Making Money Online in 2014: 5 Mistakes to Avoid Starting Out

If you are hoping you can start making money online in 2014, you can avoid these 5 mistakes most people, especially me, made when getting started.

5 Mistakes People Making Money Online in 2014 Should Avoid When Getting Started!

  • Trying to sell ad space or other people’s products.  Making a quick Teespring campaign, placing AdSense on your website, or being an affiliate seems really easy to do right?  Nearly anything in life has a lot of depth to learning how to do it right.  Most things that look easy to get started with have a lot of challenges to doing right and especially to scaling up.  Nearly anyone can make a website and make a couple dollars from AdSense revenue.  I did that on my first website and would get excited when I would see Google paid me $1.00 for a click on their ads.  I thought I was on my way to making millions!  What I did not understand was how hard scaling up my efforts from making a couple dollars a month to making even a few hundred a month would be.  I tried a lot of clever ways to get traffic to my website and never made more than $20 in one month from having AdSense on my website.  The fact that it worked at all was the worst part because I would have moved on faster if it had not!  Next, I tried selling t shirts on CafePress.  Same problem!  Then, I tried affiliate marketing and was excited to get $7 earned after spending just $1 on the ads!  On the next $100 I spent in ad spend, I earned another $7 for a total of $101 spent and $14 earned.  Finally, I figured out a way to offer a service people would pay me directly for.  After wasting hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars trying to sell other people’s products, I found the easiest way to make money online was to get out of the middle and get people to pay me directly!
  • Offering to do everything!  When I discovered people would pay me directly to do one thing for them, the first impulse I had was to offer to do everything!  My first order was $699.99 for 10,000 Facebook likes right when Facebook pages came out and no one knew how to get likes for their page.  I ended up refunding the order after having some problems actually delivering it and founded my business on getting that right for the next year.  With seeing how much people would pay me to do something for them, my next logical thought was to offer everything!  If one lady would pay me to help with her Facebook page, then maybe another would pay me to do her website!  I succeeded at getting people to pay me to do everything from building websites, showing mobile ads, generating leads, creating Facebook ad campaigns, hosting focus groups, winning a national social media competition, winning contests for their kids, getting Twitter followers, getting Google+ ones, SEO, Google AdWords, YouTube views, sending Facebook messages, consulting sessions, and even writing medical SEO articles which REALLY sucked.  What I learned was that it was better to offer enduring value and be really good at doing a few things versus trying to do everything half assed.  The only area I got lucky in was that I consistently was honest with my customers about my work which encouraged some to stay with me as I learned to do better work in the area they needed.  If you try to be everything to everybody, you are nothing to nobody.  Focusing on learning a little bit of everything and getting paid to do what you are best at will help you start making a lot more money online in 2014 and beyond!
  • Building a list before giving value.  Many internet marketers tell everyone who will listen the power of building an email subscriber database and how to make money with it.  What they usually leave out is why anyone would want to participate in such a system as a user.  This bothered me a lot because I felt like I was on the outside looking it at everyone else making money online from list building and here I was with no list.  One day, I stuck my entire customer and lead list which had over 700 emails in it into MailChimp and sent an email to everyone.  After spending over an hour writing the email, my account got suspended and the email never got sent.  A year later, I finally came back to building my list after already having thousands of YouTube subscribers, hundreds of thousands of Facebook fans, and an existing email database of around 1,500 people.  This time I went carefully through the list, reintroduced myself, and did not include an Amazon affiliate link in the email.  I removed anyone that was not opening my emails so that now I have a small double opt in power list where I share my newest blog posts with people that love reading them.  While you can make money online in 2014 by building an email list using solo ads, Facebook ads, and other schemes, the odds of being successful making money out of it are very low until you offer real value on a continuing basis to the list first.  I bought a solo ad package from “the #1 solo ad guy” online that I have heard of and respected for many years in the warrior forum.  His clicks cost double what most people charged and while 97% of people shared their email with me on the landing page he recommended, less than 10% actually confirmed their email address and showed any genuine interest in engaging with me further.  Meanwhile, I get people opting in off my website, new YouTube subscribers, and hundreds of people discovering me each day for free through Google search and word of mouth.  I create free value on my website by sharing more than 50 secrets for success totally free on my blog.  If you create real value for people, your list will build itself.  If you try to force your way into building a list, you usually will end up paying other people that did it before you a lot to build your list and end up with a list of people that have no genuine interest in what you have to say.
