What It’s Really Like to Make Your First $1000 Online

My First 1000 Online Post Banner

A few days before Christmas 2018, the US government began a partial shutdown, and in the weeks that followed, nearly 800,000 workers helped to confirm an alarming statistic, that nearly 4 out of 5 American workers live paycheck to paycheck.

To make matters worse, 70% of them claimed to be in debt. As of May 2023, that number has grown to 77%.

So, it’s no surprise that people are looking online for a second income, and as a result, the online money-making industry has become flooded with get-rich-quick schemes and scams.

And that makes this more than a story of what it's like to earn your first $1000 online. It’s a cautionary tale. A true account of mistakes, mayhem, and miscalculations.

In short, a story of what NOT to do.  

Of course, making MORE than $1000 is probably what you want, and this adventure will take you there. But for now, let's begin with your first $1000.

One thousand dollars won’t change your life, but it could take a little pressure off, right?

You may have bills to catch up on, and a thousand bucks could go a long way. It might even stop a bill collector from calling. 

You could fill your kitchen with groceries or buy music lessons for your kids. Not be life-changing for you, but it could be life-changing for them.

You could also blow $1000 on having fun. A weekend away or a shiny new TV to mount on your wall. What about a night out with friends or a loved one?

And, here's the thing…

If you can make $1000 online, then you can make $2000 online and more.

But, while “gurus” talk $10K, $100K, and even a million in 24 hours (okay, maybe not in 24 hours)…

… it’s easy to forget how much you can do with an extra $1000. 

So, let’s go one step further…

Imagine what you could do with $1000 per month

You could drive a new BMW and not worry about payments. You could afford to live in a different neighborhood, upgrade your education, or start a home business.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It all begins with that FIRST $1000, and as great as that is, making your first $1000 online might not be what you expect.

What Most Gurus Won’t Tell You

If you’ve been searching for ways to make money online, you’ve probably run into the “guru” systems where they show you “proof” of their six and seven-figure incomes online. 

As you know, things are rarely what they seem. What they’re not showing you are the thousands of dollars they’ve spent learning to do what they do or the thousands they spent on paid traffic and ads (which is certainly the case if you discovered that money-making system from an advertisement or promoted post)

They are also not talking about the years they’ve spent developing the skills, building their email lists, and the times they lost money. 

While some may be making millions today, there is always more to the story. So let’s take a step backward. 

Long before you can make millions, you need to make your first $1000, and for anyone starting out, that part of the story is far more important.

I’m going to share with you a real example of what that journey looks like. My journey…

My First 1000 Online
My First $1000 Online

In May of 2017, I made my first $1000 online. It feels like a lifetime ago now.

What you’re not seeing in this screenshot though, is the date my journey started. If I told you it began in December 2016 (as shown in the screenshot), it would seem plausible, right?

October of 2016 was nine months prior when I joined an educational program that taught me how to make money online.

However, there’s still more to the story.

We can go back another year and a half to the summer of 2015, when I actually started to learn the skills that eventually allowed me to make that $1000 online. 

In other words, for anyone trying to tell you that making money online is quick or easy, the truth is probably not what they want you to know. And I get it — the last thing I want to do is discourage you. 

The point of this article is to show you that despite the challenges you’ll face and how long it may take, you can still do it. 

For those truly committed, you’ll have a far greater chance of success knowing the full truth, which is this…

What looks like an easy few months (from the screenshot I showed you above) is actually a two-year adventure and a lot more work than “gurus” might suggest. 

And even after two years, my journey had only begun.

IMPORTANT NOTE > It does NOT take two years to make your first $1000 (or to learn the necessary skills), but depending on your situation (full-time job, children, financial obligations, family obligations, etc.), it can… and that's fine.

Why My First $1000 Almost Destroyed Me

It would be easy to imagine I was excited about the money I had made, but as I mentioned earlier, things are not always as they seem. 

You may have noticed in that previous screenshot (above) why I was not excited by my first $1000, but just in case, here it is again (below).

This time I'll point at something different — the number of sales. 

New Sales 13 to 0

When you look at the actual sales numbers (not dollars), which led to my online income, they are from January, February, and March. 

April and May were complete failures.

The only income I really had coming in were recurring sales from previous months which carried on for much of 2017, along with a random sale here and there, so with my first $1000 in the bank, I was the exact opposite of excited. 

Even though I still made a few bucks that year, whatever I did to make it during those first few months of 2017 turned out to be a mystery that took me another couple of years to fully solve. 

And in the meantime, my financial situation only got worse. 

By mid-April, I realized whatever I did in the months before was no longer working. So I panicked. Afraid of losing momentum, I started buying more courses, tools, and gimmicks. 

Not only was I barely making any money, but I was burning through piles of it. 

