Stop Trying To Make Money Online

So you want to make money online? How original. It’s almost as original as my decision to start this post off with a “So [insert post topic here in the form of a question]?”

I’ve been making money online since 1998. Looking back now, I can clearly see that all of the successful things that I’ve done online have something in common. Well, they actually have a few things in common, but this post is going to focus on the one thing that comes back time and time again at the very top of this list of commonalities.

And that one thing is: I didn’t try to make money Online.

I didn’t set out to make money, I didn’t focus on making money, I didn’t put any significant thought whatsoever into anything having to do with money. Instead, literally 100% of my focus, effort and time from day 1 went into one thing and one thing only… creating something great and building an audience for it.

Then, when I reached the point where I actually had something that was capable of making money, THAT’S when I focused on making money. Not a minute before.

It’s not just me, either. How many success stories have you heard that go something along the lines of: “I started the site for fun, just as a hobby. I never planned on making any money from it. I just worked hard on making it a great site, and eventually the traffic came. Now I quit my job and blah blah blah…”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? They just worked hard on making a great site, creating great content, providing something useful in some way, and gradually built themselves an audience. After that, the money practically came by itself. Interesting, isn’t it? The people who didn’t try to make money online ended up being the most successful at it, whereas the majority of the people who are trying their very hardest to make money online… they’re failing. Yup, that sure is interesting.

There’s a damn good reason for it, though. When you start trying to make money, it gets in the way of you focusing on what you truly need to be focusing on. The idea of making money gets in your head and clouds your judgment and screws with your decision making and really just ends up distracting you from doing the things that you actually need to be doing. It makes you work with the intent of making money rather than work with the intent of creating an awesome site that people will love.

Many people sit down and think “Ok, how can I make money online? What kind of site could I build that will allow me to make the most money in the shortest amount of time? What blog niche will turn me into a 6 figure blogger the fastest?” This is all dumb and counterproductive. The only thing you should be thinking at this point is “How can I create an awesome site that people will love? What niche could I blog about that will allow me to provide something really good and useful that people will want to subscribe to?”

This is what’s important, and this is all that really matters. I’m not saying you shouldn’t expect to make money, or make it your long term goal to make money. No, I’m just saying don’t let what you’re doing be in any way influenced by your desire to make money. Don’t think about it, care about it, or focus on it at all.

Basically, don’t try to make money online until you reach the point where you actually have something to make money from.

Yeah, sure, there are exceptions to this. There are people who are some combination of good enough, experienced enough, or just plain lucky enough to pull off something successful online despite focusing on making money from the very beginning. What you need to understand however is that these people make up a very small minority, and if you are having any trouble at all making money online, then it’s very safe to say that you are not part of this minority.

Do you know what that means? It means you would then have to be part of the increasingly high number of people that will either be greatly hindered by or fail completely as a result of putting money before doing what’s really important.

So, if you truly want to make money online, here’s my advice to you: STOP TRYING TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE! Seriously, stop. Instead, put every single bit of your focus, attention, effort and time into creating something great and building an audience for it. Because if you do that, you’ll end up with something that is actually capable of making money. And at that point… the money will practically come by itself.

The above post was guest blogged by Create. Market. Profit.

74 thoughts on “Stop Trying To Make Money Online”

  1. Thanks for this John. I know its frustrating sometimes for would-be internet marketers trying to disseminate thru all the information out there about making money online. Sometimes I wonder myself why I keep going with my blog. The answer comes back to me time and time again tho: because I enjoy it, its fun, and I like helping people. So, if it makes lots of money someday, great. If not, will I keep doing it? Yes. It feeds me in other ways.

    Your words hit home to me. Do what you love. The money will follow. So thanks again for a great post.

    Jackie (@girlwithnoname on twitter also)

    Girwithnoname (Jackie)’s last blog post: Fantastic & Healthy Oatmeal Recipe

    1. fas says:

      The above post is a guest post, John did not write it but his thoughts are quite similar 🙂

      fas’s last blog post: Important Tips For PPC Marketers

      1. Yep, John has preached this message several times before.

        Gold Coins Blog’s last blog post: Price Increases On US Mint Gold Coins

    2. Jake Stone says:

      Well said about your blog feeding you in other ways. Went to check your oatmeal recipe because of that line, but I have to say I didn’t really recognize oatmeal in that recipe, somehow it was so covered with all sorts of fluff. Now, I still like your blog also there are very few things more beautiful than a woman in a great shape. 😉

      Jake Stone’s last blog post: Those stupid twits that people call relatives

      1. Jake Stone says:

        Doesn’t seem to work for people that love to watch TV and drink beer from morning to evening.

