The Reality Of Learning How To Make Money Online [The Good and Bad]


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making money online reality
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For many people, including myself, learning how to make money online can be a very frustrating road to take.

If that’s true, why do experts sell the idea of making money online as an easy path to riches?

Experts also make the promise of passive income and that there is very little work involved.

I’ve thought about this topic a lot over the years, and today I thought that it was finally time to write a blog post about it, so without further ado, here we go!

What Exactly Does Making Money Online Mean?

Making Money Online, in my opinion, simply means you can make money with a laptop and internet connection as a minimum requirement, whether you work for yourself owning your own business, or do something less risky and find the freelance gig of your dreams.

As far as lifestyle goes, you can live as a digital nomad, work from home, or operate your own business from an actual office location of your choosing. You can work for yourself, or for a company as a freelancer.

To have significant real-world meaning to the term “Making Money Online”, we need to expand the basic definition a bit.

You also need some unique skills or circumstances for a making money online opportunity to work, such as the following:

  • You are a leading expert in a particular subject matter
  • You have a specialized skill set with little competition and huge demand.
  • You have a background of experience that is hard to come by.
  • You have connections that provide you with a unique opportunity that is not available to everyone, even your competition.
  • Any other unique advantage that can help make you successful, etc.

Notice how I did not say having money to invest because having money does not necessarily mean you will be successful in business. This is a truth so many people get wrong, especially newbies in business.

Why do you think so many people take out business loans and file for bankruptcy?

Now that we understand the meaning and circumstances of what “making money online” actually means, let’s get into the reality of the good and the bad.

Some Positives of Making Money Online

There are a lot of positives to making money online, besides just making money. They include the following:

Freedom To Work Where You Want

The freedom of working when and where you want is an awesome feeling. With a business that makes money online, you can work as you travel, stay at home, or even an office location. You can also have a flexible schedule and work when you want.

For myself, I get my best work and productivity from working out of my home office. I do have a shared office I can go to and work from if I need to be around others. When traveling I can get important work done on my laptop, but it’s not the same as working with a big screen on my desk at home.

Unlimited Earning Potential

You can make your earning potential as high as you want, without relying on a boss to give you a raise. The downside of course is you have to be able to have enough clients or customers consistently paying you money so you can keep bringing in revenue for yourself.

A slight turn in the economy or an unhappy customer can throw everything off track fast!

So you need to budget and plan your finances accordingly. There will be many ups and downs for the income of your business. But, in the larger picture, your net profits should keep growing and growing over the years, which will most likely surpass any salary you’d get from a job.

No More Visiting The Office; No More Office Politics

You’re free of having to report to an office and deal with politics around the office. The downside, however, is that you won’t be able to socialize with other people who work in your field or industry.

For some, being isolated for prolonged periods of time can be lonely and depressing, so make sure you get out of your work zone to meet others. You can hang out with old friends or meet new people through special events hosted on a site like Meetup.com or Eventbrite.com.

You Can Work as Many Hours as You Want

When you work for yourself and make money online, you’ll be able to work as many hours as you want. But, keep in mind that there are a lot of the hours you’ll work which will be unpaid.

That’s because when you work for yourself, you are responsible for paying yourself based on profits and not for every hour you work to get those profits.

It’s up to you to create solutions to solve problems for your customers, where you can charge them money and get paid for the time you spent researching that solution.

Or, if you are selling your experience and knowledge, you can bill them for the time spent working on their project.

If you are re-selling a product, you’ll make money between the low price that you source products for and the higher price you sell them to your customer. The more hours you spend sourcing deals and listing those products for sale, the more you will make.

You Don’t Need Any Technical Expertise

I think one of the best positives of working for yourself is that you don’t have to be very technical at all to be successful. Many people think that working online requires expensive software or programming skills.

Well, I’m here to tell you that couldn’t be further from the truth!

With many Software As a Service tools, and website frameworks like WordPress, Shopify, and the like, it’s more than possible to launch a presence online for your business and start a make money online venture.

You can even set up electronic payments with no coding experience.

That was not the case 25 years ago, the internet has come a long way!

Some Negatives of Making Money Online

As we begin discussing the negatives of making money online you’ll notice right away that the negative list is a lot longer than the positives.

That’s because the reality of working for yourself, to make money online, is actually a grind and can be boring and lonely 90% of the time.

But the other 10% of great things that do happen can more than makeup for any of the negatives. And, as you grow and start making even more money, the sense of accomplishment is even more amazing!

Here’s a look at the negatives:

Looks Scammy From The Outside

Because of all the get-rich-quick schemes out there, anytime you talk about the internet and starting a business to make money online, 99% of the people in your social circles are going to be very skeptical and think you are selling a scam.

Or worse, you got involved in some kind of network marketing business and you’ll be out to recruit them as well.

Time Away From Friends and Family

When working on your online business, you’ll be spending most of the time on your computer, away from friends and family.

Depending on the type of business you decide to work on, it might involve just one person to run it. That person will be you, and depending on your competition and how much you have to learn to make it successful, you’ll be spending many hours of the day by yourself.

Normal Work Day Could Be 10 Times Harder and Stressful

When you are working by yourself and are the ultimate decision-maker, all the weight of your decisions will be on you. Make a good decision, you’ll feel great and less stressed. If you make a bad decision and it does not work out, you’ll feel the stress that comes with that too.

It will be up to you to iron out the wrinkles in your business so things can work in a normally simple way that is profitable. You will need to design systems and procedures in your business to make this a reality.

The more business systems you put into place, the easier your work days will be, now and in the future. 

You Might Waste Time Following The Wrong Experts Online, There is Wrong Information Everywhere!

When you start Google searching keywords for your make money online business idea, you are going to find all kinds of experts telling you how easy it is to do. This is especially true if you search and watch videos on YouTube.

The big takeaway is that you’ll find a lot of useful information for free, and that really helps when you are a beginner. But, as you progress down your own path, you’ll quickly find out that a lot of business information becomes outdated and no longer applies anymore.

In the world of marketing, for example, many experts talk about how to write the perfect blog post so it ranks in Google. Google has hundreds of algorithm updates every year. Tricks that worked for Blogging last year may or may not work this year.

The same is true for any kind of financial advice or business advice as well. So be careful who you get your information from.

And, beware of outdated information in books and courses!

It Takes Longer to Make Money Than You Think

You’ll often hear make money online experts say that it will take you 3 months to start making lots of money in a new business idea. In 99% of most real-life scenarios, this is an absolute pipe dream.

Other experts will then say it will take 2 years to become profitable for a new business idea. 

Really? How exactly did that expert come to that conclusion?

The only person who can tell you how soon a new business idea will become profitable is you. 

That’s right, it’s you because you will be the one in the driver’s seat and will see all the unique circumstances come together which will make your make money online idea succeed and be profitable, or crash and burn into an oblivion.

On average, most new business ideas fail, but the ones that do succeed seem to become profitable after 5 to 10 years. This is just a round number and is very far from what most newbie business owners want to hear. But, it is the truth.

A Niche is Not Always The Best Path to Make Money

Lots of business experts will say to you “The riches are in the niches”.

There is nothing wrong with this statement and I agree with it very much.

But, what it leaves out is the idea that most of the time, a niche is a bad way to go. Generally speaking, picking a niche is very hard to do for a newbie and requires a lot of research upfront to make sure there are enough customers to actually make it profitable.

You might be spending time on designing a solution for a problem that most people just don’t care about. You’ll pour money and time into it, only to find out no one is going to buy it. Or show support for any of your work.

So, sometimes, it’s better to start with a larger generalized audience to target, then as you learn more about your business through experience, you can then pivot to a smaller niche audience, if that path is more profitable for you. But, you’ll never know until you start bigger, talk to your customers, then go smaller if the feedback says, yes, go a more niched down.

Business Plans Rarely Work, Especially When They Are Copied From Someone Else

Business plans are a great thing to write up for a new idea you have.

However, the way you start your business and the way you see it making money in the beginning actually ends up being quite different years down the road.

That’s because business is always evolving and when you are new and starting something, you’ll quickly find out that you probably have to quickly pivot your business idea based on the feedback you get from the market and your customers.

Never ever copy someone else’s business plan, that will always fail 100% of the time.

Not two businesses ever run the same way. Even if you copy your competition or try stealing their customers, it will never work so don’t waste your time.

There are many complexities of what makes a business or idea successful and the blueprint for profitability is always unique and very hard to copy, no matter how much money you have to throw at it!

Strangers Will Hate Against You

As you become successful, it’s very possible that your competition will begin hating on you for your success.

Whether it’s a news story, or a bad review, it may eventually happen to you. Essentially, people will offer their opinion on your faults or mistakes. You’ll need to take that criticism with a grain of salt and move on.

