The Only Two Ways to Make Money Online…

by on Jan 26 2011

I've been full-time online entrepreneur since way back 1996, so I've seen a few things come down the road. I remember back in those first few years when someone learned that I had a web site… they always asked “can you actually make money doing that?”

Well, times have changed. 🙂

But one thing that hasn't changed is HOW you actually make money. Basically, there's a lot of different ways to skin a cat, but there are really only two primary ways to make money online…

I've used just about every revenue system under the sun since I started out. I've sold all kinds of things – from continuity to ebooks to home-study courses to online courses to membership sites to physical products… to humidors. I've also sold advertising on my sites, in my ezines, and probably a few other places I can't remember. And I've made hundreds of thousands of dollars with affiliate programs and Adsense.

And this is what I've learned about actually extracting money from your web site – there are basically TWO ways to make money online:

1. You can sell your stuff.
2. You can sell other people's stuff.

That might sound overly simple, but it's CRITICAL you understand this… and how these two relate (and WHY they should relate.)

First off, I'm a huge fan of selling my own stuff. This gives you big time control, positioning… and most importantly it gives you higher profit margins.

And higher margins aren't just about you making more money, it's about your business survival.

For example, if you're selling a $97 widget that someone else is producing, you might only make $10 or $20 or $50 per widget you sell.

That might sound good, but if you're competing against someone else who is manufacturing that widget (or a competing widget), and they are making $90 in profit per widget… then you aren't going to be able to compete.

They have more money to spend to attract traffic. They can use affiliates, they can buy traffic, they can use that margin to hire out content creators, etc..

Bottom line, higher margins mean you have more money to spend to pull in more traffic.

That's why it's important for you to have your own high-margin high-value products. Maybe not when you first start out in your business, but it's something you should quickly work towards.

Personally, I love information products for this purpose – they are relatively easy to create and they have high margins.

All that being said, you should also use the second revenue system – selling other people's stuff.

Why?

1. Because it will balance out your cash flow
2. And you will never be able to create all the products that your prospects want.

Trust me on this – no matter what market you're in, your prospects and customers will have a bigger demand than you can meet.

Some people think they can put a wall up around their customers, and keep them from straying to a competitor.

Well that's pure fantasy… it's not gonna happen, not when they can find ten competitive solutions in the time it takes to do a Google search.

So you might as well be the trusted source introducing them to other people's stuff.

So let's break this down – what exactly do I mean by “selling other people's stuff”… well, this is where a lot of people will violently disagree with me… but it goes way beyond vending other people's products off your site.

In fact, if you're doing any affiliate marketing, marketing CPA offers, advertising, or even Adsense… then you're selling other people's stuff.

Nothing wrong with ANY of that. In fact it's GOOD… for the reasons I outlined above. You just need to be really clear about these two revenue systems, and when it's right to use each of them.

And one more time – I think you should do both.

I know that when I first started out, I didn't have the knowledge or the confidence to create my own products, so I sold other people's stuff…

Basically, I had two CPA offers (CPA stands for Cost Per Action) on my site… they were what we call “soft offers”, one for a magazine and one for a newspaper.

That means I generated leads – people would sign up for a free trial on my site, and I would get paid for each person that took the trial. The people didn't have to buy, didn't have to give a credit card… didn't have to do anything other than request a free trial.

That CPA offer was the way I made my very first dollars online, and it went on to pay my mortgage every month for about eight years.

So back to those revenue systems – this is important stuff. It isn't just some theoretical thought exercise.

You can start either place – with your own products, or by selling other people's stuff.

But in the long run, almost everyone will want to do both…

You need your products or services for the revenue, the margin, the branding, and the control.

And you need to sell other people's stuff to smooth out your cash flow, and to meet the needs of your clients and prospects. You do this through affiliate marketing, selling advertising, CPA, Adsense and similar programs, or directly selling other people's stuff of your site.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule… but they are pretty rare. For most businesses, you really want to go after both revenue systems.

So I'm curious… how and when did you make your first dollars online?

90 Comments

  • Keir says:

    Sorry, that is rubbish. I work in digital media and you would be right to say that I don’t make my money online. However, there are ways to make money online that do not involved selling your or another persons product. For example:

    Providing data or analysis services,
    Indexes or directories,
    Adding value or a function to non-web-based products with a web-based element,
    Products that add value to others web services,
    and so on.

    Would love your feedback on this comment.
    Keir

    • Jeff Walker says:

      @Keir: Well if you’re providing data or analysis services… then you’re selling your own product. For an index or directory to be profitable, they’re almost always selling someone else’s stuff… generally through some form of advertising. Products that add value to others web services… I’m not 100% clear on what you mean, but it sure sounds like you’re selling your own product.

  • Alan Valdez says:

    Hi Jeff
    Im a big fan of you from the hispanic market. This market is growing so quickly and I have started with affiliate marketing.

    Thanks for everything

  • Hi Jeff,
    Great post,and.thank you for it…My first bucks online i made were from a company in pre-launch (mlm) with out a product on the market or a clear compensation plan. But by doing some due diligence I found they were a publicly traded company on the New York stock exchange with the stock trading very low. I bought a bunch of stock, kept for three days and sold for a profit of $1794.00 🙂 An online brokerage account is a great tool to have. You just never know when you’ll need it in a hurry…

    Do you have an online brokerage account in your arsenal Jeff?

