This Income Steps Academy review will be unique: It will offer the reader an insider’s perspective of a prominent online marketing training program. Yes, I’m actually a student of Sara Young’s Income Steps Academy so I can provide all the inside scoop, including pros and cons, associated with signing up.
This is not going to be the standard review that just gives you the basic highlights which you can find on the sales page. It’s not going to be a review by someone who has never even enrolled in the course!
It’s my intent to put my magnifying lens on Income Steps Academy, providing the details on the course curriculum and its level of value.
Income Steps Academy Review – First Things First
Once upon a time, Sara Young was a newbie, mom to a large family who had severe time constraints. She needed the flexibility to stay at home yet still contribute to the family’s financial coffers. Make no mistake, Sara did not find immediate success.
But while navigating the expansive and imposing affiliate marketing field, she realized she had her own psychological barriers to also overcome. On some core level, she did not believe that success would materialize for her or that it’s even possible to make a consistent living from the Internet.
Raise your hand if you’ve experienced the same doubts. I know that I’ve had many dark days under the sun, wondering if it would ever shine on me. But in order to bask in the glow of success, you have to envision it. And it’s easier to manifest your dreams when that first, small dream comes true.
Towards that end, Income Steps Academy owner, Sara Young, wants her fledglings to get their first taste of success. The commission does not have to be initially large. She just wants to show her students that infinite possibilities exist after making that first $1.
You can’t underestimate the swelling of emotion when that first commission surfaces. I almost started crying when I looked into my Clickbank account one day, expecting nothing, and seeing that 2 sales had transpired. It wasn’t the modest money that I made that day that made the proverbial difference. It was the fact that these sales shifted my mindset from one of complete negativity and almost hopelessness to one of promise and infinite potential.
So Level 1 is called Making Money on Demand. And Module 1 encapsulates what this step is all about. As Sara Young writes, “Making your first dollar online will give you the confidence and momentum to continue, as well as smashing down those psychological barriers that have been holding you back.”
Can you guess what is the easiest and most reliable way to open the commission door? Simply, by writing. Remember, content is still king on the Internet and you can be paid handsomely for fulfilling any content void.
Don’t worry! You won’t have to search long to find clients. Income Steps Academy provides several online writing opportunities from the get-go. You’ll learn which companies are paying for content production. By expressing yourself via the written word, you’re exchanging your time for cash.
The misconception is that writing is a poor man’s game. Sure, you’ve heard he stories where authors make $1-$2 for a 700 word article. (You may have even hired folks for this paltry sum.)
But like a skilled cook who makes the most out of meals, Sara gives you the dish on maximizing writing earnings.
It’s through these tips and tricks that you’ll break apart from the 97-98% of folks who never make any money online.
So you may be shaking your head in agreement that offering a writing service can really get that no-profit monkey off your back. However, you may be thinking you’re not a wordsmith. Perhaps you’re not inclined to write, believing that writing is too labor-intensive.
Again, cast your worries away. You’ll discover how to take from Peter and get paid by Paul, so to speak. You’ll learn where to go to hire ghost writers and find the optimal places to submit these outsourced articles. In essence, you’re the middle (wo)man, getting income by connecting both parties (i.e., the one who provides content and the one who needs it).
As an added Level 1 bonus, Sara expounds on how to perform the writing process as quickly as possible. Remember, this is a service and time is money.
She provides clever tips on how to perform fast research and create fast content. There’s also a specific formula on fast writing that is given. (Hint: learn the concept and power behind associations). Better yet, in Income Steps Academy, Sara actually writes example articles for you over her shoulder. This was invaluable to me as I saw the direct application of these tips. (Why don’t more teachers actually show you their strategies in practice?!)
Review Income Steps Academy Level 2 – Passive Income Anyone?
Alright, you’re more than getting your feet wet. You’re now venturing into a little deeper water, presenting more challenge but more reward in the long run.
In Level 2, Sara wants her academy students to add another revenue stream: passive income. (Income Step Academy Level 2 is called Earn Your First Passive Income.) Yes, unlike Level 1 where you trade time for money (unless you outsource the writing which I guess is still time-consuming) to get a one-time payment, here you can make money multiple times even while you sleep.
