Have you been searching for an affiliate marketing course that actually has helpful information? Have you gotten frustrated by “free” content that doesn't tell you enough?
There are dozens of affiliate marketing courses on the web. Each has its own unique approach to the science of affiliate marketing. But some pieces of advice may work better than others. It can be hard to tell which courses give actual valuable information, especially if you're just getting started.
Project 24 from Income School claims to teach you everything you need to know. So I've investigated to see whether the course is everything it's supposed to be.
Note: if you aren't familiar with affiliate marketing, you should read this beginners guide to affiliate marketing.
What Is Income School?
Income School is a marketing company that uses its Youtube channel and website to teach people about online businesses. The different courses are meant to show you how to make an internet business by creating Youtube channels and blogs. The company's Youtube channel is particularly popular in the SEO and internet marketing niches.
Income School builds niche websites and teaches others to build their own niche sites. These sites use a combination of display ads and affiliate marketing techniques to make money.
Jim Harmer is one of the two cofounders of Income School, along with Ricky Kesler. He and Ricky began building niche internet websites in 2010. Five years later, in 2015, they launched Income School. Today, Income School is a seven-figure business.
In 2010, Jim moved to Florida to go to law school. He was with his 2-week-old son and his wife. At the time, they were so broke that they could barely afford to eat. Jim had a dollar store job stocking shelves. During his shifts, he would listen to podcasts, which was where he learned about how to start his own business.
Jim's first website was ImprovePhotography.com. This site became so popular that he earned nearly 36,000 dollars from eBook sales in the first year alone. And after that, the site exploded with popularity. Jim has since been ranked as one of the world's top 40 photographers and has consistently earned more than 500,000 dollars per year through the site.
Building niche sites turned Jim into a millionaire. Today, he's a father of three and happily pursuing his dreams without having to worry about money.
Ricky is the other cofounder of Income School. In addition to being a father of four, he also has both an MBA and an engineering degree.
Before quitting to do full-time work on Income School, Ricky was a project manager with Hewlett-Packard.
Ricky and Jim have both been invited to be speakers at important conferences for business leaders around the world.
Freddy Betzold and Nathan Aydelotte
The founders of Income School aren't the only ones with a hand in the site's content and courses. Now that the company has become a seven-figure business, it employs dozens of people to help manage the site and create new content.
With Project 24, two of the people you'll see most are Freddy Betzold and Nathan Aydelotte.
Freddy is a manager at the company. He teaches some of the video lessons found in Project 24, and you can also see him in some of the Income School Youtube videos.
Nathan is the company's customer success manager. He actively plays a role in managing the Project 24 community. In addition, he teaches some of the course material himself.
What Sets Income School Apart?
There are plenty of tutorials and guides that can show you how to build niche sites. But Income School has an unusual approach. This unique approach has generated some controversy, but there's no denying the success of both the creators and the students.
These are the biggest differences between the Income School approach and “conventional wisdom”:
- No keyword tools are used to promote rankings or improve SEO
- No link building tools are used, either, to prevent your website from being marked as spam
Keyword and link building tools tend to be the first weapons in the average affiliate marketer's arsenal. Because of this, the Income School approach may raise eyebrows. But these three facts are true:
- The Youtube channel has millions of views and is among the most popular channels for affiliate marketing
- Income School tells you what sites they've built, rather than hiding them out of the fear of creating competition
- Many profitable sites have been built, grown, and sold over the years
What Is Project 24?
Project 24 teaches you to build websites that produce passive income.The name Project 24 comes from “24 months.” The creators don't pretend that you'll become a millionaire overnight. According to them, it takes about 24 months before you'll be making enough money to quit your job.
Basically, you're starting a project with the goal of being able to quit your day job in two years. Two years may seem like a long time, but it's also a much more doable time frame than many other courses claim.
Project 24 also doesn't guarantee that you'll be successful. The creators are very honest about how you'll only get back as much as you put in. You have to be skilled and put in a lot of effort to build the business.
Who Can Use Project 24?
