Don’t Blog About Making Money Online If You’ve Never Made Any Money Online

The guest post by Roman a few days ago prompted me to write this. This advice seem so obvious but for some reason, many new bloggers just don’t get it. When choosing a topic to blog about, don’t blog about making money online if you’ve never made any money online. Yet, I get emails like this one at least once a week.

Hi John,

Love your blog! I started a blog on how to make money online. Can you tell me how to make money from it?

Your biggest fan

I will admit, I’m part of the cause of this problem. Many people see this blog pulling down hundreds of thousands in income and conclude (incorrectly) that blogging about making money online makes a lot of money. What many don’t know is that I was already making hundreds of thousands online before I started blogging about it. And that is why I went from zero to $40,000 per month within two years of starting the blog while Roman’s How This Website Makes Money blog took 654 days to make $734.87.

Blogging About Making Money Online Will Not Make You Money

I’m sorry to break the news to you but blogging about making money online will not make you money unless you’ve actually made money online (and quite a bit of it) and are willing to share your knowledge and experience. People want to learn from someone who is at where they want to be. They don’t want to learn how to make money online from someone that isn’t making anything online.

If you look at all the big make money online bloggers, you’ll discovered that they were all making money online before they started their make money online blogs. Shoemoney was a search engine marketer making over $100K a month off Google. Darren Rowse makes far more from his Digital Photography School blog than he does from Problogger.

Without the past online money making experience to back you up, it’s going to be next to impossible to make money from a blog that teaches people to make money online.

Winners Know When To Quit

The old says, “Quitters never win and winners never quit” is not true. Winners know when to quit. One of the best books on the subject is call The Dip, by Seth Godin.

The old saying is wrong—winners do quit, and quitters do win.

Every new project (or job, or hobby, or company) starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point—really hard, and not much fun at all.

And then you find yourself asking if the goal is even worth the hassle. Maybe you’re in a Dip—a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it’s really a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better, no matter how hard you try.

According to bestselling author Seth Godin, what really sets superstars apart from everyone else is the ability to escape dead ends quickly, while staying focused and motivated when it really counts.

Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt—until they commit to beating the right Dip for the right reasons. In fact, winners seek out the Dip. They realize that the bigger the barrier, the bigger the reward for getting past it. If you can become number one in your niche, you’ll get more than your fair share of profits, glory, and long-term security.

Losers, on the other hand, fall into two basic traps. Either they fail to stick out the Dip—they get to the moment of truth and then give up—or they never even find the right Dip to conquer.

How do you know you’re in a Cul-de-Sac and not a Dip? I would call making a net income of $98.36 after 654 days with a make money online blog a Cul-de-Sac. While I admire Roman for sticking with his blog this long, I rather see him create a blog on topic that he knows more about.

The next time I get an email from someone asking how to make money online with a make money online blog, I’m going to send them the link to this post.

68 thoughts on “Don’t Blog About Making Money Online If You’ve Never Made Any Money Online”

  1. d3so says:

    I couldn’t agree more. At first, I thought this was a guest post.
    I don’t disapprove of blogs that are used to track the progress of making money online, just those that lie and state they make money but don’t.

    1. Mathew Day says:

      Major turn off for me. You would think the people who lie about the amount of money they make online know people can sense the BS right away.

      1. Have you looked at Roman’s site? He’s not lying at all. He puts the total figure in huge numbers on the front page. He writes about his failures constantly. He’s like the anti-John Chow…

        …and it’s pretty awesome, actually.

        I think if he’s passionate about blogging about the money he does or doesn’t make, he should go ahead and do it. And I think we can learn as much (or more!) from his failures as we can from many of the “gurus.”

        1. Mathew Day says:

          Wasn’t referring to Roman, buddy, but thanks for clearing that up.

        2. Yes, but he’s was using that blog about making money to try and make money. I made a comment pretty much saying what John just said in that post on how if you have never made money, you should write about something you know about instead of something you don’t.

  2. The first rule that I learned about writing was – write what you know. Readers are not stupid and can smell BS a mile away.

  3. Harshad says:

    Awesome Post. I see lot of bloggers blogging about working from home and making money online when they themselves have a day job. Practice what you preach else people will not follow you.

    1. d3so says:

      I have a day job and I blog about making money online.
      I just haven’t hit that threshold of income to quit my job and live comfortably off online income.
      Surely, you understand that don’t you?

    2. Abhik says:

      That’s not the fact.
      Anyone can blog about making money online only if he/she is really making money online.
      I know people making over 2.5k per month yet have a day job.. 😉

      1. Danger Brown says:

        I haven’t had a job in 7 years and often find myself tempted to dismiss those with jobs as ‘not worth listening to’. I try to resist that temptation though.

