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Can An Ecommerce Affiliate Program Change Your Life? Let’s Ask Hogan!

By Yaroslav Nevsky

Hogan Chua shares his experience of participating in an ecommerce affiliate program successfully

Welcome our very special guest! Hogan Chua is more than just an AliDropship user, affiliate, and long-time supporter. He is a talented YouTube educator with a grateful audience of 70K+ followers — and we’re excited that he kindly agreed to share his professional insights and advice with our readers! As a successful member of multiple ecommerce affiliate programs, he can definitely teach us a thing or two about creating content, working with your audience – and of course, making money as an affiliate! 

Disclaimer: all the success stories published in AliDropship blog are the results of interviews conducted in the written form. Even though the editors may make some minor changes to the grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation, the respondents’ writing styles, views, opinions, stores screenshots and personal photos are left unchanged.

Hi, please, introduce yourself!

First of all, I’d like to thank AliDropship for the opportunity to share my story here. So here it goes!

My name is Hogan Chua, I’m from Melbourne, Australia. I went to University after high school to study accounting and finance cause that was the “path”. I only choose those subjects cause I thought it might be useful later when I start a business. But to be honest, I don’t know how much it has helped my business and what I do now. Perhaps for some other industries it is useful but for others (such as making money online) it’s probably best to get real world experience.

I guess university wasn’t that bad, with the chance to meet some new friends and have fun. Plus, it gives you something to say when people ask you what you are doing.

I love to play badminton, that definitely takes my mind off everything and also great physical exercise. Other than that, I like listening to audiobooks, watching Netflix, watching food/travel videos or just going out for a walk to get coffee!

What’s your background in joining an ecommerce affiliate program or running an online business in general?

When I first started trying to make money online, I just learnt about it from blogs and forums. I started out creating a few types of blogs reviewing different products and I made a few sales here and there.

So I decided instead of that, it’s better to transition to selling SEO services which did quite well – for a few years until 2014. So long ago!

Then, in mid-2015 I started creating tutorials on YouTube.

Why did you decide to focus on working for an ecommerce affiliate program, after all? How did it all begin?

It’s a long story, but the short story is that when I was a kid, my parents owned a restaurant. They were always working, so we didn’t have the chance to travel or do many activities. So everything about affiliate marketing appealed to me:

  • Freedom
  • Low cost and affordability of scaling your venture
  • (Semi-)passive income
  • The opportunity to travel & work at the same time
  • Independence – it’s probably something I value more these days because creating the things you want is really rewarding.

My experience with affiliate marketing began back around 2010 or 2011 – wow, 10 years ago!

Back in the day, I was making review websites for making money online products/dating products from Clickbank. Haha.

From the end of 2011 till 2014 I was selling SEO services & doing some marketing for local businesses.

Then in 2015, I wanted to create a night market stall selling desserts (inspired after being involved in one in late 2014) and for that I needed money. So I was trying to figure out how to fund that venture.

Back in 2014 or early 2015, I had a recently built website on WordPress and an amazing drag & drop WordPress theme called Themify for a local car mechanic business.

At the time, most of the tutorials and builders out there were really bad.

So I realised that there was an opportunity on YouTube for me to create a video to show people how to make a WordPress website and monetize with web hosting.

And that’s where it all started.

I guess the moral of the story is that you have to start from somewhere and eventually you will see the opportunities. Once you see that opportunity, you have to take the leap.

How did you learn about AliDropship products and its ecommerce affiliate program?

I stumbled across AliDropship when I wanted to start dropshipping just to test some products for a new ecommerce venture. So I was looking for a plugin that could add that functionality to my WordPress website.

So I looked at a few options and finally ended up purchasing AliDropship plugin.

At first, I was a bit skeptical about the plugin and whether it would work well or not.

Although I love WordPress, themes, and plugins, sometimes they don’t work well together or aren’t easy to set up and use.

Surprisingly, AliDropship was super easy to use and importing products from AliExpress was a breeze – much better than I expected.

At that time, there were so many Shopify tutorials on dropshipping using Oberlo, but none on WordPress. So since it was a great product, I knew other people would appreciate it too and that inspired me to create a video on it.