If you are running a YouTube Channel or Blog, you’ll see this all the time in your comments or even get an email in your inbox. I’d treat each one with respect and take the comments for what they are. And, if you do realize you were wrong about something, then acknowledge the critic in a positive way.

Being Online Too Much Will Drive You Crazy; Lots of BS Notifications

If you spend most of your time connected to the Internet during the day, eventually it will catch up with you.

You connect to the internet with your laptop/desktop computer, then you take a break but you are still connected with your smartphone.

During the day you get tons of notifications from spammers, blog comments, social media, and every other app trying to get your attention.

Do yourself a favor once in a while and turn off notifications on your phone. Also, close out unnecessary browser tabs on your laptop/desktop computer so you can stay focused on your most important tasks.

On the weekends, don’t be afraid to unplug for an entire Saturday or Sunday afternoon. It will help your mental health and prevent burnout during the week.

Get Rich Schemes Will Haunt You, The Illusion of Easy Money is Real and Everywhere

As you start searching for tactics for how to make money online or for information related to your business idea, you will be bombarded by SEO-optimized search results for how to get rich quick.

If you search on YouTube, you’ll see lots of hyped-up videos of how easy it is to make money with some new secret method. On top of the organic results, you’ll be bombarded with sponsored ads.

You might even start getting rich quick business emails in your inbox that you don’t even remember signing up for!

With the get-rich-quick business information that is out there, it’s not that the information is bad, it’s just not nearly as complete as it needs to be for making a successful business work.

Every experienced business person knows that you need some common sense general business knowledge to get started, but that’s only 20% of what is required, the rest is up to you and your own unique experience to make your business idea a success. This is why the get-rich-quick schemes simply don’t work.

You Might Work 12 or More Hours a Day

When you are first getting your new make money online business launched, you will most likely need to work 12 or more hours a day to make any real progress on it.

You can always start on it part-time, but you will at some point need to put some serious hours into your business idea for it to really take off.

And even when you think you’ve made it because you are making money from your idea or business. You won’t be able to relax because your competition won’t be stopping anytime soon to outsell you in your industry. Now, this is not the case with every business idea, but make no mistake, if you’ve discovered a way to make money online, your competition will take notice and try to outdo you to take your market share, so be careful not to slack off.

There’s No Simple, Single Way of Making Money Online

What works for one person to make money, may not work for someone else. Even if that second person follows the exact blueprint the successful person is using.

Anyone who has any experience trying to launch a business knows this is the truth, especially if you followed a perfect business plan and failed. The truth is that there is no perfect business plan and that person was lying to themselves into believing it was perfect.

If someone ever tries to sell you a business plan system/blueprint guaranteed to show sky-high profits, run away as fast as you can!

There Are Many, Many Emotional Ups and Downs

When you work for yourself making money online, there are many ups and downs. Some days things will work just fine, other days you are plagued with problems left and right.

You might even reach a tipping point where you are ready to throw the towel in and give up. If this ever happens to you, you need to take a step back and reset your mind a bit. This will help clear out any emotions you have and let you approach the situation with more logical thinking.

Every experienced successful business owner knows the problems will never stop, and neither will the ups and downs. Through trial and error, you will figure out how to conquer these issues in your business.

For myself, after almost 10 years, I just now feel like I’ve mastered the skill of managing the emotional ups and downs.

You Might Need Outside Motivation

You can only motivate yourself so much, especially if you are in the beginning stages of building a business and you’re grinding away at it every day.

To help keep yourself motivated it helps if you make friends with other business owners in your community. It’s best if you can meet them in person, but if you can’t, meeting them in an online community is fine too.

To meet people, try searching online through Meetup groups or Reddit forums.

You’ll Be Lonely at Times

You will ultimately feel lonely at times when working online, even if you are making lots of money or very little. Believe it or not, money is not the end all be all to happiness. Many rich people out there work a lot and never socialize and feel lonely and miserable.

So make sure to balance your work life and social life. Get off the internet and go have fun and socialize. By getting out there, you will most likely meet other business people and further your connections, this will organically help boost your business success with referrals.

And most importantly, you won’t feel as lonely!

Fraudulent Activities and Risks Everywhere

In many ways, the internet is still the wild Wild West. You have to protect yourself and your online accounts from theft and fraud.

