Last Updated on May 17, 2022 by Vasco Lourenço
If you want to know the best ways of how not to make money online, I’ve got you covered.
Building real wealth is dictated by three variables you have control over:
- The chances of success.
- Your control over that success.
- The level of effort.
In this article, I’m going to dispel some common myths about building wealth online, and by the end of this article, you’ll know the number one best way to actually take control of your financial future for good.
We are inundated with ideas and dreams and ways to make money online, build wealth, and control our financial future every day.
Success is like a staircase.
At the top of that staircase, we have all the wealth, promises, overnight success, dreams, income, and all of what we want.
At the bottom, we have failure and unfathomable sadness.
On the y-axis, we have our chances of success, and on the x-axis, we have our control over that success.
What can we do to increase our chances of success, and what can we control?
We’re all sold this dream of making money online in so many common ways. And I’m going to cover all of them and dispel some myths.
With crypto day trading stocks and HODLing to the moon, here’s what they promise:
- A $10,000 investment in Bitcoin in 2017 became $640,000 just four years later. Invest your money and buckle up because you are about to get rich.
And then you read on crypto forums: “Get in on the ground floor of a new crypto before it explodes, and you can 100x your investment overnight.”
Yes, Bitcoin had a huge rise, and it’s still going to go up. Lots of altcoins have had big explosions as well, but here’s what happens:
- A $10,000 investment in Bitcoin in November 2021 would be worth $5,970 in May 2022.
Bitcoin is very unpredictable. It’s completely out of your control. You make money, and then you invest in the dream of 10x’ing your revenue. Throwing $10k on a coin will not save your life.
If people are making a salary from their job and want to invest in something, they might say, “I’d rather put it in crypto than in the S&P 500 because crypto has a chance of 10x or even 20x’ing.”
However, this won’t save your life, and it takes so much mental energy to day trade and put money into this system.
This isn’t the way to build long-term sustainable passive income and wealth.
It’s a way to throw some money in and gamble it. You might make some money, but the mental energy could be spent on something else.
Here are your odds:
- Your level of control is low.
- The chances of success are relatively low.
- Your level of effort is low.
Crypto has become a popular way of making money online because your effort is low. That’s why there are so many YouTubers and people to teach you these things because they just want you to take your money, put it into crypto, and that’s it.
That’s all you have to do. You don’t have to do anything else, but you do not control your chances of success, and that’s where the problem lies.
The second method of not making money online is going viral on familiar platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
Here’s the promise:
- “To make money online, you just need to go viral. People on TikTok, Instagram, Twitch, and YouTube are today’s influencers, making all the money. I’ll create the next viral video and become famous.”
That’s what a lot of people do.
But here’s what happens with this approach to making money online:
- You post content for years, no one cares, and you can’t monetize it.
The familiarity of these platforms is why they’re popular. Everyone has an Instagram account, so they all want to be famous on Instagram. It’s just its familiarity, and everyone knows how to do it. Although everyone knows how to do it doesn’t mean you’ll make money doing it.
However, short-form content is the easiest way for people to get started, as you can reach an insane amount of people just by posting short-form video content (that you can then monetize with an affiliate link in your bio). Here’s how this program can help you do that.
With social media, there are plenty of opportunities, but there are a lot of downsides — you have the trap of the content hamster wheel.
If you want to make money on Instagram or TikTok, you have to post content consistently for a long period of time. It’s a lot of effort. Besides, you don’t own your content.
There are also influencers who can’t influence. Some influencers with millions of followers can’t even sell a t-shirt.
The monetization path is extremely difficult, and you don’t own the platform. What happens if it goes away or the algorithm shifts?
Here are your odds of success:
- Your level of control is low.
- The chances of success are low to medium (although you can make some good money with the right education).
- Your level of effort is high.
Everyone is familiar with these platforms and wants to go viral, but that’s not how you build a sustainable online business creating passive income.
I know some people who’ve achieved 6-figures doing TikTok videos monetizing their channels with high-ticket affiliate marketing. I’m not saying it’s not possible. But what happens if (or when) TikTok changes its algorithms and you lose your reach?
You can’t rely solely on a social media platform for your business. That’s a good place to start for complete beginners who want to get out of their comfort zone and shoot short videos promoting a high-ticket affiliate product.
However, ultimately, you don’t control those platforms and, worst, you don’t own your content (TikTok can block your account and you lose everything).
We all heard about get-rich-quick schemes, and if you’re like me, you’ve run away from them as fast as possible.
Here’s their promise:
- “You can make millions overnight if you just follow this simple formula. All of my clients are making $200,000 a month with this dropshipping hack. Or you can start a marketing agency and live the life of your dreams. Buy this course, and you’ll have success in 90 days guaranteed.”
But here’s what happens:
- You create a website and then realize that it means nothing. You spend money advertising your Alibaba dropshipping company, but you don’t understand SEO. Finally, you realize it’s extremely difficult, and you quit.
Having a website means nothing. Marketing and building a real brand is challenging because you need to know all the marketing channels.
If you’re starting a marketing agency, you need to have clients, service them and make sure they get results.
The promise of overnight success is just greatly overstated. However, we’re getting a little bit better though.
Here are the odds of success:
- Your level of control is medium.
