First of all great article John, and thanks for sharing your story. What Vicki says about her kids resonates with me. My parents limited me to schools I could commute to. In the back of my head I always knew that was better financially, but it was still tough to think of what I was missing out on. I still got by and had a blast in school so it worked out. Everything is what you make of it.
I love everything about this article. Too many folks want to pile on higher income earners as if they did something wrong to get there. The majority that I have met are wonderful people who treat their income and wealth with respect. They find ways to be very charitable with what they have. Now this isn’t everyone mind you, but I suspect a larger percentage than society gives credit to.

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I have been a cop for 5 years and have two kids, a wife and mortgage. I like what I do but lately I have been thinking of a career switch to make more money. I majored in criminal justice in collage. I don’t know if I could afford to go back to school with a family to support, however I want to be able to provide more for my family. What would you suggest?

This literally changed my life… I moved out of my parent’s house (sigh) into a nice studio in downtown Denver, bought my first car (a Mercedes c300), adopted 2 kitties, and my credit raised 45 points. I also donated $3,000 to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey. I’m a humble dude but in affiliate marketing, the numbers do the talking. So… I want to show you how I did it :)


No matter how much someone makes, anyone who lives beyond his or her means is going to feel financially pinched. While conspicuous consumption and blatant overspending is a problem, even those who try to keep an eye on their budget spend a large portion of their income on what financial advisers call “lifestyle inflation.” Koos says these are things that may not be necessities but are considered such at a certain income level. Many middle-class citizens now see cable, smartphones, tablets, computers, multiple televisions, Blu-ray players and gym memberships as “essential.”

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Measuring people by their GPA and academics is totally wrong, some young people have more wisdom than any college graduate and a better work ethic too. Also, people’s life histories count as well, I’ve met people who had shitty grades when young then became doctors at age 40 or a hair dresser who became a marine biologist at 35. You guys are really boxing people in. In the UK tradesmen are bringing in more money than most college graduates, so GPA’s really don’t do much and are a waste of time in many regards. 90% of all jobs out there require an average IQ, so it’s down to other factors that get you in a job. You can transform your life in a decade from one of mediocrity to one of massive success, if that’s what you want. Also, doing the education route and top job is miserable if you hate what you do, all the money in the world won’t stop you hating yourself after a while.
Great post, I also liked your one on starting a fashion blog. Do you have a post on affiliate linking through social media? I’m pretty confused on whats acceptable, especially for Pinterest. It seems Shopstyle {Shopsense} and rewardStyle seem to work on Pinterest. I started my website on Weebly.. so I am making the oh-not-so-fun transition over to WordPress currently.
I’ve got an industry you could add to your list of jobs that pay well over $100,000 a year – the oil industry. Now, most people think that working in the oil industry is dangerous, dirty, smelly, gross etc. That’s if you work on the labor side of the oil industry not if you’re working for an operator (Exxon, Shell, Chevron, BP, Conoco) in the office. If you’re lucky enough to land a job at one of these 5 companies out of school as an engineer or geologist you can easily expect to make $125,000-$200,000 starting.
\naverage salary is a pretty generic term and does not tell you how the number is computed. Usually, but not always, it would be the sum of the salaries divided by the number of salaries. This is known as the mean.\n. \nThe median salary is the "middle" value. That is to say, if you listed all the salaries from lowest to highest, the median would be right in the middle. \n. \nA more precise statistical definition might say it is the value that separates the higher half of a sample or a probability distribution from the lower half.\n. \nWhen you say average, the might indicate the mean salary, but we don't know for sure. The mean is what I described in the first paragraph.
I could not disagree more with the title of this post. Six figures does absolutely mean something, as long as you don’t make poor financial decisions. You chose to buy all that crap, the worst decision being to buy that expensive house. I am 29, make six figures, and live comfortably. The reason why is because I was able to increase my income while keeping my expenses down. It’s really that simple. Of course, everyone’s life situation is different and normally expenses go up the older you get. My point is that Six figures does mean something as long as you are fiscally responsible. The title of this should be more along the lines of “dumb decisions I made once I started making six figures”.
WP Rich Snippets – premium plugin that adds rich snippets (eg. review stars) to your snippets. You get 33% of sales and it’s what I use on my site. I recommend it over the All In One Schema.org plugin as it looks nicer with more settings and add-ons. Here’s a post I used it on. If you’re writing reviews as part of your strategy, get this for yourself.
Use Deep Links – these are pages on your affiliate’s website that AREN’T the homepage. For SiteGround’s hosting I link a lot to their speed technology page as an affiliate link. If you’re doing Amazon’s affiliate program you just want to gather a list of products you will be recommending to readers, create an affiliate link for each one, and import them to the plugin.

