How I started Making Money Online When I had No Clue – The Story

Talking about Making money online can be intimidating

Before I start ranting, I’d like to tell you that this post was the one post I always feared the most. It took me a long while before I decided to publish such story about myself. While what you’re going to read isn’t something to hide from the web community, I still keep it as a secret from even the closest people to my heart. Why do I keep my story for myself and for you (the web community)? Because I know you’ll tend to relate to the knowledge I present rather than envy or criticize it. Simple, telling a money making story to relatives or or even close friends will seem more like bragging than educating. So it makes sense to me now that I’d publish the story for you people. Who knows, it might change something in your perspective. After reading this time-sucking post, feel free to tell me what you think.

What started it all

It was 7 years ago. It was midnight. The wall clock was ringing twelve annoying times. I was making myself a cup of tea. And while waiting for the boiler to finish its job, I thought about time. What if I live every single day the same way I did today? Will life have any sort of meaning at all? What if I grow older and accomplish nothing. Will those who tried to make me look like a loser turn out to be eventually right? Does making money only depend on getting a job and sticking to it for the rest of your life? If that’s the case, why is it that I see poor people and rich people working under the same corporate umbrella?

Too many questions popped off that I didn’t even notice the boiler steaming and begging me to lift it off. That same day, I decided there’s no looking back. No more spending time (or should I actually say wasting time) chatting and surfing around. No more wasting too many hours hanging out while achieving nothing. I was known to be brilliant at school I guess. But I knew deep inside that this is not a signal for success. How many geeks and nerds turned out to be working at McDonald’s? Many? That’s my point. So I decided that from now on, I’m a new guy. I’m the one who’s going to change his own d@mn future. And oh boy I never thought it wasn’t as easy as it sounded in my head.

I had nothing. No cash. No credit card. Not even a Paypal account – never even heard of it back then – And nothing to invest at all except my time. And so I did. In fact, I over-invested my time as you’re going to see below. Keep reading please.

Mo Money.. Mo problem

Like any beginner, I was ready to get spamed and scamed by everyone who’s been to the underground world of internet marketing. Like any newbie, I was swimming with sharks thinking that I’m on the right path. I first started with PTC – paid to click ads – which of course paid only cents per month. Yes, you heard that right. I was merely able to make $1 at the end of the first month. A joke is the least you can say about this type of online income. How dare I even call it “income”? It was a desperate start from a desperate young guy. And once the first month ended, I figured out how silly this whole thing was.

It took me one month to realize that I wasted a whole month. So I started digging deeper. I used Google search as I always do to find information. I started with some internet marketing books. And to my surprise, not all free material offer free advise :) Almost all of the books were trying to hook me into buying this product to complete the process of generating residual income. Lucky for me I didn’t have anything to spend, otherwise I would have wasted tons of money trying to nail it. phewww.

No such thing as free “launch”

I spent so much time reading books and navigating through blogs on how to make money doing stuff, selling stuff, writing stuff and so on. But the thing that caught my attention is that most of these things would need a website. And that was bad news.

How would I even get a website without having the money to buy a domain and host it anyway? One idea came to my mind; is there a way where I can get a free website? I asked that question to Google and it replied with 10 sites of which I chose the first one – dah, we always do – and turned out the answer to my question was yes! But the resource that I was redirected to was a form of subdomain that you can host your content on for free but keep ads on without getting paid for it. It’s the hosting company’s way of telling you that there’s no such thing as free lunch. “We’ll have to annoy your visitors with our ads otherwise piss off and get your own paid hosting”. But I can understand where they’re coming from. After all, they need to make money in order for them to keep providing people like you with free content hosting. That’s okay, but I’m moving on to another better option, if any.

Free but professional-free

So I dug deeper until I heard about Blogger.com. I got my self a websitenamehere.blogspot.com and started posting on it. I wasn’t enforced by Blogger.com to display any sort of annoying ads so I was half satisfied. Why I wasn’t completely satisfied is that I knew I had no ownership of the web address I got from Blogger.com. I also had little to no control over my site layout. Of course nowadays Blogger blogs has great looking themes. But in my early days of website development, Themes were too few and they looked like cr@p.

Anyway, all I needed was to publish something interesting and Voila! the money should roll in. To my surprise, it wasn’t the case at all. What a Noob! I never knew something about how to get your content seen in the first place so I didn’t generate any revenue off that content. That’s when I started sneaking into marketing forums to learn something.

I sneak into forums.. I say None.

Rule No.1: Never join a forum as a newbie and post something. Although forums are mostly for support and answering questions, in internet marketing, this isn’t the case. Most internet marketing forums will have either a bunch of gurus that will slaughter you for asking stupid questions, or full of other newbies like you who tend to pretend they know every single trick in the book while they actually have no clue. So I just listened to some of the genuine guys in those forums, they were few, and followed their case studies closely.

So you wanna snatch those business opportunities?

The forum lurking phase was useful, not just because I kept learning from other people mistakes, but also because I had the first lucky chance of my internet life: A free domain name. You know, some random people randomly do crazy things, with the intention of making other random people happy. And they actually get it done. There was that guy who tried to sell a spammy looking website. Actually he wanted to sell the domain only and keep the content of the website to himself. I wasn’t even sure how would he look back again on such crappy design and plagiarized content but I didn’t care. All I was hoping for was that domain. He eventually got no offers or replies from other members on the forum. So he did something I thought was crazy back then: He declared he’s going to give it for free to the first guy who replies. He justified it with the following statement: “Maybe it can help someone starting out”.

