When it comes to making money online, we all have our own story on how we first got started. For myself, it was actually back in the mid-90s in the AOL Web Diner Chat Room. I was making 46×860 graphic banners for people and their websites, and they would then send me a dollar in the mail! Keep in mind, this was way before anything like PayPal was around. After that, I found myself in the world of affiliate marketing, and that’s when things really started to scale quickly!
Now that you know my story, it’s time for you to read about how others got their start with making money online as well. Be sure to read through each of the blogger, business owner, and entrepreneur stories below to see which you relate to most!
I started as a content writer in 2013, Then move on to learning about search engine optimization (SEO) while having writing gigs on the side. Launch my own blog in late 2013 to share tactics and strategies that I’ve learned and continuously tested over time in SEO. Potential clients are coming in as they began to notice my content assets – this is where I started servicing SEO to clients as a freelancer. Four years have passed, I run my own link building (SEO) company with 15 staff members servicing 20+ international clients all over the world.
Venchito Tampon – Sharprocket.com.ph
This is one of my fabled tales…but isn’t everybody’s first time? At the time, I had my own site in a very non-lucrative niche. I won’t go into details, but I was getting lots of great traffic, but the niche was just not a money-maker. What I was doing right was SEO.
So I wrote an article on my predictions for where search was headed, and what measures the search engines were likely to employ over the next four or five years. To give you an idea how long ago this was, back then almost nobody was looking ahead. Having a “vision” was a novelty.
I was not in the SEO business, but that article generated three SEO clients. That’s when I realized that my website would not generate a profit directly. It would prove to be the staging that would launch a career promoting other people’s websites. That career lasted several years, before I began turning more toward writing.
David Leonhardt – THGMWriters.com
Selling my design services and affiliate marketing are my main two main sources of income online which in combination yield 6 figures of revenue a year. Creating valuable shareable content, with strong SEO and a trusty email list have been the keys to success.
Jacob Cass – JustCreative.com
At the age of 17, I got extremely frustrated after taking a handful of jobs and quitting or getting fired from every single one of them. I was unemployable and knew I could never get a job the rest of my life. I began doing an online search hoping to find others who felt the same way I did. I came across hundreds of entrepreneurs sharing these similar concerns and I decided to launch my first business online. I launched a multimedia agency during my senior year of high school and I was able to quickly acquire paying customers after 2 weeks of launching my business. We were service based and offering digital media services for other businesses. Website design, website development, app development, social media marketing, video production and search engine optimization were all services that we offered to businesses all over the world. This was the first time I realized that I could make real money online.
Jeet Banerjee – JeetBanerjee.com
When I got my first web development job at the age of 22 (~2007), I worked with a very small local web development agency with a very specific niche – entrepreneurs making money online. We built websites for these people, while I had just gotten into the “business” of making websites – I realized that people were using my skills to make their entire “business” work! I was building squeeze pages – where you had to opt in to get the goodies on the thanks page, whether it be an eBook, or teleseminar replays, whatever it might be. But I saw first hand how people would spend $10, $20, $50, even $195 just to get access to a digital good, or knowledge, from an expert. That was when it clicked, even if I wasn’t interested in using these methods and tools – it worked – people were already doing it. Even if just a few people per month were to buy in, and be pumped about your product, that was a living and breathing business right there. At the same time I started my own website and was watching the AdSense money trickle in by the pennies. So there were several clear paths to making “real money” online, and these paths had many branching paths connected to them – so I knew that the methods, the tools, and the proof of concept was all there at 22 – I just had to use it, and so I did.
Andy Sowards – AndySowards.com
My first indication that you could start making some serious money online, is when I started to think about creating a website of my own. Part of this process was the actual sign up for a web hosting and registering a domain name. While going through all of the research and trying to find which host would be best, I found out that many of these hosting services had something called an affiliate program, which paid out a commission to site owners and partners on all referred leads and sales. This got me to start thinking about different ways I could make money online using affiliate marketing as well. I started my site and slowly began adding different affiliate programs into the mix. It took a while to get things moving, but once I started earning a few dollars per day, then the fire really started burning and I wanted to grow my earnings even more. Affiliate marketing has completely changed the way money is made in the world today along with my life and passion for entrepreneurship in the process.
Ninja Blog Master – Blogninja.com
In 1996, I started on online hosting and marketing company making some of the first database driven websites for small business. We were using a beta version of cold fusion and working with companies of all sizes. I knew the future of commerce and marketing was online, so we were selling that vision. It was pretty early days so it took a lot of education for customers. We later expanded the copy to become a service provider. I think we got about 10,000 members paying for access before we sold the company to a larger provider.
Rick Ramos – HealthJoy.com
I first started realizing I could make real money online when I started blogging while I was recovering in bed for months after breaking my legs in a construction accident. I had a lot of time on my hands and started exploring Internet Marketing. I could see it was possible to blog and make money through advertising. At first, this involved having ads on my blog. Then, I started to move beyond that and add affiliates and began monetizing other ways through sponsored content. This included sharing insights about various products, services, and companies. I turned my blog into a seven-figure job.
John Rampton – Calendar.co
I was in middle school and my best friend just got grounded. We both wanted to buy the new Xbox 360 that was coming out and he proposed to start a business. After pouring through a host of ideas we eventually signed up for a reseller account at Hostgator. Our partnership quickly fell apart but I found that I had a passion for building and running something of my own. After posting ads on some web hosting forums I quickly got my first payment via PayPal and I was ecstatic. Realizing I could make a living from my own creation set me down on a live-changing course.
Cody McLain – SupportNinja.com
Kristel Staci – MarketingInfographics.org
I think the first time I ever properly realised I could make money online was using a piece of software called Build a Niche Store. This allowed users to set up eBay niche stores on domains back when you could rank with a keyword rich domain, some content and about 100 or so directory links. This got me my first success – a $40 commission from eBay. This eventually lead to me to motivate myself to try and find more ways to earn money, but that was my first success as an affiliate marketer, and as somebody who invested a little bit of time and money this was my first return on my investment. The site did eventually earn me a little bit of cash – not a huge amount but something.
Sadly the software has long since stopped, but it did provide the inspiration behind another of my plugins eBay Feeds for WordPress.
Rhys Wynne – Winwar Media
I started my blogging journey in October 2016. I was not realizing the power of affiliate marketing. Now, I love to write on topics related to Internet Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, web Hosting etc.