You do the work once and get rewarded not just in the here and now, but in the future. As an example, Sara continues to accrue money from niche sites she developed years ago. This even happens at times with sites that Sara has completely abandoned. (Don’t blame her for doing so; there are only so many oars one can place in a fire).
Students will now have the opportunity to create their own niche site. While this may seem overwhelming to the IM rookie, Headmaster Sara Young, breaks this mission into easy-to-follow actionable steps.
For example, you’re going to learn how to pick your niche. Sure, there’s the tried-and-true qualitative aspects to consider – the monthly search volume for a given keyword phrase, the level of competition, the cost that advertisers pay for the phrase, etc.
But Sara wants you to consider other aspects when selecting a niche, such as your degree of passion, your knowledge base on the niche, the potential profit of a niche (is it seasonal or evergreen), and other factors.
The best part of this stage of ISA is that you’ll be so acquainted with how to successfully choose a niche that you can do so without reliance on any paid keyword tools, such as Marketing Samurai, Long Tail Pro, or Keyword Canine.
But Sara discusses the use of keyword tools and there is even a module devoted to Keyword Canine. However, you can just as easily avoid any niche keyword research expense, and Sara skillfully shows you how to do it.
Assuming her students may not have prior knowledge, Income Steps Academy also offers insightful information on how to set up the blog, and craft individual posts and pages so Google will love them, such as finding related keywords.
ALWAYS have an end goal or two with these posts! Are you just trying to write valuable content for your market? Are you trying to rank on the first page with a given keyword phrase? Are you hoping to provide some compelling content to increase traffic, anticipating that others will share posts on social networks?
Sara reviews these types of goals and then delves into this crucial aspect of blog writing. You really have to have a decisive plan and Sara keeps you on track! Yes, there are homework assignments, too. They’re really for you and you don’t have to even be accountable to Sara, if you choose not to do so. (I was always several steps behind the class but I rationalized that my train will get to its destination, too … just slower.)
Sara Young also gives you an overview of SEO principles. While there are many components of SEO, Income Steps Academy covers three of them:
On-page SEO – How often does your keyword appear on your blog post. Where does your keyword appear on your post? Are there relevant LSI terms that the post also includes?
Off-page SEO – Here, Google and other search engines consider backlinks. The sites linking to you, or not linking to you, are a crucial component when ranking is instantaneously performed. While this training does not go into exhaustive detail on where to get invaluable backlinks (I wish it did!), you should get natural backlinks just by following Sara’s modus operandi.
Buyer Intent – Google and other search engines are becoming more advanced daily. Case in point, they try to consider what sites the searcher is truly looking for. For instance, if they search for ‘Blue Yeti,’ these intelligent engines try to figure out the buyer’s intent (i.e., what answers he/she is searching for). Here, Blue Yeti is a type of microphone so predominantly stores are featured on Google’s first page for the term. If you’re not an online store, it’s going to be challenging ranking for this term.
Therefore, try to research buyer intent as part of your keyword phrase selection and before you write a post.
All in all, you have to consider whether the term is a buying term – i.e., the likelihood that someone is looking to make a purchase. ‘Blue Yeti discount’ is an even better buying intention term than the term, ‘Blue Yeti,’ as it suggests that a prospective customer exists, looking for a break in price.
Sara delves into all these types of SEO particulars in this step of Income Steps Academy. You should, for example, consider the other sites that are on page 1. If they are authority sites, better go for a different term. You’ll know how to figure out your competition when you review Income Steps Academy.
One of my favorite parts of ISA is when Sara gives you her best tips to optimize a blog post. Once again, she shows you how she does it with a sample post.
These video tutorials are so well done and clear. After implementing one of her tips, one of my blog reviews went from page 3 to page 1. I can’t think of any other reason why this rank elevation transpired save for implementing Sara’s advice.
School is Still in Session – Methods to Making a Passive Income
Pat yourself on the back. You’ve selected your niche, wrote a compelling piece of content, and optimized it.
Now how are you going to get eyes on that content?
