I started thinking about making money from a laptop and internet connection quite some time ago now. I first started with eBay back when it started in 1995. A friend helped me get an account and sell my first item from my bedroom! I later used the auction site to buy and sell for profit.
One strategy was to find items which were badly listed and then re-list them with a better listing. This strategy worked quite well and you can read more about it in my article How To Start A Profitable Ebay Business.
Why eBay Had Its Day!
I had been doing eBay buying and selling for some time, while juggling a number of other jobs – including some film and TV work, HGV driving and a number of office jobs. It wasn’t really making me the money I needed. My spare room/office was full of unsold items I had bought from second hand shops! I had had enough of eBay!
I had found my eBay ‘system’ from an eBay seller who had sold me a downloadable guide. At the time, downloads were not allowed on eBay in the UK so I actually got a CD in the post. What struck me though, was the simplicity of the downloadable product idea. A few courses promised to teach this and so I bought a few of them.
eBay wasn’t working for me. I was continually buying stock; much of which didn’t actually sell. All my time was being taken by searching for ‘bargains’ and queueing at the post office to weigh items I had sold or was selling. It was a very time heavy strategy; I knew there was a better way to use the internet to make money.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
After my eBay CD arrived I thought I’d have a go at making my own products and selling them on eBay. I built a couple of eBooks but never actually sold any of them. I needed to learn marketing, so enrolled on one of those online courses which promises to teach you how to make money online!
The first course I took taught a different approach to making money from a website. It taught me to use Google’s Adsense program. Adsense is a clever program which converts code into adverts appropriate to your website content. If you have a website, you can join Adsense, place some code on your site and Google converts to code into clickable adverts which earn you a revenue. The amounts were tiny and I later realised this wasn’t going to give me a living unless I was some kind of famous superstar!!
So I took another course. This time the model was affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a business model which lets you sell other people’s products for a commission. With digital products, which the course taught, you can earn 50% commissions on a sale! I made one of my first sales after writing a piece of content on a free blogging site. See Get Paid For Advertising Online Without A Website to learn this).
My first sale came from a review I had written on a site called Hubpages.com. I promoted a piece of software called XsitePro which I had used to build some websites. XSitePro sold for around $100 and I earn 40% ($40) from the sale. I was pretty happy with this since I have made my first affiliate commission without queueing at the post office or even leaving the house! There was no room full of junk and it was all very ‘neat’!
However, it was a short lived success. That was my last sale from Hubpages. I turned my attention to promoting another course I had found which was promoting a course I had learned from by a guy called Peter Lexis. I made a few sales too and was about to ramp up my marketing budget when I lost my Adwords account: shut down! It was a huge blow at the time and no amount of pleading with Google seemed to make a difference. My account was suspended!
Work picked up at this time and I lost interest in making money from the internet. It was tough! But I knew there had to be something in it. It was a means to automate sales and scale up using paid marketing. I wasn’t done yet! I had been working on and off in the film industry as a stunt performer which sounds like the perfect job! Work was always sporadic for me though and there were long periods without work. I used this time to learn about making an income from the internet.
I picked up the internet business idea several times, and took one course after another. This is known as ‘shiny object syndrome’, I later came to realise! See my article on 23 affiliate mistakes to avoid! One course I took taught Adsense again so I build several sites with the aim of ranking on Google for free.
It’s a tough strategy and a long term one, but at the time my patience was much shorter than the time it took! So I didn’t stay the course. There was always something easier and faster on sale somewhere – which would pop into my inbox promising a faster ride! Unfortunately I would take it!
Longer Term Success
I knew if I stuck at this internet business thingy for long enough, success would show its face! People were warning me off in vast numbers so I learned not to talk about it! I had spent some considerable time on various strategies by this point but was frustrated and confused by all the conflicting advice there was.
So, I joined another program and decided to start afresh; the enduring student; I would ’empty my cup’ again. This time it was going to work! I actually started making progress this time and made a few high ticket sales (see high commission affiliate program). This was in part because my mentor was helping me, and had pooled an advertising budget together from a few members.
I focused on building content on a blog. Blogging, if you didn’t know, is a free but very slow method of building website traffic and making sales. See my latest article on this “Making Money Through A Blog – Is It Worth It?“
As I started seeing progress mount up, I realised all my past mistakes had been due to a lack of knowledge about what I was doing. I had wasted a huge amount of time because I was focused on the wrong activities, or because I was hesitant and unsure. Some members of my training program had made much faster progress than I had, in far less time; simply by following a blueprint!
Yes You Can!
Although it has taken a long time for me to realise the dream of making a consistent income from the internet, it can be done with the right attitude and most importantly with a good mentor to help and guide you! You can even do it much faster then me! I’m still learning and growing and it’s by no means the finished product, but I’m now making consistent sales from my online business.
One of the main reasons this continues to happen is because I now use subscription affiliate products. With subscriptions, you can earn ongoing income from previous sales. This is a far better strategy to use than just selling single commission products. Digital products too are better than physical products because you can earn larger commissions for what amounts to the same amount of work. Digital products pay 40-50% commissions compared to 3-10% for physical products.
Getting the support is also a huge factor. I went it alone online for years. You can make far greater progress, in a shorter time, with a community to turn to for help and advice.
If you would like to learn more, access a 7 day video series which has been created my my personal mentors Jay and Stuart. Access here.