I'm a developer of custom WordPress websites and run a small hosting company providing managed WordPress hosting. In my journey as a small business owner I'm always looking for ways to earn a bit extra. And one thing that I'm doing for almost 10 years is generating reveneu by referring clients to my favorite products.
In doing so I'm less depended on month-to-month earnings for development projects and have a more steady income. But there's a catch:
Stay objective and clear
Staying objective is hard if you know you earn more by advising another product and even harder if you know a free solution would fit your client but wouldn't earn you anything. On the long term your objectivity will pay out. When I started using referal products I always focussed on the long term client relationship.
Clients will know if you advised the wrong product and thats the reason you should always be clear to your clients about the fact you earn money if they decide to use the product. This clear approach creates a trust between you and the customer.
Most referal products pay out based on the time a customer stay with the product. If you advise wrongly the chances are the client will ditch the product and you won't earn a dime. If you advise the client correctly and let them know you will earn a couple of bucks if they decide it fits their need you can earn more on the long term.
It also ensures you keep a warm and healthy relation with your client. Your clients company will grow and the possibility exists that they still value your advice. A long term approach will always pay out.
I only advise products I believe in and use myself. There are also different type of payouts. You usually have a kickback fee on signup, or a kickback fee on recurring basis which is usually much lower. I almost always go for the recurring basis if available. If you focus on a long term relationship with your client and you believe the product you advise will benefit your client for a long time, then this will always pay out more in the end.
I have one referral product I advise on a daily basis to clients which is a Payment Provider. Their referral revenue is based on transactions and for an unlimited time. I have clients sign up with them in 2008 and still using it. Every transaction earns me a couple of cents and the focus on the long term now leaves me with thousands of transactions happening monthly. And I don't have to do a thing for that money.
Products with a great referal program
Offcourse, supplied with my own referral link ;)
With great tools for almost every company like E-mail, Docs, Drive and shared Calendars it's a great product to advise to your clients. You earn on every referral once they start their paid subscription. You can get free promotion codes that supply your client with a 20% discount if you join the reseller program.
DigitalOcean has a different referral program. It's based on give some get some. If people sgin up using your referral link they get a $10 free budget to start with. If they decide after that to keep using the DigitalOcean services you earn $25.