Usually, a story like this begins with… “a life of quiet desperation and unhappiness”. And then, as if the universe could hear my cries… the hand of opportunity reached down from the heavens, scooped me up and whispered a life changing secret in my ear.
Not this story. Not even close. In fact, it's a story of mistakes and how you can avoid them.
The first part of the story is true. Quiet desperation and unhappy? Absolutely. But who hasn't felt desperate and unhappy?
Trapped in a job and suffocating? Yep...
Just “existing” but not living? You bet...
Feeling alone (even when you’re not)?
Yes, yes, and yes...
If you haven’t experienced a few of those, you might want to check… You may not be human.
The second part of the story though? The part about the hand of opportunity and a life changing secret?
The truth is... on the journey towards your dreams, life happens... Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and even when you start making money... it can only do so much.
If you just need a little breathing room though... then yes, money online will help.
If your job feels like the 800 pound gorilla crushing your shoulders... extra money will surely lighten the load (and let's be honest... a little success doesn't hurt when looking for an attractive someone ).
But it's been said countless times... beyond a certain point, money won't make you "more" happy.
What's far more important in my opinion is *time*... You can always earn more money, but every second we lose is one we're not getting back.
Most people ask themselves... "Can I make money online?"
... but a far more important question is, "What if you don't?"
If you don't, can you live where you want to live? Can you do the things you want to do? Can you have the things you want?
For me the answer was no... so I had a choice. Give up on my dreams or figure this thing out, and I don't know about you... but it wasn't in me to let go of my dreams.
As you can see... I chose to figure it out (but not before screwing it up first as you'll see below).
Note: This is NOT one of those "I had a 100 leads in my second week" kind of stories.
And I'll be honest with you...
I can't promise what I did will work for you. Some of the stories you may have heard are true. There are people earning 6-figures/month this way.
There are others who don't earn anything, who quit long before they made it. It's not the system or strategies that don't work, it's the effort you put in.
All I can do is show you what worked for me and if you want, be here to answer your questions.
I've tried a dozen or more ways to make money online from eBooks to eCommerce, done-for-you sales funnels and a bunch of scams. Nothing was working until I found a mentor, internet entrepreneur Kyle Loudoun, who pointed out 3 crucial mistakes I was making. Mistakes that would cost me years of effort and thousands of dollars.
Kyle is co-founder of the online business platform Wealthy Affiliate with over a million members... and this is what he taught me...
The first thing I learned...
I was looking for a short-cut. I didn't realize it, but I was.
When you think about it... the entire make-money-online industry is selling a short-cut. You hear things like "10K in 60 days" or"How I made 250K with a single email".
Deep down we know it's bullshit... but we want it to be true.
Unfortunately, it's more complicated than that.
There are 3 main stages to making money online,
I was so anxious about stage 3 (making money) that when it came to stages 1 and 2... I did the minimum.
In fact... I didn't even know there were 3 distinct stages (at least... it had never been explained to me that way). And if you try to short-cut stages one and two...
... stage 3 will be painfully hard.
How do you short-cut stages one and two? You throw money at it...
*Done-for-you* programs and *paid traffic*.
The second thing I learned...
Making money online is NOT about money... it's about *helping* people. Solving problems.
It's seems obvious, right? Of course it does... but you don't see Facebook and YouTube adds that say "How to Help People Online".
Nope. They say "How To Make Money Online"... which is fine if you remind people it's through helping others you succeed.
I should have known better. With 10 years of outside sales experience my entire career was all about helping people. Doing more for my customers than my competitors were willing to do.
But, like many who start out online, I was seduced by these so-called *gurus* who promised obscene amounts of money while sitting behind a computer.
First... it doesn't work that way.
Second... the internet does NOT need another person hypnotized with $$ signs in their eyes. You'll never stand out or make a dent if you're only focused on buckets of cash.
The third thing I learned...
Stop jumping from one opportunity to the next. I said that I tried a dozen things to make money online and nothing worked...
... that's because every time I came to a road-block, I quit and tried something new.
The truth is that whatever it is... 9 out of 10 people are going to quit when it gets tough. All you need to do is stick to it, get past those first few hurdles, and you're in the top 10%.
There's nothing ground-breaking here, but having a mentor who showed me what I was doing wrong changed my life.
And... when I stopped jumping from one thing to the next, I stopped spending money on every new course, program and gimmick... and that's not good for the "guru's" who depend on serial buyers (people like me who bought every shiny object).
