With just three weeks until Christmas, most families will now begin the scramble to come up with the funds to pay for everything. I know I will get the e mails from those that disagree with the overly commercial direction Christmas has gone. I agree with the notion that Christmas should not be about spending a lot of money. Nonetheless, even for those that don't plan on buying extravagant gifts, the holiday season usually pushes all of our budgets to the limit. My children are all adults now and my wife and I don't have to buy Furbies and 'Tickle Me Elmos' anymore (at least until we have grandchildren). In all likelihood, even the most frugal families will still need a little extra cash around the holidays (just take into account the cost of entertaining family and guests, or the expense of traveling yourself to be with loved ones).
I was thinking about all of this the other day and wanted to offer a truly dynamic solution to the readers of my blog. I came up with the idea for a workshop that I am calling, Profit Surfing. The name of the workshop was hatched while I was pondering what ideas I could offer for raising money to pay for Christmas expenses. I thought about all of the money that people now spend online for gifts and came up with a strategy on how my readers could tap into this 'wave' of cash.
Can We Profit Surf The Coming Wave Of Holiday Spending?
Take Amazon.com as just one example. They expect to break all records for sales, and on Black Friday captured one third of all online sales! Amazon is not the only game in town, Target.com and Wal-Mart.com are both expecting record breaking holiday seasons for their physical stores and online. Yep, your local Best Buy will also have people sleeping overnight in the parking lot to be the first to grab one of this year's holiday deals (and buying their Cyber Monday and Black Friday deals as well). Did you know that all of the companies I just referenced will gladly share with you a percentage of their holiday profits?
They are officially known as affiliate programs, and most people simply don't know about them. In fact, on occasion when I have mentioned the idea I usually get very skeptical reactions. Why would Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, or any of these companies want to give me a nickel of their Christmas money? It's simple - YOU have an advertising value. You may not realize it, you may have never cashed in on it, but just like ads purchased on radio or TV, or in a newspaper, these retailers want to advertise on the YOU Channel (insert your own name).
You Are A Valuable Advertising Channel And You Should Be Getting Paid
We are all advertising channels, some of us get paid and some of us do not - It is that simple. I have been getting paid thousands and thousands of dollars for years through affiliate arrangements. I know stay at home moms making hundreds per month, and even read about a college kid that made so much doing this that he expanded it into a massive 'daily deals' site. How does it work? OK, here is the deal - you get paid a percentage of all of the money that people spend after they click on one of your affiliate links. This is not MLM, and the truth is that you are really not doing any selling at all.
Let me show you just one crazy example -
Here is a link to Amazon's list of most popular toys for this coming Christmas. If you click on this link, you will be on Amazon's site and there will be a gigantic array of toys. What you won't even see is my secret code that will trigger a bonus to me of between 4 and 8% on everything you buy. OK, here is my secret code (the link you clicked on) -
Notice christmoneyco-20 - this is my tracking code and it means that I get paid. I can even use this really cool graphic (Amazon has tons of these).
Why This Is Nothing Like Selling On eBay
OK, who has not tried selling on eBay? My experience has been that I sell things for rock bottom prices, end up with the headache of collecting the money, go to Wal-Mart to buy the right size box, and stand in line up at UPS (all to pocket a tiny profit). And sometimes people will turn around and ask for a refund, send the item back, and you can end up living out what I call an 'eBay nightmare.' The dreaded eBay/PayPal dispute - PayPal wants to hear my side of the story, do I have proof of how I shipped the item? What did I do to try and make the person happy? Even if I win the argument, I might end up waiting weeks for my money to become 'unfrozen.'
One time I was clearing out some books and listed a Men's paperback study Bible for sale. It sold for $2, and with shipping I collected $6. The buyer provided an incomplete address. He lived in a large apartment building in Miami and neglected to included his apartment number. The Bible was lost for several weeks in the mail. I tried to just give the guy his money back, but he wanted the item he ordered. For weeks this guy would report to me each day that the package had not shown up. Even after admitting that he did not provide his full address he still would not relent, and made my life miserable. He eventually agreed to take the refund and I told him to just keep the Bible (if it ever showed up). Nonetheless, he had the nerve to give me a bad review, and I ended up looking like some kind of online scammer!
OK, You Are Probably Saying TMI On My eBay Story
I wanted to share my eBay nightmare with you to make a point. The best thing about online partner programs (affiliate programs) is that you never get involved in the retail service element of the transaction. All of the shipping, billing, refunds, customer service, exchanges, etc... are all handled by the retailer. In fact, once you see how little you end up doing for your cut of the money, you might feel a bit guilty.
Understanding Your Role As An Affiliate
All you need to do to earn your percentage is to direct people to the retailer website with your special links (just like mine above). There are a lot of different ways that people approach this. Here are some options -
1. Be Direct About It
Some just put up a link on Facebook (or in an e mail) and say, 'Click here to buy your Christmas presents and you will also be helping me pay for my own.' They might also add, 'All of the prices are exactly what you would pay if you went to (insert retailer name) directly, but if you use my link I get paid a percentage.'
2. Become A Deal Finder
Look for deals and share them with your friends and followers. Brad Wilson (the 'college kid' I mentioned earlier) is a deal finder on a very large scale. You don't have to be as big as Brad, it can just be you and a few hundred friends and followers and everybody wins. You find the deals, everyone saves money, and you get your cut.
3. Blog About It
I have a big disclaimer in the right hand sidebar of this blog that tells my readers that I get paid on a lot of the stuff I link to in my articles. It is not only something good to do from an ethical perspective, but it is now required by law. You can blog about anything, but most people pick a niche and run with it. Virtually any subject you blog on is rife with opportunities to link to affiliate products.
4. Start A Website
You might want to take things to the next level and start a themed website. It can include everything in the world of hunting gear, the latest exercise gadgets, or it might even be an online bookstore with all books on travel. It can be virtually anything you want it to be and you can get your cut just by linking to a retail partner.
My New 2 Hour Video
I am so excited about the video of my recent online workshop. In the video I discuss the hottest Profit Surfing affiliate opportunities for this Christmas season (there are so many ways to cash in all throughout the year, not just the holidays). I share with you my 15 years experience of making money as an affiliate. I will tell you exactly how to get started, how to pick the right programs and much more. Don't miss it! Click Here To Order Video Download (The video is free for members of my Internet Coaching Program - Look For Details In Your Member Dashboard).
*** I almost forgot to mention that this concept can also be used as a powerful fundraising mechanism for a church or non-profit.
Helping you make the most of God's money!