After Aariah Woods, a mom of three, dove into the world of affiliate marketing, she began to realize her entrepreneurial dreams. Here's her inspiring story and best tips for following in her footsteps.
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Growing up in New York, Aariah Woods looked up to her father and grandfather who were both entrepreneurs. Her grandfather was a real estate broker, and her dad owned a barber shop. "I always wanted to have my own business and wanted to be successful," she explains.

But when her grandfather passed and her dad fell on hard times, Woods also found herself in an unexpected position—her best friend was unable to take care of her children, so Woods stepped in as their godmother. "It was literally like becoming a parent overnight," she recalls. "I learned a lot about putting other little people first."

Whenever she considered her own actions, she thought, "How can I make life better for them?"

It helped her start working even harder. Woods had a job at a hospital, but because of the low compensation, she began exploring other options. "I stumbled across affiliate marketing," she remembers. Affiliates earn a commission for marketing another person's or company's products.

"It just opened my eyes to social media and the whole world of e-commerce," says Woods. "That idea of me wanting to be a business owner suddenly came rushing back."

She jumped into it. And when one of Woods' videos—for a roadside assistance insurance company she was working for—went viral and she made $1,100 in a week, she began connecting with other entrepreneurs who were running e-commerce businesses. She soon realized that if she could be successful selling someone else's products, she could certainly do the same for her own product.

Soon, Woods was able to start her own hair care company Bellah Roze by using money from each paycheck she received from her affiliate marketing job to slowly gather all she needed to launch her business. "I was winging it at first, but then I started to take a lot of online classes," she says. Those classes provided the support she needed to get her company up and running. She started making six-figures by her third year in business.

Eventually, Woods was inspired to start sharing her knowledge with others. "I started to put everything that I've learned in regard to affiliate marketing or e-commerce into courses," she says. That's how her coaching business began.

Now, Woods says she and her family are able to live comfortably, and she continues to dream bigger and bigger. "I want to continue scaling my business, so that I have a foundation for generations to come," she notes.

She's also incredibly proud of her children—her two eldest have started their own businesses as well—and grateful for the freedom this career path has afforded her in terms of being able to spend more time with them.

"My entire journey has taught me so much, but one of the best things that I can say that I got out of it is not only being able to provide for my family and not having to worry about if we're going to pay the rent, but the opportunity to spend a lot of time with them," says Woods. "That was one of the most important things for me—actually being able to be a mom and not be stuck at a job all day, come home tired, and not be able to actually spend that quality time with my kids."

Here are Woods' best entrepreneurial tips for helping your business thrive.

Find Your Niche

The first step to starting a business is to find a niche. "Even if it seems saturated, it's really not, because it doesn't have you," points out Woods. "You might be the one to come in and take over that entire niche, because what you're offering, no one else is."

And be sure it's a niche that you truly love, advises Woods, as that will promote your interest in sticking with it in the long-run.

Use Influencer Marketing

"There is a lot of power in influencer marketing," notes Woods. "When I first started out, I would use influencers to grow my businesses." That meant using them to showcase her products or paying them to announce a launch.

By watching influencers promote her products, Woods also picked up a new range of skills that led to becoming an influencer herself. That allowed her to successfully start promoting her own brand.

Offer Customers Some Perks

Woods says one of the things that helped her company reach its first $1,000 in a day was using referral and discount codes.

"Of course people love free stuff," she says. "So when people come to your website, they get something free, the customer they're referring gets something free, and that becomes a sale and what we call a conversion for you."

Focus On Your Own Efforts

While it's natural to feel competitive from time to time, especially while using social media to leverage your business, don't worry about what other people are doing, says Woods. Stay focused on what you're working toward.

"Don't worry if you don't have a lot of followers," she says. "I didn't have a lot of followers to begin with... But as long as you dedicate your time and your efforts into whatever business it is that you want, it's definitely reachable."

This story originally appeared on parents.com