download the Mercari App
    • Use this link to create an account
    • List items for sale
      • Take pictures via the app (up to 8 photos per listing)
      • Use a keyword rich title (ie, “Apple Magic Mouse” will get more intentional hits than “bluetooth mouse”
      • List the actual brand (shoppers don’t like “comparable” brands)
      • List the condition of the item – make sure that this is accurate!
      • Describe the item – make sure that if there are any flaws, you account for them. For example, I got nail polish remover on my Apple Magic Mouse (is anyone surprised?). If I was to list it, I MUST disclose that information!
      • Use up to three tags
      • Give your shipping information – you can either ship on your own, using a service like Paypal shipping, or anything, OR Mercari will send you a pre-paid label. I prefer to ship on my own, as I personally own a scale and a label printer, BUT you may want to opt for the convenience of the pre-paid label.
      • Hit “list” and wait for your item to sell!
    • You can search for items you may be interested in buying (I mean, after all, you do get a $10 coupon for signing up!)

    How to Get Cash with the Mercari App

    Here’s how to get cash with the Mercari App. Once you’ve created an account, you can list your items for sale. There is NO COST to post items (you pay 10% of the final SALE value – ie, if I sell a dress for $40, I will receive $36 from Mercari), and there are no limits on how many items you can have posted (that I have found!). Once someone purchases an item, you have 3 days to ship it.

    Protip: responding quickly and shipping quickly gets you “badges” on your profile, and some buyers make purchasing decisions based off these badges: quick shipper (ships within 24 hours, NOT counting weekends or holidays), fast responder (responds to messages within an average of 12 hours), and reliable (doesn’t cancel orders, high ratings from buyers).  

    Here’s where it gets fun: the BUYER gets to rate the seller within 3 days of receipt (per tracking confirmation of delivery). The buyer’s rating (using a system of stars, 1 star = poor; 5 stars = excellent) releases the funds, and voila! You get paid. If a buyer does not rate the seller within those 72 hours, then Mercari will close the transaction and issue you the funds.

    Balances above $10 transfer to your bank account for FREE and typically are deposited within 3-5 business days. You can also use the funds as credit for purchases YOU make on the app.

    Strategies for Selling with the Mercari App

    First, I like to do a little research before listing items. I like to answer these questions:

    • Are others selling the same items?
    • If so, what kind of prices do they have?
    • Are similar items actually selling, or are they just sitting?
    • Are there a lot of “new” items like what you are looking to list? If there are a lot of new ones, it could be harder to sell a used item.

    Here are a few strategies that I use when selling:

    • Free shipping is super attractive for shoppers, so I price my items accordingly to “include” the shipping cost. It’s ALL about the psychology of someone thinking that they are getting something for free.
    • I ALWAYS price higher than the final total I hope to get – if I want $20 for an item, I will list it for $30, expecting to lower the price to $25 to cover the shipping costs and get the $20 I want.
    • Use ALL your photo options – with 8 photos, you can show all kinds of angles and information. Make sure to be incredibly accurate with your descriptions so that no buyer can claim the listing was innaccurate.

    What is your experience with decluttering? Have you ever tried the Mercari App to sell items?

  • MiloTree: An Easy Tool to Grow Your Social Media Following

    Creating great content is only one part of a successful blogger’s strategy. Promoting content on social channels brings new viewers as well as repeat viewers. That means growing your social media channels so that you have more eyes seeing the great content. I’d like to introduce you to an easy tool to help you grow your social media following: MiloTree.

    What is MiloTree?

    MiloTree is a plugin for your WordPress blog that creates a pop up that appears on a designated page of your website to encourage those reading your blog to find you on another social channel. It contains a link that sends them to follow you there. Additionally, you can designate how often the popup appears on your site – you can have it appear once a day, it can appear on the left or right side of your site, or it can be suppressed on mobile – there are tons of options.

    Oh, and the best part – you can totally customize it to show your brand colors, so it can be unique to YOU and your branding!

    What does MiloTree Do?

    Have a social channel that you want to grow? MiloTree is a great tool to point people towards that channel. What is your social media focus? Are you trying to grow your Pinterest, youtube channel, or your Instagram? You can designate that the popup on your website funnel people to that social channel to follow you.

    Check out my Milotree popup! In face, you may have seen it popup on this page as you started scrolling.

    milotree pop up for pinterest

    Since I installed MiloTree in June 2018 (I’m hitting publish on this post in October 2018), my Pinterest following has grown by 300. Part of that has been consistency in pinning, and part of it has been helping people find how to follow me more easily. On my analytics page, I can see the upward trajectory, which is so exciting and encouraging as I am growing my reach.

    milotree growth

    How Can I Get MiloTree?

