Why Just Blogging Is Not Enough

When I first started publishing content on the Internet nearly 20 years ago, I had no real ambition to make any money at all. It was just a hobby and I’d be thrilled with I’d get a message from just one random stranger. My words were actually reaching real people all around the world and this was an incredible power I hadn’t ever experienced in my life before. The Internet has been truly remarkable in this sense. And when I decided to give this “make money online” thing a go starting around 2006, the focus — outside of my freelance writing business — was my blog, Beyond the Rhetoric, which is still very much around today. Over the years, I’ve dabbled in a number of different ad networks, tried my hand at affiliate marketing, and taken on some paid post opportunities. However, whatever money I made was largely generated on […]

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Reputation Is More Important Than Information Now

I still remember when I was a kid, if I was unsure about the lyrics of a song and I totally misheard them, there was no real way for me to verify them. So, I’d go about my days and weeks and years, singing along with totally the wrong words. For the longest time, I thought that they were saying “psychosomatic, Alan Kinzane” in “Breathe” by The Prodigy, wondering to myself who this Alan Kinzane fellow was. Finding Correct Information I remember playing “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” on the computers at school when I was younger too. I remember having to locate the world almanac somewhere in the classroom so I could find out which country had “lira” as its currency. If I wanted to find a book at the library, I had to go through a physical card file, and the “facts” in that book could […]

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Jeff Bezos on Work-Life Balance

When the richest person in history (with a net worth of over $100 billion… that’s “billion” with a “B”) has something to say about what it takes to be successful, our ears will naturally perk up. After all, he’s clearly doing something right to accrue that kind of fortune and he seems to be pretty happy about the whole thing too. And understandably so, I suppose. Common Sense Is Mediocre What you’ll find with so many of these success stories is that these individuals have a habit of turning conventional wisdom on its head. Take Tim Ferriss as a prime example. Conventional wisdom will tell you that if you want to be successful at what you do, then you need to work hard and you need to put in long hours. The guy who is first to arrive at the office and the last one to leave at night, he’s […]

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The Cinematic Universe of Blogging Business

When Avengers: Infinity War hit theaters in April 2018, it enjoyed the largest opening weekend of all-time with an estimated $630 million at the box office. This movie, which really just sets up the next Avengers movie, represents the culmination of a decade of world-building with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The world has seen countless superhero movies before, surely, and it’s no stranger to sequels, prequels and side stories either. But nothing has ever been attempted at quite this kind of scale and it doesn’t look like the MCU is going to slow down any time soon. They’re already planning out the next several years of movies and we have no reason to believe the success won’t continue to build upon even more success. You may not have a media juggernaut with mouse ears bankrolling your venture, but you can take home several key lessons from the Marvel Cinematic […]

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Just Because You Can Do It Yourself…

If you want your car to last as long as possible and run at its best, you should be investing in regular maintenance. At certain mileage milestones, you can expect to replace certain parts. But while you may take it in to a certified mechanic for a coolant flush or to replace your brakes, it might be an unnecessary waste of money to pay for someone to change your wiper blades. That’s simple enough and you can do it yourself. When it comes to your home, the same kind of approach applies too. There are certain things that need to be done around the house. If your heating system is completely on the fritz and you have no idea why it’s not working, it’s probably best to hire a professional. Conversely, it probably doesn’t make sense to pay someone $85 an hour, plus travel expenses, to come all the way […]

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Is Blog Commenting Dead?

Let me tell you a little story about how I came to meet John Chow and how we’ve grown to become pretty good friends over the years. Heck, I even crashed at his guest house in Washington at one point. Learning to Make Money Online Even though I’d be writing online for years prior, I didn’t really turn that into professional blogging and freelance writing until 2006. I started learning about Internet marketing, online advertising, search engine optimization and all the rest of it. Coincidentally, it was also around that time that John decided to run his little experiment to see if it was possible to earn a full-time income from part-time blogging. We all know how that turned out for him. At the time, I didn’t really know him, of course. I only knew *of* him, but we just so happened to have a mutual friend who I knew […]

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How Much Money Can You Save Working from Home?

There are innumerable reasons why you might want to quit your day job. Maybe you’ve got a horrible boss who keeps “voluntelling” you to come in on the weekend to finish up those TPS reports, because that’d “be great.” Maybe you want to take matters into your own hands, take ownership over your own career, and enjoy the limitless income potential of entrepreneurship. Maybe you want the freedom to work when and where you want, on your own terms, doing your own thing. You want to steer your own ship and have more time to spend with your family. These are all valid reasons. Another big reason? It’s not just about the possibility of more income; it’s also about how much money can you can save by working from home, being your own boss. Thousands of Dollars I recently came across an article by Maddi Salmon on Quartz at Work. […]

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Are You Ready to Fail?

