The Best Way to Start With Online Marketing

September 5, 2011 , 76 Comments

I frequently receive emails with questions along the lines of “what’s the best way for me to start earning money online?” or “I’ve been trying my hand at Internet Marketing for months/years but haven’t made a cent. What should I do to change that?” or “how can I start a successful online business/make my online business more successful?”.

I always find it quite difficult to answer these questions, because there is no simple, one-size-fits-all answer. In this post, I want to give answers that cover as many bases as possible.

If you’re on square one or feel stuck with your online marketing ventures, here’s everything you need to know to get started in the right direction.

Want to “Make Money Online?” Watch This First!

If you don’t relate to the phrase “make money online”, because you own a business or want to build a business, feel free to skip down to the next video. If, however, you somehow found your way here from the “Internet Marketing”, “Make Money Online”, “Get Rich Quick” type of angle, please watch the video below:

Download Video

What it Takes to Succeed

This video contains the most important message on this page and perhaps on this entire blog. This is what you need to know if you want to build a successful online business.

Download Video

Startup Business vs. Online Marketing

If you have a specific business idea along the lines of: “I want to sell the best blue widgets through an online store!” or “I’m creating this awesome online service for blue widget owners!”, then you will have to focus on branding, awesome customer service and utilizing some of the methods outlined below to get more customers.

If, on the other hand, you don’t have such an idea, if there isn’t something like an “invention” at the start of your business, your focus can be entirely set on one of the methods listed below. In many cases, you will be able to use a specific online marketing skill to work together with people who have an “invention”-based business and offer them services.

A Path to Take

There is no “best” way or method to start earning online. There’s no absolutely superior business model and there is no “easiest” way to get started. Instead, there are many ways and many things you can do to build a business around. And that’s a good thing, because it means you can find something that suits your personality and your interests.

I believe there are two factors that need to be in place for your business venture to succeed:

  1. What you do must suit you personally, otherwise you’ll never get truly good at it.
  2.  You must be sure that there’s a business in it. The easiest way to make sure is to check if there are already other people/other businesses doing the same thing or something very similar successfully.

Quite simply: find something that’s already working for someone and that you like doing. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of options available to aspiring online marketers (the list is sorted alphabetically and doesn’t reflect any preference or hierarchy):

Performance MarketingAffiliate Marketing

Technically, anyone making affiliate commissions is an affiliate marketer, but the term is most commonly used to describe someone who is sending paid traffic from various sources to CPA and lead-gen offers. There are many advertising networks such as Neverblue, Copeac or EWA, that you can quite easily join as an individual and that have many offers in many different niches that you can start promoting right away.

Essentially, affiliate marketing is about traffic arbitrage. You get traffic in whichever way possible, from whatever sources you can get your hands on and you make sure that the traffic is costing you less than the payouts at the end of the offer are bringing back in. The reason this is typically done with paid traffic sources such as facebook ads, banner ads and popover/popunder ads is that many CPA offers are seasonal or depend on trends. Paid traffic sources give the affiliate the flexibility to react quickly.

Tracking, testing, tweaking and more testing on your campaigns is crucial to successful affiliate marketing. Find the perfect traffic source matching the target demographic of your offer, then test and tweak until you have a winner.

To get started with Affiliate Marketing…

Start with one traffic source and one type of offer. Buy traffic on a small scale and test (different offers, different landing pages) from the very beginning. Be prepared to lose some money before you start making money consistently.

Blogging IconBlogging / Creating an Authority Site

Successful blogging hinges on creating highly remarkable content and building a strong community. The same is true if you intend to build a true authority site. Good, original content is not good enough. You need to have a unique voice and you need to brand yourself or your site.

As a blogger, you also need to be a social marketer to some extent, reaching out to your readers on twitter, facebook and perhaps further channels. Most bloggers end up also selling some type of product or service and many authority sites are monetized with display ads and affiliate offers.

To get started with Blogging…

Create a blog, start writing. If you’re new to it, it will be more about finding your USP in the first place. Guest-blog, reach out to other bloggers, always strive to be as useful and unique as possible and let people know about it.

Content CreationContent Creation

There’s always demand for good online content and offering a content-writing service is a fairly easy way to start generating some income. The challenge is to scale it upwards. It is possible to scale such a business, of course, as several million-dollar content providing services attest to.

If you have a more-than-basic understanding of Google and can create content that’s optimized beyond “we repeat your keyword a lot”, you could establish yourself as a premium source and set yourself apart from the competition.

To build a Content Creation business…

Get started, write a lot, offer your services on online marketing forums to begin with and keep the end game in mind: how are you going to scale the business up?

Conversion Rate OptimizationConversion Rate Optimization

There are many great split-testing tools available, but not as many people who actually know how to use them properly. Conversion rate optimization is complex, as soon as it’s taken beyond “test different headlines”, but it also has the potential to make a huge difference for an online business.

With a good understanding of marketing psychology and knowledge of as many successful and unsuccessful split-testing case-studies as you can get your hands on, you can start building your own expertise through simple trial and error.