        Jake Stone’s last blog post: Separate the lead generation from the rest of the sales process

  2. Cam Birch says:

    Thats a pretty clear message. I am quite amazed at how many times you have to repeat the same message before it sinks in. Money is not made because you want it, it is made because someone wants what you have.

    This is often your time, but it can easily be a product, or in your case John this blog. If you don’t do what you do best, then you will always fail miserably. People don’t pay money grubbers they pay for results. Just that simple, online or offline.

    Cam Birch’s last blog post: The Biggest Pain You Will Ever Sit On

    1. Jake Stone says:

      Yeah, best advice for anyone is to develop their own product. Then you have something real to sell instead of just marketing others’ products.

      Jake Stone’s last blog post: Those stupid twits that people call relatives

  3. reffers says:

    nice review john,

    focusing our blog/website to making money and make it full with annoying ads somehow making visitor not comfort to browse and looking for information that they really need… so we need to make our blog/web as a cozy place to visit…

    reffers’s last blog post: Adobe Illustrator CS4

    1. Jake Stone says:

      I hear you reffers, coffee for every visitor and comfy pillows to sit on, maybe some cool Nick Cave as background music.

      Jake Stone’s last blog post: Those stupid twits that people call relatives

  4. Danny Vella says:

    You ace’d it! great blog post

  5. Joe says:

    You’re right John but no one on here will listen to you.

    The DigitalPoint noobs will keep on with the spam blogs and creating nonsense mfa content. No one wants to create anything of value, no one wants to create a masterpiece.

    1. I agree. People don’t listen. If they did they could make money!

    2. John didn’t write this.

      And if people don’t want to listen, more room for the rest of us. I’m not complaining.

      TYCP Entertainment Magazine’s last blog post: Courtney Van Dusen Interview

  6. So true John, too many people really do concentrate on making money online like that’s the main purpose they are online. I agree with building an audience that has a relationship with you and the money will follow. Very good posts. Funny, the one’s trying the hardest are the ones usually labeled as s-p-a-m-m-e-r-s.

    Dwight Anthony’s last blog post: Goals 101 – Financial Goals (Article 3 of 5)

    1. Brad says:

      I only started making real money when i started writing my own content from the heart.

      Brad’s last blog post: No Freaking Way! (this guy makes $100k a day)

  7. game-girl says:

    The strong desire of money may create great tension on the way to it.

    game-girl’s last blog post: Мальчишник в Вегасе скачать фильм онлайн

  8. Mike Wayne says:

    Although I was originally skeptical when I read the topic of this post, I have to agree with most of your points here John.

    Too many people are trying to make money online with shallow content and over-obvious intent. It almost pains me to see a blog or site with barely a dozen articles or other content with so many ads that their template breaks and stretches out of place!

    Newbies and even vets looking to make money online need to first focus on creating something they love and have an aptitude for and then need to create rich content around it. Helpful, genuine, useful content, and a thriving community are the key. The money SHOULD follow….

    Mike @MikeWayne on Twitter

    Mike Wayne’s last blog post: Awesome Service…at JustDropped.Com

    1. Jake Stone says:

      Generally speaking almost all content online is somehow related to entertainment. Traditionally entertainment has been financed with advertising. All in all this equation has very poor revenue potential.

      Jake Stone’s last blog post: Those stupid twits that people call relatives

      1. Mike Wayne says:

        I actually disagree, there is good revenue potential in advertising subsidizing entertainment – hence commercials. Successful TV Shows, Radio Shows and Websites are all profitable because someone is paying to advertise to their audiences.

        The problem lies in people creating poor content to try to attract the audience. Those with the most success usually focus on creating great content that organically attracts eyeballs – and once you have a large, active audience that trusts and follows your advice – monetization is child’s play.

        Jusk ask John how many people INSTANTLY rush to sign up for offers he promotes 🙂

        Mike Wayne’s last blog post: Awesome Service…at JustDropped.Com

        1. Jake Stone says:

          Commercials interrupt the content and you have to watch them, this creates artificially high benefit for the advertiser and reason to pay a lot. This in turn leads into good content as the resources are there.

          No such luck in web advertising. People come and go and the payouts are low. The best way to make money with advertising in the net is to use networks that are able to manage minimal revenue streams into large revenue rivers.

          Newspapers used to produce great content, which made lots of money and supported armadas of reporters, but then all sorts of online news sites started to copy papers’ original content and nearly automated the whole process. No extra value, no big time revenue from online advertising, but it did pull the rug under newspapers’ feet.

          Why pay for something if you get it free from somewhere else? No more visitors, no matter how good the content was. No need to put money into developing great content, since it is so expensive to produce.