As you can see below, my online income in 2017 was not what dreams are made of. 

Sales and Revenue Gets Worse

A year after joining this particular program, and despite my early success, I was back where I started. Zero sales (and my income dwindled to zero the following year as well).

By the end of 2017, I had spent far more money than I’m willing to admit — many thousands. In addition to the courses, push-button systems, tools, and online money-making gimmicks, I also spent a ton of money on paid traffic (ads).

I tried sales funnels, drop shipping on Shopify, e-books, social media marketing, and blogging. After countless hours of trying to make money online, aside from my earlier success — I pretty much made nadda

To say I was depressed and frustrated is an understatement. I can’t even count the failures. 

Way back in March, when it appeared my online career was about to take off, I had my dream life mapped out. For a brief moment, it felt real, but then it was gone. And the letdown was far worse than it would have been if I hadn’t made anything at all. 

It seemed my first $1000 online was just luck.

If You Think It Gets Better From Here, You’re Wrong!

Have you ever felt like you’re being kicked when you’re already down? Of course, who hasn’t right? 

In my case, the same month I ran out of money, the company I worked for completed their biggest construction project. The crew (which I was part of) was laid off. 

How awesome is that? 

Look, I admire people who can comfortably talk about their rock bottoms… but I’m not one of them. 

What I can tell you is this. Starting over in your 40’s is not fun. It’s as if everything you’ve worked for up until that point has been erased.

Of course, that’s not entirely true, but it feels that way. 

You can treat it like a downward spiral or a hard reset. One an empty pit of despair, and the other an awakening. I chose the latter. 

There were no illusions here. It wasn’t bad luck that led me here or a universe out to get me. It was 100% my own fault. 

In gambling terms, I went all in and came up short. C’est la vie.

Now, I’m not saying your journey will look like mine and you do NOT have to “start over”. In fact, the reason I’m writing this is so you can learn from my experience and not make the same mistakes.

But chances are, if you embark on a similar journey, it’s going to be tougher than you expect. If you truly want to succeed, then remember — it’s not your problems that hold you back. It’s how you deal with them.

When You’re in Deep, The Best Thing To Do is Dig Deeper

As I said, starting over feels like everything you’ve worked for is being erased, but the truth is, situations like these are a gold mine. 

I was reminded of a quote I read more than 20 years earlier from Napolean Hill…

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

To be clear, that doesn’t mean an equal or greater benefit is going to jump right out at you. But if you think back to your challenging moments, you may find that what seemed like a setback at the time was instead a path to something better. 

Sometimes you must dig deeper because the equal or greater benefit is not obvious. 

In my case, I didn’t have to dig too far to find a treasure trove. 

  • First, I had acquired an education that few people will ever get.

    Many try to make money online, but few get the opportunity to learn from countless failures of their own. Few get to experience what it’s like going broke in the process.

    As crazy as it sounds, if I had to do it over again, I’d probably do the same thing because I wouldn’t know half of what I know now about making money online if not for that experience. 
  • Second, I discovered just how awesome my family is. They knew I was working hard towards building a better life for all of us, and my wife had my back.  
  • Third, I learned I could be just as happy, even more, without all of the “material stuff” I had desperately tried holding onto. Aside from the obvious necessities like food, shelter, and ice cream 😀 … I learned that a comfortable place to sit, my laptop, and coffee were all I really needed (although there is one thing I really miss). 
J-M with Mustang

No… not my daughters. I mean, I miss them when they’re not with me (like right now), but for the purpose of this article, I’m talking about my car. I really miss my car, and a new one just like this is at the top of my shopping list 🙂

Update: I did buy a new one… well, “new to me”. I had been searching for some time and finally found what I was looking for (below)…

Bought a new Mustang

As you can see, my youngest daughter sitting in the driver's seat is a few years older than she was in the first picture. 

I also want to emphasize what I said above. This is a “new to me” car. I did not buy it fresh off the lot with stacks of cash, and it's also nothing special (although it is to me).

There are enough “gurus” out there driving around in $300,000 rented Ferraris and Lamborghinis and claiming you can have one too. A few might actually own one, but I'm not one of them. 

Why Your Only Choice is Failure

How do you approach failure? Are you afraid of it? Do you welcome it? 

Whatever you think of failure, there’s one thing you should never do: 

Never let a good failure go to waste.

A failure is only a failure if you fail to learn from it and wow, I learned a lot. 

I’m as dumb as a stump about many things, but one thing I do know is that you will never get what you want in life if you ignore your failures or let them break you.  

And that’s only true for those who are at least playing the game.

Many people don’t even try, they tippy-toe through life avoiding failure. 

Therefore, the life you want means stepping into the arena, playing the game, and failing. Fail as many times as it takes and learn everything you can. It’s a gift…

… but I get it. It doesn’t feel like a gift at the time.