One of the beautiful things about Project 24 is that it's built for just about everybody. But more specifically, some groups of people who will benefit include:
- Complete beginners to website building and internet marketing
- People who have already attempted online marketing but failed somewhere along the way
- Advanced internet marketers who want to streamline their vision and learn more
- Parents who want an additional source of income without having to take too much time away from their kids
The parent note is especially important. Ricky and Jim have seven children between them. They've made it clear that family is a big part of life for both of them.
Project 24 won't work well for anyone who wants to “get rich quick.” It's also not good for people who can't commit a long period of time to a course. Your learning style might also have an impact. If you don't like the “intuitive” style of building sites, you might struggle to get the most out of this course.
How It Works
The core component of the training is called the 60 Steps to a Successful Site. Beginners are encouraged to start here. At the beginning of the course, you have no expertise, experience, or website. Within two years, by following the steps outlined in the course, you can make thousands of dollars per month.
When you've signed up for the course, you can access all sixty steps from your courses page.
Throughout those steps, you'll learn to do the following:
- Pick a niche for your content
- Set up your website
- Learn how to use SEO to rank among search engines
- Write 30 unique articles to get your site started
- Create 10 unique videos for your own Youtube channel
- Monetize your website for maximum profits
The website gives you a timeline for completion. The creators do emphasize that this timeline is meant to be used for goal setting, rather than for expecting guaranteed success. It walks you through what you should do in each month, exactly what you'll accomplish, and what you'll learn.
These are some important things to know about the projected timeline:
- It involves completing all 60 steps in the first two months – doing about one step per day. After that, you create about 7 content pieces for your website in every following month.
- The projected earnings for your website are supposed to be low toward the beginning. After month six, you'll hit “pizza day,” which is when your total income is around $6.
- The projected earnings for the last month, Month 24, is nearly $8,000. The total expected revenue over two years is $42,828. But again, there's no guarantee of success.
There is a second timeline that spans the same number of months, but is for people building two websites. The creators recommend building just one site with all of your content, as it's much easier to grow and optimize a single site as a beginner.
What's in Project 24?
Project 24 is more than a single course. It's actually several different courses rolled into one purchase. Once you buy the project, you can see all of the courses laid out on your homepage. The meat of the project is the 60 Steps, but you'll also get more in-depth niche courses about topics like:
- Building your website credibility for SEO purposes
- Using Youtube to create an internet marketing business
- Picking a profitable niche for your website
- Learning how to find article topics without traditional keyword searching
- Tracking and optimizing your website traffic for maximum results
- Using email marketing tools to maximize engagement and increase your income
- Using social media sites like Pinterest to drive traffic to your site
That's not even every single possible course. If you're already knowledgeable about these things, you can skim the lessons for a refresher and to pick up new techniques. If you're a beginner, the courses have everything you need to learn to become an expert marketer.
When you click on one of the courses, you'll be shown a list of the lessons. Each lesson typically has at least one video, sometimes accompanied by text. There are also lessons with several videos.
A Private Community
When you participate in Project 24, you get access to the members-only community. The community forums are places where you can post about your milestones, ask questions, and get guidance from site leaders and experienced members.
The online community is fairly active. Unlike other affiliate marketing forums, which are often dead, these forums tend to have multiple active threads in an hour. There also tend to be at least a dozen people online at any given moment, although of course you'll see the largest engagement in the evenings EST.
Included in the Price
The pricing structure involves a purchase of a year-long membership. The renewal for the following year doesn't cost as much money, but it's still a fairly hefty chunk of change.
Other than this, though, you basically don't have to pay for anything. You don't have to buy additional tools like link building and keyword research suites. The only thing you'll need to pay for is web hosting and your own domain name. That tends to be pretty inexpensive, especially when you're first starting out.
Canceling your subscription is easy. But if you want to keep accessing the training materials and the community after your first year, you'll have to keep subscribing annually. That means that if you use Project 24 for the full two years, you'll have to renew your subscription at least once.
Another important note is that the company doesn't offer refunds, with the one exception being if the payment had a technical issue. The reason for this is that the company did initially offer refunds, but people took advantage of the policy. There's no way to return your course materials once you have them, so Income School won't return your payment.
