Making money online is an addiction worse than p*rn.
It changes the whole way you live your life. Things will never be the same again. And your career will look like a pink elephant walking through a herd of elephants on an African safari.
I’ve spent the last 9 years obsessed with making money online and unlocking what works and what doesn’t.
Here are the unwritten rules nobody told me that I had to learn for myself.
Rule #1 — Play the game on hard mode or not at all
Too many people who seek to make money online have the wrong mindset.
They want cheat codes, quick wins, fast ways to make cash. But the game doesn’t work like that. Making money online is hard because the victory gives you enough money to set you up for life and access personal freedom.
They’re two things you should fight like a dog for.
If you want “easy” then just get a job.
It’ll be draining, lack creativity, and require you to suck up to some knob boss .. but it’ll be easy peasy japanesey. You won’t have to think too much, there will be zero risk, and there are infinite jobs available.
What I obviously recommend is to play hard online games. The struggle feels amazing and the pain you experience turns into enormous growth.
Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life — Jerzy Gregorek
Rule #2 — It’s supposed to be fun as hell
There are limitless ways to make money online.
That’s half the fun of it. You get to use your childlike imagination and creativity to forge your own path. Pretty much anything can make money, even a JPG of a silly monkey for christ’s sake.
Too many would-be creators try to make money online and it becomes a grind. That’s because they choose topics they don’t give a crap about but that they’ve been told will make them rich.
Don’t do it. Chase fun.
Rule #3 — Stop listening to advice-givers dumping their load on you
Everyone has advice to offer.
A customer said to me the other day, “my tax advisor told me I shouldn’t invest any money in courses or coaching.” That advice is about as useful as if I went to my butcher (I’m vegan) and asked them for advice on how to repair the engine in my car.
They’d probably have an opinion but it’d be as effective as a condom with a hole in it.
Learn from practitioners. People who actually make money online. People you look up to. People who share similar values to you.
Not some trash-talking tweet scammer fishing for likes and saying whatever is sexy right now. Oh, and paid advice is often better. Why? You value it more and it keeps you accountable.
Rule #4 — The secret ingredient no one tells you
If I had a dollar for every person I saw on social media announce their grand plan for an online business that’ll make 6-figures in the next 30 days, I’d be richer than papa Elon.
Great online businesses, side hustles, and solopreneurs don’t become overnight successes. Most of them take 5+ years to do it.
Set the time horizon for 5 years. If it happens sooner then great, we can celebrate with a bottle of fine wine paid for by you. If not, do what the rest of us average people do and have zen patience.
Rule #5 — The goal is to have the least amount of employees as possible (ideally zero)
There’s a business I follow on Youtube.
The other day they announced they’re going from 5–20 employees in the next month. I nearly spat out my kombucha and vomited all over my newborn baby.
Why do people want a bunch of adult babies walking around their office that require a babysitter?
Smart people who make money online have as few employees as possible.
They may have 1–2 freelancers but that’s about it. Look at Dan Koe or Justin Welsh. They use software and systems to run their online businesses, not adult monkeys that need to be fed a banana every hour.
The goal with online business isn’t vanity metrics like employee headcounts that scream “I’m important.” No.
The goal is to be free. To do whatever the f*ck you want without anyone telling you when you can do a poo or take your kid to the zoo.
Rule #6 — Break down the math like Einstein
Making money online requires a target goal, otherwise you never know how far off you are.
That’s why it pays to break down the income needed like Einstein would.
A $100K a year online business is
- $8333 a month
- Which is $277 a day
- Which is 3 customers at $100 a pop
- Which requires 15 leads a day
To hit the target you need email subscribers from:
- Elon’s tweet app
- Or Sub-stack-a-lack
So with what I do, do I think I can sell a course or two a day and make 6-figures? Hell yes. Or if I sell consulting calls, do I think I can sell a few a week? Abso-freaking-lutely amigo.
Make the numbers visible so your goal looks realistic to a human brain that can’t wait to shut the idea down out of survival.
Rule #7 — Prices must increase over time
My main man Jon-my-bro Brosio shared his online earnings recently.