    Thanks again for the great post,
    John O.

  • Gail says:

    Believe it or not, I made my first dollars after being scammed BIGTIME. I started a blog to find other victims of the same scam in an attempt to resolve it and help them get their money back. Over time, I built a relationship with each person. When I found a set of excellent training videos for newbies selling for only $7, I recommended it to my list and several people purchased. There’s a huge difference between $7 and the $10,000 to $50,000 that each of them had been ripped off for and they got way more value!

  • Froy says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I’ve not made any cent online jet. I’m learning how does this market work. Couple of years ago I began staring out to buy some “wealthy, healthy & happy” products. Since then I’ve been linked to so many sites related. And I’ve invested more tha $4,000.00 dlls.

    I’ve found my mastermind group what it’s awsome. Having the chance to find amazing people like you, Eben Pagan, Yanik Silver, John Assaraf and many others it’s the best thing that ever hapened to me.

    Trying to start my online business, on August 2010 I bought Mark Ling’s Affillorama Program and I’ve been procastinating all these months because I don’t feel sure enough. I feel like there are missing some key pieces for me as a newbie. So, three days ago I bought the ShoeMoney System that seems to be helpful to accomplish my learning.

    It seems to me as a newbie that there is too much noice out there selling information products (competence is fierce!) because I receive too many mails from diferent folks promoting the same products. It is like if you guys are part of a big big tribe and you support each other’s products whithout having one formal asociation.

    I has been really difficult for me to find good products for newbies. But I’m on the way of improving myself to become a good life coach and my first step is to start my online business with affiliate products, so I can make some extra money to pay my education in both areas and of course you are one of the coaches I’d like to hire when the time comes.

    Best regards.

  • Jesus says:

    I´m completely agree with what you said in the post.
    Selling other people stuff makes that you can satisfy your friend/customers needs and creates more value for them than just selling your own stuff…
    Good post..

  • Maciej says:

    Oh yeah…I think that true but I am really interesting in create so much value from my side as a entrepreneur…all excitement comes from “selling my stuff”. I mean: you can be so creative in building your blog and telling story there- for example I am wondering it is possible to create a series like “thriller story” and each part publish in Internet for money. But I am learning all technicals skills now so I am just starting.

  • Hi I started off about 2 years ago and created my informational website on growing vegetables, and used advertising to generate revenue and still do. However when I decided it was time to offer my own product on the subject I quickly realised that what i would be putting into the product i had already put on the website so i could justify creating a ebook to sell whn the visitors could get all the information from the site for free. So I am now looking at finding other peopel products to sell. While I come up with a new idea for my own product.

  • Andy Hussong says:

    Great post, Jeff. I actually made my first $ online by buying an ad in an ezine back in 2001 to promote Shawn Casey’s “Mining Gold on the Internet”. Doubled my money from one little ad but then STOPPED DOING IT. But it proved that making money online could work.

    Then got an autoresponder series going that promoted various affiliate products, and made sales from that. Ramped up to being an affiliate manager, and then created my own course and consulting/coaching offers. Doing a mixture of selling my own stuff, promoting others’ stuff, and partnering with others on side projects.

  • Dave Carter says:

    One mans treasure is another mans… well… rubbish! I for one don’t think you can or should argue with success. And if you looked up success in the dictionary you would find Jeff’s picture next to the definition.

    I agree with Jeff. Keir… you are selling your own product. Oh I agree Jeff could have said “product or service” but that’s just semantics.

    Of course there are other ways to make money online but each of us measures success by his or her own standards… maybe Jeff should have said “the best way to make money on line” but he shouldn’t have to… most of us get his point.

  • Paul says:

    Yes, I can only agree with you.

    Having your own products to sell must be the way to go because not only do you benefit from the high margins but you can also have others promote as affiliates. Of course the BIG problem is developing quality products that are in demand.

  • Renee says:

    Thanks for much for this Jeff! I loved it!

    Mostly, I loved the point you made about how you can’t make enough products for your market and that you can’t put a wall up around your customers.

    I’ve done my first product launch last year and made a lot more money than I could ever have hoped, ALL using your strategies from the Product Launch Formula! Thank You Jeff!

    Lastly, LOL @ Keir.

    Regards,

    Renee.

  • G’day Jeff. Interesting post as always. I too have been doing business online since about 1995-96 – but took a very different route to you.

    I was influenced by someone back then who said that the people who consistently made the most gold in previous goldrushes were the merchants who sold the tents, food, water, picks and shovels to the poor buggers who came to the goldfields looking to get rich quick by striking it lucky.

    So, I set up a service business build business websites for others and doing marketing for others…. I discarded my own business plans/dreams/visions and helped other people achieve theirs. Had a team of 20 to 30 people from 1996 – 2008 when we sold the business. Then had a break.

    The thing is… now I’m back into it – and coming at it from a totally different perspective. There is so much opportunity – but there is also so much overwhelm and confusion.

    These days I help people draw back from the confusion and see the big picture of what’s really going on online. So, as for 2 ways to make money… Yes, simply put you can sell your own stuff or you can sell other people’s stuff. Or both.

    “Selling Both” is, as you say, the ‘correct’ answer.

    And using the right tools really well to move in the right directions to make more money faster with less stress and less waste serving customers who have a real want (and not just a need) for what you can offer. That, I think, is the real way to make money online.

