The Cost of Affiliate Marketing: How to Start an Affiliate Marketing Business with $1,000 or less

budget of your affiliate marketing business

One of the perks of having a community is the challenge of creating ideas and turning them into articles. I call them “perks” because they’re indications that our efforts are paying off; people love what we teach and they ACT on it.

I wrote this topic after one of our student asked this question:

Affiliate Alchemy studend question

Just like our previous article (be sure to read it here), I’d like to give something more than just a one-sentence reply. It has always been my goal to help. And sharing my knowledge TO YOU will be a great testament to that.

With that in mind, let’s jump into the topic: starting an affiliate marketing business with $1,000 or less.

Let’s agree on three assumptions first:

1. Your affiliate marketing budget shouldn’t cost you to sell your house and live on the street. Which means, begin with a budget you can afford to lose. Always start small and learn the ropes. Then, re-invest your profit and let it roll-over until your business becomes self-sustaining.

2. Have a secondary (or primary) source of income. If you have a day job, please, don’t quit! The beauty of affiliate marketing is that you can manage it after office or during weekends. And since everything is mobile nowadays, you can even run your business while you’re on your way to the office or during breaks.

3. You’ve got a separate fund to cover your daily expenses. This one is related to #2. Treat your business as a separate entity… a living, breathing person who needs to earn. Which means, don’t rob your business so you can pay your bills. Sooner or later, your business will eventually give up leaving you with nothing.


Now that we agreed on these assumptions, let’s start.

The Basics

The Basics represent all the necessary expenses in order to start your affiliate marketing business.

#1 Domain Name

.cool? (yes, it’s available)

Building your affiliate business starts with buying a domain name. We used Namecheap for this one for obvious reason… because it’s cheaper! Plus, they are pretty straightforward with their prices. No hidden charges or upsells. What you see is what you get.

Ironically, “.luxury” costs $488.88 for 1 year. “.com” costs $10.69 for 1 year.

Cost: $10.69 for 1 year

#2 Hosting

Webhost providers offer flexible pricing options. If you just want to test the waters, you can opt for monthly rates. If you’re in for the long haul, go for the 12 – 36 month price plan. Always look for the provider with the highest approval rating in customer support. Because the last thing you want is your provider leaving you high and dry as you scramble during launch. We use Storm On Demand for our hosting services because our system needs a particular set of specification like: number of cores, OS version, bandwidth, backup specs and more. Meaning you need to be a little tech-savvy to purchase your web server.

If you want your site to be built right away — without the hassle of information overload — then your best bet is Hostgator.

For this example, let’s say you chose Hostgator’s “Starter” plan for 1 site paid for a year:

Cost: $155.40 for 1 year

#3 WordPress Themes

We recommend WordPress – unless you’re an expert in other platform (e.g. Magento, Drupal, Joomla and so forth). It’s because WordPress is flexible and has a strong community. With our business, WordPress allows us create mobile-responsive pages to help us market to mobile users. We personally chose this theme because of its modern design.  Plus, it’s “viewer-friendly”. You can read the articles and see the layout even at a distance:


You can go to Theme Forest or Studio Press for themes. Of course, you can choose free themes included on every WP release. But security can be an issue with free WordPress themes. That’s because they don’t update as often as their paid counterparts.

Paid WordPress themes boast top-of-the line features as well as support. Sometimes, however, these features become liabilities as they slowdown your website. If you choose paid themes, prepare to shell out $49 to $59 one-time fee.

Cost: Let’s go for the $49.00 one-time fee

#4 Autoresponder

An autoresponder is responsible for automating your email campaigns. All you have to do is write your email, insert it into your autoresponder and schedule the publishing. You can even personalize your email and target a particular list. Let’s say you want to send a birthday discount to people who were born this month. You can do that by creating a list and include those people.

It’s that simple.

In affiliate marketing, autoresponders handles your bulk email especially during launches and promos. You can divide each list and send customized offers on each one of them.

We recommend GetResponse since it works well with our launches. Moreover, it integrates well with Leadpages and Optimize Press 2.0 – two products we currently use. You can start with its $15.00/month subscription to accommodate your first 1,000 subscribers:


Cost: $15.00/month for the first 1,000 subscribers

#5 Social Media account

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.

These platforms are all free so you should create one.

Or, you can try their “business versions” here:

Twitter for business
LinkedIn for business
Facebook Business Manager
Instagram for business

YouTube for business has to integrate with a Google+ page first.

Having a business page allows you to run ads that boost engagement and conversion during launch. But since you’re just starting out, you might keep your ad budget for now.

Cost: Free

#6 Keyword Research Tool

Keyword research tools allow you to find the hottest search terms your audience are using. You can use these search terms in your content: blog article, video title, social media post, domain name, menus, tags and categories. You can even name your products out of these search terms so people can find your offer.

Start free with Google’s Keyword planner. And since you have to target several platforms, explore Bing’s Keyword Research as well.