          Content is not the problem, but the underlying business model. However, I take good content any day over bad content.

  9. John, this is quite possibly the best advice you have ever offered on your blog. I owe all my success online completely due to the simple fact that I, at the onset, had ZERO interest to make money online when I initially started my Internet websites, and ultimately, company.

    As you so perfectly worded, my success, too, came from a website that was nothing more than a hobby, and my strive to succeed came not from the hunger for fast, easy cash, but rather, the desire to share my beliefs and, as a result, explore and have fun on the WWW. As time progressed, I met and learned from other, more accomplished Internet entrepreneurs, like yourself, and many years later, the $X,XXX-$XX,XXX checks and direct bank deposits started rolling in.

    Aspiring webmasters, heed this advice: you will not succeed online if your desire is to make a quick buck. Yeah, you might make a few hundred here and there, but the big money comes to those who pick a niche or think of an idea, and develop on it not for the cash cow that it could become, but rather, simply the love of creating something out of nothing, that is, nothing but thousands of intangible lines of code.

    If you don’t have the patience or the motivation, don’t waste your time online, and get back to flippin’ burgers! The Internet is no longer a get-rich-quick goldmine, no matter how many eBooks tell ya so. 1999 called, they want their $-obsessed, Internet abusing lamers back!

    The Internet is a tough world to penetrate, competition is intense, and no one gives a hoot if you whether you make it or break it. I, personally, spent many years solely learning the ins and outs of the Internet, be it programming, graphics design, content development, or marketing, before I received my first, yet to this day most prized, check, totaling a mere $1XX from Google Adsense (which I no longer use because they really do suck). Only if you search deep inside yourself and find love in whatever niche or area of the Internet you are trying to develop in will you see the dimes stacking up! You have been warned!

    1. John didn’t write the post though!

  10. Earningstep says:

    Top john , i have read your ebook again and again , so i already know what you mean in this post before i read it

  11. Jackie Chia says:


    Jackie Chia’s last blog post: Blue Man Group on Global Warming

  12. Alice says:

    Great article. I just had a similar conversation with a friend a mine. We were discussing turning my blog into business. I told her thinking of ways to make a profit really got in the way of writing good content. My blog is about my experiences living and working in Hollywood. The blog has helped me get work as a freelance writer which is one reason why I created it. But I really don’t want to write with money in mind for my blog. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    Alice’s last blog post: We Used To Wednesday: Black Music Month

  13. James Hartje says:

    Very true John, I know this personally as at first I started out just trying to make a quick buck yet now I love talking to users and talking about all topics of Finance. I even started a discussion board called RandomChatter to add more userface for my followers. You know it all John, you know it all.

    James Hartje’s last blog post: Sirius Launches iPhone App but Does it Matter

  14. I checked out this Guest Bloggers website and what I can’t seem to find is any mention of his name, or any of the projects or websites that he has created.

    Is there a reason why he’s not revealing his name?

    Point of Sale Software Vancouver’s last blog post: Pacific Amber Technologies Enters Into License Agreement with Inc.

    1. Jake Stone says:

      You know how it is. Making money online since 1948. Started with fixed line telephones and date lines, so it should be counted as online. Then came the office appliance that demolished other office appliances – fax. That did very well for me and then of course rest followed. Now I have tens of sites, which all rake me at least 56 321,21 USD per every 46 hours. That is the reason this person doesn’t want to show his identity.

      How’s your business with POSsystems?

      Jake Stone’s last blog post: Those stupid twits that people call relatives

  15. my effort says:

    thanks, your advice is very valuable, almost 2 years I find the focus of money online with not many results, your stories are all true, but I very need money, I will try again

  16. That is exactly what I am trying hard to do. I mean want to build a stock traders community that is very different from yahoo stock board. Yahoo board is full of exaggerating BS

    Stock Traders Blog’s last blog post: I May End up Holding a Bag of Financial Shares

  17. Good point John, money should be a pleasant addition, not a goal in and of itself

    1. On the other hand, if you really know what you’re doing, you can set out to make money. However, it probably won’t happen by buying some MMO ebook for $97.

      Gold Coins Blog’s last blog post: Price Increases On US Mint Gold Coins

  18. Do what you love, do it better than anyone else and as long as it has money making potential you will make money.

  19. James Hartje says:

    Stock Trader, I have the same problem, too many times are both Yahoo FInance and Google Finance Message Boards filled with spam. I like your website, good overall content.

    James Hartje’s last blog post: Commodities Rise Again

  20. Haha, my favorite part about guest posting something good = when no one realizes it was a guest post.

    Still quite cool though, glad you guys like it. Thanks again for letting me guest post, John.

