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Beat the Commission Cuts: How Amazon Affiliate Niche Sites Can Pivot to FBA



Beat the Commission Cuts: How Amazon Affiliate Niche Sites Can Pivot to FBA

For some affiliate marketers, 2020 has been extra cruel.

One of the most popular and accessible affiliate networks, Amazon Associates, cut referral commissions for a number of categories, resulting in a drastic cut in revenue for a huge number of sites.

If you’re part of that number, you’ve got a couple of options. Either stay put and accept less money in your pocket, or look for a pivot to regain what was lost.

In this post, we’re going to introduce a couple of options if you were hit by the commission cuts. In particular, how you can diversify your business and sell physical products with Amazon FBA.

Amazon Associates’ 2020 Commission Changes

First, a short introduction to the aforementioned commission cuts.

As of April 21, 2020, the rates for most product categories were altered pretty dramatically. Among the hardest hit:

  • Furniture, Home, Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Pets, Pantry all went from 8% commission to 3%
  • Headphones, Beauty, Musical Instruments, Business & Industrial supplies from 6% to 3%.
  • Grocery from 5% to 1%
  • Health & Personal Care from 4.5% to 1%

You can imagine the impact for a site making all or most of its revenue through affiliate commissions for products in these categories.

The reception from affected affiliates has been as you’d expect. Some even went so far as to launch a petition to reverse the rate change, which as of writing, gathered nearly 20,000 signatures.

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Along with a drop in revenue, this correlates to a drop in sale value for sites which rely on Amazon Associates’ commissions. So cutting bait and getting out of the game won’t nearly be as profitable as it once was.

Alternatives to Amazon Associates

While Amazon may be a one of the most popular and accessible affiliate networks, it’s by far the only one. It’s also not the only monetization method for a niche or authority site.

Affiliate Networks

Other affiliate networks are one place to look for a pivot. There are competing online marketplaces, such as Walmart, eBay and Target, all of whom are challenging Amazon’s hold over the e-commerce game, and will be eager to pick up on some of the disgruntled Amazon Associates marketers.

Then there are affiliate networks that put you more in touch with brands themselves, as opposed to a marketplace. These networks include ShareASale, CJ and Rakuten. The advantage of these affiliate programs is often a substantially higher commission compared to Amazon Associates, even before the rate cuts.

The downside is you have less variety than Amazon – you may not be able to find all the best products in your niche with their own affiliate program. Many programs also don’t have the site-wide cookie that Amazon does, which allows you to earn commissions even when someone buys a product several clicks in.

Ad Platforms

Many affiliate sites are already making money by serving ads. However, if you’re not, and your income was primarily through Amazon Associates, it’s something to seriously consider.

Google AdSense is one of the biggest and most notable ad programs, currently used by more than 10 million websites.

Ad platforms like AdSense or Ezoic are popular because all you have to do is paste a bit of code on your site, and they will optimize and run ads, and you get paid for it. It’s a low-effort way to start monetizing your site traffic.

The major downside is that it takes away some control over the look and feel of your site. Some site owners would rather not show ads, which can look spammy and out of place. It can also have a negative impact on site speed, again hurting customer experience and potentially SEO.

Sell Your Own Products via FBA

Another alternative is to move from only promoting other peoples’ products, to selling your own.

This is obviously a bigger pivot than the previous options. Switching to another affiliate network just requires you to find new affiliate programs, swap out some links, and potentially re-write some content. While signing up to AdSense or Ezoic requires just a change in site design.

Selling your own products requires more work to get rolling, but has the payoff of higher revenue and more control over your business in the end.

What is FBA?

FBA is Fulfilled By Amazon, Amazon’s fulfillment network for the third-party marketplace. It presents a convenient shortcut for anyone who wants to start selling products online, by taking care of a lot of the cumbersome tasks involved in taking products from Point A (supplier/manufacturer) to Point B (the customer).

With FBA, you arrange for products to be shipped to Amazon’s warehouses, where they handle storage, packing, picking, shipping to the customer, as well as returns and customer service.

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This allows you to focus on marketing and getting your products in front of people – much like affiliate marketing, except you have much more control over, and return from the revenue stream.

Why FBA?

So why would you want to pivot and sell your own products?