Income Steps Academy student, it’s time to master promotion and traffic-building. There are many video modules that show you how to make them come to your blog:
Regardless of what you may have read, Sara Young insists that blog commenting is alive and well. It supports your SEO work and galvanizes attention from members of another blog or forum.
But you should not indiscriminately offer comments on any old blog post. Our friendly headmaster goes into great lengths about where to comment and how you should do it. Please, for your sake, don’t even think about writing a generic comment, such as ‘Great post – really enjoyed it.’ You’ll find out there is a right way of blog commenting that will give you the most favorable results.
Your education continues as you discover tools that will help you generate quality traffic. Have you ever heard of Feedly? You soon will.
Now all work and no pay, can easily ruin Jill’s and Jack’s day. So this online University shows you how to make money with affiliate programs. This training will familiarize you with platforms, from Amazon to Clickbank, JVZoo to Skimlinks. (Heck, I did not even know what Skimlinks were before enrolling in the course.)
Of importance, you’ll not only learn how to capitalize using these platforms, but discover how to use the process of virtual ranking. There are many sites that Google already favors (although that can change, remember Squidoo?). Why not figure out how to choose a popular product, write a blog post featuring aspects of the product, and share your findings on these other product-related sites, such as BestBuy. (Caution, you better include your affiliate link). In this way, you don’t have to rank for a popular product’s keyword phrase yourself. You’re piggybacking off the established website as your provide comments/links that reference your content.)
You can even implement a clever technique called ‘Thread Hijacking.’ Here, you’ll see how to post on a popular forum, specifically on a thread that is getting a lot of current views. Drop a valuable comment with your affiliate link! Sara demonstrates an actual example!
If you really want to be parasitic (and here, I mean it in a good way), you can also write articles on authority platforms that already receive Google love. Your post, assuming it’s correctly optimized, will be carried high in the ranking pecking order, largely as a result of that favored platform.
And once you get traffic from these parasite posts, you’re going to write similar posts on your blog linking to the parasite posts. It’s all about traffic and ranking elevation. Sara shows you all the steps leading to the top rung.
Once again, ISA breaks down the process into small, digestible components. You’re not only getting the video training but getting a summary and relevant resources underneath the videos.
In addition, just like a gifted professor, Sara provides masterful summaries. I wouldn’t suggest cutting class and going right to the summaries. However, you’ll still gain so much wisdom and insight by watching these review summaries.
Rounding out the curriculum, Making Your First Passive Income, you’ll learn about adding value to your blog posts. Why not link to related resources, for instance.
You’ll also learn about the value of bonuses and coupons to really entice your visitors. You’ll know what bonuses to include and where to obtain them.
Everything is neatly tied together and you’ll soon get a lot of ‘A ha moments.’ As a reminder, this ISA section also broaches the topic of outsourcing. You don’t have to go it alone. You can hire someone to write forum or blog comments, for example.
Even better, the tuition I paid for this online University is getting defrayed by accumulating commissions.
It’s now on to building a list – an extremely important task, one that I keep on procrastinating.
But I’m only hurting myself. Without a list, I’m not going to ever become a super affiliate and a top graduate of Income Steps Academy.
The Money is in the List?
Yes, we’ve all heard the money is in the list. But it’s really in a responsive list. Sara Young makes most of her income from her list and she is far from the only one.
As there’s potential gold in lists, Level 3 of ISA focuses attention on how to build a profit-pulling list in the section called Mailing List Money.
Sara provides all the nitty-gritty – from what to offer folks to how to offer it. You can’t underestimate the importance of a headline or e-book cover, for instance.
She also shows you how to set up an autoresponder, develop a squeeze and thank you page, create your first autoresponder message, add a lightbox, and more.
Some of you may already know all these technical aspects. I thought that I did but decided to watch the videos anyway.
I’m glad that I did not take any shortcuts as I still acquired some golden nuggets. For example, I learned of a WordPress plugin that could easily create stylish squeeze pages.
Sara deftly puts everything together so even if you don’t have the slightest idea of how to build a list, you’ll become a skilled list construction worker in no time.