We hear about these amazing success stories all the time. There are these inspiring rags to riches stories about people who grew up with nothing and now they’re jet-setting millionaires, living their best life. Of course we all want to achieve a similar kind of success. Of course success is desirable. But what about failure? Do you want to fail? Are you prepared for it? The Truth About Failure There are two very obvious “facts” about failure that I think all of us recognize on an intuitive level, but we don’t always fully internalize. First, it’s obvious enough that success, in general, is more desirable than failure. You’d much rather enter a marathon race and win than to enter the same marathon and come in last place. I think that’s pretty obvious. Second, many of us should recognize that the path to success is not always perfectly straight. It’s not […]

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Calculating the ROI of Your Social Media Marketing

Simply throwing money at the problem never all works. All that ends up happening is that you’ll go way over budget and you still won’t have the results you actually want. As with all other forms of business, it is just as important for you to keep close tabs on the performance of your social media marketing. At the end of the day, it really is about the numbers and that’s why the most successful Internet marketers are the ones who are particularly adept at working with metrics and analytics. They’re the ones who are able to wade through that sea of numbers, unearth potentially lucrative trends, and cash in before anyone else and better than everyone else. This is the same reason why it’s so important to split test your landing pages and keep a close eye on your traffic sources so you know where best to direct your […]

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The Pablo Picasso Approach to Value

There are certain cliches that we’ve come to internalize as a modern society, whether or not they are actually true in all or even most cases. We just assume automatically that every used car salesperson is sneaky and deceptive, straight up lying to your face in order to close the deal. There is the archetype of the starving student, accumulating massive student debt as they eat instant noodles for lunch and binge drink on the weekends. Most of these are unfair, of course, but we’ve come to internalize them. And for the most part, we’ve come to assume that artists are generally crazy, broke, or more likely than not, both crazy and broke. While we may romanticize the idea of the artist sacrificing for his or her craft, we also assume that most artists are practically destitute, sharing one-bedroom apartments with four other “hippies” or “hipsters.” But a few break […]

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Be Creative and Profit From What You Have

Years and years and years ago, far before I had any glimmer of an idea about the possibility of making money online, my dad shared a story with me. I don’t think I was much older than maybe 6 or 7 at the time and I’m not even 100 percent certain the story is even true, but the underlying lesson is something that I’ve really taken to heart… even if it’s not directly applicable to my everyday life now. The Making of a Businessman One of the most famous entrepreneurs and “business magnates” that Vancouver has ever produced is Jim Pattison. He was born in Saskatchewan, but he grew up in East Vancouver, just like me and John (though we grew up in different neighborhoods and at different times). If you’ve ever been to Vancouver, you may have noticed his name plastered all over the city as the owner of […]

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Are You Solving Problems or Just Avoiding Them?

Over the years, I’ve written for a number of different websites and publications. Some have been more formal or more specific about how they want their content formatted. They may have very specific instructions about the size and dimensions of images, for instance, or about how they want sources to be cited. This is all in addition to the more academic style writing I did during my university days, which is decidedly quite different from the more casual web content I largely write today. Even though I’ve been doing this professionally for over a decade, it may surprise some of you to learn that I don’t really have much in terms of formal training. I never went to journalism school, I haven’t taken any creative writing courses (though I’d like to take a couple at some point), and I don’t have a diploma in marketing and communications. It’s all just […]

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How Not to Go Crazy When Working From Home

I wasn’t always a professional blogger or freelance writer. There was a time that I knew practically nothing of Internet marketing and making money online, but I like to tell people that I fell into this space and this career “accidentally on purpose” way back in 2006. I met John Chow for the first time not long after getting started and we’ve been friends ever since. You might even remember that time I crashed at his guest house in Bellevue, Washington. That experience, along with so many others like it, really illustrate how I was drawn into the “freelance lifestyle” (or the “dot com lifestyle,” as John likes to say) in the first place. I am in a position where I can largely set my own hours, choose my own projects, and determine my own fate, all while working from almost anywhere I have a reasonably reliable Internet connection and […]

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The Real Question You Should Be Asking Yourself