So, with no money left, my only option was to go back over everything I had tried, all of my failures, and everything I had learned to figure out how to make this thing work. 

If you’ve been trying to make money online, then you already know that traffic is what you need.

However, if you haven't tried to make money online and you don’t know, let me tell you…

… traffic is what you need. It's not the only thing you need, but without it, nothing happens.

And, since I was broke, buying traffic (with paid advertising) was out of the question. 

That left just one option, free traffic, and since my first $1000 was made with free traffic it was obvious what I had to do.

I had to go back to what worked the first time which led me to my first mentor, an online entrepreneur from Victoria, British Columbia. 

His diagnosis was quick and spot on. 

I lacked patience, I was looking for shortcuts, I was focusing on money rather than learning new skills and helping people — in other words, I had a condition called Shiny Object Syndrome.

You’ve probably heard of it. You may even have it, and while I’m not a doctor, my suggestion (as it was prescribed to me) is patience

In any job, gig, or business, it’s easy to focus on making money. We all do it. It’s usually the reason we work. But it’s the skill development and learning how to use those skills to help others that come first.

Then the money follows.

Like learning to play the guitar or earning a black belt in Karate, making money online doesn't happen overnight. It takes time, patience, repetition, and feedback.

Forgetting about those was my biggest mistake. 

I had made money online but instead of getting better at what I was already doing, and learning why it was working, I quit and tried something else.

When that didn’t work, I moved on to another thing, and then another, and another… 

… until I ran out of money and options.

To use the martial arts analogy again; it’s like winning a Karate tournament and thinking you're the next Chuck Norris… then getting your ass kicked and switching to Jujitsu.

When a few months go by and you’re not yet a Jujitsu master, you quit and try Kung Fu.

And when that doesn’t work, well… you get the point.

Everyone wants to be great at something, but few have the patience to let it happen.  

And by let it happen, I mean this…

An Olympic swimmer doesn’t think of every stride, and a Formula One driver doesn't pause to figure out every gear change or turn of the wheel. They do these things effortlessly.  

An accomplished guitarist doesn’t think about where her pinky goes, and a seasoned comedian doesn't second guess the timing of every joke.

Likewise, a successful online marketer or business owner already knows what to do next. 

It's through practice, repetition, and continual improvement that they get better. 

Why Being Smart is Really Stupid

In addition to having patience, another critical step on your journey to greatness is accepting that you have more to learn. Or, to put it another way, admitting you’re not as smart as you think you are.

And one of my biggest mistakes was thinking I was smart. 

What do I mean by that?

I had spent so much money, taken so many courses, and tried so many strategies… how could I not be an expert, right? 

I had even made money online before, so what was my problem?

As it turns out, my arrogance was the problem. As they say, I didn’t know jack$#!%!

Maybe that’s not what they say, whoever they are. But you get the idea.

You probably have one or two things you think you’re really good at, and maybe you are. I thought my thing was understanding people.  

With 15 – 20 years of sales and management experience, there’s one thing I was certain of. I knew people, and I knew what they wanted. 

So, every time I read or listened to an expert say, 

“You must understand your audience and know what they want”, I thought to myself, “yeah-yeah… I know that already. I get it. Let’s move on. Let's get to the good stuff.”

I was too arrogant to realize that THAT WAS the good stuff.

Know your audience.

What I thought I was good at turned out to be the thing I was horrible at. 

If someone told you that you sucked at whatever it is you think you're good at, would you believe them?

Of course not. It's your thing, right?

It’s almost impossible to imagine you could suck at it because the thing (you think) you’re good at is part of your identity.

To witness this in action, try telling someone you know who loves driving and thinks they’re great at it that they're a terrible driver. It doesn't matter if they suck behind the wheel. They believe they're a good driver. 

Humble pie is tough to swallow.

I can’t put my finger on the exact moment I realized I sucked at the thing I thought I was good at, but it was true. I spent a long time playing out past situations in this new light, and my failure became an opportunity to grow and turn this weakness into a strength.   

The reason I was struggling to make money online was now obvious and, in hindsight, simple.

I wasn’t giving my audience what they wanted. 


Here’s the thing…

I didn’t even know what my audience wanted because I didn’t understand them. And I didn’t even try to understand them because I assumed I already did.

That was one of my strengths, after all (or so I thought). 

This was my failure. My blindspot.

As I said, you can follow the steps and go through the motions, but certain things only become apparent after you've been doing it long enough that it becomes part of you.  

Again… a guitarist will never be good if they have to stop and think about every note and chord they play. 

Likewise, if you’re still trying to earn your first $1000 online, it’s NOT because you can’t; it’s because you haven’t developed and absorbed all the necessary skills and knowledge, and that’s where we all start out. You’re not alone.  