    You can get a free one-month trial of MiloTree HERE. You can also test a preview of what it will look like on your site. After that one month trial expires, MiloTree costs $9 a month, and can be paid yearly. It is a GREAT investment in growing your social channels. What channel do or will you use Milotree for? Tell me in the comments! While you’re at it, make sure to check out the free blogger’s toolkit, with a list of plugins and resources for you to work your blog and increase your social media following.

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  • Finding My Grit: Why I Blog + What to Expect

    If you have followed any of my journey with this blog, then you have seen the evolution. You’ve seen the tagline “never just a dress,” the transition from LuLaRoe to Color Street, and the addition of affiliate marketing and blogging posts. You may, like me, have a little bit of content whiplash, wondering what in the world is happening here, and what to expect.

    For a while, if I am being honest, I did too.

    I knew what I wanted my personal brand to be: I wanted something that dealt with pearls and grit. After all, a pearl is born of adversity. It’s when an irritation is transformed into something amazing; something beautiful and even priceless. Conversely, grit is determination. That oyster has to be filled with determination to transform that grain of sand, right? While I haven’t had a hard life, I am finding myself facing the future full of grit and determination, with some huge goals, plans, and dreams.

    My favorite blogs have always been those that told an overall story: each post could stand alone easily, but when the reader zooms out, the whole theme is clear. It finally all clicked for me, after a year of this blog being live, and it stopped me in my tracks when I realized that.

    So what does that mean for this blog, and how does that fit? Let’s talk about what you can expect to see here, and why I blog.

    Expect to See Documentation of the Birth of a Business

    This is more than just a “girl with a dream” and some motivation quotes about making your dreams come true. All those “just a girl with a dream” folks know that dreams don’t make themselves come true. Posting a few motivational quotes on Instagram doesn’t pay the bills: it’s just a small piece of a bigger strategy that involves a ton of work. My story is a well-rounded story of a direct sales journey, lessons learned from years of experience, and a moment of realizing precisely what I was made for, and how I am going to work to make that happen.

    Be on the lookout for the social well. That’s all I am going to tell you for the moment, because there’s a lot of aspects of this business that are in development. You’ll see:

    • The process of starting a corporation (yep, we’re skipping an LLC and going incorporated upon the advice of our accountant, who totally rocks! If you’re in the San Diego area, I wholeheartedly recommend Blackbull Accounting)
    • A TON of learning and personal development
    • The development of resources

    Expect to See Posts About Blogging and Affiliate Marketing

    It would be silly to not share all the learning that I am doing on this journey, including tools and processes that work for me. I have many paid plugins on this blog, and I pay for services that make my blogging journey.

    My pie-in-the-sky goal is for affiliate sales from this blog to pay for my dream house. We started our marriage in a tiny one bedroom apartment, and are currently renting a “mother in law house” on someone else’s property. But hey, let’s be real, home ownership is a dream that we are working towards, and we’re working hard towards our dream house (I want waterfront property; Joe wants a fast internet connection: priorities, right?). Bloggers can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, so it’s not inconceivable that income from the blog could quickly accumulate to pay for a down payment, and then a mortgage.

    Almost every link in this site is monetized, which means that the price does not change for you, but that I get a kick back from the company for sharing this with you. How cool is that? You get products you need, I get a kickback for sharing the products I love with you. That’s the beauty of affiliate marketing.

    Expect to see quarterly income reports. I’m all about transparency and helping people see that blogging is a legitimate form of income. I don’t want to have monthly “humble brag” posts. You can see my first income report here.

    Expect to See Information About Direct Sales

    I love direct sales. Watching friends turn into total boss babes and be able to apply that confidence to everything they do was inspiring. Direct sales is not for everyone, and that’s 100% ok. I have stayed in direct sales because I have found products that I love and use and love to share them. You’ll definitely see posts on this blog about Color Street, including reviews and swatches, and nail care information.

    Why? Because blogging is a way in which I share what I love. It’s part of my personal strategy to help people find me. When people search for “nail care” on Pinterest, I want them to find my blog and my pins like this one. I want them to view me as an expert on my company, and trust that I will take care of them. I want people to join my team of nearly a hundred amazing women who are making extra income for their families. My goal is to provide valuable resources for many people here.

    If you’re following my blog, thank you for being a part of this story. I am honored to be able to share this exciting, big story with all of you, and remind you: it takes grit to be a pearl.

