I really like money.
Seriously. I want to start off by making sure you know that. Money makes me happy. It’s not that I crave it. I crave what it allows me to do.
More money means more time with my family and friends.
More money means I don’t stress about putting food on the table or keeping a roof over my head.
Sure, mo money mo problems, but I’d rather have those type of problems than the broke ass type of problems.
I like having it and I hate not having it. That is my relationship with money. However, don’t get things twisted. I’m not obsessed to where I feel like I constantly need to make it.
Having money’s not everything, not having it is. – Kanye
Why am I telling you all of this? Because it ties into this whole blog post. Trust me.
I Like Easy Things
Growing up my family wasn’t poor poor, but we weren’t at a level where I could get new shoes every couple of months. I lived in apartment complexes my whole childhood while my friends lived in two story houses.
I didn’t know about money. I didn’t know how to make it. I didn’t know the value of it. I didn’t know jack shit about it.
When I entered college on a full ride, I had some left over money every semester from my academic scholarships. This was the first time I had money of my own and I spent it every chance I got.
After 4 years of crazy spending and building up credit card debt it was time to enter the real world and make money. Unfortunately, I wasn’t making much. For one reason or another I decided I wanted to learn about web design so I created a web design blog to share what I was learning.
It got popular and I started making money. Someone offered me $20,000 for it, which was more money than I had ever seen in my life. I didn’t even blink an eye. I sold that baby and spent that money in about 3 months.
Not too long after I sold another site for $40,000 and quickly spent all of that money. From time to time I would end up selling a site, bringing in a ton of money (to me) and spending it.
That always meant I had to find ways to make more money and this is where I found how to make money sites.
Shady Ass Industry
At the time, these sites were about affiliate marketing and creating niche sites to put Google Adsense on. Unfortunately, the affiliate marketing stuff was about pushing shitty products and the Google Adsense advice was geared towards sites geared around cancer and lawsuits.
To do well you had to spend hours, days, or weeks researching different keywords to find the perfect niche. It sucked and I still can’t understand why people would want to do that.
Every site threw out the same promise of how you can get rich easily by following these steps. The only people that were getting rich were the site owners selling shitty products that led to everyone doing the exact same thing.
Eventually, I completely bailed because I didn’t have the mental fortitude to do things I didn’t enjoy and sell crap that I wasn’t proud of.
The Personal Blog Explosion
Fast forward a couple years later and now the how to make money sites have become personal blogs. They function a little differently, but kind of have the same premise behind them.
You start to read a site, see an income report showing you how they made $75,000 last month, and right away you think that you should be making that kind of money. You study the income report a bit more and then do more research and find that other normal people are making an assload of dollars every month as well.
What I’ve gathered so far is that if you want to make money online you have to pretend that you created some other sites that made a lot of money and then sell people on that idea that you know how to replicate the process. You also have to link to Bluehost’s affiliate program because they do the best payouts.
What happens then is that people see you are making money and then follow you and they create sites that tell people they can teach them how to be successful as well.
I feel sorry for the last person to enter the how to make money online arena because they are going to have to turn the lights off when everyone leaves.
I know some other people feel the same way I do, but they don’t make as much money as the money-making gurus. Why? Because they aren’t teaching people how to make money online.
See that’s the rub. Making money online is a gold rush and we all know the people that get rich during a gold rush are the ones that sell the tools.
This site you are on right now is a tool. It will have income reports and almost everything else the sites I hate have. I’ll get into more details about why in a bit.
I think a lot of the bloggers that now run how to make money sites have every intention of it being something else. Then they find that the posts that got them the most pageviews were the ones discussing how they were able to succeed. This leads them to write books and create courses around the same topic. Next thing you know you have a thousand courses on how to build a brand, how to make money with a blog, or how to double your traffic with Pinterest.
These things make them a healthy amount of money so they do the wise thing financially and invest more time into those things. But my wife, mom, and friends will tell you that I rarely do the wise thing financially. Instead, I’m a bit more selfish when it comes to things.
I want people to know the brands I create.
I want everyone in the world to come across my brands and leave a better person.
It’s easy to say I’m not selfish because I want to help people, but I help people because I am selfish. It gives me a rush. It’s a drug where I continuously look for the next fix.
Make money online people can fall too easily into the make more money fix. They have an audience that they know they can tap up at any time to make some scratch and so they think of ways to do that. I don’t blame them. Who knows, if I ever get to their levels maybe I’ll turn into the same monster.
If I do, just point me back to this blog post.
I want to make a healthy amount of money so that my mom and wife no longer have to worry about money. I know there is a good chance this site can take off just like some of the other how to sites, but I’m going to do things my way so I can look myself in the mirror.
That’s why I will have multiple other sites that build off the lessons that I teach in this one.
I won’t be writing about how I made money by teaching people how to make money without showing them another way to make money besides creating a how to make money site.
I know that sounds confusing but work with me.
Instead, I am going to take the principles I learn from my own businesses and apply them to the blog world.
Right away you can see one of the principles at play with the design of the page you are on. I design things so that your experience is as pleasant as possible. If you came here to read this article then I am going to assume you want to read the article. You do not need other distractions getting in your way.
However, that means I’ve made it harder on myself because how am I going to get you on my mailing list if I don’t do a full screen popup the second you arrive on the site, a sliding window coming from the side when you are only half way done with the article, or an exit popup that makes sure you know I have something wonderful to offer you before you leave?
I’ll tell you how I am going to do it. By creating so much value that you think to yourself “I’ll be damned if I miss the next thing this guy writes.”
Think about your favorite bar.
Do you go there because they constantly send you flyers in the mail or you always hear about them on the radio or do you go there because you have such an awesome experience?
You see, the dilemma is not really going to be a dilemma for me.
When this site gets big there will be gurus telling me that they can improve my conversion rates by doing a couple of things. I will then ask them does it make for a worse user experience and they will shrug their shoulders and tell me that it’s okay to piss a couple people off as long as my conversion rate increases.
My writing will chase enough people away I don’t need to increase those numbers by annoying them with gimmicks. I know those gimmicks work, but how many people have tried to create something so awesome that people actually go looking for a way to stay updated?
When you are reading an article on Obstacle.co I want you to leave thinking “holy camel balls, that was an awesome experience and I want more.” Whenever I send out a newsletter I want you to see my name in your inbox and tell your boss that he needs to shut up for 10 minutes while you read the epicness.
I want you to share this site with your friends and family because you trust that they will get the same rush of awesome emotions once they come upon it.
That’s my approach to business and life.
It’s definitely not the way most of these people tell you to go about things. Instead, they want you to find a very specific niche, then hunt down very specific keywords that you can very specifically target, and make sure you write a very specific number of social media posts.
Because I’m not following these things the gurus will tell me I’m not going about things the best way possible, but I laugh at them. I say I am doing things the best way possible because I’m doing it the way that puts a smile on my face.
I don’t want to hesitate for a second because I’m wondering if this new marketing hack is going to piss people off. Again, my writing will do that enough and I don’t need to add more fuel to the fire.
If you’re looking for a starter kit on blogging then check out my free 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp.
Everything Becomes a System
When you first start to blog you do so because you like to write about a specific topic. Once you start to build a tribe you begin to write for them and give them awesome value. Once you discover sales funnels then everything just becomes a system.
Now don’t get me wrong, you absolutely need sales funnels if you want to increase your revenue because you can’t do everything on your own. My beef is that you tend to forget about your tribe and start to think more about how you can get every visitor to your site into a sales funnel.
They are no longer people that you are helping, but objects that get pushed through a system with the hopes they provide you money on the other end.
Of course, not everyone is like this, but have you noticed how often the gurus tell you to engage with your audience and then you visit their comments section only to find they aren’t around? That’s because they just write to get more people to their site to push into their funnels. If you don’t have the time for your tribe then don’t give them the option to comment.
How many unanswered questions happen in comment sections around the world?
