I’ve made some form of income from the Internet for the past ten years. That’s incredible for me to consider, as I look back over the years how for such a long time I felt very insecure about where my next paycheck was going to come from and whether there would be another one the following month.
For the first five years, roughly from 2000 to 2005, my income from the Internet varied, reflecting the choices I had made and my own variable focus. It went something like this…
- I made spare change money selling stuff from around my house on eBay
- I played a card game called Magic: The Gathering and began selling the cards I won at tournaments in online trading forums and newsgroups
- I built a website focused on the same card game, eventually earning a few hundred dollars a month from banner and newsletter sponsorship
- I started an e-commerce card shop from the website and continued to sell my winnings from tournaments, and began buying product at wholesale prices to sell online at retail (until credit card fraud forced me to shut it down)
- I started a proofreading business, which after a slow start, eventually earned enough income to pay me a full salary, equivalent to a first year university graduate
This is a list of the projects that I made money on during those five years. It doesn’t include the websites I built that shortly after I abandoned, my brief experiments at AdWords arbitrage and other various false-starts because I was so easily distracted by new methods to “make millions” online.
During this time I finished my university degree, held a couple of casual jobs and traveled too. I also watched, often resulting in plenty of self-doubt on my part, as my friends entered graduate jobs, which looked a whole lot more secure than what I was doing at the time and often paid them better as well.
Looking back over those five years the money I made proved surprisingly reliable, even though at the time my confidence in the income stream wasn’t there (good old hindsight). I had enough time to work on new projects because I focused on ideas that didn’t need too much personal time from me once set up, for example getting volunteer writers for my card site and using contract editors for the proofreading site, so I could easily manage them both at the same time.
The end result was a diversified online income stream that continued to grow as long as I did a few key activities (like put up posters to promote the proofreading business), plus I was creating assets that I would later sell.
The Era Of Rapid Income Growth
From 2005 until the present my business structure changed rapidly, and my income also grew considerably. I quit my casual job, the last time I would work for anyone having never entered the full time workforce, moved out of home into my own house and traveled around the world.
Here’s a brief recap of some of the highlights of how my online business changed in 2005 to 2010 -
- I started blogging, which after a year of learning started to generate a few hundred dollars a month from advertising
- My first affiliate income stream was generated also thanks to blogging
- I purchased a second blog, automating it and more than tripling the income
- I bought some other sites, focusing on forums, automating them and doubling the income they generated
- I sold the proofreading business, the first time I made six figures in one day (or really about five years if you consider how long it took to build the business)
- I started an email list on my original blog
- I launched my first product, an online course called Blog Mastermind, later adding a second course, Membership Site Mastermind and a video course in partnership with Gideon Shalwick called Become A Blogger Premium
- I sold all the websites I had previously purchased, keeping only my own blog site and courses
This is only a highlight reel of course, with lots more going on to make all this happen. There are a few key aspects of what I did during recent years, compared to earlier periods, which I consider noteworthy changes that resulted in two very important outcomes -
- My income streams became very stable thanks to diversification, but despite the different projects, I focused on systems I was good at and understood, so gained more leverage from what was already working
- The amount of money generated increased from “salary replacement” (a nice place to be of course), to six figures and beyond (a life-changing amount of money).
If you drill down and look at the most critical changes, the big improvements occurred because I learned a few important things about Internet marketing and actioned them, which are -
- The Email List: an incredible income producing asset, if cared for well
- Product Creation: selling your own product will make you the most money
- Asset Sales: websites can be sold, and for considerable amounts, if they produce stable income
I can’t stress these three points enough, they really have changed my life for the better in so many ways, allowing me to live without any financial restrictions.
Needless to say my income went from random and unpredictable to stable and very near passive. Most importantly though, I now believe in the reality of this sort of income stream and lifestyle because I’ve lived it for so long. There’s nothing like seeing proof month and after month in your bank account to make you feel very secure.
There’s no sure thing of course, and I would never be so naive to believe that everything will remain as it is (change is constant), but the sense of relaxed calm around my business is considerably different to the often jittery nervousness I used to have about my financial future.
Do You Want To Feel Content With Your Financial Future Too?
It’s nice for me to tell you how great my life is, and I hope you learn from my words and leave motivated, but that’s not enough.
I enjoy my lifestyle because I’ve been willing to share so much regarding how I’ve put things together.
In your case you need to start building the fundamentals. You need an industry to focus on, you need an email list and you need a product of your own.
Saying these things takes moments, creating them can take years or at least months, but I won’t leave you on your own.
One of the best guides I’ve ever produced, and I give it away for free, is the Membership Site Masterplan report.
It’s a very practical guide, explaining all the bits and pieces I put together to create my online course Blog Mastermind, the first product of my own creation that I sold online, taking me from making about $5,000 a month to $15,000 a month online (that was the first time I broke the six figures a year milestone, changing my life for the better in so many ways).
If you want to know how I built my list, how I created the content for the product, what technology I use to deliver it and how I launched it using powerful psychological marketing triggers that compel people to want to work with you and buy your products, you need to read this report.
If you’ve never studied the Masterplan before, download the text or audio version from here right now, it will only cost you your name and email address and then I’ll start emailing you lots of valuable spam messages designed to further inspire and help you launch your own product -
As you study the report you will come across a link to my coaching program on how to create online membership sites and information products, called Membership Site Mastermind.
This program has been closed, but I’m about to reopen it again for the first time in 2010, so you will have the chance to take the course if you want more help launching your own product.
As long as you are on the email list for the Masterplan or read this blog, you will know when it opens again.