Podcast 1: Show Introduction And How I Built A Six Figure Online Business
I finally finished my first podcast episode which is now live on iTunes (please review it). In this first podcast episode I share my story on how I got started earning money online. I cover how I got started building an online business way back in the late 90’s while selling Pokemon cards on eBay all the way up to discussing some of the ways I make money today by using Amazon’s affiliate program, Google Adsense, creating and selling information products, buying and selling websites, and running a variety of different blogs and websites.
This first episode is just me and a mic, but in almost every future podcast episode I’ll be talking with other internet entrepreneurs who are killing it online in various markets. On the podcast my goal is to encourage you to build and improve your own online business through the lessons gleaned from these episodes. I had a lot of fun recording this session and am looking forward to doing many more in the future.
Final request, after you’re done listening please leave me an honest rating or review on iTunes. This will help get the podcast out to more people to listen to and I really appreciate the feedback. Feel free to share some comments in the blog below as well.
Intro Welcome to the MakeMoneyOntheInternet.com Podcast where you learn tips and strategies from the pros on how to build your own online business. Now, here is your host Chris Guthrie! Chris: Hello, hello. Chris Guthrie here and I’m so excited for you to be listening to this podcast. It is the first of what I hope to be many future sessions discussing online business practices and helping you learn how to make more money online.
So, I actually want to talk to you about where I got started and give you my backgrounds before we really bring on more guests. I do already have plenty of guests lined up to interview. But I want to talk to you about how I got started making money online and share you some of the lessons that I’ve learnt and more often than not the mistakes that I’d made. So, let’s go ahead and jump right into that.
I got started making money online from eBay, actually. I was back in junior high school. This is back in the late ‘90s, dates me a bit. And I was selling Pokemon cards on eBay. I was selling just the packs of cards. They cost me $3 a pack and I was re-selling them on eBay for at least $10 to $15 a pack and upwards of $20 a pack. $25 was my record, actually. So, it was really a simple thing. I just saw that on eBay Pokemon cards were selling for a lot and so I – this was like I haven’t seen by the packs and started selling them. So, that’s what I did. I eventually stopped doing it by the end of the summer. It was basically like a summer job. While my friends were out there working at grocery stores and fast-food restaurants I decided to try and do this thing instead. I made about $1,000 that summer and I stopped doing it because there was just a lot of competition eventually. One of the ways I could’ve continued doing it is if I had gotten a distribution agreement with a card manufacturer or whatever and could get the cards packs in bulk. But, it wasn’t really something that I thought really that much about. I just was kind of doing it and finding a way to make money online. I never played the game because it never really interests me. And that might be partly why I kind of got tired of doing it and that’s one suggestion I’d say is if you’re, you know, you’re looking for something to build online. I’m a huge fan of building things based on what you’re interested in or what your passion is. And then, of course, if you can tie in (with) something of a commercial component then you can usually stand and do pretty well making money in a specific field.
I actually did more eBay stuff with Nintendo NES games, the older ones from the ‘80s. I was buying large lots of games on eBay and just re-selling the games individually to people again on eBay. So, it’s one of those things that actually still works to this day. I’ve done it every now and then. You can buy games or whatever product it is, in bulk and then re-sell those in, you know, as individuals. The reason why it works is because most people are just looking for one individual game. So, I’ll be buying games where there were 50 games in a total auction and then re-selling each one individually because people wanted just like Ball by Ball or Battletoads or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II. For any other gamers out there that might recognize those titles. And, this is back when I was in high school and I earned about $5,000 that summer by buying and selling NES games. And, again, this is another one of those cases where I needed a summer job and I figured why not create one instead of going to – go do a traditional day job such as, at the time I guess would’ve been, waiting tables or something else like that.
So, I made decent money and I kind of did it as well because I was a huge old school gamer and collecting those games was partly why I did it. So every time I’d buy these huge lots I’d re-sell some of them and keep the ones that I was trying to get, to build up my collection. So, at one time, actually I used to own an original Super Mario game still sealed in its package. So that was kind of a cool thing that I had. Now I eventually sold it because I thought, you know, I don’t want to become a huge packrat and see a bunch of things up, so. I sold that game for a few hundred dollars, but.
