Creative Commons License photo credit: Atilla1000

For many people one of the key ingredients in the lifestyle design process is creating an online business. For those who are successful this means needing to only work minimal hours from anywhere in the world in order to be able to fund your lifestyle.

Thousands of people right now are earning a living from the internet and yet many, many times that are failing dismally, wasting their time and money, barking up the wrong tree and will likely quit before they earn their first cent online.

So why is that so many people are trying to make money online yet so few are actually succeeding? What common patterns and problems are there that we can point towards in the hope of making your own journey to a successful online lifestyle business that much quicker and easier?

Lots Of Desperate Buyers

First off the whole MMO (make money online) market is a huge one with thousands and thousands of people desperate to quit their jobs and live the good life. This desperation means that people are willing to spend a lot of money to find out the “secrets” and people have become millionaires simply offering ebooks, software, seminars and courses on the subject of making money online.

Such a hungry market means your information doesn’t necessarily need to even be very good. There are enough new people looking for answers every day that simply being in that market can be enough to make you a full-time living.

“Silver Bullets” Sell

I hope you’re not too disappointed when I tell you that earning a living online actually takes some work. Yes, I know it’s a dirty word but that is the truth.

And people hate work. Look at keywords people search for related to losing weight and they’re all phrases like “lose weight quickly”, “lose weight without exercise” and “losing weight without going on a diet”. The fact is to lose weight you just need to eat less and exercise more. But people don’t want to hear that. They want a “quick fix”. So they buy the new “wonder” program instead.

The same applies to the make money online niche. People don’t want to hear about months of hard work. About offering real value to your customers. About spending late nights creating content or wrapping up products to send off. They want to click a button and retire.

So again unfortunately a large proportion of the products designed to help you make money online are based around a “silver bullet” principle – selling the dream of easy riches when generally the truth is rather different.

Businesses Are Easy To Rip Off

As soon as someone has a successful online business and talks about it, there are a hundred other people who will try to rip it off rather than coming up with their own idea. They may succeed, they may fail, but they’ve still tried to rip off a profitable website.

I have heard over the years of several people who agreed to be interviewed about their website business, how they market their site, how much money they make and within a few months dozens of copycat sites start to appear. Before long the original website owner has so much competition their website is barely covering it’s hosting fees.

Because of this hardly anyone with a successful, profitable website will tell you about it so you can go and take a look yourself. It’s just not worth the risk.

This means that no matter how much advice and information you receive on how to make money online you’ll still always have to do your own testing and your own experimenting to see what *really* works. Because nobody else is going to reveal those secrets to you no matter how much you pay them.

Practise Makes Perfect

One of the reasons that making real money online takes time is that building a successful internet business is a detailed, complicated process like any other.

You might decide to start a blog and then find that no matter what you try you can’t get any traffic to your site so you can’t make any money.

There are two possible reasons – either you’re trying to market your site ineffectively or you’re simply not very good at marketing. Just because something isn’t working for you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. And just because someone else claims to be getting great results from something doesn’t mean you will too.

It takes time, patience and a lot of practise to really get good at making money online, but then you wouldn’t expect to pick up a guitar for the first time and then join U2 the next day would you?

The Devil Is In The Detail

The difference between a successful and an unsuccessful website can often be very small indeed. As an example I once managed to increase sales at one of my affiliate sites from around $40 a month to just over $400 a month with just a few tweaks that took less than an afternoon to implement.

When you consider the almost infinite different keywords, niches, products, affiliate links, adverts, articles and more that can all be combined into literally billions of different combinations you can see that sometimes a website is so close to being profitable if only you can get the details right.

Another example of this is an old site of mine that was earning around $500 a month from affiliate links. I tried promoting a new affiliate program and the first month I earned over $2000. Same traffic. Same site. Same content. Just a better affiliate program. And until I changed this tiny detail I simply didn’t realize the potential of that site.

This is also one reason why, in my opinion, it is easier to make money from a small number of large sites than from a large number of minisites. Quite simply if you’re trying to make money from dozens or even hundreds of tiny websites (like some of the gurus recommend) you simply don’t have the time to be able to do all the necessary tweaking on all your sites to push them to maximum profitability.

Direct Comparisons Can Be Difficult

Common questions on internet marketing forums are things like “how many websites do I need to build to earn $1000 a month” and “how many links do I need to get to number one in Google?”. The fact is that these are almost impossible questions to answer because they don’t lend themselves well to comparison.

I have had incredibly profitable sites getting virtually no visitors (one tiny “experimental” site of mine a few years ago made over $100 a month with an average of just four visitors a day), and high traffic sites that barely paid their way. I’ve had sites that took six months to get to the top of the search engines and others that did it overnight with no links.

The only way to find out the answers to these questions is to get out there and try things out.

There Is No Single “Right Way” To Make Money Online

There are dozens of ways to make money online from creating your own ebook to blogging, from affiliate marketing to accepted paid adverts. There are even more ways to market your website and different people have success with different methods.

This means that internet marketing forums and ebooks can be full of advice on “what works best” and “what doesn’t work any more” and so on yet much of it is patently incorrect. Most of this is just opinion rather than fact.

So there you have it. A whole host of reasons why you’re never going to get every detail on making money online. You’re never going to get a complete blueprint as it simply doesn’t exist. But what you *can* do is to take some general advice and get going. The more you do, the better you’ll get and the more educated you will become.

One final point I’d like to make is that I don’t claim the way I make money online is the only way. Maybe not even the best way. But it’s certainly the best way for me. And because of this, and all the reasons stated above, I will always try to do my best to at least tell you what works for me. A decade of building online businesses is a quite a bit and I’ve learned a lot over the years. Hopefully I can help you too in building your own successful online business.