- The chances of success are low to medium (depending on your marketing experience).
- Your level of effort is extremely high.
To build an actual dropshipping company, you have to create a website, add products to it, sync your inventory, get all of that set up, and then actually market it through Facebook ads (getting more expensive every year), Google ads, and email marketing.
Besides, you have to deal with customer complaints, feedback, and support. It’s a lot of work!
So what is the unsexiest answer to all of this? How do we build real wealth where we actually can control it?
A slow growth passive income business is the way to do it.
Here’s what we need to do:
- Control our success.
- Have a high chance of success.
What is the not-so-cool unsexy way to change your life?
If you lengthen your time horizon, success is almost guaranteed. You have to think about getting rich slightly slower than 90 days. With crypto, we want to get rich overnight; going viral, overnight; and get-rich-quick schemes are about 90 days.
What if you could create a system to make us rich, but it took us three years to do it?
We’d need something where:
- The chances of success are high but not overnight.
- We have control over the outcome (not like crypto, where we have no control over it), and we’re dictating our own future.
- Our level of effort is controllable (maybe it’s high for a while when we’re first getting started, but then our business scales and the effort becomes low).
Our level of effort is 100% correlated with our leverage. The more leverage you have (the more you’ve done this thing), the lower level of effort you need over time.
We want something where:
- The level of control is high.
- The chance of success is high.
- And the level of effort is high at first and then goes down (and is low based on leverage).
That is the perfect wealth builder in this digital age.
So what is this business with a high chance of success, a high level of control, and a decreasing amount of effort over time?
This business is YOU!
In the creator economy, your personal brand is the only thing you won’t quit. It’s not a niche site, a dropshipping company, a marketing agency, a viral video, or a platform-dependent social media profile.
This is the brand of you.
- Who are you?
- What is your message?
- What do you want to share, and how will you monetize it?
This is what is infinitely scalable with no revenue ceiling because with you on the Internet, you can pivot and adapt. You are never beholden to a tiny niche — you are the niche.
What if you had a website with your name on it, and you could post anything on it, and over time you would make money if you just lengthened your time horizon a little bit and started this journey of actually beginning to control something for yourself?
You might have noticed that I’m talking about a personal brand blog.
A blog is a mediator of purchase decisions. Somebody thinks of something, they type it in on Google, and a website is what funnels them to the information they want. And people make purchases, and they make affiliate sales.
A blog is evergreen as well.
It ranks on Google over time. You don’t have to create some new viral hit every day (like three videos a day on TikTok, YouTube shorts, Instagram reels, etc.). Your blog article just sits there, ranking and collecting clicks and affiliate sales.
With a website, you actually own the platform, unlike content on social media. What’s more, it can be outsourced and built in the background of your life.
Most people work on their jobs and want to make money online. That’s why most do things like crypto because it doesn’t take much time to do it. They just throw money at it and hope that it goes up.
But what if you actually wanted to take control and do something that could make you long-term sustainable money online with little effort?
Starting a blog can do that because it’s just written words and articles you can outsource.
You don’t have to outsource everything from the start if you don’t want to spend that money. You can start writing your own articles at the beginning and as affiliate sales start pouring in, you invest that money in outsourcing written content, so you can focus on other things.
And yes, this can take some months, but it’ll be worth it because once you start ranking on Google, your traffic will slowly increase over time. And by understanding search intent, you’ll have higher chances of making more money with your blog.
You can build this in the background of your life and automate this passive income engine for yourself.
Each article is like its own mini business. You can make a ton of money ranking for a specific product with an affiliate program.
Ranking on Google and making affiliate sales is the most passive form of passive income. And your level of effort also decreases over time (unless you want to post hundreds of articles a month by yourself).
When you have a website ranking on Google, you can build real influence.
Google is where people look for products and information and buy them. You can have a million followers on Instagram, but none of them buy a single product (unless you’re an eCommerce brand).
With a blog, you can influence purchase decisions and influence the brands’ revenue you partner with.
When you start ranking on Google for specific products, you build leverage, and brands may start reaching out to you with business proposals and partnerships.
Leverage is the ultimate factor.
If you have chances of high success over time, and you can control that success, and you can build leverage in your life, you’ll spend less time making more money.
In the end, you’re trading away less time for more money based on your leverage position in the marketplace.
Crypto, going viral, and get-rich-quick schemes simply cannot do that.
Slow growth is the unfortunate answer, and people don’t want to hear this because they want to get success overnight.
But the chances of success and your control over success are dictated by your level of effort. If you’re unwilling to do anything and go the extra mile and just want to throw some money into crypto, that’s fine.
Just know that your chances of success and changing your life won’t be that high.
I mean, if you don’t mind losing some thousand dollars, you can try crypto. You can also rip its rewards. Who knows? But as a strategy for creating a passive long-term sustainable online business when you’re just starting, it’s not the best approach.
Constant effort yields immeasurable results. The more you put in, and the higher your control over success, the more success you’ll see. And if you just expand your time horizon, success is inevitable.
But if you want success in your life, you have to take the time to control it. You can’t just chuck some money at something and think it will work. That’s what many people do because we’re all busy and we don’t have the time to do it.
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Have you tried any of these best ways how not to make money online? Let me know in the comments.