The Fastest (Often Overlooked) Way To Making Money Online

Looking to make money fast? If you’re looking to do that through traditional blog monetization, you will likely be sorely disappointed. Let’s talk about what works.

So, the other day I got this email…

It was from a person who had just subscribed to my list. And one of the things I do with all new subscribers is ask them the 7 word question. And she answered me with a pretty long response.

In short, she was an older lady with some physical handicaps keeping her at home. They were living off social security payments. She was in a place where literally just an extra $300/month or so would make a pretty big difference for her and her husband. It was just to cover the basic living expenses.

But, what really got me was what she was thinking of doing about it…

I want to start a blog site to do affiliate marketing through pins on Pinterest. Blogging was a secondary need that had to happen to join affiliate programs and be able to pin. I can’t blog about what I know nothing about. So my idea was to start a blog about money. Budgeting saving being frugal etc. I know about that.

But, she clearly realized how much work would be involved and how overwhelming it felt.

I got computer and hosting company but can’t decide on business name. I’m considering buying a PLR turn-key niche site or some articles prewritten that I can modify so I can have some content to use on my blog. Then I can add to it and go from there. There seems to be so much info just to get up and running. Computer. Hosting. Domain name. About me profile page. Logo. Product to promote. 5-10 posts. Email signup area. Emails to send out. Contact us page. It is just overwhelming already and I want to do some affiliate marketing for the holiday season. At this rate I won’t even have a site by then. Let alone product articles except one or two.

I wrote back to her – as I try to do for every single email I get.

What I told her was what I’m about to say here in this blog post.

Because the last thing I want ANYBODY in this situation doing is trying to go down this route of blog monetization and affiliate marketing.

What was happening here was that we had another case of a person looking for ways out of their current money situation. Those kinds of searches inevitably will lead to sites which are talking all about various “opportunities”.

There is no shortage of “gurus” trying to cater to the “make money fast” crowd. They will talk all about the things you need to do to make money online. They’ll even talk about shortcuts like PLR content (which is a horrendously stupid idea, BTW).

But, let’s get down to some plain truths here.

How Is Money Actually Made?

Money is made by providing something of value to another person who wants it in exchange for money.

They have a problem that needs to be solved, a desire to be fulfilled. You provide them the solution they want. They pay you.

That’s it.

It is the fundamental reason why I shout from the rooftops that blogging is not a business model. It simply isn’t. People who come to this site expecting your standard blog monetization advice will be disappointed because I’ll be the first to tell you that you’re wasting your time.

Only a business makes money. A business, in essence, is a provider of solutions to people who want them. Your blog is only a marketing vehicle for it – and that’s it! That is it’s function.

[clickToTweet tweet=”A blog is only a marketing vehicle. That is it’s only function. It isn’t a business.” quote=”A blog is only a marketing vehicle. That is it’s only function. It isn’t a business.”]

You don’t start a blog in order to make money. You don’t start pinning product images to Pinterest. You don’t buy PLR content to stock up some blog with content thinking you’re getting ahead of the game. Because a blog is useless when it comes to making money – unless there’s a business behind it.

Those kinds of things are only setting yourself up to be a middleman in a world already rife with them. Nowhere in that equation is PRODUCTION OF VALUE. You’re doing nothing to provide any value to anybody if you’re trying to throw up PLR content and litter the world with affiliate links.

Want Money Fast? Get Direct To The Point.


Identify a SERVICE you can provide. A service that others could use that you can do.

It doesn’t matter if you are passionate about it. It could be boring as snot, actually. The only thing that matters is whether others would value from your service.

Then promote it!

As I told this lady who emailed me, don’t start a blog! There’s no point – at least not yet. A blog is a long-range marketing plan. She was in a situation where a few hundred bucks would be a big change for them. So, screw blogging! Get to the point with things like Craigslist, local social media groups and some in-person marketing. If your service isn’t location dependent, then get onto sites like Upwork and Fiverr and get some clients that way.

But, don’t blog! Don’t start pinning to Pinterest or tweeting.

You can create a landing page for your service if you like. That might make sense, actually. But, writing blog posts is the last thing you should be thinking about if you’re just trying to solve an immediate income issue.

What About Passive Income?

When I talk about freelancing, a lot of people would likely react with a shudder.

… Because the whole “internet marketing” field seems to be wrapped up in this idea of quick money, passive income, and sitting on the beach while money rolls in.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The reality of passive income is that it takes a shitload of work.” quote=”The reality of passive income is that it takes a shitload of work.”]

The reality of passive income is that it takes a shitload of work. 🙂 There isn’t anything passive about it. The only thing “passive” about it is that it is income which isn’t tied to your time. But, it takes a LOT of work to build up truly passive income.

Trying to go immediately into passive income when you’re just trying to solve an immediate income issue would be like trying to teach a baby to swim by throwing them in the deep end of the pool.

You also need to get your feet wet with making money independent of a J-O-B. Because, otherwise, you never actually are able to break that bond to your job and it actually can keep you from ever transitioning to this internet lifestyle that you want.

