How long does it take to make money on-line?
One question that always comes up when talking about starting a new on-line business is “how long does it take to make money on-line?”
It’s one of these queries that just doesn’t have a definite answer. It could be straight away, it could be never.
Let me give you a few examples of what has worked for me, and what hasn’t.
I’m a programmer – I wrote a program once that let people add FAQs to their websites. I wrote it once, and it sold over and over. I wrote another program that provided an on-line document management system for people’s websites. I wrote it once, and sold it over and over.
I then wrote a booking program for hotels and B&Bs and guest-houses. This time, I hosted it – and charged a monthly fee. That was back in 2003/2004 – and some of the first users of that program are still using it today.
Fast forward to now – 2015 – my FAQ and document management programs have faded away. These days, with so many “free” services on-line, people can get almost any service they want, without having to pay for it. They may have to put up with some ads, but the bottom line is, few people pay for something they can get for free. My booking program is still going strong, and still providing an income.
Why? Simple, it’s solving a specific problem that people with hotels/B&Bs etc have. How to add a live booking calendar to their website, that let’s them show their availability, and has a huge number of features you just can’t currently get in free programs (yes), I know there will be one day, so I’m not sitting on my hands – I’m taking action!
I found Wealthy Affiliate in October 2013. There were so many shiny objects out there – that it was difficult to spot what was a genuine opportunity, and what was a simple scam. However, WA stood out, and I signed up. That was my introduction to affiliate marketing.
You can read my review of Wealthy Affiliate here – where I can give you some more information about what it’s all about.
Part of the initial training is to set-up a site to promote “something” – and if you don’t know what your passion or niche is, then you can promote WA, and learn from there.
If you refer people to Wealthy Affiliate, you can earn a commission from the monthly charges they pay. In WA’s case, the commission is almost 48% – every month, for as long as the referred member stays a paying member. That’s a pretty good return!
So how much have I made from WA? Well I have had lots of people register, but only one has signed up for the membership so far. So I’m currently enjoying approximately half of my membership fees being paid for me.
At the same time as setting up the WA website, I also set-up another – which was intended to educate people in things that you just don’t get taught in school. There wasn’t clear way to monetize the site – but I felt it was something I needed to do for two reasons:
- practice for building a website using WordPress
- because I think the information within it, is valuable to people – just not in a direct money sense
What Else Have I Tried?
I started another craft based website in June last year for my better half, called Words With Love – that made money straight away, and still does. There’s an actual physical product that Laura produces, but they are beautiful – and because of what they are, they are very personal and mean a lot to the people who buy them. Again, it’s providing a solution to a problem – “what unique gift can I get for someone, that is guaranteed to not be something they’ve seen before”. It’s a problem solving service.
Amazon Affiliate Site
I put together another website in November last year, which is an Amazon Affiliate site – it hasn’t made a penny yet, but at the same time, I haven’t spent a lot of time working on it – so I can’t expect it to immediately make a return. But it doesn’t solve a problem – it simply tries to focus on a niche that keywords indicate may be a profitable one. Is it the right way to earn money on-line? Maybe, maybe not – but I will post back here to keep you updated.
What am I taking from this? I’m not solving a problem with my Amazon site – I’m just hoping people will click on it, and buy something from them.
However, with my craft site, and my booking site – I’m solving a simple problem – what unique gift can I get someone, that they will love and remember? How can I show availability, and avoid double bookings?
Do you see a pattern here? I’m not putting up a site for the sake of it – I’m helping someone who needs a solution.
Throughout the year, I’ve picked up building websites for a few businesses. For these, I charge an initial fee based on the amount of time I think it may take to build. Once built, the client pays a monthly fee to me and in return I provide updates and maintenance for them – for a maximum of 1 hour per month.
Any time over and above that, I charge for, and don’t get me wrong – I have to work hard for this – because sometimes they need to have updates done quickly, which means working into the night – but it pays well.
After all their business isn’t building websites, it’s whatever their business is. So in most cases they are happy to pay to outsource the website building and maintenance.
Again, I can’t assume that people who have passions in other areas (travel, tours, crafts etc) are remotely interested in creating websites – but they know that they really need one in this modern age. So why would they try and learn how to create and maintain them, when it would just distract them from their passion?
In my experience, they wouldn’t. This is where you step in.
Don’t underestimate what you know about building websites – it is an extremely valuable skill you have over and above the majority of other people who know about “their” business, but not yours.
Planting A Seed
I started another website for an author last August – through hard work and a great story, he and my better half got his book to #1 in his category in Amazon in almost a dozen countries, and yesterday he’s been asked to send his manuscript to one of the leading publishers in the world (who also own a film media group).
Have we made any money yet? No, but we’ve planted the seed. We’ve built a relationship that helps us both.
You can view his website here – and download his current book, Greater Expectations, for free.
So how long does it take to make money on-line?
The answer is:
- straight away
- somewhere in between…
If I’d only tried one thing (my FAQ program, or the Amazon site I started last November for example), I wouldn’t be making anything today.
But I didn’t stop at just that – I tried many sites – some in time will work if I put the effort into them – some I will drop, as I don’t enjoy them or as it’s clear there are not enough people out there interested in the content, or enough people looking for the particular solution my site may give. Or maybe I’m simply not marketing them well enough – and I need to learn more!
The point I’m hoping to make is, you try, test, tweak, try again – over and over – until you hit on something that works. When you get something that works, do it again!
So in my experience, you can make money straight away on something – or it may never happen (on that particular something).
The key – or the secret – is to keep going, keep trying – never say “oh well that didn’t work” and give up. Move on, try something else.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
― Thomas A. Edison
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
― Thomas A. Edison
How long did it take you to make money on-line? Do you have the drive to keep trying? Please let me know below, I’m really interested in hearing other people’s stories.
All the best, Mark