How To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money – 2023

how to start affiliate marketing with no money

Affiliate marketing has always been one of the best (and relatively easy) ways to earn money online.

If you are here for the answer to the question “how to start affiliate marketing with no money“, then you are probably already aware of the concept of affiliate marketing. But, for those who just heard of the concept and are willing to start it, here’s a simple explanation.

Affiliate marketing is a process in which online creators partner up with brands to promote their products and services and earn a commission for every successful referral (purchase made by a customer through the online creator’s reference).

So, the basic terminology will be like this: Online creators are the affiliates (partners); the product or service is called the affiliate product, and the brand is called the advertiser.

If you are looking to start affiliate marketing for free, then you should know that affiliate marketing is a growing industry and gaining popularity by the day. It has proved to be highly profitable in 2022 and will continue to be in 2023 as well.

A study by Statista shows that the total global affiliate marketing spending is expected to reach $8.2 billion by the end of the year. This shows massive growth, up from $5.4 billion in 2017.

affiliate marketing spending

However, a very common concern for every person looking to start affiliate marketing is whether it can be done for free.

You might think that you will need a website, a hosting service, a domain name, courses, books, training, etc. before you are able to set affiliate marketing as a stable income stream.

Having a website will surely give you an edge but it is not a prerequisite at all!

So, the question is: How to start affiliate marketing with no money?

In this article, I will be sharing with you my step-by-step guide on “how to start affiliate marketing with no money?”. I will be including my personal experience as an affiliate marketer right from the beginning.

So let’s get started without further ado.

Disclosure: Some links in this article are my affiliate links. If you buy any product through any of these links, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Such a commission helps me to stay motivated and produce more such content.

Below is a table of contents for making it easier for you if you want to jump to any sub-topics as some of you may already be familiar with some topics.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

As mentioned above, affiliate marketing is a simple setting wherein you get paid for every product or service (owned by a brand) you refer to someone.

how does affiliate marketing work

You might wonder, how do I refer to someone? Good question!

Every advertiser or brand has an affiliate program that online creators need to join in order to become an affiliate or partner. Once you are a partner, the brand provides you with a unique link to promote to your audience. This link is the link to their product pages from where people can buy the product.

Every affiliate will have a unique link so that the brand can track which affiliate has referred to its products.

You have your product link and now all you need to do is promote this link and get your audience to buy the products (and make a commission).

How do I do this? you may ask.

This article will tell you how and that too for free.

So, hang in there till the end.

Is Affiliate Marketing A Good Business Model?

You may wonder, “A business built on referrals?”, “Sounds too good to be true”.

Payscale shows that the average annual earning of an affiliate marketer in the United States is $53,382. Such an amount of money is enough to lead a decent life and it is a dream for many who live outside the United States.

It is a good business model with the potential for huge profits and scaling. Here’s why:

  • Low or no risk: There’s no risk involved on your side of the business. You don’t invest in anything. You don’t even own the product. You simply refer someone else’s product to other people.
  • You can call anywhere your workplace. You can work from anywhere in the world. You just need an internet connection and a computer.
  • Good passive income: You can earn on auto-pilot mode once you a particular level. You can generate lifetime commissions from the organic traffic coming to your products.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money: The Ultimate Guide

At the start, affiliate marketing might look like a hard and unachievable task. But, trust me it really is not. I was also worried in the beginning, about what will I do, and how will I do it, but everything turned out to be perfectly worth it.

So, can you start affiliate marketing for free? Yes, you can.

I’ll try to make it an easy process by breaking down the whole article into easy steps.

Finding A Niche

You cannot write anything about everything. You need to narrow down your focus on one major niche and further sub-niches among it.

Here are some topics that you could choose:

  • Lifestyle: photography, travel, food, fashion, etc.
  • Health & Fitness: Gym supplements, diet products, sportswear, etc.
  • Technology: You can sell tech products such as laptops, cameras, drones, etc.
  • Digital marketing products like Email marketing services, web hosting, etc.

