spec workTwo dirty phrases that web designers and graphic designers will hear multiple times throughout their career is “unpaid internship” and “spec work”. Just mention this word to some people I know and it’s enough to make them cringe and go off like they have terets. This is also something that really hits home for me as I’ve had to deal with my share of despicable people trying to leverage false promises in an effort to get free work.

When I graduated from Seneca College I knew that I wasn’t going to land a job any time soon so I started a business developing websites for startup companies. I was able to build my portfolio while getting paid. Once I had a decent number of websites under my belt, I eventually landed my first well paying job.

There are plenty of shameful companies in Toronto looking to entice desperate students who are looking to get work experience to land a paying job. I found these companies simply by searching Indeed’s website for the keyword “unpaid internship” and “Toronto” for the location to display a list of deplorable businesses.

Starting a small business is just one way you can avoid being taken advantage of by numerous Toronto based companies who prey on desperate students or just about anyone looking to get work experience. The other is becoming an affiliate marketer. Affiliate marketing is a term that usually has most people (including professional marketers) scratching their heads.

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance based marketing which rewards an affiliate a percentage or dollar amount for each visitor sent by the affiliate marketers efforts. Affiliate programs are FREE to join and there are literally thousands available on the internet. Just checkout linkshare.com or cj.com but keep in mind some expect you to already have a website, but once you do you’re almost guaranteed entry.

what is affiliate marketing

Most bloggers usually believe Google Adsense is the best way to make money from their website but I strongly disagree. Adding banners to your website from Google Adsense program will make you cents per click. By incorporating the right affiliate program into your website can earn you exponentially more.

From my experience I’ve created dozens of WordPress websites which featured products from different niches. It eventually took off into becoming a six figure full-time job but unfortunately took a dive as Google’s algorithm started to crack down on comparison shopping or affiliate based catalogs.

earn money through affiliate marketingHere are just 4 reasons why every web designer should get into affiliate marketing:

1. Improve your web design portfolio. I’ve included some of my best affiliate websites into my portfolio. These are websites that I’ve spent hundreds of hours instead of client projects which have a scope based on hours or budget.

2. Gain experience through as a website owner and entrepreneur than rather than some small company looking to cut corners and benefit off the backs of desperate job seekers and students.

3. Learning Environment. I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t through trial and error with my affiliate websites.They act as a testing platform for new WordPress plugins, SEO & internet marketing strategies and more. Before I test an unknown plugin on a clients website I’ll test it first on one of my affiliate based websites.

4. Get paid. This is obviously the best part if your website is doing well. Over my career as an affiliate marketer I’ve created websites that have literally paid for my house I live in and provided the luxury to work from home – with no boss, schedule, deadlines or stress. Who wouldn’t want that?

Who is affiliate marketing for?

Of course I’ve suggested affiliate marketing for web developers looking to gain valuable experience rather than taking unpaid internships or even worse spec work. It can also benefit bloggers who are looking to monetize their websites.

I’ve been thinking of starting a Meetup group to speak to students or anyone interested in learning about affiliate marketing. This would be a great opportunity to learn about this almost taboo method of marketing that can monetize any blog and potentially turn into a full-time job. In order to gauge interest please email info@nextoronto.com.

If you’re looking for a company that specializes in WordPress Development and Internet Marketing then contact us today!