And making money was all about owning and running a WordPress blog. Ohhhh how things have changed, hey?
But I made most of my money in the last few years, and I’m surrounded by up-and-comers who’ve gone from $0 to 6 figures in this past year.
If I was trying to make 7 figures online again, here’s exactly what I’d do.
Never go solo
I spent the first 5 years of my journey thinking my butt was delicious.
I didn’t engage with anyone. I just posed as if I was strutting down Hollywood Boulevard. That meant it took a long time to learn the basics.
I had no clue about copywriting and was afraid to be “too salesy.” Then a kind fellow invited me to his mastermind. I said no then a few months later I changed my mind.
I got 5 years of progress in a year.
Finally I was surrounded by other smart people who had a similar goal to me. When I figured out some big online problem, I’d share it. When they had similar discoveries they’d do the same.
Instead of “OMG it’s an algorithm apocalypse,” the conversation changed to “Hey ya’ll, anyone having issues reaching people with your content?”
Often I’d learn the algorithm didn’t nuke anyone’s dreams. It was either a temporary issue or some over-exaggerated problem a clickbait jerk decided to write about to make $2 off.
Don’t go solo. When things get hard you will get frustrated and likely give up. If you’re serious about making money online, it’s crucial to see it as a team sport. Find your tribe.
Lead magnets have changed forever
I’ll cut to the chase here.
Every 7-figure guy/gal that’s made some cash on the internet has done it with content that leads to an email list.
If you don’t publish content or have an email list then please click off this article and go eat a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. This article isn’t for you and I can’t help you.
For everyone else, a lead magnet is crucial to the online game. It’s an incentive that allows you to get a person’s email address in return for a course, book, checklist, etc.
What’s often forgotten is a lead magnet is how you show value before you ever ask anyone to pay you. Courses and books used to be the most popular lead magnets.
The problem is the freebie you give away has to be closely tied to the social media content that leads to the lead magnet. So, if I write about how to quit drinking alcohol and the lead magnet is all about quitting smoking, it won’t convert as well.
The best lead magnet right now is a link to a past newsletter edition you’ve written on a platform like Beehiiv, ConvertKit, or $ubstack.
So if I write about how to get better at writing stories, then I can link to a $ubstack newsletter edition I’ve written about storytelling.
There are two differences with this strategy.
- A user gets to see your back catalog before they hand over their email address. This builds more trust.
- You get multiple chances to ask for their email address both at the start, middle, and end of your related newsletter edition they’re reading.
The more exposure a person has to who you are, the more likely they are to give you their email and even pay you money for something.
Traditional lead magnets are one-night stands.
Sharing newsletter editions allows a user to have a relationship with you before they hand over the keys to their house and let you stay over inside their sexy email inbox.
Optimize for time
Back when I started online you could get people to read your 10-hour book with no issues at all.
Now, the average person will barely sit still for a 30-second TikTok video. I said this to someone yesterday and they were like “Ohhhh but boomers will read long books from people they don’t know. It’s an age thing.”
All age groups have shorter attention spans. No one is buying your 10-hour book unless they trust you and have seen your sexy face on social media a bunch of times.
So … we need to optimize for time. We need short-form content, like tweets, to bring awareness to who we are and what we do online. Then we have the opportunity to perhaps sell something and get paid.
Quit the boycott behavior that makes you broke
I used to be such a social justice warrior.
I heavily focused on people such as Mark Suckerberg. Because I thought he was a knob, I never used Facebook or Instagram to make money online. Idiot. These platforms have 1B+ people.
Now I know this was immature. Caring about who owns what platform or getting my g-string in a twist because of something Elon did or said is stupid. Newsflash: owners of all big tech platforms are mostly dickh*ads.
You don’t hoard money and make hundreds of millions of dollars unless you’ve got a screw loose. And that’s okay. We’re all a bit crazy. Some of us want to build giant media empires and have thousands of employees.
You do you.
For me, I don’t ever wanna be like these billionaires. But I now respect them. And I especially don’t try to boycott them like a boy scout and think they’ll cry me a river because they didn’t get my $8 a month. Nope.
There comes a point where business is business, money is money.
Go where the people are. Focus on yourself and how you help others, and don’t get caught up in the culture war that’ll rob you blind and leave you homeless with a box of used cond0ms and a tent.
Quit using fancy email software
All the internet bros told me to use email software.
So I used the chimps at Mailchimp to run my email list. They banned me for life for doing nothing wrong, but that’s another story. The problem with this approach is I got caught up in tech nightmares.
- Landing pages
- Automatic downloads
- Website code
The smart way to start making money online with email lists is to avoid all this crap and just use a platform like Beehiiv, Ghost, or $ubstack.
The reason is, my first product (if I were starting again) would probably be a paid newsletter. I’d use social media to drive people to this newsletter and then just have 5–10% of them go paid.
It’s easy and helps to change your psychology faster.
Once your brain goes “Ahhh my experience and stories have value and I can make $50 a year from them” your entire worldview changes. And once it does the path to 7 figures online is much clearer.
But first some money has to flow into your pocket to convince you it’s not a get-rich-quick or pyramid scheme run by former MLM employees.
Email software like ConvertKit comes later in your online journey.
Become a one-person business sooner
All the money I made online up until recently went through my personal name. I’m an idiot.
It’s way more tax-efficient to put money made online through a business/LLC. I won’t bore you with the reasons, other than to say you should never ignore taxes because they’re your biggest expense.
Put affiliate links everywhere
I’ve been afraid to use affiliate links for years.
I thought it was selling out or unethical. About a year ago I changed my mind. And the paychecks have been amazing.
An affiliate link is just a way to tell people where to go to get a product or service you may have used. They’re going to buy it anyway, so why shouldn’t you get money for it?
An affiliate link in 99% of cases doesn’t cost the buyer more. In fact, my affiliate links often give the consumer a better deal than if they went direct. That’s a win-win.
The simplest affiliate link in history is to use an Amazon affiliate link for any books or quotes you mention.
Start a 6-figure newsletter
The old media world is dying.
We’re tired of biased publications run by extreme right and left-wing puppets that exist only to promote their political views above doing their job of informing, inspiring, and entertaining.
Freedom of speech has been destroyed.
But it’s making a comeback baby! The answer is you and me. The answer is citizen journalism and human interest stories direct from real humans, not middlemen.
When one world dies another world is reborn. That new world is newsletters. If I was starting again, I’d make this my focus from day one. I’d put my best content in a newsletter and have a free and paid version.
I wouldn’t piss-fart around with logos and newsletter names. I’d just get it out there and spend my time getting other newsletters and creators to link to it.
A newsletter is the fastest path to 6 figures.
From there, 7 figures is child’s play. But you’ve gotta follow my daughter’s lead and crawl on the footpath before you can stand tall on the road and scream “I’m awesome!” without getting hit by a self-driving Tesla.
All of us have a 6-figure newsletter stuck in our heads.
All those hours slaving away and working a career have meaning and value. Unleash your wisdom in this new format.
Quietly quit the job sooner
Yep, let’s finish this 7-figure journey here. What robbed me of millions more dollars was my 9–5 job. While trying to do both, I didn’t have enough focus on my online goal.
So it took me twice as long to grow and make decent cash. Quitting your job may sound drastic, but after 9 years I know one thing for sure:
You can always get another job.
There are jobs everywhere and bosses that can’t wait to micromanage you into the ground. If you quit a job, you can always go back to another one if need be. I wish I knew this sooner.
This article is for informational purposes only, it should not be considered financial, tax or legal advice. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.