How long does it take to make money on-line?

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!

Wealthy Affiliate

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:

  1. practice for building a website using WordPress
  2. because I think the information within it, is valuable to people – just not in a direct money sense

If you’re interested, you can view the website here – it’s called “It’s What You Should Know“.

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.

Regular Income

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

planting a seedI 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
  • never
  • 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!

The Secret

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.

light bulb with dollarsI feel some motivational quotes coming on – in this case, all by Thomas Edison – I don’t know if they are all genuine – but they help me:

“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


Mark Tait

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 12 comments
Allyn - March 13, 2015

What a fantastic message, Mark! You’ve shown that failure is part of being successful, just as many other successful business people have told us in the past. It’s hard to imagine that we have to be willing to accept failures as part of the growing process. Like you have noted, however, we probably will have to try several things to find the one or two that will carry us forward.

My first attempt was a site that just wasn’t generating traffic. I realized that I wasn’t providing a solution to a problem. So, just this month I’ve initiated a new site that I hope will provide help to people and also be more successful for me.

Thanks for sharing your insights.

    admin - March 13, 2015

    Hi Allyn – thanks for your comments.

    You can look at it in a couple of ways in my humble opinion:

    1. failure is a disaster and things will never work out
    2. failure is just learning – so learn and grow

    I know which one I believe 🙂

    I think your site: http://eliminateheelpain.com/ – will prove to be very successful. Pain is something no-one wants, and to be very focussed on one type of pain, you’re going to find people coming to your site for help about that specific problem. That’s just brilliant – exactly what a niche site is. And you’ve got so many opportunities for breaking out into treating other ailments if you ever want to. You should do a case study and post it as training, if you ever do a business site (or guest post on another site 😉 )

    All the best Allyn,


KyleKim - March 13, 2015

Great information 🙂

    admin - March 13, 2015

    Thank you Kyle.

    You’ve got a great website: http://kyleinnerhealth.com/ – that helps to solve so many problems in your niche – how you did that would make a great post too.

    All the best, Mark

Brian Smith - March 13, 2015

Interesting article. I also think we will find success in our time. When we have done our work, remained committed, learned all we need, and circumstances are set, we will receive success. Even if 2 people do the exact same steps at the exact time, one will still receive their rewards at a different time than the other

    admin - March 13, 2015

    Hi Brian – yes I agree – many people at WA are following the exact same training, with different levels of success.

    I would guess the better you are at recognizing what works and what doesn’t, and your actual mindset so you spot opportunities for promotion (and solving other people’s problems), would most likely set success levels apart.

    All the best, Mark

Katie - March 14, 2015

Really enjoyed your article, those who are working away at an online business know it works it is just finding that magic formula of your own, time and patience are needed and I do like the quotes the only failure is when we stop trying

    Mark Tait - March 14, 2015

    Hi – thanks for the comment.

    I agree with the quotes – as I also grew up in the shadow of Bannockburn, I was thinking about Robert Burns, and the story of the spider in the cave – trying and trying again and again, and eventually building it’s web.

    It’s another powerful story, that just gives some backing to the never giving up ethos.

    All the best, Mark

Steen Rasmussen - March 14, 2015

I agree a great extent of the road with you Mark. I see this building websites as a kind of business where we can invest our time. The more we test the more answers.
So no matter how long it takes and how many articles I have to write so I will find out whether you can really earn a good income online

    Mark Tait - March 14, 2015

    Hi Steen – exactly, I suspect few people find success at the first attempt.

    With your attitude of “no matter how many…” that’s the mindset I think we all need to make anything a success.

    I wish you all the best,


Janette - March 14, 2015

I like the Thomas Edison quotes. It gives us some inside information for just about how ordinary this whole thing is even for the extraordinary people like him. Success after many, many trials of observing, changing, doing and studying and above all, never give up.


    Mark Tait - March 14, 2015

    Hi Eiress – thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed them.

    It’s easy to remember all the successful things people have done – but also easy to forget, they may have tried many times before finding that success.

    All the best,



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