You’ve got an idea you want to explore with affiliate marketing that’s outside of the typical launch window (site, promo, marketing). You’re thinking BIG.
You need funding.
Funding to realize your affiliate marketing dreams often come from personal earnings and assets. It’s a business, after all, so it’s likely you’ll spend personal capital to get things off the ground.
There are the usual avenues of self-funding:
- Credit cards
- Selling assets
This places the risk on your shoulders but at least doesn’t leave you holding the bag if the affiliate marketing business goes belly up.
Smart business folk play with other people’s money.
It’s all about the leverage.
If the business takes off then you can borrow more – leading to accelerated growth.
Here’s the thing: there’s a lot of money floating around from private and corporate investors.
Money that’s just waiting for the right idea to come along.
The key to all this is persistence – not giving up on the first, second, or hundredth denial.
So, what kind of financing options do you have for getting the business rolling?
What We look for with Financing Options
It doesn’t matter if you’re borrowing $100 or $100,000 – the principles of what to look for remain the same. Not just to make the application process easier by showing your value to the investor but to protect your butt in case things don’t go according to plan.
First thing’s first, you need to know your credit score.
This will give you pretty much all you need to know whether a lot of the options become available. Hopefully, you’ve done well for yourself with keeping those credit accounts in check since many financing options are looking for the 650+ range to even start with decent rates.
(Those under 600 don’t fret – we’re including options, too, so stick with us)
Here are some things we look for that you should consider, too:
- Are they pushing the loan/investment amount beyond what you’re asking?
- What’s the TAR (total amount repayable) looking like?
- What charges can you expect?
- Are they being gimmicky with little sign on bonuses?
With that said…
… what we generally look for is the flexibility with the provider (loan amount, APR/TAR, terms, conditions, and the like).
Remember, we don’t want to take out more than we need. But, we also need those options for additional funding in case we see growth and want to capitalize on our efforts.
Also, we want a platform that’s transparent.
One that we can see the full terms without the bank-speak.
Better yet, if we can borrow from private lenders then we can negotiate better deals.
Honestly, this is something best suited to discuss with a financial advisor. You know, that person that lives and breathes this stuff. Though, we know you’re gung-ho about the prospects so let’s roll with that hype and get you some funding!
The Best Financing Tools for Affiliates
Plenty of options exist to get funding for your business idea.
You could work with banks in your area to set up a small business loan. There’s the option of working with the SBA (for U.S. affiliates). Online lenders provide an option. Crowdfunding is the hip, new way of getting things rolling. Then credit unions and business grants play a part, too.
It’s hard to explain an affiliate business to a lot of those behind the pen & paper.
They often look for something tangible so when you’re talking about selling other people’s products for a commission you may draw blank stares.
What’s a good way to dodge having to deal with these types? Take it online…
Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lending platform offering personal loans up to $40,000 and small business loans up to $300,000. The site connects borrowers with investors through an online marketplace.
Lending Club works as the intermediary to facilitation the transaction (for a small cut).
It works like this:
- Borrower needs money so they create an account and share their vision and financial details
- Investors look over the listings, inquire, fund their account, and initiate a loan
Loans are broken up into notes so the borrower’s risk is mitigated – it’s distrusted among the many peers that may invest in the business idea.
The business loans offered through Lending Club is a little different because it’s like working with traditional financial institutions.
Qualifications for a business loan includes:
- 2+ years in business
- $75,000 in annual sales
- No recent bankruptcies or tax liens
- Own at least 20% of your business
- At least fair or better personal credit
You can use the calculator to get an idea of what you qualify for and take it from there.
Overall, Lending Tree is an excellent option for those having trouble with the usual financing options; these small, micro-loans can be a great way to get everything starts with the affiliate business without taking on too much – meaningless risk all around.
PayPal Working Capital (or Credit)
PayPal has two options for businesses and entrepreneurs:
- Working Capital – A way to get extra capital based on your sales
- Credit – A direct line of personal credit that you could use with a small venture
Working Capital offers a small loan up to 30% of what your annual PayPal sales are and no more than $97,000. This is great for those already showing a nice return on investment with their affiliate marketing business especially since most payouts are through the payment platform.
This program has a one-time fixed fee and allows you to set a repayment percentage. Other than that, there aren’t any other fees.
Repayment is done automatically based on the percentage you chose with a minimum 10% every 90-days to keep the loan in good standing.
What about Credit?
This is about the same as you’d find with a credit card – submit your info and they’ll determine whether they’ll give you a line of credit. The awesome part is the no annual fee and that it’s already integrated into your PayPal account. Though, you can expect a 19.99% APR.