So then I signed up for the AliDropship Affiliate program and it was a breeze too.

How do you rate your experience of participating in this ecommerce affiliate program?

There are lots of things I like about AliDropship affiliate program:

  • The commissions: they are among the highest ones
  • A very simple and easy dashboard to track commissions
  • The opportunity to create deep links (i.e linking to other pages)
  • A great product means conversions are quite good
  • Julia, my affiliate manager has been a pleasure to work with, answering all concerns I had very promptly

But overall, what I love about AliDropship is their great documentation, helpful guides, resources, additional services, plugins, themes and anything that helps people to create a better dropshipping store.

This was the thing that impressed me the most because not many WordPress plugins do this. And I’m not saying this because I’m an affiliate – you can see for yourself 🙂

Do you participate in other ecommerce affiliate programs? What’s your average income?

Yes, I also promote some web hosting, several WordPress themes, SEO software, numerous digital/virtual products. Plus, I’m a member of Amazon Associates.

Generally, summing up all the affiliate programs I’m a part of (including AliDropship), it would be over 5 figures per month or so on average. Right now, it’s on the lower end and hopefully working up to mid-5 figures by end of the year.

But the great thing about it, is that my commissions are paid in USD – so a conversion to Australian Dollars (AUD) is around x1.35. One of the great things about affiliate marketing is that you could be living in Asia or a country where cost of living is cheaper and earn USD!

How exactly do you promote these products? What’s your advice for fellow affiliates?

The main strategy I use to promote the products is to create videos on YouTube. Also, I create content for my website and blog. Videos and articles both work well together. But if you are starting out, choose ONE medium and focus on that.

If you like writing and don’t want to be on camera, then create a blog.

If you don’t like writing, then make videos. You don’t even have to show your face! If you are doing tutorials, reviews, you can use something like Camtasia (PC software) and Screenflow (Mac software) for screen recordings.

Overall, do videos if you can because there’s a lot of opportunity there – simply because most people don’t want to put themselves out there.

There are tons of videos teaching a ton of affiliate marketing strategies, but definitely I would recommend either one of those two. The reason is, both primary traffic sources come via search. And every day there is a consistent amount of people searching for things.  That’s how affiliate marketing can be fairly passive!

If you compare this to promoting via social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook etc., those can work, too, but not as passive channels. They are more one-off and it’s not as natural to promote your links to your audience everyday.

If your primary focus is monetizing through some ecommerce affiliate program, then I would recommend creating how-to videos, reviews, comparisons, and top-10 selections. These types of content are great because it’s a few steps away from the purchasing.

Of course, you can create other types of content, too, that may work well for audience building/traffic – it’s really up to you. This is also one of the pros of affiliate marketing: you can be super creative.

How do you research your target audience to connect with it better?

  • First, I deal with my own problems that can be solved with the products I’m promoting
  • I read the YouTube comments/emails I receive
  • I look at questions people ask on Quora, Reddit, or niche forums

These are the three main ways, and I definitely recommend trying to solve your own problems first. It’s the easiest and best way because 80% of the time your audience is facing the same problems as you.

You can create a simple user profile on Milanote. It helps to know what you should include in your video, what to talk about and what questions you can address in your content.

An example of a user profile on Milanote, a handy tool for affiliate marketers

Being an affiliate marketer, treat your content as your product. Just as if you were to open a restaurant, your main product would be the food. So if you know your customers, you can tailor your menu to the food they love.

It’s very simple, but I think most people probably don’t think about it this way. Rather, they just think about the commissions. But it’s the content that gives you commissions! And to create great content, you need to understand the users/readers/viewers.

What are the most difficult challenges of being an affiliate marketer?

The most challenging thing about affiliate marketing is definitely staying focused. Since a lot of time is spent on the computer researching, writing, testing, there can be a lot of distractions.

And especially because I’m normally working alone, without much schedule, it’s very easy to work a bit, go out and come back.

To deal with this, I try to get to sleep a bit earlier. I also downloaded some Chrome extensions to block YouTube Home screen and Facebook. I’m still working on this, but I think once I do, it will make the biggest difference.