  • Sara Young says:

    Hey Jeff,

    I made my first dollar online in 1994 – beat you by 2 years 🙂 – although I’ve never done it full time.

    At the time I made money by offering technical services.

    Now I make money as an affiliate and by creating my own products.

    Had my first product launch recently and it was awesome!

    Next step is to create a higher-priced product…

    Sara

  • @Jeff thanks. Maybe coz I’ve been based in Western Australia! Now with location independence, we can operate from anywhere. I love it.

    And I still see a lot of money is being made in the goldrush selling to the poor buggers who have entrepreneurial dreams and dollar signs flashing in their eyes. I think there is a plethora of crap sold online and there is also a huge amount of really good stuff.

    One challenge for most people (as I think you’ll agree) is sorting out the good from the bad.

    The bigger challenge is actually doing something about it – and then taking consistent deliberate action. Too many people think they will strike it lucky – like in the goldrush. Trip over a gold nugget perhaps.

    We have to be able to fail fast and learn quickly, but many people think failing fast means giving up quickly. They give up too soon.

    Often there is an acre of diamonds very close by if they only know where and how to look.

    Cheers
    Richard

  • Hi Jeff,
    Yes, certainly, you need to sell something in order to profit. That’s obvious, but as you said it’s becoming more and more difficult and confusing. All the “offers” bombarding the mail box each day are not helping. So all the guru talk aside, I think a lot of people produce or sell stuff they think will sell a lot, but with no luck since the demand is too low, they don’t know how to write copy, set up the system and so on. It’s really tough to make it if a) you’re not member of a syndicate, b) have a large mailing list with interested people, c) have the money to promote with, d) a good case that you’ve done yourself.

    To all struggling out there, I’d suggest a) skip all expensive guru products, b) find out your strengths and what you can offer that people really want, c) sell it.

  • Matt says:

    Thanks for the awesome post Jeff!

    I started online a couple of years ago and made my first sales as an affiliate promoting other peoples stuff. I think that if you have no previous business or marketing experience, online or off, that is probably the easiest way to go in the beginning.

    It is hard enough dealing with info overload and trying to figure out the basics of internet marketing and how it works without having to find what a (profitable) industry, (that you can compete in) wants/needs and how to develop a product to fit those wants/needs.

    It’s easier to use someone else’s product and promotional material to learn the ropes as they have already done the hard work for you, and once you understand the process you can develop your own product or services.

  • Steve Hooker says:

    Jeff
    Good view. The difficult bit, which you resolved with the soft CPA products, is to ensure that you have a good mix of products that do not dilute your offering. It is important to consider the impact of cannibilisation of your product – with a 100% margin versus another that may be 50% can impact your profitability.
    Regards
    Steve

  • JAWAR says:

    Thank you for sharing Jeff. My first money was made online when I was organizing a music conference around 1999 or 2000. At the time Paypal wasn’t what it is today if it even existed, so I went through another company. Security wasn’t what it is today and the vendor’s account got hacked and it wiped him out.

    A few years later I started earning money online by selling my paperback books and then ebooks. Now, I use Google Ads and Affiliate Marketing. I’m constantly learning, adjusting and applying information while sticking to what works.

    Thank you again and continued success!

  • Steve Sapato says:

    Hi Jeff, I have no clue about making money online. While I do sell my books and related clothing I would like to know how to make ebooks or find affiliates. where should I turn?

  • Lary says:

    Hi Jeff – I am in Switzerland – I have created a product with a topspeaker in the US- and made it into an Ebook,audio,transcription and workbook – it has taken 18 months ( while doing other projects) – I was about to take David Riklans course on E books ( he made $102, 000.00 on his first ebook in a week).
    How much is product launch formula and would it be useful for us launching our products?

    THNX

  • Hey Jeff,

    You appear in my inbox quite frequently, and I must admit, I usually don’t follow through but a) your subject line struck a chord and b) Here in NZ, it’s 2.00 am (lol)
    I made my first dollar online by haphazardly throwing up a website (back in 2006) and from then on, wondering how the h*ll, I made my first dollar online lol.
    I’m subscribed to many newsletters, but only a few I find refreshingly frank enough to keep reading……otherwise I would be spending all my time glued to my inbox, and not making any money…….. lol… My biggest subscription (and advice) would be from Nike: “JUST DO IT” lol

  • Great post, thanks. One aspect immediately sprung to mind. When I have made money online, it has nearly always been associated with events. This might be related to the kinds of business I’m in or more likely my personality! But I would certainly recommend to anyone and everyone they consider using events as both an income stream and lead generator for more online and offline business. There are great tools out there to help with this such as eventbrite and meetup and nowadays you can link stuff very easily to blogs, facebook and twitter. They can be training events or social events. I do both. They can be paid or free. I do both. The biggest advantage is definitely the opportunity to meet people and build relationships that can lead to beneficial outcomes. That might be training or coaching contracts, but equally it might be the opportunity to work with people on joint ventures, or even simply to build your network. I’ve also found that building your network through events naturally attracts sponsors and advertisers who want to know you because of the buzz around your events (I’ve included a link to my meetup group site so you can see this). So events, marketed online with the tools mentioned above, are great way both to make some money short term and build a sustainable business longer term. There’s a great ROI, but most of all you can have a lot of fun with events. One of the big problems with online business is that you can easily go slightly mad just sitting looking at your computer screen. If you’re a social animal like me, combining online with events is a great method of maintaining your sanity!