That’s really kind of what got me started was this idea of being able to sell products on eBay and finding out that you could buy products on eBay and then just re-sell them on the same market was pretty awesome. And, I could have probably done it with higher profit items or higher cost items rather and then have – make more money but this was something that I was doing just kind of for fun, to make money, and also to build my own collection, so.
After that I really was very fascinated by the fact that when Google released AdSense back in early 2000s, I believe it’s 2003, I stumbled upon a website – it was a videogame website, you’re probably noticing the trend here that I’m a gamer – and they were using these little ads on there and I noticed it said Ads by Google or something like that and I asked them how much those made and he said, actually yeah, I’m making about $2 to $3 a day from those ads. And, I thought that’s not a ton of money I did think well that’s cool he’s making money just running website that, I’d frankly probably been doing just out of interest in it. You know, just for something as a hobby. So, that’s really kind of what turned me on to the idea of actually building websites myself and making money from them.
And so, if you fast forward a few more years, in November 9, 2004 a videogame called Halo 2 was released and this is a game that I played much to the chagrin of my professors, way too much. I played Halo 2 probably – I know when I looked back at my stats I played over 5,000 games online and games could typically last, you know, anywhere from between 5 minutes to 15 minutes. So it kind of gives you an idea of just how many hours I poured into this game. And, you know, most people would say oh you wasted your time. But it’s actually what led me towards my current profession. And, basically I had a college video editing class that I was in and I set up an old VCR and routed it through with some video input and video out cables through my TV and my X-box. And I started recording footage from me playing Halo 2. And I used that video game footage to create my very first video. It was basically called a montage, a collection of clips where I was playing Halo 2 and just beating people. And that first video that I released was eventually viewed by over a million people. And in fact, when I first released it because there weren’t any people doing it at the time I started getting all these random friend requests over X-box Live and people saying hey, I saw your video on such and such website, be my friend or let’s play some video games or you’re good at Halo etc. And, that gave me the idea to just make another video because I was still in that video editing class. I needed to kind of put another project. And, you know, I’ll just make another video and then use that to launch my own website. And that’s really what kind of sent me down this path of making money online.
So I used that second video and I launched a website. It was gamingvidz.com with a Z. That’s one of the first mistakes you learn as if you are – it certainly doesn’t pass the radio test as I like to call it, where people are more likely to misspell it when they are told that in casual conversation. You know, I have to tell people yeah just got my website gamingvidz.com and just remember that it’s not an S but it’s a Z. Then, you know, you can see that’s kind of failure. So, you know, that was kind of the first thing I started though and sure enough I launched the website, it was a forum using this video. And I was on there with about 30 fake accounts and just kind of talking to myself because one thing you learn is if you are trying to launch a forum it is impossible to launch a forum if no one is there talking. It’s a classic chicken and the egg situation here.
So that’s basically what I did is I make fake accounts, talk to myself until after the video came out and people started seeing it, thousands and thousands people started seeing it, then they came to the website and I stopped using those accounts. It was only a few weeks that I used them for. But it was definitely something that I believed really kind of helped to launch the site. And that’s something I suggest with any website as you want to have I really solid launch plan for how you are going to kind of kick-start it and getting if off the ground.
In any case, Halo is really kind of what got me into doing websites and I actually used to play professionally in it through an organization called Major League Gaming. And there was a couple times I was on the USA Today, not USA Today, the USA Network where they aired some of the events. So I was in the stands for a few of those. Our team was knocked out before we’re – would’ve been the ones on TV. But, you know, I played Halo professionally, sold Halo lessons online for $50 an hour, and I even had a team fly me out to coach them for an event. So, it was really a fun thing. And again this is kind of going back to what I said before is that a lot of what I’ve done and had success with, it is always based on what I’ve been passion about. And, for me it was gaming at first and now it’s a whole bunch of other different interests such as online business, teaching others through my blog upfuel.com. And also just, you know, running other sites that I’m interested in.
