5 Things I Wish Someone Taught Me about Making Money Online

I confess.

I am a sucker, just like you and every other person whose ever seen those infomercials.

  • Make $64,272 flipping houses in week making few phone calls!
  • Get 430% ROI buying selling stocks in the comfort of your OWN pajamas!

Right….

If you’re reading this blog, i’m sure you’re not the naive fool that you once were. Making money online is VERY doable, like how John teaches. If John Chow and I can do it, so can you. But here’s the catch. It’s NOT get rich overnight scheme. It takes TIME and effort. And yes, you might even lose time or money doing this. Take a look at JohnChow.com on wayback machine (i.e. archive version)

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If you notice, John didn’t get much traction in the early days. Yes ladies and gentlemen.. this guy WORKED his ass off.

But look at John now. Take a look at his driving with John video series – driving that sweet car in fancy places. Yeah, I say he’s doing alright.

Fact and matter is, if making money online and having passive income greater than your expense is the ultimate goal, it’s gonna take A LOT of work. I mean a lot.

I’ve all kinds of make money online things… like blackhat CPC arbitrage, CPA/CPS affiliate marketing, lead generation… i mean all kinds.

Here’s the truth.

1 – Affiliate marketing is NOT a viable business if you’re NOT building a list

Fact and matter is.. if you don’t have a list and people don’t type in your domain name, you’re pretty much hoping and praying to god that other people give you traffic.

Now call me crazy but hoping & praying is not really a good marketing plan. (Trust me, i know… because I’ve done that in the past too.)

Wouldn’t you want to get paid more than ONCE from a customer? That might sound unnerving to some newbie marketers out there, but that’s called repeat / loyal customer. But in order for you to do that, you must

  • be able to contact them or have them contact you somehow
  • show that you’re worthy of the sale (i.e. have their trust – point #4 and #5)

Control your destiny. Build a list.

2 – Blackhat marketing is NOT a viable business

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Unfortunately, when I got started on PPC, I hung out the “wrong” marketing crowd that did blackhat PPC and I did some blackhat marketing stuff that I’m not too proud of.

If you’re doing shady stuff (PPC, SEO, social marketing, spam.. whatever), just know that NO ONE is for you and EVERYONE is against you. You might be a technical wiz. You might have a fat advertising budget. It doesn’t matter because it’s a karma thing. If you have an ill will, you are bound get resistance.

Not only that, you gotta CONSTANT hustle. Change IPs, delete your browser cookies & digital footprints, change servers, have multiple bank accounts, etc. Then you have to worry if ad networks banned you, or if the credit card processors are gonna release their cash.. etc.

On top of that, you’re building ZERO business equity. Who wants to buy a blackhat business that has nothing but pending legal litigations and unpaid account receivables? Yeap. NOBODY.

On top of that, if you feel guilty about blackhat marketing, you have to confess like me. I don’t feel good about it. I felt shitty and down, wondering if I’ve violated my own principals. Even went to Thailand to do some soul searching after that.

Trust me. You’ll sleep better. Go clean.

3 – Cross promote & build relationships

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There are three ways to grow your list or your audience.

  • organic: free but very slow
  • paid: you gotta pay but very fast
  • cross promote: free and can be fast, but you gotta know how to build relationships

Look at John. On top of doing his own blog posts, video casts ,or what not, he’s seen in other people’s blogs (I found him originally on ShoeMoney where I guest post).

He’s not just a schmuck with a CMS.. he’s OUT there promoting himself and building relationship with readers AND other influential people.

Get yourself OUT there in public & stop hiding behind a monitor. Yes, this is internet business… and businesses really haven’t changed since beginning of mankind. It’s about NETWORKS and relationships. It’s not who you know.. but who knows you.

4 – Invest in content. BLOG like crazy.

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If you don’t believe in this, why are you on JohnChow.com? He teaches you to make money online by blogging. Let me give you another example.

When I launched my solar lead generation company, I had NO idea what I was going to do to promote it.

Then it dawned on me, i’ll use the same strategy I use to generate leads for customers… to generate my OWN customers.

I spent a solid month writing up my blog posts that I queued up, set up my auto responder, and went out and did exactly what I told you.. I built relationships and cross promoted.

And voila!

Solar installation is a NICHE business (less than 10k businesses relating to solar entire US) and I pretty rank #1-3 on organic SERP for bunch of “solar leads” type keywords. I consistently get 3-6 leads per week (leads to buyers of solar leads). If I were to bid on “solar leads” or “solar lead generation”, I’d be paying $15-20 CPC.

Yes, invest in content.

5 – Stop promoting products. Start promoting yourself.

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This is by far.. the slowest lesson I’ve learned. As a marketer, I spent the last 5 years promoting ideas.. or products. And having lived in silicon valley i bought into that stupid dream “build it and they will come.” Yeah, they came ALRIGHT… the bill collectors and eviction notices.