    Create. Market. Profit.’s last blog post: The SEO Flowchart To Awesome Search Engine Rankings

    1. Upstarty says:

      Yeah, I was reading through the comments and I’m pretty sure only 1% actually read the content on JohnChow.

      The other 99% are here to do a drive by comment. It seems they are more interested in a disinterested, wasteful click to their blog than reading something of value.

      BTW, C.M.P., this was the best post that’s been here for awhile. Thanks.

      Upstarty’s last blog post: Sometimes, I can think too big

      1. Jake Stone says:

        Looks like John is now trying to maximize content production with guest writers. This for sure would give better return for the time he invests to this blog.

        Jake Stone’s last blog post: Those stupid twits that people call relatives

    2. That sucks that some people didn’t realize it was you though. It just goes to show that some people don’t read a post all the way before commenting. Not good.

      Great article though.

      TYCP Entertainment Magazine’s last blog post: Courtney Van Dusen Interview

  21. Interesting name for a blog when you shouldn’t be “Trying to make money online” Sounds like some good info on how to make money…just sayin’

    Gold Coins Blog’s last blog post: Price Increases On US Mint Gold Coins

  22. Palabuzz says:

    I am already aware of this but I never put some weight on it before.

    Palabuzz’s last blog post: Direct tv is what everyone needs

  23. Aansa says:

    “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” ~ Dale Carnegie

    Aansa’s last blog post: Save 15% on product of your choice in Rona

  24. Hi John. This is the best post I have read in your blog. Truly, this make me think you are not just an internet mogul, but also an inspirational guru. Thanks for sharing.

    Vic – BusinessAccent’s last blog post: Forty free marketing techniques for small businesses

  25. Yes John you are right, any person who goes through your ebook will better know what he has to do, generate good content….get the basics right. may be you should have a series of posts on how to start a blog without an intent of making money online at the first.

    Tips and Tricks’s last blog post: Automatic Email Response with Gmail “Canned Response”

  26. >>creating something great and building an audience for it.

    I couldnt agree more. Most people tend to over monitize thie blog before it has even kicked off the ground.

    Monetize Online’s last blog post: The Importance of Posting

  27. Jamie says:

    I agree. This has to be fun. Our blog is currently just basic happenings with our family, but I hope that our Summer Adventure will be something that people will want to follow. We look forward to sharing our 3 week coast to coast adventure with the world. There are bound to be a few funny moments with 4 kids in an RV for almost a month.

    Jamie’s last blog post: We have chosen our turn around point, I think.

  28. Asswass says:

    People won’t stop thinking about making money online. It’s human nature. People know that other people can make money online doing nothing at all. How are you going to tell them at this point that they can’t do what those people can?

    Asswass’s last blog post: First Rule of Radical Marketing (Post 6)

  29. So that means you should involve in those work which you enjoyed most and you never feel bore about such things.

    When you see that there is demand of your products or your service and you are best in providing such service than you should start charging.

    That’s what you mean.

    I am totally agree with you because if you like something than such likes can force you to digg it further and acquire the further knowledge and can make you expert in that field … as you are now.

    SW @ Quality Squidoo Lens Service’s last blog post: Social Bookmarking Service

  30. uzoma says:

    Nice thoughts from you John, the thing about making money online is the hype people have put into it, money moves people, so then the expectations are high and that is what you get from hypes

    uzoma’s last blog post: How to create a business blog with corporate designs

  31. Ben Pei says:

    Lol what a title.. Meaning we have to close down JCDC?

    Ben Pei’s last blog post: 4 Tips On How To Pull Your Reader In

  32. why sir, can’t make money again?

    harry seenthing’s last blog post: Decorate you House with a product from

  33. Helen Sam says:

    This is absolutely marvellous. I didn’t know it was guest post until I saw it in one of the comments.

    I think it’s still a great post and really brings home all I have been thinking about over the years.

    1. How could you miss that it was a guest post when it says “Guest Blogger” under the title & refers to the blogger’s site at the bottom? RIF.

      TYCP Entertainment Magazine’s last blog post: Courtney Van Dusen Interview

  34. Justin Dupre says:

    Got money on my mind… that’s what keeps me going fool! Need that bankroll to pay the bills!

    Make money Get paid!

    Justin Dupre’s last blog post: Facebook Cares About Click Quality. Really?

    1. Tangy says:

      Money, hoes, cars, clothes

      Tangy’s last blog post: Men’s Health Magazine Slingling Diet Rebills

      1. Jake Stone says:

        Right, now your talking, just take off those clothes and get in the car with the money and the hoe.