Give it time and have patience. Practice, screw up, and practice some more…

You may have a blindspot as I did, but it will probably be different. Either way, you need to keep moving forward, learn from your failures, and let your process of discovery play out. 

So, Was My First $1000 Online Really Just Luck?

Yes and no. 

I was lucky when I first earned money online because the campaign I was running turned out to be exactly what my audience wanted. 

But matching the perfect audience to the perfect product was a complete fluke. 

I just happened to stumble upon a trending topic that people were searching and that drove traffic to the exact thing THEY wanted (an important lesson here). 

This might seem like an obvious thing to do, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. It's not just matching the perfect audience to the perfect product, service, company, etc. Your audience must also be ready to buy.

Most audiences don't even know what they want yet, while others are still kicking tires. 

Timing is everything. 

Marketers and copywriters spend years getting good at doing this deliberately. I, on the other hand, did it accidentally. And had no idea what I had done… 

… or how to do it again.

I knew something worked because I started making money, but I had no idea what that something was. Therefore, I couldn’t replicate it. 

So, the fact that it worked was not lucky. But blindly stumbling onto it was lucky.

Why You DON’T Need Money to Make Money

So, you thought this would just be a simple story about making your first $1000 online, eh? 

I’m sure there are many thousands who have made their first $1000 online and never looked back, but obviously, I’m not one of them.

Your story will likely have ups and downs of its own, and hopefully, you can avoid the same mistakes I made. The more important lesson here is that even if it takes longer than you want it to, and it probably will, there’s no reason to give up. 

Not even if you’re broke. 

Remember, this wasn't my finest moment financially.  

You don’t need a ton of money to make money. In fact, running out of money turned out to be a benefit, not a burden, and here’s why…

Why Quitting was The Best Decision I Made

Throughout 2017 I tried so many ways to make money online and all of them, except for one, failed.

If you’ve tried and failed multiple times too, I don’t need to explain how exhausting it is. By the time 2018 rolled around, depressed and broke, I decided to quit.

I didn’t have it in me anymore. I wasn’t going to create another funnel and have it fail again. Not another eBook, no more Facebook Ads, pop-ups, email opt-ins, or offers of any kind.

I was done. 

At least, I was done trying to make money. 

However, I was NOT done with building niche websites and marketing. Not even close. In fact, armed with this new perspective, I was never more serious. 

The problem with most who try to make money online (myself included) is that we’re connecting the thing we’re doing directly with the money we hope to make.

But it doesn’t work that way. 

We’re like med students on our first day of school, asking our professor how long it will take us to make money. 

Who knows how long?

Maybe we never make money if we quit after a few months because “this medical school scam just isn't working.”

Seriously! I once had someone join an online coaching program and immediately ask me, “How do I connect my bank account to start receiving my money”.

That was literally their first question.

They didn’t ask, “How do I do it?” or “Where do I start?” or, more importantly, “What do I need to learn?”     

Nope… “How do I connect my bank account to start receiving my money” was their first question.

I get it. We all want money. But if money is all you want, and you don’t care about learning a new skill to earn it… then forget it. It's not happening (unless it's a job where you must learn or be fired, in which case, you still need to learn the required skill).

If it's not a job but rather something you just don't want to do, then you won't have the resolve to learn it or do what it takes to make money at it. 

Like any career, there are things you need to learn and accomplish before you can make money. 

So, in my case, I stopped worrying about it (the money, that is) and accepted what the journey was really about. Learning, gaining experience, and improving my skills. There was no other way.

That doesn't mean money isn't important or that it's not the ultimate goal. But if it's your only measure of success, you're in for a frustrating adventure. 

Having accepted this (aka having learned it the hard way), I decided to set non-monetary goals instead, like building a source of online traffic. And that required smaller “action goals” rather than “result goals”.

Being broke, I focused on free traffic through SEO (search engine optimization) and social media, and since money was no longer my distraction (because I didn't have any and I wasn't earning any), I was able to get laser-focused on that traffic goal. 

This is what happened in 2018 and 2019 (Jan in the screenshot below represents 2019, and to be clear, this is website traffic, NOT income. Which wouldn't come until later)…

64K Monthly Users
64,000 Monthly Users

Now, if you’re just getting started online, I know you want to make money fast, but if you look closely, this was not overnight. This screenshot represents a full year of effort going back to May of 2018. 

And it was another FULL YEAR prior to that time (April of 2017) that my brief moment of success had collapsed. 

These are the challenging time periods that are usually excluded from success stories.

So I know these traffic numbers won’t knock most bloggers' socks off, many have millions of visitors every month, but I’m happy with what was achieved. These numbers are a lot better than zero, which is what they would have been had quit and spent my spare time watching Netflix.