To get started with a Conversion Rate Optimization service…

Build up experience and skills by running some test of your own, on any traffic you can get your hands on. Buy some traffic or offer your service for free to anyone who’ll take it. Once you have a few successful case-studies under your belt, start charging for your service.


If you can write copy that makes sales, you’ll be very popular. Copywriting is a very complex art and science and everyone who sells anything needs good copy. Also: most people hate writing sales-copy.

There are many underlying principles to copywriting and even more possible applications, ranging from writing product-descriptions for e-commerce stores to creating all of the content for an online service provider. While the skills necessary to be a good copywriter aren’t easy to acquire, putting in the necessary work can put you in a great position. You’ll be able to offer a service that makes people more money than it costs them to hire you. This is a great position to be in.

To become a Copywriter…

Write a lot, challenge yourself to write sales-copy every day, learn about marketing psychology and do a lot of split-testing to figure out what works best. Offer your services for free, to start out with and to get your name out.

Email MarketingEmail Marketing

There are two aspects to email marketing. The first is list building a.k.a. getting people onto your mailing list and wanting to receive emails from you. The second is sending out emails that people actually pay attention to.

From my personal experience I can say that the vast majority of businesses have no idea what they’re doing with their email marketing. There is clearly not an abundance of email marketing experts around. Since follow-up marketing can be insanely profitable, there’s a lot of potential here. Teach yourself effective email marketing (through lots of trial and error) and you’ll be in a position to transform someone’s online business. Or you can just run your own mailing list(s).

To become an Email Marketing expert…

Do a lot of email marketing. Build lists in several niches (using paid traffic sources) and split-test different landing pages and follow-up sequences from the get-go.

Information ProductInformation Marketing

Selling your own information products can make for a very lucrative online business. A business that encompasses many of the methods and elements discussed here, such as email marketing, SEO, video marketing and more.

Be aware that not every niche is suitable for information products. You need to find a niche that’s suitable to you personally and where there are willing buyers spending money on information products already. A lot of your success with info marketing hinges on starting with the right idea. Also make sure that you understand the basics of online product delivery and memberships, as well as follow-up marketing. Whether you build many small info-products or one single product or membership that you continually grow or promote is up to you. Both methods can be lucrative.

Here’s an article with more information on what kinds of digital products to sell online.

To start with Info Marketing…

Do market research and start with a small, simple, free product that you give away in exchange for email-addresses and permission to follow up. Use such small products to test the waters and when you strike an area of great demand, build a larger product, expand your marketing and take it from there. Make sure you have a winning product idea before you invest a lot into creating and marketing the product.

Display AdvertisingMedia Buying / Display Advertising

Online media buys (= banner ads, in most cases) can be incredibly fruitful traffic sources, if you know how to utilize them. A key to making them work is to understand the demographic of the people visiting the sites you are advertising on and the demographics of the people most likely to buy your offer.

You can either monetize your media buys directly, via affiliate, CPA or lead-gen offers, or build a media buying service for online businesses.

To get started with Media Buying…

Use affiliate/CPA offers to monetize and buy on a small scale. Maybe reach out to individual, small to medium sized sites and make advertising deals with them. Start with low spending and small traffic and scale up once you’ve found a combination that works.

Mobile MarketingMobile Marketing

More and more people are accessing the web through a variety of mobile devices. On the one hand, many businesses could use some help with mobile-optimization for their sites and on the other hand, there’s a whole world of mobile advertising and mobile follow-up that lacks real experts, because it’s all so new. New territory = big opportunity for pioneers (along with big risks, of course).

Of all the methods listed here, mobile marketing is the one I know least about myself, but it’s clear that many opportunities await.

To get started with Mobile Marketing…

Find someone who knows way more about mobile marketing than me and ask them about it.

Niche SitesNiche Site Building

A very popular and well known form of online marketing that goes something like this: find good, profitable keywords, build sites optimized for those keywords, get them ranked in Google and monetize them with contextual ads, affiliate offers or anything else you can think of.

To make this work, you need a very good understanding of keyword research as well as some expertise in search engine optimization. Many aspects like split-testing, understanding market psychology and even site speed optimization can be important, but they take a back seat to finding the right keywords and being able to get pages ranked for them.

To get started with Niche Site Marketing…

Learn about keyword research, then pick keywords and start building and promoting a site. Trial-and-error your way to expertise. The great thing about this is that everything required to build and promote niche sites can be done for free or almost free.

ConsultingOffline Marketing / Consulting

What’s often called “offline marketing” is actually online marketing consulting for small businesses. You work together with a business owner and help them search engine optimize their sites, help them get better conversions, show them how to follow up with their customers, start, run and tweak marketing campaigns with them etc.

There’s still a big demand for this kind of service as many business owners are clueless about online marketing and a good consultant can be the best thing that’s ever happend to their business. Plus, since there was an “offline marketing is easy” fad in IM not too long ago, there are probably a lot of incompetent amateurs shilling their services. Build some real skills and you can easily establish yourself as a company that stands out from the rabble.

