I‘ve been trying to make money online since I first started blogging back in 2007. I have followed all the advice and tried more schemes than I care to remember. But none of it worked.
Until now that is.
Before we get to the “what works” part, let’s pause briefly to consider what hasn’t.
Making Money Online • The Failures
Google Adsense – although I still run one small ad in my sidebar, the revenue is so small it is barely worth having. Even with traffic around 100,000 page views per month, I’m still only making a couple of bucks a month. The reason is that Adsense is pay-per-click (PPC) — meaning I only generate revenue when someone clicks on the actual ad.
I realise I could have more ads in more strategic places to increase the likelihood someone will click, but I think they look cheap and ugly so I’m not going to do that. (In writing this I’ve decided I should get rid of that fucker and put something else there).
Editing and Proofreading – even though I have two Masters degrees in writing, I haven’t been able to attract any clients to my publishing business. No idea why – it is just a dud (although I have had a few nibbles in the past couple of weeks). I suspect it is because most people who spend their time writing are pretty good at it already and don’t want or need an editor.
The Love Matrix Project – this was an online course I created teaching people how to love themselves by loving others. I did get a lot of interest in the course and around twenty wonderful participants enrolled. But it turns out that “coaching” is not for me — I don’t have a nurturing personality. Interactions with my clients was emotionally draining, took up a great deal of time and seemed never-ending. I stopped promoting it and the enrolments fizzled out. I’m not upset that it didn’t work out but I do miss using the “Love Ninja” logo.
Writing Books – the experts tell you that you can write a book and then rake in the revenue for years to come without having to do much except think about writing the next blockbuster. I wrote and self-published a series of novellas at the beginning of 2014 and promoted them day and night. It’s hard to know how many I’ve sold because Amazon have a complicated reporting system, but I’ve never received a cheque which means I haven’t reached the $100 threshold yet.
Article Writing – once I wrote an article for a major newspaper who paid me $1 a word. Instead of leading to fame and glory as I had hoped, it brought abusive emails and comments . The experience soured me on the whole idea of putting my story on a platform where I couldn’t control the comments. I have only half-heartedly pursued other paying markets and never been successful. I don’t write about popular things (humour, parenting, or food) so my choices are limited. I can’t imagine how I could consistently churn out enough material each week to cover my bills.
Enough of the gloom and doom, let’s talk about what works (for me).
Making Money Online • The Successes
Blogher – Blogher is an advertising network for women who blog. Revenue is calculated on page impressions (CPM – cost per thousand impressions). With my current level of traffic I am making much more than I do with Adsense.
Affiliate sales – I am an Amazon affiliate and if people click on the ad in my footer or use one of my book links, I get a few dollars. Amazon regularly send me gift vouchers and I use them to buy books. It’s a great arrangement.
My most successful affiliate link is the one for “Story is a State of Mind” which I can safely say is the best writing program I’ve ever taken. I have made back the money I paid for the course and more. The other links to premium website tools (PostPlanner, Social Warfare, WordPress Themes and Tailwind) return smaller amounts but more frequently.
Fiverr – although selling something for $5 ($4 once they take their commission) seems like a fools’ game, I am doing really well on Fiverr.
I could write a whole book about how to make money on Fiverr, but essentially you need to have a service you can either deliver in five minutes flat, or one that is a “gateway drug” to more expensive upgrades and repeat business. My specialty is creating high performing Pinterest pins and applying my proven pinning strategy to other people’s accounts. I have a roster of clients who I work for over and over again, providing me with regular, significant income.
The beauty of Fiverr is that all my clients are online business owners or their media managers. This means my customers see my prices as extremely reasonable and keep coming back for more when they experience the quality of work I produce and the results they get (plus they give me $ tips!).
Private clients – I also have private clients who pay me to do all the things I do on Fiverr plus a bit more. These folk are fellow bloggers and entrepreneurs who I have met through Facebook and my blog. I make my clients look like Pinterest superstars, help them freshen up their blogs and look after their Facebook fan pages.
The Most Important Part
My experience has led me to believe one important thing — financial success comes from offering services rather than products.
In this age of information overload, people don’t have time to become experts in everything. They don’t want to spend hours doing a course or reading a book. People would rather employ someone to do a job for them, than fiddle around trying to do it themselves. And if you add in a unique view of the world, demonstrated expertise and outstanding customer service, it becomes a sweet mix that is hard to resist.
Think about what you are good at, what you love doing, and what you find easy to do — if that is something lots of other people struggle with, then you’ve found your potential gold mine. Forget about teaching everyone how to do what you do, just do it for them instead.
Your Mileage May Vary
Most articles giving advice on how to make money online are written by someone who blogs about blogging, or blogs about how to make money online. Because I’m not one of those “experts” you should either (a) take my advice with a grain of salt or (b) take my advice as the gospel truth. All I know is what is working for me.
I hope you find a nugget of truth in this post, or an insight that saves you years of frustration working your guts out on things that are never going to work.
In a Nutshell
Find your thing.
Show off doing your thing.
Offer to do your thing for other people.
Do your thing for others better than you do it for yourself.
And you will have the time of your life and get paid for it.
If you have your own experience (good or bad) making money online, please share in the comment section below.