Cost: Free

#7 Affiliate Network

An affiliate network is the marketplace where you sell your product or service. This is also the platform where you find people – or JV partners – who will promote your product to their list. Since you’re just starting, look for products that you would likely buy if you were a customer. Most probably, these are the same products you will promote once you start your business.

Here’s a sample list of affiliate networks:
CJ by Conversant
ebay Partner Network

Each network has charges or fees. Some has a frontend fee while others require a percentage for unit sold.

JVZoo, our preferred network, requires a 5% commission fee from the gross selling price on each product or service sold. So technically, it’s free.

Cost: Free

#8 Paypal account

Paypal will handle your finances as you sell/buy products online. It will also accept commissions or payments from JV partners or customers. Likewise, you can send money through Paypal.

Choose Paypal’s Premiere or Business accounts to enjoy more benefits like:
Accepting unlimited credit card payments
Multiple logins
Accept payments to your website
Accept international payments
24/7 customer service
Make mass payments at once (Business account only)

Cost: Free

#9 Outsourcing

If you’re tight on budget, you can bypass this expense and go solo. Which means, you have to do the following by yourself:

  • Content marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Social Media marketing
  • SEO
  • Web and graphic design
  • Networking with JV’s
  • Customer service
  • Programming (if you’re involved in the software niche)
  • Other ad hoc jobs

Hey, it’s alright to start by yourself. One, you’ll have a better understanding how your business works inside-out. Two, you’re not paying someone else which means less operating expense. Three, you should be able to design your business on your own terms.

But if you want to fast track your progress, then, there’s no other way than to leverage other people’s skills.

You can start with hiring a writer to populate your site with content. I chose article writing because blogposts are the easiest, quickest and most affordable content to produce – unlike video or podcast.

Start looking for your candidate on these outsourcing sites:


A contractor can charge $2.00 to $100.00 an hour. Let’s say you want your writer to produce 60 monthly articles. If you’re choosing Fiverr, a 400-500 word article costs $5. That’s $300 in a month or $1.875 per hour.

Cost: $300 a month

#10 Education

Product creation
Business development
Affiliate Marketing
Public speaking

the list goes on…

Your number 1 investment is yourself. So, get your hands on every course that will benefit your business the most. If you choose our Alchemy programs, you can set aside $97.00 for the Affiliate Marketing Alchemy and $297 for the Product Creation Alchemy.

Cost: $394.00 with lifetime membership + exclusive access to our community


As the name implies, adding the following items will make your business better. These are optional items that we find effective in marketing our launches and promos. We heavily use both solutions since they are critical to our business. As we market our products online, both software enable us to create campaigns faster and more efficient. I don’t think we can thrive on this niche if we used a different software.

Optimize Press 2.0

Optimize Press or “OP” is a tool we use to create landing pages, sales pages and membership sites. With Optimize Press, you don’t have to install separate plugins to create your pages. Optimize Press has all the things you need for a professional, high-converting sales page:

  • WYSIWIG editor
  • Custom HTML/shortcode
  • Files upload
  • Calendar
  • Countdown timer
  • Text box
  • Pricing table
  • Video player
  • Testimonials box
  • Order box
  • Image box

And many more…

Plus, you can integrate your autoresponder, Paypal account and your JV partner’s affiliate id within the sales page.

Here’s an example of our sales page created using Optimize Press 2.0:


Optimize Press 2.0 starts at $97 for core package – usable in 3 sites.

Cost: $97.00 one-time fee



Unlike Optimize Press, Leadpages offer a wide-range of templates. If you’re pressed for time or just want to launch your business right away, then, Leadpages is your best bet.

Leadpages divided its templates into categories which makes it easy to use:


And here’s what makes Leadpages cool:

You can “borrow” their customer’s high-converting sales page and use it as your own. Meaning, you can potentially enjoy the same results by downloading the template and inserting your own content. There’s no need to change the design or the layout.

Pricing starts at $25.00/month.

Cost: $25.00/month for standard features


Your $1,000 (or less) Affiliate Marketing Business …

So here’s the breakdown of your affiliate marketing investment:

1st Month:

      • Domain Name: $10.69
      • Hosting: $155.40
      • WordPress Theme: $49.00
      • Autoresponder: $15.00
      • Social Media Account: Free
      • Keyword Research Tool: Free
      • Affiliate Network: Free
      • Paypal Acct.: Free
      • Outsourcing: $300.00
      • Education: $394.00

TOTAL = $924.00 ($1,021.94 if you add Optimize Press 2.0 / $949.09 if you add Leadpages)

As you can see, it’s possible to start your business with just $1,000. The good thing is, you can still bring this down a notch with careful planning and research.


Starting an affiliate marketing business doesn’t have to be expensive. Start with the basics – especially your education – and you’re good to go. In fact, you can still adjust your budget if you decide to do some of the jobs on your own (i.e. writing, designing, SEO and marketing).

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