Can you make a job replacing income online?
For most, this is a dream that will remain a dream. The answer as to why is complex, and to simply sum it up as it’s all one big scam is just an easy 1 bit answer for low the low intelligence among us.
Alright, can you at least make some money to at least help pay your bills?
Again no. Most people who start websites or try to build a side income in some way never make any money.
The internet is one big automated machine. Make money in your sleep!
Selling stuff online is a good start for most, but your ability to sell depends of the quality of your products, your branding, money, execution of your marketing, your marketplace reach and just plain dumb luck. While you can get yourself out there (be it your products or ideas) the harsh reality is that it’s super competitive.
Also, you probably have no experience with any of this and will be competing against people with real skills (good luck with that). While you may read the odd story of how a self proclaimed person with “tech skills on par with my grandmother” like Johnny Ward (who now makes $20,000-40,000 a month), this is not the norm.
Luck and effort play there role and Johnny did get quite lucky as there are a plethora of good travel blogs in existence that make no money, let alone $5,000 a month in advertising of all things.
Competitive because it’s so easy to start
The online thing is easy to start, but that at the same time makes it harder than ever because you’re competing against so many other people for attention and clicks. This is where the first level of difficulty lies.
You can’t make money online. Here’s why:
Starting is easy, then it gets hard, then you quit (unless you’re lucky and it all works out)
This is by far the biggest single barrier to breaking into the top 20% online where all the money is and why you’re still stuck in the bottom 80%. It takes time to climb up the ladder, but the thing is, you don’t even know if you’re climbing the ladder or if you’re actually moving sideways? Why?
You’re not getting engagement, because of this you’re not sure if what you’re doing is correct or if you should pivot. Maybe what you’re doing is great, but you’re doing one or two things wrong and it’s these things you’re doing wrong but are not even aware your doing wrong is what is holding you back; or perhaps what you’re doing is stupid and you should just quit.
The difficulty is in not knowing.
Try a lot of things and see what takes. This often times can mean trying different things for years (yes years but not always), as you develop a more sophisticated skill stack first. A stack of that combines skills like copywriting, design, social media marketing, reading trends, building the habit of consistency, SEO and keywords and so forth.
Once you have a platform, then it’s easy to figure out what people want. But before this you’re stuck in the dark. Mike Cernovich runs a very popular website and built a very popular Twitter account. On his website, he would follow the mantra of “live your life, share your story.” This resulted in his website being a mishmash of various topics mostly targeted at men about sex, fitness, politics, drugs and nutrition.
He wrote a lot about juicing however and paid attention to the odd popularity of this. Juicing is simply mixing mostly vegetables with a bit of fruit in a blender for health benefits. This topic is a niche topic within the health and fitness topic.
The thing is though, juicing is actually hugely popular. Simple Green Smoothies is a website that gets millions of visitors a year and the founders were interviewed here about their success. Cernovich struck gold proverbially by building out a content site because he had the trends and engagement to know it would work before he built out the site.
You’re Being the Ideal You Online, Not The Real You (and it looks fake)
Blogs work when you live your life and share it. They also work when you share stories and try to live the change you talk about. Particularly about life lessons and failures. Topics people like are relationships, travel, food, money and fitness. If your website is a sub-set of one of these topics you’re off to a good start.
If you want feedback and ego stroking, that’s fine. But don’t expect to build a popular website if you’re not willing to expose yourself online. Being authentic is so very tough because it’s akin to showing crappy pictures of ourselves on Facebook. We always curate the best to show a perfect life. But that does not cut it when you’re blogging. You have to show vulnerabilities and it’s a tough thing for most people to do.
You’re not providing value by connecting your personal strengths to what you’re doing online
Roaming Millenial is a young, beautiful YouTuber who in just a year went from starting her channel to building up a subscriber base to over 100,000 fans and is making a full time income. Her background is in political science and she’s a total policy wonk. She’s connecting her natural interests and opinions in a way people find valuable.
Levels.io is a programmer who builds out web based services and is very successful online. He connects his skills to a medium people find valuable.
The previously mentioned Mike Cernovich is a lawyer and prolific writer and thinker who makes his living being a controversial writer and public commentator among other things. He’s had a lot of experiences and is able to translate these experiences into value for readers.
Johnny Ward set out to travel as much as possible and lived the life he talked about. Even if that mean’t he had to do crazy things for money at the beginning because travel was his priority. He lived his life, he did not wait to build a successful website. He did what he had to do and lived his life which resulted in his site growing very fast from his story telling.
The point is, you have to connect your personal strengths in some valuable way. Like juicing for Cernovich or travel blogging for Johnny Ward. I can’t start a juicing website because I DON’T CARE about juicing. I also know nothing about it. Same with travel, I love travel. But it’s not a passion of mine to travel continuously.
So take stock of what your skills and interests are. Think about your problems, fears and questions people always ask you for help with. This will give you a starting point to where your value lies. Don’t be an echo of other people. Connect your strengths. Write them out.
Do more of what works!
This is simple advice, but people don’t follow it. Case in point is Boogie2988. A popular YouTuber who does a skit as a character named Francis. It’s what built his channel. Yet he persists in running a channel where he mixes Francis videos in with commentary and gameplay. He would have had so much more success if he simply built a 2nd YouTube channel for his Francis skits. But too many people don’t follow this simple advice
Do more of what works.
Another case in point is my blog, edgeofdavid.com. The majority of the income, traffic and emails that come to that site come based on the relationship, dating, sex and masculinity content more than anything else. Yet, I ignored this reality and wrote about habits, personal development, current events and so forth. I’ve pivoted to doing more of what works and the results are increased traffic and readership.
You may find it obvious to do more of what works, but in practice people tend to ignore trends and fall into the trap of being their ideal self online and not their real self. Instead, do a lot of things until something works, then do more of that.
Luck plays a role, I know many reading this will disagree but you’re at the whim of platforms you can’t control. It’s hard to grow a YouTube channel if YouTube does not allow your video to be viewed, it’s hard to grow a website if Google won’t send traffic to any of your long tail keyword posts.
I’m talking from experience.
This is where the first point comes into play. It’s hard to keep going when you’re not getting any ROI from your efforts. It makes you question what you’re doing. Sometimes what you’re doing is great, you’re just unlucky. I’ve published videos that literally got no views, even if there are other videos like it with tens of thousands of views. Other videos do great. Why? I have no idea. Same with blog posts.
You must go after long tail keywords to build traffic, but it’s up to Google to index your site and send traffic. Some posts get this traffic, others don’t.
Conclusion – You Can’t Make Money Online
Try a lot of things.
Quit things that don’t work.
Then, pay attention, careful attention to where you’re getting engagement and attention. Do more of that, even if it’s not what you had originally anticipated. I started Edge of David as a habits blog (find that edge, that advantage to win) but people (particularly women) love my dating, sex and relationship advice for whatever reason. Doing more of what is working for me has resulted in increased traffic and income.
This is not hard, but it does mean you have to pay attention if you ever want to go from the bottom 80% to the top 20% where all the money is and it also means success will be delivered to you in a different way than perhaps you expected.