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Making Money Online is TOUGH! – Now that we got that out of the way…..

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Like many budding entrepreneurs I wanted to start my own business from an early age.  I wanted to accomplish many things by starting a business:

  • Be my own boss! Over the years I have worked for large multi-national companies, fledgling start-ups and everything in between but I never owned the businesses and have never been completely in charge of my business destiny.
  • Financial Independence and Flexibility!  I want to make my own hours and have financial independence based on the amount of value and revenue I can generate.  Which means I wanted to put together a business that generates Passive Income.
  • Collaborate with other like minded individuals to teach and learn from.

In 2009, I found the path!  I was introduced to affiliate marketing, it was a brilliant strategy to start making money online at tens of thousands of dollars a month!  LIFE was good and now I could retire from the corporate world and work from the beach.  Every internet marketing person said it was possible and they had the videos of them from working on their laptops with partners on the beach in Hawaii to prove it.  I went to some conferences, learn some marketing know how, set up my affiliate Clickbank, Shareasale, CJ and Linkshare (now Rakuten) accounts and off I went……..just a few hours a week and internet riches were soon to follow.  Not so much!

My first couple of months of internet freedom produced total of sales of < $100 after spending advertising dollars for PPC, PPM, buying direct traffic, internet traffic programs…you name it I tried it.  Turns out internet riches were not going to happen with random people buying weight loss pills, dating advice and various other products I was selling through affiliate links.  I grew frustrated,  flushed thousands of dollars down the toilet and lost interest BUT kept on dabbling to see how this business would go over the long run.  During that time I learned a bunch of things and I failed a lot more.

Over the Ten years or so, here is what I figured out and what I tell beginners and those struggling to have successful online business:

  • Behind the door of opportunity is HARD WORK!  Though the internet and affiliate marketing provide tremendous opportunity and options, it takes a lot of time and hard work to figure out (your) niche and passion and where to spend time.   Learn the business by asking experts and go to conferences, put the time in.
  • INVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS and have PATIENCE!  The biggest mistake start up companies and those who truly want to build on online business is to expect results too quickly and early on in the process.  There is a reason companies use split-testing, different forms of advertising, customer profile testing and so on.  This is more of a marathon than a sprint.  Be prepared to invest in your business if you want to have true success.
  • Make a ton of MISTAKES!  It means you are trying all sort of different ideas, products, websites, pictures, traffic avenues, etc… I have spent a lot of time and money figuring out what not to do in a campaign until something clicks.
  • SELL What You KNOW or PASSIONATE about.  If you love turtle stuff, don’t try to sell a membership program you designed for making great coffee.  SELL TURTLE STUFF and find out all the nuances and learn from others selling turtle stuff!
  • Would Anybody Buy THIS?  I can’t tell you the number of conferences I have been to that people have paid thousands of dollars to attend to learn how to sell some specific interest they have.  Be HONEST with yourself or find someone you trust to be honest with you.   Would anyone want to buy this?  Your Passion or Hobby might in fact just be yours and not a business!  Be happy with an information page for the other four people who share your interest to trade fun comments and anecdotes.
  • For Newbies, Find a Great Platform to Start! I wish I had heard about Wealthy Affiliate years ago, it would have saved me a lot of wasted time trying to build websites and learning the ins and outs of this affiliate marketing business on my own.  There are other platforms out there but I have yet to see one that does the following:
    • Give you the chance to test the platform to see what it has to offer without charging you or taking a credit card!  You join and pay when you are satisfied this is a fantastic choice for you.
    • Incredible learning platform, DOZENS of training videos included for everything from WordPress Website Build out to affiliate marketing and keyword/SEO search platform (Jaaxy).
    • Community Participation and Help!  This is a community of entrepreneurs who take time out of their day to help others without compensation (expect for some participation points and internal ranking) and really know what to do or where you should go.  This is not a bunch of internet marketers that are bragging about how much money they make while they sip Mai Tai’s in Maui while working poolside from their laptop.  Real people helping others because it is a phenomenal community!
    • Superior Hosting Platform!  I have used Go-Daddy and other services to host websites, nothing compares to the WA platform, services and available training.  I also included a comparison of pricing just on this service alone: Pagely (5 Websites) = $199 per month; WPEngine (10 Websites) = $115 per month; Kinsta (10 Websites) = $200 per month
      • Wealthy Affiliate (10 Websites) = $29 per month, if you pay a year upfront, $49 a month if paid monthly! (included with Premium)

I welcome your comments of questions.  I love helping other entrepreneurs, so reach out anytime!

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16 Comment on this post

  1. Making money online asks hard work and patience, like you said! It’s not something that is complicated BUT it requires time and effort, definitely. At the beginning, it can be a lot of investment without any results (like a “normal” business), but you got to keep working at it until it happens! 

    I wonder, after 10 years now, what have you decided to do for you online business? Are you working with something specific like selling on Amazon or being an affiliate marketer for example? I’m curious to learn more on your journey. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this, it’s so true! 🙂


    1. Hi Audrey,  Thank you for the great comment!  

      To answer your question, I generate most of the income from affiliate marketing by finding quality programs and products that provide value.  As you probably figured out so far, there are some interesting products that may or may not generate much interest.

      Success will rest heavily on three things 1. Traffic 2. Traffic 3. Traffic !  