In my initial months of blogging I have written a review post on a web hosting program and other WordPress products and insert my affiliate link to the review post. Within few days I had made a handful of $300+ commission. I was really amazed and this way I realized the power of affiliate marketing and now it is one of primary ways to make money online.
Affiliate Marketing helps me to monetize my blog by providing relevant products and services to my blog readers. I love to mention the pros and cons of products which I like to promote as it makes the review post more genuine and user friendly.
To become successful in affiliate marketing you have to test the products or services first. It will help you to understand the every aspect of the products and services which you want to promote. This will help you to create a killer review post which generates more sales and commission.
Vishwajeet Kumar – Imbloggingtips.com
Affiliate marketing was always my favorite monetization method from day one when I started promoting CD’s and other music merchandise through a fan website that I created about my favorite rock band. Affiliate marketing allows anyone to start making money online quickly. You don’t need to have big resources, you don’t need to spend many months (and years) building products. You can start today and make money today. All you need is some great content that answers questions that real people are asking and a way to integrate relevant products into that content. With this, you’re ready to go and start making money online.
Marko Saric – HowToMakeMyBlog.com
Making money online is no easy task when first starting out, but once you realize there is a need for something and that you can accomplish it better, that’s when real business ideas start to flow. This is something we saw in the email marketing and lead generation space. We knew if we could create a 100% clean and legitimate way to deliver high-quality leads to businesses and brands, it would be a success. It took longer than expected, as we are focused on quality over quantity, but this is the type of mindset you need to have when building any type of brand or trying to make money online.
Tim Bourquin – Afteroffers.com
I realized I could make money online through freelance writing. I had made pennies through other methods but attracted a few clients and saw this could sustain my business. Being a globe-trotting island hopper, I wanted to find long term sources of income through which I could offer helpful service and be paid. Enter freelance writing. I developed my writing skills, got clearer on the value I brought to the market and made the highly uncomfortable but bold step to go into business for myself. I never looked back.
Ryan Biddulph – BloggingFromParadise.com
As a virtual service-based business, I find huge benefits to the value of SEO in my marketing effort. There is no other effort that is quite so scalable with relatively little time investment.
The trick is consistency. Producing great content and earning back-links to that content are the substance of SEO for my company in 2017.
The results are fantastic! I have earned clients from thousands of miles away, and it is a consistent method for earning new business.
Regarding consistency, great website SEO is built over time. Results don’t come as you work — it can take months for gains to finally be realized. After all, there is really no traffic difference if you’re on page 3 or page 300 (both will give you zero web traffic). But once you hit page 1 for your main keywords, results show amazing ROI.
Typically, the process takes 6-12 months unless you’re trying to make content go viral in a faster time, but by producing great content alongside a consistent effort to acquire links to your content, you will get there!
Andrew Lowen – NextLevelWeb.com
Now that I have my own technology and service design company, it’s funny to look back on the growth of the business and how it’s turned into what it is today. When we were first starting out, we all knew there was a great demand for logo design and visual content marketing services online, but at the same time, there are plenty of competitors out there as well. Once we started to come up with new and creative ways to reach new audiences outside of traditional marketing and paid search, that is when we realized the true potential of running a business online. Another important note to make, is that we also had the realization that we could connect with more people around the world and not be focused on just local markets. This was a huge win for our business and outreach, as logo and branding is a language we all speak.
Srish Agrawal – Srish.com
The first time I realized I could actually make good money online was landing my first freelance writing job with a company that provided me steady work for over two years. The need for online content is great in a host of niches, and over time, I was able to get a steady flow of work from a variety of clients, primarily long-term. I was making significantly more working part-time than I ever had at any of my full-time jobs. I eventually moved away from this work as I started making more steady income from my coaching services and products.
Advances in technology have made it possible to do so many types of work remotely, from coaching and consulting to web design. The most important piece of advice I would give however, is focusing on doing something in which you are truly interested. Pursuing a particular type of business or service simply because you think it will be easy to make money online doing it will probably backfire since you might not make money right away, and if that is your goal above all else, you’ll probably get frustrated and give up really fast.
You also want to work on your mindset, and deal with fears and limiting beliefs you have about working online and earning money for yourself head on. Succeeding in this arena requires a very different way of thinking, and if this isn’t addressed, you will not get the results you are looking for, no matter how much action you might be taking.
Kelli Cooper – Life Made to Order
I wrote a blog post on how to solve a very specific technical problem. A few days later, I had someone emailing me from another country asking how much I’d charge to simply implement that technical fix for them. I named what, to me, was an absurd price. They paid. I did the task. It was then that I realized the truly global audience that you can reach online. You are no longer limited to making money selling to the same people in your small town / city. It’s wide open.
Though my first “real money” online was decidedly not sexy – the sheer scale of the opportunity made me realize that other methods could work as well. I could run a website funded with advertising, because, again, the scale of the Internet removes geographic limitations. “Making real money online” is the same as “making real money offline” – all the methods and markets are the same. It’s the scale that is different – and exciting.
Nathan Shivar – ShivarWeb.com
Social media and online search has been grabbing all the online attention for the ease-of-money making that they present us with. But, let me be honest with you – making money online is not an easy task with all the competition out there.
An instinct for survival in my passion for digi-related services and my realization that internet provides us with various conventions to earn online is when the thought hit me first.
My continuing surveillance of this field has helped me acquire an in-depth knowledge of the mechanisms that it withholds and using this experience, I can guide you to choose the best one for your goal accomplishments.
You need to provide meticulous attention to every minutest detail if you are really planning to adorn this for a long term. Here, are some of the most interesting journeys that you can take up to make money online:
Vipin Nayar – Acodez
It took me a few months online to really work out that the easiest way to make money was to offer a service (at least in the beginning).
So, I took what I knew (web design) and started helping people out for free to start with. Eventually, I got a few clients and it went from there.
In parallel, I also started building my audience and website and about 6 months in I started to see some traffic and sales for affiliate products. That is not something you can expect from day 1, so plan a little time if that is your goal. Services are far easier :>
Ashley Faulkes – Madlemmings.com
I started my tech career working in the sales department for a major web hosting company. I spent all day answering questions for people who were interested in making money online. Most of the people I spoke with were interested in building a website for their retail business or were interested in creating an online store to sell products. The job was pretty easy because we had plenty of inbound inquiries coming into our department so it was not a very “hard sell”.
