You may be trading time for money, and that’s okay. In the beginning, many people chose this route as it’s the easiest to earn money by providing a service rather than just jumping straight to selling products. If you’re new, you’re a nobody => no credibility => no one is going to buy your product.
If you’re just starting and don’t have testimonials yet, you could provide a service for free.
There are 2 ways you could do this:
- Provide service to your list
- Provide service to your favorite influencer (if no list)
- Email them / message them on social media and tell them what you’ve done for them.
- Keep the message short and simple. Make sure it doesn’t need huge mental power to understand. Use “you” and “your” a lot, make it all about them.
Pretty straightforward. Just contact your list and offer your service.
Observe the person's social media timeline to see what they might need that you could provide. Or if they’re not in need of anything, you can browse through their website and do something for them.
No need to ask them for permission. Just do it. Even if they don’t need your service, they’ll still appreciate that you’ve taken the time and effort to create something for them. It might lead to future paid projects or even a recommendation to their network.
The purpose now is to catch their attention, let them notice you, and that’s the beginning of your relationship with them.
Be the first one to reach out, instead of waiting for others to reach out to you. Strike up a conversation first (via emails, social media, etc). You’re not going to respond if a stranger asks you to promote their products in your first interaction, right? Then don’t do it to others.
Here Magnus is trying to build goodwill by offering to design a logo for free:
The key thing for this strategy is to only recommend products/services that:
- Benefit your target audience AND
- Are relevant to your niche
E.g. You’re a content creator and you blog about healthy vegetarian food. Don’t promote the latest iPhone or airline tickets. Promote only related things -- e.g. natural ingredients, good durable pans, home-made recipes.
When you find a suitable product/service, promote it using your affiliate link or you could also promote it without expecting anything in return (i.e. no affiliate links).
The problem with the latter approach is that (1) the vendor has no way of knowing you referred them sales, apart from showing them screenshots of your promotion, and (2) you’ll not get any commissions. The latter approach is effective only if the vendor is small or at best runs a tiny team. If you promote a big company, your chances of building a good relationship with them is slim.
The good thing is you’ll be building a good relationship with this vendor/person. You’re playing the long term game. Even if you don’t get immediate benefits (by way of commissions), you’ll get their attention and appreciation, which will come in handy in the long term.
Disclaimer: I’ve never tried these services before. I’m simply listing them for your convenience.
DIY: You can also skip the middleman and put up a package where people can directly sponsor your email messages and/or website. You can sell ad spaces per email, per x number of emails, or a combination of x emails and website placement on certain pages, etc.
Basically folks who love what you do can shower you with their love and support by giving you donations.