I had also stopped paying for traffic... and instantly overnight, my budget dropped from $700 per month to just $30 (for everything I needed). So don't be fooled into thinking you need a ton of money.
No you didn't miss anything :-) I'm skipping over stage 1 of this guide for the moment (the technical part of making money online) because links and information to step-by-step videos and free online tools are provided below.
But first... let's discuss traffic because getting eyeballs to your offers is where most people struggle.
If you want to make money online, you need an audience. There are two ways to get it,
There's so much to learn when you're starting out, it can get overwhelming. Traffic is usually your first road block, and if you're selling someone else's program... they're not going to put a lot of time into teaching you how to get free traffic. They want you selling now... and that means paying for traffic.
To be clear... I have nothing against paid traffic *IF* you're running a profitable business or you're an experienced online marketer who knows what they're doing.
But it is NOT for people just starting out and funding it with their credit card.
Paid traffic is easy... and it's fast. You can throw money at Google, Facebook and YouTube and get instant traffic.
But, converting that traffic into sales is hard. You can (and probably will) spend thousands learning how.
If making money online was as simple as spending $100 on traffic to earn $200 back... we'd all be instant millionaires.
This is what usually happens...
You spend $100 on traffic and earn $20...
You change your strategy, spend another $100 and maybe (if you're lucky) earn $30. Sometimes you blow the entire $100 and earn $0.
Try again... and again...
This goes on... and on... and on... until you run into the second problem with paid traffic.
When you stop... it stops. And that's why buying traffic is looking for a short-cut.
With *free traffic* though... you can test all the strategies you want and whether you work on it tomorrow or the next day... it still comes in... for free.
All of my traffic today is free... and that's because my mentor taught me to stop short-cutting stage 2 (traffic).
Of course, the advantage to free traffic is that it's free, but there's another important reason you want it. You want it because it's high-quality traffic.
When you buy traffic, you're interrupting people who are not looking for you, or whatever it is you have.
You're trying to grab their attention and convince them to stop what they're doing and instead, do what you want them to do.
Ask any experienced marketer... this is extremely hard.
With free traffic, you've already won the battle.
If you're reading this... it's because you had a question or you were searching for something... and we share a common interest. In many ways, we're already on the same page.
I'm not interrupting your Facebook feed and I'm not stopping you with an Ad you're going to skip when the seconds get to zero.
The next question most people ask is where does the money come from?
It sounds simple (not easy... but simple)...
... but how many people really buy stuff online? And, are you expected to buy, sell, and ship products?
To answer to the first question;
A lot of people buy stuff online. There are currently an estimated 1.7 billion people who have purchased something online this year and sales are expected to exceed 2.3 trillion dollars.
The second question;
No... you do NOT have to buy stuff, sell it, or ship it. When you combine that fact with free traffic, you begin to see how powerful this is and why it's so popular.
How does it work? Good question...
You may be surprised to know that legitimate businesses will pay you just for recommending their products online... an online business model called affiliate marketing.
I'm not talking about shady underground businesses you've never heard of... I'm talking about companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Bestbuy and even the NFL.
There are many ways to make money online. Affiliate marketing is just one...
Having said that, affiliate marketing is how most people start, and even those who move onto other methods like eCommerce, selling their own products, building agencies and so on... still do affiliate marketing.
In fact, affiliate marketing often makes up more than half of their income.
And it's PASSIVE income.
The reasons most people start with affiliate marketing and continue with it are...
The other great thing about affiliate marketing is that you can do it with anything you're passionate about or interested in.
The above quote is attributed to Confucius, and it's another powerful benefit of affiliate marketing, and here's why...
If you've searched for anything online... you've been exposed to affiliate marketing. Whether it was gardening or guitars, travel or tiny houses... you probably stumbled onto a website (or YouTube video) that was earning a passive income through affiliate marketing.
Most of these websites and videos are not "selling" anything. Nor are they engaged in high-pressure sales tactics or aggressive marketing strategies.
They are usually people writing or talking about their passions and interests. And... if you found them from searching (rather than being advertised to), their primary source of traffic is FREE... and you share a common interest.
The reason "passion" is important is not only so you can do what you enjoy... but because doing something you enjoy is sustainable. In a world where overnight success is a myth and the journey requires effort... they key to making it is to keep going (which is tough if you're not having fun).
Think about it. One of your biggest reasons for making money online is to escape a job you hate, and an industry you probably don't care about.
As I said from the beginning... making money online won't solve all of your problems. And along the way you'll have set-backs, doubts, frustrations, maybe some push-back from friends and family...