Maybe you could offer this as a service. You promise that you will keep up to date on other comment sections for blog owners so that they don’t have to worry about them.
At Makers Cabin I have over 1,000 students learning how to program and design. All of them are in the Slack channel which means they get to ask me questions whenever they want. I’ll admit that sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming, but they’ll tell you I’m always there to provide answers.
Sometimes it takes me a couple hours to get to them, but they know if they ask a question, it will get answered.
I love making money as much as the next person and I’ve found that I can make way more when I continue to nourish the relationships I build with my tribe instead of ignoring them and letting the funnels take care of everything.
You decide you are going to go to Vegas. I love Vegas so I want to come along, but you decide you don’t want me to join. Sad face.
Anyways, you are in Vegas and play some slots. On one of the slots you win $2,000. Congratulations!
Now that you’ve won you some cash you decide that you are going to teach others how to win $2,000 playing slots. You create a course and title it How to Win $2,000 from Slot Machines in One Day. People love to find easy ways to make money so they buy it up.
If that seems ridiculous to you that’s because it is and that is how a lot of these make money online sites work. They had success with one site (the one you are reading) and they tell you how you can replicate that success with a site of your own.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if they at least tested it on a couple more sites of their own to make sure they know what they are talking about?
I’ve always wanted to create a site like Obstacle.co in the past, but the problem was I didn’t think I was ready. It’s not fair for me to tell you the theory on how to build a successful site if I didn’t have a couple under my belt. Community building? Doesn’t make sense if I haven’t built one myself.
That’s just how I was built. If you’re gonna talk the talk, then you better walk the walk.
That’s why I’m still building sites and why I’m teaching my wife and brother everything I know. I don’t want you to come to Obstacle.co and say that you love everything that I’ve done on one site. I want you to see the mistakes I’ve made on other sites and how I learned from them and built successes with new sites.
If you tell me you are going to show me how to make $100,000 with a blog then show me how many times you’ve done it on different sites. Getting lucky once doesn’t help me out and we all know every site is different. You make 6 figures from a site that teaches others how to make money, but do you make that much from your quilting site?
There is a reason why all the people making large amounts of money only seem to run sites that teach others how to make money.
How do we make the money to support the lifestyle we want from a health and fitness site or one that helps you become a better you?
I can’t teach you how to make $100,000 from any site because not every site can do it. That doesn’t mean that only certain sites can support your lifestyle, it just means that some topics will get you to places faster than others.
But if you’re just doing this for the money you probably want to get out before you even start. You’ll end up an asshole and nobody wants to hang out with assholes.
It’s All So Easy
I completely understand why some of the stuff is marketed the way it is. It sells, but that doesn’t make it right.
Creating value, growing a tribe, and making money online is easy in concept. That’s what a lot of people are selling you, concepts.
It’s not easy to make sure you put all of those things in action. It’s not easy to ensure you are constantly motivated when people aren’t coming to your site or people aren’t buying your products. It’s not easy when your friends and family are looking at you thinking that you are wasting your time following this whacked out dream. Get a real job dammit or if you have one, focus on that.
It’s not easy, but it isn’t impossible. Thousands of people are doing what you want to do and you are just as talented and smart as they are. What you’ll learn on Obstacle is that there are no secrets. In fact, a lot of the stuff you learn here you can learn on a ton of other sites already. I’m just putting my own twist on things.
So if someone tells you they are going to show you how to make $10,000 in 30 days, make sure they also show you how to do that while having a 9-5 or going to school and having to take care of the kids while cooking dinner. Unfortunately, that course title probably isn’t as appealing.
Am I a Hypocrite?
Basically, everything I’ve said up until now completely contradicts what this site is about. I even have a club that promises to teach you how to make how to make full-time income with your blog.
It’s quite possible that I’m just blowing smoke up my own ass, but I want to believe I’m taking a different approach.
If you don’t believe me check out my free 12-Day Blogging Bootcamp. Anybody that has taken it will tell you that it dives into things nobody else seems to touch upon.
