During my first year attempting to build an income online with affiliate marketing, I came on the verge of throwing in the towel and calling it quits at least a dozen times…
However, what gave me the strength and motivation to keep moving forward despite all the hardships and setbacks that come with growing an affiliate business, was going through other people’s affiliate marketing success stories.
Heck, it still is!
That being said, if you’ve already launched an affiliate business but you’re struggling to generate sales, and you’re feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, unmotivated, and ready to give up or you’re after figuring out whether venturing into the affiliate industry is actually worth the trouble in the first place, you’re in the perfect place!
This article is dedicated to sharing with you 17 of the most inspiring affiliate marketing success stories I’ve come across over the last 5 years that’ll help you gain a solid grasp of the industry’s true earning potential as well as get you fired up to do anything it takes to reach affiliate success yourself.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
17 Inspiring Affiliate Marketing Success Stories
1. Pat Flynn
One of the affiliate marketers who’s inevitably mentioned in almost every roundup of success stories is Pat Flynn…
Pat embarked on his affiliate journey back in early 2008 after getting laid off from his 9-5 job.
His first website was called GreenExamAcademy and revolved around providing information that would help people pass the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) exam.
In October 2008, just a few months after GreenExamAcademy was launched, it generated $7900 in profit (see report).
Since then, Pat has launched multiple successful affiliate websites, including:
- & more
According to his last income report, Pat’s affiliate earnings for December 2017 surpassed $100,000.
In the video right below, Pat explains exactly how he generated more than $300,000 in affiliate commissions by promoting just one single product.
2. Tom Dupuis
Tom Dupuis is the founder of onlinemediamasters.com, a website that’s geared towards WordPress tutorials, speed optimization, and SEO.
Tom ventured into affiliate marketing back in 2011. By 2017, his affiliate marketing business was generating $80,000 per year in commissions.
Based on his latest income report, Tom’s affiliate endeavors brought in about $150,000 in 2020.
3. Matt Diggity
Matt got started with affiliate marketing in 2009 after reading “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferris.
Two years and a couple of failed websites later, he managed to build a full-time affiliate income.
At that point, Matt found out that there were online marketplaces where people were selling their affiliate websites for up to 40 times their monthly profit.
He bundled 3 of them into a package deal, put them up for sale, and ended up selling them for a $170,000 profit.
A year later, he sold a couple more for over $300,000 (see image below).
Right now, Matt runs two SEO agencies (LeadSpring LLC and The Search Initiative), an SEO blog (Diggity Marketing), a link-building service (The Authority Builders), and the Chiang Mai SEO conference.
Lastly, a few years ago, Matt launched a high-quality affiliate marketing course called The Affiliate Lab that lays down the exact process he utilizes to build, rank, monetize, and flip affiliate websites for 6 figures. (The Affiliate Lab Review)
4. John Crestani
John Crestani is yet another person who found himself immersed in the affiliate marketing industry after reading Tim Ferriss’s “The 4-Hour Workweek” back in 2008.
However, after his first affiliate ventures tanked, John had to take a job at a digital marketing firm in Los Angeles that specialized in Google Ads and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising.
A while later, John decided to give affiliate marketing a second shot.
Fast forward to now, John runs several very successful affiliate marketing businesses that bring in more than $500,000 per month in affiliate commissions.
A couple of years back, John launched Super Affiliate System PRO, a step-by-step affiliate marketing course that spells out the same strategies he used towards building a sizeable income online by promoting ClickBank products using paid ads. (Super Affiliate system PRO Review)
If you’d like to find out more about how John Crestani managed to go from zero to being a Super Affiliate & Internet Millionaire, make sure to give the video right below a watch.
5. Doug Beney
Doug Beney embarked on his affiliate marketing journey in September 2014, at the age of 16 and while still in high school, by launching “midilifestyle.com”, a website that revolved around promoting music-related Amazon products.
Just 2 years later, by November 2016, Doug had scaled MidiLifestyle to bringing in over $6000 in affiliate commissions per month (see image below).
Later that same year, Doug launched dougbeney.com and FloeMedia LLC, both of which focus on helping other online business owners with web design & development, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), digital marketing, and blogging.
Doug became a full-time affiliate marketer by the age of 18 before he even finished high school.
Now, that’s inspiring!
6. Doug Cunnington
Doug Cunnington got into affiliate marketing in 2013 after being inspired by Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income Podcast…
However, he didn’t really invest any significant effort in utilizing the model until he got laid off in 2015.
According to his latest income report, by 2017, after a few failed affiliate websites and tons of mistakes, Doug had managed to build 2 successful affiliate websites; one that got sold for $235,000 and another that was bringing in $70,000 per year (see video below).