To start with, there’s no need to choose one or the other. You can absolutely monetize your site with a mix of both. There’s nothing wrong with having a bunch of articles reviewing products that you earn affiliate commissions on, as well as having your own product(s) you promote.

This is actually an extremely effective way to run your business. It gives you a much more diversified source of revenue. Anyone whose eggs were all in the Amazon Associates basket prior to April will surely know the value of diversification.

Selling your own products gives you more control over your business. It gives you something to promote that you actually own, rather than renting part of the revenue from someone else (Amazon, for example).

Affiliate revenue is great because of the low overhead and passive income, but it’s smart to supplement that with a more solid revenue model.

As for why FBA and Amazon in particular, over selling directly on your site? One reason is the ease at which you can sell products online with FBA. You almost certainly need to hire a team to manage sales and fulfillment if you’re responsible for the whole package, from storage to order management and shipping.

But with all that Amazon takes care of for you with FBA, you can often operate as a solopreneur, as many affiliate marketers are already.

Another plus is the customer base Amazon has. This is why FBA, at its core, is very much like running an affiliate site. The hardest part is getting initial traction. Once you do, whether it’s ranking in Google Search or Amazon Search, people are going to find you by themselves, and you’ll make money passively. No need to worry about customer acquisition.

Why Affiliate Marketers Are in the Perfect Position to Launch on Amazon

Pivoting or diversifying to selling FBA products is particularly interesting for people running niche sites, as they’re in the perfect position to get quick traction on Amazon.

Here’s why.

The biggest problem for FBA sellers, and the reason many people struggle to get off the ground, is getting traffic to products.

When you first launch a product, it has zero visibility. In order to get your product to rank and sell, you need sales in the first place. Which you can’t get if no one can see your product.

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For most sellers, this means pumping a large sum of money into Amazon Ads, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, or full-price rebates to get the initial sales kick needed to start selling organically. Launches are not cheap – the days of starting an Amazon business with $200 and a dream are over.

Now imagine you have a successful website that already gets a lot of organic traffic. You’re in a unique position to launch products on Amazon, because you already have a customer base.

No need for huge advertising costs for your product launch – simply put your product in front of the people who are already coming to your site.

Even better if you have an email list, a targeted Facebook audience, or any other assets you can use to drive traffic.

This is a position that other Amazon sellers dream about, while they’re sinking thousands of dollars into every product launch, just to scrape the sales necessary to get to the front page.

How to Start Selling on Amazon FBA

There are some steps to start selling products with FBA that are different to what you’re used to, but it’s not as big a learning curve as you’d think.

The biggest step is sourcing your products and dealing with suppliers – however, if you’ve been running a site for a while and outsourcing content, this isn’t too much different to ordering content and dealing with writers. The fundamentals are all the same.

Here are the broad strokes to starting out with physical products on FBA.

Pick the right products

First thing is, you need to choose what to sell.

Obviously you’ll want to sell something that’s part of your niche. Ideally it will also be something you have a decent amount of content on.

For example, let’s say you’re going to sell testosterone supplements. If you have content that ranks well about testosterone and testosterone supplements, you can pivot your content to promote your own product. You’re well-positioned since you have a targeted audience looking for what you have to sell already.

You’ll also want to do a little market research. Sure you may be ranking for “best [product name]”, but if there are a lot of well-known products here by big brands, it’s going to be hard to get much traction for your product.

Use an Amazon product research tool to check the demand for products on Amazon search. You’ll want to make sure that the product(s) you choose have keywords with a lot of search volume, and that the products ranking for these keywords aren’t too ingrained in the SERP.

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Reviews are a good indicator of competitiveness. If you’re up against products with thousands of reviews, it will be tough going.

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If you can find a category with high sales potential and products ranking have low reviews, you’re on to a winner.

Source your products

Next, and probably the task with the most effort required, is sourcing a manufacturer for your product.

The most common way to find people to supply products is SaleHoo or Alibaba. These marketplaces have just about every kind of product available in wholesale, direct from the manufacturer or supplier.

The first step is to search for the kind of product you want to sell. You’ll see the cost per unit for each product, as well as minimum order quantities.

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From here you can contact the supplier to make an order, as well as discuss alterations to your product.

