As you’ve probably already found out, there are a million and one Wealthy Affiliate Reviews out there and yes while this is another one, I’m writing this from more of a “my personal experience with wealthy affiliates” perspective rather than some kind academic analysis of Wealthy Affiliates. To be clear, I am a premium member of Wealthy Affiliates and have been for some months. Clearly I like their system and value the learning and experiences I’ve had so far. There are some links in this article which will give you the opportunity to try Wealthy Affiliates out for free and I’ll receive credit for the referral if you do.
So who am I? I’m Mike and in late 2018 I was made redundant. While I now have another full time job (actually with the same company but in a different area), the redundancy came as quite shock and certainly sharpened the mind about the sense of relying on an employer for my financial freedom. I’m just into my 60s so I’m very much thinking about retirement, avoiding the daily commute by working more from home and generally having the quality of life that my wife and I want.
I quickly concluded that I never again wanted to be in that terrible, stressful situation even if I got another job. Hence looking for a way to start my own business and eventually landing on Affiliate Marketing as an option and Wealthy Affiliates as the medium to get me there.
What Wealthy Affiliates is .. and isn’t
Wealthy Affiliates, known as WA, is primarily about training, education and mentoring to guide members in setting up and running an online business. So think of it as an online, self-paced university with a good amount of social media and community support thrown in. It is one of the largest around and is very much a one-stop shop. While you are not locked into their system and are free to use other options, the convenience of training, website building and hosting and research tools all in one place and at competitive prices is hard to beat. I’m pretty tight with my money and when I started was unemployed so believe me I looked pretty hard to find cheaper options that provided similar value !!
Wealthy Affiliates was founded in 2005 and is a constantly evolving system with the owners, Kyle and Carson committed to constantly improving the training, tools and platforms. Just today I received a notice of their planned improvements for this year which continues to confirm to me their commitment to their members success.
My review of affiliate marketing goes into the legitimacy of this marketing method and online businesses more fully and, if you haven’t already, I suggest you have a look at it. Wealthy Affiliates is not a scam and absolutely not a get-rich-quick scheme. It will take time, quite a bit of steady hard work and commitment but interestingly not necessarily a lot of money.
Does it work?
Well, yes it seems to. It’s pretty early days for me yet but my main website promoting designer handbags, new and pre-loved with an eco-friendly slant, is becoming established with over 1,000 clicks. It is ranked on page two of Google for some keywords I’ve used and moving up the rankings on Bing. There are a steady stream of comments. I have affiliate agreements with a number of suppliers and have just gained full approval with Amazon US after achieving their initial sales targets. So am I retiring early on the back of this – no; Am I making progress – absolutely.
When I started I’d never made a website and knew very little about marketing and nothing about the online marketing world. Now I have a developing business making some modest sales and am establishing another retirement focused website – this one! All this by simply following the step by step training offered through WA and asking lots of questions of the other members. I’m even getting to the stage where I can answer some questions from newer members which is nice – the whole system works on paying it forward.
Probably the most important benefit I’ve got so far is the sense of achievement in learning something completely new, putting it in place then starting to see some tangible results.
What do you get for your free membership?
There are two types of membership – free and premium. I’m a real fan of the free membership model because you risk nothing but some time and can have a decent look at the system at your own pace and judge for yourself whether this is for you and worth paying money for. The free membership has no time limit although you will be offered time limited deals to upgrade if you wish – more on that later.
The free membership gives you limited access to the Wealthy Affiliate dashboard. Some of your access lasts forever, like some training videos and community features; other features only last for a limited time, like the live chat feature. The list below is everything that is included in your free membership and is everything you need to get up and running with your first (and possibly second) website. More importantly it gives you the opportunity to truly check out this business opportunity without having to part with any cash or supply credit cards details or any of that malarkey.
- Live help – first 7 days
- 2 websites
- Website Backup
- Beginner Training Course
- Personal Affiliate Blog
- Affiliate Boot camp Training – Phase 1 Only
- Video Walk-Throughs
- Keyword Research Tool – 30 Searches
- Training Classrooms – 2
- Affiliate Program
- 1-on-1 Coaching – First 7 Days
You can run a successful online business using only the free membership and the initial training that membership offers but I wouldn’t recommend it. As you would expect, the free membership is an initial teaser which allows you to decide whether you want to progress. If you’re serious about establishing a successful online business and through it the passive income which will lead to early retirement then you, yourself, will see the advantages of “going premium” once you’ve had a chance to have a look around. You don’t have to but it will make life easier and the experience richer and hopefully much more tangibly rewarding.
Have a look at this video with another members thoughts and a look inside Wealthy Affiliates. Some of the details have been updated since this was produced and some new features added but it still gives you a good feel for the possibilities – thanks Alex.
Benefits of Wealthy Affiliates Premium Membership
For me the key benefit was the mental commitment to establishing my own online business. It’s like joining a gym. Yes you can pay casual fee but once you commit to a 12-month membership, you’re all in. Plus, being a bit tight with money, if I’ve paid for something I want my money’s worth.
