If you're new here and you're wondering if everyone is full of BS or you've been around a while and seen so much conflicting information that you're thinking maybe it's all BS.
I want to remind you that whatever you hear from anyone else (here or anywhere), the only thing that really matters is what is important to YOU and what works for YOU.
There is no 'right' way to do anything (there are LOTS of right ways), and there's no real wrong way either.
The most important thing is that you get started doing something you're interested in and passionate about.
Many people will tell you to find a Clickbank product to promote and then write articles to get traffic - can you really get excited about that? and you can honestly believe that you know the outcome of the work you put in?
There are ways to know before you start that you can make money - but in my opinion (take it or leave it), you're not going to see great success at anything unless you can get excited and inspired by it.
Many IMers are all about the money and will spend a LOT of their time doing things they have no interest in just because someone else said it worked for them.
The reality is - your life is valuable, your time is valuable. Everytime you say yes to writing an article, or spending time at the forum - you're saying no to time with your friends/family or doing a different activity.
You need to be able to tell that your time is being spent effectively - otherwise you'll end up like many IMers - a couple of years down the line with a hard drive full of stuff and no income.
Respect your time and value it.
There's no such thing as a good reason not to start now.
You don't need ANYTHING to get started.
If you have something that interests you and you're passionate about, that you know others are too, and you can honestly see that people are and will buy things related to it - then you're ready to start.
If you manage to kid yourself that you know nothing and aren't interested in anything - then find a friend or relative that has an interest that you would like to tap into.
I'm not going to go into all the options this opens up - but it's A LOT!
If you're a complete newbie and technophobe, then go to Blogger and get started by opening a blog (it's REALLY simple and quick), then just spend some time browsing the internet seeing where people with your interest hang out, what their problems are, what things people are selling and buying, and what information and articles are already available.
You'll be surprised how many hot niches that are competitive lack a good resource where everything is in one place.
Many people rush to make money in a new niche and throw ads all over their pages, so their visitors quickly go somewhere else where the same information is more clearly laid out and easier to read.
You can quickly become a valuable resource in any niche just by having a clear and comprehensive offering of where people can get directly to the information they're looking for without a thousands MFA (Made For Adsense) sites in their way.
It really doesn't take a lot to get started.
I spoke to a friend yesterday about this and he was saying "but I don't know anything about the internet or making money" - I asked him about his hobbies and the first one he picked, advertisers are paying $5 - $7 a click on Google and products are selling every day on Ebay for thousands of dollars, and he had a personal complaint that there were no decent websites around - he could go from nothing to success over night.
Whatever your level of experience, technical knowledge etc. You don't need anything more to get started.
If you want to see what people are buying - check Ebay Pulse - that's a buyers market. The search engine keyword stuff is all well and good but it's easy to get distracted chasing keywords that never turn into customers. Just focus on real people and helping solve a real problem and you can't go wrong.
There are plenty of knowledgeable people at this forum and you can always get a good answer to almost any question.
Don't treat this forum like somewhere to milk for information or money - just treat like somewhere you can learn and share, and you'll find the good people that are on your wavelength.
If you think this forum is 'harsh' or the people are 'nasty' - forget it - the forum is whatever you make it. If you post a question and no-one answers, don't spit your dummy out, just use the search tool and see if it's been discussed before. If not, maybe you just posted at the wrong time of day and no-one really noticed it. It's not personal.
I've shared at least 100 different ways to make money in this forum over the years and I've seen a lot of good information posted by other warriors too. There's no excuse for not having enough information to get started.
If you don't know who to listen to - just pay attention for a while and see who you resonate with. There are many warriors here who I've had disagreements with in the past and we happily disagree now - but I know I can turn to them if I genuinely need help or advice.
There ARE people here who can become your friends, JV partners, customers - maybe even your spouse, who knows.
Whereever you are in your online journey - decide that NOW is the time you will stop worrying and start doing.
Just give yourself small goals to start with - 1 new blog post a day and find 1 new website in your niche.
If you want to get clever and connect your blog to your twitter account and have it auto-bookmarked, that's fine - lots of people here know how to do it, but don't let it stop you doing your goal for the day.
If all you do is add one blog post a day and get a few links each weekend - after a year you'll have a pretty comprehensive site and enough links to beat a lot of competition.
If you get bored quickly, maybe you just want to build a blog and fill it with unique and useful content, get a few links and then sell it. You can sell a site for between 6 and 12 times it's monthly revenue, or whatever someone else is willing to pay for it.
Once you get started the momentum will mean you do more and as you do more, it gets easier and you become more efficient - and new opportunities come up to support you and you start working with other people.
Many people will do things for you without monetary payment - you can swap skills or offer other value (links on your site, commissions on sales etc.)
ANYONE can make money online right now - it's the best time ever. There are more people buying things online than EVER before.
Just because the economy is down the drain right now that doesn't mean you can't make money - in fact, it's even more of a reason to do it.
Don't sit around worrying about your job when you could be replacing its revenue doing something you enjoy online.
You get to choose your topic, choose how much you do, choose when you do it, who you work with - and don't work with.
Don't deny yourself the freedom that having a little discipline can give you.
This forum is the best resource you could hope for and it's never been as full of great people and information as it is right NOW.
So - just get started.