It's part of the process we all go through, and it's why those who succeed online are the ones who just keep going. Success lies beyond the point where most people won't go.
So... critical to overcoming these challenges is to make it fun, and that means sticking to your interests and the things you're passionate about.
The things you would spend time doing even if you were not building an online business.
During your low points (and we all get them), this keeps it sustainable.
A lot of people get into this and chose something they think they'll enjoy, but when it comes to doing it... it's not that fun. In that situation you can pivot and find something different. It's not a reason to quit.
The biggest reason people quit is because of expensive monthly fees. Spoiler Alert: there will be time in the beginning when you're not making any money, so if you're paying hundreds of dollars per month like I was... it catches up with you quickly.
If enjoying what you do makes it personally sustainable... keeping it affordable is what makes it financially sustainable. I can't stress this enough. The #1 reason people quit is because they run out of budget so keeping your expenses as low as possible is critical.
With the combination of passion and affordability, it becomes something you'd likely be doing anyway, which is a lot easier to turn into a business than something you don't want to do.
We've talked about the three steps to earning a passive income online.
And, the two key ingredients to succeed where most people fail
But, that's obviously not enough to get you started.
So... what are you next steps?
There are two more crucial pieces to the puzzle.
As you can probably tell.. I'm not big on paying for things I don't need, so I'm not here to drop a big sales pitch on you. That's not what this is.
In fact, I started my online career for free and I believe everyone should be able to get started for free.
I had been struggling to make money online for a few years when I was pointed towards Kyle and Wealthy Affiliate from a friend at work. As I mentioned, they have over a million members and the community is like Facebook for entrepreneurs... with educational resources, training, websites and tools.
Yes... they have paid memberships if you were wondering. But they also have thousands of free members who are taking their next steps, connecting with online entrepreneurs and taking advantage of the free tools and training that's offered... and no, it's NOT a credit card thing.
It works like this...
There are really good marketers (and many scammers) out there that are good at getting people to pay for things they don't need.
The real benefit to using FREE tools and training (which is why I recommend them) is that you learn what you need BEFORE spending money.
No trial offers or having to hunt for refunds...
At one time, getting started online was hard... like joining an exclusive club. It wasn't a *secret*, but you had know where to look and who to talk to.
It's not like that today.
And as I mentioned above, Wealthy Affiliate is like a social network for entrepreneurs... it's where I hang out and it's where you can communicate with me directly.
As a free member you also have access to Level 1 of the Online Entrepreneur Certification, which includes 10 lessons. This over-the-shoulder training gets you started with the first 2 stages of making money online...
There's actually a 4th stage to making money online that we talked a little about, and it comes before everything else. Choosing your niche.
You can access the 10 free lessons here which include topics such as...
1. Getting Rolling - Kyle (one of Wealthy Affiliate's co-owners) introduces himself and goes over everything you need to get started. He talks about the 4 stages (the 3 mentioned plus choosing your niche).
2. Understanding How to Make Money Online - How you can access hundreds of thousands of products in hundreds of thousands of niches to generate income.
3. Choosing a Niche - The key to starting out right is your niche... choosing something you enjoy and learning how to "niche-down" to target high potential markets with low competition.
4. Building Your OWN Niche Website - Building a website sounds scary but it's not. This is a point & click set-up process that takes less than a minute using Wealthy Affiliate's advanced website platform. A real Wordpress site that's yours... not a trial or demo. It's not something you have to pay for later.
As a side note... I'm currently working with people personally who are taking the course so you'll have access to me as well.
There's an advanced membership as well, which is $49/month (or $29/month when paid annually). It's for those who are serious about taking their online marketing to the next level.
It comes with a more advanced suite of tools, thousands (yes thousands) of hours of training, weekly live webinars, unlimited community access, live help... and 1-on-1 coaching.
The tools alone (including 50 websites) are worth $100+ per month.
The training is worth thousands if you were purchase it somewhere else. I'm not even sure there's another platform that comes close at any cost. I've reviewed hundreds of online marketing and work-at-home programs and there's a reason this is the one I recommend.
The 1-on-1 coaching is priceless. Outside of Wealthy Affiliate 1-on-1 coaching would easily cost hundreds of dollars per hour... if not more. Here you have access to successful entrepreneurs and a coach whenever you need them.
To say $49/month is a bargain is a huge understatement. $29 per month paid annually (which is how I pay) is unheard of in this industry.
Everything is under one roof and integrated. No third party tools, paid traffic, or upsells.
For those ready to get started you can get your FREE tools and training here.