So this website gamingvidz.com at the height of its popularity was getting about 500,000 page views per month, which is a considerable number. For forums, they usually are going to have higher page view count than other websites because there’s a lot of people that are returning visitors. But the one thing I found out is that even though I had a lot of traffic it really wasn’t translating to a lot of dollars. In fact, the most money I made from that website was $500 from AdSense. And again that was the peak of its popularity. If you went to that site now, you would be pretty dormant, pretty dead. But, you know, I had this idea okay if I can build one successful forum and make $500 a month let me build several more forums, make those successful and then, you know, get enough of them up and I’m making a decent fulltime income.
Well, I tried launching forums related to World of Warcraft, Xbox Live Arcade actually and another forum just dedicated to Halo. And, really, that didn’t work that well. I mean, I was doing them kind of fun, I was still in college and I had always thought, you know, I’m going to continue trying to build these websites so I can make it a full time thing. But right now, I’m just going to see what I can do to make money with them. So those sites kind of never really were able to make me, you know, more than $1,000 a month. So it wasn’t something that I felt, you know, I can do this fulltime. So, I actually had to go out, get a typical day job, whilst it wasn’t a typical one. I started working as a game tester in Microsoft. And I worked on Halo 2 for Windows Vista and Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties, it’s an expansion pack for the Age of Empires franchise. And I worked there at Microsoft and kind of realized game testers don’t make that much money. I was under a contract. And after my year contract was up, I went off and decided to actually make use of my marketing degree. And, I started selling IT equipment through a local company based here in Seattle. And I made decent money and, you know, I had a lot of fun with the people I worked with. Although I kind of get tired of the management I know that some of you listening here have bosses that you don’t like or just the different company practices seem ridiculous. Well, that was kind of the same experience I was having there.
And, it kind of became a blessing in disguise when I eventually was fired for my day job back in October 13, 2009. The reason why I know that date is because I asked if I made it to a two year mark because I want to see if on my next resume if I could say that I worked at a company for two years at least. But, you know, during that year 2009, I really tried to take all these experiences and failures and moderate successes from the websites I’ve been building in the past to try and build up some new types of websites. So in the past, you know, I have problems thinking, you know, this video game forum gamingvidz.com, it is really difficult to make money with it because people are just here talking about a video game that we all own on a system, the Xbox, that we all already had purchased. So there wasn’t really a lot to sell people. And so my idea was to kind of start websites around physical products. And then that way, you know, if it’s a product review website it’s a very simple monetization method. We just simply build up a website about specific products or a category of products and then make money by referring people to buy that product.
So this strategy actually worked really well for me. And I was using Amazon’s affiliate program. And I started one of my first sites netbookreviews.com back in January 2009. And, it along with the other websites that I would while I was running contributed close to $424, actually $424.34 cents in April 2009 so which was 4 months after kind of getting started, you know, I was making already decent money. The next month I was up to $1,490.35 cents. I’m reading out these exact figures because I pulled up the income charts from the past. And then subsequently in June and July I was already passing the $3,000 barrier and in July the $4,000 barrier. So I was already making very solid income from Amazon’s affiliate program. And on these websites, I was also using AdSense and a few other different types of affiliate programs through Commission Junction and LinkShare, etc.
So when October eventually rolled around I was already making several thousand dollars a month from Amazon and a few of the other sources that I was making money from. And so when I got fired I was like man, this totally sucks. Because, you know, I was spending most of this money reinvesting back in my business and just kind of I was buying kind of silly things. I actually have three 26-inch monitors that I work on. One of things I bought is monitors and I bought a new desk so I could have more space for my monitors and printer. All these are the types of things that I didn’t necessarily need that much to really build a business but I was spending the money on because I had a day job income and I was making money from websites as well.
So when I lost my job – this is something that I’d suggest to anyone that’s considering, you know, trying to quit their day job and do online business full time. I really didn’t have a huge amount of savings because in my case I was fired. I didn’t have any idea that was happening because I was actually a pretty good sales rep. I think it’s just because the person I was working with wanted me to work more hours and because I was busy at home trying to build my business once I get down with my day job I wasn’t too interested in doing that. I think that kind of led to my downfall.
But, anyways, I’ve been building these websites up and making good money. And, for a while I decide, you know, I’m going to try and go find another job again. And I actually tried to contact the unemployment agency here in Washington. And I was actually making too much money to qualify for unemployment which is a good thing and a bad thing, I guess. It’s a good thing that I was making that money but it was bad because that meant either I need to run my business full time or go back get a job and trying to that later.
