My journey to making money blogging wasn't a rosy one.
In this post and podcast episode, I share some of that journey with you as well as lessons learned.
Listen to episode
I can remember it like it was yesterday.
There were three deposits in my PayPal account. Two $27 deposits and one $16 deposit – a total of $70.
It was at that moment that the course of my life changed. I now knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that making money online was possible.
Yes, I saw all the sales pages before and heard the stories – stories of those that had come before me making tons of money.
That had never been my reality.
You see – I had tried making money on the internet before. Allow me to share those experiences with you.
Stocks with the pastor
One day I walked into our choir director's home – pastor Graham.
I was a student at Andrews University at the time and was a member of the Deliverance Mass Choir (DMC).
I don't remember why I was there, but I remember seeing something I had never seen in person.
He had three computer monitors next to each other, and I was instantly in love. Not with him, but with having multiple monitors.
On two of those monitors, there were all kinds of screens with numbers, graphs, and tickers.
He had been investing in the stock market and was making a decent amount of money.
Fascinated, I asked him to teach me how. He explained the basics, and I was ready to go.
He warned me to try it out with a dummy account.
That's precisely what I did – I invested in the stock market with fake money. What happened? I was “winning.”
I had done some research and found a company that seemed like it would increase its value.
So I dumped my fake money in, and things turned out very well.
I was OBVIOUSLY a pro at this stock market game.
It was time to take the next logical step – throw in some real money in the game.
That's precisely what I did. I took $4,800 of my tuition money and invested in a company that was obviously going up.
It wasn't a problem though – I knew I'd make my money back and then some. I'd have more than enough money to pay my tuition, and then I'd have more money to invest.
What followed was an emotional rollercoaster. One day I'd be up $600, and the next day I'd be down $600. It oscillated back and forth for a few days, until one special day.
On that day, something happened. I wasn't sure what it was, but I knew it wasn't good.
I woke up that morning, and my investment was down $2,000. What the heck had taken place?
However, I knew that fluctuations happened all the time. Surely, it was gonna come back up. So I held on to it.
Unfortunately, it kept going down, and down, and down.
But it was too late for me – I was already emotionally invested, and couldn't pull out.
It HAD TO come back up . . . But it didn't. But yet – I couldn't see myself taking out less than I had invested until I had to.
I eventually pulled out, when my investment was down to $136. But I pulled it out because I needed to pay rent and didn't have enough money to do so.
My part of the rent was $162.50, so I had to add $26.50 to my “$4,800 investment” to pay my rent.
I never invested in the stock market again (but don't worry – I will get back at it soon, now that I know much more about it).
12 Daily Pro
In case you're wondering if I learned my lesson, allow me to disabuse you of that notion.
I didn't. I should've learned not to put money into something without fully understanding it. But I guess that wasn't exciting enough.
So I went on to something else. Something where I was sure I could make WAYYY more money WAYYYYYYY faster. The name was 12 Daily Pro.
It was something some of my college friends had gotten into. They were making money effortlessly.
All you had to do was sit in front of the computer and watch 12 websites flash on the screen for 12 seconds each.
That's it. For every day you do that for up to 12 days, you'd make 12 % of your money back.
Yes, with only 144 seconds of work per day, you could make 12% of your investment back. Moreover, after 12 days, you'd have 144% – for a profit of 44%.
Now that's better than any other investment I knew of. How exactly did it work? WHO KNOWS and WHO CARES? 44% is a fantastic return.
I knew I had to be smarter with this “investment.” So I only “invested” $100. I know – you think I was stupid. But hey – it worked. In 12 days, I had $144. Take THAT!
So I took the obvious next step – I “invested” $2000 of my wedding money.
Side note: My fiancee at the time trusted me so much that she allowed me to do that because I was so confident. She's amazing, and I was an IDIOT!
Day 1 – 12%, Day 2 – 12%, Day 3 – 12%. Everything was looking pretty good.
Day 4 – 12%, Day 5 – 12%, Day 6 – 12%. I told you – this stuff was working, and I was pumped.