What Comes Later

During this process, you will be building a real business. You’ll be learning your craft incredibly well by helping others. You’ll come to know exactly what kinds of problems your clients deal with on a routine basis. You’ll also build credibility and authority.

All of this then allows you to more easily enter the information marketing world. Because, at this point, you truly will be an expert in whatever you’re doing. You’ll know what problems people are dealing with. So, product creation should be a HECK of a lot easier now.

And so you engineer a transition. Because freelancing is tied to your time and we all know you can’t get wealthy if your income is tied to your time. So, you begin to transition your services into “done for you”, automatic products.

You can scale up by selling your product instead of your time. You can branch out nationally or internationally with your reach because, again, this isn’t tied to you and your own schedule anymore.

Another good thing about this approach is that you’re establishing your value. You know what your time is worth and you will price your products accordingly. And not only that, you’ll have the BACKUP to actually price the product the way that you do. This is SO much better than coming out with some dinky ebook and trying to sell it for $9.95.

The Fast Path To “Make Money Online”

When you get right down to it, the fastest way to make money online is as a freelancer. You provide a service and you use the Internet to find/attract business.

A lot of people already do this. For them, the challenge is transitioning into the productization of their solution and selling it online. A lot of that will come down to systematizing their service delivery. Then, the systems you create in order to deliver to your clients are what then form the bedrock of your products.

But, for those just starting… give it some thought. What can you offer?

Don’t become so distracted by the shiny light of the “passive income” that you forget the business basics first. Namely, (1) Find a need or want, (2) Put yourself into service to deliver a solution to that need or want.

One doesn’t start an internet business by bypassing the obvious.

One certainly doesn’t do it by starting a blog or a social media account.

The Online Business Roadmap, from The Lab, can help you put all this together in the right order. And yes, it will work beautifully for services! It is worth noting that actual blogging doesn’t take place until Phase 3 of the Roadmap. And that’s because none of that matters until you have a business concept in place and proven.

The Lab is about building an internet-based business. It isn’t about monetizing a blog. That’s all secondary.


  1. Love this article! Straight and to-the-point. You tell it “like it is,” David, when you say you need to offer something of value that people want or need.

    And yes, free-lancing has many benefits.

  2. I love your honesty. It’s blunt and totally necessary. I have been trying to get my blog off the ground intermittently for months and knew I was doing something that wasn’t working. Guess I need to re-align my priorities. Your article is a great eye-opener.

  3. This is a step by step and easy to follow guide for me .AdSense makes sense. Google AdSense shows the right ads on your website, videos.I am a blogger but never earn up to 1000$.But I am energetic after reading your post.Its very help full for me

  4. Great post thanks and yes you mentioned some of the best ways to make money by blogging but one of important factor which is often overlooked is patience and this is where many beginner bloggers get frustrated so what I mean is that they have to give some time and as time grows they will see more income rolling in

    1. I couldn’t agree more. People see the success of others that have been doing it for years and think they can just blog for a month and get rich. Blogging is a long term commitment that not a lot of people are willing to make.

  5. Thank you so much, David. I really love to write, so my blog showcases my skill. I started my blog only a month and a half ago (well I set it up before that, but only started posting consistently then) and I was featured on a local radio show today. I have been taking bits and pieces of your material and applying it, along with tips and ideas from other places. It is a process, but it is so much more enjoyable than my “day job.” I have a track record as a writer, and blogging has helped me to come back to that and see hope for making it really profitable in the long run. I will go back over much of your material and applying it bit by bit as I learn the ropes. My blog is I have purchased the url and would like to move it there, eventually. I think you suggested that in one of the first posts I read by you. Also, I plan on getting into Aweber. I know I am missing a lot of details and technical aspects, but I also know it will come together, especially with your helpful guidance. You have a fabulous site here with incredibly helpful information. I will be recommending you to others, also.

  6. Nothing is like what you think it is.
    Blogging to the bank… this isn’t. Except to pay all the bills!

    Free lance? Never even entered my mind.
    But….even a 2 year old “newbie” knows a few things
    that someone, somewhere needs to know.

    You just have to point out what you know that they need to know without
    throwing out the baby with the bath water….except most of the time I just write about it
    and they can read for free if they find my blog post!

  7. Well, all I can suggest is creating blog anyway. I don’t think that it will be hard even for a newbie to fill it with 5-10 articles written in the right way for SEO.

    Most of the time Search Engines take too much time to “spot” you. So, you create a blog, feel it with content and start freelancing. While you freelance, Search Engines will “let” your blog in. 🙂

  8. It is true that if you create a blog with a purpose – to make money from it is a bad idea, but most of us think it is most important. The secret of a good blog is a quality content, excellent SEO optimization and.. Time! The methods described here are really good!

  9. What a great post. 

    Isn’t it something like 20,000 hours or 5 years work to be world-class at something?  Where do you build up that expertise if not working for someone else doing it, or as a freelancer providing others that expertise?

    Passive income is the holy grail, but don’t want to work 16 hours a day so that I can make money while I sleep.