  • James says:

    It appears the only way to make money online is by offering training programs or being an affiliate to those that sell training programs. Let’s see some of these people take their own training material and apply it towards a real business. I’m sure 99.9% of them would fail.

    • Jeff Walker says:

      @James: That’s a pretty silly assumption.

      People generally go online to be entertained or to solve a problem… so if you fulfill either of those two things, and you do it well, then you can make money. Last week I interviewed two people for Case Studies – one has a very nice six-figure business selling information and training about foraging for edible and medicinal plants and herbs. The other has a six-figure business teaching people about dog agility training.

      I have friends, clients, or mastermind partners who have nice businesses publishing about weird news, about accupuncture, about creative writing, about playing guitar, about playing piano, about raw foods, about health foods, about working out, about green hospitality, about coaching baseball, about coaching soccer, about home improvements, about taking care of your pets, selling stickers, selling name tags, selling cookbooks, selling movies, selling legal music downloads, selling guitars, selling college text books… and on and on and on.

  • Elvis says:

    I made my 1st $20 selling a cookie cutter, replicated website site(with pictures of actual cookies on it), with directions on how to promote the same offer and that site would teach the next person who wanted to know how to make money on the internet. The year was 1999.

    I had given up, after a few weeks of posting “hyper-links” EVERYWHERE. Started another job doing consumer activism. Came home one day and found a check in the mail (since the direction on the site said to give people every way they can send you money or pay with a credit card.

    Along with the check was a note from someone saying that they were excited to start their 1st money making site with me.

    That did it. I was sold too.

    Since then I’ve helped people sell everything from business cards to businesses. (other people’s products)

    Now I teach other people how to sell their own products. (and that’s my product)

    12 years later I’m still standing. There’s money in them there hills. People have money and there are plenty of people online. More than ever too. I hope that inspires a few people.

    Put a plan into ACTION and you’ll be successful if you don’t give up. (within reason)
    Most people don’t even start. That’s where they go wrong. What’s left mostly give up. Actually only a few fail. And then most winners just didn’t quit. Every once in a while there is a Master though.

    Jeff, I love your stuff. It’s always very inspiring. Thought I could give back.

    Elvis

  • Lauren says:

    I met and chatted with both of those people at the Scottsdale event and it changed and defined my priorities. Thanks so much.

  • Tom Watson says:

    Great post, I enjoyed reading it.

    I certainly agree that creating your own products is the way to go when seeking out the higher margins. Your also on the mark about selling products that others make, as that will help round out your skill set.

    Creating your own product is a lot easier than many people think. Simply flip what knowledge you have about a given topic into your first info product. In my case, I own both a commercial cleaning business and a carpet cleaning company, so I just built products that cater to that market.

    This concept works whether you own your own business or not. It could be a hobby, or anything else that interests you. If you can educate yourself on a given topic, you can teach others as well, earning money in the process. In either case, success will come to those who produce a top tier product.

  • Ellery says:

    Here is how I make my first dollar online: same as you, I run a CPA offer.

    It is also my first step to this Internet Marketing/make money online industry, and I like it.

    I buy PPC from Google Adwords, and use direct linking to a CPA offer. I think it is 2009 and I start make my first $3x dollar after 1 – 2 months.

    When I received an email from CPA network that they have paid me through Paypal, I really feel excited and I know, I need to start my own business and make money online.

    It is also my story of how I get started. 🙂

  • jim cockrum says:

    If you commit firmly to one path or the other I think you are shooting yourself in the foot a bit. To produce and promote ONLY your own products keeps you from valuable partnerships, and perhaps more dangerous still is that it communicates to your audience that you think YOU are the only game in town (pride). If you ONLY promote other people’s stuff you’ll never have a loyal following and that’s key to long term success IMHO.

  • Bill says:

    Audio books. A little different than having my own product or selling someone elses. I bought into jv partnership with licensed audio books from real publishers. Instead of just selling the audio books myself, I formed a network of distributors to do online fundraising for non-profits.

  • Matthew L. says:

    I made my first dollar online in 2005 on Myspace of all places. Didn’t really know too much at the time and got lured into black hat stuff for the quick sale. I found out pretty fast that was only a short term model, though.

    I wonder how many of us marketers start-off the black hat then eventually evolve into legitimate online businesses that stand the test of time. It’s much easier to make money online when you have an organic audience you’ve built over time that trusts you.

  • Jerry says:

    Made my first $$ just last October, 3 months before my 60th birthday. I’m now working on creating an e-course for people who want to quit smoking–think there’s a market there?

    • Jeff Walker says:

      @Jerry: as my daughter would say “uuhhhh… yeah” – taking away people’s pain is always a good thing to be selling. In this case, assuming your stuff works, you’re taking away massive pain.

      And CONGRATS on making that first $5 online!

  • Ashley wright says:

    My 1st dollar was very simple infact! EBay! Started selling my old stuff online then did it for others! All that seems so long gone now! Then I stumbled into Internet marketing and the rest is all history!

    But that proves your point Jeff, I basically sold my own stuff, then even though I got les selling other peoples products it was better than nothing because what was to say they couldnt have just got someone else to do it!