Now, there is nothing with promoting ideas.. John is teaching you the idea that you can blog to make money online.

But fact and matter is, John is OUT there in PUBLIC LIGHT. He could be teaching you how to make money milking goat or selling tampons, but he chose the topic of making money online (Hell, I bet John could sell tampons to grandmas). It really doesn’t matter because that’s not what he’s selling. He’s really selling himself. It’s never about the product. It’s about YOU. Products and ideas will ALWAYS come and go, but YOU will always be around.

Who are you? What do you know? What can you do for the customer? That’s what your readers / audience / customers want to really know. The point is… promote YOURSELF first, then think about the product or idea. But fact and the matter is, most people won’t. Why? Fear of rejection & criticism.

Look at me and John. We’re Asians. We’re definitely NOT the profile that most of the country (or the entire world) think of when they think of businessmen in America.

But do we care? F*ck no. We could care less about what they think. Remember critics can eventually become your fans or even your customers. And besides, do you think your critics care if your business goes down? Umm, no. So stop caring about what those mother f*ckers think.

Not to get all preachy or anything, but if you’re perfectly healthy with 2 arms, 2 legs, full set of teeth, have education, and are middle class in a politically & economically stable country… and you have a desire to really make it in business, what’s STOPPING you?

The world WANTS what you have, but you gotta get yourself out there. Get up on top of a tree and scream to the world. Who cares if you fall here and there, and not everyone might be interested?

Get in front of the crowd, not with the crowd. Take action. Be an expert. Teach others. Tell what you have to offer.

image01TaeWoo Kim is an entrepreneur, a digital marketer, a speaker, and a blogger. He has over 7 years of experience in software startups, inbound / direct response marketing, PPC/search engine marketing, lead generation, and email marketing. You can follow him on Twitter (@TaeWooKim), Google+, and on his blog FreshSuperCool.com.


40 thoughts on “5 Things I Wish Someone Taught Me about Making Money Online”

  1. Nino says:

    Love Love Love this page! You two are an inspiration!

    1. TaeWoo says:

      Thank you Nino. Glad you liked it.

  2. Jason James says:

    nice

  3. I’m laughing at the blog like crazy graphics. That’s not passion, that’s addiction. 🙂 Anyway, blogging still rocks. Although I’m one of the newcomers the possibilities of earning through a blog keeps me going. But for now, the real reward is to be able to provide something that gets appreciated through a blog. Nice post by the way.

    1. TaeWoo says:

      Thanks Del.

      Keep truckin’…

  4. Truly speaking John has realy helped me to realise my dream of owning a business on my niche. It is good that you have reminded us that we need to promote ourselves before promoting our products. Geat post TaeWoo!

    1. TaeWoo says:

      Yea.. i learned that the hard way.

      You promote your product and your product has no market fit. Then what? You give up? Better to promote yourself then promote stuff later…

      SEOMoz (i.e Moz) Rand Fishkin says the same thing.

  5. Metz says:

    haha! I keep on laughing! I love this!
    You made this article fun to read. I can relate to you. Haha
    Thank you for this “5 Things I Wish Someone Taught Me about Making Money Online”.
    I’ve been waiting for this kind of article! On the other hand, yes! You can be a crazy blogger in a positive way like what you’ve done. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Thanks for sharing this useful information. Actually i am a active reader of johnchow.com and you what i really like the last point “Don’t promote products promote yourself” Like here i don’t know you but as a regular reader of this blog i found you and if john have given you a chance to publish a post on his blog which means you in my list to whom i can trust. So be in touch.. thanks…

    Sachin Bhutani

    1. TaeWoo says:

      Thank you sir.

      MAke sure to follow me on twitter: @TaeWooKim

      And special thanks to John Chow for letting me post.

  7. Lee Good says:

    Hi TaeWoo, nice to “meet” you.
    This is an interesting article. I think it’s a great idea to sell yourself. I have learnt a lot from this article thanks.

    1. TaeWoo says:

      indeed.

      thanks Lee.

  8. Andreas says:

    This is very inspiring its time for me to get out there to make it happen, focus on one thing. this Bs of jumping around FROM ONE THING TO THE NEXT is just wasting my time and money

  9. Faizan Elahi says:

    Very nice tips and I will try my best my to implement these in my blogging and any other online marketing endeavors as much as possible. Cheers and hope to read more from you, Kim.

  10. faisal says:

    Sorry to say this but black hat SEO is still being used by websites and Google is not doing anything against it. I tried to notify them about it, but they dont take feedback.

    1. TaeWoo says:

      They have an ARMY of people whose jobs is to fight web spam..

