UPDATED: September 23rd, 2019

The Goal of Passive Income

The Holy Grail of affiliate marketing is to earn passive income – a steady stream of money that rolls into your PayPal and bank accounts. An income stream that you can predict and rely upon, month after month. A source of moolah that you don’t have to actually work for.

That is the dream, isn’t it?

How Affiliate Marketers Actually Work

Most affiliate marketers are lazy. I know I am. We want to earn instant commissions on sales made through our websites. More traffic equals more sales, right?

Well, there are several major problems with this business model:

  1. You’re basically hoping that your content is enticing enough to get visitors to buy something through your link – you’re basically selling to cold traffic.
  2. You may be hawking products you haven’t even bought yourself but they sound good, so they’ll appeal to your visitors, right? But how can you stand over something you’ve no direct experience of using yourself?
  3. You have no relationship with your visitors (most of whom are not repeat visitors) so you’re very unlikely to get repeat customers. Your buyers are more likely to be be what I call drive-by buyers.
  4. You’re not building an email list of potential customers and buyers that you can build a relationship with and market to again and again.

Being Smarter

Smarter marketers are a little less lazy and use incentives to prompt visitors into buying from them. A typical example of this is providing oodles of bonuses that are worth more than the product itself.

Clickfunnels® Bonuses

However, many make the mistake of offering tatty, old PLR products that are outdated or practically useless.

Even if you’re one of those who does your best to provide quality, related, relevant bonus products, you’re still not building an email list.

Strange as it may seem, email marketing is still one of the most profitable ways of making money online.

Taking Affiliate Marketing Seriously

The smartest marketers will build an email list. This is a business asset that’s independent of the whims of Google (especially) and its endless algorithm updates which can affect how your money sites rank.

The simplest way to build a list is to put an optin form on your website.

But what if you want to collect the email addresses of people who buy through your links?

How do you do that when the traffic is ultimately being sent to the seller’s product page.

One way to do that is to ask your customers to hand over their email address before you direct them to the download page for your bonuses. This approach could annoy some of the people who did buy through your link though.

Another is to simply add an optin form to your bonus download page. You’ll get fewer signups this way but it’s more customer-friendly.

A third approach is to buy a business-in-a-box – like CB Passive Income (which I reviewed here) or Commission Automation – which has email marketing built into it.

With these types of franchise, your affiliate links are included in the emails sent out automatically to people who bought a product through your link.

With some of these, you get to own the email list and can send your own promotions to subscribers. With others, emails are simply tagged with your affiliate links but you have no direct access to the list itself.

A business-in-a-box is a great way to start if you’re a newbie to list building. All the hard work is done for you. There are no emails to write, products to research, blog posts to write, autoresponders to pay for.

Everything you need is “in the box”.

And while that’s working on your behalf in the background, you can learn how to go about building a list yourself so you can build your own business asset.

Passive Income Is The Holy Grail

Passive Income Is The Holy Grail of Affiliate Marketers

But the prime goal of affiliate marketers is to generate lasting passive income streams.

This is the sell-it-once-get-paid-regularly-thereafter idea.

You’re not constantly hawking new products to your website visitors and having to write new content to promote those products.

Instead, you direct people to a quality evergreen product that provides real value or an indispensable service.

And that product will sell itself continuously because of its quality.

And people will be happy to pay for it month after month.

And you earn a commission each and every month for every subscriber you’ve sent to it.

That’s why membership sites are such powerful revenue generators.

But you’ve got to provide something that people NEED, not just want.

That brings me, finally,  to Clickfunnels®…

The Clickfunnels® Affiliate Program

What Clickfunnels Can Do

I heard about Clickfunnels®, oh I guess about a year ago.

I didn’t pay it much attention. It just seemed to be another internet marketing tool in a sea of such tools.

Yeah, it built squeeze pages (optin pages) and did some other stuff but there were plenty of WordPress plugins that could do that too.

So I forgot about it.

Then a few months ago, I started hearing a lot of talk about sales funnels.

We’re all familiar with them: you buy a front-end product, get subjected to a number of one time offers, upsells and downsells and maybe get added to the seller’s email list.

The thing is, that now it was affiliate marketers who were building sales funnels, not just product creators.

And I started hearing about Click funnels again.

So I looked into it. Again, I had the same thoughts – why would I pay monthly for a service that does the same job as a WordPress plugin that I pay for only once?

Clickfunnels® is the brainchild of Russell Brunson who’s been in internet marketing for 15 years. Over that time he’s created and built up several businesses (some of which he’s sold on). So he has a long track record of of success and coming up with great products.

So that was one of the factors that made me go with Clickfunnels®.

Another was that he’s a very successful email marketer. In fact, what Russell doesn’t know about marketing in general probably isn’t worth knowing.

He put his expertise in building sales funnels and email marketing front and center when he created Clickfunnels®. So knowing a knowledgeable businessman was behind the service was another factor.

Since I’m always on the lookout for new products and services to promote, I checked if they had an affiliate program.

Well, of course they did.

Free To Join Affiliate Program

Anyone can sign up which was nice to see. I hate when someone charges you to become an affiliate. This is usually under the guise of “we only want quality affiliates” when it’s really about “we want your money”.

Anyway, the free-to-join Clickfunnels® affiliate program pays up to a 40% commission.

Clickfunnels® Affiliate Program Benefits

If you’re used to promoting products from Clickbank, that might seem a little on the low side. If you’re used to promoting products on Amazon, it will seem amazingly generous.

Clickfunnels® is a tool that requires real-world resources like web servers, office space, development costs and paying their employees a salary.

So while it provides a service to the online world, it is still a bricks-and-mortar business that generates all the expenses that go with such an endeavour.

So with that in mind, paying 40% commissions does seem very generous.

Pricing depends on what features you need. There are two price points – $97 per month (which pays $38.80 in commission) and $297 per month (which pays $118.80 commission).

Additional Ways of Earning Commissions

Another aspect of the affiliate program is that if you sell 100 subscriptions, Russell will pay you $500 per month to pay for your dream car. This is in addition to the commissions you make!

If you manage to sell 200 subscriptions, then he’ll pay $1,000 per month towards your dream car.

There are also a range of free products and webinars/webclasses that you can send people to that you can find in your affiliate dashboard.

Clickfunnels® uses what are called “sticky cookies”. So once someone buys anything through one of your affiliate links, they’re permanently tagged with your affiliate ID. If they buy any other product in the Clickfunnels® inventory, you’ll get the commission. These are lifetime cookies, not 30, 60 or 90 day cookies that you’ll find elsewhere.

Affiliate Bootcamp

Russell is estimated to be earning somewhere in the region of $100 million every year. And Clickfunnels® is a huge part of that.

There’s an affiliate bootcamp provided for affiliates as well if they want to get serious about promoting Clickfunnels®.

I did sign up for that but got distracted by other things and ended up not completing the training.

This is a problem we all face in this business. So many products and services are released each and every day that it’s hard not to lose focus and be distracted by the latest shiny object.

So, yes, I fall prey to it too from time to time. 🙂 or should that be 🙁 ?

UPDATE: Since I first published this post, the Affiliate Bootcamp has been revamped. If you’d like additional free affiliate marketing training that ties in with the Bootcamp, sign up for that here.

Promoting Clickfunnels®

FREE Book: Expert Secrets

There are many associated products that affiliates can promote too, to ultimately direct people to Clickfunnels® itself from free books like The Funnel Hacker’s Cookbook (if you’re looking for a free sales funnel template, you’ll find 22 of them in this free ebook) to DotCom Secrets and Expert Secrets (just pay shipping for them) to webinars and Funnel Fridays where Russell and his team will build a funnel for someone for free.

While I hadn’t subscribed to Clickfunnels® at this point myself, I felt it was a product worth promoting. It provides a truly useful service, especially for people who are creatively, more than technically, minded.

And, since I’d only managed to sell one copy of DotCom Secrets, I knew I had to take a different approach to marketing the service.

So I started looking for the top Clickfunnels® affiliate marketers to see if they offered any training. Three people came out on top – Spencer Mecham (if you do nothing else, watch his free webclass at the top of that page), Rachel S. Lee (who is one of Spencer’s students) and Zach Crawford who has forged his own path to becoming a millionaire from Clickfunnels® commissions.

There’s more about Spencer here – he’s actually Clickfunnels®’ #1 affiliate having earned over $1,000,000 in commissions there in 2018.

I initially was going to follow Spencer when Zach Crawford was recommended to me.

And after looking into what all three were offering, I finally decided to follow Zach and make him my new mentor. Zach just resonated more with me on a personal level. You may find Spencer or Rachel is a better fit for you.

If you are wondering how to find a mentor, I looked at the factors you should keep in mind in this blog post.

Spencer offers some good free training. He also offers an in-depth affiliate marketing program, tied in with Clickfunnels®, for $897.

Spencer provides you with his Clickfunnels® sales funnels when you buy his training program®.

Zach gives his Clickfunnels® sales funnel to people who sign up for the One Funnel Away Challenge (a training program created by Clickfunnels® themselves) but you need to go through this link first.

Rachel provides her Clickfunnels® sales funnel for free. You can get it here. It comes with full training on how to set it up and use it.

However, all these funnels were built inside of Clickfunnels®. So you have to use it to clone them. They can’t be imported into other landing page builders. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial and import Rachel’s funnel to test things out.

You can also import the 22 funnels in the free Funnel Hacker’s Cookbook and see if the service suits you.

Zach’s full training program is $997 if you want to buy it separately.

All three mentors provide their own separate affiliate programs. Spencer’s and Rachel’s are free to join. Zach’s is only open to people who buy his course.

All pay 50% commissions on sales of their courses and products.

Learn More About Zach’s Program Here

Following Zach’s Training

This is what the Members’ Area of his Top Earner Mentor training program looks like (UPDATE: this course is no longer available):

Top Earner Mentor Members' Area

I’ve now been through about two thirds of Zach’s training. Most video training I watch is boring. It’s an effort to sit through it (I’m more of a reader than a watcher). But Zach’s training IS easy to watch. It’s informative and fluff-free and I find that I look forward to watching his next training video.

I did take up the free trial of Clickfunnels® and now I’m on the $97 per month plan.

Cloning and editing his sales funnel gave me an insight into using the service as a real user, with first-hand experience of using the tool and I do like what I see.

Yes, I can build my own funnels using WordPress, a squeeze page builder like InstaBuilder or OptimizePress and an autoresponder but it’s hard work interconnecting everything. And I’d have to write all the copy from scratch (and I’m not a copywriter).

Clickfunnels® really does make building funnels easier. Plus you can import other existing sales funnels and just tweak them for your needs.

Only you can tell if $97 (or indeed $297) per month for the tool is worth it.

For me it was and I’m going to be moving more of my promotions over to the sales funnel model from here on out.

Sales funnels are far more effective in converting traffic into sales than blog posts are because they serve up multiple reminders to people about the product you’re promoting.

Plus, I’m building a list at the same time. So even if I don’t get a sale now, I might do days, weeks or months from now because I can keep marketing to that list.

And, if Clickfunnels® ultimately doesn’t appeal to a subscriber, I can market other products.

The other plus is that the list I’m building is fully owned by me. I have full control over it.


If you’re an affiliate marketer, I recommend that you join the Clickfunnels® affiliate program anyway. It’s free to sign up.

Clickfunnels® Affiliate Program Benefits

But if you want to be a successful affiliate, generating a smart passive income of $4,000 or more each and every month, then take a serious look at Zach’s training program. It’s one of the better passive income opportunities.

UPDATE: Back in June, 2019, Clickfunnels® changed their affiliate policy. They advised all affiliates to stop promoting their service as a passive income opportunity.

Most affiliates were actually promoting using this approach. As a result, Zach took his Top Earner Mentor course down and spent 2 months creating a whole new course about Affiliate Marketing. All his Top Mentor Students were given free access to his new course.

Many of his students make a lot more than $4,000 per month from promoting Clickfunnels® and he’s made it as straightforward as possible to follow in his footsteps with his new course.

You can sign up here to get some free training which will give you a better idea of what he’s offering.

That’s the decision I took and his business model is what I’ll be focusing on from here on out.

I’ve only just finished editing my sales funnel and made it live, so I’ve nothing to report yet in terms of signups or revenue. But as time passes, I’ll post my results here, good or bad.

UPDATE: Since February (2019) when I first published this post, I’ve recruited several people into Clickfunnels®, sold quite a few copies of The One Funnel Away Challenge and some other stuff, like the free books.

But one thing I’ve found is that the churn rate for Clickfunnels® subscriptions is quite high. That’s where people sign up but unsubscribe after a month or two.

That’s probably due to affiliates or affiliate marketers subscribing (rather than businesses) and finding the $97/mth fee too high to maintain, especially if they don’t see results from promoting their offers as fast as they’d like.

So it seems that recruiting business clients is the best way to go from here on out, for whom $97/mth or even $297/mth is a small business expense.

This is a change in business direction for me. But I’ve been stuck in my current position for too long and a change was overdue.

If you think Zach isn’t a good fit for you as a mentor, then I recommend you go for Spencer’s course. Spencer is a Clickfunnels® Dream Car winner (which means he’s recruited at least 100 people into it). He’s also a 2-Comma winner (a select group of affiliates who’ve made over $1,000,000 through selling the service). So if you want to learn from the best, click here to get started

Spencer Mecham's Affiliate Marketing Course

If you’d like to get a better idea of what’s in his course, Spencer gives you a tour here.

Here’s a couple of testimonials about Clickfunnel® itself from other users:

If you’re looking for the “Real Deal,” look no further than Russell Brunson. I am just like most of you. I jumped from “guru” course to “guru” course. I also tried business opportunity after business opportunity (just to get $60,000 in debt!). I was about ready to quit. I was frustrated. I was freaking out. And then, I stumbled across Clickfunnels® and Russell. I read everything he put out. But this time, I decided to do something differently. I decided to go all in…

Jeff Trimble

ATTENTION!! Stop getting distracted! Well, let this post distract you for 10 seconds. Not any longer I promise. I’ve covered this many times with my students. It’s about a feeling. You feel that BUZZZZ every now and then? You know, when you let a moment of fantasy take over your thoughts. I mean, when that new idea pops in your head. That new and EXCITING business idea that is going to make you more money and bring you more success than what you are currently doing! Well, that BUZZ is dopamine – an addictive drug. It’s a LIE…

Chris Funnel

Have you ever thought… “I QUIT!!! Clickfunnels® doesn’t work. I am not making any money. I am not like those others who are younger, or have more time or already has a product. I do not like putting myself out there. I do not want to be like other marketers…” IF THIS IS YOU, You are NOT quitting on Clickfunnels®. What you are really quitting on is the resourcefulness that is YOU. And your unwillingness to start or continue to ask for support, be vulnerable, and find the good-hearted people in this community…

Kevin Laylor


All the best,

Gary Nugent

P.S.: Don't forget, if you want to create an internet income of your own, here's one of my recommended ways to do that:


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