A few things you want to keep in mind when sourcing products are:

  • Cost: you need to ensure that, after shipping costs and all Amazon fees are applied, you still have a healthy profit margin while selling your product at a competitive price.
  • MOQ (minimum order quantities): some products might look like they have a really attractive price, until you realize you need to order at least 10,000 units.  Low minimum order quantities means less risk, and less overhead required.
  • Check the supplier’s history and ratings, to ensure you’re getting something from an experienced and qualified supplier.

You should order a sample before committing to an order, so you can see for yourself what you’re going to get, and what changes may need to be made. Additionally, pay for an inspection service when you make an order, to ensure the products that get shipped to Amazon are top quality.

Use your knowledge of the niche to make the next best-seller

There’s one more product creation step after deciding what to sell and finding someone to make it for you – differentiating yourself from the competition.

You don’t have to create something completely new from scratch, but you also don’t want to sell something right off Alibaba with your label slapped on it. Chances are, someone else on Amazon is selling the exact same thing.

What you want to do is come up with a small improvement or two and have your supplier make the changes. This is another area you’re in a great position to launch your own product.

If you’ve been producing and publishing content related to your product already, you’ll be aware of some of the common pros and cons for competing problems. Find a common thread in the negatives column of all your product reviews? There you go, you’ve got a great idea for a selling point over the competition.

List & optimize for Amazon search

Once you have your product ready to go, you’ll need to list your product on Amazon.

A big part of creating your product listing is optimizing your keywords for Amazon search. Again, if you’ve been running a site and optimizing for Google SEO, this won’t be an unfamiliar process.

Much like Google SEO, you want to sprinkle keywords throughout your listing copy, so the search engine knows what your product is about. The highest-volume, most targeted keywords should be featured most prominently – your product title is the most valuable real estate.

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Don’t forget to research as many long-tail keywords as you can, and include these throughout your product listing. Doing so will help you appear for more searches, leading to more organic traffic and sales.

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There are many keyword research tools out there to help you find and prioritize keywords. You can most likely use the same tool you used for product research to decide which keywords to target high up in your listing copy, as well as to find long tails.

Promote your product launch

Finally, you need to let people know about your product. Relatively speaking, this is the easy part for affiliate marketers.

Most sellers don’t have traffic streams at their disposal for product launches. Even seasoned sellers. That leads to needing to spend a huge chunk of money to get in front of people.

With a niche site getting traffic, this is not a worry. You’ve got the traffic, now you just need to send them to your product.

A great idea is to add a popup to your site (or to a collection of pages, depending how niche your product is), offering a discount to your audience to purchase your product on Amazon.

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If you have an email list, send out a couple of blasts to your list.

Of course you’ll also want to mention your product in any related content. Have a “top 10 [x]” post for your product? Put yours at #1.

These are ways you can start generating sales right away on Amazon while still breaking even. Most Amazon sellers only dream of product launches that are also profitable.

If you want to go all-in on your product launch, and you’ve had a Facebook Pixel on your site collecting data, you can run a Facebook Ads campaign to promote your launch as well. Facebook Ads can take a lot of money to run, but if you’ve already got a targeted collection of data (such as Pixel data or an email list), this cost is cut down significantly.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, Amazon is a great traffic source for selling products online. The problem is that, usually, it costs a lot to launch a product and rank high enough to be able to tap into that traffic source.

This is why affiliate sites are perfectly positioned to start selling their own products via Amazon FBA. You have your own way to generate traffic (which the majority of Amazon sellers don’t), as well as knowledge of the niche and related topics.

By using one traffic source (your site’s traffic) to tap into another (Amazon search), you’ll multiply your earning power, while building a more diversified business that isn’t at risk so much from snap changes like Amazon’s affiliate commission cuts.

Andrew Buck is the head of content at LandingCube, a software tool for Amazon sellers marketing on external traffic channels. He comes from down under in Hamilton, New Zealand, but now lives as a digital nomad in Southeast Asia. When he’s not writing about Amazon selling, he spends time working on his own affiliate sites, as well as practicing mixed martial arts.


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Can Travel Blogs Make Money?



travel blogging

Travel blogging has surged in popularity, enticing globetrotters and storytellers to share their adventures with the world. From beautiful landscapes to cultural insights, travel blogs offer readers a window into different corners of the globe. However, amidst the appeal of wanderlust and the promise of digital nomadism, a crucial question looms: can travel blogs make money?