  • Hi Jeff – nice post but clearly some responsive are not sold on the courses you sell , but surely they can learn the lessons on how you communicate your offer.

    I found selling our own product was the bedrock of our on-line business. We then added value selling affiliate products. Though the income from these are just ‘crumbs from the table’ compared to our own products. So you can guess where all of our on-line marketing effort goes.

    Keep those insightful emails coming. Best regards

  • I made my first dollars online selling an affiliate product. I’m now in the process of creating my own although I do have a coaching program that’s a joint venture between me and my mentor.

    I agree, Jeff. My only problem really is execution. I kind of bit more than I can chew but I’m learning.

  • I made my first money selling on Ebay as well. I have since moved on to my own website and blog. I am always looking for ways to improve sales and traffic. It’s amazing how much the internet has changed since I first logged on in 1997!

  • N. Khan says:

    I earn 100% of my livelihood from the internet and it has been that way since 1996. My bread and butter are our own physical products – specialty computers with ISA slots at http://interloper.com and golf clubs at http://interlopergolf.com.

    That doesn’t stop me from generating additional revenues through third party Ads and I rotate them on our sites through an Ad Server. From CPA offers to Pay Per View – anything that can generate a dime – eventually it all adds up.

    For those who are new to Internet Marketing, there is no shortcut. If you plan to use the internet as your primary source of revenue, give yourself 3-4 years. You will make mistakes along the way but you’ll learn. Do invest in good courses – they are worth far more than what you may pay for them. Just don’t buy the courses that suggest you become rich with the push of button. If it was that easy, why don’t they keep that button and keep pushing it all day. Why do they want to sell it to you?

    So adopt a sensible approach, invest in your learning and over time, you will make full time income over the internet.

  • Mk Akan says:

    Jeff,so true..
    when i first started online back with blogger blogs in 2008,i felt (like the speed of email and other trends associated with the internet)-i was going to start making money online faster than superman .I was so wrong…like offline businesses ,i realized that money can only be made when one sells something online ….

    That is why it is called a business…businesses always involves selling,products and services…

    I made my first dollar online with google adsense but have abandoned that approach to selling and promoting niche products on Amazon and other affiliate programs.

    I will leverage my success to create my own products after successfully creating a working system for myself.

    Selling something online,is the most basic and most important information newbies must first learn about making money online.

    That is why the advice “blog about your hobby and don’t think about how you want to make money yet with it ” is one of the most worse (if that phrase makes sense)advice i read everyday online.

    Thanks jeff.

  • Nolo Divorce says:

    Hi Jeff, I’ve been a fan and a follower of your newsletter for several years, and think you’re tops among all the internet “gurus” I follow. I haven’t tried your Product Launch Formula yet because I haven’t been able to convince myself that it would work for our type of product: self-help divorce books and software. But to answer your question, we made our first money online when we put up our online store at http://www.nolotech.com in 1997. The site has been up all these years since then, and I’m always looking for ways to bring in more traffic. We just started a blog with a separate URL last year, and I’m hoping it will drive traffic to our money site.

    I signed up for Kajabi through your affiliate link in preparation for putting up an online video course this year, and am really looking forward to your bonus on how to use Kajabi for a product launch!

    Thanks for all the great info you provide to the online marketing community! You seem to have figured out the perfect balance between work and living the good life.

  • Doug Belfort says:

    Hey Jeff! I really enjoyed your post. I read every one of them and they are Great Inspiration to all of us, From the Newbie to the Seasoned Marketing Veterans.
    However, I’m a total newbie as far as getting actual results. I think I “made” My first money from a Diet Site that sold an e-book on Weight Loss for 37$. Wasn’t bad….But the site converts like trash. 😀 lOl. So, No more sales from that site, It Still Shows on the hit counter that it’s getting 250 visits a day. Don’t know if that’s true or not! 😀

    Previously, I had been buying and selling stuff on eBay. Mostly Electronics, Since I have always had a passion for tearing computers and electronics a part and fixing them.

    But, We always need to Distinguish the “Difference” between “Making Money” and “Selling Stuff”. I learned that very quickly….I think that was a huge lesson to me.
    So many New guys starting out online are excited and learning very fast, but they need to know the difference between “selling assets” vs. “making money”.

    A Question for you Jeff…
    What should I do to build my Email List if I am Totally Broke? Could you give us a Heads up on the best way to do that? I’m sorry for asking these type of questions that are Practically an Insult to the Quality of Content on this blog….but you know….I think a lot of us could be helped on this level. 🙂

    I hope to talk soon!
    -Doug

    • Jeff Walker says:

      @Doug: don’t be silly – that’s not an insult at all! List building is probably the single most important activity for most online businesses. I’ll try to get to it soon.

  • Great post. Very obvious information, but we human beings always love to complicate things. So for me this article was a reminder-to ask myself-Will todays action on my website/blog, lead me to sell my product OR help sell some one else’s product?.

    So I’m curious… how and when did you make your first dollars online?
    1. Selling membership based legal services, which is creating passive income today also.
    2. Delivering consulting services
    Later on
    2. Selling classifieds
    3. Selling ebook/audio
    For me personally, I must learn and become comfortable to implement it myself. I am not good/fast at delegating without having a prior knowledge. Hence, the revenue created initially is small. But it gives me confidence, raises my self esteem, makes me better at what I do, inspires me to try more, do more and become more. Thanks

  • Jonni La Force says:

    Thanks for the post Jeff. Great question to end with. Can’t resist answering.

