I have asked a few successful online entrepreneurs about how they make money online in order to inspire you and remind you that it is possible to make money online. These responses are not limited to just affiliate marketers. There is a whole variety of stories, which will hopefully help fuel your own ideas for making money online. Sit back, enjoy, get inspired, and TAKE ACTION!
(I also have a great collaborative post more specifically about how experts make money affiliate marketing)
Alex Genadinik – Problemio.com
I am the founder of Problemio.com and I make money online by packaging lots
of content and actually selling it as ebooks or as mobile apps which can be
found on problemio.com
While people do not like to pay for content online, they do buy
content-heavy mobile apps. I also use my website and my mobile apps to
drive people to my business coaching consulting practice.
The apps are some of the top rated business apps, and have 150,000
downloads to date. I make money by selling them, and with affiliate links
to various loan products. Also I make money by up-selling a business coach
consulting business via my apps.
And I did it all from home. Last year I didn’t even know how to make apps.
And then I taught myself and my first app was pretty successful, and then I
just kept at it.
Pauline Paquin – reachfinancialindependence.com
I have been making money online since 2007. Back then I started writing
content for a few friends who owned travel website. This quickly started
paying for all my travel expenses, and was almost what I made at my full
time job. After getting hired by a couple more sites I left my day job and
started writing full time.
Then last year I created reachfinancialindependence.com where I write 4
times a week about money, being financially free, travel, reaching your
goals… This site is mainly monetized via direct advertising, affiliate
sales and a few banners. After 6 months it started making consistently over
$2K per month. This is more than I need to live and it only takes a couple
of hours a day so that is perfect!
Jennifer A Slater – En Route Baby
I read somewhere that the fastest way to make money is to sell information online, so I decided to write a book and see what I could do with it. I chose a popular topic that I knew well and could give advice about, which was parenting, and then decided on a micro-niche that I was familiar with that would make my book unique and catchy, so I decided to share information on what to do if you have your baby in the car before you reach the hospital (not a lot of books on that out there). I made a list of the important points I wanted to share, put them in order, and just wrote, re-reading and editing it every couple days with fresh eyes.
Since the book was only about 100 pages long, I decided to invest the $5 and hired a copy editor I found at fiverr.com. I was pleasantly surprised. These are professional people trying to get their name out and the editing I received was top notch, catching things I can’t believe I missed, and helping my book sound a little more professional.
I then came up with a title that I hoped would offer a good hook (“En Route Baby”) with a sub-title that described what my book was about (“What To Do In Case Baby Arrives Before Help Does.”) I took a trip to Barnes & Noble and went straight to the pregnancy section and checked out all the covers that these published authors had paid graphic designers good money to create and went home with an idea of what my audience liked and designed my own.
Finally, the website. I ended up building a 5-page site with Yahoo’s Site Builder where, at a little less than $10 a month, it allowed me to create a website exactly as I liked, using ideas for the design, set-up and color combinations from my handy collection of “favorite websites” I keep in a file on my computer. (I actually created the background for my website based on a similar design I found on BettyCrocker.com.) It’s a good way to picture how you want the finished product to look without having to reinvent the wheel. I have since altered both my book and my website about 1,000 times, but that’s pretty much the beauty of the internet.
Now it was time to market my book. I started by setting up Google Alerts to notify me every time an article or news release covered a baby that was born on the way to the hospital. I would pull up the link and in the comment section I would add important information or tips that weren’t covered in the article, list my website address, and then I would link both the article and my comments back to my snazzy new facebook and twitter pages that I just created for my book (again, FREE!) The bigger the publication (i.e., Huffington Post, NYTimes, etc.) — or the more dedicated to my topic (parenting blogs, pregnancy sites, etc.) — the more hits (and sales) I get.
I then researched the most popular blogs on my topic through a site called Inkybee.com and started blogging on the busiest sites in my field, once again building credibility by sharing unique and useful information with our mutual audience. One other thing you should consider is signing up for daily emails from HARO (HelpAReporter.com), a newsletter for journalists, writers and tv stations looking for sources for their stories. I’ve already been booked to appear on a public television station that focuses on family, am scheduled to be interviewed by small local radio program, and got my book mentioned in an article in the Wall Street Journal, just from answering relevant queries. Oh, and because ebooks are free, I’ve donated copies to different women’s groups and pregnancy clinics, and then submitted press releases about the donation bringing attention and free publicity to both their organization and my book.
I donate 10% of all my sales to the SIDS Foundation (because it’s the right thing to do), my dress code is now blue jeans and a pair of pink flip flops, and I only have to commute as far as the kitchen whenever I need another cup of coffee (unless I want to visit my kids, then I just pack up my laptop). The real beauty of this is that once you get your feet wet and learn the strategy, there are about a hundred different things you can write about and share with others, hopefully making a difference for other people through your experience and research.