Understanding the Landscape

Before delving into profitability, it’s essential to grasp the dynamics of the travel blogging landscape. With the rise of social media platforms and accessible website hosting, anyone passionate about travel can start a blog relatively quickly. This has led to a market saturation, with countless travel blogs vying for attention.

Pros of Profitability

Monetization Opportunities: While success isn’t guaranteed, profitable avenues exist within travel blogging. Many travel bloggers monetize their platforms through various channels, including affiliate marketing, sponsored content, brand partnerships, ad networks, and selling digital products like e-books or courses.

Passive Income Potential: Once established, travel blogs have the potential to generate passive income streams. High-quality content remains accessible to readers long after publication, attracting organic traffic and generating revenue through advertisements or affiliate links without ongoing effort.

Travel Perks and Opportunities: Successful travel bloggers often receive complimentary travel accommodations, tours, and experiences in exchange for exposure on their platforms. This not only reduces the financial burden of travel but also enriches the blogger’s content with unique experiences and destinations.

Personal Branding and Influence: Building a successful travel blog can elevate your brand and establish you as an authority in the travel niche. This can open doors to speaking engagements, freelance writing opportunities, and collaborations beyond blogging, further diversifying your income streams.

Cons and Challenges

Initial Investment and Time: Contrary to popular belief, achieving profitability in travel blogging requires significant investment and time commitment. From domain registration and website hosting fees to content creation and marketing efforts, building a successful travel blog demands upfront investment and perseverance.

Competition and Saturation: With the proliferation of travel blogs, standing out amidst the competition is increasingly challenging. Navigating the saturated market requires unique content, consistent engagement with your audience, and strategic marketing efforts to attract and retain readers.

Income Volatility: Income generated from travel blogging can be volatile and unpredictable. Relying solely on revenue streams such as ad networks, affiliate marketing, or sponsored content leaves bloggers vulnerable to fluctuations in market trends, advertiser preferences, and algorithm changes.

Work-Life Balance and Burnout: Maintaining a travel blog involves juggling multiple responsibilities, from content creation and website management to networking and monetization strategies. Without careful time management and boundaries, travel bloggers risk burnout and sacrificing the freedom and flexibility they seek to achieve.

Can Travel Blogs Make Money?

The profitability of travel blogging hinges on various factors, including niche selection, content quality, marketing strategies, and resilience in the face of challenges. While opportunities for monetization and personal fulfillment abound, aspiring travel bloggers must approach the endeavor with realistic expectations and a long-term perspective.

Ultimately, success in travel blogging requires passion, perseverance, and adaptability in an ever-evolving digital landscape. By understanding the complexities and nuances of the industry, aspiring travel bloggers can embark on their journey with clarity and purpose, pursuing profitability while sharing their love for travel with the world.

Alexandrea Sumuel

Alexandrea Sumuel is a nationally syndicated travel writer and founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog. With 16 years of online marketing and SEO experience, a business management and information technology degree, and a profitable travel blog, she can help you start a travel blog or accelerate your existing blog with one-on-one coaching.

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3,066 victims lose over $45m in job scams between Oct 2023 and Jan 2024



3,066 victims lose over $45m in job scams between Oct 2023 and Jan 2024

SINGAPORE – At least 3,066 victims lost $45.7 million or more after they were targeted in job scams between Oct 1, 2023, and Jan 31, 2024, the police said on Feb 20.

Scammers approached their victims through dating apps, messaging platforms or social media to befriend them or offer jobs, before asking them to perform tasks for a commission.

In the case of job scams involving tasks to generate traction on social media, the victims were added to WhatsApp or Telegram chat groups by scammers who promised them easy and profitable online jobs.

The scammers claimed that they represented online communications companies, marketing companies or even TikTok.

The victims were asked to follow TikTok or Instagram accounts, subscribe to channels, or like videos on YouTube, posts on or songs on Spotify.

After completing these tasks, they were given a small commission.

Convinced they could earn more, the scam victims accepted further tasks and, in some cases, were given fake employment contracts.

In another scam variant, those targeted received WhatsApp or Telegram messages offering small commissions for completing surveys.