You need to answer the following questions in order to find a niche you would love to work around:

  • Do you have any hobbies or hobbies that you want to learn?
  • What is the one thing that you have the most knowledge of?
  • What would you love to share with people?
  • What do you think is interesting for both you and the people who are going to read your posts?

You also have to make sure that your niche is something people are searching for. You cannot expect to make a lot of money out of promoting canned fish.

Here are some highly profitable and trending niches to make a lot of money in:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Health and Fitness
  • Personal finance and investing
  • Recipes and food
  • Personal development and self-care
  • Travel

My niche is a combination of earning money online and blogging tips, SEO, etc. All these topics are interrelated and this way I can find more content ideas than just write about blogging tips.

So, try to choose a niche that never runs out of content ideas.

Joining An Affiliate Program

After choosing your niche, the next step is to join affiliate programs that offer products and services in your niche.

There are countless affiliate programs out there. They can be of two types:

  • Self-managed affiliate programs: These are private affiliate programs of companies that solely work for the company. Some companies that have self-managed affiliate programs are GetResponse,, etc.
  • Outsourced affiliate programs: These are affiliate programs that are managed by affiliate management platforms. Such platforms manage affiliate programs of many companies. Examples of such affiliate programs are, CJ Affiliates, Share A Sale, JvZoo, Clickbank, etc.

I mostly work on Impact as it offers a lot of big companies’ affiliate programs such as Bluehost, Namecheap,, NordVPN, Hostinger, etc.

Which affiliate programs are good for beginners?

Some affiliate programs don’t accept applications directly. They put you through a screening process and then revert you regarding your application. Some of them require a website, otherwise, they don’t accept proposals.

You’re a beginner and you don’t have a website? Don’t worry! There are many affiliate programs that don’t require approval. Check out my blog post on the best affiliate programs that don’t require approval.

Some of them may require you to at least have a website, even if it is one without any traffic.

You can set up a website in minutes through Blogger or Google Sites completely for free.

Affiliate programs like CJ Affiliate and Clickbank will easily accept your proposal. There are thousands of products readily available to promote without any approval.

BONUS TIP FROM MY EXPERIENCE: If you are looking to start affiliate marketing for free, then choose those affiliate products that are trustworthy and can sell fast. Don’t go for shady products which do sell but don’t give any real value to their users. You don’t want to disappoint your hard-earned audience by selling them shady products.

Choose Your Traffic Source

sources of traffic
start affiliate marketing for free

The hardest part of every online earning model is to drive traffic to your content. You can easily choose a niche, or decide on an affiliate program but getting traffic to your content will be a cumbersome task.

I don’t want to frighten you but I also was very fickle in the initial months of my affiliate marketing career. I used to think will it ever work for me? Will I ever earn anything out of this?

But you gotta keep the faith and believe in yourself. No one becomes a millionaire overnight (except for a lottery which I don’t believe in). You have to work hard to achieve anything in life, be it your career, your relationships, your gym plans, or anything.

Back to our topic!

Choosing the right traffic source is very crucial.

People often believe that in order to start affiliate marketing, you need to have a specific website (which costs money). It’s not necessary to have one, but having one later on when you feel competent to build your business up is useful.

Still, blogging is a part of the list below. I myself started with blogging and doing it to date. No doubt it’s a powerful tool in your arsenal.

There are many sources of free traffic for affiliate marketing that help you answer the question, “how to start affiliate marketing with no money?”


Facebook is the oldest and first social media platform that you must have come across. It still is highly used and popular.

Creating a Facebook account is free and no rocket science.

Even better, you can create a Facebook page wherein you will provide content regularly. Promote the page to your friends and family and your other social media handles (if you have any).

Try to provide value to your audience. Do not just SELL them your products. Provide them with useful content centered around your product and drop your affiliate links once in a while.

You have to build up trust. Your audience must trust you and see you as a professional in the niche.

One downside of Facebook is that the younger audience doesn’t use Facebook much. So, plan accordingly.


instagram for affiliate marketing

Instagram is another powerful tool to have in your arsenal if you want to start affiliate marketing for free. Instagram, unlike Facebook, is most popular among younger peeps. It also gives you a better organic reach than Facebook.