Common knowledge and common sense, well, they don’t always make sense. And if you simply follow what everyone else is already doing and what they’ve always been doing, then you can only expect to be mediocre at best. That’s the very definition of average. Conventional, traditional thinking will tell you that you should get a steady, 9-to-5 kind of job but that will only lead you to a conventional 9-to-5 kind of life at best. And if you’re reading this blog and if you’re interested in making money online, chances are that you’re also interested in what it takes to think outside the box, to get beyond the bubble. And to do that, you need to shift your mindset and adjust your perspective, seeing things in a whole new light and understanding them in a brand new way. Allow me to explain. Pain Is Bad, Right? Success is good. Failure […]

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A Quick Guide to TubeBuddy Tag Explorer for YouTube

At this point, if you are the least bit interested in almost any kind of marketing on the Internet, you should be getting into video (if you’re not already doing it). And while platforms like Twitch, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have certainly made some headway in this space, YouTube is still the undisputed king of online video at this point. It pays to dedicate at least some of your time and energy into building an audience on YouTube. I’ve written quick guides to features like the end screen and YouTube cards, and how you should be leveraging these features for maximum benefit. From a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective, you should also be paying very close attention to the tags you assign to each video, just as you should be mindful about the title and video description. And just like any other SEO practice, taking blind shots in the dark […]

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It’s Time To Reframe How You Think About Money

If you’re anything like me, for better or for worse, you probably think about money a lot. Maybe that’s part of the reason why you decided to follow this blog, because you want to learn about how you can make more money online and get out of the rat race for good. Or maybe you’re interested in how you can maximize your earnings from this blogging and Internet marketing “side hustle” while you hold on your day job for stability. Regardless, you’ve got money on the mind. Maybe you’re saving up for a down payment so you can buy your first home. Or maybe you’ve already got a mortgage and 2.5 kids and now you’ve been sucked into the trap of keeping up with the Joneses. The comparisons on Facebook and Instagram are inevitable and you’re starting to feel like you’re coming up short. Maybe you are. Maybe you’re not. […]

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What We Can Learn From the $10,000 Instagram Model

There are tons of ways for you to make money online and the barriers to entry are lower than ever before. If you put in the work and put out a compelling product, you could be the next YouTube superstar. But even if you don’t become an Internet sensation overnight, you can leverage your online influence to grow your bottom line too. It can be a tremendous income source when done right. You might remember when I talked about what it takes to be a successful brand ambassador for example. That kind of relationship far extends beyond a single sponsored post, for instance, to a sustained promotional partnership where both the influencer and the brand can benefit tremendously. Influencer marketing is a huge deal, so it makes sense that many people want to get their piece of the pie. Celebrity in the Making? And you’ve probably heard the old adage […]

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Why I Will Never Use Google AdSense Auto Ads

These days, you won’t find any Google AdSense ads anywhere on John Chow dot Com. This wasn’t always the case. When John decided to embark on this “make money online” journey and experiment with whether it was possible to make a full-time income from part-time blogging, AdSense was very much a part of the revenue mix. You can search through the archives for the monthly income reports he used to post and you’ll find that he did make some money from Google this way. The Google Ad Experience He doesn’t implement any ad placements from Google AdSense anymore, because why would he want to redirect a reader away from the site in exchange for a few cents when he can collect novelty checks for over $3 million in Las Vegas instead. It’s a no brainer at this point. Even so, AdSense is still very much a part of the monetization […]

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On Word Choice and Knowing Your Audience

There’s this old saying that’s been passed around and repeated so many times that it has almost lost all meaning. A picture is worth a thousand words. And especially in this modern age of social media and shrinking attention spans maybe that’s true. Instead of typing out a thoughtful comment to a post on Facebook, you just send over a funny GIF with a 90s pop culture reference. Maybe instead of taking the time to write out a short message to a friend or loved one, you reply with a series of emojis because you think it’s clever. I’m not judging. I do it too. Or maybe you haven’t even gotten this far into this blog post and I’ve already lost you. I’m not judging here either. I skim through blog posts all the time and I’m sure I miss a lot of great content along the way. As a […]

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What Is Amazon Spark (and Should You Bother)?

Staying on top of any emerging or growing social media trends is an absolute must for any successful Internet marketer. You need to know how to best utilize Instagram Stories to build your brand, for example, or how Facebook Live video can be immensely useful in reaching out to your audience on a much more authentic, genuine level. Things don’t always work out, of course — does anyone still remember Ello? — but even if you don’t hurl yourself deep into these new channels, it pays to know about them in case they do take off… even if it’s just to squat on your preferred username or vanity URL. And it’s even more important when these new platforms are backed by some of the biggest names online. A somewhat perplexing example of this is Amazon Spark. It was quietly announced to the world in summer 2017, but barely anyone has […]

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