The victims were asked to contact other WhatsApp or Telegram users, or join chat groups where tasks including those to generate traction on social media or transfer money for fake investments would be discussed.

To perform these new tasks, the victims had to open accounts on scam websites and transfer money to bank accounts or cryptocurrency wallets provided by the scammers.

They realised they had been scammed when their website accounts showed a negative balance, and they were told to pay additional funds to upgrade their accounts, or when they could not withdraw their earnings.

People were also scammed in a variant involving affiliate marketing, with scammers approaching and befriending victims on messaging platforms, dating apps or social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

Those targeted were offered a commission to help boost products on e-commerce platforms.

Subsequently, they were referred to other WhatsApp or Telegram users, who instructed them to take screenshots of certain products on e-commerce websites and make payments to specified bank accounts or PayNow numbers before they could get their refunds and commissions.

This process was repeated, beginning with low-cost items before progressing to expensive ones.

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Farmers Growing Their Wealth: Harvesting Free Time To Grow More Than Crops



Chicken laying eggs on farm

People associate land ownership and working the land with farming and agriculture. Although this isn’t inaccurate, there’s a lot more to owning land than farming.

Some ranchers work with cattle and horses. Some host events with picturesque venues. Others farm part of their land and offer Airbnb experiences — a daytime activity or extended stay in an old train or cozy cabin. Zoning and owners set the bar for profit.

Some assume farmers only want to farm, yet agriculture only yields so much profit. Even though many landowners don’t look at farming as a profit mill, most can’t work the land at 80 years of age.

Self-sufficient living appeals to many, but many people consider it overwhelming. Independence appeals to many, yet “giving it all up” isn’t realistic for those wanting to become more self-reliant. Is farming even possible for those who don’t own tons of land, say, only an acre?

Even if it is, farming on that small land would not benefit more than self-sufficiency, right? One lifelong farmer learned to maximize media while still working with his hands. A freelancer turned farm-preneur took the phrase “Grab life by the reins” literally.

Tilling the Fields for Maximum Yield: Derek Lancaster, the Build Wealth Farmer

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Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Derek works on his family farm, Lancaster Farms, in North Carolina. He works well past full-time, with many weeks averaging 80 to 90 hours. Those are entrepreneurial levels, for sure! He explains his and his wife’s mindset on his website and Instagram.

“Being a full-time farmer working 90-hour weeks with a wife who’s a full-time teacher, inflation hit us hard. We went from a life of stable comfort to one of paycheck-to-paycheck stress, hoping to live the ‘American Dream.’”

Imagine working that much only to experience this level of financial strain. Unfortunately, inflation impacts most Americans. 21% of families and 67% of single adults lived paycheck to paycheck, according to LendingClub’s 2023 report. Lancaster doesn’t disclose debt. Living with no safety net is stressful, especially with two full-time providers, children, and significant assets to maintain (e.g., the family farm).

Most folks would find a new job, but that won’t be an option for Lancaster. Without selling land and moving closer to a city, there was no “finding a new job.” He chose to take a personal risk by trying a new, alternative income stream.

Don’t Be Passive About Growing Wealth

Focused young couple calculating bills, discussing planning budget together, serious wife and husband looking at laptop screen, using online banking services and calculator, checking financesFocused young couple calculating bills, discussing planning budget together, serious wife and husband looking at laptop screen, using online banking services and calculator, checking finances
Image Credit: fizkes/Shutterstock.

Although wannabe financial influencers use phrases like passive income, it’s often a scam. In reality, earning income is never passive. Even with leverage income goods (e.g., ebooks, courses), setup and maintenance are often required. For folks with work weeks like Lancaster, these tempting scams rely on desperation.

Yet passive income, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), only includes:

  • Dividends, interest, and annuities
  • Royalties
  • Rents from real property and personal property leased with real property
  • Gains from sales, exchanges, or other dispositions of property (with some exceptions)
  • Sale of goods income without production, delivery, or inventory

These categories fall into the more reputable passive income programs sold online. Most of these programs and micro-influencers need to share how much time and energy it takes to build a business, even with passive income.

Fortunately, Lancaster is realistic — although initially doubtful.

“Being someone who works outside all day, I was skeptical that I could do this. But [affiliate marketing] was one of the most beginner-friendly routes I could take. So now I am here, sharing it with as many people as possible to show everyone that you can do this, no matter your background.”