To become an Online Marketing Consultant…

Do some online marketing of your own, first. Build some niche sites, build a mailing list or two, read some books and trial-and-error yourself some experience. Then, offer your service (maybe for free, to being with) and focus on delivering actual results and offering a fantastic customer experience. Make sure your primary motiviation is to help people grow their business.

SEO ServiceSEO Service

Most people don’t like building links, which is why link-building services are so popular. The same can be said for other, “deeper” aspects of SEO, such as on-page, on-site and speed optimization. The latter belong mostly into the category of “consulting” above, but even with a backlinking service along, you can build a highly profitable business.

There’s a large range going from “tons of very cheap crap-links” to “a few super-backlinks that cost you an arm and a leg” and services all along this range seem to be prospering. You could do anything from to running some link building tools 24/7 on a VPS to build links for your customers all the way to building your own network of high-quality, aged, PageRank websites to sell individual links from. Chances are, you’ll find eager customers, provided you offer a good service.

To start offering an SEO Service…

Start small, with a simple link-building service and scale it up with automation tools, outsourcing or your own network. Offer your service on IM forums, to find your first customers.

Social Media MarketingSocial Media Marketing

Disclaimer: I am the opposite of a social media expert. Nonetheless, I know that such a thing as social media experts exist and it’s clear to see that for some businesses, social media is a big deal.

As with many examples here, you can build your own business around social media, or you can offer services to business owners. With social media, it’s all about building a brand that people like to identify with and creating buzz by giving your followers things to talk about and share. One of the reasons I’m not a social media expert is because doing this right demands a significant time investment. Business owners may not be able to make that investment themselves, so there’s demand for people who could do it for them.

Despite the “soft-skill” nature of social media, don’t neglect the importance of testing and analysis in this field. Even a social media marketer is a performance marketer.

To start with Social Media Marketing…

Create twitter, facebook, linkedin and whaterver else there is accounts and trial-and-error yourself to some proficiency with social media marketing. Beyond that, find someone who knows more about this topic than me and take/test their advice.

Video MarketingVideo Creation / Video Marketing

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, online video is becoming increasingly important. Videos are useful marketing tools all along a funnel: they can help you build a brand, get more exposure and get more traffic, they can help you engage users on your website, educate them about your brand or business or product, they can be used as sales-videos to turn visitors into customers and they can be part of your support, in the form of tutorial videos.

You can build a whole business of your own, based on videos, or you can offer a valuable service to businesses, by offering video creation for them and/or by offering to help them out with the technical aspects of setting up video delivery and analytics. As with email marketing, there’s a lot of potential in the field of online video marketing, because it’s new and not many experts exist. Not many businesses are split-testing conversion-videos and properly utilizing video-analytics, because those things are complicated and time-consuming. They’re also potentially very profitable.

To start with Video Marketing…

Make loads of videos and put them on YouTube. Test different video elements (e.g. opening, call to action etc.) to see what gets the highest engagement, the highest click-through rates and the best viewer-engagement. Build your expertise with your own videos and once you’re proficient, start approaching business owners.

You Are Fortunate

You are fortunate to be alive now and to be part of the world’s population that has Internet access in some way or another. While it’s not easy to create a successful online business, it’s also not nearly as hard as it could be. The great thing about online business is that with all of the examples above, you can get started by investing mostly time and keep spending to a minimum.

You can get all of this started with a minimum of risk and almost no start-up capital necessary. You can buy a domain for less than $10, get hosting for less than $10/month and start building a website or a blog using only free resources. You can do all of your SEO and link-building manually, to get started with. You can use free screen recording software and the webcam on your notebook, start making videos and generate traffic from YouTube. You can use a free HTML editor to create simple landing pages, start off with small amounts of paid traffic and run split-tests using free software. You can get in touch with small businesses of all sorts and offer to write sales-copy for them, create videos for them, run split-tests for them or provide any number of other services for them, for free, just to gain experience and many will be glad to take you up on that offer.

And even starting with so little and with no formal business experience, it’s not unlikely to start earning some income within a few months and maybe even generate a full-time income within a year.

If you have that entrepreneurial spark and you are not afraid to challenge yourself, to see how far you can go and how much effort you can make in the face of (inevitable) adversity, now is the best time to get started.

That was a lot of text. Congratulations for making it this far. Here are the two things you need to remember:

  1. Provide an insanely useful product or service to a specific audience.
  2. Become really good at what you do, through repetition.

All the best,

About ​Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • Hi Shane,

    Spot on mate.




  • Once again Shane…outstanding presentation!

    Great advice that those of us trying to learn this internet marketing thing always appreciate. Good job as usual.

  • This is great Shane! You have presented the main ways of making some income with very little investment in a concise and clear manner.

    I especially relate to your conclusion! We are very lucky indeed to have the opportunity to work at making an independent living without capital investment.

    Now, will somebody fix the world economy?


    PS. what kind of font am I using here?

  • Hard work? Stubbornness? Clawing your way forward and elbowing past others? Yikes Shane, seems you are just trying to be unpopular!

    All true I believe. Success comes with enough focus and repetition at a valid business model.

    Takes a long time to come to such a simple conclusion though.

  • Thanks for the videos Shane.

