A successful entrepreneur shares her thoughts on business success and failure.

How to Make Money on the Internet


How to make money on the Internet
The truth about how to make money on the
Internet–minus the hype and BS.
I can’t stand this any more. I’ve had enough. Something needs to be said:

Too many of us have completely forgotten how to work for a living.

I can’t count how many emails I’ve received that say something along the following lines: “Erica, I need to know how to make money on the Internet. But I need make at least $100,000 in my first year or it won’t be worth it for me. Can you suggest something that would help me do that?”

You–yes, you, the person who writes that–do you know what you’re called in the Internet marketing world by all the “gurus”?

They call you a “buyer”. And it’s not a good title to have.

How They Rope You In

Here’s what happens. You send an email like that to a “guru” marketer. And, of course, they (or their assistant) will write back. The return email to you will have some affiliate link in it, for some course that promises you the sun, moon, and stars.

And you’ll buy it. Because you’re a “buyer”. You’re exactly the type of person they love to have on their list, because you buy every $2,000 product out there and never refund any of them. You buy every coaching, consulting, and “big ticket” money-making product available that promises to show you how to make money on the Internet.

And a year later, you find yourself $50,000 or more in debt (or your savings account $50,000 lighter–take your pick.) But you still haven’t made any money.

And somewhere in there, you transition from “buyer” to “bitter.” “This Internet marketing industry stinks,” you say. “What a waste of time.” And you haul your “buyer” attitude to some other industry (real estate was the hot one a few years ago), and proceed to invest your money in all those courses and “guru” products, beginning the cycle yet again.

The one thing you never admitted to yourself is that it takes real work to make money on the Internet. The one thing you never did was actually hunker down, set up a site, learn how to drive traffic to it, create a product, and sell it. You know–the stuff that actually makes money. The stuff that could actually help you set up a real business.

You gave up too easily. You had the attitude of “Actual work? Screw that!” And yet you were the one who got screwed. And until you accept that it takes 90% real work and 10% investing in courses to make real money online, you will never make a dime.

There sure are a lot of courses out there promising you $30,000 in a month, or $27,126.59 (love those weird numbers!) in a week, or whatever the hot flavor of the day is. Sometimes the sales letters are outright lies. Sometimes they are real–but the person writing them has real experience that you don’t. Sometimes the course is complete garbage. Sometimes it teaches you everything you need to know, but you bail when you find out it requires real effort.

So, what’s a “buyer” to do?

The Real Way to Make Money on the Internet

Here’s my advice (it’s free, and it’s definitely going to be worth every penny you paid for it.)

Let’s break it down. There are three things you need in order to make money on the Internet:
1) A website.
2) Traffic.
3) A product to sell.

Do you have all three of those? If not, start here…

First, commit to a single path. Stop trying to set up 23 different websites in 23 different niches. Yes, I know Guru XYZ did that and is now making [FLASHING RED TEXT]10 Billion Dollars A Day!!! But even Guru XYZ probably started out with one website in one niche. You will never get anything done if you have your hands in too many pies. So stop working on all your websites except one. Pick one, and make that profitable. (That goes for all those worthless domain names you’re holding on to, as well. Let a good amount of them go, and stop registering new ones.)

Then, pick ONE source of traffic and learn it inside and out until you’re consistently profitable with it. Put up a squeeze page on your site, then learn SEO, PPC, Facebook ads, Plenty of Fish, guest posting, Twitter, heck, even direct mail. Pick ONE of the above. Then learn it. (As a bonus, if you purchased a course on one of those, now’s the time to actually put it into use.)

Again: Learn only ONE traffic method right now! I mean it. Entire empires have been built from a single source of traffic. Until you’ve got one source of traffic profitable, you’re wasting your time learning other sources of traffic.

Next, learn Google Analytics. Got traffic coming to your website? How is it converting? if you don’t know the answer to that, it’s time to learn Google Analytics and its Goals feature to find out your conversion rate. This will take you a day or two to set up. Invest the time and learn it inside and out. Analytics is powerful, but you need to know how to use it. Don’t even think about outsourcing this. You–YOU!–need to learn something in order to make money online. This is as good a place as any to start.

Tweak your offer. What should you offer to people who land on your landing page? A free report is a good place to start. Don’t be lazy and outsource this. If you’re not a strong writer, record something and have it transcribed, or have someone interview you. You can also use a program like Camtasia to talk over a slide show presentation. Take action and get something out there now.

Tweak your landing page. Is your landing page converting at 10% or less–meaning, are fewer than 10% of your visitors actually typing in their name and email address to get more information from you? You can do better. Aim for 40-50%. Now’s the time to learn split testing. Tweak your headline, your opt-in box placement, and especially your offer. What works better? What doesn’t? Give it a shot.

Now, keep writing good content and offering it to the people on your mailing list. In my case, I write a blog post every week. It’s well worth it for me to carve a few hours out of my week to write a post that will attract new readers. You may want to consider doing the same. Again, if you’re not a writer, record audio or video. Be consistent about it. This will help your readers “warm up” to you and feel like they know, like, and trust you.

Then, make an offer to your list. This is the exciting part! If you’re just getting started, you should probably wait a few weeks (and send out some good content to your list) before you make an offer. Pick a product you know your list would enjoy and that you can personally endorse. Then write a sales letter for it and send it out to your list!

If you make even a single sale from this, celebrate! You’ve earned your first dollar online.

Are Your Expectations Realistic?

There’s a 99.99% chance you won’t make $30,000 in your first month online. Heck, if you make a dollar in profit in your first month online, you should be really proud of yourself!

In your first 12 months online, you’re doing well if you have one month where you make more than $500. Yep, that seems low, doesn’t it? But that puts you above 95% of the rest of the world. And if you’re making a few hundred dollars a month consistently, even better. You’re well on your way to making a living online.

In your second year online, provided you continue to work consistently on your business, you should have your first $1,000 month…and possibly more. You may even have a “breakthrough” month where you promote a product or offer consulting and make a few thousand dollars. This is an extremely encouraging sign.

Online business success is like a snowball. It starts small…with just a single sale or click. As you build a relationship with your subscribers, and continue to send them great content interspersed with some sales pitches for products you believe in, your earnings will multiply.

It took two and a half years of me running this blog and writing consistently every week to have my first 5-figure month, but when I did, I shattered all my previous expectations of how much money it was possible to make with a few thousand subscribers. It was incredibly worth it.

But I would never have seen that 5-figure month–and subsequent ones–if I had given up after a few months having only made a few hundred bucks a month (if that.) In the beginning, I poured my heart out and had nothing to show for it. Now, I keep it simple: I write here once a week, and do my best to help you (my subscribers.) I still do buy information products, but because I know where I want to go from here, it’s much easier for me to make the buying decision.

So, my advice to you is: Shoot for consistent earnings. Actually learn all this stuff–especially how to set up a website, how to use Google Analytics, and how to set up an email list. From there, it’s all about finding a good balance between writing good content and promoting products you know your readers will love.

Above all, don’t give up so easily. Put 2 years into this. Even though it feels like a long time now, you may find you actually enjoy getting out of bed and checking your stats, chatting with your customers and clients, and yes, making money. Once the sales start rolling in consistently, you will realize how worth it it was to start building your online empire!

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I'm Erica Douglass.
After selling my online business at age 26 for over $1 million, I created this blog to help you grow your own business quickly.

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