  2. I wish I had heard this advice a little sooner, lol! When I first started my website, I chose a subject that I thought people would want…but didn’t really consider whether *I* wanted to write about it! It became a chore to create content. I tried again – same thing. Now, I’m on my third website and I can’t stop writing! I think of new ideas ALL the time and the words come so easily. 

    But I am definitely finding it hard to be patient. I want results! I’m all about hard work – but it would definitely be nice to know I’m on the right track. Any tips to increase traffic? I believe I have the content – just need more eyes on it! 

    Thank you!

  3. Hello, I really want to first appreciate your effort in putting this great website together and writing this article. I quit my job to start online business but It really wasn’t as I expected I met so many fake platforms with fraudsters looking for ways to wreck you. If I had this good information, I would have started on a better ground. Thank you

    1. So True Benny!  I have a blog I am working on about the myriad of services that are aimed at those struggling to make it online and take advantage of their vulnerability.  As my Dad would say, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is….”

  4. I know, I wish making money online is easier but oh well. So much so for all the influencers advertised to you that it is easy lol 

    Your story is very similar to mine. I left the corporate job and found out oops, I shouldn’t have but too late. So, I am doing both freelancing and affiliate marketing. It is not easy but I know that it will not last forever. 

    People will actually buy from you if they trust you enough that is what I believe in. My stats is getting better the more frequent I post my contents 🙂 Hang in there and good luck to us! 

  5. Hi,

    Very informative post, thanks for sharing. I’ve been looking to work online too, and also had a hard time, just spending money and time to get zero sales. I agree with you everyone wants fast results, that´s what we see out there, just shining objects we should not follow. You are absolutely right it needs hard work and will take time.

    Selling what you are passionate about or you have the knowledge about it´s half the way.



  6. I really liked this post.
    Yes, making money online is tough, no doubt. Most times we dream of being financially independent, or getting along with like-minded entrepreneurs. But it doesn’t really happen easily as we think.
    Truly, entrepreneurs need to work hard and be patient and do the things that they have passion for. But apart from the passion of what you do, don’t you think they also need motivation? Considering, they say success is more of perspiring than inspiration. Or do people who need to make money online never rely on motivation?

    1. Hi Chris,  Great thoughts and thanks for the perspective!

      I think motivation is key but in my opinion it has to be driven by a life purpose.  Making money to make money is not enough and it it won’t keep someone going during the early phases when you run into obstacles and challenges.  It is why many people give up.  What is your purpose?  Why do you want to create this income stream? 

  7. Hello there! This is an amazing article you’ve got here as it exposes the main deal about online businesses. Indeed hard work and patience is the main key to succeed online though it’s a total waste to start working on something that won’t be productive at the end that’s why it’s important to choose a better niche that suits you. Thanks for sharing this article!

  8. BlueMoon UniqueFashion

    I totally agree with you that affiliate marketing is a brilliant strategy for making money online. And it’s hard to get started, especially if you don’t have a good program that guides you step by step or a mentor who wants to pay all your attention. But it is important that in the end, all the effort pays off.

  9. Rob,
    You are very correct.  It will take time, consistency, effort, and dedication no matter what the business happens to be.  The door to opportunity is easy to open for anyone BUT most people make a fast exit when the see the work needed to $ucceed.  Those that have $ucceSS put on blinders so they are not distracted by their surroundings and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give up.   There are so many scam affiliate programs that sell you on their great program then continue trying to sell their even better plan.  I know from experience. I joined one which cost only $99 and gave you a ‘personal’ coach.  Shortly after I realized his job was to get me to invest in their ‘exclusive’ super doper all-inclusive program which costs ONLY $15,000.  I left them my $99 and hit the road.  After nearly a year they keep sending me emails.

    I see you have a link to Wealthy Affiliate and it said ‘no credit card required’. 
    I had heard of them and had thought about looking into it.  Is it really free to join, how good is it, how much training and support do they give?  Hopefully, you will be doing a thorough post on it soon.

    I will check back with this site soon.

    Thanks and Blessings,

    1. Hi Leo,

      Great to hear from you and thank you for sharing your experience and question.  I have seen a lot of the programs like the one you were evaluating.  Those bait and switch scams are truly despicable!

      Wealthy Affiliate is truly free to join and the included training is really  phenomenal. Take a look and try it, no risk at all.

      I can check in with you and see how it goes and tell you how it works for me.  Contact me anytime.

      Best to your success!


  10. Hello,

    Thanks a lot for this inspiring article. I have tried affiliate marketing for 4 years now, and only recently was I able to quit my 7 year job to start again at affiliate marketing as I’m very much persuaded that it is the way to go. However, it is not easy to wait after working so hard during these infant stages. But you have inspired me to remember that despite the beginnings being humble, those who keep at it eventually reap the fruits. I’m working on building organic traffic. It’s hard to come by for now, but hope is still up.

    1. Great to see you have come back with vengeance and desire!  Organic traffic is certainly possible and the WA tools around SEO and key words is really helpful.  As you start to find your niche audience and viable products think about adding other sources of traffic.  Contact me anytime if you need anything.

  11. You are right on the money here with this title.  It is tough. If it wasn’t tough, it would probably be illegal (and even that is tough most of the time lol).  But the benefits definitely outweigh of working for “the man”!  as you stated, you are your own boss.  If that isn’t freedom, I don’t know what is!  I highly recommend anyone here that is interested in doing your own thing, to visit one of these links such as Wealthy Affiliates and check it out for yourself.  Might be one of the best decisions you ever made!

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