        Points of interest:
        1. Lot’s of people don’t have the guts to quit their jobs…ever. They still might know some good stuff though.

        2. Some people are simply in the transitional period when they are running an online business on the side, but they just haven’t quit yet. That transition can be a difficult financial and psychological barrier.

        3. I know a guy who has pushed well into 5 digit incomes in a given month, but still maintains a job. I suppose it might be about guts, but he also may be doing it to maintain his visa.

        1. Dan Lew says:

          I refuse to work for anyone, who wants to be told what to do? Yeah everyone has a job for all the right and wrong reasons!

          1. Harshad says:

            LOL… what I mean in my comment is that lot of people write about making money online when they don’t make any. I really won’t follow someones blog who writes posts about working from home when he himself has a day job. It’s very important to follow what you preach…it’s not necessary though.

  4. Toriq says:

    nice article john..
    i just started my blog, and this article very helpfull

  5. Vincent Ng says:

    I think the point is this…stick to what you know. If you don’t know, then get experience and build upon that. I run a blog that makes some money, mostly from e-book sales, but there is no way that I would even start to blog about how to make money online until I can solidly prove it. It’s like trusting an insurance salesman that doesn’t buy his own insurance.

    Vincent Ng
    Conversation Arts

  6. Michael Kwan says:

    Stick with what you know and what you like. That way, you have the opportunity to be great or even stellar. If you go with something for which you have no knack and no interest, you can hope to be mediocre at best.

    This is a sentiment I expressed on my blog a couple years ago, saying that you should focus on your strengths.

  7. Mathew Day says:

    Good point John. Don’t blog about making money online unless you’ve actually done it yourself.

    But, the blogs created when people first get into making money online and used to write about their journey to make money online, can be quite interesting to read. And sometimes a success later down the road.

    1. Dawn Le says:

      That’s good point Mathew, there are always some exceptions. I would say that people could blog about anything they want, however, they must stick with it.
      Looks like this post could become a controversial topic.

    2. Those type of blogs are ones that the person can build a real good following and fast. People like to watch how people progress and hear about their journey.

  8. Abhik says:

    Great post John..
    It’s always better to start with what your hobby is. The more knowledge you have in that field, the higher the chances of being successful are.

  9. mike says:

    great advice. i have been blogging for a couple of years and never thought of getting money for it. only in recent months that i got my own domain and still learning the trade. but i blogged about is my all time passion and i don’t blog about how to make money online 😉

  10. John, didnt you start this blog not know squat about making money online?

    1. John Chow says:

      The blog started in Dec 2005. I’ve been making money online sine 1998. I went through the dot com boom, survived the dot com crash and I’m still here. Also, this blog is not my biggest money maker.

      1. Abhik says:

        Can you tell us more about your online ventures? Perhaps in a separate blog posts?

  11. Iman says:

    This is an embarrassing fact! I’ve read so many blogs that clearly the person who is writing it has no idea of how to do what they are blogging about properly!
    But they do write a blog because it seems easy in the beginning and there are many people out there who encourage them to do so.

    1- Write about anything you know ins and outs of it.
    2- Treat your blog as a business
    3- Have a SYSTEM to lead your subscribers and make money

    In fact this is not the blog that makes the most part, rather it’s the system of your “blog business” which makes the money!

    There are many blogs with lots of visitors which are only making money from AdSense cause their owners don’t know how to create a system to drive their subscribers and make money.

    1. A lot of this has to be blamed on people who are teaching the “how to make money online”. A ton of them tell their students to go out and make a blog about it.

  12. This is so true John, You got to know what you’re talking about before you blog about making money.

    But there is more to it than that though, I owned quite a few websites that have earned me money online, many of them niche websites.

    After following your blog for some time, I decided to move away from those sites and towards more passive income, such as referral earnings and recurring affilliate income.

    I have made money online in many ways from adsense niche sites, clickbank, Amazon associates, incentive advertising (CPALead) and so on.

    If I start a blog today about making money online, that blog won’t make any money itself, nor will I be making money from blogging, however, I would still be making my money from recurring income.

    That is not to say that I’m not compitent or qualified to write about making money online though, as I have done so in the past, but purposely moved away from the niche sites toward passive income.

    Just my 2 cents.

  13. Ketan says:

    Absolutely! If you’ve not made any money and blogging about making money, you are hasting your time as well as the reader’s.

    1. Dan Lew says:

      If your not making money online you better hire someone to make it for you 🙂

  14. Making money online is pretty simple.

    You provide the memorable experience with the purchase of whatever it is you offer…and compel your customers to tell their friends about you as well.