Your product and your creativeness will get you more sales than a costly website or advertising, so pick your first topic and get started. Note: talk about return on the investment, my book just got picked up by a publisher. Yay me!
Laura Watt – CubitsOrganics.com
Cubit’s was started in 2008 and I have earned my living online since then. I sell rare, heirloom and organic seeds for home gardeners on etsy and in my on online shop at www.cubitsorganics.com. Working from home and working online has made it possible for me stay home with my young children and have a satisfying business. Cubit’s started when I was expecting my first child and has grown along with my family and the birth of my second child. Working online means I can work at odd hours, work around my family’s schedule, and have a business with very little overhead.
Adam Grunwerg – Investing.co.uk
I started out as a news writer for a couple of sports and poker websites during my final year of University 3 years ago. My employer encouraged me to start my own gaming website and things grew from there. I took a gap year after University to run my own website business and see what I could achieve after a year. My aim was to earn around $1.2k/month in passive income after 12 months. One year later, after building more than ten small affiliate websites, I was earning far more than a typical graduate graduate salary (around $5k per month) and most of it was passive income anyway. Because of the success I had, I decided to continue for another year to see what I could achieve.
After the Penguin update in 2012, I had to completely change my business strategy and skills. I moved away from building small affiliate in gaming to investing in large, white hat SEO brand sites in the finance, trading and education niche. Investing.co.uk is one good example of this. Towards the end of 2012, I also launched my own marketing consultancy to diversify my revenues and gain experience helping others. My success so far has allowed to take control of my own lifestyle (I can work from anywhere in the world), develop new skills and meet interesting people along the way.
Justin Belmont – Prosemedia.com
I’ve always loved to write, to work with other writers, and to
help build people’s businesses. I combined these passions by creating a
writing agency (www.prosemedia.com) that helps businesses get more traffic
— in a way that doesn’t involve those oh-so-irritating banner ads — and
saves fellow entrepreneurs time writing. And let’s face it: these days,
when you’re building a business, how much time do you and your staff have
to write perfectly crafted blog posts? In short, my business allows me and
my writers to do what we’re passionate about while helping others to check
an annoying task off their to-do list. My advice to fellow entrepreneurs:
find a similar win-win equation and you’ll wake up happy every day.
Bob Bentz – 84444.com
In the early 2000’s, I was in the UK and noticed that there was a new craze
going on called “ringtones.” This hadn’t really begun in the USA yet, so
in 2002, I started one of the first ringtone sites in the USA called
Ringingphone.com. Rather than selling ringtones as one-offs, we made the
site a membership site that allowed for loyalty and recurring revenues. We
got the business up to 60,000 members per month, each paying $10 each. The
company was sold to a publicly traded Canadian company in 2006.
With experience in mobile, the next thing we began was a do-it-yourself
text message marketing site, 84444.com. Later, we added a Canadian version
of the site, 84444.ca. It has been a great success and small businesses
like Mom and Pop pizza restaurants can participate for as little as $25 per
month. Text message marketing really works well and offers great ROI for
our customers. Having the same short code 84444 in both the USA and Canada
is a cool competitive advantage.
Diana Hua – The Silver Maple
I’ve always been a Type-A go-getter who knew exactly what she wanted and where she was going in her corporate life. So when I left my successful corporate career in Finance to be an entrepreneur, everyone thought I was crazy because I didn’t have another job lined up and I had no idea what I wanted to do.
I did some soul searching and decided to buy a business. If people thought I was crazy before, they now thought I had completely lost it. I’ve never owned or run a business before… so everyone thought I was destined to fail. They told me things like:
“You’re buying a business? I’m so scared for you.”
“Oh sweetie. Are you sure you want to do that in this economy?”
“Don’t you feel like you’re wasting your degree?”
“I wonder if you’re ever going to work again.”
“My husband’s friend did that and they failed miserably.”
Determined to overcome the scepticism from my closest friends and prove to everyone that I would not fail as an entrepreneur, I did the one I’ve always been really good at: learning. I took classes about business buying, managing, growing, marketing and hiring.
After a gruelling, year-long search for a business to buy, I acquired an ecommerce business that sells hand crafted jewellery (yes – I had to learn how to the make jewellery!) and partnered with the most unlikely partner you could think of: my potential mother-in-law, an ex high school teacher in her 50s who’s greatest accomplishment over the last year was learning how to use email! Now, I get to implement everything I’ve learned and hope that I don’t blow it!
I never thought that I would have taken a detour like this on my path to happiness and success, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been more fulfilled. I am so grateful to have freedom and flexibility back in my life.
