The No-Bullshit Way To Make Money Online: Slow Cook, Not Get-Rich-Quick

Over the last few years I have tried several ways of making money online.

I wanted to get rich quick. Don’t we all?

I fell for the hype and got out my credit card, but I’m not ashamed. I’m human, and the sales copy was brilliantly written and tapped into my psyche and convinced me.

I gave it a shot, and I failed many times, but I’m not afraid because that’s when I learnt my biggest lessons.

I have had a few successes and many failures.

3 Ways I’ve Tried (and failed) To Make Money Online:

1. Make Money Online Simply By Purchasing A Domain Name?

  • If you are holding on to your domain names hoping for the day you get a big offer for it, don’t hold your breath.
  • Ever been shocked that a particular domain name is still for sale? Ever been amazed that it hadn’t been purchased already by someone else? Don’t be. There are thousands of domain names like that
  • No matter how exclusive a domain name you think you have, there are a million ways someone with real content will beat you in the search engines and sidestep you by merely adding a dash or another word to the domain name they buy for $25 to avoid purchasing yours for thousands of dollars

2. Make Money Online With Affiliate Marketing?

  • There are lots of variations on this, one common example is that you are promised $1 every time you sell a digital product. Your task is to get your hyperlink in front of a large audience so you buy advertising space on big websites such as TradeMe, NZHerald, YouTube, Facebook etc using an ad network such as Google Adsense, AdBrite etc.
  • Unfortunately the click-through rates are never as good as you thought they would be (the mega affiliates have already saturated the market and made all their money before you got your affiliate code) so if you ever make a sale, it’ll cost you $1.10 to make it (oops, you only made $1 on that sale so you just made a loss of 10c…)
  • Another variation is starting a small blog and featuring your affiliate links in the sidebar (or in the articles themselves). Sorry, your web traffic levels probably won’t reach critical mass, and the poorer quality your content, the worse the future looks for you if you rely on free traffic from Google

3. Make Money Online By Blogging?

  • Could you quit your day job and start writing full time and earn an income by selling advertising on your amazing articles? Probably not.
  • It seems that the only people making money by blogging are those that teach others how to make money from blogging…
  • I’ve written some pretty awesome articles over the years (if I do say so myself) and I actually have been able to turn one popular article into a small business, but I’m not going to give up my day job to write full time, are you?

My Slow-Cook Recipe For Making Money Online

I have had a small number of success at earning money online, so here is my recipe if you want to do the same:

  1. Find a niche that lots of people are interested in (and ideally only a few people are servicing)
  2. Do a better job than your competition at writing interesting, engaging content (eg articles, reviews, start discussions)
  3. Attract the people that are interested in this niche (eg with organic search engine traffic, direct marketing, advertising, Facebook, Twitter)
  4. Monetise the web traffic (with Adsense, or direct ad selling, or hold out for a buy-out of your business)
    • Sidenote: On average you need 100 visits to earn $1 with Adsense. Getting 30 visits per day? Hooray, you’ll earn $2/week!

There is no magic bullet.

And if you see a magic bullet for sale then that get-rich-quick gun fired a long time ago and you are too late to rake in a huge pile of cash.

What about you?

If you have tried and failed, or tried and succeeded at making money online, add your comments below.

40 thoughts on “The No-Bullshit Way To Make Money Online: Slow Cook, Not Get-Rich-Quick

  1. Thanks for the post Sheldon. Those affiliate marketing schemes seem the most persuasive, I confess to feeling the pull on a few occasions. Fortunately I’ve never had the time to indulge! Interesting your comment about making money from blogging. I think this is especially the case if you focus on a small or local audience which is simply not big enough to generate enough income.

  2. If you think about it, the Internet is probably one of (if not) the slowest ways to make money. I’ve seen people in forums that are “desperate for cash”. The best thing you can do is turn off your computer, pick up a phone and start offering services. Or better yet, just get directly in front of people.