    Said like a true gentleman. I am actually being pushed into offline consulting as I have a few friends wanting websites and some that already have them are not optimized well at all.

    So as you said above I will be providing a service to local business as the market has come to me and I have not had to go and find it.


    • Good stuff! The marketing “coming to you” as you put it, is a good sign. There’s clearly demand if you get gigs without even advertising actively.

  • I love the fact you don’t always sell something, makes me watch every video you do.

    How about e-commerce too – selling your own products or dropshipping them.

    • Hi Mark,
      Thanks for your comment!

      Good point about e-commerce. I thought about adding that (I co-ran an e-commerce store myself for two years), but decided against it, because it’s more of a startup business type of deal. I.e. if you want to start with e-commerce, you probably already know what you want to sell and/or produce something yourself that you want to sell.

      Drop shipping I don’t know enough about, although I’m sure there’s potential with that as well.

  • As usual, you are right on the mark. Can I rent your brain for a few days?

  • I am always motivated after your posts. Thanks for keeping the great content coming.

  • “…and the truth shall set you free.” Thanks for telling the truth about what it takes to be successful online.

  • Shane,

    I loved these videos, for me, you totally sum up the journey into ‘IM’ and ‘Make money online’.

    I quickly realised early on that I needed to build skills, learn and get very good at something, then move to the next skill set and repeat. I am online now around 2 years, still battling and finally I am seeing great movement within my business. But it definately took the time to learn and apply the skills I had to learn as I progressed.

    So my advice is pick one thing, become a master at it, then move on to the next and repeat. Eventually you will have the skill set needed to progress your business online.

    Great post, thank you!


  • Shane you rock man like your style , great staff Thank you Man .Looking forward to become your castomer if you have still offer for discont SECocpit send me link I will get strait to it. Thank you. Ted.

  • Shane,

    I make money building sites, a little seo, promotional video (learning more about capturing i.e. customer of yours, love your screencast blueprint!). So I have some skills, but have found it really hard to make good money out of IM.

    I am on the verge of unleashing many skills I have built up in IM, I currently am struggling which way to go to make a good income. I want to thank so much for doing what you do. If it were not for you I would of given up on IM by now. I found you on you-tube by accident, and soon realized that your free stuff was better than all the paid stuff I had paid for. You actually teach step by step and it works. I thank you so much for today’s videos and content above, amazing advice!

    Even though I am quite technical and know how to build lists etc… I still viewed the first video, because I was still curious about what you would say. In fact it re-focused me, so did the next video and content. I feel you have saved me a lot of time and bother, wasting my valuable time on things I cannot afford to do. I think you will find many people will connect with the above videos etc… What a great contribution!

    My hope for you Shane is that all this extra effort you put into your business to give out free quality content will pay off. Because your critics, us, will be a success and in turn you will be hugely rewarded!

    I will keep you posted with my IM journey, you will be one of the first to know of my successes.

    There are only two people I listen to regarding IM, Shane is one of them.

    It was also great to speak with you on Saturday’s webinar (3/9/11).

    To your success and mine!


    • Hello Andrew,

      Thanks for your comment! I am very much looking forward to hearing about your progress. Go forth and be awesome! :)

  • Hi Shane – you are correct, this is one of your most significant posts. So many people have the mindset that if they simply purchase the next ‘shiny object’ they will somehow make ‘easy’ money. Anyone who is truly successful in any kind of online business has invested a considerable amount of time to gain expertise in at least one of the fields you listed. So, while it’s true you can generate a real business with only a small financial investment, there is NO way to avoid investing significant time in learning specific skills. Basically, start by going ‘deep’, not ‘wide’. Having said that it still compares favorably with how much serious money you need to invest up front to build even a ‘modest’ brick & mortar’ business.

    Cheers, Neil

    • Hi Neil,

      Yes, that’s a great way to put it: go deep into one subject, and don’t spread yourself too widely across everything. :)

  • Hi Shane,

    I think this post is fantastic. It is one of the most helpful and informative articles and completely devoid of fluff.

    You’d need help not to understand how to make money online after this!

    Thanks very much


  • Thank you Shane – very informative. Watched both videos and read all the content. Good free advice. Can’t wait to see more. How much more will you be presenting? Very generous of you – for free too. Good karma. Thanks again!

    • Hi Zoie,

      Thanks for commenting!
      I’m not planning to close down this site anytime soon, so there will definitely be more content coming for some time. :)

  • Great information there Shane. I for one have been bouncing around from one thing to the next over the last year or so, and it simply does not work.

    Finally I have decided to focus on one aspect of IM that does interest me now, for which there is fortunately a great market for the service provided. Plus, I won’t be forking out on all of those WSOs on a regular basis.


  • Good advice Shane – The people with money pray on the people who have none this has been happening for ever online as well as offline.
    People 99% of them that go online are desperate money they need cash for some sought of crises.What do we all do type into the keyboard “how to make money online” then that invisible arm reaches out and says “GOTCHA”. This is the start of the silver bullet cycle.I think lot of us have been down this track of buying info magic products. This can get addictive just like gambling.
    If you want to make money online you have to sell something. This means to be able to sell something you have to set up a business. Of cause you know the rest.
    Darn it WTF,you mean there is no short cuts like in all of those promos I have been watching and buying.
    Shane and everyone hope you have and if not get a Google profile going forward.

