Making Money Online is So Glamorous!


I remember when I had first started seriously considering the opportunities available to me of making a few dollars with my online properties and my blogs and thinking to myself “Wow, it looks so amazing! It would be the perfect lifestyle!

I had these crazy thoughts that somehow it would change everything and life would be so much better this way – it was a bit like a Japanese Anime cartoon where everything is bigger, more pronounced (like their hair and eyes) and everything just is fine and dandy with big peace signs and buckets of cash.

… I honestly thought it would be like I was living on a different planet. I had no idea what I was thinking.

What I failed to realize and what I eventually found to be true was that making money online or making money with your blog is just like anything else: It’s work. It’s good old fashioned work. You “do” it just like you do many other things – you sit there in a chair and trade your hours for dollar bills (maybe, hopefully, sometimes).

Using your online properties to generate an income isn’t glamorous – it’s just a different type of J.O.B. I don’t want to burst your bubble but there’s nothing really special or unique about it either. I’m not downplaying it or Debbie Downing it (or Negative Nancy?) – I’m just putting it on the same playing field as any other job and any other profession.

The genesis of this post was that I happened to encounter yet another starry-eyed and very green blogger who had somehow figured out that making money online was like winning the lottery – or that’s how he described it. It was fantastical, whimsical, hyper-romantic, and very emotional.

I gently brought him down to earth and asked him what he thought a “typical” day looked like for a full time blogger or for an internet marketer or for someone who spends the majority of his money online. He looked puzzled. I asked again and I could see the wheels turning around in his mind about what it really looks like:

I guess… it’s like… writing stuff and talking to other people a lot and business-y stuff. tweet

“Exactly.” I told him, “Just like 99% of all other jobs out there.”

I could tell he was a bit deflated so I encouraged him to pursue it, experiment with it, and see what happens as there is nothing wrong with “trying it on” for a bit and seeing what sticks. But reality had sunk in – the glitz, the glam, the glory, it was all in his head.

We spoke for a bit more and then he excused himself to get some work done on the other side of the coffee shop – I felt ambivalent about the encounter but I knew that I had spoke the truth – blogging, building online products and applications, it’s all the same as doing other types of work. It’s great work, for sure, and I love what I do, but if I don’t work then I don’t eat.

This ain’t the movies kid!

[This is part of the Escaping the 9-5: My Road to ProBlogging series.]

  • Jedidiah

    Thanks for always giving a balanced perspective, John. I appreciate the blog.

    • John Saddington

      sure thing jedidiah!

  • Brian

    I enjoyed your article, thank you!

    I’m a small business owner, and tried my hand at a web property in 2009. I thought I identified a need in a niche I knew something about, so I worked and worked and worked, and built a website around this perceived need. In the end I made no money on the site. I supplied something that there was no real demand for.

    The positive to my failed attempt was that I learned, was in the game, and moved on. I grew from the experience.

    The internet is a great market place for people to make money, because of the relatively low barrier to entry. It’s still a market place though, so the principals of supply and demand, hard work, and etc. hold true for it, just the same as main street. Thank God it exists. We just need to be realistic about it, as you wrote.

    • John Saddington

      hard work. true!

  • Marie @ Boutique de la Mer

    GREAT article! I have people email me all the time about how fun it must be to work from home and have so many blogs/sites to manage. I’ll be forwarding them to your article from now on. I work 40 to 50 hours a week and I LOVE it…but it’s anything by glamorous. I use to operate a Brick & Mortar and seriously this is just as much work – it’s different – but it’s a ton of work.

    Thanks for a well written and honest article about the joys of working on the Internet.

    • John Saddington

      sure thing marie!

  • JamesW

    You wrote simple truth here and went right to the point.Hard work, hard work and hard work, “just online”, that’s the only difference.
    Making money is a fun for many, but when you need to feed a mouth from the online income then it’s whole another story, there’s no glamour at all.
    thanks for sharing

    • John Saddington

      sure thing james. it’s fun… you’re right. it’s just online.

  • Brent Pittman

    It takes a while to find an audience! I’m finding that most of the money I’m making online is directly from my blog, but from opportunities because I can blog (staff writing, etc).

    • John Saddington

      you’re right! it took me over 10 years!

  • Marie Wiere

    This is a great post!

    Like anything people often fall victim to “grass is greener” syndrome. I think you did the new blogger a favor by being honest and giving him a true representation of what the job entails. This way assuming he listens to you, he can move forward and make a more informed decision regarding online work.

    • John Saddington


      i hope so! some people waste a lot of time trying this “thing” and getting discouraged when they should go do something else.

      i’m down for experimenting, but only when you’re doing it wisely!

  • Lincoln Parks

    There as allot I took from this blog post. I too once had that vision that making it online was some pie in the sky thing. It’s work, it’s hard, it’s not easy. However, one takeaway. We love doing it.

    • John Saddington

      and don’t stop!

  • Joseph Lalonde

    Dang John, you just had to go and burst my bubble!

    • John Saddington


  • G

    Do doubt, this blogging stuff is hard work. And I haven’t made a dime yet. Someday…

    • John Saddington

      someday. :)

  • Ivan

    Ah, the reality check: sucks but necessary.

    As with all things in life, we have to find (and do) what we love. If someone is in it – whether it be blogging or a tradition office job – only for the money, it’s unlikely they’ll last long.

    • John Saddington

      you’re right. those things don’t last very long at all. i would know. do what you love.

  • Jason Cabler (@DrCabler)

    Great post! You gotta have some love for what you’re doing or you’ll burn out and become disillusioned. I’ve been blogging for 8 months and made a total of $105. But That’s ok because I have a passion for what I do and I know that lives have and will be changed because of what I teach. Eventually the money will follow.

    • John Saddington


      man, that’s awesome! i was blogging for years before i made my first…!

  • Peter Squire

    Thanks for your post John. You’re totally right making money online is a tough game especially when someone is first starting out. I used to indulge myself in fantasy about driving away into the sunset about with the riches i was going to make until I actually began my journey online.

    • John Saddington

      it is a journey, that is the truth.