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Money

Twelve Things I Wish I Knew Earlier About Making Money Online

Online Side Hustles

Photo by Harvey Robinson on Unsplash


Making money online is a circus.

There are people that do it like me. There are people who hate it more than the devil. There are people in the middle who can’t make their minds up. And there are people who make it sound like making money online is snake oil.

In the early days of eCommerce I was a huge critic. Meanwhile a family friend in Sydney was making $50 million a year selling coffee machines online back in 2005. During my late 20s I moved to the middle perspective and watched from the sidelines but was too petrified to try.

If I said “make money online after when you get home” during business hours, I would have been kicked to the curb by the pinstripe suits for being “too entrepreneurial.” Later on a customer gave me that label.

Shortly after my career fell off a cliff.

Entrepreneurship inside of a company full of people who have been institutionalized like prisoners is a crime that carries a massive penalty.

So I shut my mouth and learned how to make money online before and after work. I took longer than most to get it because I’m slow and of average intelligence. Then I made more money online than I did from my job. Stupidly, I stayed where I was … afraid. This year I finally mustered up the cahoonas to quit my job and do it full time.

Here’s what I wish I had known earlier.

You’ll feel like a fraud

Comedian Jay Leno still thought after all his success that he’d lose his showbiz job and end up a garbo. The fear kept him going.

In a way we all feel like a fraud. Making money online amplifies that feeling.

I feel like a fraud sometimes. Who am I to write anything online? Why should anyone give me a dollar for what I have to offer? I’m from a tiny country called Australia and have had more run-ins with mental illness than most people will face in their entire life.

What’s crazier is when you have a tiny bit of success making online, you feel like an even bigger fraud. The thought that what you’ve achieved is an accident or short-term luck plagues your thoughts. I still feel like that.

The fear of waking up at the ass crack of dawn again and going back to a skyscraper job keeps me going and forces me to be humble.

I wish I knew that imposter syndrome was normal when I started.

The work behind the scenes is 10X what you think it is

Making money online is ridiculously unsexy.

Blogger Benjamin Hardy went from writing online in the early days of social media to becoming a well-known author. He has more email subscribers and passive income than most of us can ever dream of.

Yet, recently he wrote a new book. I got messages from him on all of my social media channels. I thought it was a bot. It wasn’t. The guy is putting in the legwork to make the book a success. He wants people to read it and to love it enough to leave a review.

Even after all of that success, Ben knows one thing about making money online we must all remember: build-it-and-they-will-come is a fantasy worse than the tv show Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Buffy isn’t coming to save us. We have to do the work ourselves.

‘Algorithm talk’ will ruin your dreams

Be so good that you don’t even have to think about algorithms — Matt D’Avella

Fortune tellers from the middle ages are back. They’ve been reincarnated and we don’t know how. Someone send Yuval Noah Harari to investigate.

That’s right. There are people that have flooded social media platforms claiming to know how algorithms that drive our newsfeeds have been programmed. They write articles like “How I Made 49 Cents Writing About Zuck Bucks”. Zero f*cks are given by anybody who isn’t a fortune teller.

These folks spend so much time studying the algorithm that they forget the one law of social media: algorithms promote quality.

Making money online, as the result of content, has nothing to do with algorithms. It has to do with honing your craft and producing high-quality work. The rest is BS.

Making money online is just another fancy “JOB”

If you want to make money online, treat it like a job

— Sahil [edited]

Labels are stupid. Making money online is just another job.

I start work in the morning like a job. I have a lunch break like a job. I take annual leave like a job. I drink coffee with people I do online business with like a job. I use LinkedIn like I used to do at my job. I pay myself a salary like a job. I treat people who like my work like customers at a job.

A job is simply a habit — a work habit.

So making money online is a habit too. When you treat it that way, eventually, the threads of all your efforts start to weave together and produce a result.

People fail at making money online because they do it occasionally rather than every day. If you could do it once and succeed, then we’d all be Youtubers with millions of views and two Lambos in the garage. Makes sense.

A strategy is dumb

Sometimes, the ducks line up in a way you don’t see or comprehend until later — Linda Caroll

Frankly, I don’t know what path will work for you. I started by trying lots of different things. Most of them went nowhere. You can’t preplan this journey. No Powerpoint deck can explain it. No guru can provide a money-back guarantee.