    A lot of people want my help, maybe I should just allow them to pay me for it!  🙂

    Great post that really resonates with me.

  10. It’s all glamor and lights
    for newbies wanting to make money online. I started my blog about
    random topics and realized if I wanted to earn anything I’d need to
    find a niche’. I found so many unreliable sites giving bad info just
    to get some poor schmuck to buy a certain product, so I decided I
    would change the direction of my blog to to help others learn as I do
    about blogging to make money online. (I know beat me now.)

    Several articles in, I
    realized I wasn’t making any progress in traffic or search engines, a
    lesson all its own. By then I felt trapped in my topic. I truly
    believe my blog is honest and relevant which is why I keep doing it,
    but by the time I get anywhere (if I do) I will likely have earned
    more recycling a single soda can everyday for 10 years with the blog alone.

    I see 2 primary reasons
    for that. 1) The competition is fierce with very successful people
    already on the first 2 pages of search engines. 2) Many people come
    to a blog to learn about making money online because they’re broke
    and if I don’t have a program/product to help them do that quickly
    then I’m just a piece of advice.

    Freelancing is definitely
    a more lucrative option. 
    Sorry to have taken so much of your real
    estate here. I hope you don’t mind. 

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  12. Thank you for being the voice of reason.

    I’ve been a writer for hire for five years and I haven’t looked back.

    I have no idea why people frown on freelancing. I’ve had clients fly me halfway around the world to shake my hand and hold a business meeting.

    I’ve met some of the coolest people I could ever imagine through freelancing.

    Heck, some days I feel like crying because life is so good. I have no idea how I ever survived flipping burgers 12 hours a day.

    I’m just a guy from Northern Ontario.

    1. Right on. 🙂

      I think people just are enamored with the whole “sit on the beach and collect checks” thing… and they try to jump directly to it without thinking about what value they bring to the table first.

  13. This article is spot on with what I’ve been realizing in the “make money online” stuff that I’ve been reading. There are all kinds of “gurus” out there that push the passive income model, but they don’t take the time to point out that they were doing freelance work prior to their success as information marketers. Thanks for telling it like it is.

    1. You bet. And, yeah, it seems most people started out freelancing. I didn’t start that way, but I certainly did some freelance development work in my earlier days.

  14. AMEN. That’s exactly what I did, and now it’s really come back around and paid off. I have both an online AND offline business (I own a gym, and am a weightlifting coach). I blogged for 5 years before I released my eBook. Now it’s selling well and i have a relatively large audience for my niche. But that was only possible because I could back my shit up with real-world results. 

    Blogging is really just a vehicle for helping spread some message that you believe will help others to be better in some way. But that starts with doing good for people in the real world.

    Great advice David!!

  15. Thanks, great advice! I’ve started a blog of programming tutorials, but maybe I could take on some freelancing on the side at some point … it’s actually a pretty logical solution, now that I think about it.

    1. Yeah, especially if your blog isn’t currently making any money. If you like programming enough to write a blog about it, seems only natural to hire yourself out.

  16. Too many people are looking for the get rich quick, when I start working on my blogs, people were like “all you do is work on your blogs/websites” and all you made is 500$ last month?? They didn’t see this was all a building block towards the future, now they see how much I make and want to do the same, but as soon as I say it took me years to get where I am, they usually drop their interest,

  17. I personally have found this to be very true and is how I use my blog.  I did not start out to do it that way, but discovered along the road that it was the best way to go.   I have integrated lots of affiliate offers and have a decent list too, but the bulk of my income still comes from freelance services.  Thanks David! 

    1. Yep. Like I said, the “trick” is to transition out of it. I’m not saying people have to keep on doing freelance work forever, but it is a much more logical evolution than what people usually try (which is from zero to full-fledged info marketing).

  18. Steve Pavlina recommends thinking about the blog as providing “passive value” rather than passive income, at least at the start. That makes a lot of sense to me.

    Some things I’ve noticed in 3 years:

    * For a straight, “passive income” blogging play, it almost has to be advertising driven. I know very few blogs in this category which aren’t (that is, i know none). In this case, the blogger is an online _publisher_, and needs to think of the publishing business in that way.

    * Give away strategy, sell tactics. Eben Pagan is the master at this. Closer to home, I suspect Corbett Barr is also pretty good at it too, but I’m not yet a paid customer of his. One reason this makes good sense it that strategy tends to be timeless, tactics blow with the wind, so it’s a lot harder to get motivated to keep tactically oriented material up to date.  Freelancing is definitely a strategy.

    I could probably go on; I’ll stop here.

    1. Sorry to be dense in this, but I’m having a mental block on the difference between strategy and tactic. Can you clarify that thought for me so I can wrap my head around it?

      1. Hey Monica,

        Maybe I’m here a bit late, but anyway.

        Let me put it this way. Strategy is a map with directions, paths, hills, rivers, forest and desert areas etc. Tactics, for example, is what kind of boots you need for a specific terrain.

      2. Strategy is the important action you will do in the long term to reach your business objetives; tactics are all the small short term actions you will do to support your strategy.

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