How Long Until You Make Money?

Last Update: February 11, 2017

This must be the most common question that I get asked here on WA, by email and pretty much every other place where I hang out.

How Long Does It Take To See Success?

I'll give you the answer that you don't want to hear: it depends.
How long does a new restaurant take to become profitable? How long does it take for a new car dealership to become profitable? How long does it take for a new corner shop to make a profit?

The answer is always the same: it depends.

There are simply too many variables to give you the right answer. I don't know your niche and the demand for it. I also don't know your competition and how hard they've been working. I don't know your work ethics. I don't know what exactly you are doing in order to grow your business.

The truth is, a typical brick and mortar (offline) business takes 3-5 years to become profitable.

The good news is that success normally happens faster online.

The second good news is that an offline business will invest $30k-$50k-$100k or more to launch their business while you can do it for $30/m (if you join Wealthy Affiliate as a yearly member) + $14 per year for a domain name. That's all you really need.

What Does It Take To Succeed?

Besides having built several niche websites in the past 9 years I've been closely following other folks building their own niche websites and using affiliate marketing to monetize these sites.

In the past 2 years I've been noticing a very interesting trend. Websites that are only 1-3 months old aren't getting much traction. This is very understandable. You bring in a brand new websites and you're trying to compete with older, established sites. No wonder Google doesn't give you great rankings and traffic right away.

Yesterday Jay did a Hot Seat live training ( and he spotted something very interesting. A one month old website was ranked for 1 single keyword. A 3 month old website was ranked for 3 keywords. This surely was a coincidence but it's obvious that Google takes several month in order to consider your website. They don't want to rank a brand new site and see it abandoned 2 months later. They want to be sure that you are serious about it and that you will be creating fresh content for years to come.

However, "new" websites that have been around for 6-12 months are much better off.
It seems like the 6 months mark is where the rankings and traffic starts growing exponentially! (don't quote me on that, it's my personal observation).

Of course let's not forget that the more successful websites are those that keep getting more and more fresh content.

Some might say that they "don't have any ideas for content" or that "writing is hard" are simply making excuses. English is my 4th language, I used to hate writing and I never had any content ideas - but I just stuck with it. I know it's hard and this is the reason why not everyone succeeds. If you jump into it thinking you'll start making money by next week - you will fail.

If you start building a new website understanding that you are in it for the long haul - your chances of success increase exponentially.

Some Niche Site Results

I've been following a niche websites that concentrates on drones. The website was launched just a little over a year ago (January 2016).

The owner put out about 15 articles per month. On his 4th month he finally started getting some rankings and made his first $20.

On 6th month the site made almost $1,500.

Last month (month # 12) the website earned $6,000.

How is that for results?

The secret to this success? Consistent content. The owner wrote at least 15 articles every single month for a whole year. After the first 4-5 month he still had nothing to show for it but he stuck with it because he knew that success takes time. He understood that rewards are not instant. He knew that it might be frustrating now but it will be worth it later on.


Another interesting person that I had the chance to interview is a Man's Style Blogger. His niche is: "How to dress if you're a man below average height". How's that for a niche?
His started his blog in 2012 and barely out any work into it. In 2013 he wrote more articles and finally made a few dollars. In 2014 he wrote a lot of content and was able to make a few thousand dollars. This is when it clicked. Hard work = results.

In 2015 he decided to go full time on it and worked 30+ hours a week on his blog and managed to pull in $36,000 for the year.

In 2016 he wrote more content, he started tweaking certain things on his blog and he earned $90,000.

He explained that the first 2 years he was just a tire-kicker and instead of writing quality content he kept on looking for "shortcuts". He is sure that if he was to start all over again he'd be able to achieve the same success within 2 years because he realizes the importance of hard work and time investment.

There are countless case-studies of niche websites earning $500/month, $2,000/month, $10,000 per month and the common trend is the time that it took to get to that level. In most cases it's within 6-12 month. Many niche sites seem to peak at 20-25 months. This means that it takes 2 years of consistent work to reach the full potential for a small niche website. If you can expand on your niche than you'll probably never reach the full potential because you'd keep on growing your income ;)

Are You Ready?

I hope this post clears things up a little. I know that many of my WA referrals sign up for a yearly membership because they understand that success is not instant and they need to fully commit if they want to succeed.

I know it's difficult. I know it might feel like you aren't getting anywhere. I'd like to leave you with one of my most favorite illustrations about achieving success:

Let it sink in.


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DaveSw Premium
Hi, Alex...