  • Buying into an affiliate, MLM, independent business owner, or make money online system.  In 2004 when I first wanted to make money online, I bought into a make money online survey program.  Long story short it was worthless and I got my money refunded.  I wasted ten to twenty hours fooling with it and made not a dollar back since they kept what I did make when I asked for a refund.  At the same time, I got involved with my local Multi Level Marketing scheme.  I spent hours going to meetings, bought over $200 of the products to use myself, and kept ignoring messages from my brain that the odds were greatly in favor of this being a total waste of time.  I was also hoping to date the girl that I was learning with which also failed.  After going on an out of town trip to their sales meeting, I learned that what they called “bulletproof” in terms of belief in the system and products seemed like it would take thousands of dollars of investing in the products, hundreds of hours of trying to sell to people, a lot of creativity in how to do it, and did not seem at all like how it was advertised as a great way to be free of 9 to 5 and live the lifestyle of my dreams.  The people two levels above me would not even tell me what they were making because they were embarrassed at how small it was.  All they could say was it helped a little bit which I calculated to mean they had made a few hundred dollars.  I got another refund and kept my energy drinks and protein bars.  Seven years later, I started my own company online completely on my own and made all of the other mistakes listed on this page.  The one I am thankful to not have made again was this one.  After making it twice and then giving up completely on making money online in 2004, I hope what I share with you will help to avoid this too.  One lady emailed me a couple months ago saying she had spent over $8,000 on an affiliate program that was mostly setup instructions for a WordPress website and a couple of other useless documents.  At the same time, she was hoping to hire me to use Facebook ads to help make it work.  Since she told me she had put it on a credit card and the guy had told her she could not get a refund, I told her it did not matter what he said and that her credit card company would have no problem squeezing his payment processor for a refund or a penalty and she could get her money back.  Maybe she did it or maybe she didn’t.  I never found out.  What I hope I can share with you is that you should never buy into anyone else’s affiliate program, MLM scheme, independent business owner opportunity, or online money making system because doing almost anything else statistically is likely to produce better results including doing nothing at all.
  • Ignoring negative feedback about what you are doing.  If you are trying to make money online in 2014 and finding people are giving you a lot of negative feedback about what you are doing, listening to them is a good idea as I have learned myself.  Nearly everything I did for the first year got me a lot of negative feedback which encouraged me to stop doing it.  I recently put up a YouTube video for a newly released game called Destiny where I played the game and talked about my life.  The video was intended to be helpful but a lot of people hated it because they were expected to have me focus on playing the game instead of talking off topic.  At the same time, hundreds of people did like it.  The point is that if people are saying negative things about what you are doing, there is a reason.  Either you are doing things in a way people are not used to or you are really doing things the wrong way!  To make my first sale I referenced above, I sent hundreds of messages on Facebook to pages right when the feature was released.  I got a lot of negative responses to most messages I sent.  Some people were rude enough to say “fuck you” or whatever else they could think of that was most hurtful.  I found that what I did directly related to what people said back.  If I messaged the right person with the right message, I was very unlikely to get negative feedback.  Most people say you should just push through negative feedback.  While sometimes this is true, if you are doing everything right, you usually will get a very small amount of negative feedback.  I try to aim for a 10:1 ratio at a minimum. If 10 people love what I am doing or like my YouTube video for every one that hates it or dislikes my video, I then do more of that.  If you are getting less than ten to one positive to negative feedback, you are doing the wrong thing but only you can diagnose and admit to this.  Listen to all the feedback you get and know that while you do not have to apply all of it, people usually respond to you based on how you talk to them.  I have gotten hundreds of negative feedback trying to make money online.  The longer I keep refining what I do, the higher the ratio of good feedback to bad feedback is.  I got nearly half of the negative feedback I have received total when I started out.

After reading this, I hope you feel empowered to succeed at making money online in 2014 and 2015!  I wrote this post with the hope that sharing my mistakes with you might help you avoid making them yourself.  If you want to really speed up your learning, take a look at my professional fellowship online of people working to be successful.