How to Declare Independence: Make a Small Amount of Money Online (then grow it)

September 27th, 2010 § 0 comments

Written by Everett Bogue | Follow me on Twitter.

Without a doubt, every single person I’ve met who has a command of the ability to make their own money is more charismatic.

The reason for this is simple: if you have mastery of the ability to provide value in order to generate income it boosts your self-confidence. Then you can declare independence from the system of wage slavery.

You’re no longer scared of losing your job, because you know if you do it’ll only be a matter of time before you build up your own empire.

How to declare independence.

Most of the people who I meet have jobs that they’re terrified to lose. This makes me sad, especially now that I’m on the other side — I’d never let anyone pay me to work for them even if they begged me!

Why would you sit at a desk all day waiting to die when you have an opportunity to make a small amount of money online and then grow it?

In fact, I’d like to argue that making a small amount of money online is incredibly easy. Making $4.95 can’t be hard right? This article will show you how. Once you make $4.95, you can try for $10 in a day, then make your way towards $80 (which is all you really need anyway.)

Alright, blah blah money making this and that. You’ve heard this all before right?

Well no, because I intend to explain to you exactly how you can declare independence by earning an incredibly small amount of money with minimal effort.

A history of making money online.

You see, back when I was in Portland more than a year ago now, I had no idea how to make money online even though I’d worked online for four years before that.

I had this weird misconception –that I think a lot of people share,– that in order to develop income online I would have to write about Lady Gaga and place advertisements against the stories. People would click, I would make a little bit of money.

This is one way to make money online, the problem is that it’s very hard to do this. You see, no one clicks on ads anymore. I certainly don’t. Do you click on ads? Not if you’re smart, and if you’re reading this blog without sipping on a coke while stuck in traffic driving your SUV I know you are quite smart.

Advertising is a bad business model on the web for most businesses, because it takes a massive amount of readers to sustain your business off dumb people clicking on ads.

If you aim for a dumb audience, you have to write a dumb blog. I certainly didn’t want to do that, and neither do you. I realize a certain percentage of my readers are absolute idiots, but I’m not writing this for them. I’m writing it for you smart people out there. Dumb people: this is your cue to unsubscribe. This blog isn’t for you.

How I made my first $4.95 online, and you can too.

Back to the future in Portland, I was sitting with a Stumptown coffee being incredibly stumped about how to make a living online, and it hit me:

  1. I’m writing a blog about minimalism.
  2. One of my favorite books is about minimalism.
  3. My favorite book has a 50% affiliate program.

So, that day I signed up for a free account with e-junkie and dropped a link to A Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life somewhere in a blog post.

I published something simple like this in my blog post:

“One of my huge inspirations for living a minimalist life came from reading Leo Babauta’s A Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life.”

Then I did some Yoga, burned some incense, and went to bed while the Portland rain splattered quietly on my windows.

The next morning I woke up, made breakfast, and then went out into the world with my laptop to grab a coffee. When I opened my email, to my surprise a little message was there:

“Sale – Leo Babauta- ID:XXXXXXXX The Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life”

I almost fell over backwards because for the first time in my life I’d paid for my coffee BEFORE I’d bought it!

I’d made money in my sleep! Yay!

Now, $4.95 might not seem like a lot of money, but at the time I was making zip, nada, nothing. Taking this small step really gave me a lot of confidence that this whole business model might actually work.

You only need to be making $80 a day to do $30,000 a year. Only one year after making this discovery, I’m doing far more than $80 a day. You can too, but you have to start at $4.95 first.

If you think about it, how much harder is it to make $80 after you’ve made $4.95? Actually, not much. The biggest leap is the first dollar. You don’t need to be making millions, just $80. It’s not as hard as you think it is.

What is e-junkie?

E-junkie is a pretty basic service that handles most of my business automation. It’s free for people who are affiliating for products, but only costs $5 a month if you’re selling a digital product. I use e-junkie for two purposes:

1. To sell other people’s products and get commission. I can’t make every product in the world myself, so luckily I can make a small profit off selling other people’s products. For example, last month I made nearly $1,000 in a day selling Corbett Barr’s Affiliate Marketing for Beginners. Of course you all remember the day I made $2,300 selling one of the most important digital works thus far.

2. To sell my own products. E-junkie handles the distribution, payment, and affiliate payouts for my products. This means that I don’t have to e-mail my book to people every time they buy it, which is amazing. This means I can focus exclusively on writing, and not have to worry about the administration side of my business — because it’s all automated. Automation is covered extensively in Minimalist Business.

How not to be sketchy.

One of the biggest take-aways from my ongoing conversations-over-many-beers with superstar marketing and website traffic generating expert Corbett Barr has been that you CANNOT get away with being sketchy as a marketer online.