For anyone versed in digital marketing, sound, profitable affiliate marketing takes a lot of time and effort. To Lancaster’s credit, he’s used to a long workweek and is quite the workhorse, so taking on more work seems simple enough.

Harvesting Free Time To Build Wealth

Businessman hand writing and signing white empty bank checkbook with modern computer notebook and wireless mouse on the desk at office. Payment by check paycheck payroll cheque sign conceptualBusinessman hand writing and signing white empty bank checkbook with modern computer notebook and wireless mouse on the desk at office. Payment by check paycheck payroll cheque sign conceptual
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Living paycheck to paycheck, working 90 hours weekly, most would break under the stress. Lancaster felt differently. 

“DONE with stressing over any financial obligations that we came across daily… [and] wanted the freedom to earn income online without the hassle of creating products, fulfilling orders, and handling customer service requests.”

Knowing what he had time for and what he didn’t want to do narrowed down his options. Extra time constraints of operating a farm and spending time with family clarified his options. For Lancaster, affiliate marketing stood out.

He converts a few hours into moneymakers with his skills and dedicated training and learning. On Instagram, he’s forthright with his profits. He’s also very upfront about how much work it takes to start and operate a business like this. Lancaster mentions that this is not passive income but requires dedicated attention.

It is effective, too; his account is manageable. He’s not out here trying to microinfluence with his farm. Instead, he uses affiliate marketing as a supplement to his primary income. The goal is to build up enough wealth that when he does want to retire, he has the option. Instead of being forced to work the land until he’s well into his twilight years, he’s giving himself and his wife a bigger future.

Building wealth during free time is the best use of that time. Instead of escaping from your 9-to-5 grind, use it to explore things that move you. As personal finance expert Michael Dinich suggests, “You gotta try junk.” That’s what free time is for, right?

Increasing profitability requires discipline and clarity. Lancaster’s other commitments limited him and laser-focused his priorities. This focus made it easier for him. To leverage free time and develop a side hustle into something profitable, others might have more work ahead of them.

There’s still hope for those who aren’t currently farmers or landowners! Self-sufficiency can be attained by achieving the work-life balance that comes with it.

Brand Building to Land Owning: Freelancer Turned Farm-preneur, Alexandra Fasulo

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Ronald E Grafe.

Social media makes it easy to find plenty of aesthetic content. Successful content creators play to their viewers’ visual appetites. Much content uses beautiful natural backgrounds and scenery, including vacation footage, rented space that was traveled to, or, in rarer cases, land owned by the creator.

Digital nomads work and love to feature the beautiful spaces they work from. Alexandra Fasulo did this. She taught others how to freelance and thrived off side gigs for a long time. She eventually tired of the digital nomad life and wanted to settle down. On one of her trips, she found a piece of property she fell in love with in upstate New York.

Although some discount her casual buy of 6.74 acres of land, it makes sense when you learn more about her reasoning. She purchased the land using capital, research, and the right loan. Why buy farmland with no prior experience?

Fasulo explains, “We all need to step up and start buying the land in this country before Wall Street does (it’s alarming). I know buying undeveloped land sounds scary. So, I will become the case study in my experiment of how you can turn even less than one acre into YOUR own money-making business.”

Although she’s coming from the reverse end of Lancaster’s experience, their goals are similar. She wanted to remain unfettered from financial stress and build a future that gave her flexibility. Many millennials and zoomers are tired of the 9-to-5 grind, even those who switch to self-employment.

Leveraging Freelancing Skills To Profit Off Farmland

Typing using computer planningTyping using computer planning
Image Credit: Shutterstock/

It’s easy to judge the casualness with which Fasulo bought her land. Yet, she outlines her intention and ideas for purchasing it. Despite the haters, her purchasing process was well-researched.

She details how she found the land on Zillow. She also explains the various loan options available to her. Fasulo clarifies why she didn’t go with a USDA loan over a Farm Credit loan. She also provides alternative suggestions, knowing her financial background differs from others. She clarifies in one of her posts:

“I am using a Farm CREDIT loan, an offshoot of the USDA, NOT a traditional USDA loan. That’s why mine is 25% down, and other loans are NOT. I also DID NOT need to provide a business plan. There are a variety of ways to secure farmland if you want it. If you have $0, that’s ok. There’s $0 down USDA loans for lower-income households, communal farm purchasing, investing, etc.”