Things are now moving so fast online, thanks to Web 3.0, that each day brings new challenges.

All you can do is get started and try a few things. That’s why experimenters often achieve enormous online success. They’re not smart. They’re just curious. Curiosity is an underrated life skill.

Success online is a long road

Joe Rogan has 1,600 podcast episodes.

PewDiePie has 4,200 YouTube videos.

Bob Ross had 1,200 paintings.

There’s no such thing as quick success — Lawrence King

Making money online requires some kind of content. There’s no way to avoid it. Choose your format and create your little heart out. I chose writing. I lost count, but I’ve published more than 4000 long-form blog posts.

It takes hundreds of pieces of content before you ever figure out (through feedback) what’s best for you.

Once you do, you double down and leverage content to make money online. It takes time. Your content eventually becomes a spider web people get caught in and don’t want to leave once they get lost in it.

There’s never a right time to do anything

Remember: Train yourself to stop waiting for the “right time” — @SalesNotepad

I wasted years of my life waiting for the right time. I thought you had to join tech platforms based on your niche and how popular it is. Or be new and fast to apps like TikTok. I thought I had to wait until I had my own house, or found true love, or had enough money in the bank.

These are all lies our mind tells us so we can delay our goals. The right time is today. The future isn’t guaranteed. And every day you delay, you end up with regrets for not starting sooner.

Life-changing advice: Start now.

Hard work isn’t the answer. Leverage is.

If hard work made you rich, every construction worker would be a billionaire — Aaron Will

Making money online is different to the physical world. The internet gives you leverage. You can instantly access billions of people globally. You can read information from anywhere and communicate with anyone. The leverage that gives you is enormous. In the early days you have to work to tap into that leverage. Once you find it, the trick isn’t to work hard but to work smart.

Smart = collaborations + apprentices + a community

Direct messages work when you can’t hear “no”

When the man says no, pretend like you can’t hear him — Jerry Weintraub (Elvis’s manager)

Collaborations are crucial to making money online. The reason is you can share audiences. I contacted one of the most successful online writers ever to exist. I started to pitch them 5 years ago. I pitched him every few months.

Not once did he ever reply … until recently. I got through. His ‘no’ really meant the following:

  • Not the right channel
  • Not right now
  • Not creative enough
  • Not related to what I do

Forget no exists. Keep pitching. Do it for 5 years if you have to.

The critics are dead wrong. Snooze em.

The number 1 reason people fail is because they listen to their friends, family and neighbors — Napoleon Hill

People will tell you what you can’t do — never what you can do. Silence the uninformed critics who have no idea what your goals, skills, and ideas are. I got told I couldn’t make money online by people who hadn’t figured it out. That says everything you need to know.

The process unlocks your online potential

People quit because it takes too long to see results, because they can’t figure out that the process is the result — Jason Pargin

I see it all the time. People want to quit XYZ platform and get angry at the company because they failed.

No tech company owes you anything. Read that three times.

The platform is meaningless. What matters is you develop a process. I have my own process. I follow it every day and try to add new things, often. I diversify my process in case a corner of the internet gets nuked and dies a horrible death. Relying on one person, one platform or one tech company, equals death to me. So I write that into my process.

Once you have a process you have to be patient. Nothing good happens overnight. You have to let it marinate and let the idea ingredients take on flavor.

Formula: Make it up as you go along. Record successes. Turn them into a process you can repeat. Rework the failures. Iterate on them. Add them back in. Try again. Rinse. Repeat.

The game ends when you run out of energy

Startups don’t die when they run out of cash, they die when the founders run out of energy — Naval

I have enormous energy and it’s not an accident. It’s one part: I’m passionate about what I do and inspiring people. And another part: I eat plants, zero processed food, no oil, no meat, no dairy.

Food and passion give you energy. The more energy you have, the more you can push through the inevitable roadblocks and online disasters. As soon as you run out of energy, frustration takes over and blows up everything you’ve built. When that happens you play the online blame game. Don’t do it.

Think deeply about why you want to make money online. Go beyond money. Find something you give a sh*t enough about to spend your spare time working on. That’s how you make money online.


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Tim Denning
I am an Aussie Blogger with 500M+ views — Writer for CNBC & Business Insider. Inspiring the world through Personal Development and Entrepreneurship. You may have seen my work on Medium, LinkedIn, Bitclout, or Twitter.

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