Don’t kid yourself.

Monetization is the point of a newslettereither indirectly or directly.

Your newsletter’s goal is to drive you revenue. Some newsletters drive users to a SaaS (Software as a Service) website, or product page on Amazon or Gumroad (indirectly). Others drive revenue right inside their newsletter — directly.

And what’s the easiest way to drive direct newsletter revenue?

Affiliate sales.

What are Affiliate Sales?

It’s pretty simple, actually.

You sell a product or service for someone else — and receive a commission on the sale.

That’s an affiliate sale. And the first revenue I ever earned with my newsletter — with only a few hundred subscribers.

You don’t need a massive audience. Just an engaged audience that trusts you.

Affiliate Links

Affiliate sales typically only work with a unique, custom link.

For example, when I signed up for the Ship 30 For 30 (← affiliate) I was given a unique affiliate link. I shared the link in my newsletter raving about the course and made a couple of sales, which earned $50 in commission each.

What can you sell?

You can sell almost anything, but you shouldn’t sell everything.

The most successful affiliate newsletters and websites only drive their readers to products & services relevant to their interests and needs. The more aligned your affiliate products are with your content, the better the chances of a conversion.

Popular affiliate products & services to sell are…

  • SaaS tools & subscriptions
  • Amazon & ecommerce products
  • eBooks, online courses, & community memberships

But what affiliate products should YOU sell?

It might be tempting. But again — don’t try to sell every product under the sun.

Instead, choose products & services you actually use yourself. I call this being an authentic affiliate. It’s the mantra I do my best to live by.

I don’t want to promote or sell something I haven’t personally used or benefitted from. There may be the odd exception, but this is my general rule. I want to speak to the high quality and personal benefit I’ve received from the product.

That makes a compelling sales pitch backed by personal experience.

How to find affiliate products and programs

  1. Most SaaS tools and software have affiliate programs. You can often find their affiliate or “referral” programs listed in the footer of their websites.’s Affiliate program found in the footer.

2. Look at your tech stack and pick the ones you love (some affiliate programs need you to apply; others require just a simple sign up).

3. Create a video demo or written tutorial of how you use them in your daily routine.

4. Share your link in the demo or tutorial.

When you’re an affiliate for things you actually use — you can share them naturally in your content and include the affiliate links seamlessly.

I’ve affiliated with a number of tools I use regularly (these are all… affiliate links!)

ConvertKit. My go-to newsletter & email marketing software of choice. I’ve been with them for over 9 months and only wish I had switched even sooner. I happily pay for the Creator Plan for my newsletter, but on top of that — I’ve created lead magnets, landing pages, ConvertKit Commerce products, automations, audience segments, and was even featured on their blog. Given all that, it made perfect sense to become an affiliate for their amazing product.

TweetHunter. I added TweetHunter into my tech stack and love it. The tool let’s me schedule tweets & threads, reformat my popular tweets, create “evergreen” content, leverage AI for tweet ideas, and so much more. And since Twitter is my main platform for promotion and growth, it’s a perfect affiliate product to promote.

Tidycal. It’s like Calendly — but $29 (currently) for life. One payment. No subscription. Crazy! And their product team keeps iterating and improving the product. I use Tidycal for all my bookings. It’s a great alternative to the more expensive options out there || Check out my newsletter consultation pages to see an example of how it works: 30-min Consult | 60-min Consult

Airtable. I use Airtable daily to organize the curated links for my newsletter and manage my newsletter ad spots. At its core, Airtable is a spreadsheet tool. But with an unlimited potential for anything. I’d be lost without it.

None of these are hard sells. And that’s because I use them. They help me, which means they may help you, too.

Affiliating with Digital Products & Services

Many online courses, eBooks, and communities have affiliate programs.

I’ve earned a modest amount of affiliate commission sharing my amazing experiences in a few different communities and online courses — and inserting my affiliate link.

And it makes so much sense for the course or community creator to create an affiliate program:

  1. New members have additional incentive to join if they can “pay back” their membership with a few affiliate sales.
  2. The creator gets their customers & members to evangelize on their behalf — and we all know how powerful word-of-mouth marketing can be.

Think about Gumroad products you’ve purchased and benefitted from. Was there an affiliate sale option? If you found it helpful, a good chance others will too.

Same with paid communities you’re in. Or online courses you’ve taken.

If it’s not clear, reach out to the creator and ask! It’s nearly as easy as toggling a switch in Gumroad to set up an affiliate program. Most creators will happily have someone else (ethically) sell their course for a cut of the sale.

Honesty is always the best strategy

Really, it comes down to this: be an authentic affiliate.

Affiliate sales work if your readers trust you. So be honest. Don’t oversell, and don’t overpromise, and don’t make false claims.

And perhaps most importantly, disclose your affiliate links.

Don’t Get Sued: Affiliate Disclosure

Not disclosing your affiliate links is misleading and could get you in trouble.


Your product recommendation will be weighted differently by the reader when there’s financial incentive for you to recommend it.

You probably won’t get sued, but cover your bases anyway with an affiliate disclosure.

Learn more about affiliate disclosures here.

I won’t get into all the legalities here. But to keep it simple, add an affiliate disclosure in any newsletter or on any webpage you share links. And the closer you disclose the affiliate relationship to where you share the link, the better.

This is what I include in every newsletter header:

This email may contain affiliate links. I receive a small commission for recommending products I use & love at no extra cost to you.

On top of this, I will usually include “(affiliate link)” beside any shared affiliate links.

Ready to start earning affiliate income?

Here’s a quick recap:

  • What are affiliate sales? Affiliate sales are when you sell a product or service for someone else and receive a commission on the sale. Sales are tracked with your unique link.
  • What can you sell? Popular affiliate products & services to sell are SaaS tools & subscriptions, Amazon & ecommerce products, eBooks, online courses, & community memberships.
  • But what affiliate products should YOU sell? Things you use! Look at your tech stack and find affiliate opportunities on the software’s websites. Look through courses, Gumroad products, or communities your belong to and see if there are affiliate opportunities.
  • Don’t get sued: disclose your affiliate links. Make it clear the links you're sharing are affiliates — the closer to the link you disclose, the better.

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