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6 Reasons You Can't Make Money Online Despite Your Hard Work

Although online businesses can be more flexible and scalable, traditional business rules broadly apply as critical success factors.

By Dr Mehmet YildizPublished about a year ago 9 min read
6 Reasons You Can't Make Money Online Despite Your Hard Work
Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

An online business is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

Making money online is not a get-quick-rich scheme. On the contrary, it requires as much hard work as traditional business. The only difference is that the digital world is more flexible and scalable for tech-savvy people and those who can build large networks.

Many people have made substantial money online over the last two decades. It is still an emerging business model giving freedom to people. Some people use them to create passive income streams as side hustles.

Therefore, the online business concept is so attractive to many people, especially the new generation. However, many people attempt with enthusiasm based on misleading perceptions but quickly fail, get disappointed, and never try it again.

Then, they call it a scam as they cannot get quick gain due to a lack of knowledge, not making the commitment, insufficient effort, and unreasonable expectations. Some people even lose motivation, adversely affecting their mental health.

If thousands of people can succeed, then online business is possible and legitimate. But then you might ask why so many people fail and give up so quickly. This is an important question. Therefore, I attempt to answer it based on my experience and observations.

By no means do I consider myself a successful online entrepreneur. However, I made some progress and mentored several people who exceeded my level as they put more effort than me. The good news is that I got what I invested, so no regrets from my end. So, I wouldn't call online business a scam.

Nonetheless, just knowing the principles and mistakes is also not sufficient to be a remarkably successful online entrepreneur. More importantly, commitment and persistence are crucial for success.

The outcome naturally correlates with the energy we put in. For example, I put in 10% of my energy and gained 10% outcome. There is no loss. Those who put in 80% or more got 80% or better results.

Online business simply means creating or purchasing products or services, marketing and selling them via the Internet, mainly through websites, emails, newsletters, videos, audio, phone, and other information technology tools.

Some examples of online businesses are affiliate marketing, writing and selling books, monetized blogging, development of educational materials, dropshipping, coaching, advisory, and service consultancy remotely.

Out of all these, I only made noteworthy income through consultancy, as it has been my specialty, and I put more effort into this stream.

I also attempted affiliate marketing, monetized blogging, and selling some of my technical books as a side hustle which produced relatively less income.

I documented common mistakes affiliate marketers make in an article titled Here's Why Affiliate Marketers Fail And How to Fix the Problems in Five Steps.

In this post, I'd like to summarize key lessons I learned over the last two decades, as a content marketing strategist, in performing online business and educating and mentoring freelancers and young entrepreneurs.

I mainly focus on principles rather than detailed processes to make this article a helpful piece for my readers. The most important aspect of this post is to show reality based on my experience and observations.

1 - You don't have a compelling product or service.

People only spend money on products and services that solve their problems, make their lives easier, and enhance their happiness.

If your product or services cannot add these core values to your potential clients, your success as an online entrepreneur can be scarce.

Perhaps you might sell a few products or a few hours of service, but the income will not be sustainable to make your living as a freelancer or an entrepreneur.

Therefore, the first rule of online business is to have value-adding products or services. You can design them as digital assets that solve problems, make clients' lives easier, or improve their enjoyment.

These three categories are broad and can cover many digital assets.

2 - You don't know how to show and articulate the value of your products or services.

You might have great products or services that can add value to others, but those people who need your products have no clue about your existence. You are nothing to them until they discover your business.

You think you have a website selling and making no transactions. The most obvious reason for not getting clients is no or inadequate traffic to your site.

Awareness of this situation is critical, as unless this is improved, no sales will happen, even if you have excellent digital assets.

Solving this problem is relatively easier than solving the first problem, as it is a matter of education and investment in hosting and marketing infrastructure for your site. For example, purchasing and gradually increasing traffic is possible.

3 - You don't have a mailing list and don't create newsletters.

You have significant traffic to your website through multiple sources. Thousands of people visit it daily, but hardly anyone purchases anything. This is another common problem for beginners.

This problem is painful that people get disappointed and give up an online business at this stage. Unless we create a group of fans or regularly convert visitors into lovers of our services, creating a sustainable online business can be very difficult or almost impossible.

Gaining subscribers and creating a functional mailing list will take time and require a lot of effort. This activity is one of the most tedious tasks for online business owners. It requires effective communication skills and critical attributes like empathy, compassion, and patience.

In online businesses, people are amazed by the followers of their sites. But most followers can be fake and never come back after following. Therefore, as I explained in a previous article, subscribers can bring 50 times more value than followers.