Due to COVID-19, we recently came out of a very long 112 day lockdown where we were limited to just travelling within 5kms. That was tough. But I know a lot of others who have had it much tougher, so can’t complain much. Luckily, now the cases are under control here and hopefully we can get a vaccine soon. Then we can all get back to “normal” in mid-2021.

In terms of income, the pandemic didn’t make too much difference. Luckily, I could keep working. The thing that it made me realise was that I was fortunate to learn these skills. And it just gave me more overall clarity of what I want to do in the future.

How much time does it take you every day to manage your ecommerce affiliate programs?

I don’t really track how much time I spend on my online business. I probably should, though, to start working more efficiently and to be more productive.

But generally, for a half of the day (around 10-12+ hours), I’m probably doing something related to it. It can be researching, testing, recording, editing, strategizing, reading, watching useful videos on different topics or doing some general accounting and paperwork, etc.

The biggest demand on time is going to be the content.

It’s kind of funny, though. One of the main reasons to get into affiliate marketing for me was the passive income and the chance not to do much work. And I think that is probably on a lot of people’s mind, so I want to touch on this.

What I’ve learned over time and getting older, travelling and doing the things I thought I wanted, it’s not about working less anymore. Rather, it’s about progression, creating something amazing/helpful and enjoying the process of it. It becomes almost like a game, a sport.

Could you please share an image of what your desk or workspace looks like?

I have two main workspaces. I try to move around a bit because working at the same place can get uninspiring at times. The first picture is my home office and the second one is my living area desk.

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I hope everything gets back to normal soon, so I can travel back to Asia: I love the weather and food there.

How has your life changed?

Honestly, I’ve never had a “real” full-time job so I don’t know what it feels like to work in an office type of environment. I only worked part-time as a waiter at my dad’s restaurant during high school and university. So, if we were to compare it with being a waiter, the biggest difference is that because of being able to make money online, you can make money 24/7/365 and work from anywhere. No commute to work. My own schedule!

Most of my family/friends have no idea what it is I do exactly. I don’t really mind, and I’d rather be low key anyways. I remember at a time, I felt pressure to find a job and that people didn’t believe me. But looking back, it’s a good pressure to have and it’s very natural when you are trying something a bit different. All the enemies you have are just in your own mind.

What’s your advice for our readers – those who have already signed up for some ecommerce affiliate program and those who are considering it?

My advice for those who are considering it is that affiliate marketing is like a sport. It will take time to get good at it and to start earning a decent amount per month. So don’t expect it to be a get-rich-quick scheme. Don’t worry about finding the perfect niche, perfect product to promote: it takes trial and error.

If you already are part of an ecommerce affiliate program and want to see better results, focus on creating the best content you can, something new, unique. Instead of trying to write 10 articles, focus on just 1. The same is true for videos: instead of 10, focus on 1. Make it to the best of your ability because to make commissions, you need to be ranking on the first page. And bad content isn’t going to rank well – hence, no traffic and no commissions.

Doing the hard things, putting in the time and effort is the shortcut to success.

If you want to learn more about Affiliate marketing, I’ve made a complete Beginners Tutorial showing you the exact blueprint of How to Create an Affiliate Marketing Website – see below!

And the best thing about it? I’m also creating a REAL niche case study example. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make an update video in 3-6 months to share the progress, so make sure to subscribe! You can also find me at: https://hoganchua.com.

So, what does it take to succeed in an ecommerce affiliate program? Thanks to Hogan’s generous guidance and insights, you know the answer now – and we’ll be excited to see you putting it into action as a new AliDropship affiliate, too!

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By Yaroslav Nevsky
Yaroslav is a founder of AliDropship Community helping people worldwide to start and run a successful dropshipping business.
2 Comments
Hogan Chua 7 months ago

Thank you for allowing me to share my story, happy to answer any questions 🙂

Rodney 6 months ago

First time I took time to watch such a long video, all because I sensed there could be value in it and it didn’t disappoint. Well put together tutorial, super informative . . . .thank you plenty!!!

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