So, after all of this, did the results ever come?  

They did, yes.

In part two of this article (below), I'll share what it's like to earn your second $1000.

Why My Second $1000 Was Better Than My First $1000

Two years, many thousands of dollars, and countless failures later, I made my second $1000. I was expecting to crash and burn like the last time, but that's not what happened. 

And then my third $1000 was close behind, followed by my fourth, and so on…

This time I knew what I was doing.

Well, that’s not entirely true…

I had a better idea of what I was doing, which was just enough to get traction. I’m still learning, testing, and racking up my failures year after year after year.

But rather than making money, simply learning and getting better is still my goal, and making money is just a byproduct of that goal.  

I also learned along the way that audiences with similar problems are interested in different solutions to those problems, so it’s a good idea to diversify your content and provide your audience with options. 

Likewise, diversifying my own income was a game-changer.

As my traffic grew and the calendar rolled into 2019, all of my time and effort started to pay off. The following screenshots are from various sources. 

The first is an affiliate program that provides tools, training, and one-on-one coaching for aspiring online entrepreneurs. 

Revenue Source 1
Income Source #1

This is affiliate income, and if you've ever wanted to make money online, affiliate marketing is how you want to do it

Hundreds of thousands of companies, from Apple and Amazon to small independents who create digital products like courses, apps, and productivity software, have affiliate programs that pay commissions when someone buys their product or service based on your recommendation.

You never touch the product, and you're not buying or selling it, which means no inventory, investment, or risky purchases. You're also not shipping or receiving the product.

Everything is handled by the vendor, and you're simply collecting a commission. 

This next screenshot shows income from CPA offers which stand for cost per action.

CPA is a form of lead generation where companies pay you for someone performing a specific action, which may include anything from downloading and trying out a program to filling out an application or submitting an email.

Income Source #2 – CPA

I signed up for this particular program in late January and started running full campaigns in February.

It started earning a little money right away, and although I hadn’t fully implemented it across my entire site, as you can see in the screenshot above, $4778.10 in the first few months is not too bad. Now, I’m not about to retire on this income, but it wouldn't even exist if I hadn’t reached out to someone for help and advice.  

How One Simple Question Turned Into $4,869.17

While we’re talking about mentors (I was talking about mentors, right?), I should explain that a mentor doesn’t have to be someone you find locally and follow around 24 hours a day. A mentor can simply be someone you connect with online who is doing what you’re doing but is further along the journey.

They can point out things you may have missed and help you avoid potential roadblocks, which can all be done through things like email and social media groups. There’s no reason not to have a mentor (or several), and here's why…

I was unaware I was leaving money on the table. 

The next screenshot is ad revenue for May, June, and July which totals $4,869.17. 

Revenue Source 3
Income Source #3

I implemented ads earlier this year, and total ad revenue is currently just shy of $7,000. It started out as a trickle and has grown since. 

I know… you hate ads when you visit a website, right?

I used to hate ads too. But I have to be honest; $2000+ per month in passive income has given me a new perspective. 

Again, this is not retirement money, but it’s a lot better than the pennies I was led to believe ads were worth. 

On a side note, creating legitimately valuable content for others takes a tremendous amount of time, effort, and, in some cases, money. So, if some people (and there are some) are unhappy about having to view a few ads in exchange for the free helpful information they searched for (and you provided), so be it. Don’t lose sleep over it.

Back to the topic of getting advice…

It pays to ask someone who knows firsthand what they are doing instead of relying on information that's incomplete or handed down. Half (give or take) of the advice you read online is nothing more than uninformed opinions and hearsay. 

But talking to someone who is actually in the arena can be a game-changer. I’ve made thousands of dollars as a direct result of reaching out and asking another blogger (who also has ads on their site) just one simple question,

“Hey, is it worth it to have ads on your site?”

That one question has been life-changing (update: From 2019 to 2023, it has been six figures life-changing), and it continues to be a significant source of income.

Note: To be clear, earning six figures online took many years, countless hours, and things you might not relate to making money online, like better diet, exercise, and sleep habits that helped me work longer hours with more clarity. This was NOT lying on the beach collecting money.

So, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions.

How A Poor Attitude and Bad Memory Became A Great Surprise!

The best money you’ll make online is the kind that comes as a complete surprise. 

I had applied to another affiliate program, and like most of my attempts to make money with affiliate programs, this one seemed to be a dud, too. 

I checked the stats a few times in the first week or two, and while it was getting a few clicks, there were zero sales.

No surprise. I had gone down this road a hundred times before. 

What’s another failure, right?

Who cares? 

With that attitude, I gave up on it and completely forgot I was still sending traffic to this vendor from a post I wrote nearly a year earlier. But when I woke up on April 4th, I was reminded with this following email… 

Unexpected Revenue From Forgotten Affiliate
Income Source #4 (This one is my favorites because it came as a complete surprise. It’s from an affiliate program I had forgotten about.)