When I first started I didn’t really know much about the digital marketplace, inbound marketing, affiliate marketing or the like. The pay was not bad but It certainly could have been better. After a few years working in Sales, I moved over to the Marketing department. I was in the Marketing & Business Development department and was tasked with expanding our affiliate program. I soon realized that our affiliates (the successful ones) were making quite a bit more than I was for promoting our products and it was at this point in my career that I decided to make a change.
I stepped away from my professional career and decided to jump headfirst into the affiliate marketing world. I knew very little about affiliate marketing, search engine optimization, email automation and the like. I now consider myself to know a good bit more than your average person on this subject matter but the industry is constantly evolving and there is always more to learn. Affiliate marketing is an incredibly competitive field but it’s also very rewarding, If you are considering trying to make money online I would recommend you do plenty of research prior to jumping in.
Mike Brown – The Blogging Buddha
I discovered I could make serious money online by having a well optimized real estate blog. My site Maximum Real Estate Exposure in fact is one of the most visited real estate blogs in the country. What I discovered is that if you genuinely want to help people you will be rewarded.
As a Realtor in Holliston Massachusetts, my focus has been to provide information that both buyers and sellers can use to make sound decisions. The advice is based on being a top producing real estate agent for the past thirty years. With my knowledge I am able to help people solve their problems.
Quite often this has lead to people picking up the phone and asking me to either work with them as a buyer’s or seller’s real estate agent. Internet leads are great because those who are calling you are already sold on your abilities.
I would encourage anyone who likes to write to start a blog. It is a great way to show off your expertise!
Bill Gassett – MaxRealEstateExposure.com
In 2004 I realized I could make real money online, I think I did an online survey and was paid a few dollars to do it. Whilst the payment was small it opened my eyes to making money online. I went on to make a MySpace Layouts website which generated a good amount of traffic and make me decent money. The method of making money was using Google ads and affiliate ads on the Myspace Layouts website. Myspace died out in around 2008 so I had to move onto something else which was music and entertainment focused websites.
James Norquay – ProsperityMedia.com.au
I realized that I could start making “real money” online by upgrading my thinking. Instead of trying to turn the internet into an ATM machine, like I was deserved money – I instead asked a fundamental business question: “What value can I provide to people?” As soon as I realized that generating revenue wasn’t about me, it was about my customers the game changed. The basic business concept of “value-creation equals revenue” is when I started making “real money”. I learned a high-value service (providing AdWords Management), and the revenue followed.
Michael Erickson – SearchScientists.com
Since 1998, I’ve been making money online. The method I used to make money then and to make money today hasn’t changed much.
When I first started online, I was young and broke, but had one strong skill that I was able to leverage for success. I had a talent for seeing patterns.
For me SEO was just a natural way to build a web site. SEO in it’s fundamental form is just speaking in the language of how people search.
When you write in this way not only does your site rank for what people are looking for but those same people are more likely to convert because you are
speaking to the way that they are thinking. It is amazing how easy SEO and making money online becomes when you realize and understand this fundamental
truth. So keep things simple do some keyword research then use that language as a means of creating your site navigation and page topics. If you do this
you’ll start making “real money” online.
Allan Pollett – AllanPollett.com
I knew that real money could be made since 2007 when I worked for a person who was making more money selling online guitar lessons out the back of his garage than people working in corporate jobs in the city.
The second time it really hit me was when I was working with travel and mommy bloggers who were making more than many of us in corporate jobs, but had fewer business skills than us.
The main method I found was through freelance work. But I ended up expanding into different channels.
I actually detailed the experience in an annual income report on my other site.
There are so many ways to earn an income online. But I do think it is important to find and stick to one core problem that you can solve so you can scale up that niche.
Making the same income that you would get at a job for employment is definitely achievable from doing an activity online. You just need to work out what is your ‘thing’ in the online space and then carve out a slice of the income pie for yourself.
David James – BusinessGrowthDigitalMarketing.com
I first realized money could be made online when I stumbled upon a video introducing Google Adsense. I tried it out and made a few dollars, but the truth is that Adsense is something incredibly hard to scale. It’s directly tied to your traffic, and as competition grows traffic is harder
and harder to acquire.
When I began prioritizing affiliate marketing, that’s when my eyes were truly opened to the possibilities of making real money. The opportunity to sell to the same people over and over again was incredible to me at the time and showed me that real businesses could actually be built online.
With good systems in place, affiliate marketing in the right market has everything that you could want. It’s perhaps the ideal substitute for creating an actual product if you are unable to, or do not want to for whatever reason. Between small ticket and big ticket items, recurring and non-recurring commissions, cross-sells and up-sells, you can take the same visitor and end up making quite a bit of money – far more than an Adsense click would ever give you!
James McAllister – Starlight-Baby.com
I am a certified English teacher who loves both writing and editing. Actually, I love anything involving words, reading included!
As a word-lover who began blogging in 2013, I discovered that website owners were in need of writers for their blogs. I actually found this out through a personal experience with guest posting.
I had guest posted on Dear Blogger, and the owner, Greg Narayan, loved my writing so much that he hired me to write a blog post for him each month. Thus began my freelance writing career!
Lorraine Reguly – WordingWell.com
The first moment I realized you could make real money online was when I was sitting in Bangkok at 11pm one night in 2010. I posted a review on my site of an online course during it’s launch period. Within 5 minutes of the launch, I’d earned about $500 in commissions. This was a huge eye opener for me, and helped me to realize there were more ways to monetize a site than just adsense ads.
Sean Ogle – LocationRebel.com
It was late 2011. I’d had a few successful websites that did really well in terms of traffic. My first project made a loss, and the second one was doing great in terms of growth but it was really difficult to make money in that niche given the resources we had available & the level of competition.
The value of providing free content had been proven to me already. But I had my doubts as to whether I could actually make money with a blog.
So I picked a new niche that interested me and went for it. Created loads of content and decided to focus on affiliate marketing.
Then after a while, my hard work paid off. I got my first cheque through the post. It was around $200 or so. A small amount considering the time and effort I’d invested but it proved to me that it was possible to earn money with a blog and that provided the motivation to keep going.
