Most, if not all of us have typed something like “how to make money online” into a search engine once, twice, or a hundred times.
We usually land on a page owned by a faceless alien who spends all day every day mastering search engine ranking tricks and delivers nothing of actual content other than bragging about how much money he makes (“here’s my $30,000 check from Google!). How much money he makes off of poor saps like you who clicked his website thinking they’d find anything coherent other than ad banners and invisible meta tags.
There is no single secret to making money online, nor will pursuing a single method (with exceptions for ‘real’ businesses, which take *real* initial investment) statistically result in success. You’re as likely to win the lottery.
Rather, consider quantity. The strong point of making money online is speed and centralization; you can do it any time, anywhere, and theoretically work 10 jobs at once without any extra effort. I’m working at least 20 right now, Associated Content being one, the others getting traffic while I’m not looking at them.
Why give this advantage away by doing one thing? By obsessing over the color of your blog’s scrollbar seeing if that will squeeze out 10 extra hits per month? When people ask, what’s better, adsense or a direct affiliate program? The answer should always be “both, make 5 diverse sites and see which one makes more money with which program”. Is the question ‘what should you spend time on’? Blog traffic or ebay selling? Well, considering that the entire point of both of those is that you can make money while you’re not there… I’m gonna go with both.
Ever read about one of those mega-rich internet-boom guys? You probably found out that they were not only involved in the headline brand that got them rich, but several other well-known successes, failures, or just mediocre stuck-in-limbo projects. While we aren’t talking about starting up many explosive businesses until one makes you rich here, the same “quantity” method applies to working online for realistic income or even just pocket change.
Could I live off of Associated Content articles alone? Associated content is a great website from an effort-vs-return ratio standpoint, but it’s not a full time job. It’s strength lay in the indefinite royalties you receive as your library of content expands and your monthly income becomes exponential, like a savings account. Its strength does NOT in publishing articles from 9-5 like a full-time news editor.
Could I live off of spending a few minutes a week writing Associated Content articles, a few minutes updating my blogs and affiliate programs, a few minutes on ebay, a few minutes on paid surveys, a few minutes of entering sweepstakes, a few minutes selling things I know how ot make (in my case, wooden products) until it adds up to a couple of full work days per week?
Amazingly, the answer so far has been yes. While I still maintain a conventional income, the multiple online income streams I’ve set up have begun to compete with it — nothing amazing — but probably enough to skim by for several months. Which was exactly my “realistic” goal.
It’s quite a great feeling to “remember” to check on “that one site” and find out you’ve made $130 over the past couple months while you were working on other projects. It’s not such a great feeling to check your balance on one or two sites every day and watch the depressing penny-by-penny increases.
Here is the tool of the trade; notepad.
Open up notepad or any other simple word processor. Every time you join a profitable site (and join all you can after verifying that they’re not a scam and that they pay you while you’re not online), set up a page, anything that can possibly result in any income, list it there.
Make it your goal to have a list of active income streams long enough that, at the very LEAST, when stacked vertically, you actually have to scroll down the page to see them all. Set up a schedule and assign a day of each month to check on/maintain several objects on the list. No site really requires you to check/maintain your account more often than that anyway.
Suddenly, you’re devoting minutes a month to possibly hundreds of income streams, instead of the exact same amount of time to one or two. The habit of treating one single online income program as your “employer” has been broken.
Since most online income methods revolve around WAITING, whether for traffic, for available surveys, for news to write about, etc, you’re not really losing any money by neglecting anything, and even if your incomes are only a few dollars a month from each site – do the math.
How much time did you devote to that site that month? If you have 200 active projects with an average of $10 a month from each one, and you’re only devoting 20 minutes a month to each one, that’s a $30/hr wage for extremely light labor. Of course, the trick to that per-hour number is the minimal work hours, so the actual per-month income is less impressive, but a couple grand a month for chugging a cup off coffee or energy drink and keeping a big list of websites on a text document? It works for me.