Right now, Doug operates multiple successful affiliate websites that bring in a 6-figure income.
He also shares affiliate marketing tips, productivity tactics, SEO strategies, and project management techniques via his personal blog “nichesiteproject.com” as well as his dedicated affiliate marketing course called “Five Figure Niche Site“.
7. John Miguel
John ventured into affiliate marketing back in May 2015 by launching startmakestopwaste.com, a website that revolves around making money online via stocks, bitcoin, affiliate marketing, social media, etc.
Over the next 4 years, John created multiple other well-established affiliate websites, such as:
- johnconsol.com (solar panel consulting)
- kingcryptos.com (cryptocurrency)
- installoffgridsolarsystem.com (solar panels)
By January 2019, John was generating affiliate commissions that surpassed $3700 in a single day (see image below).
About one and a half years later, in July 2020, John reported earning $31,000 in just 2 days (screenshot below).
Please note that John became such a successful affiliate marketer after leveraging the step-by-step training offered by Wealthy Affiliate!
8. Darren Rowse
Darren stumbled upon the concept of affiliate marketing back in 2003 while searching for a way to monetize his 6-month-old blog.
At that point, Darren joined Amazon’s Affiliate Program and started promoting books (Amazon was pretty much just an online bookstore back then).
During his first 3 years in the affiliate industry, Darren was earning only a few hundred dollars per year.
However, as he kept investing more and more time and effort in his affiliate endeavors, his earnings started snowballing, reaching $20,000 for 2006 and peaking up at $80,000 per year by 2011.
According to Darren, the amount of affiliate commissions he’s generated solely via Amazon’s Affiliate Program over the course of 12 years (2003 – 2015) is about $600,000.
At the time I’m putting together this article (September 2021), Darren is a 6-figure earner who owns multiple successful affiliate blogs like ProBlogger and Digital Photography School, a public speaker, and the author of the book “ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income”.
9. Jerry Huang
Jerry embarked on his affiliate marketing journey back in May 2016…
The first affiliate blog he launched was called “longdistancementors.com” and revolved around long-distance relationships.
However, by October 2016, it had flopped and Jerry had to shut it down…
At that point, Jerry started a second affiliate blog in the MMO (Make Money Online) niche called smartaffiliatesuccess.com.
Just 2 years later, by November 2018, smartaffiliatesucess.com was bringing in over $6000+ per month (see image below).
A month later, in December 2018, Jerry decided to implement everything he’d learned about becoming a successful affiliate marketer towards putting together an Affiliate Marketing Course for Mandarin-speaking people.
The launch of the course took place 3 months later in March 2019 and brought in a whopping $100,000 in just one week (see image below).
$100,000 in a week is what I could never imagine just over a year ago. A lot of things can be changed in a year if you really work for it. – Jerry Huang
10. Alex Nerney & Lauren McManus
Alex and Lauren launched their first affiliate blog called “Health and Happy Hour” back in 2015. However, 3 months later, they realized that the blog was underperforming and they had to shut it down…
Soon after, they started a second affiliate blog in the health & weight loss niche called “Avocadu” which they managed to grow from zero to $10,000 per month in just one year.
At that point, they created yet another affiliate blog called “Create And Go” that revolves around documenting their journey to leveraging blogging and affiliate marketing towards building an income online as well as help others do the same.
In the video right below, Alex explains how their blogging endeavors generated over $144,000 in revenue for the month of January 2018.
According to their latest income report, Alex and Lauren earned $86,000 in July 2021, out of which $36,000 (42%) was generated via affiliate marketing.
11. Robby Blanchard
Robby had his first encounter with digital marketing in 2014 when he started running Facebook ads to promote his CrossFit gym and a CrossFit-related digital course he’d put together.
A year later, Robby stumbled upon affiliate marketing and started leveraging FB ads towards promoting already existing ClickBank products/services in exchange for commissions on a per-sale basis.
By 2017, Robby had made his first million online and by 2019 he’d got named “#1 Clickbank Affiliate In The World” and was generating more than $1 million per month in affiliate commissions on ClickBank.
Here’s a recent screenshot of Robby’s ClickBank affiliate dashboard.
In February 2019, Robby launched Commission Hero, an affiliate marketing course that revolves around teaching others the exact 3-Step System that made him an affiliate millionaire and the world’s #1 ClickBank Affiliate. (Commission Hero Review)
In the video right below, Robby shares his entire journey of how he went from a struggling gym owner to earning millions of dollars per month online in less than 4 years.
12. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner
Michelle started her first affiliate blog (Making Sense of Cents) in 2011 as a way to improve her finances and pay off her $38,000 student loan debt.
Just 2 years later, in 2013, Michelle made over $100,000 in affiliate commissions and ditched the 9-5 rat race once and for all.
According to her last income report, by 2018, Michelle’s blogging endeavors were bringing in over $1,500,000 per year, out of which 62% was generated via affiliate marketing.
In 2015, Michelle and her husband sold their house to travel across the United States in an RV…
Right now, they live in a sailboat while traveling across the world!
Over the years, Michelle has been featured in numerous authoritative publications, such as Forbes, Oprah, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, etc.
She’s also put together a pretty decent affiliate course called “Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing” that’s geared towards laying out the same techniques she utilized to go from $0 to making over $50,000 per month.
13. Matthew Woodward
Matthew had his first encounter with affiliate marketing back in 2005 when he took part in a CPA offer that rewarded him with free electronics, gaming consoles, iPods, TV screens, etc for making referrals.
Over the next few years, Matthew built a fleet of very profitable affiliate sites spanning a vast array of niches from mobile phones to baby products.
In August 2012, he decided to launch matthewwoodward.co.uk as a way to share with others all the SEO & digital marketing research, knowledge, and experience he’d gathered up to that point.
Once the blog was up and running, Matthew started publishing monthly income reports that detailed its complete journey from zero to $1,000,000 over the course of about 6 years (August 2012 – December 2017).
Eventually, Matthew put together a step-by-step system called “90 Day SEO” that focuses on teaching people how to increase their website’s search traffic by utilizing his very own processes.
Right now, Matthew is considered a 7-figure affiliate marketer, well-renowned SEO, successful entrepreneur, and sought-after international speaker.
14. Miles Beckler
Miles was introduced to affiliate marketing in 2003 while working for his college radio station and his Program Director showed him a method of making some extra money online by referring MySpace users to a specific affiliate offer.
A while after utilizing this method, Miles was cranking out a few extra grand in monthly affiliate commissions…
About a year later, MySpace got sold to Fox News and after making a few changes to their terms of service sharing affiliate links within the platform was prohibited.
As a result, Miles’s affiliate income source tanked literally overnight.
A couple of years down the road, he went flat broke, couldn’t make rent, and had no choice but to take his wife Melanie and move back into his parent’s house.
In an attempt to deal with all their stress and frustration, Miles and Melanie started practicing meditation.
Soon after growing very passionate about the subject, they decided to launch a meditation-related blog which went from zero to bringing in a full-time income in just one year.
Right now, that same blog generates anywhere between $150,000 and $250,000 per year.
Eventually, Miles created milesbeckler.com as a way to share with other people everything he’s learned over the years about building, scaling, and running a successful affiliate marketing business from scratch.
15. Harsh Agrawal
Harsh started blogging about computer networks and security for fun on BlogSpot in September 2008.
3 months later he launched a blog in the technology niche called “ShoutMeLoud” which he later shifted to providing blogging tips and advice.
In March of 2009, Harsh left his full-time job to devote all his time, energy, and attention to his affiliate endeavors.
Right now, Harsh is a 6-figure blogger earning over $500,000 in yearly affiliate revenue, an award-winning blogger, a speaker, and a leader in the digital marketing and FinTech spaces.
16. Ryan Kaji
Ryan Kaji got started as an affiliate back in 2015 at the age of 4 by launching a YouTube channel called “Ryan’s World” (formerly known as Ryan ToysReview) that revolves around unboxing and reviewing toys, conducting science experiments, recording music videos, taking part in challenges, making DIY crafts and more.
Ryan’s YouTube channel blew up pretty fast, bringing in over $10 million in just one year, making Ryan the 8th highest-paid YouTuber of 2016.
By 2020, he was earning over $25 million per year and had been named the highest-paid YouTuber for 3 years in a row (2018, 2019, and 2020).
According to The Guardian, besides his YouTube earnings, Ryan has generated a total of about $200 million from selling Ryan’s World branded toys and clothing and has recently signed a multimillion dollar deal for his own TV series on Nickelodeon called “Ryan’s Mystery Playdate”.
Right now, Ryan has an estimated net worth of $32 million, his YouTube channel has accumulated over 29 million subscribers, and his videos have been viewed more than 47 billion times.
17. Adam Enfroy
Adam launched his first affiliate blog, adamenfroy.com, back in January 2019 as a way to escape the 9-5 rat race and become his own boss.
9 months down the road, in September 2019, Adam’s blog yielded $35,174 in revenue, out of which $18,133 (52%) was generated via affiliate marketing (see income report here).
