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The Only (Online) Business That Worked For Me

The one online business that worked for me.

Last week, I sent out an email asking people what they need. It was a useful way for me to think about what I need to create with Roostervane.

Something that came up A LOT is that people really want to know how to build social followings and how to build businesses (especially online). 

So in this post, I’m going to talk about the online businesses that did and didn’t work for me. 

In 2016, I first read an article about blogging. It was, written by a woman who made $50k a month and traveled the world full-time.  In a freaking sailboat!

Um… yes, please!

I started a blog. I followed the advice of bloggers I admired, clicking on their links, and buying courses. I built a YouTube Channel. I tried courses. I’ve built Etsy stores with my spouse and tried dropshipping. 

Over the past 5 years, I’ve tried pretty much every online business out there. And can I be super honest? 

I realized a hard truth.

Most people will fail at this. The “online business” models being pushed by influencers and creators might help them get rich when you buy their course. But only the tiniest of a percentage of people will ever make any money creating online. 

And even if you do make money, you don’t control it. 

You might not know this if you don’t follow marketing (and there’s no reason you should). But Google is tanking small publishers right now. They’re updating algorithms and it’s totally screwing over bloggers and content creators who rely on that traffic for their income. 

Take a look at Roostervane’s organic (AKA Google) traffic from the last few months. 

For a while, I was making $40-$60/day off of Roostervane’s traffic. Yesterday I made a whopping *checks* $3.89.  

I still make about $300 a month off my blog. Which is great. But it took me years of free effort to build this thing. There is no way in hell I would advise you to start a blog online–not as a money-making venture at least (it can still be fun and rewarding for other reasons)

I fell for a lie. I fell hook, line, and sinker. And it’s the lie embedded at the heart of most online “businesses.” 

If you put in time and effort consistently, upfront, for free, you’ll eventually earn money. 

It’s a lie.

And we’ve got the receipts. In 2022, Linktree did a report on creators. They found that only 12% of full-time creators made more than $50k/year. But are you ready for this? 46% of full-time creators make less than $1k!!!  

FULL TIME! Imagine working full-time for less than $1k a year!

If someone tells you creating content and waiting for a payout is a viable way to make money online, slap their lying mouth. 🫸

There are so many people who desperately want successful online businesses. They’re slogging away, chasing the promise that if you create content long and hard enough, it will pay off. 

Maybe it will. Maybe you’ll be in the 12% who makes over $50k/year (which is not even that much, BTW). Or, prove me wrong and become the 1% who makes millions off of content. 

If you can do it, I love that for you. 

Here’s what actually worked for me…

Here’s what actually led to a multi-six-figure online business. 


Wild, isn’t it? 

Imagine a business in your town setting up shop and working for years before making a sale. Nobody would ever think that was a good idea. But we do it online–all the time. 

In 2020, I started my own consulting business. My first few clients were in-person and local. But if you check your calendar, you’ll remember there wasn’t a whole lot of local business happening in 2020. 

So, I started getting clients remotely. Consulting clients who paid me to do things like program evaluation and grant writing. But eventually, I took the marketing skills I learned by starting a blog and started consulting for companies on SEO. 

And it was the secret.

I didn’t “follow my passion” or “be authentic” or pour out my heart online every day. Last year I made more money than I’ve ever made, and I barely posted at all. 

It took three things. 

  • A business structure that let me invoice and collect money
  • Proven expertise and skills that I could package and sell
  • Some great clients who needed what I had to offer

It’s not the only way to make money. Heck, it’s not the only way to run a business. There are tons of ways to do it.

This is just the one that worked for me.

I decided for my next chapter of Roostervane, I want to share what I know. Because I think a lot of people would benefit from understanding how to start their own consulting business. 

So that’s where we’re going. In the coming weeks, I’ll walk through what I’ve learned about consulting, how to start a consulting business, and some tricks. And–since I’m just one guy–I’ll pull in some expertise from other people too. 

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