How cool would it be to work from home, set your own hours, and make money opining on and writing about something you love, like baking or life with pets? Especially when you look at the successful stars of the Instagram/TikTok/Twitch universe, it’s hard not to wonder: could I do that?
How FitHealthyMomma started — Tami Smith’s inspiring story
In November of 2019, Tami Smith was pretty much in that boat. She had two young kids at home, a passion for fitness and wellness, and a background in freelance writing. She began to wonder if she could fit all those pieces together into a satisfying lifestyle and livelihood.
Just 18 months later, she has a fantastically successful affiliate business based on her product review blog and website FitHealthyMomma. She has built a loyal following of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts (100K visitors per month) who trust her opinions and guidance on products, services, and gear. Plus, she has a roster of A-list brands like MYX and Tempo with whom she has great relationships and whose products she believes in. Most important, she’s doing something she enjoys and getting paid for it. Bonus: time with kids!
So, how did she get from point A to point B? We had a Zoom chat with her recently and asked her about her journey, what that first year was like, and what advice she’d give based on her experience.
Five lessons from the first year of Fit Healthy Momma
1. Find a niche you’re passionate about
Yes, it’s clear that Tami had incredibly good timing. Just a few months after she started her business, interest in home fitness would skyrocket, sparked by pandemic-related shutdowns. But without a passion for the subject matter, timing won’t get you very far.
Because Tami has always been interested in healthy living, she enjoys the deep research required to do her work and can easily put herself in a consumer’s shoes. “I think about what questions I would want answered if I were in-market for a product, and then I do the due diligence,” she says.
Tami had a lot of writing under her belt, but when it came to the world of affiliate partnerships? “I had no idea what I was doing,” she admits.
2. Read the crowd, and keep learning
Tami emphasizes that you have to be open to learning as you go along — discovering what your audience likes and what Google likes. Because she had a writing background, she was familiar with writing for search intent and search engines, but she had to find the voice that would best resonate with her audience. She discovered that sharing personal experiences, being relatable, and showing some vulnerability helped all kinds of people connect with and trust her.
“Be who you are and infuse that into everything you create,” she says.
3. Reach out personally (then get particular)
Before she established a name for herself, Tami went through a lot of virtual shoe leather. She started by reaching out to brands with products or services that she had written about and/or used in the past to inquire about affiliate partnerships, making personal contact whenever possible. Taking that extra step to make a quick, personal query on Instagram or through a partnership automation platform will help you get to the right person faster.
Those first few “yes” answers were exciting and flattering, she confesses. But as she grew, she knew she’d need to become more intentional and strategic.
“Now brands are reaching out to me because I’ve built something they want to be a part of. But I need to be selective to ensure my content aligns with the right themes and what my audience cares about.”
What does an ideal brand partner look like for Tami?
- She looks for businesses or brands with a great mission, great products or services, and a reputation for great customer service. It’s important that anyone who makes a purchase based on her recommendation has a good experience, start to finish.
- She prefers partners looking for a long-term relationship vs. just one-off promotions. Tami feels affiliate partnerships do best when she can get to know the partner and grow with the brand over time.
- Finally, it matters to her that the brand understands the value of the affiliate partnership and invests in making a personal connection. “When there’s a personal relationship and collaboration, there’s just so much more we can do together to create something great,” she says.
4. Negotiate with confidence (and evidence)
As you grow, says Tami, the more particular you can be about your partners and the more leverage you have to negotiate your compensation. “At first you take it or leave it, but as you build trust in your own authority, you’ll find partners open to renegotiation.”
While she first worked on a commission-only basis, she now typically negotiates an up-front payment to ensure she is compensated for the extensive time, research, and work that goes into a post or a video. This takes a page out of the influencer book, and she believes it’s the way of the future for affiliate publishers, too.
Now that she has successful collaborations under her belt, she also has data to prove her value. She uses reporting to sell herself to potential partners and to convince existing partners to go even bigger.
5. Conserve time where you can
Thorough research and good content take a lot of work, so Tami increasingly values tools that save her time on other aspects of her business. She uses a number of platforms, including Impact Partnership Cloud, to automate things like searching for new brand partners, applying for affiliate programs, and setting up links and tracking on her pages.
Tami aka FitHealthyMomma
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