Adam Connell – BloggingWizard.com
I first realized I could make “real money” online when I started working with Zoe Rodriguez, Founder and CEO of ZBody Fitness. She was using influencer marketing as a vehicle to drive traffic to her website. And it was through my partnership with her that I first discovered the real power of social media influencers and influencer marketing.
Since then, I’ve branched out into other forms of digital marketing, including SEO, conversion rate optimization, content marketing and even product launch marketing. But my real passion is still working with influencers and brands to reach the right audience, with the right content, at the right time to drive conversions and maximize ROI.
Shane Barker – ShaneBarker.com
I first made my income from AdSense way back in 2010 and even before that I know I could make money online if I can drive more traffic from search engines to my sites. I always believe search engine traffic is the KEY to making more online. You can use that traffic to put ads, sell banner ads, promote affiliate products and what not?
If you’re just starting out, make sure to focus on finding your target audience, use proper keywords and try to increase your search engine traffic in the first year. Then, figure out ways to monetize your traffic.
Anil Agarwal – BloggersPassion.com
It was selling services or software online. It was in about 2012 when I made my first dollar selling software from the first tech startup I’ve ever started called Mailbird, you can see it here www.getmailbird.com. It started with creating a simple website with a landing page to collect information from people who were interested in what I was selling, then setting up a payment gateway to enable people to pay. Then I started experimenting with online marketing from content, inbound, SEO and Social Channels. I was very responsive to any customers that emailed me with inquiries about the product and that enabled me to also understand what was most important to Mailbird users. Then I set up different types of pricing plans and tested and adjusted them as the business developed.
Andrea Loubier – GetMailBird.com
I earned my first “online income” when I scored a job 20 years ago working with best selling author, entrepreneur and agent of change Seth Godin at Yoyodyne, which was acquired in Q4 1998 by Yahoo! In 1997 I was looking for something exciting and new and was determined to move back to NY from South Florida and get back into the action. I decided this new thing called the “Internet” was the way to go. I read an article about Seth Godin and since he mentioned that although there were no current openings, he was always on the lookout for talent, I was determined to work with him at his start-up Yoyodyne. I sent resumes to probably 100 companies and when Yoyodyne called I knew it was meant to be (there is a bit more to the story).
I’ve had a front row seat to the evolution of online marketing from what was traditional media and commerce first experiencing the move to digital, which was nothing more than simple communication and catalog tools, to full fledged digital commerce and communication… and now scaled Social Communication which so wonderfully incorporates this Relationship component that is for me, the ultimate value. #FollowThePath #RonR… #NoLetUp!
Ted Rubin – TedRubin.com
When people started asking me to help them get more “Likes” on their Facebook page. I realized that I could run some Like-exchange bots and give “Likes” to the Facebook pages of small businesses in my city. It was not “real money” in the sense that it was a lot of money, but it was enough to sustain me in college while I worked on my next startup.
Rafi Chowdhury – Chowdhurysdigital.com
What I thought was real money was when I hit about $100/day back in 2010 or 2011 with Maxbounty on NoNo Hair Removal offer. There were 3 of us controlling all of the SERPs and a few other methods basically driving most of their sales for that company, other than the infomercials they were running. I was buying traffic everywhere back then, lots of Bing Ads and Faceook at the time. Those were the glory days when you could get away with anything. I feel blessed being able to make a dollar online and not having to go out and get a “real job” even though we probably all work harder and more hours than traditional folks, and have way more stress. Thanks for reading everyone! Hit me up on Twitter @pmkoom if you want to connect! 🙂
Patrick Coombe – Elite-strategies.com
I have heard of so many ways to make money online. In fact when I started out I was so overwhelmed and didn’t know what to try to be able to make money. Two methods I zeroed in are selling my own products and selling products of others (affiliate marketing).
I made my first buck in affiliate marketing. It was close to $100. I was so new to affiliate marketing but I was not impatient with making money. So I did not publish reviews without trying out any product.
I published a review of a product after trying it out myself (with screenshots etc. as a tutorial). And that review helped me make my first affiliate sale.
That’s when I realized that it is indeed possible to make money online. Then my immediate next sale came from my e-book. I still rely on these two money making methods heavily for my business.
Jane Sheeba – Janesheeba.com
In 1997 I was massively into a video game called Half Life which you could play online. But… Internet connections were kind of rubbish back then. Dial-up modems mostly and a few lucky folks had ISDN. So, I rented a small room in a building and promoted a LAN party. All I really had to do was talk and network with folks on the forum and we sold out the first one. You may call this inbound now but really it was just relationship marketing. At the same time I was studying computer science at university and was just really interested in the early web. Before long I was working around 1999 as a web developer and just naturally ended up helping the company out with SEO and digital marketing. The rest is history I guess.
Marcus Miller – Bowlerhat.co.uk
It all started with a friend who introduced Blogging to me back in 2007. It was the time when I learned about making money through sharing my experiences and skills online with other peoples and discussing about the products I use on daily basis.
I quickly started a blog and made my first $100 within first 60 days. Networking was and still is the most important factor in kicking some business online. Since that day, I made more than 30 online communities and couple dozens of Affiliate Niche websites.
In 2011, I finally decided to turn my hobby into fulltime job when I received an offer to flip one of my website for more than six figures. That was the real moment when I seriously started my Digital Marketing and SEO career.
During the last 8 years, I worked on variety of projects focusing on Adsense, Amazon Affiliate, Clickbank Products, and direct marketing of products that I use on daily basis.
Hamza Sheikh – TheDigitalNerds.com
I attended an online marketing conference in late 2009 whilst working a full-time job as GM in a photography company. I remember listening to the speakers as they explained how they made money online and being impressed by the lifestyle these businesses allowed. Several of those speakers had million-dollar plus businesses and they were no smarter than me.
The seed was planted then that an ‘online’ business was what I wanted. When things came to an end with my job I had already decided to go online. I tried affiliate marketing with minimal success before my mentor suggested selling online marketing services to offline businesses.
I got started reselling website design and SEO services, using my mentor’s team to deliver the work. As my business grew (which it did quickly) I built my own team in-house.
James Reynolds – SEOSherpa.com
In 2005, there was one week where I slept perhaps 6 hours in an entire week. My friend Marcus Frind taught me how to run direct link AdWords campaigns to True.com and other dating sites on Azoogle. I had experience running PPC for clients, where it wasn’t my money. I got a monthly fee or salary, instead– like when I worked at Yahoo!
