Can I make Money Online Or Is it Too Late? (2021)
Find out everything about if you can make money online or is it too late for you Below!
Table Of Contents
Online money-making is huge right now. You could compare it to the gold rush in the past, and while this feels like a great opportunity at first glance, the amounts of people flocking to create blogs, online stores, YouTube channels, and more surely make some people wonder whether or not it’s too late for them to join.
While it’s definitely true that the internet has tightened the entrance barrier, you shouldn’t give up yet. It’s not as simple as a “yes or no” answer to this query. For instance, you might not make money like some did a few years ago, but it doesn’t mean there’s no money on the internet.
It’s also more difficult to get good Google ranks, and paying for ads costs more, but there are still plenty of chances for you to make money. You just don’t have to give up on it; the internet is always changing, and with every industry shift, there’s chance for more people to find a nice spot.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the entire online industry, what’s changing as well as current challenges and advantages you have.
As many challenges as possibilities
Yes, there are lots of obstacles right now, but there’s almost as many opportunities on the market. Anyone can make money on the internet right now, even if they have no experience.
You can build a business on the internet even if you have zero knowledge on the subject, resources, or experience making at least a dollar on the internet.
Just consider the size of the market. There are billions of people on the internet. By 2018 alone, there were almost 4 and a half million users online, and that number only increases as the world develops.
The only way for you not to make money on the net is if it shuts down entirely.
Is it harder to make an income online than before?
Again, it depends on how you look at it. Some would consider it more difficult, but others could argue it’s the opposite.
The main hurdle you need to overcome on the internet is to make people notice you. This is true for any business; whether you’re an affiliate marketer or want to sell products you own, you need people who want to buy.
This is the most obvious part that’s getting more difficult today. Most people start any online journey with searches. Your target audience is people who are actively searching for your offers, but that can be problematic when the majority of them won’t go past the first results page on Google.
In other words, if you want potential customers to find you, you need to be among the first Google results. This is what – when compared to the landscape years ago – has become harder.
But, why exactly is it that way? Well, let’s take a look at the main factors causing this.
Personalized search results
In short, not everyone looks at the same results when they search for something on Google or any other search engine. That’s because said results adapt to each person’s interests and history.
This is true even if you look up the same keywords. You might enter the exact same search query as another person, and not all results will be the same anyways.
When trying to rank among the first listings, you can equate that to trying to shoot something that’s always moving.
Here, let’s focus on Google since it makes up most searches on the net. Only Google knows what’s the criteria for choosing a website to be on its top search results, and the same goes for all following pages.
Thankfully, marketers have somewhat figured out a few guidelines to what Google expects from a top rank website. All knowledge on the subject comes solely from observation, trial and error.
The issue with Google is that the algorithm it follows for qualifying websites isn’t stationary. Experts estimate this algorithm to change several hundreds time per year, up to 500 or more.
You could say that the algorithm is constantly evolving, altering things even several times per day. Of course, not every change is going to change the game, but some definitely do so.
Essentially, if you’re relying on tricks to rank on the first page, you only have so much time to do so. Some requirements are easy and fairly logical: good content, fast loading speeds, and solid domain authority. The other hundreds of factors can’t be known for sure, and even if discovered, they’ll probably change with time.
Google front page changes
This will be a “for dummies” explanation since there are already enough blog posts dedicated entirely to explaining it.
Google has changed the entire “interface” of its first-page results, and it’s likely to keep doing it. You can safely assume Google acts as a middleman between websites and users, but sometimes it does the job itself.
We can run a quick experiment right now to prove this.
Go to Google and type “how to change Windows language”. Notice the first box on the results: what does it do? It details the steps to just that, and the same happens with similar requests. It grabs the information from the best result and shows it to you so that you don’t need to click the link.
You can already see why this makes things more difficult; it’s convenient for the user, but detrimental for the website. Imagine your site shows right on top of all other results. It might seem amazing, but if Google already shows users what they need to know, why would they actually enter your site?
The same goes for the small “people also ask” section right below. It lists lots of websites answering common doubts, yet it does so in a way people don’t need to actually enter them.
Therefore, even ranking on the top search results won’t guarantee traffic to your website. Even if you rank second or third, why would anyone scroll down to other websites if they have what they need right on top?
There are similar changes as well, but you already get the point. SEO isn’t as strong as it used to be. It’s far from useless, and it depends on the keywords you’re targeting, but it might not suffice for your business.
That takes us to paid ads.
This is another quickly-changing sector of the industry. You’d think traditional marketing: TV, posters, and billboards are the standard methods for companies today – they’ve been so for decades now.
Now, consider when you last watched cable TV or paid attention to billboards while you drove. Even if you watch live TV regularly, what do you do once your show pauses to show commercials?
The amount of Netflix users is continuously increasing, and some don’t even touch their TV’s unless they have a specific show in mind. Some even pre-record their favorite shows so that they can watch them later and skip the commercials.
Any company looking to make sales knows that most of the attention is on the internet right now, and it’s only a matter of time before entire budgets spent on traditional channels move to social media and other online platforms.
That means advertising prices will increase noticeably, and it’s already happening as more eCommerce stores and affiliate marketers venture into the industry.
If you want to make money on the internet, you can add yourself to a list spanning countless people. In other words, there’s quite a bit of competition there.
This is a particularly interesting obstacle, especially because of what the internet means to society right now. It’s one of the main factors determining how we do everything, and it’s makes up a large portion of the “why” of how we live, communicate, and make money.
As the world’s economy becomes more volatile, making money on the internet starts to become more interesting – and even more necessary – to learn, at least to complement your main income stream.