    During this time, you internalize the insiders’ tips about marketing, self promotion and making your customer thrilled with your service. You continuously read up on what the leaders in your niche are doing, and see how you can apply them to yourself and your customer loyalty experience.

    And then of course, you write a book about it and start the whole thing over again.

  15. haha , ABSOLUTELY right ,i started writing this before reading cause from the title , of course i wouldn’t write about this if i have never earned !!
    i read the point and very well done , interesting !!! i agree !! 🙂 thank You

  16. Dino Vedo says:

    That is so true! I read that guest blog post and was thinking to myself what the f!

    Make money online is super competitive. What makes people think they should go in that niche if their not making any money??

    No idea, great post!

    1. Dan Lew says:

      There are millions of websites that are in the make money niche!

  17. fas says:

    Well John people think affiliate marketing is best for making money.

  18. drwox says:

    I disagree with you, people can write anything he want on his blog, he write about making money online not only from his experience but also from other people that have been successful from it,

    1. Yea, you can do that, but you’re probably not going to make any money from it, which was why he started it.

  19. Jagan Mangat says:

    Real facts expressed in the entire post.
    There are so many blogger blogging about make money online without even earning a single dollar,all the post material they gather from other sites or blogs in make money online niche.

  20. Paul B says:

    You could expand that idea to “Don’t Blog For Profit About Things You Know Nothing About”

    How many courses and dodgy MMO products recommend people go off and setup blogs/create products in profitable niches that the people don’t know jack all about? Selling that type of product then becomes borderline fraud, or depending on where you live, clear as day fraud.

  21. PPC Ian says:

    I really agree with this post. The make money online niche is crowded and competitive. Many of my niche sites that make the most money are in far less competitive verticals.

    1. Dan Lew says:

      Yeah healthy insights, less competition and upscale trends is the key!

  22. You are bang on John.

    I love seeing the proof – when Shoemoney showed those Google Ads cheques that was proof.

    He could then talk the talk then.

  23. Bill says:

    wow this post slap most of your comentator John. Most of the are blogging about make money online and they commenting a lot here to promote their make money blog hehehehe 😀

  24. Kristi says:

    I think some people just take the wrong approach to “those who don’t do, teach.” They figure they won’t make money until they make a product on how to make money, and hence they’ll make money from that.

    It’s like taking tennis lessons from someone who doesn’t actually play tennis and win. I went through three coaches before finding one that was awesome. What made him so special? He didn’t just teach lessons – he actively plays in local leagues, and has won the last five seasons at the top level!

  25. True words, too many people are trying to do this just becasue its the hot topic these days. Forget it, blog about something you actually care about. Nice post.

  26. This post couldn’t be anymore closer to the truth. I’m not in the “make money online” niche, but I am in the entertainment one. I’ve come across so many other online magazines & some of the editors have even emailed me asking how to do this & that. Asking questions like that is embarrassing for them because they’re the ones that started said blog/site.

    I just don’t get why someone would start a blog/site on something they don’t know/have passion about. That would be like going to college to get a degree in something you have no real passion for.

  27. I also want to add that what you said about already making money online before you started the blog. That’s a huge plus. I was already doing interviews with celebrities long before I started the online magazine. That experience has definitely helped along the way.

  28. Glass Vases says:

    I had read it somewhere that last year they introduced a law in the US that you cannot write review about a product if you have not used that product.

    Similarly there should be a law that doesn’t allow people blogging about making money online if they have never done so themselves.

  29. Earl says:

    I don’t disagree with the blog, however sometimes to get something in motion, you have to put the intention out there to make it happen. As an example – I wasn’t a marketing or tax expert when I started in that industry, but I wrote articles on things I had learned, did public speaking on pieces that I did research and study upon and lo and behold, I became a specialist and after awhile an expert. A very well paid expert, that started with articles and writing and eventually a blog. I’ve since switched industries, but you can totally utilize a blog to collect your thoughts and express and summarize what you’ve learned to mark your path on the road to success. As long as things are truthful and you’re not making outrageous promises, whatever you focus upon does tend to grow.

    In retrospect I started a MMO blog awhile ago, and it found me some HUGE opportunities that I’m currently working on today. I’ve only made just over 5k so far with it (the blog), so it’s nothing to write home about, but it gave me the focus to build the foundation I needed to stay on the right path in my business.

    Best of luck to all of you aspiring writers out there, but it’s true – write about your passions. But don’t forget to take the necessary actions to make them become your reality.

  30. You hit the nail on the head . . . we may all start off with a little “getting the cart before the horse,” especially when we first get started and are a bit excited. Blog about what you know and see were it leads.

  31. Dan Lew says:

    Although your blog should be your home base to create community and trust, you still need to rely on other sites or income streams to keep you going, never put your eggs in one basket, but always remember that your blog should be home base so that you can direct traffic to wherever you want at any given moment.