    My prediction:

    Offline marketing of products and services will be hot again in 5-10 years (think direct mail and flyers). Everyone seems to be going full thrust Internet ahead. What does that mean? Now is probably the time to get into offline marketing (tactics).

    I’ll probably be wrong šŸ™‚

  3. Excellent article Sheldon. The get rich quick advice out there is amazing, yet, as you say, it’s all about how to blog about how to blog! I think the truth of it is that just like any other kind of selling, people only buy if they know they will get a real benefit and that comes from providing something meaningful and of use.


  4. Agree with all you have said, I have never made any money on the Internet, still trying.
    Think Mobile Social Networking will be the next big thing.
    Small Businesses need to get a blog and start advertising their produce and special by news of the day, or they will get left behind because cellphones and texting is all that the youngers generation do, if they want something they will look at texting before anything else.
    But how can we get that word out, people not reading papers, no telephone books around it will be done by searching on the internet, iPhones etc.
    Businesses need to claim their business on Google and get reviews.
    Sorry for the rant, but it is the future.

  5. i have yet to make big bucks online but as a stay at home mum of 2 i have managed to find small amounts around the place. like doing surveys for companys such as colman brunton, valued and
    i also regularly apply for samples online at different sites. its not alot but it all adds up. a free bar of soap or packet of tampons online means an extra loaf of bread in my pantry or an extra $2 in my piggy bank. they ususlly come with discount coupons too!

  6. Hi Sheldon,
    Very informative article. Thank you.
    I am a graphic designer (14 years working experience). Currently I work for a major sports league in NYC. How would you suggest I convert my skills into online financial success?

  7. I reckon it’s up to the individual whether they are successful or not at making money online. Whether they give up too easy. I’ve just started and just after I’d put together this free and easy blog site of how to make money, I made $2 in the first day. I didn’t think that was too bad. Working on the traffic thingee now. Crossed finger….will keep you posted, let you know how much I make huh. WATCH THIS SPACE!

  8. Okay, second day checked account. It’s up to $3.44…LOL. Wouldn’t have a clue how that happened but hey, I’m sure I’ll learn as time goes on, after reading my own site lessons (which I added listening to programmes and checking internet) and keeping picking up more knowledge. Haven’t sold a program yet. WISH ME LUCK!

    • So your strategy for making money online is to talk about how to make money online?

      That reminds me of how professional bloggers make money online about talking about how to blog to make money online.

      • As they say with everything “put it out there”. I’m assuming people are just clicking into the Adsense ads. Mind you, need more than one click. I’ll have to work on other strategies to get traffic though and bring in the bigger stuff. It’s okay, I’m working on it. Will keep you posted. If you have any tips, I’m open to listening. cheers Sheldon

        • And don’t worry, it won’t be through this website. This is just a start site, just playing with it, and it also reinforces the information in my head too. Working on a real niche.

  9. Nonie,
    Making $2 off Adsense in your first day of having a free blog on blogger can only mean that you clicked on your own ads, as this is impossible. You haven’t even been indexed in your first day or week for that matter for anyone to find you (meaning only you and your family/mates would know of the blogs existence), even if this was a 1000 page blog you wouldn’t be indexed so quickly. I imagine you’ll be hearing from Google soon for click fraud, and you need to be careful, because it can stop you from getting an account with them when you are ready to be serious. Anyway, there are better ways to make money on the internet.

  10. i have tried to make money online.but with no success –0 dollars.all the things i came across required one to buy–say 50 dollars–20 dollars and so on.then after that you have to purchase other things–which again costlike that.
    so it looks to me it is not possible to make money online..
    major hurdle i encountered–was i should have a credit card which i do not..

    what say….