The Good Things About Project 24
There are a lot of aspects of this course that can be praised, most chiefly that it's honest and that it works.
You can look at the Income School website to view a list of the sites that the creators have made. This list tells you not just about the site, but also about how much the site earns and its current status as an authority website.
When evaluated using third party analytics, the website data matches up to the claims made by the Income School founders.
Many niche site creators don't talk about their websites, since they worry about inviting competition. But Income School has talked about several of the websites they operate. In addition, Ricky and Jim have made videos sharing their analytics and earnings from various websites.
Another huge selling point is that Ricky and Jim also talk about their failed sites. They haven't always been successful! While talking about their successful sites, they also talk about their failed niche sites and where they went wrong.
One of the things the founders have discussed in the Project 24 podcast is that they launch a new Youtube channel or website every six months.
Why do that, if they're already so successful with their existing sites?
The answer is that they want to continually start over and make sure that their process still works. Online marketing changes rapidly, with different search engines having different algorithms that can change on a weekly basis. If a course is outdated, the information won't garner you results.
So the founders stay active and make sure that their information is always up-to-date.
They've also talked about how they created the Pinterest course. Originally, neither of them knew anything about Pinterest. Their first step was to review and try other Pinterest marketing courses. Then they did expert interviews, and then they spent several solid months experimenting themselves on the site.
Rather than taking the word of the experts, they built upon their knowledge with hands-on experience and created their own course. That's the best way to create marketing materials. Instead of pretending to be experts by repurposing other people's information, they worked hard enough to become experts themselves.
No Misleading Hype
There are plenty of affiliate courses that claim they'll make you rich overnight. You might be familiar with sayings like, “Some people earn thousands of dollars within the first month,” and other such lines. This is the marketer's way of enticing you into a get-rich-quick scheme without actually guaranteeing anything.
Ricky and Jim don't try any of that marketing nonsense. Instead, they aim to give you a realistic expectation of what you can do within two years. The idea is that if you work hard and consistently for two years, then you'll be able to supplant your income and quit your job.
The lack of misleading information is right in the title: Project 24. 24 months. Right from the get-go, your expectations are meant to be set low. In fact, the creators tell you that you're only likely to make about $6 in the first six months.
The realistic expectations are vital to the company's success. They could claim that their materials will make you rich fast, and they might get more signups that way, but they'd end up with a very frustrated user base.
Another positive part of the realistic expectations is that the course can guide you through those first tough months. You're expected not to see results. If the training materials didn't emphasize that you're working on this for the long haul, you might get discouraged and give up before you can see real growth.
The creators are also up-front about it when they're pitching you a sales product. And they don't have any upsells throughout the course.
One problem with many online marketing courses is that they aren't updated after they're first created. The training materials contain obsolete information, and if you follow the advice, you won't see results. Online marketing is a field that changes more rapidly than almost any other industry, and so it's vital that any course you invest in can keep up.
To that end, when you go to your Project 24 courses homepage, you'll find a list of updates at the bottom. This list lets you know when the materials have been changed, updated, or given new material.
Keeping people up-to-date on changes serves a variety of purposes. First of all, it builds trust in the course. It's a lot easier to use a course that's actually useful for today's marketing scene.
It also lets you know what materials you should look at if you've already completed all of your courses. When there's new material, the update list will tell you.
Members also get a weekly email that has information about the latest updates. That means that even if you aren't constantly checking the course homepage, you'll still get important information about new materials that you can use.
In addition to updates, the weekly email will tell you about interesting new posts in the forum, any upcoming changes to the course, and recent member success stories. It's a great way of keeping members apprised of information, encouraging people to participate in the community, and making sure that the course is worth the price.
As mentioned, the community forums are very active. Ricky and Jim don't guarantee that they'll respond to every thread, but they do frequently reply to people's questions. Community discussions are also common, with many threads gaining dozens of replies overnight.
Even if you don't get a reply from one of the founders, the community is full of experienced members. Many of them have been at this for several years, and they can often offer advice and guidance.