One recent example of fraud I witnessed was someone taking over a Youtubers account and deleting the videos as a malicious act. Sometimes a spammer will hijack the account, and then push a live stream with a fake Bitcoin wallet address.

So be careful to lock down all the accounts that tie into your business for making money online.

You Will Try Many Business Ideas and Fail Many, Many Times

You have to be willing to invest a lot of your time because investing money does not guarantee success, you have to invest the time too!

The main reason for business failure is a lack of experience. And getting experienced will come at a loss of time and money for you. Even if you’re lucky and have a booming business right away, as soon as the market changes or competition comes in, will you be experienced enough to save your business when it slows down and is on the brink of failure?

If you never saved a failing business in the past, what are the real chances you can succeed in saving a failing business with no experience?

These are just all the things you have to think about, it’s your livelihood after all!

The Biggest Positive of Making Money Online

You’ll be able to live your dream life, whatever you picture that to be!

For myself, the dream was always being able to have the option to work remotely and build equity in an online business, that I could later sell off for a substantial profit.

So after spending 5 years learning about SEO, Blogging, Public Relations, Sales, Advertising, Local SEO, Client Communication Skills, Branding, Web Design, and Basic Business Skills, I finally was able to execute a business that allows me to make money online.

I don’t make any money with this blog at all, as of 2023, but it does indirectly help promote my digital marketing business, so that’s the reason I spend time writing blog articles.

But, I also invest time in writing articles because I want to be a good writer, so I can qualify the quality of my consulting work, which mostly revolves around creating online content for businesses.

Overall, in my journey, I made it through all the negatives and turned things positive, I hope you have a similar story to share eventually.

The Reasons 90% of People Fail

Many people fail because they think they can make things happen quickly. In the previous section, I highlighted the fact that it took me 5 years to learn a stack of skills, that helped me to solve a problem for my clients and then get paid by them.

Before that, every business or make-money online idea I had tried failed miserably, including blogging and freelance consulting.

The Road to Success and Upside is Long or is it?

I’ve been on the make money online road for the past 6 years, and after 5 years I started seeing significant momentum in my marketing consulting business.

But, I have to admit, as I’ve gotten older, 5 years does not seem like a long time anymore!

When you are younger, 5 years can seem like an eternity, but as you get older, 5 years go by very quickly. So be mindful of your perception of how long 5 years really is.

In my reality, it’s not very long at all!

Some Truths I’ve Discovered Over The Years Regarding Business and Making Money Online

The biggest truth I want to share with you comes from my own experience following various Financial/Business Blogs and YouTube channels over the years.

With some exceptions, most Finance and Business Blogs or Youtube Channels do have legitimate good information. The problem you run into is that most of the advice is very beginner level and not enough to really help you be successful with any kind of investing or starting up a business.

Information becomes outdated quickly, and things can change on a dime. So when you search for something, you might get an article or video that was produced over a year ago. A lot can change in a year!

The same is true for lots of business/finance courses and books, and even the education people pay for in college.

Business and Money Making strategies that work today, may not work tomorrow, no matter how easy the idea is to understand and execute.

Online reading gets you 10% of what you actually need to know, the other 90% is up to you and the experience you’ll get by just running an online business, which will teach you the real lessons of business, through success and failure, put together.

Not Enough Time

Another truth is that most people who are successful at business simply don’t have the time to advise others, they are too busy running their own business, etc. There are some exceptions to this of course, but those people are hard to find because their advice and headlines are not popular with attention algorithms that are pushed out by YouTube.

The business experts on social media who are telling you how easy it is to make money online get pushed more, because it draws the most attention from people, and watch time.

The Last Truth Not Too Many People Talk About:

Kids who grow up with parents running a business have a huge advantage vs. kids that did not. 

As a kid, you’ll have a twenty-year headstart over an adult who did not grow up with a business background, even if that adult went to business school.

When you are a kid and have parents who are in business for themselves, you are getting their knowledge for business 24/7.

I’m sure there are many, many more truths out there, and each and every day we learn more different truths through our own experiences.

Final Thoughts

If you are new to the dream of wanting a business idea that makes money online, you are not alone.

Over the last 10 years, I’ve tried various ideas and have been very successful, but had many flops too. It’s the cycle every new business owner goes through to gain the required experience for actually launching a solid business idea to profitability.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. We covered a lot of things and I hope you got some value from it, in deciding whether or not you want to invest your time and money into starting an online business for making money online!

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