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The Dark Side of Making Money Online (That Very Few Are Qualified to Write About)

by | Feb 5, 2024 | Making Money Online, Money

Making a full-time living on the internet sounds like a dream.

No boss. Heaps of money. Pick your kid up from daycare every day. Buy a Rolex watch. Drive a Mercedes. It’s…just…so…like…magnificent.

The reality isn’t quite as bright as the influencers would have you believe. The topic of making money online is done to death on social media. But there’s one giant problem…

The people writing about it have either:

  1. Never done it.
  2. Only made like $100 which teaches us nothing.
  3. Or made $500M from selling their online business which none of us can relate to.

To learn about the dark side of money there are very few who are qualified and have done it.

I’m one such person who HAS done it and made 7-figures in the process. Not enough to buy a private jet, but certainly more than the pyramid scheme articles about “How I Made 99 Cents On Speemium.com.”

Here’s the dark side of making money online that no one tells you.

Feels like a pyramid scheme


I sometimes feel like I’m stuck in this vortex with all these gurus talking about how they made money. It’s exhausting. And the advice is bad too. Often the advice sounds like talking down to strangers as well.

It’s as if these internet money gurus are all in some group chat and colluding to litter the internet with making money advice.

Everyone starts to sound the same, and that makes it look like even more of a scam. Are you sick of these gurus? I am.

Feeling like you’re not enough

There are days when I don’t feel like I’m enough.

Where I want more or think I should have more because my buddy Dan Koe makes $200,000 in 24 hours (no joke) from selling his “Art of Focus” book — something I keep telling myself I could never do because I suck as a writer.

The trouble with the internet is billions of people use it. And soon everyone will be online, thanks to services such as Starlink. So the ceiling on your success is limitless. The internet gives us access to infinite abundance.

When there’s so much abundance it’s hard to know when to stop. A bit like that scene from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where the fat kid drinks directly from the chocolate tap and doesn’t know when to stop.

I’ve learned it’s best to slow down before you think you should. It’s why I’m currently slowing down my follower growth.

It blows up your ego

I shouldn’t admit this but I had a small ego before I started my online business. After making a few million dollars online it can really mess you up. As humble as you can try to be, some days, it’s hard.

Some days an email subscriber rubs you the wrong way and you let loose. “Do you know who I am, mofo?!” Not gonna lie, I’ve made this error a few times. Not on purpose but it happened.

What I’ve learned:

Just because you can be successful in one area of life, doesn’t make you successful at everything.

I have loads of work to do to become a better dad and husband. And I suck as house chores and dealing with local councils.

The solution to this problem is to be aware of your ego. Know that as you have any online success, your ego will get bigger and it’s up to you to tame it and be self-aware.

No one wants to hear this

Making money online is hard.

Notice what I didn’t say? It’s not impossible or unrealistic. But it is hard and that’s what makes it bloody worth it.

Online success won’t happen in 30 days. It may not even happen in a year. It took me more than 5 years because I’m a below-average human.

Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Just don’t be fooled by a Lambo bro in gym shorts.

Privacy instead of fame

TV and movies teach you to want fame. But I’ve found it’s lame.

The dark side of internet money is it can give you a lot of attention. That means when you go out to dinner with your 1-year-old little kid, some weirdo may pull up a chair at your table and try to pitch you their newsletter business. Yuck.

More attention has only made me want the opposite.

What a paradox, hey?! The quiet life feels the best to me. I don’t want to trade making money stories all day. It’s boring. I’d rather watch my kid grow up and take my wife on movie dates.

The peanut gallery will fling poo at you

Another dark side of online success is the haters and trolls.

To be clear, they’re rare but some will find you. Their goal is to piss their life away arguing with you and accusing you of all sorts of stuff.

I’ve lost track of how many people have sent me emails accusing me of things that never happened.

One hater went on a rampage because they thought I hired $2 an hour virtual assistants from Africa. Apparently, I helped create a gen0cide, too. Then I sent the hater a copy of an invoice. “Nope, wrong. My assistant comes from Canada and earns $50 an hour.”

Or there’s the time someone accused me of a crypto scam. Only problem was I shared the same first name as the scammer, but their last name was French. LOL. Not even close. But you guessed it, apparently I was guilty.

As your internet numbers get bigger, the number of haters increases. One of the quickest ways to make fast money online is to insert a successful person’s full name into a headline and fling poo at them for no reason.

You’ll never earn a full-time living out of it, but it sure can help someone make a fast $100 and fill their fridge with Dominos pizza boxes.

Best strategy: ignore critics. Attention is their drug, so don’t reply, and you won’t insert dopamine-filled heroin into their arms.

It can be repetitive and boring

Making money online is a process.

And those processes need to be repeated for an uncomfortable number of times to turn thin air into $100 bills you can buy tacos with.

I enjoy what I do but some days suck.

  • Lots of emails
  • Lots of article drafts
  • Out of control expenses
  • Pain in the ass security hacks
  • Endless accounting conversations
  • Writing emails all day every day to an email list
  • Big tech software company bans, warnings, and suspensions

Sound fun? Nope. But to live a good life like this you have to take the good with the bad. Nothing is 100% awesome, despite what the cold shower Elon Musk success books say.

“There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.” — Thomas Sowell

Some days are hard.

In time, you learn to appreciate the hard parts and even enjoy them. But if you’re looking for a life with no problems and overflowing bank accounts, then it’s best to wait until you die and go to heaven.

Checking stats

The internet gave us a gift from god: data.

Every blessing can be a curse though. Internet stats are addictive. Followers go up. Money goes up. ‘Likes’ go up. Email subs go up.

It’s never-ending.

Some days stats go down. Article views plummet. Algorithm gods suppress a popular topic or keyword. If you’re not careful, your mental health can live and die by these dashboards with shiny red and green analytics.

The way I deal with it is to switch them OFF. Or I have my virtual assistant do the analysis and watch the stats for me, then only have them talk about it once every now and then.

Over the last 10 years, stats have only ever trended up and to the right every year. It’s the same for almost every creator I know, which is why the internet is such a magic invention.

Less stats, more writing.

Final Thought

You may have just read the above and gone “F that, I’m never making money on the internet. What a joke!”

It’s not my intention to have you react that way. Making money online is amazing, but you have to know the downsides, or they’ll sabotage your success. The bad sides I mentioned above are one-percenters.

The good of this internet life far outweighs the bad. When compared with working a cubicle job for a micro-manager boss, I’d take making money with an online business over that every damn day, bab-a-a-a-y.

Figure out how to make money online, then quit before you reach the intersection of amazing and a nightmare from hell that comes with zero privacy.

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