In 2018, I charged:
– $7 for ebooks
– $27 for digital courses
– $150 per freelance project
In 2023, I charge:
– $999 for cohorts
– $150 for digital courses
– $1,000 per freelance project
The prices you charge are based on your value. That value increases as you stack more skills and get further ahead in the online game.
If you don’t charge more money everyone loses.
You end up doing everything yourself and linking together software and systems with duct tape. When prices go up you can re-invest in your skills and make everything you do better.
Pricing comes down to mindset. Sometimes one stray person will say the cost is too much. That’s what you want. Because if no one is complaining about the price then it’s too cheap.
And if a few people complain that’s good because your goal isn’t to sell to 5.16 billion internet users all at once.
Rule #8 — Your job pays the bills until your online business can
Don’t ruin your online goal with money.
Money is a distraction. In the early days you want to get good at the online game and learn copywriting, marketing, writing, sales, automation, AI, etc. Focusing too heavily on money will throw you off your game.
Money comes later.
At the start your job is supposed to keep paying the bills while you figure this stuff out after hours and on the weekends.
Start part-time. Then go back to 4 days of a job. Then 3. Then “smell ya later dictator.”
Rule #9 — Give people the option to pay you
This is going to sound basic as hell.
But I’ve observed that many people who want to make money online have no way for strangers to pay them.
The whole game starts when you put up the eBook page with a buy button. Or slap up a Calendly link that makes my Zoom consulting call with you require a credit card.
Don’t overcomplicate it either. It pains me when people say “I need to build my website first.”
No you don’t. Websites are so 2010. Who gets a hard on looking at a website? Not me. Not you. Not your grandma.
All you need are no-code landing pages, like Unbounce. Then you connect it to a Stripe page. You can swap out this software later when you’re a high-roller with a few clients. Until then, fast is smooth. And smooth leads to the good life.
Rule #10 — Expect to take plenty of risks (a few will melt your face off)
Everything online looks risky.
If you focus on risk you’ll piss your pants. Rather than try to measure risk, spend your time trying to figure out whether you will or won’t regret not trying the online game.
In my case, I’d have terrible regrets if I didn’t quit my job and try this at least once. Now I’m so glad I did. Makes me want to sing hallelujah.
Risks = growth
Growth = 6 & 7-figure online incomes
Rule #11 — Allow uncertainty to make you feel sick
The certain path in life is to go to college, get a job, get paid less than you’re worth, and do it until 65. That’s how you end up like everyone else.
Making money online is uncertain.
One day you can make $1000 dollars on such-and-such website. The next day they’ve changed their policies and burned their creators to the ground.
Or you can find a secret hack that works with Instagram ads that gets exploited and saturated and stops making free cash flow.
There’s no way to avoid uncertainty. The best strategy to protect against it is with diversification.
I always post my content in multiple places. I always use multiple banks. I always have multiple freelancers in case one goes rogue. And I only ever trust my email list to feed my family.
Rule #12 — Underthink your ass off
Many people never make money online because they overthink it.
So they become their own roadblock and give up after 90 days. The career progression from there is to become a hater and call other people’s online dreams get-rich-quick-schemes to band-aid over your broken little heart.
I prefer to underthink. Nothing online matters as much as you think.
Underthinkers simply take more action and let the data decide. All the ‘doing’ means they eventually find a way to win. Not because they’re smarter but because they’ve tried more things. Makes sense.
I wasn’t particularly good at making money online, but I just threw sh*t at the wall and to see what stuck. Here I am 7-figures later (not to brag).
Rule #13 — This is an infinite game with no end in sight
You make money online to stay in the game and keep the lifestyle — not to become a billionaire and never work again.
In the book Finite and Infinite Games, writer James Carse says:
“There are at least two kinds of games: finite and infinite. A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.”
The online money-making game is an infinite game. You keep doing it because you learn to love it. Not going back to a cubicle job is all the motivation you need to figure it out and not let progress fall off a cliff.
It goes a step further. The internet has no end. You can literally make more money than you can ever spend. The number of internet users continues to grow and more and more businesses will only exist online.
Once you unlock this limitless mindset it makes the whole game feel like it exists outside of Keanu Reeve’s Matrix.
Make money online or die trying. It’s the best feeling in the world.