A surprise $636.30 and this affiliate program continues to earn money every month.

In addition to some other affiliate income and client services revenue, this journey, as difficult as it's been at times, turned into a full-time income.

Of course… if you follow the “make-money-online GURUS” out there, you may be disappointed that what I’m showing you is not ‘private jet' or ‘Ferrari' money. 

I don’t know what to tell you.

Many gurus drive Ferraris because the people who buy their BS keep giving them thousands of dollars for push-button systems and secrets, but as I said, things are rarely what they seem. 

In my opinion, a moderate income you can earn from home (or wherever you want) with an internet connection and a laptop is still pretty good. 

And a supplementary income that adds a few thousand dollars to your job income is also pretty good. And it’s real.

Of course, I can’t lie…

… I'd love the disposable income one needs to buy a Ferrari. Who wouldn't? And who knows, maybe one day I, or you, will have it. But one thing is certain, having a Ferrari as a goal won't do it.

However, becoming the best at what you do as your goal might.

Now It’s Your Turn!

The best lessons are learned from experience, but that doesn’t mean you should torture yourself. You can (and should) learn from others’ experiences.

I mean, if you’re driving down the road and the car in front of you hits a pothole, do you really need to hit it yourself to make sure it’s real? 

Of course not.

My story is a pothole.

If you’re trying to make money online, don’t panic if it’s not working. And, whatever you do, don’t start throwing money at the problem like I did (paid traffic is particularly dangerous by the way).

Treat your journey as you would if you were going to school or getting your black belt. Be patient, enjoy the process, and focus on the skills you’re learning, not the money you’re not yet making.

The money will not come ahead of the time and effort you invest in learning.

But I get it…

Most of us are here because we want a laptop lifestyle — to kick back on the beach while money pours into our bank accounts. And a version of that lifestyle is possible, it just takes time to learn how. Give yourself the time you need because it’s worth it.

What do I mean by a version of that lifestyle?

I mean, kicking back on a beach while money pours into your bank account is something many people achieve with a job. A few weeks of paid vacation doesn’t mean a lifetime on the beach and never having to work again, but real life is not a movie.

What if a supplementary income allowed you to move to a beach town and take a less stressful part-time job?

All I’m saying is that there are real ways to achieve your objectives. It only takes a few hundred bucks each month to move into a bigger home or a new neighborhood.

Or another few hundred each month might pay for a new car so you no longer have to worry about fixing your old one or taking a bus.

You could put your kids in a better school, go back to school yourself, or put some extra money in the bank for peace of mind.

If you’ve already started your journey to make money online, focus on the skills you’re learning. Like any profession or trade, it’s a craft. And if you haven’t yet started making money online, there’s no reason to wait. 

There are mountains of free resources online and some great programs. There’s never been a better time to start. I can’t show you all of the ways to do it, but I can show you how I did it HERE.

Actually, scratch that!

The last thing you want to learn is “exactly” how I did it. What you want, is to learn how I did it, minus the mistakes. 

I make no promises or guarantees, but if you’d like to know, you can connect with me HERE

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The views, information and opinions expressed in the blog comments are solely those of the individuals involved  and do not necessarily represent those of Gig Hustlers, its owners, employees, or writers. Gig Hustlers is not responsible for, nor does it verify the content provided by individual commenters.

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25 thoughts on “What It’s Really Like to Make Your First $1000 Online”

  1. I am new to digital marketing but learning and following your blog to make first hundred dollar, its going good. All thanks to you! Keep sharing

  2. This is really an eye-opening post for me. All the points you've mentioned are very helpful as well as motivational too. I make my first 1$K in 2 years through blogging & affiliate marketing. Thanks!

  3. I love finding a website through a Google search and discovering the person is being helped by the same mentor as me! I've only been going for a few months but it gives me hope that I am heading in the right direction.

  4. Very Interesting article. Most times I get discouraged when I don’t see the expected results in my blog. Am working on becoming patient and putting in the work more than ever. Thanks!

    • I think discouragement is part of the journey. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, artist, athlete, entertainer or even a parent… we all go through bouts of discouragement. It’s the unproven path and everyone who travels it experiences the same feelings of doubt, uncertainty, fear, discouragement and so on. Those who don’t feel those emotions are probably sitting on the sidelines watching others live the life they wish they had. So discouragement is a sign you’re on the right path 🙂

  5. What a great point, I’ve been blogging for months now, and I agree with you it does take some time and some emotional intelligence.

    And like physical work, making money online requires emotional labour, labour means difficult and frustrating at times.

