How Long Until You Make Money?
Last Update: Feb 12, 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 (https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/training/hot-seat-...) 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.
Thank you Alex.
Finally ... someone who tackles this issue head-on.
I had websites that I built few years back and making money. But with life's other commitments, I simply 'let them wilt away'.
Big mistake, I know - I should have worked on them, scale them up.
Regrets aside, I started anew and seeing results again, albeit it took time and much effort.
Yes, sometimes the need to continute building content ... can be a dread. But I believe, having a niche that really relates to your interest helps.
Hmm, but at least now if I ever feel like I need a 'boost', I'll re-read your post here again, Alex, to get me back to reality.
Your post is probably better than coffee! And like a slap - a jolt to remind me that achieving success is, in itself, a commitment.
Again, many thanks Alex for waking me up!
Thank You Zailinah!
It was a slap to myself as well. I am guilty of previously building up sites to a certain income and then just letting them die, slowly.
We all make mistakes but as long as we learn from these mistakes we can start calling them "experiences" instead of "mistakes" :)
Wonderful reading Alex and very encouraging. Everything you said makes complete sense.
I have had my website for approx. 5 months. In that time I have added 73 posts and 6 pages. I am now getting more than 100 visitors / day. I have made approx. $150 dollars in sales so far and I have $34 / month in ongoing income from IPTV subscriptions.
I am well aware of the time it takes and the effort required. I will not give up.
One question: How do I check which KW's I am ranking for? I use Jaaxy to check SiteRank but only for KW's that I type in. i.e. Main KW's.
That's a good start Craig! It should only grow from here!
SEMrush is a good tool for checking with Keywords you rank for. It's $99 per month though. It's rather expensive but could be very useful for different things. You can also cancel after the first month once you got all your info.
There are many other tools in the same price range. Their might be free tools that do that too but I haven't searched for them much.
I had a gym at one point in my life. The electric bill was $1500. The lease was $1000.
We opened at 5 a.m and closed at 9 p.m. We had to have an employee for an occasional break. Found out later he was stealing from us.
I put in about 13 to 14 hours a day.
We managed to cover our bills and pay that one employee. What ever was left was ours.
For the first 2 years that was under a $100. a month. After 3 years we built the membership and made some money for ourselves.
By the time that happened we were so tired of a gym that we sold our lease and membership.
It's takes time to build any business, on or off line. But as for me, I will do my building online from now on.
Great post Alex.
Wow that's a crazy story Barry! I always wondered how independent gyms are able to make it work... I guess with a lot of blood, sweat and money...
Very good post and something I wish I would've read last year or when I first started. You hit the nail on the head when it comes to consistency. If you're consistent, Google will like it and will trust your website more.
If you start and then stop for awhile, start again and then stop for quite awhile again, Google will definitely lose trust in your site and it will take longer to regain it. I'm learning this the hard way unfortunately, but it is always possible to come back strong.
Don't be afraid to try new things even if it doesn't succeed, do not give up. Trust me, I had that happen this past week. I got into PPC for the first time and did one ad campaign. I got a lot of impressions, a good number of clicks, but not a ton of traffic to my affiliate links (from my landing page that my ad went to when you click on it).
Of those that did click on the affiliate links, not one of them purchased anything. $100 gone and it was discouraging, but I do know that it wasn't a total flop because I did get a good number of clicks on my ad and traffic there for a point definitely did go up, but I know on that specific landing page on my site, no one bought anything and there could be a number of reasons.
Regardless though, as easy as it is to give up after going through something like that, I won't give up. I've invested so much time, energy and some money into this that I would kick myself if I gave up.
So what am I going to do? Go back to writing content consistently which I have been doing for the last month and a half. Sometimes I do wonder if my content is having any impact at all or if it is quality content. I hardly ever get any organic comments and always request comments here from WA when I add a new post.
Doubt definitely comes into your mind very easily and quickly and it can stop you in your tracks. I'm definitely trying to keep it at bay and still focus on my website. It has earned a tiny bit of revenue since last year from Google AdSense and my site has been around for almost 3 years now. I'm still hoping to see the success someday with my website that I've always dreamed of.
Thanks for such a great reply Brian.
To be honest it took me a while to figure this out as well. I have wasted a tremendous amount of time and effort trying to figure out the "secret" to success. I was convinced the successful guys weren't telling me something important.
Unfortunately I was wrong. Unfortunately instead of building my business I was simply wasting time.
Good thing that I did eventually open my eyes ;)
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...
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 : )
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 ;)
'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 : )
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 ;)
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.
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?
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?
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.
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 ;)
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 ;)
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.
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.
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. :)
See more comments
Great Insights Alex, Thanks for the much-needed boost. Yeah, hard work & commitment is all that you need. And this is what I am lacking. I am not giving any time to my biz.. not even an hour daily :( Main thing is my full-time job coz of which not able to commit extra hours to my side biz. :-|
I understand that it might be hard to invest time when you have a full time job. I always suggest sitting down and analyzing every hour of the day and trying to figure out what activity you can replace with an online business.
For example, spending 2 hours watching Netflix and spending 1 hour browsing Facebook and Instagram - that;s 3 hours that could be invested in the biz instead ;)