But again, if you’re already well-entrenched in the list-building process, this part of the university curriculum may not be useful to you. However, if you’re not getting results with your current list building plan, Sara can serve as the architect to consult.
Sara is particularly knowledgeable about gaining traffic. Again, what good is a subscriber form if no one sees it?
In order to gain visibility, Income Steps Academy could be renamed Traffic Academy. Here, you’ll learn about getting subscribers through forums, YouTube, and Twitter. She really goes into depth about each one.
I’ve committed the cardinal Twitter sin, for instance, solely tweeting about my own content. Sara reveals why this is counter-productive, offering a formula that will work.
But first, she shows you how to get followers easily (think, Tweepi). By the time you finish reviewing these modules and sub-muddles, traffic may not seem so elusive.
As Income Steps Academy is such a systematic program, I almost predicted what would come next: Yes, learning how to interact with your subscribers. You’ll find out how to create a powerful series of emails that actually get opened up by your list members.
Outsourcing is also possible, even obtaining pre-written emails. While the option exists, I recommend just writing your own, using Sara’s wise guidelines.
More Traffic School
Here, Sara Young provides even more advanced training on traffic. She will review all the important traffic tools that you need to be using. Analytics is so crucial!
Towards that end, you’ll get special insight on the Google Analytics tool. You’re going to pinpoint where your traffic-generating successes lie. Is it YouTube, forums, Twitter, particular posts, etc.? Once you see what’s working, you can either expand your reach and/or rinse and repeat. You’ll know where your traffic is coming from and where is it going to. In this way, you’ll be able to monetize your site better!
As you’re becoming more savvy with how to build traffic and understand the clues it provides, Sara wants to further broaden your SEO knowledge.
Yes, she revisits SEO concepts and gives her best tips and tricks in this arena. There’s more info on backlinking, for instance.
My favorite module in this section is “What Does Google Think of You?” Google webmaster tools provide a lot of information that you don’t want to miss. Sara reviews one of her sites and collects info that she uses to her advantage.
And don’t forget, traffic affects ranking. This is why she spends a lot of time reviewing the concepts.
But happily, she does not drone on in long videos. She opts to provide sub-modules along with the main modules, and they’re quick to view. In this way, you can watch what you can in the time duration you have.
After completion of this section, Traffic Growth, you’re well on the path towards affiliate success.
Talk about a great way to end training! And I’m not just saying that to brownnose the Professor!
Sara Young tries to provide further direction on how you can proceed. She has a module, for instance, for those who want to write for a living, aiming for 6-figures. She dedicates another video to those who just want to earn passive income from setting up niche sites.
She has another extra video for those would-be list builders, too.
And she even spills the beans on the greatest money-maker of them all. You’ll have to enroll in the course to find out. (Hey, I have to leave you in some suspense!)
Along the way, there are a series of webinars. I think she had 8 in all. (You can eventually use webinars to effectively market.
However, I missed a lot of them but don’t let her know. Fortunately, she keeps a replay in the membership area so although I could not ask questions on some of the webinars, I could still see what I missed.
And speaking of questions, as an added bonus to enrollment in Income Steps Academy, Sara and her right hand man, Eddy, are available to answer questions. Their replies are always thoughtful.
Oh, and I almost forget, there is also a dynamic Facebook group where the students also readily share their experiences and answer questions. In addition, there is an enlightening ISA forum.
Training is for Life
Here is another bonus: Training does not stop after you take your last ISA course. You have access to the member’s area for life.
Why is that important? Sara Young continues to expand the college-level curriculum and you’ll be privy to any new videos or verbiage she includes.
For example, she is going to soon include a new webinar, interviewing other affiliate marketers who have used the same course techniques, and have made some serious cash. In particular, I can’t wait to hear the success stories of the marketer who is making a 6-figure income through writing and another who has developed a niche blog empire.
Again Sara will also be available to you – even after the 8-week training course ‘ends.’ But it doesn’t really end. Sara promises she will be available to her students if they don’t reach the $1,000 threshold of profit a month. (I guess you’re on the honor system.)
Still, Sara Young is the type of person who will help anyone in need – even after you’re making bank. One of the primary reasons that I enrolled in ISA was that I would have a successful affiliate guide helping me find my way as long as necessary.