    good luck


    • Hi Devendra
      My first tip to making money online is to stop getting hung up on limitations, you are creating barriers to your own success. Second tip is don’t buy the $20 or $50 sells – that is how they are making money online. The best advice I can give here is glean as much as you can from the free stuff.
      An example of this – I recently watched a video about how to make 10k before xmas. Of course if I spent $495 I would get access to the whole system as real people were walked through the process, however just before christmas I would rather spend $495 on my family. I was really impressed by what she was doing and how she was doing it. I am not prepared to throw good money after bad making someone else rich hoping that they will teach me how they did it. There are many people out there that will give you the information for free if you do your homework and most times all it takes is to ask them. They one thing that I did learn from her system is that she gives away 3 of her 7 steps in the sales video. So my tip – take the 3 free steps and apply them, google the free steps and learn as much as you can about them and then you will have the skills to start building your own product to sell as you are becoming an authority in the subject. Take what someone is doing and do it better.
      Last tip – don’t let not having a credit card stop you. There are things like loaded cards – which you can load with the $20 or $50 you want to spend online. That way you are not exposing your bank account to exploitation.
      Sometimes it takes just thinking outside of the square and you will nail what others are saying is impossible.

  11. Hi Everyone. My name is Brendan and 19 months ago I started a jazz guitar video teaching site with a friend of mine. Making money online has always been a goal of mine. After 19 month we have made approx 19k in revenue. Most of the funds have been reinvested back into the site. So no big pay day. But the slow and consistent approach is the best way. My advice would be.

    1. Validate your idea. I.e actually sell something in the niche. Do you have followers? If not there is a reason for this. Build a following.

    2. Build a list first. If people don’t give their email then your website sucks or n-oone wants what you have.

    3. Boot strap using wordpress and premium plugins. Don’t spend the big bucks on a website till you can prove it works.

    4. Partner up with someone else. This is invaluable because along the way you will feel like giving up.

    5. Have fun.

    Anyone interested in learning how to build a membership site that works feel free to leave a message.

  12. Thanks for this,

    I noticed that you have the classic ways of making money online through blogging, domain name flipping etc but you left out crowd funding and crypto currency!

    I made money before I become a venture capitalist through bitcoin (, BUY.X ( and raised money for my business via Kickstarter (

    Hope this helps someone who wants direction and good luck!

  13. I liked what you said about earning in a niche, blogging. I had a blog that was about computer stuff, and after a few years it was earning about NZD$3,000 a year. I did nothing for this money and sold the site for NZD$5,000. I did however, work out the average amount of money I got paid (Adsense) per article, assuming that the articles are worth nothing after 5 years (because of the subject matter no longer being relevant in the industry) and worked out that it was like about $20 an article.

    I then decided that the best way to generate money was to have other people writing the content for me. So I made a forum. But I’m finding that the SEO isn’t a good and the articles that people write are rubbish. There’s a lot of time moderating content and deleting spam.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like that you acknowledged the slow cook approach and just to add to your list of recommendations: Pick something you enjoy doing, because you’re going to be doing a lot of it for not much money… Unless you want to invest some real money and make something big, like a FaceBook, Wikipedia or do some cybercrime lol… Which of course, probably won’t pay off 9/10 times and will end up costing you a few grand.

    The best online money maker I’ve seen yet has been a colleague of mine at work, who runs a model aeroplane blog/forum. He enjoys doing it, so it’s worth his time and monetizes it with a little online shop.

  14. Hi Sheldon,
    I loved seeing your successes and testimonials from your clients it shows your integrity is in tact.

    How to make money online is a very big question as many roads lead to Rome. I am at present an Internet Marketer and my experiences have been that the management behind these get rich websites can be both angels and devils.

    The only thing you should be doing is to be the best Lead Generation expert you can be. With these leads whether a company goes out of business, which happens, you still have built a list of subscribers who know, like and trust you.

    Thanks Sheldon.

  15. Thanks Sheldon I’m not really into writing articles and I’m currently working on affiliate marketing which I am finding very lucrative I’m still on a learning curve and like you have lost alot of money due to hype and good sales copy very informative info

  16. I am making a very modest amount. I agree it is never as much as you think when you start. I would say however, that competing in New Zealand online market is easier than somewhere like Australia or the US as the competition is much less.

    • Thanks Russ. Just had a look at your website to. I love the way you keep everyone up to date with your attempts. Great stuff.

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