Acabado is a premium WordPress theme from Income School. Normally, you have to purchase it for $50 per year. But if you're a member of Project 24, you get it for free. It is important to note that you need to stay subscribed to Project 24 if you want to keep using the website theme for free.
Acabado is a framework that's used on some of the most successful niche sites that the founders have created. Some of the advantages include:
- Extremely fast speeds, made to get a score of 100 on Google's speed testing tool
- Built-in SEO framework to help maximize your traffic and rank your site higher
- Clean, organized format that can be easily customized with your content within three minutes
- Mobile-first focus built with the consideration that only 35 percent of users will view your website on desktop
The website design has anti-bounce protection built in, using non-popup messages to encourage users to stay on the page without becoming irritating. You also get total control over your menu and homepage, so you can decide how you lay out your posts and categories.
There are also features for people using pinnable images from Pinterest. Pinnable images often take up too much room on a webpage and don't render correctly. So when you make blog posts, you can hide the pins. That keeps the post pinnable but prevents massive images from scaring readers away.
There's a fair amount of support for Acabado when you get into the P24 community. It's also a good bonus because it keeps you from needing to buy your own premium WordPress theme. That said, if you're looking for something with more intense customization, you might want to shop elsewhere for your web theme.
Podcast for Members
The podcast is a big part of Project 24. When you aren't able to work on the course materials, like if you're in the middle of your day job, you can listen to it. Ricky and Jim talk about how they got started, how they use their varying marketing techniques, and how they turn a profit.
The podcast is released on a weekly basis. Once you get to season 2, you learn everything there is to know about hiring freelance writers, paying for an article to be written, and scaling up your blog so you can publish more posts.
Each episode is around 30 minutes long. The setup tends to be the two founders talking about a specific topic, their experiences with it, and what's worked for them. For people who are a fan of the Income School Youtube channel, the podcast has a lot of the same energies.
How Much Time Will It Take?
Project 24 has its main timeline in the name: 24 months. But how much time are you investing during those 24 months? How much work do you really need to do?
Ricky and Jim claim that you only need to spend about an hour a day on the course. But if you want to complete everything in the original timeline, you'll probably have to spend more time than that. That goes especially for beginners who are still getting used to content creation and using all of these new tools.
If you're a beginner, you'll probably need to commit closer to 2 hours a day to your site building. That's just for the first two months, though. During these months, you'll be putting together your site infrastructure and populating it with initial content. You'll also be creating and optimizing social media accounts for your niche.
All of that takes a lot of work, and you have to be committed. The course gives you all of the resources you need, but you're the one who will have to use them. You can expect that the initial stages of the course will take a little longer than two months if you only spend one hour per day on them.
60 Successful Steps Reviewed
This is the first course in the program, and it's also the meatiest. It walks you through sixty steps to create a website, optimize it for search engines, create good content, and promote your website once it's up and running.
The course is broken down into these topics:
- Selecting a niche for your site
- Setting up a WordPress site
- Using SEO for your site
- Keyword research, how to do it, and how not to do it
- Crafting articles that promote traffic
- Crafting SEO posts that are well-written and eye-catching
- Using social media platforms to promote your business
- Creating valuable resource pages
- Recording screencast videos
- Creating Youtube videos
- Generating revenue through your online presence
- Setting up Amazon Associates for your website
Every one of these topics is covered in a great amount of detail. At the same time, the courses are straightforward and can be easily followed.
One potential drawback of this course is that it doesn't discuss Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free suite of tools that's vital to today's online marketers. If you don't know how to use Google Analytics, you'll end up falling behind your competition.
Search Analysis Reviewed
This is a course that shows you how you can find article topics. It teaches you some of the most useful strategies and tricks that you can use without relying on traditional keyword tools. Because the method doesn't use keyword tools, it's a unique way of generating a topic list for your content.
The course is divided into four main sections:
- Planning your brand
- Coming up with topic ideas
- Selecting the right key words
- Creating an effective topic list for your niche
All in all, this is a great course for experienced marketers and beginners alike. It teaches you about how to identify your audience and create content that resonates with them. This is ultimately what will give you a successful business in the long run.