Premium basically gives you everything and the list is below. Note the three items I’ve highlighted. Getting website hosting included in the membership fee is a major cost saving as it’s usually an extra. Having website security and backup is absolutely essential in this world rampant with cyber crime and again is usually an extra cost with external hosting.
- Live Help – Unlimited
- Private Messaging – Unlimited
- 50 Websites
- Website Security Package
- Website Backup
- Beginner Training Course – Full Access
- Personal Affiliate Blog
- Affiliate Boot camp Training – All Phases (7)
- Live Video Classes
- Video Walk-Throughs
- Keyword Research Tool – Unlimited Searches
- Training Classrooms – 2
- Affiliate Program – 2x Higher Payout
- Earn While You Learn
- 1-on-1 Coaching – Unlimited
- Private Access to Webinars
- 24/7/365 Website Support
- Website Feedback Platform
- Website Comment Platform
- Website Analysis
What does it cost?
Aah the $64,000 question – not literally. With one exception free membership is well – free. The one exception I’d strongly recommend is that you look to purchase your own dot com domain name. They rank better, you own it so it becomes a salable asset and it’s not expensive. You can buy the domain name within the platform and the three I have each cost me $US13.99 so it shouldn’t break the bank.
All the other costs are optional. Lots of people, including me choose to upgrade but you don’t have to and you decide the timing and the terms. So long as you don’t get distracted and waste money on shinny objects you can be a frugal as you like. After all this is a business leading to a lifestyle and businesses need to have positive cash flow and make a profit. The force is with you, young Jedi (like the Star Wars reference??)
The Optional Costs
- Upgrade to Premium at $19 (first 7 days only).
- Upgrade to Premium at $49 (after first 7 days)
- Upgrade to Jaaxy Pro and Enterprise research tools at $19 and $49 (I have found the free version just fine so far)
- Premium annual membership $349 (saves $20 per month on standard upgrade)
The Cheapest Route and what I did
- sign up for the free membership and go hard at it for the first few days so you get to understand what it’s all about
- Upgrade to premium using the $19 deal for the first month allowing me to see if the premium features really were worth it
- At the end of the first month upgrade to the annual fee using the black Friday sale deal of $299 making membership about $25 per month – less than a dollar a day or about a cafe coffee per week.
Clearly you may need to adjust this a bit depending on what time of the year it is and assuming that the Black Friday offer continues. Just buy monthly membership until the calendar counts down or stay “free” for a bit longer until you get into that November – December offer period.
How does this all work?
The process is about learning and using each step in your online education to build up a niche website that earns you money. Along the way you will watch video tutorials and complete simple incremental tasks. There is also weekly online live training for premium members on a variety of topics usually themed for a month. Recent topics have dealt with WooCommerce and drop shipping plus a series on Google Analytics and optimizing your site to increase rankings. These take about an hour and are available as recordings if you can’t make the live version.
I was completely new to all this when I started. My best advice is to keep it simple and don’t over think things. Just do each training module and associated tasks. Some will be very quick. Others may take a few days. For me writing content takes the longest but I manage to crank out a post per week on average using the content platform on the site. Steady consistent effort is the key and keep it real and fun. Go at your own pace and don’t let this become a chore or what’s the point?
Don’t expect instant success. It is unrealistic to expect much in the way of income for the first three months – although in my own case I’ve made a few sales, woohoo! Realistically it will take 9-12 months to get steady income by which time you should know enough to make your own decisions about how to leverage up from there to that early retirement by the beach or wherever.
Typically your progress will follow this kind of pattern
- Learn the basics
- Research and select your niche
- Establish a web site
- Publish interesting articles, reviews and blogs
- Start getting noticed by the search engines
- Research and sign up for a few affiliate programs
- Start using one or two social media channels to get more traffic e.g Pinterest
- Start getting regular traffic
- Make a few sales
- Monetize your site with a few ads
- Realize you’re making a modest regular income
- Invest some of your income to grow your business e.g paid marketing through Google & Bing
- Revenue is steadily increasing and your initial goals are within reach
- Leverage your business by contracting writers
- Consider and possibly develop other niches
- Set your goals a little higher, then achieve them too
Where to from here?
It’s time to hand this back to you now. Hopefully you can see that there is a serious opportunity for you and yours with Wealthy Affiliates. You don’t need to commit to anything yet and I strongly suggest that you don’t. What I do suggest is that you try the free membership option and learn / research a bit more. It won’t cost you anything but time. The worst that can happen is that you’ll learn a few things about setting up a website and be exposed to some probably new marketing skills. You are in control and you decide.
Remember to keep some healthy skepticism in place but be open enough to realize that there might just be an opportunity to earn some extra income for a better quality of life and retirement for you and yours.
Thank you for reading this far. I hope I’ve given you some insight into my experience and thoughts about Wealthy Affiliates. I appreciate your time and consideration. This isn’t for everyone but it may be for you.
If you have a question or comment please leave it below and I’ll respond as soon as I can – usually within 24 hours. If you like what you’ve seen or think it may be worthwhile for someone you know, please share it by forwarding them the link or sharing it using the buttons in the side bar.
Thanks again for considering this opportunity for a retirement with style.