  6. Thank you for sharing your experience with us! I’m 53 years old, not fluent in english (currently learning) and just started out a blog. I would like to turn this into a main income in the future. I took a look on the “start here” page and it really inspired me, thank you for that. At the bottom of that page I clicked on the button and I registered in Wealthy Affiliate website, but I couldn’t find: The 4-step with the 10 step by step lessons and private access to your 1-on-1 help. I am very interested on this, but unffortunatelly I couldn’t easily find it, probably because I am very new on this.
    I hope you can help me with this silly quest. Thank you for the great articles, I am learning a lot from them!

  7. Thank you for inspiring me. My blog is a month old, and although i have an experience with blogging and SEO, I am getting fustrated with the outcome these few weeks. It is either my articles are not appearing on Google pages at all, or they appear in a kinda funny way. Anyway, I got that fixed.

    I am not keen on making the dough today or tomorrow, I just want to grow my brand. Thanks again, you are a great writer!

    • Hi Judy, thanks for your kind words. I absolutely understand your frustration. Everyone of us who ever started a website went through the same thing. And every new website we start we have to go through the same process. As I mentioned in another comment here, Google (as well as Bing, Yahoo etc.) know the vast majority of bloggers will give up within the first 6 months, so they are reluctant to give those younger websites a chance because they know they won’t be around for the long-haul anyway.

      But that’s also good news for those of us who don’t mind a little hard work, because the one thing you can do to set yourself apart from 90% of all the new sites out there, is simply stick around and be persistent.

      Again, I totally get your frustration… and when it comes to SEO it’s kind of an ongoing thing (even when you are getting traffic). But the free traffic is worth it. My recommendation is to just keep at it and always be learning 🙂

      I appreciate you taking the time to share and again, a big thanks for your kind words.

  8. Amazing article, Really appreciate the content and how you explain everything and you are right. It takes a lot of you to actually make money online.

    I have been trying to earn a living online for the past 2 years promoting products from webshops in the country i live.

    I recently started my own blog with a .com domain and english to see if i can reach i bigger audience. The only problem i am having is getting traffic after a month. Do you have any tips for beginners on how to get organic traffic? Should i focus on backlinks or getting content out?

    • Hi Ronald, I understand your situation completely. It’s not easy to earn a living online, despite what the countless “gurus” say. If a make-money-online program is being promoted by someone through an ad (on YouTube or Facebook for example), there’s a pretty good chance the system they’re promoting requires advertising too… and advertising is not cheap. Earning more money than what the ads are costing you is NOT easy.

      But it sounds like you’re on the right track with your blog and free traffic. My recommendation at your stage is to focus on content. You need keyword rich content that people are already searching for online that also has as little competition as possible.

      Backlinks can help, but they are only effective if you have high quality content that already deserves to rank high in the search engines to begin with.

      Backlinks cannot make up for a lack of content or, in some cases, poor content. I’m in no way saying your content is poor, I haven’t seen your website… I’m only adding that because I’ve seen it before with others and it’s a common misconception that backlinks can overcome deficiencies in other areas. That may have been the case several years ago, but the algorithms are much smarter today.

      [and I should qualify that term poor content. Your content may be exceptionally good, but is it better than the competition? That’s always the question.

      When it comes to some highly competitive keywords, many of the top sites have 10,000 or 20,000 word posts with custom media such as videos, inforgraphics, etc. that may have taken a month or two to create and cost a couple thousand dollars to produce. So in some cases, your content can be absolutely amazing, but considered poor relative to the competition.]

      The other issue is time. Your site is still young. A month is not really enough time to start getting good search engine traffic. Depending on your niche, it can be as little as 3 months (for a very obscure niche with little or no competition) to 18 – 24 months for a competitive niche.

      Google and the other search engines know that 90% of bloggers will usually give up within the 6 months, so they are reluctant to give those younger websites a chance knowing that most won’t be around for the long-term anyway.

      You can think of Google like a big department store, and your website as a product you want them to carry on their shelves.

      Before they commit to using you as one of their suppliers (in this case, a supplier of content), they want to know you’re not only serious, but committed to supplying them on a regular basis with a high quality product (content). They need to know your products are good and are going to satisfy their customers needs.

      I have a backgound in sales and blogging and SEO in my experience has been very much like sales when it comes to search traffic.

      When I would approached a new vendor and I tried to get them to carry my products, they wanted to know how long we were in business, how good our products were, what kind of service we could provide and whether we could supply them on a regular basis.

      They also needed to know why they should carry my product. Why was it better than the products they were already carrying.

      If I could satisfy that criteria, they’d give us a chance. But only a chance. Getting my product on their shelf was only half the battle.

      Ultimately, my success depended on the customer who bought and used the product. Were they happy with it? Did it satisfy their needs?

      In Google case, the searcher is their customer and you are their supplier.