Day 7 – The site went down.
At this point, I was a little nervous, but I knew it would come back up. Sites experience technical issues every so often. It was nothing out of the ordinary.
I reassured my wife, and the other people I convinced to dump their money in, that everything would be ok.
That wasn't the case. A few days later, the site was still down. I had no idea what was going on.
That was until I got a call. I don't remember who it was, but the person told me to turn on the TV.
They were working with the owner (read: fraudster) and were trying to get our money refunded.
I was fortunate to get my money back. Unfortunately, there were many others, including people I convinced to join, who didn't.
I decided never again to invest any money without fully understanding what I was doing.
I needed to be able to trace exactly where the money was coming from. I needed to understand how every step in the process worked.
Why I HATE Internet Marketing Scams
I didn't lose a ridiculous amount of money online (although $4,800 did feel that way at the time).
But I was able to experience firsthand how it felt to lose a significant amount of money. Not just that, but as you can imagine, losing $4,800 of tuition money had negative ripple effects.
I've been working online since 2008, and have seen a lot of “money-making opportunities” come and go.
And I've seen a bunch of people fall for many scams. Scams that make the creators rich at the expense of others.
And I hate it because real people are being hurt. So many people lose their savings and even retirement because of these scams.
Some even lose their families. This is terrible and needs to stop. Unfortunately, it won't. Not completely.
Because there will always be people, who will do anything for their own personal gain.
Fortunately, there's always something you can do to make sure you don't fall prey to these scams.
What I learned from internet marketing scams
I'm glad that I fell victim to these scams. Why? Because those scams taught me a few things.
1. Empathy above annoyance
First off, they enabled me to empathize with others who are looking for success the way I was.
I was looking for the “easy button” like so many people are today. If I hadn't experienced this, it would be easy for me to write off people who are looking for the same thing.
I know how it feels to be in a tough financial situation. I know how it feels to desire a quick win and a flood of extra cash pouring in from who knows where.
As a result, I can help to guide people who are susceptible to these scams.
2. Don't do what you don't understand
While the stock market isn't a scam, I didn't fully understand how it worked.
With 12 Daily Pro and the other scams, I didn't understand any of it at all.
All I cared about was that I could make money.
Now, before I make any financial “investments,” I need to understand what I'm doing. I take responsibility for my actions.
No more blind faith or, more accurately, blind hope.
3. Follow trusted, transparent experts/mentors
When I started to follow people who were doing what I wanted to do, I started having some success.
These experts had been there, done that, and were transparent with what they did.
The best mentors don't have anything to hide. Instead, they were very forthcoming with information. They spilled the beans.
I read their blogs, followed their social media posts, and took their courses.
By following these men and women, I was able to do what they did and see results.
4. Follow through with consistent action
This is where most people fail. In every program that I've been through, the majority of people never follow through.
They buy the course, take a few steps and then fall off the face of the planet.
Those who show up, follow instructions, ask tons of questions and then take action, succeed.
I always tell my Blogger Coaching Club members this…
When I took my first course on blogging, I was probably annoying to the other members.
I was on every call and asked tons of questions. So were a handful of others.
We showed up and kept showing up. We created content and have been doing so for over a decade.
And we're still around.
5. Work HARD!
Building any business is hard work. Don't believe the hype you read on those flashy sales pages.
Every successful blogger I know worked hard to get where they are. While they do have a lot of leverage today, they still work hard.
Fortunately, with the kind of business we're building, it's possible to get to a point where you don't work as hard.
I know I'm not there yet after doing this for ten years 😉
Making money blogging
On that day when I received those first payments in my PayPal account, my life changed.
Because I knew I could do that over and over again. My hopes were validated.
That was the starting point for everything I've been able to do.
I want to get you to that point. That's why on November 1st, 2018, I'm doing a 30-day Blog Income Challenge in my coaching club.
If you can see that it's possible for YOU to make money, you will be more likely to follow through.
Are you willing to follow the training? Are you ready to be challenged to take action consistently for 30 days? Are you willing to work hard?
If so, join me, and let's do this.