But this time, it was real money. So I was clicking refresh every few minutes in my AdWords Editor, watching my spend rise faster than my earnings. After a week, I was up to $1,000 a day in spend and generating $1,400 a day in earnings. I was addicted.
I figured that $400 a day was almost $150,000 a year– enough for a decent living.
Yet, it wasn’t until I got those checks from the FedEx guy that I realized I was making “real money”. I’d get these checks and deposit them at the bank, wondering it they would bounce. They were big enough to buy a nice automobile.
Dennis Yu – BlitzMetrics.com
I made my first few pounds a very long time ago, I think it was 1997. Ecommerce was just starting, big brands didn’t understand the Internet and were very slow to move with the times. Online business was ripe for the picking.
I was one of the first affiliate marketeers and managed to build a bunch of websites within the fashion industry that were offering services that the major brands couldn’t or didn’t want to. Features like comparisons, interactive size charts, advanced search really helped to drive the websites forward and bring in a decent living.
Jon Tromans – Jtid.co.uk
First time I realized I could make real money online is when I found that some bloggers were making over six-figures per year with affiliate marketing. I decided it was time to put away the games and start making real money. But it wasn’t something that I was able to do right away.
I started doing some research and I found some of the secrets to making a great amount of money. The method is simple, work hard on your blog, write about topics that are interesting to you, but also interesting to a broad audience, and monetize the content with affiliate relationships.
As you put in the work, build an email list and establish social authority. The way to capitalize on the content and social currency is to use affiliate relationships to start making money.
The key to making real money online is to establish a plan of action and follow it while leveraging the best available affiliate programs related to your niche.
Oscar Gonzalez – Notagrouch.com
I make money online by blogging at ChristinaAllDay.com.
Lots of people get into blogging just to make money. I didn’t start that way. For me, my lifestyle blog was something fun to do in my free time. Then, I learned more about social media, SEO, and strategy.
That strategy part is a biggie. It means you’re not just blogging to blog, like I did at the beginning. When I started learning about SEO and how to find what people were searching word for word, how many people were searching certain keywords, and what the results were for those keywords, I started seeing more traffic. Yes, this means sometimes I wrote about things I wasn’t crazy about, but it brought in the numbers that brands like to see.
I think the secret is not to focus on working less to make more. Too many people are trying to do that in online business. It’s lazy and ignorant. If it were easy to make “real money” online, then everyone would do it. It takes work. Instead, focus on giving people what they want online.
Also, we all see a lot of bloggers and online marketers promoting how they can make money online, but I question how many of them actually are making money online through blogging or another online outlet… or if it’s just selling a course about making money online. If you want to make money online, I suggest you really vet who you learn from. Online, it’s easy to embellish facts (or just make them up), so be sure to thoroughly look at what you’re learning and who you are learning it from before investing in education if that’s the route you want to take.
Christina Nicholson – Mediamavenandmore.com
I started my first online business about 10 years ago; I couldn’t get free time from my job to spend with my then 1-year-old daughter, and I had been thinking for a while about trying to start my own business. I didn’t start out with social media, which came a little bit later; instead, I took notice of the rising numbers of virtual assistants as well as the huge demand for them.
So, I started thinking of ways that I could get involved; in the end, I decided that I wanted to help others, so I started selling e-books, as well as toolkit for women who wanted to set up their very own Virtual Assistant business. The e-books sold for $50, and the toolkit, for $200. It went well, but at the same time, I started using Twitter and realised the potential social media had for businesses – so, I started looking for a way to get into social media marketing.
Lilach Bullock – Lilachbullock.com
I think the first month I earned revenue made me realize I could start making ‘real’ money online. I started this journey as a freelance writer and was able to gross $805 in my first paid month of work (which was month two of my journey).
At the time it felt epically S-L-O-W, but in hindsight (over three years later), that’s not bad! And the best part, is that it’s repeatable for those that are willing to work hard, put themselves out there and give it a fair shot.
Gina Horkey – HorkeyHandbook.com
I first realized I could make real money online after I released a free Coming Soon Page plugin for WordPress. In the first month the plugin got over 10,000 downloads and I started receiving feature request. I put all those features in a Pro Version and started to sell it. To my surprise I sold close to 4 figures the first month. It was that moment I realized I could sell software, specifically a WordPress plugin, and eventually match and exceed my day job’s salary. That was five years ago and I’m happy to say I have exceeded my expectations.
You always hear “find something people want, build it, put a price on it and sell it”. Well that’s exactly what I did. I should mention however that I spent close to 10 years prior building products and trying to sell them. The kicker was I was building products no one wanted. With my WordPress Coming Soon Page Plugin I was able to find a niche that needed to be filled.
The good news is there are still lots of niche opportunities on the internet waiting to be filled. You could be the person to fill it!
John Turner – SeedProd.com
I don’t mean to brag or anything (and I understand it might be hard for you to believe) but… it took me just a few minutes after I got online for the first time (back in December 31st, 1998) to realize all the hundreds of possibilities that having a website would open to me. Including making a living out of the Internet!
I started looking for how to build a website and, at the same time, found programs that were paying website owners to publicize their products.
I made my first dollars through affiliate marketing promoting online casinos. In around one to two years, I had earned around $10,000 USD and it was clear to me this was the right path to pursue.
Louie Luc – Buzznitrous.com
This is not new by any stretch of the imagination, but I will say that E-commerce businesses are a growing industry for the every day person looking to start a new business. We have recently had a ton of success helping people with their E-Commerce sales thru Facebook and Instagram advertising. So we ended up doing a lot of research and digging and you truly can create a very successful side (or main) income by finding a product that is well received by the marketplace and setting up your own e-commerce store. You may have seen Oberlo and other companies advertising this and it truly can work. Of course, you must have a proof of concept (i.e. will people buy your stuff) and know what you are doing in setting up your E-comm storefront as well as be versed with social media advertising (of course, companies like ours can help you out 🙂 and have a modest budget to give it a go (total costs for building everything and having some money to try out will be in the $10K-$15K range). But if you have an awesome idea, you really can do this in this day and age and we are seeing more and more people and companies popping up. We have plans ourselves to give a few products a go to try out and plan to have this be a nice revenue stream for us in 2018.