You don’t have to struggle on Instagram to get your content seen. It is a powerful source of free traffic for affiliate marketing.

It provides various content creation methods such as posts, stories, and reels (most famous).

You can create great content on Instagram very easily and can attract a huge audience organically over time.

Instagram can be used in combination with a blog. Whenever you write a new blog post, create content on Instagram giving a gist of your blog post and then call your audience to your website (link in bio) to read more.


youtube for affiliate marketing

YouTube has a global audience of over 2 billion people. Whenever you have a query, you first google it and if not satisfied, you search for it on YouTube. Right?

Visuals are always more compelling than just text. A video saves time and makes you better understand things.

Creating a YouTube channel will be the best thing you can do to start affiliate marketing for free. Although I don’t have a YouTube channel, I will have to say that it is the best tool you can have in your affiliate marketing arsenal.

If you are ready to show your face, then go for it. YouTube has huge potential for free traffic for affiliate marketing.

Just remember that it is a highly competitive platform, so your videos need to have good-quality content.


Pinterest for affiliate marketing

Pinterest is a platform where you can create pins (posts in Instagram lingo). It is a wonderful source of free traffic for affiliate marketing.

Create beautiful pins related to your affiliate products and link them to your affiliate products.

Images attract people quickly, especially if they are well-designed.

Keep in mind that a majority of Pinterest users are females. So, select your niche accordingly. Niches like food and recipe, travel, graphic design, etc. are the most popular ones on Pinterest.

I also thought of starting on Pinterest, but I soon realized that the niche in which I work isn’t suited to Pinterest.

Images add a special kind of magic to any piece of content.

Pinterest logo design
free traffic for affiliate marketing

Look at this beautiful logo design pin on Pinterest


quora for affiliate marketing

Quora is a powerhouse when it comes to the question “how to start affiliate marketing with no money?”

It’s my personal favorite (as I don’t use YouTube). Whenever someone asks me how to start affiliate marketing with no money, I simply say, use Quora!

“Quora is a Q&A platform where people ask questions regarding everything that planet Earth has to offer”. You will see this sentence on my blog every time I speak of Quora. Literally, every time!

Quora gets around 600 million visits per month alone through Google searches. It is a big deal.

People ask all sorts of questions on Quora. There’s no niche about which there are no questions on Quora.

What do you do when you have a question? You simply answer it.

Yes, answering questions is the essence of Quora. It is a very powerful source of traffic.

Remember, Quora doesn’t allow you to put affiliate links in your answer when you are just starting. You need to answer at least 100 questions before you are a genuine person in Quora’s eyes and not just a spammer.

Once you reach that level of seniority on Quora, you are allowed to put your affiliate links.

You can also drive huge traffic to your website through Quora (if you have a website). I personally use Quora for driving traffic to my website/blog. It’s my favorite source of free traffic for affiliate marketing.

You can also create a Quora Space (like pages on Facebook) where you can provide valuable content to people. Here also, you need to develop that trust factor before people can believe you and buy from you.


blogging for affiliate marketing

Blogging is the most used method for affiliate marketing. It is among the first methods to do affiliate marketing.

I personally run a blog, the one which you are currently reading. It works perfectly fine for me and If I am ever asked about expanding my affiliate marketing business, I would definitely start another blog with a different niche.

As I said, whenever you have a question in mind, you Google it. Don’t you? You probably even searched for “how to start affiliate marketing with no money” and perhaps you found my website in the search results.

And Google is the place where all the blogs are found. There’s no better source of organic traffic than Google search results. Not even YouTube.

Although it is hard to rank your website, a well-laid-out strategy will help you generate tonnes of traffic to your blog every month and you could be earning a passive income that you may have dreamt of. Facebook posts will get older, Quora Space content will get older but a blog will always show up in some place on the Google search results. I highly recommend starting a blog.

There are no restrictions on putting any affiliate links in your content as a blog is your private property.

Also, the good news is if you have a blog, then many affiliate programs will be ready to welcome you onboard.