Sure I can teach you some tricks to boost things here and there, but I want you to have a business just as much as I want a business. I want you to be part of a brand that makes you proud and not just own a website that people visit once.
I’m trying to apply everything I know to multiple sites in different genres to see if I’m really full of shit and because the online world is always changing.
I’ll never bullshit you, though. My mom and dad wouldn’t like that. The problem is a lot of things I teach people don’t wanna hear.
They wanna hear how easy it is to make money online. How you just need to find the right ad network or make one post go viral.
There is a reason why there are a small number of bloggers making good money and everyone else is constantly on the look out for the golden fix.
It’s not easy. It takes time and effort. There are some ups and a lot of downs. There are times where you’ll question yourself and wonder if you made the right decision. There are times you will look in the mirror and try to understand why everyone else is smarter than you and can make more money.
Most sites won’t tell you it took them 5+ years to get to the point they are at. They want you to believe that it happened the second you arrived. I’ve been at this for 12+ years and I’ve failed way more times than I’ve succeeded.
I’ve had to hold my wife while she cried in my arms because she wanted to support me, but didn’t understand why I couldn’t do something that brought in money on a consistent basis so we wouldn’t have to worry anymore.
I’ve had to miss out on a lot of fun things because I just didn’t have the money people with jobs had.
I’ve had to ration a whole pizza for a week to ensure I had something to munch on every single day.
I don’t expect you to go through those things because I am here to teach you how I messed up and what I finally started to do right.
And here’s the other thing: I don’t know everything. Most of us don’t know what we are doing. We are just making guesses and seeing what happens. Over time though we learn what definitely won’t work and have a better idea of what has a chance of working.
What bothers me the most is that some of you will read this site, try what I tell you, and give up quickly because it didn’t work right away. Some of you will tell me I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about because you didn’t like how I went about things.
That bothers me because I do want to help. I want you to live a life where you control everything and you aren’t dependent on anyone else. I want you to live the happiest life possible and if I can’t help you then it’s going to eat at me and I’m going to try and figure out how we can make it work.
How to Make Money Online
There are a lot of good ways and a lot of bad ways to make money online. Seriously, there are probably over a 1,000, but they are all not equal. If we were sitting at a bar sipping on some cheap Tequila and you asked me how you should go about making money online I would tell you to build a brand.
That sounds pretty nebulous.
When you think of a brand you might be thinking of Nike or Apple. I guess you can think of them like that, but I’m merely talking about setting up a website and writing. Share everything you know about a specific subject. If you don’t know anything, but you want to write about a subject then share everything you are learning as you go along. That’s how I got started in web design.
Over time, you will start to establish your brand. People will think of something specific, hopefully, positive when they think of you. Having a brand that leaves a positive impression on people gives you the opportunity to build a tribe.
This is how you make money online, by building a brand and growing a tribe that loves that brand. Once you have a tribe you can sell a number of things and make money in a way that allows you to smile when you look at yourself in the mirror.
I’m not talking about selling some cheap, knockoff product on Clickbank (if you don’t know what that is, don’t bother searching for it). I’m talking about selling goods and services that are your own. Want to make more money? Create another product.
If you own your land (domain and web hosting), own your tribe (mailing list), and own your products, then guess what? You own your lifestyle and there is nothing better in the world.
Most people don’t want to hear this because they don’t understand the value of having something long term you can call your own. To them, a brand isn’t what makes you money. Ads make you money. Affiliate marketing makes you money. Pop-ups make you money.
On Obstacle.co, everything I teach you, I want it to tie into the brand you are creating because brands last a lifetime. There are no get rich quick schemes here. I won’t make promises I can’t keep. I am here to simply teach and learn.
I’m glad you’re here to join me on this journey.
There are a lot of good eggs out there now that do things the right way in my opinion. There are still a ton of shady ones, but it’s good to see more humans showing you the proper way to go about things.
It’s only fair that I give them a shout out:
I’m sure there are a lot more and if you know of some that deserve a mention let me know in the comments.