David Reimherr – Magnificent.com
I was living in Thailand on a long holiday after leaving a job at Microsoft. I was determined to figure out a way to make long-term worldwide travel possible, so I was spending every day studying anything related to digital marketing I could get my hands on (which wasn’t nearly as easy 10+ years ago).
One day, I made $0.40 sending affiliate referrals to hotels and accommodation websites, and I was over the moon. It wasn’t much, but I knew that if I could make $0.40, I could make as much as I wanted because the internet is infinitely scalable. The next day, I made $400+ using the same techniques, and although I’ve since pivoted from affiliate marketing to running an international digital marketing agency, I’ve never looked back.
Aaron Agius – Louder.Online
Back the end of 2007, I was a very new, keen, and optimistic blogger. I’d started a blog about dieting/weight loss, popped Google AdSense on, and was waiting for the money to roll in. To try to get some extra traffic to the blog, I pitched a (much larger) dieting blog with a guest post.
They loved it — so much, they offered me a paid gig. And I made my first $20 from blogging.
This first $20 was swiftly followed by more, and then a payrise from that editor … within a couple of months, I’d secured another regular freelancing gig with a different blog. I’d honestly no idea when I pitched that first guest post that freelance blogging existed!
It took me eleven months to make my first $100 from AdSense … by which point I’d quit my day job to freelance for a bunch of blogs (and to follow my fiction writing dreams too, by taking a part time Masters in Creative Writing). Nine years on, I’m still making a living online, and I still do a bit of freelance blogging as part of that. Along the way, I spoke at blogging conferences and universities, and wrote Publishing E-Books For Dummies, published by Wiley in their iconic series.
Ali Luke – Aliventures.com
As a sports writer and blogger, I first realized I could start making ‘real money’ when my blog began to grow and started receiving quality targeted traffic.
For too long, my web traffic numbers showed some promise but it was only when I focused on answering people’s questions and help solving their problems that that traffic became more targeted.
From reading a few internet marketing blogs and getting inspiration from people like Zac Johnson, Spencer Haws and my good friend Louie Luc, I decided to run some experiments with Google AdSense ads and, later on, affiliate links.
My AdSense earnings were nice but I couldn’t really rely on them as they weren’t that very much consistent. When I added a few affiliate links to some specific articles, though, I was blown away with the results!!
I remember one morning checking my inbox and finding dozens of new affiliate earnings notifications. It was right there that I realized I could push it up to the next level!
Mike Martyns – SoccerGearHQ.com
For me, I realized it when we scaled our FB ads from $3k a month to $10k a month to $100k a month. We kept increasing the budget and couldn’t find a plateau for diminishing returns. This was in 2014 when I was with a VC backed startup. My life hasn’t been the same since.
William Harris – Elumynt
It was more than 10 years ago but I still remember that “this it it” moment vividly.
Back in the 2000’s era – Google rolled out updates every few months. Webmasters would wait for the new search results to go live and study the latest changes. In one of those updates, after months of hard work, my sites jumped into Google first page for almost all targeted keywords overnight. I was getting 2 – 3x traffic and affiliate sales. That was the moment I realized that I am in something big and might go full time into affiliate marketing.
The key to my success in the early days was SEO. I was a SEO nerd. I did a lot of studies and testing to understand how search engine algorithm works.
Jerry Low – Web Hosting Secret Revealed (WHSR)
It’s a funny yet poignant story actually:
I blog about blogging tips. My reader had a friend who was always criticizing his blog. Therefore, he decided to hire me as a blogging coach. Consultations are pretty lucrative. Getting hired for one-on-one coaching made me realize I could make “real” money blogging.
At any rate, the person who hired me had his friend tell me what to do to help him. We had a 3-way arrangement in that respect.
The man who hired me has since passed away but he ended becoming one of the best blogging friends I’ve ever had.
When I think of my late friend. I remember him fondly. Before he left, he gave me the confidence that I could make real money online. Happily, I have continued to do so ever since.
Janice Wald – MostlyBlogging.com
The time I realized I could actually make money online was when I generated my first sale and commission from a baby product review website I’d created. I had no previous experience in affiliate marketing when I created the site, but I did have a core competency doing SEO and content strategy so I knew I could get organic traffic to the site. But I had no clue if I could figure out how to make it profitable. The content that earned me my first commission was this really in-depth organic baby mattress buying guide that I actually wrote myself. My wife and I just had our first baby and we’d been mattress shopping, so I had fresh, first hand knowledge to draw from for the guide. Before I monetized it, I conducted outreach for the guide first and it earned links from a bunch of mom blogs, which helped it rank. After I’d finished outreach, I added Amazon Affiliate links and Google Adsense. Within a few weeks, I made my first Amazon sale of an organic baby mattress. It was only a few dollars commission, but it was really exciting and incentivized me to keep going. I think the key learning from that first site was doing outreach before I monetized, so it didn’t look like my motivation was an affiliate marketing play.
Ken Lyons – Measured SEM
My first contact with running a business online was in 2012 when I chatted with a good friend in Las Vegas. He and I come from the same city in Germany and I knew he started making money online at the age of 14. I was frustrated in my job and had a nervous breakdown at the age of 23. Clearly, something had to change. He advised I follow bloggers like Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income and study how they make money online. Being a web developer already, I quickly realized that I could sell my WordPress skills through a blog. At that time, my ultimate goal was to quit my job as a consultant. I started my first blog and within seven months I made enough money to quit my job.
I used the blog (and still do) as a platform to sell my WordPress skills. Over time the business grew into an agency with three full-time designers, a project manager, a development team, two co-founders, and me being the CTO. Blogging has become less important for my business, as we built seriously powerful relationships with companies all over the world. They keep us busy and we rely on networking and over-delivering to grow our agency.
For 2018 however, we plan to implement a new blogging strategy and to somewhat “revive” all of our corporate blogs.
Jan Koch – WP Mastery
When I saw the first coaching client’s first payment…that’s when the lights really went on in my head. The case studies I had seen were suddenly relatable—not just aspirational. Sure, I was far from being worth my own case study. But seeing those first few hundred dollars meant a lot.
In some ways, an even more important turning point happened months later when I got my first payment of thousands of dollars from a well-respected marketing expert. Having a world-class expert pay for me to help them with marketing—and pay as much I used to make in four months at my last job—that, to me, meant I wasn’t just dreaming of making a living off helping people get better results with marketing.