4 - You don't engage with your clients or collaborate with others.

You might build a mailing list and post newsletters regularly but never check the responses of potential clients. And you don't interact with them meaningfully.

When they get no response, it indicates that you don't care about your business. So potential clients give up reaching out to you. They never come back.

Another problem is the lack of collaboration with others in your fields. Collaboration is a critical tool to improve relationships with others and enhance social circles.

Selling products through referrals is much more manageable than selling them directly online.

Therefore, even big businesses use affiliate marketers and influencers for marketing their products and giving them almost 50% of the value of their assets, as bringing new clients is the most challenging part of any type of business, including online initiatives.

The practical tips are to engage with potential clients by providing free service and giving a quick taste of your digital assets to entice them and gain their confidence. Most people enjoy trying something before purchasing it.

And collaborating with others based on reciprocity principles is a necessary strategy for building and maintaining a successful online business.

5 - You don't use productivity tools, processes, or incentives.

You might be working hard to manually improve a product or service, but unless you use productivity tools and automate tedious tasks, your manual efforts can yield negligible results.

Success in the online world requires the use of productivity tools and processes. Creating more with less effort and time is a critical success factor. Sharpening our skills in any field is also crucial for success.

Repurposing your asset is an excellent example of increasing productivity. For example, a piece of content can be used and sold in various forms as a blog post, a book, a training material, a video, or a podcast.

In addition, giving incentives to others to amplify and recommend your products to bring more customers can be very helpful for the growth of your online business.

Purchasing, learning, and using productivity tools is a matter of time, effort, and some monetary investments. However, the incentive part revolves around relationships and collaboration with others. Reciprocity is a critical success factor in any business endeavor.

6 - You don't use your time well and produce enough.

This point also relates to the previous one. You might have tools and processes, but if you don't use your time wisely, succeeding in an online business can be challenging.

For example, if you are an author and produce only one book a year, your income will be less than another author who produces 12 books in a year. Or if you are a blogger and post only once a week, your blog site will bring less income than those who post three times a day.

Time is the most valuable asset in any business. Therefore, you need to be strategic in time use. For example, instead of spending 80% of your time in business, bringing 20% value, you should consider spending 20% of your time bringing 80% value. Understanding and practicing this principle is another success factor.

So priority management is critical in getting the best out of your time. By choosing your priority based on specific success criteria and adhering to the implementation of it, you can create more valuable assets and produce much better results.

Conclusions and Takeaways

From a commitment and client engagement perspective, an online business is no different from a traditional one. It requires the same amount of effort, time, and commitment.

Even though online businesses can be more flexible and scalable, traditional business rules mainly apply as success factors. So online business is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Unfortunately, this perception prevails, causing disappointment and resentment among beginners.

Understanding the principles, success factors, and common pitfalls is critical. However, the most significant success factors are adding value, interacting with clients, leveraging one's network, committing to the business, and remaining persistent.

In summary, the key takeaway points of this article are:

1 - Create compelling products or services for clients.

2 - Show and articulate the value of your products or services to potential customers.

3 - Build a mailing list who subscribe to your assets and inform them via newsletters, emails, videos, podcasts, or phone calls.

4 - Engage with your clients meaningfully and collaborate with others effectively.

5 - Automate your business with productivity tools and processes, improve your skills, and give incentives to others to testify about your business.

6 - Use your time wisely and produce more in less time and with less effort by setting and managing your priorities.

We get what we invest in any business. Online business is no different. So unless we make a concerted effort and invest our time wisely, online business by itself will not bring much value.

I see online business as a lifestyle that can affect our physical and mental health. Therefore, a successful online business can enhance our quality of life and overall well-being.

In hindsight, after decades of service in the corporate environment, I Wish I Had Gone Self-Employed 40 Years Ago for Three Reasons.

Thank you for reading my perspectives. I wish you a healthy and happy life.

I share similar stories on EUPHORIA, which is my personal publication for health and well-being stories. The original version of this article was published on another platform.

If you enjoy writing and storytelling, you can join Vocal as a creator to find your voice, reach out to a broad audience, and monetize your content. I also write on Medium and NewsBreak. You can join my publications on Medium as a writer by sending a request via this link.


About the Creator

Dr Mehmet Yildiz

I'm a writer and published author with four decades of content development experience in business, technology, leadership, and health. I work as a postdoctoral researcher and consultant. My background is at

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  • Himanshuabout a year ago

    affiliate marketing is best to earn extra income.

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