    While I did successfully sell stuff on ebay first, I was selling it for a friend of mine. So technically the first money I made online was on a treasure hunt website I created. I had actually given up on it and somebody, somehow found it on the web and hired me to run a treasure hunt for them. They paid me $1800. It was the most amazing experience. Plus at the time I couldn’t believe they paid me that much!

  • Hi Jeff,
    We are a ministry using Bible versers in transposing them into all art forms. At age 71 I am not trying to get rich again. I am too broke to start a website to start this ministry, which will change the faces of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the whole-world. We are introducing to the world ‘GOD’S LAND PAN FOR ISRAEL.”

    WE ARE TRYING to get a website in order to launch this ministry. We have a song also composed from the same verses entitled. ‘GOD’S HIGHWAY.” Which we will use to create, for the first time a dialogue involving the children of this world in resolving the problems, which so-called-grown-up created.

    Jeff, where are the millionaires like yourself and just the plain of people out there, which want to help change the world while they are making money?
    SHALOM,
    THE JEW-J-ehovah’s E-ternal W-ay

  • Brian evans says:

    Love your mindset, rock on man!

  • Tony Clingan says:

    Hi Jeff

    I think when you break it down there are only two ways, I think the time involved in developing products and getting them ready to market is more involved than people realise having just about finished two products to build a funnel with, I’m hoping this gets easier as I can Outsource more of this in future but it’s a real learning curve, certainly more involved than I had thought

    Thanks for sharing Tony

  • Jason Miles says:

    Jeff, first let me say a big thank you – we added your product launch concepts to our online biz and saw our first $2,000 day recently. We owe that to your great info (the free version :). And while I’m at it, I saw Silent Jim comment previously – his book helped us transition from EBay to our own info products, which made all the difference for us, thanks again for that Jim.

    So Jeff, if I can expand on your model a bit…there are only 2 places you can sell online. On your own site, or someone else’s site. When you stack this idea together with your idea you can create a nice progression…(4 basic concepts from weakest to strongest…)

    Sell other peoples stuff on other people’s sites, (like wholesale products on EBay)
    Sell other peoples stuff on your site, (Affiliate marketing, adsense, etc.)
    Sell your stuff on other people’s sites, (like OOAK art on EBay, or even JV launches)
    Sell your stuff on your site. (like info products on your squeeze page).

    All 4 models can make you some money, but the real question is – which one is most easily scale-able? That’s where your stuff (i.e. info products) on your site dominates.

    We’ve tried to use several of these simultaneously to build a strong brand in our niche. It works for us.

    Anyway, thanks again for your wisdom – and for your generosity in sharing good solid concepts.

    All the best in 2011,

    Jason

  • Anthony says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Nice post mate. Read 4 hour work week a few years back then took action. New nothing about making money online. So I decided (after testing) on Mosquito nets for Travelers as my way to mega bucks!. Within a few months I had nets in warehouse in Chicago, LA, London and Toronto (excellent fulfillment house called shipwire.com has multiple locations). Move forward a couple of years and it hasn’t been a roaring success (lot of costs involved) but my site http://www.mosquitonetsonline is up top of google for the two keywords of mosquito net and mosquito nets. The coolest things is when your Country men in The USA come looking for small bulk orders nets for Africa (small charities) – sometimes up to 1000 nets. I talk to me My Africa contacts (in most African Countries) I get price, put on margin then make a few bucks per net (up to a couple of thousand dollars). And I’m in Sydney Australia! Drop shipping hmmm – nice 🙂

    As I learned more over the past couple of years I realized there is no shipping, customs, manufacturing or postage costs on Information products. So I have built two new fitness sites (made my own products) and I’m launching them now basically.
    It has been a great ride the last few years, now it is time to cash in!

    And of course I have picked up some great tips from the Product Launch King over the last couple of years!
    Cheers,

    Anthony

  • Bazil Hunte says:

    Jeff, this is the first blog I have read and it has motivated me to do something different. I want to start an online business but not to sure what to do or where to start. I recently came across an interview with you and Anthony Robbins talking about how you got started. It was excellent. so I just Google your name and recently signed up for your blogs. I need your help, as Tony said we all need a coach or to be part of a mastermind group. He also said and you agree we need to find people who have already done it. So I want to do what you did. Please let me know how I can get started. I do not know anything about internet marketing but willing to learn.

    Bazil.

  • Jeff, I think the two ways you mention are not much different than the two ways you can make money offline. To distinguish the ways of making money online, I think you have to get more into email marketing, blogging, keyword analysis, link building, social media etc. But even these, when you think about it, can have a sort of offline counterpart. I guess one could say, generating business has certain fundamental components and there are many ways of building these components both in the physical an in the digital worlds.

  • Harold says:

    Hi Jeff, I’m French and I got to know what you do with Sébastien, “Le Marketeur Français”. Well, I’m a long time internet user, (since 1997), but I decided to do something of it (except playing) only few months ago. I made my first euros (not dollars… lol… well… er… French) 2 months ago. And it’s growing, and I work on it. I hope to be able to live from online activites by the end of the year.
    But for now, I plan on building a list too, and earn some bucks through it. This is really new to me, but with Sébastien, and with your blog, I understood the list is almost everything.