Peter Sandeen – PeterSandeen.com
I always wanted to start my own blog when I got into internet. On the other hand, I knew it that we can make money online but wasn’t sure which is the right way. I started All Blogging Tips in the last month of 2011. It quickly gain popularity and within 3-4 month I was able to generate my first income which was from a WordPress theme affiliate program. I started getting more into affiliate marketing by signing up with different programs which my readers would love. Within a year of starting my blog I realized that YES I can actually make pretty good amount of money from my blog. Meanwhile, I also worked on few web development project in earlier months of starting blog and they were able to increase the income. In short, you can actually make pretty good amount of money from blogging, if you do your homework properly and have some patience.
Ammar Ali – All Blogging Tips
I was invited to speak at a large real estate conference in 2010, and while on the flight home from Atlanta GA I was freaking out on the inside. You see, I was completely broke at that time in my life and I had spent every dollar I had to get to that event so I could speak …but with rent due in 3 days and no money in my bank I was stressed out.
It must have been noticeable, because I’ll never forget the moment when the person sitting next to me leaned across the aisle and asked … “Drew, are you ok?
Scott had been a speaker at the conference also, and we had become pretty good friends during the event. When he asked me that question I guess the severity of my situation became real because I immediately grabbed my notebook and outlined a strategy for making money online.
Within 15-20 minutes I had outlined a training course for realtors: 90 Day Blog Blueprint.
I leaned over to Scott and showed him the outline and asked; “do you think Realtors would pay to get access to this course?” He replied enthusiastically “Yes 100% I do!”
When I arrived home, I tested the strategy and was shocked …it worked! Within 2 days of being home I had made a little over $4,400 which was more than enough to pay my rent.
From that, the Mailbox Money System was born.
Drew Burks – EscapeTheJobLife.com
In TimeCamp, we had felt that we can make real money when the number of paid customers started to increase. It forced us to analyze the way we deal with the clients and understand better how to encourage them to use time tracking software in their companies. There is a stereotype that this kind of tool is used by bosses to invigilate the employees, but according to our users, it’s just a myth. Most of the employers decide to implement time trackers because they want to show the workers that it is the best solution to improve their time management skills based on the productivity reports they get every day, week or month.
But how it resulted in our online money success? We started promoting an appropriate culture of improvement among our current and potential users. It straightforwardly increased the level of trust to our software and caused the revenue growth.
Ola Rybacka – TimeCamp.com
I tried a number of small affiliate programs through the years but never saw much in the way of return. It wasn’t until I started creating useful content to go along with desirable affiliate programs (Amazon Affiliates for example) that the monthly revenue became worth the investment.
People search the internet to get the answers to questions they have. Frequently, we’re looking to learn from the experience of others before buying a product. This is where high-quality product reviews can be key to driving big affiliate sales. By being a trusted source of information on a product people are considering buying, they’re highly likely to click your affiliate links, once you’ve put their mind at ease by providing an informed review and built their trust.
High-quality, detailed content is key to being found in search results where quality has become key to rank. Become a trusted source of information and people will trust what you’re selling.
Ben Brausen – BenBrausen.com
Back in 2006 I have already been acquainted with blogging but I didn’t know that time that you can actually earn online. My first blog was built out of passion but who would have thought that it would become my doorway to online marketing.
Fast forward a bit, in 2010 someone in my connection taught me SEO and opened up more ideas about freelancing. During that time, it wasn’t as rampant as now and people would distrust online jobs fearing they may fall to scams online. More often than not, elder ones would tell me to ‘find a real job in the real world’ even tough I’m consistently getting paid via remote work. And it was totally OK! 😛
Basically, for me making ‘real money’ was synonymous to finding ‘career online’ which I took step during that year. I have started working as a freelance search engine marketing guy in 2010 up until present.
Apart from the SEM services I offer, I also maintain series of passive income generating sites I regularly maintain. They have served as my guinea pigs in testing digital marketing strategies especially for SEO and PPC.
Fervil Von Tripoli – FervilVon.com
I had two “aha” moments early on in my online career. The first was when I had a brick and mortar professional services business. I was new to the profession and needed more clients. It was 2006 which was relatively early days for small business online marketing. I didn’t have much of a marketing budget so I started a blog and learned SEO. Within 6 months I had more work than I could handle. That was when I realized the potential of the internet for building a business.
My second “aha” moment was when I hit $5,000 per month in affiliate commissions via blogging. I leveraged my SEO knowledge and started two websites on the side. Within 18 months those two sites were earning approximately $5,000 per month. It didn’t take long after that to hit five figures.
Those were two very significant milestones in my online career that I’ll never forget.
Jon Dykstra – FatStacksBlog.com
Google AdSense is the first method through which I tried to earn money online. Though not a quick money generating method, AdSense was nevertheless a tried & tested and trusted method. Also, since it was a free platform and the required eligibility criteria were easy, I found this method to be the best from the rest.
Another thing that I absolutely loved about AdSense is that it allowed me full control as to which ads appear on my website, which ensured that the value proposition of my site was not compromised.
Since then I have moved on to Affiliate marketing which has helped me increase my earnings substantially. This method has a lot more scope, thanks to the rise of numerous online merchants, Amazon, being my favourite. In addition, although affiliate marketing is challenging, once you gain a firm foothold in this space, it could prove to be quite rewarding.
Nirav Dave – Capsicum Mediaworks
I first realized I can make real money online, when I receive my first payment from the affiliate link on my online dating blog, it hundreds of pounds. The affiliate links eventually evolved into own brand white label dating sites, which was even more lucrative than affiliate links.
But to get this real money I had to do some good promotion. In the old days of SEO web directories worked very well. And it was enough to submit your site to few quality directories and wait for result.
Evgeniy Garkaviy – Hope Spring Ecards
The moment I realized I could make ‘real money’ online was when I received my first referred client. As a freelance writer with a small portfolio to work with, and not a lot of experience, I was working with a few clients and making some decent side money. Which is exactly what I set out to do initially.
However, when I received a cold email from an interested client, that had not only mentioned seeing my work on other, prominent WordPress websites, but also had received high praise from a client I was already working with, I knew that there was really something to this freelance writing business and the networking that comes along with it.
