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A Five Minute Guide to Making Money Online (in Less Than a Month)

November 1, 2010

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If you’re anything like me, the thought of earning a regular passive income online is a very exciting prospect.  The only trouble is, there’s so much information out there about HOW to achieve that holy grail it’s very easy to get bogged down in the detail.

The main problem is that, if you read up on the ‘received wisdom’ about making money online you very quickly end up with a bad case of confusion and indecision.

So, for all you folks suffering with eye strain after researching the secret to SEO success, social media strategies, Google AdSense revenue streams, online marketing tips and all the rest, here’s my fuss-free five minute guide to making  money online.

Get an online presence

It goes without saying that, if you’re not online, you won’t be able to play the game.  That’s why your first step is to establish an online presence.  The best, and most common, way to do this is by starting your own blog.  Go to WordPress and sign up for a free account.  Choose a name and theme and, after just a few hours of focused work, you should end up with a basic but passable blog – yay!

Start writing awesome content

Now you need to get your thinking-cap on and start writing some articles relating to the subject of your blog.  It should be easy to think of at least a couple of ideas for posts in an area your passionate about – whether it’s manga comics, sea-fishing or vintage clothes.  Take and hour or two to brainstorm some ideas and before getting started – one useful technique is to use mind maps to organize your ideas.

Forget about social media, SEO and all the rest (although they’re all useful tools) and remember that the number one key to attract more visitors to your blog is to consistently write top quality and useful content for your target audience.

Another fantastic resource if you need some more training is Darren Rowse’s eBook 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

Join e-junkie

Now that you’ve got a few ‘cornerstone’ articles written, and you’re starting to attract a steady stream of visitors, it’s time to introduce a few ways of making-money from your site.

One major thing to remember is that nobody clicks on ads anymore.  The worst thing you can do to make your site look awful and put people off revisiting your site is to fill it with flashing banners, buttons and all sorts of other bells and whistles.

Instead, the best thing to do is follow these three steps:

1. Work out the core subject of your blog.

2. Identify books that have already been written on that subject.

3. Find out which of those books run an affiliate program.

Acting on these steps, I signed up for a free account with e-junkie and started dropping links to some of my favourite books in my blog posts.  Now, every time someone bought a book or eBook via one of these links, I stood to make a small commission – at no extra cost to the buyer.

As far as escaping the 9 to 5 and developing a hassle free location-independent lifestyle goes, the chances are that regular readers of this blog will already have checked out one or more of the inspiring eBooks I’ve highlighted in previous posts (these are all affiliate links):

Leo Babauta’s The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life and Zen to Done.

Everett Bogue’s The Art of Being Minimalist and Minimalist Business.  Also check out his inspiring blog Far Beyond the Stars for more amazing insight on setting up an A-list blog.

Glen Allsopp’s Cloud Living.

Tammy Strobel’s Smalltopia: A Practical Guide to Working for Yourself.  It’s also well worth checking out Tammy’s blog Rowdy Kittens for more great inspiration on starting out small and building up a business steadily.

Adam Baker’s Sell Your Crap and Unautomate Your Finances.

Colin Wright’s Networking Awesomely.

Jon Anyasor’s The Power of Enjoyment.

WriterGig’s guide to Making Money by Writing for eHow.

If any of these have inspired you, I’m sure that you’ll probably want to mention them in your blog too.  Of course, if the chosen specialist area of your blog is different then you’ll need to choose some other books – but I’ve included these to give you a flavour of the variety of books out there within each niche.

And Make Money in Your Sleep...

After following all of the above steps, your blog is now primed to make you a steady stream of passive income. The amounts might start out pretty small but it’s encouraging to know that, after only a few hours dedicated work, it’s quite possible to establish yourself and create something to build on as the weeks and months go by.

As far as my blog goes, imagine my surprise when, after dropping the kids off at school, I settled down in front of the computer and almost fell off my chair when I saw a message on my screen that read – “Sale: Glen Allsopp, ID XXXX, Cloud Living.”

It was then I realised that, in a small way at least, I’d made an important step towards developing my own stream of passive income – and made $18 while I slept!

So, before you get too involved in all the schemes, strategies, techniques and advice that you’re sure to encounter on your quest to escape the 9 to 5 and set up on your own online venture, it pays to remember that sometimes simple is beautiful.

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Image Credit – KevinDooley via flickr on a creative commons licence.

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