  • Great stuff as usual Shane. Many thanks.


  • Wow, how refreshing is this? I have heard so many “Guru’s” telling me how easy it is that to hear someone tell me that I have to actually do some work before I become a gazillionaire is a breath of fresh air. It is also reassuring as I have just bought Backlink Battleplan. I haven’t started it yet but I am now pretty sure it will be a full on course teaching me everything I need to know with no fluff.

  • Scott Caldwell says:

    Shane it’s nice when someone tells people how it really is in the (Internet) world. You will and by watching and getting sound advice from you over the past 6 months you have made an honest reputation for yourself.

  • Hi Shane, You know my husband (rather than me) – Gordon – I am in hopsital at the moment and Gordon set up our laptop so I can work from hospital (isn’t he sweet?) Loved you article/videos above – it’s what Gordon & I have been saying for some time now – find what you do best and focus. We’re following the SEO services at the moment (including Google Places etc.) and things are finally looking up. Keep up the good work – Joan

    • Hello Joan,

      I’m glad to hear things are looking up. I’ve chatted with Gordon from time to time and I know you guys have it in you to make this work. It can take a while to gain any kind of momentum that shows up in your bank account, but I have no doubt you’ll get there.

      Also: I hope you have a swift recovery from whatever you’re in the hospital for.
      All the best.

  • Somehow about a month ago I got on everyones list and started received a stream of offers like “commission crusher” and “the matrix” where for just $49 dollars I could have the secret to earn millions, and I was only being charged $49 to cover the persons server costs as they were helping we out (and there were probably 6 upsells after the initial $49). After hundreds of emails from dozens of different people I did get three really valuable pieces of info but what that type of crap does is destroy the clarity of vision about the fundamentals of how to run a good online business. That deception has caused a type of online sickness which stops people grasping the genuine basic concepts. This post brings us back to reality and systems that actually work. Basically you need to formulate a business strategy and not be carried off by endless “opportunities”. Once you have the fundamentals you never know what type of gold awaits with an opportunity, but its fundamentals first, second, and third.

  • Thank you Shane. As usual the information you have given us is very valuable. I tend to give up and jump onto something else before giving it a real go. You have inspired me to keep going.
    “The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.” — Old Chinese Proverb

  • Loloy Diango says:

    Hey Shane,

    Outstanding! You really hit the nail right on the head!

    Focus and persistence – and acquiring the necessary skill sets – are indeed the guaranteed “secrets” to success in life, whether it be in the online or real world.

    I love the way you share and present your ideas and principles – simple, easy to comprehend and direct to the point. You don’t beat around the bush.

    Best of all, you don’t attempt to sell anything most of the time.

    I’ve been on your list for quite some time and I’ve never regretted having enlisted to it.

    Keep up the great work, you are a true inspiration!

  • Nash Rahman says:

    Hiya Shane,

    Thanks for the invaluable advice. I have to embarassingly say that i was one of the demographics who got suckered into buying multiple BSO’s. I have been struggling to make anything work on the internet and one of the reasons was that i too was stuck in the mental mindset of “Make Money online” instead of focusing on building a business.

    For a while i was always sucked in by the good sales copy, then again they are designed with exactly this in mind. Boy was i a sucker. But i’ve since taken the approach that i don;t need anymore BSO and that i have everything that i need. What they peddle are different techniques but forget the bigger picture and in a lot of cases the techniques don;t work.

    What is ironic is that many internet marketers talk about are you fed up with all the internet marketing BS then here is the solution to your problems and in the majority of cases it;s the same crap. Another ironic thing is that they advise to keep away from BSO’s but in the same breath promote anything and everything to you and this for me is a contradiction. I can easily build a list of IM people and start peddling anything and everything i think will make me money. But i have been reluctant to do this because i feel this is unethically and it is just preying on peoples dreams to line your own pocket with money. This made me feel very uneasy. How internet marketers can comprehensively test a product in an hour and then start promoting is not possible and is unethical in my eyes. This is the reason why i like what you do Shane, your honesty and integrity is head and shoulders above many internet marketers and this shines through in all your work and videos that you do. I like the fact that you take your time to review products and give an honest unbiased review of products.

    You are at the top of my list of internet marketers to listen to.

    There are only 3 advise tips that i can add to yours:

    1. Chose 1 or 2 internet marketers with honesty and integrity and follow them.

    2. Unsubscribe to everyone else’s emails

    3. Select a niche that you are passionate about. The reason i say this is that many people give up on niches very soon if they see no success. I have personally been in this situation, having a passion for your niches carries you emotionally through the period of no money. Because the whole process itself may take 6 months or a year or maybe longer and you need this passion to carry you through these emotional ups and downs. If your passionate about something then you can really add value that is unique to you and the passion will shine through in the work you do. Once you have learnt the internet marketing skill through your niche you can apply it to other areas or niches that you are interested in.