  32. Dan Lew says:

    Readers can normally smell from a mile away if you are talking about how much money you made and have not actually made it!

    1. That’s a good point too. Most people who make money have shown proof at some point or another, but when they get to a certain point, you’ll see a lot them tell someone that if they need to see proof, they’re not paying attention to what they are learning.

  33. Aira Bongco says:

    You’re right John.

    But I think a common problem among these people is that they are confused with the passion thing. Some people tell them to go with something they are passionate about. So they blog about their journey to make money. While not necessarily bad, they just cannot contribute something new or valuable to the blogosphere.

    So in choosing a niche, choose something where you can contribute something of value. If you stick with that. you can make a killing with your blog.

    Aira Bongco

  34. Bernice says:

    Man, this is the reason the “make money online” niche is so overpopulated with only a few people at the top actually earning a decent profit! It’s the easiest niche to think of and easiest niche to fake your information and get started at!

  35. ihaveapc says:

    Purpose of a site or blog is to usually create value.
    That is possible only when the blog creator has something valuable to offer, and in most cases experience in his or her niche.

    The irony of a blog not making money actually teaching how to make money is like selling shovels to mine gold instead of actually mining gold.


  36. Vee Sweeney says:

    I agree, but the guy does try. Yes, people want to learn from the best, but those who are the best now weren’t always the best. Everyone gets their start somewhere. It is actually nice and refreshing to see someone have ambition and determination even if they are not making a lot of money. He made over $700 online, which is something not very many people can say. Most people don’t make money online at all. Making a little is better than making nothing. I like that he is upfront and honest, which I think will get him far.

  37. People who haven’t made any money online but blogging about making money online are newbies that haven’t really understood about Internet marketing.

    They don’t understand that Internet marketing is broader than just telling people how to make money online. That’s just part of the niche.

    I said it because I was in that position. When I first knew about Internet marketing, I thought what I should do was promoting make money online products. But after I learned more and more, I knew that you can do a lot more things in Internet marketing / blogging.

  38. Rob Merlino says:

    So true. I tried starting a make money blog (I make more in a week than your example made in 654 days) and while I found it to be somewhat cathartic, I just couldn’t get into it.

    With blogging, the old saying “do what you love and the money will come” is very true. Don’t get me wrong, I like money; I just can’t write about it!

  39. Alexander says:

    Yeah. I can understand what you’re talking about here John. When I first started my blog I didn’t think about what could make me money, bur rather what I could get into and get excited about.

    So I ended up starting a blog about photo, and it works out a bit so and so, not really any readers yet.

  40. zakton says:

    I agree with you, John. When it comes to ‘how to make money online’, I only need to read blogs made by the 4 gurus: John Chow, Yaro Starak, Brian Clark and Darren Rowse.

  41. ebusinessmom says:

    true enough. how can you give if actually don’t have any . thnaks for the share. very helpful article

  42. Teena says:

    Very much agree with you, no one has the right to blog about making money online if he/she never made a single dollar out of it, in fact it better be big for readers to trust you about monetizing their blog. I really enjoyed reading your blog, including the comments.

  43. Mitch says:

    I don’t comment here often but this post was just calling to me. Finally one of you “super bloggers” has put this out to the masses, because these folks won’t listen to people like me. The number one topic people write about it making money online, yet, as you mentioned, most of them aren’t making much money at all, let alone making any money blogging. Niche or not, it seems to take a lot more than just putting words together and posting them someplace and hoping people come by and make you a lot of money.

    “Fake it until you make it” is a prominent term used in my business networking groups all the time, and to a degree I understand it. But I’d never give advice to someone on something I wasn’t good at, and neither should these other folks.

    1. John McNally says:

      I find the “fake it until you make it” blogs embarrassing, and I feel a bit sorry for the blogger. But not for long, because I don’t go there again. 😉

  44. Chris S. says:

    This seems obvious, but the cream always rises to the top. Those who have made money from their blogs will attract a true crowd through the authenticity of their posts. The others will be outed as impostors fairly easily I think.

  45. Steve says:

    John, That is some funny stuff. There is a lot of theory out there and a lot of copying of ideals from one blog to another blog. Makes you question just how much is being made by some writers.

  46. But I have seen some bloggers who were blogging about online money making without any money generation but their has been changed now and they are getting real money now.

  47. John McNally says:

    You won’t have to pretend you’re making money, if you buy some of my MAGIC ACORNS. Plant your own orchard of Money Trees NOW! Limited offer to the first 97 applicants. 😆

  48. ikki says:

    haha, I have seen some bloggers who were blogging about online money making without any money generation

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