I started my "online income" journey back in 2014.
I started with a blog that I tried to rank and get traffic to. I wasn't even sure how I would monetize it - i just read online that people were making money from blogs so I decided to start one and figure out the rest later.
Safe to say, I didn't make any money. So I tried to another idea... then another, and another. I didn't make my first dollar online until 2016, but it still wasn't enough to sustain myself.
Then 2018 rolls around and I start making enough money to survive. Then each year from there I made more money, and in 2021, I've cleared 6-figures in the last 5 months.
If I could give myself advice back in 2014, this is what I'd say:
Start with an online service. Don't build a blog, product, software, app, etc. It's faster than ever to learn a new skill online (SEO, Facebook ads, CRO, web design, graphic design, etc.) and you can set up shop with just a landing page. You can go from "I want to sell this online service" to "I just got my first client" within a few weeks or at least a month or two.
Choose a niche to service. I run a lead generation agency and in the beginning, I tried to sell to everyone and anyone, which is hard to do. My messaging didn't resonate with anyone, and my outreach was unfocused. I realized each niche I tried to market to is it's own business. For example, If my lead generation agency serviced both dentists and lawyers, that's two different businesses since it's two different outreach systems, two different offers, two different fulfillment methods, two different teams to manage clients, etc.
Once you've chosen the niche you want to service, create an attractive offer. Let's say you chose to do Facebook ads for Dentists. This is what most peoples messaging looks like, but it's not quite an offer yet:
I help dentists get new patients.
Your offer has to be irresistible, and that takes some testing to figure out what your niche resonates with. You can further refine that to:
I help dentists get 20+ new patients per month.
I help dentists get 20+ new exam and teeth cleaning patients per month.
I help dentists get 20+ new exam and teeth cleaning patients per month, guaranteed or your money back.
You can see how the offer becomes better and more specific. You have to keep testing offers FAST until you find one that converts the best. The biggest mistake I made was I didn't test offers fast enough. If you test 20 offers, one of them will work, and one offer is all you need to scale to 6-figures.
Hope that helps some of you who are just starting out. You can do this! Let me know if you have any questions in comments.
PS - I started a local lead generation mastermind (community). I'm building it in public right here on IndieHackers. It's $9/m for the first 100 members and we'll talk about everything from how to generate local leads, get clients, etc. I'm also releasing an in-depth Facebook ads course as part of the program. If you're interested, check it out here: