There is a common misconception that affiliate marketing is only for adults. The truth is that teenagers can also do affiliate marketing and be quite good at it.
So can you do affiliate marketing as a teenager? Absolutely you can!
However, there are many things that you need to know before you start. In this article, I will talk about the pros and cons of doing affiliate marketing as a teenager, what the legal requirements are, and finally, how to get started.
Age Requirement and Legal Aspects
This is for sure the biggest question you might ask. At 18, you are considered an adult but what about teens that are under 18?
Can You Do Affiliate Marketing Under 18?
Yes, you can do affiliate marketing if you are under 18 years old. However, some affiliate marketing programs require you to be at least 18 years of age while others have no age restrictions.
For example, Amazon Associates and Clickbank require you to be at least 18 years of age before signing up for their program.
What I suggest you do is after you’ve discovered a niche to get into, look for affiliate programs in that niche and see which ones have no age restrictions.
Another workaround is you could have your parents sign up for you. Since signing up is free for affiliate programs, this should not be a difficult ask. Most parents (I would assume) would want to help their kids out in this way.
Setting Up a Bank Account and Payment Methods
To receive payments from affiliate programs, teenagers do require to have an active bank account. Since most payments are done through PayPal, you will need to have a PayPal account.
Since PayPal requires you to be at least 18 years of age, if you’re not, you will also need to have your parents sign up for a PayPal account and link it to their bank account. You might need to do some convincing here that since you’re not paying out any money but receiving money then it really should not be a hard thing to convince them.
Laws and Regulations
Before teenagers start affiliate marketing they must be aware of the laws and regulations. In the United States, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) requires that affiliate marketers disclose somewhere on their blog or sales page that they may receive a commission for the products they are promoting.
This applies to everyone, not just teens. Along with the disclosure, you also need to follow guidelines such as not making any false or misleading claims.
Pros of Affiliate Marketing For Teenagers
Affiliate marketing is a great way for teens to start making money. Here are some of the pros.
It's Very Low Risk
Affiliate marketing is a very low-risk business for teenagers. There are very little or no upfront costs to start. There’s no inventory involved so you won't be annoying your parents with staff taking up space in the garage.
On top of that, you don’t really need any specialized skills or training to start. A good course can definitely hope you make money a lot faster and avoid mistakes, but most teens can easily emulate others and do a good job at it.
Since affiliate marketing operates on a commission-based system, you don’t really need to invest any money to get this business started. In my opinion, two of the best ways to do affiliate marketing is by either a blog or a YouTube channel. Starting a Youtube channel will be 100% free less than the needed camera or lighting equipment -but sometimes just a phone’s camera will do.
When it comes to a blog, you could have a website fully set up for under $100.
Tell me another business where you can make a lot of money with little or no investment. I’ll bet you can’t.
Teens Are Great at New Tech
Teenagers are naturally born tech-geeks. They pick up on technology a lot quicker than most adults. Since they are growing up in an era that embraces technology and digital advancements, they already have their foot in the door so to speak when it comes to affiliate marketing.
This will make it very easy for them to pick up new and advanced strategies for their business
In Tune With the Latest Trends
Teenagers are very much in tune with the latest trends. As a marketer, this is a great asset to have because you will be able to spot new and emerging trends faster than most adults.
Teens are usually the first to adopt emerging technologies and tools and finding out new and exciting ways to use them. As technology changes so will ways in how to make money with affiliate marketing. Teens will be able to adapt very quickly.
Teenagers how a lot of time on their hands. Aside from school and home study, if they’re not actively involved in sports or other activities, then there’s a lot of room to start an affiliate marketing business. Teens don’t have the pressures that adults do so they can dedicate a lot of time to their business.
Energy and Enthusiasm
Teenagers typically have a lot more energy and enthusiasm compared to adults. This is a great advantage in affiliate marketing since it does require a lot of work and dedication.
Teenagers that are passionate about the niche there are in, should have no problems creating some high-quality content that resonates with their audience.
Long Term Potential
Affiliate marketing if done right, usually leads to passive income. The sooner someone starts in the affiliate marketing business the greater potential they’ll have later on. This gives hope to teenagers who would prefer to take the entrepreneurial road rather than pursue studies in a field that they may not necessarily be interested in.
Cons of Teens Doing Affiliate Marketing
One of the biggest challenges for teens that want to do affiliate marketing is their limited experience. Most of them will not have experience in marketing, sales, or even just basic concepts of business.
This is something they will have to learn and gain experience from. It’s important to know that you get experience from failure (believe me I’ve been there) so they should not be a deterrent. It won’t take too long to learn from your mistakes.
Another potential challenge for teenage affiliate marketers is the legal restrictions. Depending on where they live or if they are under 18 are not there may be some restrictions or regulations that can limit their ability to do affiliate marketing.
Before getting started, make sure you do your research to ensure there are no restrictions in your way.
Teens typically do not have any experience with financial management. Once they start making money it could go to their head and start spending their earnings on frivolous items.
This could lead to challenges with budgeting, tracking expenses, and making smart investment decisions. The focus should be on reinvesting in their business and building their affiliate marketing empire.
Lack of Authority or Trust
This last con is something that is out of the teenager's control. Consumers may be reluctant or hesitant to buy products or services recommended by a teenager they don’t know.
One way to get around this is that you don’t have to let anyone know your real age. This will be a little difficult if you’re doing on-camera Youtube videos, but if you start a blog, unless you tell people your real age, no one will know.
Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing as a Teen
Getting started with affiliate marketing as a teen is really no different than adults. Here is a quick guide.
Do Niche Research
Your very first step is to choose a niche. I would advise you to pick something that you either know a lot about or are willing to learn. Most people say choose something you are passionate about but what if that passion doesn’t lead to dollars?
You need to choose something that will be financially worth it otherwise your efforts will not pay off. You also need to ensure that there’s a big enough audience to market to. If your audience is too small you won’t have any traffic which means no customers to sell to.
Start a Blog or YouTube Channel
Once you have picked the niche, decide whether you would prefer to start a blog or create a Youtube channel. Keep in mind that all niches can be done through a blog while only some would make sense on Youtube.
On Youtube you could do it for free but with a blog it might cost you a few bucks. However, you can get started for a very low investment of under $100.
For content, you want to focus mostly on informational content and some commercial content for your posts. Your informational content should make up about 75% of all your content and includes things like “how to’s”, “what is”, etc.
Commercial content would be posting product reviews or a list of the best products in a particular category. You can put affiliate links in both informational and commercial blog posts but most of the money will be made from your commercial content. This applies to YouTube as well.
The reason why you need to have more informational content is because if you only push products through commercial content you aren’t going to build any trust. On top of that, you’re not going to display any EEAT (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) with Google if you only have commercial content.
When starting a blog, you'll want to ensure that you do SEO, (search engine optimization) as well. If you don't know much about SEO, check out my SEO guide for bloggers.
Teens are great on social media as they practically grew up on them. So marketing on social media platforms should be relatively easy.
However, most success is through paid ads. Unless you have a budget for paid ads, don't focus too much on social media. You'll just end up annoying your friends and others - especially if you keep trying to promote your affiliate links.
Many groups will even ban you if you post links so social media should not be a big part of your promotions unless you're paying for ads.
Choose Affiliate Programs to Promote
There are many different ways to find affiliate programs.
What I suggest is to head over to Clickbank and look at the marketplace categories. Here you’ll find a ton of categories and niches to choose from which will give you a great idea for a niche. You can then choose an affiliate product to promote within Clickbank or affiliate networks.
If you have a niche in mind already, look for affiliate programs in that niche. You can either find them on platforms like these or do a Google search for your product + affiliate program. For example, if you want to find affiliate programs for travel bloggers, you would type in “travel affiliate programs” in Google.
Just be sure but the program is reputable and never pay to get access. Most good affiliate programs are free to join and you should always read the terms and conditions when applying.
Create a Content Calendar
To be successful in affiliate marketing as a teenager, you should create a content calendar in advance for new content. This way you won’t have to think about what to write because you’ll have the topics already at hand and can start writing or shooting videos right away.
I found that one of the bottlenecks when it comes to content creation is thinking about what to write next. One hack that I really like is using chatGPT to find content. You can use it to find new topics in your niche by asking it questions, gathering data, and expanding from there.
I would not use Ai writers for the purpose of creating content unless you plan on doing some serious editing.
There are tools like originality.ai that can detect whether or not content is AI written. Google says it’s OK to use Ai written content as long as it's helpful but this could change at any time. To protect yourself, just make sure it’s unique as that is best practice.
Send out Emails
When you start to get traffic, you will want to build an email list. To do that, you can create a lead magnet, like a freebie download or something in exchange for an email address.
You'll need an autoresponder to send out the emails automatically. In your emails, write them like your content, with a mix of informational and commercial. But keep the content low, don't write too much. Quick and catchy emails work best.
It’s important to stay persistent. This is because affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme and takes a lot of work to become a successful affiliate. The reason why affiliate marketers fail, and this is no different for teenagers is that people give up if they don’t see results quickly.
For example, if you’re starting a blog it could take a few months before you make your first affiliate sales. Many people give up before this. Don’t be part of that statistic.
So can teenagers do affiliate marketing? Absolutely!
If you follow everything I’ve written so far and understand it and haven’t been turned off then that is a great start.
I understand that most teenagers want instant gratification so if you’ve got the patience and are willing to put in the work without any results for a while, then you could very well be successful with affiliate marketing and see those affiliate commissions roll in!
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