Were you intrigued by the subject line of this post? If so, here’s the sad truth you have to accept:
As a newcomer, you can’t make money online without doing actual work.
Many people enter this line of business because they hate the idea of working to support themselves. What I’ve just said might sound harsh or even judgemental, but the truth is: there’s nothing wrong with craving idleness. We all want to enjoy ourselves without having to worry about money, and that might very well be the result of being evolutionarily programmed to conserve as much energy as possible. We are a lazy species.
However, making money with no work should be regarded as the ultimate end-game of your business and not something you should consider realistic or feasible in the beginning of your online career.
The reason I am bringing this up is to caution you that the obscurity of internet-based businesses in the eyes of the general public affords all kinds of opportunists a chance to tell you that you can have your cake and eat it too. Think about it this way: as a baker you cannot make money without baking bread, as a lawyer you cannot make money without dealing with legal disputes, as a doctor you cannot make money without treating disease… But as an internet entrepreneur, you just press a button and money appears out of thin air while you go about enjoying life. Does that sound even remotely reasonable?
Here’s another painful truth:
People on the internet can tell you anything.
Whenever you hear someone making any kind of claims, see if those claims could be verified via a reliable source. Screenshots and videos can be easily doctored, luxury cars and houses can be rented for one day, actors can be hired on Craigslist and a bottle of Chimay can be bought at a local supermarket for as low as $11. But can you fake an eBay account that clearly shows a bunch of completed sales over an extended time period? I understand that not every business model is verifiable in such a way, but when someone claims to make thousands of dollars per month, at least check if they have a registered business to their name.
When you really want something to be true, you will try to convince yourself that it is. Even if your own logic defies it.
As much as you want to believe that by investing $20 into an MLM scheme you can win back $5000 in the same month, the chances of that happening are microscopically small. Any product that tells you to make money online by teaching others how to make money online (even if you’ve never done it) should at least raise some concern about the viability of that business model. Usage of terms such as “loophole”, “blueprint” or “guaranteed income” should definitely cause suspicion. And personally, I would avoid so-called “evergreen” niches like fat loss, hair loss, penis enlargement and such, unless you are prepared to be in the business of selling magic beans.
I really hope it’s obvious to all that it’s impossible to predict how much one will earn within a certain time frame by using a certain method when they have never implemented the said method before. I fail to comprehend why so many copywriters still promise their audience specific dollar amounts to be earned per month, when most people are smart enough to appreciate the sheer number of factors that make the consistency of such a prediction quite low.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against aggressive marketing or using dollar amounts as a ballpark of what could be earned. Yet when someone suggests that you will make X amount of money in Y amount of time by performing a particular set of tasks, that’s when you have to seriously consider whether that set of tasks is going to be worth your time (and whether you can take the seller seriously). With that said, if you can accurately verify that the business model in-question is sound and that is has worked for other people, then you are much more likely to succeed in it yourself by differentiating from the competition in quality and/or quantity of your product/service.
Only a tiny percentage of people actually get rich quick.
Sure you can spend all of your effort searching for the next Grumpy Cat to make you millions, but aren’t you more likely to succeed by building a business that provides tangible benefits to your market?
When deciding what action to take, many people only think in terms of how much and how fast. Yes, that is important but irrelevant before you can accurately determine how valuable your work will be to your client.
Generally speaking, once you learn to think about the needs of your market first and your own profits later, the latter will begin materialising with surprising consistency.
Those who enjoy their work are more likely to make money online.
First, you have to decide whether you want to create your own products/services or sell those of other people. Both product creation and affiliate marketing require you to be creative, innovative and determined, yet there are some key differences for you to consider.
If you like analysing data and convincing others to buy something, then go for commission-based marketing. If you like building amazing products/services and having others advertise them for you, then take that path instead.
Should you target a particular niche, ask yourself how much you care about it and whether you’d enjoy working with it. For example, if you hate the idea of killing animals for sport, perhaps you shouldn’t target the niche of hunters no matter how lucrative it might be.
You can’t motivate yourself with numbers.
Instead of setting financial goals, try setting “situational” goals. What is the ideal set of circumstances for you to arrive to? Which state of existence or lifestyle will you find yourself most content in?
Once you sort that out, you could break down your ultimate goal into smaller objectives and work towards them one by one. Again, avoid numbers. Instead of saying “I want to make $3,000 per month online”, say “By working online I want to arrive to the point where I don’t have to worry about food and rent and have some money left to enjoy myself.” That’s a great first objective.
What initially motivated me to get into this business was my love for travelling and extreme phobia of airplanes. I understood very clearly that the thing that I love doing the absolute most is practically impossible for me to do as long as I continue to work for a company with only two weeks of vacation per year. So as I stood behind a reception desk of a Chicago hotel back in 2011, I began to use my downtime to research ways to generate income without dependence on a specific location or employer. It’s now five years later, and I have visited over a dozen new countries across Europe and North America, stayed in some of them for many months at a time, and haven’t had to take a plane since 2013. Travelling by ground and sea and staying at new places as an expat are the things that make me genuinely happy. I strongly believe that imagining myself under those circumstance had the biggest impact on motivating me to take action and start making money online.
Now think of what makes you genuinely happy and ask yourself whether working online is going to help you get there. Do you like the idea of relying only on yourself to generate income, or do you prefer the relative security of working for a boss? Do you like the prospect of working from home at your computer, or do you prefer commuting to a job and working in an office with other people? You need to answer those questions honestly before deciding whether this industry is right for you.
I didn’t mean to make a book out of this post, so I’m going to wrap it up by reiterating my main suggestions:
- Don’t believe that the internet can make money for you without any input on your end.
- Take everything you hear with a pinch of salt and verify claims that can be verified.
- Build a real, long-term business instead of only focusing on short-terms results.
- Pick something that you know you’ll enjoy doing and will be good at.
- Remind yourself what your ideal state of existence is and use the internet to help you get there.