You can even start a blog for free if you are looking to start affiliate marketing for free.

How Do You Start A Blog

You can easily start a blog for free with platforms like Blogger and Google Sites. If you are going for the free method, you won’t get a custom domain name. Your website will look like (in the case of Blogger) and (in the case of Google Sites).

I myself started my blog on Blogger for free but within 10 days I shifted to paid web hosting and a custom domain name from Hostinger.

Although you can always go for the free method, I highly recommend beginners get paid web hosting and a custom domain name (free for the 1st year) from Hostinger.

It will cost you not more than $1.99 a month for a 48-month plan. I myself use Hostinger WordPress Hosting which allows me to design my website seamlessly on WordPress.

Also, if you purchase the WordPress Starter pack (most popular), it will cost you just $2.49 per month for a 48-month plan plus you get a free custom domain name for one year.

Paid web hosting is highly recommended as it will save you from the future regret of not going for one. You will face a lot of problems in blogging.

But, trust me, with Hostinger WordPress Hosting I have so much authority, control, and accessibilty over my website that Blogger and Google Sites can never provide.

For this much, $1.99 a month is not a big amount. Anyways, in the future, you will have to go for paid web hosting if you want to make good money through blogging. Why not start from the beginning?

Still not sure which web hosting you should purchase? Read my blog post on “how to choose a web hosting service for your website?” and decide for yourself.

Create Great Content

Content is not read or watched because it is attractive or updated frequently. (Though they both assist.)

You care about what any piece of content has to say, therefore you read it. High-quality content is what will draw people to your site and eventually enable you to monetize it.

Creating content and that too valuable content is very essential for the success of your affiliate marketing career. What most beginners do is create a hell lot of content that offers very low value to the reader.

Providing low-quality, copied content from other creators won’t help you in any way.

Quality over quantity is the key. For example, there are a lot of big-shot bloggers who write maybe just one post a week and manage to get huge traffic on their blogs.

Here are some high converting (resulting in a sale) content types that you can incorporate into your content strategy:

  • Product Reviews: Review your affiliate products and explain their use and pros & cons. Provide honest feedback.
  • Product comparisons: Compare two of your affiliate products (same type). Any person who is looking for such content has his credit card in his hand ready to purchase one of the two products.
  • Listicles: For example, you can list the best laptops under $500 and explain the pros and cons of each one. The person might purchase the one he likes the most.
  • Do not always focus on selling. In order for gaining an audience, you have to provide them with solutions to their problems. You don’t always sell them. Provide solutions to their problems and they will look up to you in the future whenever they want to make a purchasing decision.
  • Tips and hacks: Such content will also grow your audience. Such content may be focused on products that people are already using and are looking for some hacks to use that product. It is okay if you do not make a sale every time.

Put your efforts into creating valuable content for your audience. Always add value for them; do not make your content all about you. Building a highly engaged audience is necessary before you can begin making affiliate sales and securing brand deals.

Retain Your Audience

What if I tell you that either you could make recurring sales with 100 people or one-time sales with 1000 people (considering it is hard to gain an audience)? You would definitely go for recurring sales with 100 people, won’t you?

By recurring sales, I don’t mean they will buy from you every month. It means if someone buys web hosting from your link today and you follow them up with your latest articles, there are good chances that in the future they will also buy from you an email marketing service (for instance).

Retaining your audience is a great way to boost your affiliate sales.

You can keep your audience coming back for more if you have great quality content that gives value to your readers.

Another way to retain an audience is through recording their e-mail information. This is really effective in case you have a blog. You can fetch emails of visitors to your sites through signups and then whenever you launch a new post or article, you send out an e-mail to them notifying them of your new post.

Other ways are push notifications (notifying users of your site whenever you post), weekly or monthly newsletters, etc.

E-mail marketing is a powerful tool for affiliate marketing. Not everyone will use an email marketing service in the beginning. Even I don’t. But now, I too plan on using one.