    4. Select a method of communicating your passion in your niche that you enjoy. Personally i find backlinking soul destroying so i try and stay away from it as much as possible, but on the other hand i love video marketing..i enjoy the creative element of it and the visual results it provides.

    5. Don;t give up your day job. As you mentioned Shane that internet marketing isn;t easy and there isn;t a fast easy solution to make money. It takes time and hard work something that i didn;t anticipate when i first started. I would advise building your online business during the evening and once it is stable and bringing in enough money then and only then you are in a position to leave your job. Unfortunately i learnt this lesson the hard way and thought internet marketing was easy and i would start making money in a week.

    6. Don;t focus on the money but focus on the value that you are giving to others and the money will be a byproduct of the value you are giving. I use to chase the money. Which as you mentioned just gets you in the chasing mode and doesn;t provide any stability.

    I hope my 2 cents worth was useful. And again bravo to you Shane for all the hard work that you do to provide excellent value in an niche filled with unscrupolous internet marketers and predators.

    Thanks Again


  • Shane,

    Truly a breath of fresh air!

    Yes, I have to admit I have been caught up in the latest, greatest “shiny object”. My biggest regret was an expensive and hugely hyped piece of software which was never did most of what it was promised to do and never made me a dime back on my investment. A complete waste of time and money.

    I now realize there is no automatic plug-and-play solution. Yes, the gurus don’t care about me or any of us. They only care about making my/your money their money. Releasing a product that never worked, with parts that were never finished, with a short refund period and bad support was just an even bigger pie-in-the face for all the unsuspecting buyers that trusted the three gurus that put their names on it.

    I’ve become pretty cynical since then. I took a chance on Backlink Battleplan and I’ve learned a lot from it. Please don’t become a guru a*hole. There are far too few honest people in this business and I count you as one of the good guys.


  • Great sharing. I’ve been trying to build couple of niche websites from the past. But I realized that it’s really tough to generate contents for niches you have absolutely no interest in. I know most people in multiple niches pay for the contents. But at the same time not many have the fund to do so. So I kind of give up on that idea and concentrate on building my skill and blog on blogging tutorial.

  • Kudos & Echoes of Excellence from the above comments Shane:

    What I particularly liked is the way you gave us an inkling of what’s really behind the curtain in terms of daily must do’s to make a success of it in each of online money making business methods you cited above.

    Basically, I’ve been serially infatuated with several of the methods mentioned, thinking that if I have a smorgasbord of knowledge it will somehow morph into a coherent snowball of online effectiveness.

    Obviously, this is a recipe for failure as I have tip toed through the methods without really understanding what’s involved, how to take positive action steps consistently or having a clear sense of the budget needed to make any of the methods work properly.

    Thank you for separating the chaff from the wheat so to speak.


    Gotta get thru the Bloody Dip!

    • Thanks for your comment!
      That last line reminds me: “The Dip”, the book by Seth Godin is, I’ve been told, a good read.
      I have yet to read it myself, but it fits the topic of this post. :)

  • You have obviously gone down the same road we all have Shane. It is very reassuring to hear from someone, who is now succeeding, reveal they have struggled in the past. This evidence of struggle is delivered so clearly by you in your second video and will be instantly recognized by all those who have suffered the same. Thanks for that.

    I am delighted to say my persistence has paid off as you have suggested it will, and I am now making some money from my chosen business because I stuck to my guns and elbowed my way to finding solutions to my problems.

    Now into the duplication phase….if it works once it will work again and again.

    BTW – you can take a big slice of credit for that Shane.

    Great post mate.


  • Hi Shane – Yet another thankyou for the great informative content you deliver – you stand by your words – I find myself back at your blog post often when looking for answers or information. I should know better and just go straight to your posts and by pass Google – you always seem to have all the answers and most of all encouragement to newbies like me. Can’t thank you enough for the Sunday emails – content is fab. Great work. You tick all the right boxes. My thanks

  • The single best advice I’ve heard is: start today.

    End the research immediately and simply start a blog about something that interests you.

    Forget about money, SEO, etc. Forget about affiliate links.

    Just start a blog and put up two short articles a week.

    Over time what you are saying will be 100% true. You’ll add Google analytic and see you actually get a few visitors.

    It simply doesn’t matter that at first you didn’t have Google Analytics. At first you suck but you’ll add Google Analytics later.

    It simply doesn’t matter that at first you have no visitors. You’ll get more over time.

    It simply doesn’t matter that at first you have no affiliate links. You can figure that out later and add them.

    Anyone who wants to earn money online should do this next: put up a one page blog. Only then can you have the fun of adding to it and fixing it up.

    Like you say, at first it will suck, but so what.

    Start today, add two articles a week, or a video, or anything you want. Only when you start can you actually try out new things. Over a year it is 100% possible that if you improve your site every week you can make some money. You might make decent money after a year or maybe two or three years, but if you keep DOING THINGS instead of only reading you are bound to have some success.

  • As always, LOVED your video… the second one. I needed to hear that. 4 months ago I decided to venture in the online business. I never expected it to be handed on a silver plate, yet I was hoping by now I would see some monetary results. I only have made $36 dollars!