In just 8 months, by May 2020, Adam’s affiliate revenue had grown by 350% to over $60,000 per month.
At that point, Adam quit his full-time job and started traveling through Europe, Asia, and Australia at the age of 31.
AdamEnfroy.com ended up generating over $1,000,000 in less than two years and being featured by dozens of major online publications such as Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and even Forbes.
Affiliate marketing FAQs
Affiliate marketing is an online business model that involves promoting products or services created and distributed by third-party online merchants in exchange for getting paid a commission for each sale you refer.
In layman’s terms, affiliate marketing is the process of being compensated for helping businesses sell to more customers.
Here’s a bird’s eye view of how affiliate marketing works.
- You join a merchant’s affiliate program
- The merchant gives you a unique affiliate link that points to their e-shop
- You promote your unique affiliate link online (blog, forums, social media, paid ads, etc.)
- Every time someone clicks on your unique affiliate link and makes a purchase on the merchant’s e-shop, the merchant pays you a commission
There are thousands of successful affiliate marketers all around the world. Some of the most well-known ones are:
- Pat Flynn
- Matt Diggity
- Matthew Woodward
- Doug Cunnington
- & more
You can check out a roundup of my 17 favorite examples of affiliate success and their backstories right here.
- Billion-dollar industry
- Very low startup & operational expenses
- Huge income potential
- Flexible & versatile
- Passive income
- Simple to implement
- No technical background
- No customer support
- No physical setup
Affiliate marketers can be divided into five main income groups:
- Total beginners: $0 – $20,000 per year
- Low-level affiliates: $20,000 – $50,000 per year
- Intermediate affiliates: $50,000 – $100,000 per year
- High-level affiliates: $100,000 – $500,000 per year
- Super affiliates: $500,000+ per year
Some of the factors that influence how much you earn as an affiliate marketer include:
- target niche
- available resources
- previous experience
- marketing efforts
- & overall mindset
Here’s a rough income growth timeline of a typical affiliate marketing business:
- months (0-3): no earnings
- months (3-6): first affiliate sale
- months (6-12): $100-$500 monthly
- months (12-18): $1000 monthly
- months (18-24): $3000+ monthly
This timeline isn’t a guarantee of future performance but rather a mere approximation of the income growth of an average affiliate business. Your own timeline could be shorter or longer than projected.
Over the years, I’ve seen aspiring affiliates striking a gold vein just a few months into the industry. On the other hand, I personally know people who’ve been struggling to grow their affiliate revenue to $1000 per month for several years.
Affiliate marketing is one of the most affordable money-making models out there.
Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to get started as an affiliate marketer along with their associated costs:
- web hosting & domain name: $2.95/month (Bluehost)
- keyword research tool: $49/month (Jaaxy)
- expert guidance: $49/month (Wealthy Affiliate)
- email autoresponder: Free for up to 1000 subs (MailerLite)
Please note that on top of expert guidance, Wealthy Affiliate also provides free access to hosting and a keyword research tool so you don’t have to purchase them separately.
The process of getting started with affiliate marketing can be broken down into the following four simple steps:
- Pick a niche
- Launch a blog
- Build an audience
- Promote affiliate products
No, you don’t.
Affiliate marketing is very simple to get started with by virtually anyone regardless of age, education, background, available capital, tech-savviness, professional network, etc.
In fact, most 6-figure affiliate marketers were no more experienced than you currently are when they first ventured into the affiliate marketing industry.
Nonetheless, being knowledgeable in fields like marketing, sales, content production, business management, etc., could help you reach your financial goals somewhat faster.
Well, there you go…
17 of the most inspiring affiliate marketing success stories I’ve come across in my 5 years as an affiliate marketer.
Frankly, those are just the tip of the iceberg… There are dozens, if not hundreds more all around the web.
The key takeaway here is that affiliate marketing can be leveraged towards building a sizeable income online by virtually anyone regardless of age, background, previous experience, available capital, tech-savviness, professional network, etc.
However, it’s worth noting that achieving success as an affiliate marketer is no walk in the park…
All the affiliate marketing success stories outlined in this article are the result of enormous learning curves, hard upfront work, numerous sleepless nights, and immense amounts of trial & error, perseverance, setbacks, failures, rejections, frustrations, doubts, risks, and sacrifices.
Having said that, please don’t venture into affiliate marketing assuming that it’s a surefire way of having thousands of dollars magically land on your lap every single month with little to no effort because I assure you that you’ll end up bitterly disappointed…
Have any questions?
Leave a comment right below or contact me right here and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.
All the best,
Harry, Founder & Editor at dearboss-iquit.com