And that’s the main method I used to build my freelance business. – networking. However, I also continue touse my byline to direct traffic to my website, cold pitch clients I am interested in writing for, and make sure that those I already write for are always aware that I am available.
Lindsay Liedke – WPKube.com
I first starting making real money online while consulting for a small eCommerce company while getting my degree in Internet Marketing. It was a great way to test out the things I was learning, and it was the first time ever acquiring customers over the internet. It was fun and exciting, and it got me hooked!
Harris Schachter – OptimizePri.me
I first started realizing that I could make good money when I started making more than my full-time job. I quit my full-time job back in 2008. In fact, it was a factory job, and there was a lot of unwanted drama. I resigned from there because the headache there wasn’t worth it. Doing my own thing worked, and I didn’t have to have someone else telling me what to do all the time.
However, anyone that decides to go into their own business should never quit their “daytime job” or full-time until they can prove to have at least enough made that they can survive and have extra for emergencies and for my son. I never would’ve resigned my factory job if I hadn’t been making enough to support myself or my family. It’s a risk to to leave a job for your own business if you don’t make goals and keep them. You never want to be here “starving artist.”
Nile Flores – Blondish.net
To be honest, in the beginning I had no idea that there was an online world that could give us so much money and freedom in life. It was after I read the book The Laptop Entrepreneur which opened up a new world of ideas and opportunities for me.
After that, I started my own blog and through the blog, I got a lot of freelance writing clients and that helped me to grow my knowledge, learn about industry SOP and earn a living online. In fact, the luckiest moment in my life was the time when I could give a sum of $15,000 to renovate his shop. And the credit to all these goes to my decision to step into the online world of freelance writing and blogging
Swadhin Agrawal – DigitalGYD.com
After getting rejected to work as a barista at Starbucks 10 years ago, I decided to browse the bookstore and stumbled upon a book on making money blogging by Problogger. I didn’t know much about blogging then, but I thought it was going to be fun learning about it.
I started a blog and wrote about my passion, which was coffee, a month later, I made my first dollar online through Adsense. It was the happiest moment of my entire life.
That was when I saw the potential of blogging and making real money online, so I started more blogs, optimised those blogs and monetize all of them through Adsense and later on it went into sidebar ads. I reached out to people that were advertising on other blogs and asked them if they wanted to advertise on mine. It was hard work reaching out to hundreds of blogs, but it paid the bills, and it was worth it. After a few months, I flipped them for a more significant profit.
Aaron Lee – Short of Height
I think most people understand by now that you can make money online. The confusion for most people is how to start. What is affiliate marketing? What is drop-shipping? Do I sell services or products? This could seem overwhelming.
For me, I started with affiliate marketing and found unique ways to promote products. Not only can I drive revenue from the affiliates, but adding Adsense is a great way to supplement the revenue on my sites that receive above-average traffic.
Some of those unique ways to drive affiliate revenue are to create in-depth tutorials or create tools that hook into the affiliate products API. Being a web developer, creating tools is easy for me. For others, I recommend having a solid understanding of the niche you’re attempting to go after with and deep understanding of the audience.
Dario Zadro – ZadroWeb.com
I’ll just take “online” as being involved in the digital aspect of the world. It was through SEO. It’s actually a funny story because I first discovered SEO through my internship for a digital marketing company where all I had to do was comment on forums, blogs, etc. and put links in my comments. Basically, I spammed every comments section that I found.
Later on, when I started my blog, God and You, I realized that the only viewers my site had were my Mom and my brother. So, I decided, then and there, to find out how to increase the traffic that comes into my site. And that’s where I realized that SEO can do so much for a website. That’s when I decided to learn about SEO through trial and error because there were no online tutorials, books, or any other knowledge-based blog about SEO, so I had to learn it all by myself.
That’s why I started a knowledge-based blog, seo-hacker.com, to write about everything that I’ve learned in my journey in teaching myself about SEO. Then, I went on a trip where I met a girl, and we talked about random things and I happen to mention SEO in passing. Coincidentally, her Uncle was actually looking for someone that can do SEO for their business. So, to make the long story short, the girl I met set-up a meeting between her Uncle and me, and I asked for payment during the meeting (of course I told the Uncle that I was not an SEO expert), and he agreed.
That’s when I realized that SEO can help me gain money through the exchange of my SEO services, and over time, I started my own SEO company.
Sean Si – SEO Hacker
To be frank, I wasn’t aware of this fact that we can even earn money from blogs. I started my first blog to share the tips and tricks that I learned while experimenting with my laptop. I shared a few theme modifications code snippets that I personally used to tweak the look and feel of my website. I was using the Mystique WordPress theme at that time. It was quite a famous theme back in 2011-2012. This theme modifications article started getting traffic and someone on the Internet asked me if I can customize the theme according to his needs. For a one hour job, he paid me $80. Again, after a few days, he hired me for a similar job.
Rajesh Namase – TechLila.com
I began blogging when I had lots of time to me and couldn’t return to my previous SEO job, due to my familial responsibilities. And when Google AdSense paid me the first buck, I realized that there was so much more potential earning to be made online. It was the first method that helped me generate my online income and as my blog grew, I explored more earning opportunities.
With the launch of multiple blogs, I was able to establish my footprint. I came across different online earning programs and embraced the most effective of them. like most other bloggers, I found the best methods after some hit and trials. The methods that work best also vary from one blogger to another and often the niche you are targeting. Sponsored and promotional content has also been an effective strategy. Besides, I have also embraced some programs similar to AdSense.
Nisha Pandey – SEOTechyWorld
If you are already making good money online, congrats! If not, right now is the best time to get started. With so many different ways to make money online, there is really no reason for you to be sitting on the sidelines much longer.
For anyone that wants to use the excuse they don’t have time or money, that’s all it is — an excuse. How much time are you spending watching TV every night? And how much money are you wasting on things you don’t need?
With that being said, starting a blog is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to get started with an online business or brand of your own. It literally costs pennies per day, and is something that you can build up and create in your spare time.
Don’t let 2018 be another year of “I wish I did that…” — take action today!
My name is Zac Johnson and I have been an online entrepreneur for the past 18 years and blogger since 2007. This is my personal blog and I welcome you to the site. In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website.
This website was created with Thrive Themes and WordPress. Using the suite of tools provided by Thrive Themes is the fastest way for you to create your own website or blog that is fully optimized for maximum conversions. Click the button to get started.
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