Choosing Profitable Niches Reviewed
Just as the course title says, this is about picking a profitable niche. There's a lot to keep in mind when you choose a niche. It's more than just your favorite hobby or a type of product you really like. It's about finding a topic that you can capitalize on while establishing yourself as a leader in your field.
Many people start out with what they believe is a profitable niche. But once they do the research and look at the actual numbers, they discover that it's hard to get a return on their investment. That may be because the demographic isn't large enough, or the demographic isn't buying, or the products aren't at a high enough price point to be worth it.
This niche-choosing course is a single video tutorial spanning 50 minutes. It includes actionable, easy-to-follow tips for picking your website niche. It also talks about how to alter your niche based on your personal preferences and goals.
Another selling point of this course is that it comes with an Excel spreadsheet that includes more than 350 niche ideas. The site ideas have been ranked from the most potentially profitable to least potentially profitable.
You don't have to choose an exact niche from the list. But looking at it can help you get a sense of what topics will actually turn a profit. At the same time, you can look at the worst-ranked ideas and understand why those concepts won't turn a potential profit.
The list and the tutorial are two great combined resources that make it easy for you to pick the right niche. When you choose the right niche, you're getting started with a good foundation, so it's easy to build upon in the future.
No-Nonsense SEO Reviewed
This is the next course. It's designed to teach you everything you need to know about SEO, even if you'd never heard the term before today.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It's the techniques you use to help your website rank higher in Google searches and other search engine results. With the right SEO, you can garner significant organic results. Organic search engine results haven't been paid for, and instead show up because the engine's algorithm deems them the most relevant.
No-Nonsense SEO can be easily followed and understood. But it covers a ton of information that you won't find with free SEO courses online. Not only do you learn everything about how SEO works, you also learn vital market tricks for how to optimize it with your website.
Like the previous course, this course is mainly made up of a 50-minute video tutorial. This tutorial gives you actionable ideas for how you can increase your site traffic and improve your search ranking.
Another great aspect of this course is that the founders discuss SEO strategies that will remain the same no matter how Google updates its algorithm. That's important because Google changes its SEO algorithm up to 700 times per year! It's exceedingly difficult to keep up with the exact SEO particulars unless you have software helping you.
This course doesn't tell you how Google's algorithm works. Instead, it tells you how you can put SEO tactics into practice no matter what the algorithm does. You end up with enough knowledge to optimize your site and to optimize any future websites that you create.
It is important to note that none of the “tricks” in this course are underhanded tactics meant to “fool” an SEO algorithm. If you're looking for ways to “trick” Google, you're better off looking for a different course structure.
But it's also important to note that “tricking” Google can cause your website to be penalized. It will end up lower in the search rankings, or sometimes it will be removed from the rankings altogether. For this reason, it's a lot better for your business if you use the tricks in this course instead.
Web Traffic Snowball Reviewed
If you want to increase your web traffic, you have to use the right strategy. It doesn't matter how much effort, money, and time you use if you're not employing the right marketing tactics. This course from Project 24 aims to show you how to use the right strategies.
The goal of the course is to “snowball” your web traffic. Once people start clicking on your site, you give them reason to keep coming back. This might involve capturing their emails or showing them that you have upcoming content to watch out for. It also involves using social media to increase word of mouth about your business.
At the same time, the course teaches you about what social media channels you shouldn't be using. Sometimes the social media that works best will vary depending on your niche. For example, makeup brands do very well on Instagram, but eBooks don't tend to fare as well since Instagram is a visual platform.
Email Marketing 101 Reviewed
This is a course that teaches you about email marketing. It's not quite as comprehensive as some other email marketing guides on the internet, but it is still very good, especially if you're a beginner. You can use the information you learn here and apply it to your online business.
There are three main sections to the email marketing course. They cover:
- Reasons you might choose to build an email list, along with reasons you might opt not to
- How to begin by using a free email software and then scale up as you grow
- How to use your email list to convert your audience into customers who purchase your products
Even though it's not the most comprehensive course in the world, it does still give you solid and relevant information for today's market.