I have a good service in mind which is GetResponse. It is an all-in-one marketing software that takes care of all your marketing needs. It provides a plethora of services.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money: Bonus Tips For Beginners (From my personal experience)

Here are some bonus tips for beginners who are looking for an answer to the question “how to start affiliate marketing with no money?” :

1. Try to sign up with genuine and fast-selling affiliate programs. You can make some bucks by selling shady products but they can’t be relied upon in the long run.

2. Look for brands that pay recurring commissions on affiliate referrals. For example, if someone buys a digital marketing toolkit from you, then you may earn a recurring commission every month if the customer renews his package every month. This ensures a passive income.

3. If you are thinking of starting a blog, be sure to think of purchasing paid web hosting and get a custom domain name from Hostinger. As I said, Hostinger will provide you with this for just $1.99 per month. Paid web hosting and a custom domain will make your site look more professional and trustworthy.

4. Keep your focus on a few affiliate products. Don’t try to sell a lot of products. (I did this and soon realized not to continue). This will only reduce your efficiency. Choose one (minimum) or three (maximum) high-paying affiliate products and work on them.

5. Also, focus your attention on a maximum of two sources of traffic. Don’t try to run a Facebook page, a blog, and a YouTube channel all at once. Try to be as efficient as you can with a maximum of two traffic sources.

6. Try to target people from the United States and the United Kingdom. Traffic from these sources can give you far more conversions than traffic from any other country.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money: Final Thoughts

Affiliate marketing doesn’t always require a big financial commitment. There are various sources of free traffic for your affiliate marketing business.

Following the instructions in this guide can be a relatively risk-free way to begin your journey. Your only investment will be your time and effort.

So begin considering the niche in which you could build a business, eventually earning a passive income and working from wherever you like.

If you find this article helpful, consider sharing it with your friends and the people you think will find it helpful too.

Thanks and best of luck.

Related posts:

Affiliate Marketing Programs That Don’t Require Approval

20 Quick Tips To Increase Your Affiliate Sales

How To Start A Blog For Free And Make Money From It

How To Get Traffic From Quora To Your Website/Blog

Choosing The Right Web Hosting Service For Your Website

How To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money: FAQs

How to start affiliate marketing with no money?

If you are looking to start affiliate marketing for free, then you need to follow the simple steps explained in this guide:

  • First, understand what affiliate marketing is
  • Choose a niche
  • Join an affiliate program
  • Select a source of traffic
  • Create killer content
  • Retain your audience.

All these steps are explained in detail in this guide including sources of free traffic for affiliate marketing.

How to start affiliate marketing with no money on YouTube?

YouTube has a global audience of over 2 billion people. Whenever you have a query, you first google it and if not satisfied, you search for it on YouTube. Right?

Visuals are always more compelling than just text. A video saves time and makes you better understand things.

Creating a YouTube channel will be the best thing you can do to start affiliate marketing for free. I will have to say that it is the best tool you can have in your affiliate marketing arsenal.

Just remember, though YouTube is a source of free traffic for affiliate marketing, it is a highly competitive platform, so your videos need to have good-quality content.

How to start affiliate marketing without a website?

Although having a website or blog will help you a lot in affiliate marketing, having one is not a prerequisite at all. There are numerous sources of traffic such as Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Quora, etc. In this guide, every traffic source is explained in detail.

How to start affiliate marketing with no audience?

There’s no way you can start affiliate marketing with no audience. Who will you sell your affiliate products to if there is no one to buy them? Having an audience is a crucial step in affiliate marketing. Even if you want to start affiliate marketing for free, you will need an audience.

There are no shortcuts to this. You will have to put your time and effort into building a targeted audience. In this guide, you will find ways to develop an audience.

How to start affiliate marketing as a beginner?

As a beginner, you will need to first understand the concept of affiliate marketing. As mentioned in this guide, affiliate marketing is a simple setting wherein you get paid for every product or service (owned by a brand) you refer to someone.

You need to follow these simple steps to start affiliate marketing for free and as a beginner:

  • Choose a niche
  • Join an affiliate program
  • Choose your traffic source
  • Create killer content
  • Retain your audience

All these steps are explained in detail in this guide.

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