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Six Ruthless Truths About Making Money Online (Learned over 7 Years, the Hard Way)

by | Nov 8, 2021 | Money

Making money online looks like a rainbow unicorn if you believe social media.

It’s not. What stopped me from earning a living online for most of my life was the bad content I consumed on the topic. If I had known the harsh reality upfront, my expectations would have been correct and I would have stopped giving up so easily.

This is what I learned the hard way that will stop you from making the same mistake.

It probably will work for you (just not on your time horizon)

The cliche advice the critics have is “It won’t work for you. Give up, get a job, be happy with what you have. Struggle.”

They’re wrong. Making money online will work for you if you understand how it operates. First off, you need to be patient. Nothing will happen in 90 days. Even after a year things could be slow. You want it that way.

The threshold it takes to get results causes most of the wannabes to give up.

If they didn’t give up you’d make a lot less money. Nobody talks about that. The big-name Youtubers that make millions of dollars simply produce more videos for longer. Their videos aren’t even that good a lot of the time.

Change your time horizon from 30 days to more than 12 months.

You’ll probably need multiple income sources

Making money online is risky. Right now you still need middle man platforms for most of the reliable sources of income. These middlemen are dictators without a tech giant court of law to keep them honest.

They can wake up and change the rules. They can delete your account. That’s okay because it’s their choice. No point worrying about it because it’s out of your control.

The insurance policy needed is multiple income sources with the help of several tech companies. Expect to get banned or have your account deleted, and you’ll be ahead of the rest of the pack who get surprised when it happens and go cry on Twitter to a crowd of people who don’t care.

There are limitless options. Here are a few in case you need inspiration.

  • Take the skills from your 9-5 job and turn them into a service people can purchase. Direct message people on LinkedIn who might need the service. Book 30-minute Zoom calls to build relationships and validate needs.
  • Sell an eBook.
  • Write articles and get paid for them.
  • Sell a paid newsletter via Substack.
  • Offer an online course via Teachable.
  • Build an eCommerce website.
  • Promote products as an affiliate on behalf of another business.
  • Coach people on a skill you know.
  • Learn about Web 3.0 and upskill people who aren’t up with the times.

Now I read that list back, there are so many ways to make money online. Really there’s no excuse. Try one. Build several over time.

The biggest fear we have about wifi money

I’ve spoken to many of you over the years. I know your fears.

The biggest one is you’re afraid to sell. Look what happened when this platform launched referrals. Some of you got upset.

Whatever you do in life you have to sell. You come out of the womb born secretly to sell, so there’s no way around it. The reason you get angry about having to sell is because of this:

A small number of people will hate you when you sell something.

Guess what? That’s normal. Not everyone is your customer. Some people will hate what you’re selling or how you do it. No problemo. Smile and move on. Don’t let a few people who don’t like that you’re selling something put you off making money online for the rest of your life.

What a waste. You’re better than that. We’ve gotta eat. You sold yourself to get a job. Why can’t you sell yourself to make money online? There’s no difference. You can.

Social media will be a part of the strategy

Over the years our relationship with social media has changed.

We’re no longer willing for our attention to be given up for ‘likes.’ We want to own our data again. We’re tired of report after report of Zucks who gives no f*cks breaking our trust again and getting away with it. Understandable.

These negative effects have caused some of you to hate social media. One of my readers said to me, “I will never use that horrible Amazon platform because they’re evil.” Here’s the rub: their dream is to be a published author with several books. That’s an impossible dream without Amazon because, to date, no competitor has challenged their #1 position in the book market.

Forget about getting angry at tech companies. Web 3.0 will fix the problem eventually. In the meantime, use social media to unlock an audience.

Some of that audience will end up helping you make money online. Not how you think though. Some of the audience will buy from you directly, but what’s missed is that some will never buy from you.

They’ll do something even more magical. *Waves Harry Potter wand*

They’ll tell everybody they know about your work and spread the word. This is why creators who delete email subscribers that refuse to spend money aren’t the brightest.

Non-customers provide distribution. Think about that.

Getting a proper website will drive you insane

I’ve burned thousands of hard-earned dollars writing online trying to get a proper website. Three times in a row I’ve been scammed.

This isn’t uncommon. I used to work for a large company that sold thousands of websites every month. More than 50% of customers were angry with what they got. Some supposed experts will tell you to go with a template website from a company like WIX. What they’re not telling you is that most websites are lucky to convert 2% of the people who visit.

Getting a proper website will drive you nuts but it’s a must in the long run. As you expand your tiny empire, you’ll eventually need a corner of the internet that you own outright and have full control over.

I’m now on my fourth website attempt. If it’s successful I’ll be happy to share the strategy for free to save you from this hassle. But for now, assume this step is a pain-in-the-ass that will leave you crying yourself to sleep.

You’ll feel imposter syndrome

I’m not supposed to admit this. The guy that designed my Twitter banner said I need to look cool, so we used the photo of me wearing the Ray-Ban sunglasses. *Hangs head in shame*

Here goes: I feel like an imposter on some days because I make money online. I feel like I’ve unlocked some door to a parallel universe. It’s lonely at times. That’s why I write about it in the hope others will join me, and then perhaps, it won’t be such a lonely journey.

It’s normal to feel like an imposter.

This making money online opportunity didn’t exist for our parents. They didn’t have the same leverage, and instead, had to go door-to-door to round up an audience. They had to rely on dinosaur book publishers to say yes to their dreams. They needed a tv network to shine the light on their business. Or an employer to choose them for a dream career opportunity.

We don’t have any of those problems. The internet leveled the playing field, yet most of us haven’t fully realized that gift from a higher power.

It’s okay to feel like an imposter. It’s normal. These are strange times in which the internet takeover of our lives is accelerating at hyper speed.

Final Thought

Making money online starts out as hard.

That’s why I say until I’m blue in the face to treat it like a side hustle and do it after hours. Once you’ve done enough experiments to find the income sources that work for you, it’s simply about putting the work in and fighting your own excuses to quit.

The temptation to quit is high. The rewards if you don’t are enormous. Jerzy Gregorek is right though: Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.

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