I agree with your analysis and as someone that is approaching 2 years of online effort, see that the hard work on a consistent basis does start that upwards trend you speak of...

No doubt it is hard to keep at it, when your expectations are so high, and the initial phase reaps little in commission/income. The mind set is key I think...

Here are my thoughts...

When you start a business, any business, you have a vision. One important trait that most successful people seem to have is the ability to delay gratification to achieve that vision...

This is a skill almost in some ways...The skill to disregard that voice in your head and others around you that will tell you again and again that what you are working on will come to nothing...

instead, if going in to the venture you have the mind set that you will cast off all these negative signals, externally and internally, and act in a determined and planned manner, and maintain the intestinal fortitude and persevere, no matter what happens, you will accomplish the goal...

This all happens when you have a passion for what you do...An example: The best Chefs in the world are those that are obsessed with preparing good food presented in a manner that appeals to the masses...

The best ones are often quite creative, much like an artist, but they also have the practical skills learned over a number of years to be able to excel in their chosen field...

There are a select few that are the top rated chefs in the world, more thousands that are very good, and many thousands that are good...Then you have some that need to find another line of work, because they hate what they are doing...

As with being a top Chef, you decide going in at what level you want to operate from when it comes to online marketing...

(1) Do you have passion for this business,

(2) Are you willing to learn the necessary skills, and most important,

(3) Can you cast aside the barriers or barrel through them, and are you willing to give your all to do this?

This is all important and if you work through these questions and look internally at what it is you want to accomplish, you will have the proper mind-set to achieve whatever it is you go after...

The alternative?

You find you don't have the guts for the venture, you buy into the "Negative Nancy's" within and without, and you fail. Not the end of the world perhaps, but a terrible waste of the talent that lies within most people...

In the case of online marketing, there are certain central requisites for the business that you must successfully negotiate and learn to have a positive outcome...

If you miss on one or more of these requirements, you will not attain the goal...Really simple...

Having been a member here for 21 months now (there was a couple of months of meandering before finding Wealthy Affiliate) I can say that all the information is here that will provide the tools and knowledge for success...Every. Single. Thing.

There are other sites that will provide good information and training that goes into other aspects of online marketing, and I am not saying that this is the absolute ONLY place that one must belong to or learn from...

What I AM saying though is that here you have what you need to plan, create, and grow that successful business you dream of. It is up to the individual to get their head in the right place, understand that there will be challenges, and that to succeed they must be willing to pesevere and take action, no matter what...

Good post, thanks for sharing!

Dave : )
stepgreen29 Premium
Everything you said is so true. Thanks for the words of wisdom!
Swangirl Premium
Great encouragement Dave! Thanks.
AlexSol Premium
What a wonderful reply Dave!

I am loving that Chef analogy as well ( as I am currently re-watching Bourdain's "A Cook's Tour" from 2002).

Totally agree that WA has all the training and help necessary to launch an online business, especially if it's an affiliate niche website. Those Live Video Classes alone have an incredible amount of information and I think are worth thousands of dollars at the very least!

Thanks for reading ;)

DaveSw Premium
'Dobra Dan' Alex...

No need for thanks that I read this, what you are adding here adds value for us all and is important...

Regarding your Chef/cooking interest...Me too...

I started many years ago as a chef, trained and then worked actively for 5 years in 'back of the house' ops, then went into management, etc.

At the back end of that time period of my life, I ended up as a senior logistician, believe it or not, helping others to plan and move mountains of stuff and people across the globe...

Much more involved, but...

That is why I can relate to Chefs and used this analogy - I can also attest they are an interesting and some quite temperamental group of folks...

A bit more personal history...I used to organize the US Army Culinary Arts teams for the Olympics that take place every 4 years in Germany...

These guys are super talented, they work in places like the White House, at the Military Training Schoolhouse, and for Generals, etc.

Every 4 years these best of the best gather and represent the US Army in this competition, and have done quite well over time against some of the best Chefs in the world...

Boy, were they hard to deal with (not all, some were the greatest folks you could hope to find)...

Fast forward to today...

Like you, it sounds like, I still have an affinity for cooking, kitchens, gadgets, and learning new recipes and cuisines...I actually taught food service courses in the 80s for about 10 years (one of the subject areas), and it was great, so do a bit of that as well, nothing formal (or paid)...


Again thanks for sharing your story and experiences here, you have a great deal of wisdom for us all, and it is not that often people are willing to so openly share this - I have to say I see this more here on Wealthy Affiliate than almost anywhere...