    Yesterday, I was doubting if I made a mistake on doing this, as I was having to re-do 6 of my main posts.. meaning erased everything and started with the edited versions (my English is not great, so I have to hire someone to edit my posts) and from there, One Page SEO, pictures, videos, links, affiliate links… I was using SEOmoz (free trial) to check how my pages were going..

    When I finished, I was actually really please. As I did that so fast, who would thought all the stuff I have learned! SEOmoz was just my double checker at the end, I just thought.. boy I am getting good!..

    I can see that my traffic has gone from 0 to around 640 a month. I had several page 1 instances, and one on Page 1 Position 1 for a day! and that lasted me for a week in position 2. I was so excited. I even took the screenshot! and posted it by my computer…

    So things are certainly moving… I have perseverance.. I just lack patience! :)

    Video number 2, I needed to hear badly… So.. Thanks Shane! You made my day!

  • Hi Shane,

    Just wanted to say thank you for another great post. Really appreciate everything that you do here, all the information that you gave are genuine and original. Ever since I bought BBP, I’ve always respected you and consider you as a personal mentor. Getting BBP and getting to know you is the best decision I’ve ever made.


  • Thanks Shane for your honest, direct and very helpful approach. Like many posting here I can say that you are someone I come back to watch/listen to time and again because your advice is sound for those of us learning this business…

  • Great work Shane, thank you for taking the time to write this (and include videos). This article will inspire and motivate anyone to reach a goal of $1000 a month income and break free of their current ‘hunger’ for success.


  • Shane, Bang on the dot advice as always.

    Remember that your building a business.
    That takes many different skill sets.

    I buy many educational products “back link battleplan”
    for example. Excellent material.

    But refuse to buy blind sales copy, ie emotionally driven
    V Logical Copy.

    Great post Shane, Nice to be part of your community.

  • Top notch stuff again Shane. People are generally like water – they always take the easiest path until the way is blocked and then stagnate. Great honesty here!

  • Fab post Shane… thanks for sharing your experiences and sound advice with us …… your honesty shines through!

    I really look forward to your Sunday posts – through you I hooked up with firebug , learned so much about how to adjust my sites and loads of other really helpful tips- you give great, sincere value……

    Great stuff….. Please keep it coming ( plus, you’re cute!)


  • hi Shane, again and again… You are good at what you do ;-)

    these two videos and article is simply a ‘masterpiece’… it will be by far one of my favourite posts.

    yes, I have to agree… Focus on what niche/industry you want to start off with and develop it, perfect it… and leave the promised ‘must-haves’, ‘instant’ buttons clutter… Focus, research and work on your masterpiece…

    Cheers for this, great work!!

  • Hi,

    That’s all it takes to succeed, the rest is effort, dedication, learning from mistakes and never give up.

    Just a few doubts of creating new authority sites after Panda:

    – Now what do you think is the best choice of the domain name. Include keywords in the domain or not?

    – Do you think the long tail in domain names are a dead business model?

    Best regards

  • Thanks for the great videos Shane – I am the classic case of the person who bounces from one thing to the other. I will let you know just as soon as I make $1,0000. By following your advice I know it will happen

    Thanks again

    • Hi Tim,

      Looking forward to hearing about your progress! :)

  • Excellent video Shane! I couldn’t agree more. I am working on perfecting a skill right now that I should have done 2 years ago. It’s no wonder that I have not had a lot of success and been frustrated more days than not.

    Thanks for pointing these things out, I look forward to your Sunday Updates.


  • Ho Shane,

    As many people already said here, you got to the point – the right mindset is what could make you successful or not and this is right not only for online business but for any business . Also I would add that focus is very important as well.

    But, all I said above is not what really made me to write this comment. I just wanted to ask you:


    (I don’t know how many, but definitely more then 24) :)


    • Hi Alexander,

      Thanks for your comment!

      I sometimes wish I had more than 24 hours in a day. Or a clone, maybe. :)

  • Hi Shane

    I can but echo all the sentiments others have expressed in their comments – you have such a refreshingly honest and real approach to IM.

    My one question is around Joint Ventures. Unless I’ve missed it, there is no reference to JVs in your article.

    I’d be very interested to read your views on this way of getting our products into the world and building our lists at the same time.

    with kindness,

    Leo Searle Hawkins

    • Hello Leo,

      That’s an interesting addition. I had not though of JV’s as a possible method. And now, after thinking about it, I think it doesn’t fit in on the list. The reason is this: while JV’s are a great way to get traffic and there are, apparently, “JV experts”, how do you get started in this field? To be able to do a JV, you need some kind of an asset. You need a product, for example, and a customer base. Or you need an existing traffic stream to a website. JV’s are always based on some kind of an exchange. “You mail for me and I add your banner to my download page”. Something like that.

      So, it seems to me that to be able to start with JV’s you need to have something already created and working for you.

      • Alternatively you just bring people together – ie. become a JV broker. That way you don’t need any assets.