Big flashing red buttons, pyramid schemes, and selling people shitty products that don’t help them are out. Instead, affiliating for products that actually help people is the future.

I never recommend products that didn’t contribute to my life, you shouldn’t either.

Also, remember that most — probably 95% of your readers don’t necessarily need the product you’re recommending. So, don’t bang them over the head with it. Just say “hey, I read this e-book and it taught me about this. If you’re into this, maybe check it out.” Simple, but it actually works.

Big red ‘buy this NOW’ buttons do not work. Instead, our sketchification alarm goes off and we bolt.

Also, after extensive testing, I really believe that putting pictures of e-books in your sidebar as recommendations doesn’t sell them either. Pictures in sidebars scream advertising to most people.

How to find a product to affiliate for on your blog.

If you’ve been reading my blog for long, chances are you’ve picked up one of these remarkable products that I’ve recommended.

There are obviously many more, but these are some of the ones that I really enjoyed — and are also very professionally developed by charismatic people and thus are easier to sell.

(These are all affiliate links)

Tammy Strobel’s Smalltopia: A Practical Guide to Working for Yourself

Chris Guillebeau’s The Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself

[As a sidenote: basically anything Chris Guillebeau sells is gold for most of your readers. His stuff is super helpful, intelligent, and useful. I’ll be at his World Domination Summit next year, maybe I’ll see you there?]

Corbett Barr’s Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Colin Wright’s Networking Awesomely

And here are two new e-books that have recently blown me away:

Adam Baker’s Sell Your Crap

John Anyasor’s The Power of Enjoyment

But you need to trust yourself. Like I said above about Leo’s book, it really changed my life. That’s why I was able to say legitimately that I could recommend it enthusiastically over and over again.

It also feels really good to know you’re making coffee or beer money (or rent money!!!) helping people achieve their goals.

Strategies for landing your first few dollars.

Finally, here are the top two strategies that I use to sell products that matter on Far Beyond the Stars.

Pay attention! These strategies actually run counter to what Problogger or Copyblogger will tell you to do.

Why am I dissing these guys? Because I read them both for three years and never learned how to do what I’m teaching you to do here — instead they just kept sending me a fluffy post per day about nothing important and trying to sell me stuff I don’t need.

Plus, my blog is almost as big as Copyblogger now, and I’ve only been doing this for a year. I must be doing something right.

If you want to learn how to start a blog, read either Viperchill or Think Traffic. These sites actually tell you how to build a blog, instead of just sending you a fluffy post every day with information that isn’t helpful like the aforementioned larger blogs.

I’ve tried a lot of strategies, these two get the best results.

1. Interviews with authors.

My #1 strategy for selling work that matters is an interview with the author. Ask the author “how will this help my readers achieve their specific goal?” and other questions. Focus on the benefits of the product. Make sure to put an affiliate link to the product in the post in a few key points. Make it clear that if your audience buys this, they will support your blog and the author of the product.

2. The quick mention in-post.

Sometimes if I’m talking about a subject that’s similar to a product I’ve read, I’ll mention it casually. For example, if I’m writing about personal finance, I always say “hey, if you want to learn more about getting out of debt, one of the best books I ever read on the subject was Adam Baker’s Unautomate Your Finances.”

Believe it or not, the casual reference does WAY better than trying to do a review of a product in the traditional sense. A review assumes your entire audience might want the product, which isn’t the case. You’re making a whole bunch of people who don’t care read something they probably don’t want to read.

I don’t like reading reviews, do you? No, because you’re smart. Interviews and casual mentions work best — but obviously do your own testing to see what works best with your audience.

Obviously making money online isn’t for everyone.

Some of you are happy sitting all day at a desk working 40 hours a week. The point of this article is simple: learning how to make a small amount of money, even $4.95, can boost your self-confidence immensely and allow you to begin to start declaring independence.

If you know you could build a business making $80 a day on your own, you’ll be less afraid of taking risks with your life. This means if your trying to land a raise or a promotion, you won’t be worried about walking out the door if your boss hands you that 2% raise that you didn’t ask for.

Declaring independence is the key to developing the valuable charisma necessary to become a leader. A big part of that is knowing that you can go it alone if you need to.

This way if someone tells you to sit down and shut up, you can tell them to shove it.

You have the keys to becoming an independent freedom fighter now.

Now you can support yourself, pay your readers, and make a difference.

With that in mind, let’s go change the world. Will you join me?


If you learned something from this, I’d love it if you could help share it with someone who it will help. Know someone trapped at a desk? Send this to them. If you use Twitter or Facebook, ‘liking’ this or retweeting it would be awesome.

Sharing is the only way my work reaches new readers. Thank you!

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