Cheers and more success for you in 2017 - Who knows, we may see one another at one of these Las Vegas events...That is a bigger incentive than achieving the 300 sales or the money from commissions...

Last point (really hehe)...

Meeting some of you who have been doing this for some time as well as meeting Kyle and Carson in person is something I would like to do one day...I am in this for the long haul...

Truthfully, my focus is on a few other things (i.e. building online shops for selling our own products, requiring real bricks and mortar ops and people, etc.) BUT I think I may have to fit in some more hours to push WA more to make this event...

Dave : )
AlexSol Premium
Wow Dave, these are some incredible experiences you've had over the years!

To be honest I am not as passionate about food to ever try "being a chef" but I do enjoy the culture quite a bit.

I love cooking and am still amazed how much difference a proper chef's knife makes in the kitchen :D

Btw I've done "my own products" that I pushed on Etsy and the brand got picked up by Urban Outfitters, that was an interesting experience.

Personally I still prefer affiliate model a lot more. Yes we were able to find a manufacturer in Asia, get our products done, shipped, inspected, sold, etc. The money was great for such a little amount of work put into that yet I am not very excited about it. To each his own I guess ;)
CraigW315 Premium
Great post. Thanks for sharing this. I always love seeing real-life examples of people's successes.

Most of what I have been writing about lately is motivation, partly because I'm not really an expert on anything else yet and also because I truly think that staying motivated in the face of what appears to be a lack of success is one of the greatest obstacles any of us will face.
AlexSol Premium
Craig it definitely is an obstacle. I prefer to see it as a test: "Do you really want that success or are you just poking around?". Know what I mean?
MattyBx Premium
Couldn't have said it better myself!! I think WA should make exactly what you are saying more visible and clear in all the training and courses. So people know what's real and what to expect. I believe the 6month Mark holds true. I have heard this from other successful site owners.
And, I am living proof as well. I just hit the 6 month mark on one of my sites and all the sudden I start3d seeing good changes. Higher rankings and more organic traffic. Not kidding, things really do get much better when and after you reach about 6 months. As long as you have followed all the tips and training and you have been putting out good content.
I committed myself to writing quality articles every single day including Saturdays and Sundays. I did this for 1 month then continued. My entire goal is LONG TERM REWARD.
I am willing to put the hard work in now, for free and basically NO income knowing that it will eventually come in a year or 2 or more.

I'll work hard for FREE for 2 straight years, if this means that in years 3+ until retirement, I begin making 1k a month, then 3k a month, 5K a month or 10K or more. Get me?
TheOldSilly Premium
I'm with you, Matty - even if it takes 3, 4, or FIVE years of hard, dedicated, focused and unrelenting work ... if you achieve passive income enough eventually to be able to retire, it was well worth it.
AlexSol Premium
That's true Marvin! Although I've seen a lot of people "ready to retire" but still working on their online business because many find retirement too boring ;)
AlexSol Premium
What a great reply Matt!

In my opinion even people who are serious about WA still treat it like a "job". And when you have a job you're rewarded (almost) instantly. Put in 40 hours a week and 2 weeks later you're rewarded an X amount of money.

With a business (especially online business) this period of an actual reward is usually much longer than 2 weeks. And although the reward will be much higher, lots of folks would rather have a small but instant reward.

The truth is starting a business is not for everyone ;)
NWTDennis Premium
It's been said so many times here in the community. It's all about your content production. Fifteen posts of 1200+ words a month for a year = 180 posts. Yikes ... that's a lot of writing.

I assume the Drone site owner worked long hours (60 - 70 hours a week)? The results are phenomenal. I've always wondered how an Affiliate Marketing business could be classified as "Passive Income".

Passive Income for IRS purposes is generally regarded as income generated where the taxpayer does not materially participate.
AlexSol Premium
It's a lot of work but it's not an incredible amount.

The drone site owner wrote all the content for the first 6 months if I remember correctly. He said he spent around 20-30 hours a week on it.

When he started making money he started outsourcing the writing. He said he pays between $5 and $7.5 for 500 words and after trying out a lot of writers he found a English Lit student from US who is doing all the writing fro him.

The income is almost passive for this site as he only spends an hour or 2 a week making sure the content is up to his standards.
NatNiches Premium
That's one of my favourite illustrations too Alex :). It's just so important to realise that hard work DOES pay off eventually. The months and years can go by slowly when you're not seeing great results - but often when people compare where there are today, to several months before- massive progress has been made. :)
AlexSol Premium
Haha, totally love this picture Natalie.

And yes, the efforts do pay off eventually.