Why You Should Never Ask “How Can I Make Money Online?”Posted: February 21, 2012
In many different online marketing communities, I see the same thing happen over and over. Someone asks a question that millions have asked before them. In fact, the question and its many different variations are searched millions of times per month on Google. Anyone answering it is doing the person asking it a disservice.
The question is “How can I make money online?”
You might wonder what’s wrong with asking that question. After all, many people are out of work and looking to start their own online income. They may not spend much time online yet and don’t know what strategies and tactics are out there for making money online.
What’s wrong with asking “How can I make money online?”
1. Doesn’t specify how much money
You could tell someone asking that question to fill out a survey on one of the paid survey sites to make a dollar and you’d have answered it. They did something online and made money doing it. But who wants to make just a dollar?
That said, what if the person’s idol was Mark Zuckerberg and they wanted to know how to make a billion dollars online? Then just about any answer you’d give wouldn’t help because most methods of making money have almost no chance of reaching that level. Even looking at only the most realistic levels of potential income, it takes a different mindset depending on how much the person is seeking to make.
2. Doesn’t take into account your passions
Everyone has a passion for something. Even if it’s a small passion, looking at that first rather than the infinite realm of all profitable niches is always recommended.
For one thing, few people simply fall into making a lot of money online – usually it takes a lot of work and dedication over a long period of time. A lot of where people go wrong is they ask this broad question, run with a niche that is suggested to them and find later that they simply don’t have the passion to see it through to profitability.
3. Doesn’t take into account your knowledge and strengths
Answers to the question will undoubtedly contain methods such as development with SEO, social media marketing, content marketing and more. There is no single method that works best for everyone, but if you’re strong in making videos or writing, then perhaps you should look at ways to start with that.
Even if going the outsourcing route, you should have at least some understanding of what you outsource. You should also be able to tell good work from bad with whatever you outsource. Otherwise, you may end up with far worse than you could have done and you simply stick with it to avoid paying for further work, and you end up struggling out of the gate.
4. Doesn’t take into account your connections
Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. One of the most valuable things each of us have is our pool of connections. Whether you have resources for learning/understanding a niche better or possibly a ready pool of potential clients/customers in a particular niche, it’s important to consider who you know. Asking the broad question doesn’t do that at all.
5. Doesn’t take into account your budget
There’s a huge difference between “How can I make money online?” and “How can I make money online starting with $2,000?” The latter question would get you much more specific answers as it would be more evident which paid tools and resources you could utilize and which you wouldn’t.
Sadly, I see a lot of people hellbent on spending absolutely no money to try and make money online. Even the little bit of money to register a domain and get a low-cost shared hosting plan makes a huge difference. As we say on here often, being able to spend more on a better domain can make things substantially easier and is worth the cost as well.
6. Doesn’t take into account your available time
Many people wanting to make money online already have a job during the day. If their daytime hours are unavailable, that could drastically change the options that would suit them best.
7. Doesn’t take into account possible urgency
Are you wanting to make money online to be able to quit your job this year, buy a house in 3 years, or pay an urgent bill next week? Your goals and/or the deadline by which you need the money can change which answers would be suitable for you.
For instance, many affiliate programs pay out net 15-30 days the month after any referred sales. If you absolutely needed money by next week, you couldn’t get it even if you referred 1,000 sales today.
8. You’ll get overloaded with untargeted responses
Given the vagueness of the question, you’ll get all sorts of broad responses. You could then venture out to learn about most of what people suggest and could end up being in “read only” mode for a while where all you do is read and learn without actually making any progress towards your online goals.
This is why you need to give background and come up with specifics in order to make your question much better. In fact, sometimes simply having the better, more precise question can help you research it and find the answer for yourself.