  • Hi Jeff,

    Great post. I had a question for you..I am a passionate personal development blogger and I have great content on my website..I love taking self help at a deeper level and writing about attitude and mindset applied to everyday life..traffic is my main problem…

    I come from an entrepreneurial family and I was taking to my father about it..he said that “grandmas hamburgers can be better than In N out, but “In n out” makes more money because of marketing spend.

    Do you think it is worth promoting through banners ads on other personal development website as well as facebook initially to get people to check out my website and build relationships with them? I feel like SEO and submitting to social book marking sites takes too much time and I am not getting the traffic I want..

    Would love to hear your thoughts…

    Thanks:)

    Nabil

  • Hi Jeff,
    You never mist with wonderful and interesting post,my first dollar online goes a way back it was only seven dollars affiliate earning, from a good company but i was trying to make a start from my little island home in the Caribbean.How ever these days life gets better i your sure right. Selling for your self is good, very good,buy in the net world you need friends and great partners so we should help each other and get payed while doing so. As for me these days l believe is membership site selling service products. Jeff i have been with you since the incubator days of U tube videos early 2005, but these days i cant even get on your friends list at face book, i am asked if i know you and your list is too full to accommodate me, anyway i am growing in this business, and i am the future Entrepreneur.

  • Isabel says:

    Nice job explaining about your online money-making strategies.

    My 1st online money was made through ACN back in 93-94. I ended up receiving a monthly residual for well over a year even after I quit working it. My biggest weekly check was just over 1 grand and I remember how good that felt … it was all residual and it was SWEET! Thereafter, I’ve made online income on Ebay and that was, quite frankly, a LOT of WORK. My lucrative product were empty chianti bottles, 5 sizes, which I collected as empty from a few restaurants, and I completely cleaned them up and prepped for sale – whew lots of sweat over that endeavor!

    Anyway, was referred to you by my current mentor, Stevi. Thanks for your info and love to share your knowledge and experience with all!

    Have an Excellent Day! – Isabella

  • James says:

    Am glad I found your information site. I am one who has to succeed at this.

  • Chuck Jines says:

    I guess the first sales that I made online were with Google. I think I made $22.00 my first year! Then I hooked up with affiliates – then I started offering services. Now I’m working on my first product. I think that I will always do all three, that way I don’t have all my eggs in one basket. I’m not a “guru,” but I pay the bills. This is my third year at it, and hope to keep growing.

  • fiona says:

    I had fallen into an ‘either all’ mindset – either my products OR someone elses. Thanks for busting that up and thanks for all of the information you have here…I’ve just signed up for your notifications. It looks great.

  • I guess you are right Jeff, I took a few minutes to brainstorm on what you said and it seems whatever online business model you consider falls into one of these two simple categories. Even those who provide freelance online professional services are actually selling their products because every service could still be considered as a product. A blog is a product (even if it is not directly sold) and it only makes money advertising other peoples products.
    Great post, keep up the good work.

  • Core says:

    I started selling posters and stickers that I created. I have sold over 1,000,000 posters since 2006.

  • john says:

    I’m curious Jeff. When someone else is selling your physical good, what is the best affiliate tracking system for this?

  • Andy Hussong says:

    John, I tried posting an answer to your question about affiliate software, but I keep getting a blank screen after clicking submit, so not sure if my attempts were going through or not (if they did, I apologize, Jeff, for all of the submissions… lol)… so if you’d like my opinion on this (I get asked this a lot by my subscribers), just contact me through my link above (click on my name).

  • Andy Hussong says:

    No problem, Jeff. I wonder if it’s because I was trying to provide links to the different solutions. I had a lengthy response with links… so maybe that was the issue. No biggie.

  • Susan Kuhn says:

    My first online earnings were $10K I made on a course on how to sell to the government. For my SBA-funded nonprofit that was selling $50 business courses, I created the Procurement Institute to sell government contracting training at $225/day. I eventually charged more, but in that one day, we made more than we would make in 3 months of $50 classes. I was astonished that people around the country would send hundreds of dollars, buy plane tickets, and rent hotel rooms based on getting an e-mail. I know what you mean — it’s amazing.

  • Spot on with this write-up, I actually think this website needs much more consideration. I’ll most likely be once more to read far more, thanks for that info.

  • Jerry says:

    Jeff, I really enjoyed this post. I’ve been dabbling in Internet Marketing for about a year now. I’m far from “getting rich” but I certainly have seen the potential. But what I’m really getting excited about is reason #2. I’m looking forward to creating my own product for a high demand niche that, as far as I can see, is inundated with mediocre products. In the interim I’m sticking close to your website!

  • Chloe says:

    first $$ was in 2010.. either adsense or amazon commission. Can’t remember which was first, they were both pretty small lol Haven’t made a cent yet with CPA or Clickbank ..One of my goals is to create a how to ebook and sell it on my brick n mortar business site.. sounds like a good summer project 🙂

    Thanks for all you do Jeff!

  • My first was back in 2008 when i was like 15 , I made a free .cjb website and got traffic from forums (a tricky method lol).
    I earned from adsense then
    Have a good day everyone

  • Alan Chin says:

    Hello, Master Jeff. I’m truly honoured to read this post. But there is question I need to make clear since I’m really a total newbie in this world of Internet Marketing.