PayPal Credit extends your buying power and has no payments and interest if it’s paid in full within 6-months of the initial purchase.
Overall, Credit is probably the way you should go to give that initial capital with the affiliate stuff. This will give you the base amount to set up a couple sites and begin earning. Then, you can use those earnings to show your credibility when applying to the Working Capital.
Kabbage is a provider of small business funding with credit lines up to $150,000.
You’ll know your qualification within 10 minutes and if approved can set either 6 or 12-month terms.
It works like this:
- Enter your business info and revenue data (online or via app)
- Submit the application and wait…
- Get a decision
- Start spending your money
Obviously, there’s a little more to it on the backend but the process is straightforward compared to the normal avenues for small business funding.
There are the prereqs like having a minimum $50,000 in annual revenue (or $4,200 a month over the past three months) and 1+ year in business.
This is going to be the big limiter for those just starting and want to test the whole affiliate marketing thing but for many, it’s not a biggie if they’re coming from another industry (many affiliates are those already running successful businesses but want something new and more hands-off).
What’s nice is that you don’t have to accept the offer.
The repayment process is damn simple:
- 1/6 or 1/12th of the loan based on terms
- 4% fee rate (with 6-mo) or 3% fee rate (with 12-mo)
These fees, however, can range from 1.5% to 10% – you can use their loan calculator to understand what these will be before applying.
Overall, the higher borrowing amount should be more than enough to get you through the first year (or two) when doing affiliate marketing. A successful launch combined with a couple thousand toward marketing the right product (and advertising) can easily net some serious return on investment. Making the terms pittance compared to what you’re making.
A Few Things about Business Lending
It’s awfully tempting to take on loans when you’re getting a start with any entrepreneurial venture but it’s not entirely necessary with affiliate marketing.
Because the overhead is so low.
You could realistically get started in this industry for less than $100 between the domain, hosting, and site theme.
The main thing you’re spending is sweat equity.
Affiliate programs are free to sign up so there goes any barrier of entry when it comes to products and services to sell. Then, you have content marketing and social media that’ll attract leads so again it comes down to time and effort.
The main thing you’d need money for is the advertising – like PPC Advertising.
The advertising is something you want to invest in once things begin to take off because it’s the difference between having your promotional review show up on page #2 or #3 vs smack dab in their face in search results and social shares.
Borrowing too Much
It’s nice to have the extra capital to throw at the business but it’s possible to borrow too much.
Meaning you’re taking out more than what’s needed to get the operations going. All that’s doing is giving you a higher repayment rate, higher APR, and more stress to perform.
Plus, if credit cards at a young age are a good indicator, you may go a little spend crazy since you have the money and it’s burning a hole in your pocket. You don’t need to retrofit the entire office!
Use a financing calculator to get a good idea of what you really need.
Figure up the 1st-year operational costs if you were to go all in with items like your personal accountability and the business operations. Also, add a little buffer (emergency fund) in the event something goes off the rails.
Again, this is a good time to talk with a financial advisor.
There’s a lot you can write off on your taxes:
- Vehicle expenses
- Legal fees
- Business travel & entertainment
If business interest comes from a legitimate expense than this, too, is a tax deductible.
Do yourself a favor: get an accountant.
Once you come into this money you’ll want to make it work in your favor.
Working with an accountant not only lets you get the most when filing taxes but they’ll also give you the inside scoop on when to make those business purchases to optimize deductions. Combine this with your knowledge of online deals and you can keep costs super low!
Last Words on Financial Tools & Services
It’s a little scary taking on small business loans and investments because it means you must perform.
We mentioned it’s not all that warranted since the costs of getting started with affiliate marketing is so low. Honestly, we say test the waters, first, with a small entry into the industry – to appease your appetite for online earnings.
Then, if you feel this is something you can really get behind – go all out! Get that loan that’ll let you scale to a dozen affiliate sites; hire those freelancers, designers, and developers to quickly realize your ideas or use that money to buy an existing property that’s earning money.
Let’s recap real quick:
- Know your credit score and where you stand with your finances
- Set a limit to what you plan to borrow so you don’t go overboard
- Talk with a financial advisor and accountant about your plans!
- Use peer-to-peer lending or credit options to take on a small loan
- Invest into the properties that matter (don’t get frivolous)
- Know what you can write off in business expenses come tax time
- Hammer it hard once you see campaigns and ventures show promising ROI
There you have it.
Some various ways to get the funding you need. Not so intimidating now that you don’t have to sit across from a bank person, yeah? There are lots of options out there besides the ones we mentioned. Be sure to check them out but otherwise give these a run for their money first.
Questions? Comments? Have your say in the comments below.