The Reality Behind Those Overnight Successes

Jumping for JoyWhen I first started working online I used the fact that I was a newbie to comfort myself when I wasn’t making any money.

And then I saw others coming in, who were newer than me, making their first $100, or getting their first 10 sales, while I still had nothing to show.

And panic set in. How could I be getting it so wrong?

So I did the rounds, buying every ‘secret system that the gurus didn’t want me to know about’. And still didn’t reel in the money.

Looking back now, I wish I’d had someone who’d told me that those ‘newbies’, who’d started after me and were making money, had probably been working away at this for a couple of years.

Their ‘overnight’ success was actually an ‘over-2-years’ success.

But, because all the messages that hit me at that time spoke about earning $5,000 a week within a month, I figured that a) they were true and b) that was normal.

But they weren’t and it’s not.

This is a business and, like any business, it needs work, perseverance, patience and application.

It also needs to be properly planned and properly funded.

You see, earning $5,000 a week isn’t much good if it’s costing you $6,000 a week to do it.

So you need to look at what you’re selling online and understand very clearly a) what revenues you can expect and b) what costs will be involved in getting them.

It’s no good, for example, hopping onto Clickbank and picking up a product on which you’ll get $20 per sale, if you’re paying $15 on Adwords and $5 on Yahoo Search Marketing to get it.

You still need to eat, after all.

So you need to develop a proper business model into which you can put all your fixed costs (rent, telephone, hosting charges, membership fees) and all your variables: Pay Per Click costs, classified ads, and other costs involved in getting traffic to your site.

You can then work out how many of these $20 products you need to sell just to cover your costs.

And, since any budgeting process is basically a stab in the dark, you’ll need to track the actual performance of your business to see how accurate your projections were.

Because, if they were way off, you’re going to need to make changes. Unless you want to end up earning $5,000 a week but spending $6,000 to do it.

So please – look beyond the surface. If someone says they’re making $5,000 a week online, don’t imagine they’re rolling in cash while working from the beach.

Try to work out what they invested to earn that, and how much work and planning went into it.

I think you’ll find that a lot of work went into it and their actual profit (the real measure of success) is a lot less.

Update – 10 August, 2010

I just read a post on Men With Pens that echoes this point – far more eloquently that I did. Discover why a Six-Figure Income doesn’t count.


Martin Malden

What do you think?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ian Jun 16, 2010 @ 6:58

    Hmm. Sage advice. Trust you are well. Ian

    • Martin Jun 16, 2010 @ 7:16

      Hi Ian,

      Yes – very well, thanks – good to see you here..! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I hope you’re finding something useful but let me know if you have any questions,



  • Kwin Jun 22, 2010 @ 11:35

    So true Martin. Just like dieting to lose weight everyone wants fast results. The ones who do succeed usually donโ€™t maintain or even find themselves in worse shape. What do they say?
    No pain no gain?

    I have not made any money yet but I do believe hard work and persistent will eventually pay off.

    • Martin Jun 22, 2010 @ 21:46

      Hi Kwin,

      Good to see you here..!

      I know you’re busy with your hospital work and it’s tough getting something going while you’re so busy elsewhere.

      But keep providing the good tips and the traffic will grow, although when you’re able to focus full time on your online business you’ll see a definite upturn.



  • Lorraine Arams Jun 29, 2010 @ 8:45

    I think you must be right because I’ve been at this for quite a while, promoting something from Amazon for months without making a penny. Can you actually make money promoting Amazon products? Using their link, is it possible that somebody may be hacking into the links and claiming any commission for themselves? It really seems odd to me that after months, I still haven’t earned one cent of sales on Amazon products – surely somebody must have clicked and bought a book!

    • Martin Jun 29, 2010 @ 12:23

      Hi Lorraine,

      I think making money as an affiliate on Amazon is a learned skill. I have to say it never worked for me..! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Darren Rowse at ProBlogger does well with Amazon and I seem to remember him explaining in one post how he does it. It may be worth hopping over there, doing a search for ‘Amazon’ on his blog and seeing what comes up.

      Good luck with that – I know how frustrating it is. If you don’t click with Amazon there are other ways of earning, so look around for something that works better for you.



  • TechDubDoob Jul 2, 2010 @ 12:28

    Tons of people lose sight of what works as soon as they get going because they decide to go with the crap that’s blasted in their face. A lot of people finally realize that it’s way too much work for them to handle as well.

    • Martin Jul 2, 2010 @ 17:00

      Unfortunately some of the stuff that’s blasted in their faces is very tempting – been there, done that, got the scars on my wallet..!

      The problem is when they don’t learn from the experience and continue to grab at every shiny object that comes their way instead of buckling down to some real work.