Can you make money online? It’s both difficult and easy at the same time. Anyone with a reasonable level of talent and intelligence can do it, but it takes a different mindset than one of an employee.
Employment teaches you these rules about money and how to make it — the main ones being that you have to trade all of your time for it and that there should be a cap to how much you can make.
Society warps our minds into thinking business is risky, dangerous, and hard. It teaches you skills that make you good workers, not skills that make you sovereign. If you want to make money online, change the way you perceive the world and develop skills based on that worldview.
You can master the set of skills you need to make money online. Will you? Well, that’s on you.’
If you want to make money online, you need to learn how to delay your gratification. Specifically, you need to learn how to frontload your work: put in a lot of work upfront that yields little to no income, but you make a killing on the backend.
For me, frontloading meant doing some of the following activities:
Doing this work upfront creates passive income. But you have to be patient enough to plant the seeds.
Being patient sucks. It’s boring. You want results right away and it’s frustrating if you don’t get them, even though you logically know you shouldn’t be frustrated. But patience is a skill you must master if you want to make money online.
You can create a solid business in a year, even months, if you’re ruthlessly dedicated and execute fast. For most, it’ll take a few years to build an online business you can use to replace your job. Either way, it won’t happen right away.
You want to develop the skill of being impatiently patient. You’re patient in the long-term, but hyper-aggressive in the short term. You should have checklists of tasks you want to complete for your business daily and cross them off every single day.
Work hard at that core skill of area of your business. For me, that meant making sure I wrote something every single day without fail. You also want to start thinking about additional steps you want to take to grow it, e.g., making new products.
A good rule of thumb: have 90 days windows where you have one major goal for your business you want to check off and measure your progress quarter over quarter.
The number of options you have when it comes to making money online is blinding. You can choose from different models like affiliate marketing, coaching, creating courses, e-commerce, and freelancing just to name a few. There are different strategies for what to sell, how to sell it, and what to charge for it.
Take my field for example. I know writers who make six figures exclusively from serial publishing books on kindle. For the past few years, I focused primarily on writing for Medium. I know other writers who use writing mainly to sell products on the backend. All the models work.
Some business owners like to sell low-priced products for heavy volume and others might charge $20,000 for a single product or service. I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you that you need to find a model that makes sense to you and stick with it.
You need to develop the skill of being focused. A wandering eye and shiny object syndrome will keep you from making money online because your attention will wear too thin. You don’t have to stick with the same exact model forever, but you have to stay focused long enough to build a foundational pillar for your business.
On top of staying focused on a business model, it’s important to build your ‘stack.’ Your stack is the combination of platforms you’re going to use to grow your business.
A stack usually involves:
You can spray and pray all you want, but it makes more sense to get really good at a handful of areas to build your stack.
My stack is:
I have other social media profiles and means of attracting traffic, but I chose these ones as my primary focus. If you want to be successful at making money online, you want to develop a level of mastery. You’ll never be a master if you’re trying to master every platform at the same time.
Let’s keep things simple. Marketing involves the activities you do to build awareness about your products and services. Sales is the process of getting someone to pull the trigger and buy what you have to offer.
Say you’re trying to make money online as a writer. Marketing could mean creating content to build your email list, creating content on Medium (which is unique because it’s a straight line to monetization), promoting your content on social media, adding tags to your book description to appear on kindle listings and having a nice cover to catch readers’ eyes, or using SEO to build traffic to your website.
Once you get someone to get engage with your writing you move them further down the process to eventually buy something from you. This could mean creating a series of emails that starts with more educational content and ends with asking for a sale. It could mean getting potential freelance or coaching clients on a one-on-one call with you to discuss working together. Or it could mean having a persuasive description that prompts people to buy your book.
If you want to make money online, you have to get good at both. It’s strange, a lot of people want to make money online but they want to do it in this weird way where they never have to promote anything or be aggressive in any fashion. You don’t have to be pushy and sleazy to make money online, but you can’t be totally passive either.
Connections help you make money. I’ve had writer friends send freelance jobs my way. I’ve had other writers help me promote my products with affiliate campaigns (some have done it without asking for anything in return). And I’ve also just learned a ton of smart ideas for making money online from people I’ve connected with.
And I did all of this without ever actively trying to ‘network.’ Networking is cheesy and manipulative. Making connections is genuine. My process for making connections is simple:
One of my students in my blogging course asked me to share her new book with my tribe. She’s one of my top students, works really hard, and has boatloads of positive energy. It was an easy decision to say yes. Be like her.
One of my favorite books is called The Magic of Thinking Big.
Here’s a quote from the book:
“WHEN YOU BELIEVE, YOUR MIND WILL FIND WAY TO DO”
You have to believe in yourself and cultivate the skill of stretching your thinking over time. Yes, you need to be pragmatic. Don’t try to build a million-dollar company right away, get some sales. But in the long run, you want to remove the limits on what you think is possible.
It’s crazy. I’ve made sums of money that are ten times what I used to make. And now? I realize I was still thinking too small. This happens in phases, but as you progress with an online business, you get to this point where your eyes are wide open.
There’s a massive amount of money out there waiting to be claimed by you. Billions of transactions happening all the time. You just need to get in the mix. You have to stop thinking you’re only worth what some company or boss says you’re worth. You’re bigger than that, better than that.
Stop trying to fit in. You have to be small to fit in. And deep down, you know you’re not small. That’s why you read posts like this. You’re not just looking to make money online, you’re looking to transform your life and level up to the person you know you were put on this earth to be.
At least, that’s how I’ve always felt. I’ve always had this burning desire to be big. I always knew I wanted to start some sort of business or work for myself and I knew I wasn’t going to be happy with anything less. If you feel the way I felt, that desire isn’t going to go away no matter how much you try to bury it.
Might as well think big and put yourself out there. On a long-enough time scale, success is inevitable.