        Jake Stone’s last blog post: Separate the lead generation from the rest of the sales process

  35. James Hartje says:

    I think it is very possible to do both very effective in the sense of making lots of money and doing what you love.

    James Hartje’s last blog post: Get Rid of Corporate Taxes

  36. I don’t see a problem with trying to make money online, but I don’t think it should be the absolute number one thing from the start. If someone starts a blog & decide that they want to make money with it, there’s nothing wrong with that. The real problem lies in where they decide that the money is more important than the content.

    TYCP Entertainment Magazine’s last blog post: Courtney Van Dusen Interview

  37. "H" says:

    Shout to the world, John. Do you want to me help you?
    Create something great!!!!!! Create an awesome site!!!!!! Provide something really good and useful!!!!!!!
    Now, excuse me, John. I got to go and do that.

  38. Alan Young says:

    Just today, I say down to re-focus, re-start if you will. I was one who set out from the beginning to make money and knew I needed to do what is said here but always focused on the money…so thanks for this great post! It’s the first post I have read in my ‘starting over’ today and I am super stoked I read it! Thanks again.

    Alan Young’s last blog post: Living with Purpose is the Only Way to Really Live

  39. Well, I guess if you are the US Treasury this post wouldn’t really fit because that’s all they do is make, er print, money, especially lately.

    Gold Coins Blog’s last blog post: Price Increases On US Mint Gold Coins

    1. Jake Stone says:

      Hi Alan,
      Fantastic catch! Indeed that is what they do. Maybe they noticed that great content just didn’t exist, especially in the banking/money sector. I for one have put my investments into a very low maintenance index fund. Costs are far lower than managed funds and performance has been somewhat better. I’m very happy with this tool and would recommend it to anyone interested in stock investing. Just pick your local provider that quotes the lowest management costs.

      Jake Stone’s last blog post: Separate the lead generation from the rest of the sales process

  40. wow. really good post. you hear it all of the time. Follow a passion or do something real and money will follow. But you also have to understand that times are tough… people need money now. kids to feed. loans to pay. people have to eat. so time is not a luxury right. I do agree with you, only iimited success come following that route. great post.

    Jose Martinez’s last blog post: U.S. House OKs legislation to spur auto sales – Automotive News

  41. Well, it’s impossible to totally NOT do it for the money. Business is all about the bottom line. No money, no business. Online business is the same.

    But I know what you are getting at. Don’t focus too much on the money. Instead, focus on adding VALUE and the money will come naturally.

    Charles – Big Idea Blogger’s last blog post: Are you Brain-Dumping?

  42. Good post CreateMarketProfit.

    Your website url sums it up 🙂
    High qulaity content thart improves peoples live + a bit of marketing = profits.

  43. titan says:

    people know about that. But they ignore it. Sometimes, its better to ignore than know it.

    titan’s last blog post: Edisi Siasat: Buat Duit dengan ExitJunction

  44. money-era says:

    More valuable thoughts on making money online you will find here:

    money-era’s last blog post: Izea – new advertising platform for Twitter

  45. Just remember that a healthy business has a positive cash flow . No contradiction here . Plain and simple entrepreneurs pay themselves last and their aim is to build a good quality asset.

    Sulaiman Alhasawi’s last blog post: COtweet : Twitter CRM

  46. V.C says:

    Once I tried to join more and more advertisement programs that I know ’cause I think I could be rich with that. On the other hand, I didn’t build my website any more. I realized It was a big fault in my thought.
    One quote that I like : “Success never comes to those who sit and stare; it comes to those only who act and dare.”

    V.C’s last blog post: How To Trim Your Bangs

  47. Tyson says:

    I agree, however, it is a little confusing when “gurus” make it look so easy and “sell” the how to guides. Most people who are looking to make money, follow the steps, then don’t understand why they aren’t making money. Of course it is because most people looking to make money online are in need of it quickly. thanks for the post.

    Tyson’s last blog post: Press Release

  48. game-girl says:

    I share the opinion that hobby you enjoy may be a serious business and bring money but not at once.

    game-girl’s last blog post: Мальчишник в Вегасе скачать фильм онлайн

  49. Good post. It’s a hard shift in mindset to think of creating something without thinking of making money from it when you are financially trying to make things happen. It’s hard not to think of making money. This requires a great deal of discipline. How do you reverse this type of thinking when so many think of making money first before creating something they enjoy doing?

  50. James Hartje says:

    Quality content is key, I have been working very hard to continue to promote my Stocks on Wall Street brand in order to launch my website to all new levels.

Comments are closed.