One of the major stumbling blocks that hinder job seekers from gaining employment is usually the issue of experience. Most employers will often require their candidate to have worked in a similar niche for quite some time. This program grants job seekers such as vital resource. It is especially relevant to those who intend to pursue a career in sales and marketing.
I expanded my SEO blog and started writing about hosting, cache plugins, and other relevant topics… while recommending SiteGround in each tutorial. I added social proof like this poll where they were rated the #1 host. Each tutorial was super detailed and tons of people found them helpful – many generated 100 visitors/day since the great content got them ranked high.
As is the case for most professional reviewers, many of the books I review on this site have been provided by the publisher or author, at no cost to me. I've also reviewed books that I bought, because they were worthy of your time. And I've also received dozens of review copies at no charge that do not get reviewed, either because they are not worthy or because they don't meet the subject criteria for this column, or simply because I haven't gotten around to them yet, since I only review one book per month. I have far more books in my office than I will ever read, and the receipt of a free book does not affect my review.
Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
Of course there are some drawbacks. Learning to fly isn’t cheap. Another $50,000-$100,000 on top of the costs of a college education is realistic for most. But just as with college tuition, there are loans available to help pay for flying education. And one can flight instruct part-time while attending college to not only help pay for classes, but also gain valuable flight experience. Obviously the military, either active duty or national guard, is another potential option for defraying the costs of flight training.

Long-Tail Keywords – specific keywords usually with 3-7 individual words in a phrase. They are highly targeted and MUCH easier to rank for than broad keywords (all mine are long-tail). The lower your domain authority (check using OSE), the less competitive (more long-tail) your keywords should be. If you can get more specific and the keyword still shows up in Google Autocomplete, Moz Keyword Explorer and other keyword tools… choose the SPECIFIC one.


Hi John, 30 years old with no experience is no problem. You could realistically be employable at a major airline by age 35, and you’d still have a 30 year career ahead of you. It took me longer than that to get here, but as I mentioned before, there’s a severe pilot shortage coming and I think anyone starting now will have a quicker path to the majors than I did.
I eventually learned the best model (for me) was to copy what Yoast did… charge a flat free for SEO Audits. People were always super happy with my audits. I still have my SEO audit templates (one for local SEO, national SEO, etc). Sometimes it would only take me 4 hours to write an audit and I would get $750, sometimes more if they wanted a more thorough audit. Maybe I undercharged?
Is becoming a $100k+ earner in orchestras like SF symphony just as competitive as joining a major sports league? Maybe. It’s just that $100k+ symphony job openings are so rare that no one can really count on it. Orchestra is a very unique job and often general public don’t know how people got there. Of course not everyone value and want to support arts. But when those few $100k orchestra job salary disappear, the live symphony music we hear today will die.
Hey Tom, thanks for this tutorial – it’s a good thing to get a tutorial like this from a trusted person like you and not from the thousands of (sometimes) confusing articles about passive income/affiliate marketing/clickfunnels and what not that I come across from time to time, I am making a living as a web designer and I have been thinking of pivoting from design and creative work to focus on passive income but didn’t know where to start. This is the perfect foundation article I have seen so far and I ‘d like to ask if you have any further reading/guides/videos on affiliate marketing that you’d recommend. I like to do my deep research before starting :) One more thing, there are some broken or missing images in this article, it could be my browser but check from your side too because there are quite a few images (e.g your Mercedes) that are missing. Thanks
The Seven Figure Franchise almost sounds a bit similar to the Empower Network for those of you who remember that program. The Empower Network was a scam and a lot of people lost their money in it. That program flopped big time! In my personal opinion, what I would recommend is that you sell some affiliate products on the side and instead, invest in selling your own products where you will be making constant income rather than trying to make some huge marketer even richer. And there’s a reason why getting a refund is so dad gum hard with the Seven Figure Franchise. It is because they don’t want to really give a refund in the first place.
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