The REAL Secret To Making Money Online

written by BlogEx on April 4, 2008 in Blog Marketing and Internet Marketing and Make Money Online with 47 comments

I just got an email from a reader who asked a very good question. I’ll copy it below rather than summarize:

Max – I’m really struggling here. It feels like I work so hard and nothing is working. I made a blog and have been adding lots of content. I’m trying to make money selling ads on my site, but it’s not doing much. I spent hundreds of dollars on search engine optimization ebooks and I am just starting to get some rankings. I spend a lot of money on other marketing ebooks to try to get an edge. I tried Adwords, but never made a profit. I tried the article submission thing and that didn’t do much either. I’m doing everything the gurus are telling me to do, but I’m not getting results anywhere near what the gurus are getting. What gives? You obviously know the secret to making lots of money online. Can you help?

– Richard

Richard’s not alone. Everytime I look at internet marketing forums, blog posts or comments left by readers, this same sort of topic comes up a lot. Most people don’t know where to start, so they just try to do everything at once, hoping *something* works.

Well, I didn’t want to give Richard a “Guru” type answer such as “Try to use the <insert latest fad technique here using my affiliate link> method. I’m sure it’s not the techniques he’s lacking. Maybe his niche topic sucks? Nope, based on the URL he sent me, it’s a pretty decent market.

So, I started thinking back to all of my successes (and huge failures) to see what it was exactly that made me the most money over the years. I thought back over all of my online businesses, and there was one thing that kept popping up over and over again.

I honestly feel this is THE SECRET for the average “little guy” to make a lot of money online. Ok, maybe the second secret to making lots of money (the first would be to sell your website)…

Here is the one thing you should do to make the most amount of money online:

** Develop Your Own Product **

I don’t care if you decide to write an ebook, create a huge cookbook, make training videos, have software developed or make wire jewelry to sell, YOU NEED YOUR OWN PRODUCT.

There are hundreds of things to distract you online when it comes to internet marketing (search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, list building, blogging, link building, forum chatting, etc). Most people spend all their time trying to master these “things”, but these “things” really don’t put money in your pocket. They are simply pieces to the larger puzzle of making money.

I’ve said it many times before, blogging is not the way to make money. It’s a great way to “help” you make money, but blogging by itself just won’t do it. There are a few rare exceptions obviously, but for most people blogging is not the best way to make an income.

If you have your own unique product that nobody else in the world has, you have a great way to make money. Since you own the product, you have an incredible amount of flexibility to work with.

There are plenty of other people out there who are experts in getting traffic to websites or building email subscriber lists or search engine optimization. Let THEM focus on their area of expertise while you focus on creating the best possible product you can.

Once your product is made, you can then have all these other people sell your product for you (as an affiliate or by buying ads from these people). It’s called leveraging the assets of other people, and it’s probably the most important tip on making money there is.

Look at it this way. You could spend an entire year on your website trying to get its search engine rankings up, learning about Adwords and building a list of subscribers. At the end of 12 months, sure you have ONE website that is ranked in the search engines and you have SOME subscribers. Big deal.

What if you spent 6 months working on one product full time, making this product absolutely amazing. Then you spent 6 months building relationships with website owners who are ALREADY ranked high in the search engines, who ALREADY know Adwords and ALREADY have subscriber lists.

At the end of the year, rather than you having ONE “decent” website where you try to rely on making money from advertising, you can instead have your unique product selling on HUNDREDS of websites.

I think many people make the mistake in thinking they have to do everything the “gurus” tell them. There is no reason to master every single marketing technique out there. It’s impossible to do that anyway because you will be so distracted and confused, the results will be horrible. So stop wasting your time. You can’t possibly be good at everything.

It’s Better To Be A Master Of One Thing (Your Product) Than A Jack Of All Trades (And Master Of Nothing).

Of all the online businesses I’ve started, bought or sold, the most profitable ones were those that had their own unique product. It makes perfect sense looking back on it.

You can spend all your time on one website, whether it’s a blog or a content site, doesn’t matter. Even if you get that site to become hugely popular, it’s still only one site out of the tens of billions of sites out there. There’s no way you can reach everyone who is interested in your topic.

So to reach other people in your market, how can you do that if you just have a content based website? You can ask for a link exchange from other websites in your market (good luck on that one). You can pay for links on other sites (doesn’t make financial sense if you have nothing to sell). You can leave comments on other blogs hoping others will follow your link and become a loyal follower (not likely).

When you have your own product, it’s much easier to get exposure on other sites. Related sites will WANT to promote your site (to earn money as an affiliate). You can afford to buy ads because you can directly see income coming in as a result of that ad.

Let’s Run Some Numbers (I’m a numbers guy if you couldn’t tell)…

Option 1 – Build One Content Website

  • After one year, you have a website getting 20,000 visitors per month.
  • You sell 10 advertising blocks at $40/month = $400
  • You have an email list / RSS readership of 1500 people.
  • You make $150/month from Adsense
  • You make $450/month from affiliate promotions.
  • After one year of hard work, you are up to $1,000 per month in income. Yippee!

Option 2 – Create Your Own Product – (in this case an ebook)

  • After one year, your ebook is selling on 300 different websites.
  • The price of the ebook is only $20 (to be conservative in this example). You pay your affiliates $10 per sale and you keep $10 as profit.
  • Of the 300 websites that are promoting your ebook, lets say each one only makes 1 sale per week (again being extremely conservative, some affiliates can make 5+ sales per day easily).
  • So, 300 sales per week x 4 weeks per month = 1200 sales per month.
  • 1200 sales x $10 profit per sale after paying affiliates = $12,000 per month.

Which one makes more sense to you?

Think this example isn’t realistic? Guess again. Imagine if you spent all of your time for 6 months ONLY promoting your ebook, trying to get affiliates, etc rather than what you are doing now. No more fussing with SEO, wasting money with adwords, struggling to build a subscriber list, all that stuff.

6 months of nothing but promotion is pretty powerful. Getting 300 websites on board over 6 months is less than 2 new affiliates/website partners per day. If you had nothing else to do but try to find affiliates and websites to partner with, do you think you could find just TWO per day?

I’ll tell you right now, creating your own product and marketing that one product is LESS work than trying to build a massive content site. Hmm, less work and more profitable too? What a concept. So, to answer Richard’s question, I think there are two things he is doing wrong, maybe you are too?

First, he’s not doing things that will directly put money in his pocket. He’s spinning his wheels trying to do everything at once, and while he is getting ok results, it’s nothing to get excited about. He needs to develop his own product first, then spend his time promoting that product.

Second, he has to stop buying the latest “fad” techniques that come out. Yes, perhaps you can make $500 per day making silly Youtube videos this week, but next week that technique will stop working (it always does). So, you gotta buy the next groundbreaking trick and repeat the process over and over.

It’s no wonder people get frustrated trying to make money online

What do you think about this “Secret”?