ISA System Pros – Am I An ISA College Booster?
As you can see from my ISA review (and thanks for reading up to this point!), there are definite plusses if you make the decision to enroll here. The following is not even an exhaustive list.
The course is perfect for intermediate affiliate marketers, and especially, newbies or those struggling to make affiliate marketing gains.
It goes way beyond the basics. You’ll now be able to assemble ALL the missing pieces of the puzzle.
The Member’s Area is very professional, organized, and simple to navigate. You’ll easily know where to go to access the information you’re looking for.
You’ll discover a number of ways to generate revenue. By knowing multiple ways of earning money, you’ll find the perfect one method that is right for you. Even better, you can develop multiple streams of revenue so if one dries up, you’ll experience prosperity using another.
You’ll see how content can really lead to contentment as you see funds accumulate from your witing.
You’ll see how to really structure your blog to receive Google love. Even intermediate marketers will learn a new approach to take.
While Income Steps Academy is not a pure SEO course, there is quite enough insight provided to gain a competitive advantage.
Having trouble with traffic? Sara Young provides a fresh approach, using many platforms, to reach out to others.
Instead of buying individual courses on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and other traffic-generating platforms, your knowledge base will expand on each of these entities.
You’ll finally know HOW to build a list and use all the associated tools to build a list effectively.
Income Steps Academy offers actionable steps, leading you to become a successful graduate.
The videos are extremely clear and well-paced, in my estimation. Sara has a slow, deliberate, and reassuring manner, and is quite articulate. Explanations are always thoughtful.
There are additional written summaries and FAQs to reinforce the material.
Additional resources/links are provided when necessary.
Many of these methods require no additional expense. Once you have domain and hosting, you’re good to go.
Additional webinars expand your knowledge, and they’re really entertaining and enlightening.
There is an accompanying Facebook group and ISA forum – other educational tools. The students there are very encouraging, supportive, and helpful.
Sara Young is not just the headmaster. She is a teacher, guide, director, facilitator, and cheerleader, doing anything she can to help her students.
Income Steps Academy Review – Any Negatives to Report?
No online school is perfect. The following includes my constructive criticism:
While tuition is a bargain at less than $1,000, it still may be considered steep for many, including me. (But I’m so glad that I took the plunge as I know that I’ll profit handsomely because of my burgeoning knowledge.)
Some may prefer more fast-paced presentations. (I really like Sara’s slow and steady pace.)
I wish Income Steps Academy would have covered even more in-depth backlinking strategies such as funneling pagerank, and greater analysis on pay per click methods.
Sarah’s online think tank is not for the advanced marketer. (It’s great for new and intermediate marketers, or any struggling affiliate marketer.)
There is no guarantee that this system will work. You’ll be provided with the foundation, fundamentals, and clever, out-of-the-box techniques, but there will be sweat equity on your part.
Income Steps Academy Comprehensive Review – Final Determination
This training can be a life-changer. Here, a successful 6-figure marketer, Sara Young, will guide your way towards affiliate marketing success.
You no longer have to feel immobilized or directionless. You no longer have to be thwarted by a crucial, difficult aspect of marketing, whether it’s building and structuring a blog, search engine optimization, or traffic generation.
Just like a University student, you can even choose a major (i.e., what primary marketing strategy you want to pursue.) After taking the relevant courses, you’ll be able to implement methods for your greater financial good.
In addition, like college, you’ll be exposed to a number of subjects – all which can help you in your career. Can you imagine using everything you learn from college? Now you can.
And Professor Sara Young deserves immediate tenure. She possesses all the qualities of a master teacher: she is understanding, patient, encouraging, and insightful. She has an excellent way of explaining even complicated topics.
Her accessibility also separates her from other so-called gurus. She really is invested in your success
Income Steps Academy is an institution of higher learning. But the course curriculum will go beyond mere academics. Indeed, the training will prove to be a rewarding experience, both personally and financially!
© 2015, Written by Andy Lax – All Rights Reserved. Income Steps Academy review written for: ProminentOffers.com