Making money online is easy. Making a living by making enough money online is hard.
About 4 years ago I worked in a software company. I had a few sites based on free scripts and made some extra money from them. I wasn’t holding it in a secret and one of my co-workers asked me how to get started. Took me about an hour to set him up with hosting, adsense and free directory based on phpld script. I even showed him all my traffic sources and told him that he WILL make money online (just like most gurus selling ebooks ). Well, he did. $5 the first month while his directory was PR0. I had a PR4 one back then and it made $300 or so a month. I also showed him what the landing pages and simple 2-3 page sites were. That’s when he started to dive in SEO, affiliate marketing and do his own thing. A few weeks down the road he showed me his new ugly ass site built around clickbank product. I laughed at first, but 2 weeks later it was pulling couple hundred bucks a week and he sold it a month later for 5K. Back then things were different, it was a lot easier to SEO a site, however, I was really surprised how quickly this guy picked it up. He put some time into learning + trying and it payed off.
A few months later another coworker (lets call him Hacker J) asked me how to make money. I did EXACTLY the same thing for him. Got hosting, set him up with adsense, showed my traffic sources and set up a directory. He took his directory more seriously, looked through the sites, made sure they were all quality, etc, spending several hours a day to go through about 300+ listings and verify the quality ones. While he made the same $5, he spent a ton of time reviewing his submissions. A month later he decided to stop. The reason, as he said, was that he was not in India where $5 may get you by.
3 years has passed. I still talk to my friends. It happened that Hacker J got laid off and asked me how to make money again. This time instead of explaining everything, I shared a few blogs with him. After a few days of learning, he asked what kind of sites should he make. Even though directories lost it’s peak, I still advised him to start with those as he already knew how to get 300+ visitors a day. Except this time he learned his lesson.
He is a programmer, so automation is not something he is not familiar with. He learned to automate creating these directories and bought over 800 of $0.79 .info domains (aff link). I checked with him today, 37 directories are up. He made around $5 yesterday and about the same today from his 37 sites. This time he spent some time writing the scripts to automate 99% of approval process and still keep the quality of the directories by adding a spam checking algorithm. He still has a long way to go, but according to his plans, 800 directories should make him $100 a day, while they are pr0. Not sure if it will be more, but I get around $100/mo from 12 older ones that I still have. As a matter of fact he may even get lucky and sell it as a network for 20K+ ($25 each is reasonable). However, his business model seems to work so far. It should take 8 days to pay for the domains once he has all the sites up. This may also be a good bottom layer of his new site network.
Based on this real life example I can see how:
1) One person gets it easy while another one fails based on exactly the same material.
2) A person fails but succeeds down the road trying to do the same thing from a different perspective.
3) People waste time trying to build something they can call a quality product rather than collect a quick buck while they can. I don’t think it matters much anymore. phpld directory is a phpld directory, not going to make dmoz out of it.
Learn to automate as much as you can. If automation is not an option, learn to outsource. If you do it right, it may be even cheaper that automation. Perhaps I will talk about outsourcing in my next post or a series of posts. Not sure when, still super busy working on my new house…
As for now, you can read this post and forget about it or do something to get started.