How to Lose Money on the Internet

I decided to name this article “how to LOSE money on the Internet” simply because that’s all most of the online money-making programs out there let you do. You lose money when you buy them, and maybe even, like me, when you register a site to put their “winning secrets” into practice. (They say “write about what you know” after all…)

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First off, I can sympathize with the desire to buy one of these ‘get rich quick’ schemes. Who wouldn’t want to make money at home, working when you want and how much you want, with extra cash and time to do all the things that make life great? Taking vacations, staying home with the kids, buying a cottage, going out to dinner whenever you want… Sounds pretty good…

In fact, it sounds SO good to me that I’ve been burned more than once on ‘get rich quick’ schemes. I won’t tell you how many times – it’s too embarrassing. Suffice it to say I’ve been through the grinder more than once. And when I say ‘getting burned’, I’m not just talking about getting my dreams crushed and my soul stepped on… I’m talking about losing money, time, and my faith in humanity…

But, the optimist in me is determined to make something good out of it all. So I’ve put together some rules to keep in mind when you decide to enter the internet world of money-making programs.


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The Darker Side.

#1 – No matter what they say, it’s old and outdated.

Think about it. If someone’s telling you exactly how they got rich, it’s because the idea’s time has passed and the author is on to something new. Treat what you see online like the financial pages – by the time it’s in print, it’s old news and the real players have already made their money and moved on.

That’s not to say that there aren’t ways to make money out there… just be realistic about it.

#2 – Paid survey sites are garbage.

I don’t know how the owners of these sites can look themselves in the mirror after promising people “$200/day!” filling in surveys. It’s complete bunk. You can make money, but only very small amounts. There are two primary reasons for this – one, you only get asked to do a survey if you fit into the often very narrow required demographic (e.g. unwed Indian men aged 35-45 living in New Mexico with at least 3 Hyundai’s); and two, you usually get paid less than $5 per survey. So for the 1 or 2 surveys you may actually qualify for, you may be looking at a whopping $10 over a week (or even month). Don’t get scammed – paid survey sites are pretty much useless. (Trust me – I’ve subscribed to 2 of them)

#3 – It costs money to get traffic.

The days of ‘organic’ internet traffic is over. Google, bless their soul, has made it so you actually have to have something IMPORTANT and USEFUL on your site to get listed on a Google search (what a concept). While this is good for us as information consumers, it’s bad for us as internet business people… because even with great, useful information, it can take many months to build up any traffic organically. So we have to buy that traffic, and there’s a variety of ways to do it. But it’s not cheap – it can very easily cost into the $$ thousands per month!

#4 – You’re going to have to work.

Despite what ANY of these programs say, even the best ones, you’re going to have to work. A lot. Sites don’t magically appear, magically get top listings and magically get updated constantly. It takes people (read: you) and hours (read: many, many hours). So unless you have thousands of dollars to pay for people to do everything, be prepared to put a lot of time into any online venture.

The Lighter Side.

#5 – Good info is out there if you can find the source.

Many of the “programs” being offered out there are just copies of one successful idea somebody published a while ago. When a program comes along that actually does work, it gets copied so many times, with the hyperbole being jacked-up each time, that you may only be seeing offers for what are now essentially scams. So find the original if you can, and avoid the copy-cats.

#6 – Be innovative.

The internet’s still a wide-open playing field, where fortunes can be made! Try being unique and innovative. Don’t just copy the old “secrets” (see above). Use your own imagination!

#7 – Be honest.

Some of the “programs” out there are really just instructions for pulling thinly-veiled scams on other people. Like using a great sales pitch to sell a basically worthless program with a money-back guarantee that doesn’t kick in until 30 or 45 days are up. The author is counting on most people forgetting about the guarantee by the time it’s up. While this does unfortunately work at some level, you will never be a real success this way, in business or in life.

#8 – Focus on what you know.

If you focus on a niche area that you know a lot about, you can create a unique competitive advantage that can separate you from the rest. And, it gives you something to market and promotes to help drive traffic. There are still lots of niche opportunities on the internet – don’t be afraid to avoid the herd!

#9 – Take your time.

Fools rush in… in this case, literally. Take the time to plan. Run your ideas by a friend or colleague. Map out your business plan, competitive focus, product/service offering, and site map. Doing so ahead of time will save you money and hours of heartache!

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Okay, so those are my 9 rules. Take them or leave them, but I’m giving them to you so you can avoid making some of the mistakes I’ve made.

So can you still make money online? Yes, you can. $50,000 per month? Probably not. But if you keep your expectations realistic and are prepared to put in the hours, you can make good money on the internet. Remember, if was really as easy as they say, everyone would be doing it.

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