I jumped on the d@mn domain.

With a domain pricing of $79 at any registrar back then, and a hosting of more than $180 per year. I needed a miracle to even get started. So when the free domain dawned on me I was ecstatic. Forget the renewal time, I can handle that within a year from now. My only problem was to get the hosting. I had to look back, and went to that annoying webhosting ad-enforcer $h!t. But this time, I came back stronger.

Crappy webdesign teaches you to appreciate pro webdesign

To prove a point here, I have a message to some webmasters that I like but don’t approve their opinion. Whoever say they don’t care as much about design compared to content, they make me wanna roll my eyes. Dude, really, I as a web browsing freak won’t like your content much without liking the whole picture. Some people do actually listen to their eyes not just their brain. Although human eyes can be deceiving, but they still help me understand your content better. It’s called “user experience”, Mr.content :) I re-opened this argument because that’s how I helped myself avoid the stupid effect my enforced-ads had on visitors. And before I tell you how I got the visitors in the first place, you need to know the story in the right sequence….

Site optimizing is key

I tried to make the header ad look like a header image. Then I plotted a logo on the left third of the top – right under the header ad of course – and a horizontal navigation menu occupying the two remaining thirds. Then I added two content blocks underneath. And then was the rest of the website having some catchy pictures. I made this layout based on that exact header ad. So it blended like it’s a part of the site. Now you know I’m not against you putting your ad in front of my face, I’m just bothered that you made it stick out like I would just click on the first link I see. Sure some people do it, but is that the kind of people you’d like to make money off? Those people are in a hurry, they won’t take the time to stay on your advertiser’s website for longer than 4 seconds. They skim quick with their eyes.

On the other hand, people searching for a product will take their time before deciding. Your site must be convincing. Those people buy expensive stuff too you know. And remember, crappy is spammy. Spam isn’t in content and techniques only. By the way, remember the annoying ad, it started making better conversion once I cared about design. How did I know? Because the hosting company started replacing low quality ads with reputable brand ads.

Not everyone should be gifted in webdesign or have lots of money in order to build a decent looking website. Especially that you’re not in 2006 anymore. I used to know something about design so I applied the stuff. But if you find it challenging to deal with webdesign, you can always get yourself a nice looking ready-made theme for free. Just do a search and you’ll end up with many crappy looking ones and a few really good ones. You just need to dig more to find those.

I need you to land on my page

I then had some good pages with content that I worked my tail off to generate. I had to submit each and every post I wrote to blog directories. I think back then the most popular were BlogCatalog.com and BlogCarnival.com. I used social bookmarking sites and although I managed to automate the process, it still sucked up a lot of my spare time. It took me a while before I got any real traffic – visitors – to the website. People started coming from those blog directories and social sites. I hate to say this but my source of traffic was not Google search at the point. It was only social traffic that rarely buys anything you offer. So traffic yes! Sales No.

Show me the money!

Although I had too little sales, my ad clicks where to the roof. I started making money for the first time of my life. It was a euphoric feeling that I can’t describe. Although you get used to it by time, but it’s always still a great feeling. Anyway I took the money and re-invested it immediately into buying more domains and hosting them. That was in the end of 2007. Plotted some content on them on different topics, and started multiplying my efforts and so did my earnings.

From initial investing to a professional investor

Every time I made any money, I would put it back into enhancing my websites performance, until I stumbled upon something called Forex. This is a whole new era of my story. The Forex trading career is basically the act of buying and selling currencies for profit or loss. The real profitable traders are those who are able to make more money than they lose. They will always have losses, but they let their profits outweigh those losses. That’s how you come out a winner in this biz. So i learned this thing and kept at it for a long time that i even forgot about my websites for a while. Then I figured, why not make money from both?

Back to the virtual empire

I went back more sober about my blogs and sites this time. I realized that the actual time spent on trading shouldn’t exceed 20 minutes of analysis and executing the trades. This means I have plenty of time to optimize my websites for profit like I used to do. And that’s what happened. I became a webmaster again and started updating the websites with more fresh content. The only thing that changed is that I managed to be a trader and a webmaster at the same time.

Offline day job.. A real customer care academy

A few years later, I managed to get a job at a worldwide popular airline. I was glad I did because my job was basically about customer service. This is the job I would spend some more time doing: Helping others. So I was glad I added this income stream to my arsenal. Although this new day job sucked up too much of my day time, come to think of it, It still didn’t decrease my performance. It actually taught me so many things by getting to meet people from all around the world. If you’re wondering how I managed to split my time among the three income streams, take a look at how to work online part time from home post.

Where I’m at now

As of today, I have some nicely performing websites and blogs. I do trade every two or three days. I’m still working offline. And most importantly, I’m still learning and applying new techniques to increase my earnings. When i look back at my early days, all the time and effort wasted on useless stuff before becoming knowledgeable enough to follow the right path. It was all worth it. If you’re starting out as a beginner and need one advice from me, I’d only tell you to follow your readers demands. People would love a website that entertains them, tells them the truth, recommend them useful products not trash. And most of all: A website that has words coming from the heart. not just a word speller. If you manage to create a great post that people would love to read and don’t know how to promote it, i can help you out. Just send me the post link and I’ll be happy to promote it for you with no favor asked in return.

This is how i made money online starting from a newbie status. Do you have a story? Share it below. Thanks for catching up.

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