This is a course that talks a lot about the myths regarding keywords. It also teaches you about the KGR, or keyword golden ratio, and what that means. Anything you need to know regarding KGR has been covered in the course.
All of the ideas are laid out and easy to follow. You can test them out and find out what works best for your particular niche.
How to Find Writers Reviewed
When you first start out, you're probably going to make all your content yourself. But as your website grows, you can scale your operations by outsourcing. If you pay writers to write your blogs for you, then you can publish significantly more content in a week. You also have time freed up for managing other aspects of your business.
This course talks about how to hire writers that follow your vision. The founders discuss the fact that some writers won't deliver what you're looking for, and you may have to try several before you click with one. This can be a giant hassle that wastes a lot of time and money.
The goal of the information in this course is to help you avoid that. It's divided into five parts. Throughout the course, you learn how to find writers that fit your needs, train them to write the posts you want, and show them how to log into a site and post using WordPress.
In addition, the instructors talk about the specific resources that they use when they look for new writers. They also discuss how they work with writers in resourceful ways, ensuring that they get the best quality content with the fewest possible revisions.
Some of the other things this course teaches are:
- Drawing up contracts with freelance writers
- Job boards to post on and peruse
- Tools and plugins to use for your content
The one potential disadvantage of this course is that it doesn't talk about how to weed out bad writers. If you want to know how to spot a bad or insufficient writer, you'll need to use other resources instead.
Professional Photography Reviewed
Not everyone will need to use professional photography. But for internet marketers, photography is often a huge plus. Not only can you photograph products to sell, but you can also create more unique and creative marketing materials by shooting your own shots.
This is a photography course that teaches you about how to take photos for your website. Rather than focusing on the marketing aspect alone, it teaches you all the basics of photography. Then it explains how different types of photography can be used to create different moods for your audience.
Just a few of the major course topics include:
- Lighting landscapes
- Photography of close-up objects
- Shutter speed
You'll learn about how to adjust these components, what these components are, and how they affect your final image.
Website Reviews Reviewed
This is a fairly unique aspect of the Project 24 course. In this module, you're not technically learning anything new. Instead, you're watching the founders review the niche websites created by other Project 24 students.
Each review tends to be anywhere from 12 to 16 minutes long. The creators do their best to give every website the full measure of its pros and cons. You can draw a lot of inspiration from seeing what other people are doing with their passions, and you can also learn a lot about common pitfalls to avoid.
Many programs don't have immediate creator feedback like this. It's great that the founders are still so involved with the community that they're keeping track of what their students are doing. In addition, all of their feedback is actionable and can be easily used to improve your own website.
Writing Skills Reviewed
This course teaches you how to get better at writing. It also shows you how to speed up your writing process so that you can create more content in a smaller amount of time.
There are other online writing courses that will teach you more. They'll go more in-depth about the tips and tricks you should know when you're putting your writing together. But this course is a very solid place for beginners to learn how to make their writing better and easier.
The course has nine total lessons. Among the topics covered are the ability to choose the right topic from your list, and the ability to create a high-quality post about the topic.
One of the biggest selling points of this course is that it shows you a posting structure that increases your writing speed. By following this structure for all of your posts, you have a simple way of populating your website with more quality content.
Monetizing with Advertisements Reviewed
This is one of the final courses in the Project 24 module. That's because the founders discourage people from monetizing their websites early. Early monetization can make you too focused on the numbers, so you aren't working on creating the right foundation for your website.
But this module does focus on ways that you can monetize your site early without sacrificing your content. The course has three parts and discusses ways that you can use advertisements to pad your income without needing to use affiliate marketing.
Some people sign up for advertising programs without knowing how to optimize the ads. As such, they only get pennies for their trouble. The instructors of this course talk a lot about how you should use ads to get the most effective mileage out of them. You'll learn about tactics that let you generate revenue but not compromise your website's integrity.
Project 24 is one of the best offerings from Income School. Whether you're just getting started or have a lot of experience with online marketing, there's something in this for you.
Purchasing the project gives you access to thirteen different courses, a timeline for success, a checklist of things to do, and access to a thriving community forum. It also lets you ask your questions and get answers from experienced members and the founders themselves.