    Firstly, since you mentioned about either SELL YOUR OWN STUFF or SELL OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF, so, can I ask you about sell own stuff , which if I have some sort of knowledge like cooking, photography, else like mentoring words something, will you recommend that a total newbie create their own ebook or video or other various method and sell information to the customer since it is focused on targeted customer ?

    Secondly, since there is something called affiliate as I know, by selling other stuff for commission. What I’ve knew that the affiliate marketer seems too saturated and like hard to be fight out the way to survive, and seems most of the people startup for months, seems not getting much leverage source of income. Will you still recommend a newbie work on two ways?

    I’m happy to learn anything to change my life since I’ve come to this new world and Jeff thanks for your sharing.

  • I am a licensed architect (building design) my first job as an architect came from a guy searching for an architect using google. It is challenging bridging the gap from a retail / product orientation (as is much of the info) to service. Any suggestions?

  • Elvis Caron says:

    Charles, doesn’t matter if it’s a product or service it is the same process really. I find if all you ask is for contact information and a best time to call (making the “lead” the only thing you’re asking for), then getting your service clients from the internet is easy.

    People usually have no problem selling their services once they are in front of enough interested prospects, it’s getting the chance to be in front of enough prospects that is the challenge for small “service” based business owners.(with all of the changes in technologies that they aren’t acclimated to like the rest of us in the IM world)

    Thought I’d have a crack at this one Jeff, as I get asked this question weekly. I hope it helped a little Charles. Just give people a chance to get a call back, and how quickly you call them back (or respond to their email) is how they feel your service will be. Answer slowly and you probably work slowly.

    Elvis

  • Thanks for the helpful advice. I can see the similarity you mentioned. Just a follow up … Elvis, do you think that the personal response / phone call you mentioned above is a better strategy than an automated response system? … It’s not that I am afraid to talk to people as much as I want to leverage the use of technology systems to the fullest extent possible. Since I am a one man show at this point, I need to be able to both market my services and do the work at the same time.

    Although the process is the same (as you mentioned above), does a service based business / industry where people are spending thousands per ‘order’ necessitate a more personal touch? Thanks.

  • Elvis Caron says:

    Charles, I think so, in my own experience any service I’ve ever tried to sell needs some definite “personal” touch. @ Jeff, there’s probably a threshold for each product you sell where at a certain price you need to give some personal attention or people won’t buy it? I know I can sell printing and if it’s more than $1000 I have to give a little phone time to make the order go through, nobody likes just paying an online invoice for over $1000 without speaking to a live person, I’ve found anyways..

  • Tim Cole says:

    Tremendously enlightening appreciate it, I reckon your current subscribers might want even more reviews similar to this carry on the good work.

  • Jack says:

    Thanks for the post.

    I have been beavering away since 2005 and now earn a small income (enough to live off anyway – just). However, it’s not been easy!

    I mostly sell other people’s products and one of the big challenges is to find quality products to sell that have good margins and not too much competition. I tried the CPA networks but found the competition to be fierce.

    Any suggestions about where to look will be appreciated.

  • John Carr says:

    Hi Jeff. I got your name from a page at ‘LeadPages’. We are experienced residential real estate brokers in Toronto, Canada working for the largest firm in the city. Our challenge is finding new clients. More than 95 percent of our business comes from previous clients and referrals.

    Being in a service business, we only have our service to offer. I’d like to put together an offer for a truly unique service aimed at home buyers. This is not an ‘I am better than all other real estate agents’ offer.

    It entails a truly comprehensive service designed to save up to one hundred thousand dollars on the purchase of a Toronto Home. Nobody is offering a similar service.

    Have you or do you know of any REALTORS who have used your method to attract new clients?

    Would love to hear from you.

  • Hi, Jeff
    I have had my business 6 months now and I can’t seem to get any customers. I’m on the verge of shutting the business down and I really need some expert advice.

    Is my website not suitable or not relevant to today’s society?
    I have lots of ideas of products to create/invent but I can’t seem to find anyone who is interested.
    or is it I’m just doing something wrong?

    I would really love to hear from you
    Kind Regards
    Ashley Clamp

  • Edgars Šubrovskis says:

    Hi Jeff! Thank you very much. You are really inspiering me to start up a business which i want to do for a long time already. I am a FRESHMEN now in entrepereneruship and i gotta learn a lot. Thank you very much, Wish me luck!

  • I agree. I have way more experience in this than most people posting (not to devalue their comments), but you are absolutely correct. Enough said on my part. Kudos.

  • Johann H Ragnarsson says:

    Hi.

    I must admit I didn´ know about this site before but I already stuck in it! Magnificent information and clever thinking, thank you so much.

    I´m newbie in this online marker but trying to learn fast and quick but on same time building it up for long term and patience.
    But I was thinking. What I am afraid of with own product. If I let some internet company produce it I don´t know which to trust. Any advice about it?

    Best regards and thanks again,

    Jóhann.

  • Hey Jeff!

    I desire to begin a JV partnership with several brands so they can sell my program during my next launch. The selling window is 6 days as you already know. What software do you recommend, or the best way to track the leads and sales that are sent to me from my JV partners? I have been searching Google however I continue to find results about becoming an affiliate that seem way more involved with year round marketing . I desire something more specific to a launch

  • arava says:

    good points u got here,
    recently i started to look for second income online, find many sites like koocam as the best method for tutoring, i will definitely check some of your ideas and tips.
    thank u

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