      • That’s a good point! Hadn’t thought of that. In this case, your asset would be your personality (i.e. you’d have to be a “people-person” and be good at connecting with and building rapport with people).

  • Hi Shane

    Yes, I agree – in my case books and meditations. The JV partner certainly needs something to promote.

    with kindness,


  • PS Just for clarity – creating products is the easy bit for me and why JVs interest me. It’s the IM where I struggle. Hence my reading your blog of course!

  • Impressive, lot of content here thank you.

  • Shane – Excellent post and advice, really well laid out and explained.

    I must confess that over the last year I mostly haven’t followed a logical and structured path to building success in IM… too easily destracted by those ‘shiny objects’!

    But things will change from now on… I find myself strangely motivated by your ‘teachings’. You seem to have a unique gift of cutting through all the hype… and I am glad I found you.


  • Hey Shane

    Another amazing post! And on my birthday too! This is definitely the resource I’d redirect anyone not making money online to. That includes me, and since I read this post last week I’ve been working hard on my offline marketing business. Will start cold-calling in the next couple of days. I have to thank you for giving me that kick up the backside.

    I was just wondering where you get your graphics from. They all have a nice Apple-y feel to them. Is there a specific site you go to? Both our sites have a similar style and I’d like to incorporate your sort of graphics on mine too.

    Thanks a lot Shane!


  • This post inspires me a lot. Everyday I found so many products in WSO, teaching people to make money online. And I have to say they never say the same thing that you mention in this post. I think it’s because they want to sell their products and those buyers like to buy things that make them earn money without efforts. Totally agree with you, building our own assets is the most important thing so that nobody can take it from us.
    Thanks for the fantastic sharing.

  • M. Douglas says:

    Hi Shane,

    Just wanted to let you know that I love reading your articles. I am thinking about started in IM and this was a good article. However, being that I am not familiar with a lot of things, I still have a hard time understanding what some of the terms mean. I do a lot of research and I am glad that I have never brought anything that promised me I would make thousands of dollars in a day. Most of the things I read state for me to just jump in and start, but I think that I will be lost for the most part. I will continue to read your articles and hopefully I can get a better understanding and start my business.

  • Well, you’ve done it again Shane. The information you give is so consise and easy to understand. Gordon and I enjoy this information and you always find time to answer our queries.

    Thanks a lot Shane – keep up the good work.


  • I just wanted to say Thankyou for your efforts in putting together such an awsome blog post about the reality of internet marketing. I think we all know it, deep down in our hearts that there is no shortcuts. But we continually seek easy way in search of that miracle cure for our ‘money problems’. You have provided a much needed reminder of what it really takes to succeed online. I really like how you reminded people to keep the end user in mind and focus on providing real value.

    • Thanks for your comment!
      Shortcuts are always tempting, there’s no helping that. I do hope that I can offer a more realistic perspective than what’s provided in most of the IM niche. :)

  • Hi Shane
    I am now 51 and have been trying to do all this for 2 years, other things have gotten in the way at times, as well as my lack of confidence and me buying every new Guru trick in the book “yes I fell for the hype too many times” I love your honesty, it cuts through to the heart of the matter. Your wisdom astounds me for such a young man! to say the least and I bet your parents are so proud of you and the parenting they have done, if not they should be!!!!!
    If you ever come to Australia I would love to meet you as it would be an honour.
    I love everything you teach and your honesty outweighs the money factor, yet your wisdom out weighs everything, wisdom cannot be bought, I want your wisdom! hehehehe any way Shane I just want to say thank you for teaching me some real values that I had lost for a little while.
    PS I still love your accent :)

  • Timmy Deleu says:

    Hey Shane,

    Always love you posts. First question: How do you make those wonderful videos with an all white background? :)

    Secondly, I’m currently focusing on adsense and SEO and I’m doing alright but now I’m thinking I want to be more of help to people. I’ve always wanted to start an internet marketing website for my country Belgium but what kind of held me back is that the market is rather small and methods of paying online exist but are either not known or not trusted (people are old fashion). This could either be a great opportunity or it could be a total miss.

    Your from Switzerland, did you go for the international market because it’s simply easier? Of course in Belgium competition is simply non existent. Think I should go for it?

    Kind regards,

  • Thanks for your tips. I’m new to the marketing game, but I hope that with my full effort (and help from blogs like yours), I’ll be able to make a go of it.

  • Hello
    Congratulations on the site, is inspiring and has no parallel.
    I’m new in these matters, but I realized that writing for the correct keywords is the defining element, the backbone of a site that seeks to gain prominence in Google searches. I have also noticed that the keyword on which we will rotate content should appear on the main elements of our pages (H1, meta-description …) but there is one thing that I can’t yet understand: what is the corret use of keywords in several articles. Let me explain, if for example I have a blog on “healing anxiety,” this expression will be my main keyword, I’ll use it several times, especially in the first page, but then I will add more articles on topics related to the keyword, eg “types of anxiety,” “anxiety symptoms” … and here lies my doubt. The keyword to use in the submission of these items should be the main “cure anxiety” or referred to the theme of the article? Or is it correct to use more than one keyword?
    Thanks and regards.

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