What I eventually decided to do is that, you know, this is a blessing in disguise. I’m going to just take this and run with in. And sure enough when the holidays rolled around as revenues typically tend to do, they all went up. I actually made over $8,000 from Amazon’s affiliate program in November. And in December, I had a record month of nearly $13,000. So I felt this vindication that, you know, for years in years I was trying to make money online. Always different type of methods in the forums that I mention before was just one of multiple things I’ve tried over the years leading up to what I built in 2009.
And, you know, when I was done with that year and had made that money and felt confident that I could move forward and actually build a true business out of these types of websites and just other web projects. It was awesome. I actually re-launched the blog upfuel.com which is the one you’ve probably found this podcast through. I did that back in early January of 2010. I’d previously had a blog in online business but it never really gained any traction because I wasn’t making a lot of money at the time. So, people weren’t really interested in listening to me because I did not have any experience making money. Again, it was chicken in the eggs or the things. I had quit that blog and decided to make money with Amazon and other types of methods. And, it wasn’t until January when I had been fresh out of my job and have little more time that I decided to start the blog back up and start teaching people various tips and tricks on how to make money online.
So that’s really why I stared the blog and kind of why I’m here doing this podcast is because it’s a lot of fun to teach others because, yeah, and other thing too is you don’t have to spend, you know, a full time – your full time and attention, you know, building a business. I mean, when I built the websites that I did during 2009 that ultimately led to me being able to run websites full time for a living. I was doing these all just from the weekdays after my day job and occasionally I’d work on the weekends as well.
But, you know, I would just spend an hour or two each day working on these sites and really kind of focusing in all the time. I spend a little, I try not to spend too much time reading news articles or checking Facebook and not really doing anything that was really generating revenue. So and that’s something I really suggest, you know, if you are trying to make money online or you already have some websites. Really try and cut out as much clutter as you can and just focus more in building your own business. And, of course, listen to this podcast where I can share you some great tips with you on how to build your own business.
So, any ways in 2010, it was great year for me. It was my first full year in self-employment and I’d set a goal at the beginning of that year to earn over $150,000. And, sure enough, when that year came to a close I actually did exceed that goal. So it was a huge blessing, again I’ve said this before, it was a huge blessing to be able to lose my job and then be able to build this online business. And I’ve had a blast teaching others too. I’ve had a lot of people sending e-mails to say hey, thanks for the feedback. I was able to improve my conversions. I’m making more money on my website and I actually create a product trying to teach people kind of how I make money with Amazon so that they could in turn learn from my strategies that’s nicheprofitcourse.com, if you want to check it out. It’s an information product – video tutorials.
But, yeah, so I made during that year the money I made from Amazon contributed, you know, a huge chunk towards that total. I also made some money selling some information products on ClickBank. And that’s something that I will definitely talk to you about more in the future sessions. And then I also actually sold one of my websites for a deal worth six figures. And that’s another huge chunk to help me get past that $150,000 barrier. So that website actually was netbookreviews.com. And, I talked about it on the blog. And, again I’ll discuss, you know, buying and selling websites in a future podcast as well.
But really, I mean, that’s my story. I mean, I’ve been building websites and trying to make money online. I guess you could say I owe it back from in the late ‘90s in junior high school selling Pokemon cards and then all the way up to running websites, selling products through Amazon’s affiliate program, building my own information products and running a bunch of different blogs and other random information websites. It’s been a huge challenge but it’s also been a lot of fun to build online business and in these future podcast sessions and on my blog, my goal is to help you do the exact same thing.
So, I encourage you to send in any questions that you have. It’s just firstname.lastname@example.org, it is the e-mail address. I answer any and every e-mail that people send in because I genuinely do want you to build your own business and succeed. So, with that said, I am going to close out the first podcast session here. And thank you again for listening. We’re going to have some great guests on in the future. It won’t just be me talking to a microphone. In fact, I’ll be having some great different types of people on that are making money in different ways than I am as well. So you can learn a lot of different tips that you can apply towards your own business.
Thanks again for listening. I will see you on my blog, upfuel.com