    I send out emails occasionally: join my email list here to get updates.

  • My First Blogging Income Report: One Year In

    One of the fascinating parts of blogging is that there is great potential to make a decent income. However, it’s a long-term game; a proverbial marathon, and most bloggers are not able to successfully monetize their blogs. Many bloggers don’t get past 10 blog posts, and it’s when the number of posts continues to increase that affiliate income begins to really take off. Here’s my first blogging income report, and exactly how I did it.

    Note: I am not including direct sales income on this report, simply because it is not possible to definitively determine what sales came from the blog, and what was from marketing efforts elsewhere.

    Blogging Stats

    First, let me take a moment to tell you about this year in blogging. I launched my blog in August of 2017, after completing SassySuite’s Blogging Boot Camp. In March, I was at nearly 50 published blog posts, and then I announced that I was leaving LuLaRoe to pursue Color Street. That meant that a large number of LuLaRoe-centric posts needed to be deleted, as they had become a misrepresentation of the purpose of my blog.

    I deleted 17 blog posts that were currently funneling people to my now non-existent LuLaRoe business, and began to rebuild to have blog posts that fit more of a lifestyle/affiliate marketing blog. Along with that, I’ve been integrating Color Street posts. As of August 26th, 2018, I have 42 blog posts (this one makes #43).

    Blogging Income Report: Hosting Services

    For my first year, I had hosting through SassyWeb Services, which is powered by GoDaddy. While the services were great, there was not an affiliate program, so that did not fit my personal blogging strategies. I did some research for hosting services, and overwhelmingly, SiteGround was recommended.

    You can read a full blog post about why I made the switch, but so far, SiteGround has been my number one source of affiliate income. I LOVE SiteGround, and highly recommend it to everyone. Their live chat is AMAZING, and they are quick to help me anytime I have a question. 10/10, would recommend.

    Total income earned: $200

    Blogging Income Report: Amazon Affiliate Services

    Amazon is one of my favorite places to shop. In fact, it was the #1 store online, and accounted for 178 BILLION worth of sales in 2017. The convenience of Prime 2-day delivery appeals to all, not to mention, it seems that everything is available on Amazon. Throughout this blog, there are many links to Amazon products, which brings me 5% of the costs of purchases made using my links. I LOVE Amazon because it’s easy, both for shoppers and for affiliates alike.

    Total income earned: $118.40

    Blogging Income Report: Share-a-Sale & Miscellaneous

    Rather than using Google Ads on my blog, I found that Share-a-Sale allowed me to be more strategic with the “ad space” on my blog. I can use the sidebars to place strategic “ads” for services and such that I would like to promote – like SiteGround or Tailwind. Share-a-sale is also great because you can get payouts for each affiliate who joins under you – win for all levels of referrals! Seriously you should go ahead and join here.

    I’m also an affiliate for BluChic themes. These gorgeous themes are delightful and feminine, and perfect for a blogger, especially one who is in any kind of “boss babe” niche, like many of my friends are.

    Outstanding income: $34.98 (Share-a-Sale has a $50 min payout).
    BluChic outstanding income: $19.75 (also has a $50 min payout – I think – I forgot, really. EDIT: I was paid out for this on September 1. Looks like a 90 day wait? Either way, WIN!).

    Blogging Income Report: Google Ads

    Full disclosure: I hated Google Ads. I hated it so much that I disconnected them from my blog. Google ads didn’t fit my blogging strategy, as they’d often automatically show ads for competing products. Imagine, if you will, researching website hosting, and landing on my blog post about why I chose SiteGround. Then, you’d see ads for Bluehost or for GoDaddy hosting. Since one of my reasons for posting about SiteGround is to get people to click my affiliate link and choose SiteGround, then having ads for GoDaddy or Bluehost just doesn’t make sense.

    Total income earned: $0 (I have $28.68 outstanding in my account, but I am uncertain if I will ever reach the $100 minimum required for a payout).

    As you can see, in about a year, I made about $400 in affiliate income. While many bloggers make that kind of income in a month, I am excited about that year’s worth of work. It’s a start, and it feels super special because I had a lot of major changes in my blogging and income strategies. Most of my work up to this point has not been strategic or focused, so any income feels like a win.

    A month ago, I made a bank account specifically for all affiliate payouts. All money earned from the blog is going straight into that account. My crazy big goal is for the blog’s affiliate income to grow to the point where it can pay for our house someday.

    So what do you think? Are you breaking into affiliate marketing? What is your favorite source of affiliate income?

    blogging income report

  • 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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