Ray Higdon – RayHigdon.com
My wife and I are full-time lifestyle marketers. We make money by selling
coaching and products to those wanting to learn how to make money online.
All we need is our laptop and our camera! We show people that it is
possible to make good money without the stress by travelling around the
world and cataloguing our adventures all while teaching people best
practices when it comes to making money online.
Last week we were in Cabo and did a 7 day video series on how to blog and
in three weeks we are in Kauai and will shoot videos there too. It all
seems amazing since just a few years ago I was in foreclosure and had lost
everything in the Florida real estate market. You can build an amazing
online business without a ton of money, good credit or even a lot of
technical skills (I lacked all three).
Mike Kawula – Self Employed King
Working from home and having the ability to be there for your family is
priceless. My number 1 tip for anyone looking to start their own
entrepreneurial venture from home is stick to a set schedule. That doesn’t
mean you can’t be flexible with the times, but if you put a block of time
on your calendar, stick to it that day. Turn off all distractions (yes
Social Media), close your door and focus on completing the task at hand. I
use e.ggtimer.com to set a timer and turn off everything, accept the
project I’m working on. You’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish
There are endless opportunities for working from home and it comes down to
taking action. I built a business from home that ranked #144 in Inc.
Magazines top 500 businesses in 2012 (Discount Cleaning Products) and did
this while being active in my 3 children’s lives. I’m doing it again with
Self Employed King in 2013. Life is to short, take action today, control
your future and stay focused.
Tracy Barnhart – MiniMeGeology.com
When my oldest child was in kindergarten I started an online business so that I could
work from home with my kids. I started my business, Mini Me Geology,
based on my experience as a geologist. I realized while my son was in
school how much children love rocks and minerals. I designed a set of
kits for children and started my website. Over the past few years I have
expanded our line of kits, rocks, minerals and fossils and we now sell
to parents, schools and home school families as well. Our site also
hosts a section called Dig Into Geology where we provide free
information on geology including experiment ideas, puzzles and help with
rock and mineral identification.
Cailen Ascher – CALMbiz.com
Through my company, www.CALMbiz.com, I teach marketing and business
strategies to yoga teachers. My business is conducted entirely online,
which affords me the chance to work with yoga teachers from all around the
globe. In the beginning, I started by offering a free weekly newsletter
(which I still offer to this day). This helped me build my know, like, and
trust factor with potential clients. I also began to write guest posts for
other sites, and offered myself as an expert source for interviews and
speaker series. Once I had a solid following, I branched out into online
coaching via Skype, and also made money through affiliate sales of other
people’s business training programs for yoga teachers. My first e-course
— 2 Hours to Yoga Biz — will launch in the fall, and will provide yoga
teachers yet another doorway in to working with me. Creating an online
business based around your passion (or in my case passions: yoga and
business), has enabled me to live the life I’ve always dreamed of. My
husband and I travel frequently, and recently took an amazing trip to
Ireland. Working for myself, I’m able to set my own schedule, develop the
projects I’m most interested in, and enjoy the ultimate satisfaction of
building a successful career around doing what I love the very most.
I started my main blog, Budgeting in the
Fun Stuff, in February 2010 while I was a basic white-collar cubicle worker
making $33,000 a year. My husband was a middle school teacher bringing in
about $42,000 a year. By the end of 2010, I had gained a reputation as a
solid negotiator with blog advertisers and brought in nearly $6,000 with my
new blog by itself.
I used that reputation to start my own business in April 2011 as a blog ad
manager for other bloggers who don’t have the time to answer all of the
email inquiries or rather avoid the stress. By July 2011, I was bringing
in $3000 a month through my online business and quit my day job. By the
end of 2011, I had brought in $95,000 from just my online business! Now my
husband works from home with me since I couldn’t keep up with the 100 hour
work weeks on my own, and we bring in about $120,000 a year. Overall,
making money online is a very realistic dream that I truly think anyone can
achieve by finding their niche and putting in significant time!
Art Koff – RetiredBrains.com
I “retired” after 40 years in advertising to found RetiredBrains.com a destination for boomers, retirees and people planning their retirement.
The site contains content in just about every area of interest to this demographic as well as a job board that connects older workers with employers interested in hiring them (mostly for temporary and seasonal jobs and project assignments).
We have ad sense ads from which we earn money from impressions. We also work with several companies like Commission Junction that pay us on a per sale or per click basis.
We have a number of advertisers that pay us a monthly fee and we receive a fee for each posting to the job board area of the site as well as from database searches of our resumes.
Please understand that I am not typical of those that start online businesses as I am in my late 70’s but I have taken on a couple of younger partners as the business has expanded.
We also outsource most of our work to independent contractors.