With my history as a freelance writer and my dream of owning land, her transparency about the process is refreshing. She doesn’t imitate a real estate, finance, or agriculture expert. Instead, she explains her motivation and goals and the process she’s taking to get there. She’s also fully aware of the mistakes she will make along the way.

Sharing her experience on social media gets her views and potential sponsorships. She leverages her former experience as a content writer to generate newsletters and maintain income, building up everything she has planned for the farmland.

Cultivating More Than Crops

Gardening CommunityGardening Community
Image Credit: Yuri A/Shutterstock.

Although a business plan was not required for her loan, many folks will not follow Fasulo’s route. Farm Credit required a much higher credit score and a 30% down payment, at least in her region. It’s important to look into regional differences because farmland is more valuable for different kinds of agriculture. Loan accommodations for lower income may be more forgiving depending on the demographics and economics in your area.

So far, Fasulo has yet to do much to the property. She closed on the land back in August of 2023. She’s discussed her land plans and made local connections to ease the construction. Although she focuses on sustainably profiting off her land, she still has to develop a lot of infrastructure and knowledge.

One smart move: connecting with local Amish people, whom she hired to build the road to access the back of the property. She also shopped their barn builds for the first structure on her property. They poured the pad for the barn as well.

Aside from a certified land surveyor, most of the physical labor on her land has been done by the Amish.

Knowing she needs to gain the physical skill and practical knowledge to do much of the work, Fasulo leverages her network. In this case, her network was her neighbors. That’s one of the beautiful things about landownership and working in agriculture. Farming communities trend towards interdependence. The mutual exchange of goods and services naturally occurs.

Becoming Financially and Agriculturally Self-Sufficient

Seed PropagationSeed Propagation
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Like many farm owners, Fasulo aims to profit off the land. She wants to set “an example of protecting the environment while making great money. I don’t see many people pursuing the same thing right now!”

After checking that it meets city zoning laws, she’s included a quick list of everything she plans to include on her land.

  • Social media brand deals with green-forward companies
  • Twitch streaming farm animals
  • Plant sales from microgreens, mushrooms, and vertical farming
  • Subscription boxes
  • Event space for weddings, community, etc.
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Email newsletter with ad space
  • Monetized YouTube posts of her process
  • Quarterly courses for locals and visitors

All of the infrastructure needs to be built out. That will take a lot of time, and many mistakes will be made.

Fasulo is open to learning and growing, however. Making a big personal shift like this involves staying open-minded despite adversity. At the end of the day, as Lancaster showcases his lifestyle, working the land takes work. It’s simple, but it requires dedicated and consistent focus.

I look forward to seeing where Fasulo goes with this process and hope she sets a trend for those interested in self-sufficiency.

The Benefits of Self-Sufficient Living

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As Lancaster shows, not everyone can hack the 90-hour work week plus side hustle. Only some people are built for the entrepreneur’s life. However, there is a way to incorporate your existing skills and acquire farmland. Fasulo addresses this a few times by highlighting how little space you need to farm. She’s not experienced like Lancaster, but accessible farming trends like hydroponics and vertical farming simplify growing.

Purchasing grow lights and building hydroponic towers for indoor farming is tough but still doable. Most farmers are independent and need help maintaining the cost of living, maintaining the land, and expanding their farms into a specific, profitable niche. It’s hard when all your working time focuses on caring for your crops or animals.

Work-life balance and self-sufficiency are critical for farmers. Those who have found a way, like Lancaster or Fasulo, are approaching income generation based on their values and necessities.

Leveraging the community can cut costs for any farmer, as Fasulo shows by turning to her local Amish. She can’t build the structures herself, but she can begin to invest more time and infrastructure and expand her ideas for profit.

Although Lancaster focused on affiliate marketing, Fasulo will work through different side hustles to determine the best income generators. Although she’s got a side gig as a marketing liaison for the Amish, I’m sure there’s more hustling she’s doing using her freelancer experience.

Farmers and freelancers can grow wealth by prioritizing work/life balance and embracing self-sufficiency. Explore the possibilities of achieving financial stability and free time through growing crops and building a life based on your values.

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