      I knew a girl who was one of 500 people at Facebook fightig spam in 2010.. so imagine how big Google’s team must be.

      I think they are removing them.. but they have priorities.. so i guess small time guys get booted to the last of the line.

  11. Informative and entertaining! This part was great:
    “build it and they will come.”
    “Yeah, they came ALRIGHT… the bill collectors and eviction notices.”

  12. John Chow is a legend, whenever you do a search on Google on how to make money online, his name will pop up somewhere, if you are serious about making money online then you need to listen to what this guy is saying.

  13. What a great article! I think you’ve captures some fantastic points and out it out there in an entertaining way. I absolutely agree with your points about promoting yourself and building relationships. It really is all about networks and relationships.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Laura

  14. What a great article! I think you’ve captured some fantastic points and put it out there in an entertaining way. I absolutely agree with your points about promoting yourself and building relationships. It really is all about networks and relationships.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Laura

    1. TaeWoo says:

      Thank you, Laura

  15. # 5 – Stop promoting products. Start promoting yourself. So true. It took me a long time to realize this, but you are absolutely right. Promoting products sends customers to someone else, promoting yourself earns YOU customers that you can build a relationship with and who will likely buy more products from you.

    I think in doing that though, there is definitely a fear or rejection or failure involved. But if you really want long term success, I feel like you’ve just got to suck it up and go about it that way. Put yourself out there, stop trying to hide behind product/idea based sites.

    Great article.

    Stacy

  16. Edson Hale says:

    You are right if you have stuff ultimately people will follow you and forget about your personal matters but for that you have to keep promoting yourself; I would differ here that you should promote only yourself, the right way is to keep promoting yourself and your business both by doing one promotion to support other’s image; John Chow is a good internet marketer that means he is trustworthy and expert in his field both that is why he trusted on blogospher.

  17. Linda says:

    John has always been very generous with this advice and his knowledge has certainly empowered many. Top marks to him.

    1. TaeWoo says:

      Hi Linda.

      Umm.. i wrote this one. It’s a guest post. 😉

  18. Nice post. It’s good to know you are in Solar niche. It’s a tough niche and I’m glad you are doing well. I wonder if anyone can use free blogger and successfully “niche” any market – fast and sharp.

    I’m very interested to know.

    1. TaeWoo says:

      Yes you can.

      But you have to

      1) have passion for the niche (i like solar. I guess im a tree hugging hippie)

      2) the niche has to make sense financially

      If you have both, yea you can dominate. EVen if you’re not JOhn Chow. ;p

  19. Geoff Todd says:

    TaeWoo, Great article. I feel that I have made my way through all of those and now have focused on #1 & #5. Branding yourself is probably the best thing you could do. Plus one of the first things I ever learned but never implemented very much was “The money is in the list”

    1. TaeWoo says:

      amen brother.. AMEN..

  20. I agree it takes time and effort to succeed in anything in life. If there was a money tree I am sure everyone would have planted one in their backyard by now. I also agree that you need to brand yourself because products and ideas may come and go but you will always be there. If you are covering a technology blog then there will always be new technology out there. If people see you as the tech guy to get the latest information about technology then you will be successful

  21. Jayr says:

    This blog is really an inspiring to those who are starting to make money online. Thanks John for sharing your online marketing strategy.

  22. Kevin Martin says:

    I enjoyed this article a lot, TaeWoo. I really like the part about investing in content because a blog built on good content is a blog that has a real chance at making it big. I also like the bit where you advise us as bloggers to promote ourselves no matter what others think. Those two bits of advice are golden in the blogging world Thanks for writing this article!

    1. TaeWoo says:

      Thank you sir.

      Yes.. make sure you blog at least 2 hrs a day.

      1 hr for your own site.

      Other for giving away… like guest posting.

      Remember “content marketing” has the word CONTENT… and MARKETING. You gotta do both.

  23. Yes making money from blogging it is not so easy but I think this way is more stable then other.

  24. John says:

    Thank you reading this article it gave me alot of ways to go online and make some extra cash!
    Thanks

  25. Etienne says:

    Articles like these makes it easier for us ‘newbies’! I totally agree that we need to create a ‘Brand’ around us, promote yourself!

  26. Great post! The hardest part of making money online is finding out how. Blog posts and sites like this help to make it easier.

  27. Free Money says:

    Good tips, thanks. I have a video on how to make £106 in under 1 hour. It’s free to sign up and costs nothing!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIZlyAKIDio

  28. Great post, thanks for sharing. I agree with affiliate marketing you do need a list. A lot of the products I bought ( the shiney “how to make millions” products ) all boil down to getting an email and selling you their products.

    My email inbox is full of these emails telling me to “take action now and change my life forever.”

    No more buying for me and far more creating!

    cheers

    Rick

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