      If Google puts your product (content) on the shelf (on page one of the search results) and the customer likes it (good engagement, good time on page, etc.) then they’ll continue using you as a supplier of content. If the customer (searcher) is unhappy (hits the back button quickly, doesn’t engage with your content, etc.), they’ll stop using you as a supplier and give someone else a chance.

      So backlinks can help when you’re already established and in the mix for some competitive rankings… but they don’t make up for time, quality of content and customer (searcher) satisfaction.

      Hope that provides some insight 🙂

      And of course, when it comes to SEO… in a room of 100 “experts”, you’ll get 100 different opinions, lol. Mine is only one.

  9. Hello Jay,
    I haven’t had any online success, bought a lot of crap that didn’t work, guess they saw me coming.
    I have been selling on eBay but sourcing is a constant challenge.
    After all is said and done I’m lucky to break even at the end of the month.
    I googled “Best Affiliate Marketing Course” and came upon your review, what a blessing !!!
    I’m interested in the “Wealthy Affiliate Course” but I’m not much of a writer, is that a deal breaker?
    To be honest I’m not that hot with computers either but I’m motivated !!!
    You see Jay, I’m 65 retired and living on a small fixed income. I desperately need something to subsidize my income. At my age health and wellness is a big deal and you said to pick a niche of interest.
    But, as I said I’m not much of a writer and wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to blog. In reading your review I understand that I’ll have all the help I need to build my website but what about content?
    I’d appreciate any advise you can give and I look forward to hearing from you.
    I’ve no more “Time nor Money” to waste so I count myself fortunate to have finally found an honest man !!!

    Thanks for listening

    • Hi Charles, not being “hot” with computers is not a problem 😀

      There are of course some things to learn but most (if not all) of the tools we have available to us today are point and click programs. And there are an abundance of tutorials and resources to get help.

      As far as writing, the amount of writing you do would depend on your niche. If your niche had something to do with cars for example, your content would rely a little more on images than say a website about finance would.

      Having said that, the key to making money with an online business (excluding online jobs such as transcription or editing for example) is traffic. And with your experience you probably already know there are two kinds of traffic. Free traffic and paid traffic.

      With paid traffic you can rely on relatively thin content or content that is not original. You’re paying to drive people to a website or landing page for example so that page doesn’t have to satisfy any specific search parameters.

      Free traffic though, requires content. Again, depending on your niche and other factors like whether you focus mostly on search engines or mostly on social media, your content will vary. But it is necessary if you want free traffic.

      I started out doing a lot of writing. Today I have writers (one of them full-time) and that takes the pressure off and allows you to focus on other things, but… like paid traffic, hiring a writer also costs money.

      I personally enjoy writing so I still write myself as well. But I know some others who’s content is exclusively written by writers so that is an option. But again, it can be costly and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it for someone starting out.

      I will say though, even from your comment I can tell you’re more than capable of writing. Web content is conversational content, not literary content. And there are tools like Grammerly that can help you with a lot of it. There are many with English as a 2nd or 3rd language who succeed, it just takes the willingness to write and through the process you get better. I cringe when I read posts I wrote years ago. And I’ll probably cringe in a few years when I look back on the stuff I write today, lol.

      As far as not being comfortable, I totally understand that as well. Everything we try that’s new, whether it’s going to the gym or picking up a musical instrument, feels uncomfortable, and that’s completely normal. I think there are very few of us who felt comfortable right away but it’s a gradual process and you develop that over time.

      But… it’s true, it’s not for everyone and I understand that too. I’ve tried a lot of things in my life and realized pretty quickly (sometimes not quick enough) that they weren’t for me. I’m happy to answer any more questions you may have though and hopefully provide some valuable insight 🙂


  10. ขอบคุณที่คุณช่วยสร้างแรงบันดาลใจให้ฉัน ทำให้ฉันมีกำลังใจที่จะต่อสู้ดิ้นรนต่อไปอีก

    Thank you for helping to inspire me. Gave me the strength to continue fighting

  11. Thank you for the article. this is inspiring. I am taking the same steps as yours. Patient matters a lot and I’m ready to wait and work towards my goal.

  12. This is one of the best articles on this precarious subject. I wish I had been more careful about the programs I had tried. But, just like you, I am honing my skills and working on making money on ebay.

    • Thanks Devin, I really appreciate your kind words. Sorry to hear you’ve had some negative experiences too. They are part of the learning process unfortunately. The good news is that you have the persistence and patience to keep working on your skills and to continually move forward. For those who want to know the “secret” to making money online… that’s probably it. There’s a ton of things you learn along the way (tricks of the trade) but to keep going long after most people quit, that’s the big one. None of those “tricks” matter if you quit.

      Thanks again for reading and for your insight 🙂