It’s an interesting phenomenon, the amount of people flocking to the internet. We’ve always been raised to study, learn a career, and work for someone else using the skills we learned; still, online entrepreneurship goes against this principle quite noticeably.
It’s not too difficult to comprehend, either. You can work during your own schedule without having to tie yourself to an office, and you’re likely to work with what interests you the most.
Working on the internet is mostly independent of your local economy as well; your currency might devalue, or your local industry might already me too saturated, but the internet gives you access to clients and money from all over the world, so it becomes irrelevant.
Similarly, the skills you learn from pursuing an online business are usually just as useful in real-life, and you might even find that you can make more money with local opportunities using the skills you learned online.
That’s why I think it’s great how more people turn to the internet and become entrepreneurs, but we need to be realistic. That also means more competition.
Newer entrepreneurs – especially if they have less resources than established ventures and fellow aspiring businessmen – need to exploit their creativity. The learning curve becomes more pronounced with time, and you’ll need more effort if you want to succeed.
This plays both ways, though. Established business owners and entrepreneurs need to innovate and keep their business fresh if they want to survive this wave of younger and ambitious people reinventing the wheel for themselves.
Luckily, the online community can be very cooperative. You can find Facebook groups, YouTube channels, and forums dedicated to teaching less experienced people from the experience of those who overcame similar challenges.
There’s a downside to the amount of hype around the internet and its innovations: we’re too comfortable with giving away private information. As sites like Facebook let us connect with any friend (even those we had years without talking with), we became quick to give up our privacy.
Interestingly, there’s been a stronger movement against social media and how it handles user privacy. A single search for “Facebook privacy complaints” yields countless results of people protesting the platform’s privacy policies; some even causing changes on the platforms themselves.
Some people even question the long-term sustainability of “traditional” social media platforms after all we’ve learned regarding how they’ve exploited private information from millions of people.
It’s not accidental, either. People working within the social media industry are experts. They know how people feel that dopamine rush when feeling “approved” by hundreds of users, and many influential figures now regret helping develop social media in light of how it’s turning out.
Yes, social media marketing makes billions right now, and any business today needs to use it if they want to succeed. That’s something that could change as people question how social media impacts society.
People who depend on this sector to make a living might want to keep an eye on how everything develops.
It’s a similar issue to how people complain how billboards and promotional posters littered the roads and streets. People complain and even satirize how they might talk about something with people near them – outside of their phones or computers – just to find ads related to that topic once they check their news feeds.
Of course, it doesn’t mean social media will cease to exist, but we can safely assume it’s likely to change things. Advertising on these platforms is so profitable because of the access they have to people’s interests and lives, and if this changes, it’ll definitely make social media marketing a lot less efficient.
Never leave all your eggs in one basket, and this is one you might want to approach with special caution.
Now, into the good news
People venturing into the online landscape definitely had a higher chance of creating a successful business that grew along the internet’s uproar in popularity.
There was a lot less competition, and it was easier to reach your audience since search engines were more rudimentary and there was a lot less content to sort through in general. Luckily, today we have a lot less technical barriers and more tools to exploit – besides, it wasn’t really easier to make money back then; it was just “different”.
Consider web development, the most obvious hurdle back then. It was previously necessary to hire a web developer who could program the website for you. The alternative was learning to do it yourself, and with such a new concept like the internet, it would take months in the best-case scenario.
Today, you have entire platforms designed to help people with zero programming expertise to create fully-functional websites within minutes.
Tools aren’t expensive
You can create entire landing pages or websites for what a dinner outside would cost you; you can also do it in about the same time that dinner would take. Running your email responses on autopilot can cost you half of what other pay for the gym. Online freelancers and plugins can do virtually anything you require for the same amount you’d pay your kids for mowing the lawn.
Even then, you can learn virtually anything for a great price – sometimes even for free. There are entire communities focused on helping each other succeed on the internet. In other words, you can create an entire online business in a few weeks at most regardless of your tech skills.
Naturally, there’s still a learning curve. However, it has less to do with the tools and using them and more with how you use them. Marketing your brand is a priority now, and the large amount of methods you can (and want) to use makes the entire process a lot more involved.
Besides, people on the internet aren’t as naive as they were, and they’ll always think twice before trusting anyone.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have a huge advantage over people years ago. You have all the tools you need at your disposal, and it only takes a few online searches and clicks.
Nearly unlimited traffic
There’s another strong argument favoring why making money on the internet is easier than before. You have access to a virtually unlimited audience, and there are billions more users today than before.
Nevertheless, one of the main reasons why people still doubt whether or not they can make money is how difficult it is to wrap your head around how big that actually is. You still have people wondering about who could actually buy what they offer, even though they have several times the US population in potential customers.
You might not know how to market yourself on the internet, what products you can offer to your audience, or even who’s that audience and how everything works. That doesn’t change the fact that you can access an audience of several billions very quickly.
This concept will build up into several of your advantages as well, especially since it’s one of the most drastic changes in the landscape when compared to how it started out.
Comparing the internet with local markets
Let’s paint a picture here.
Imagine you open a local business. It can be anything you want and sell anything you want; we just need it to be a business that needs to sell to people. Now, consider how many people you can sell to.
Even if you live in a big capital, that number would likely be hundreds of thousands. It can be more if you imagine you build it somewhere like New York or Tokyo. You can also sell to smaller towns and communities close to your main city if it’s quick to get from there to your business.
You’re still selling to a local audience.
Now, take into account how many people from the outskirts are actually willing to travel to your location. After that, consider how many people on the city itself actually need your product or service – and why they should choose you over your competitors.
Of course, large franchises and firms with stores in multiple locations don’t really need to worry about that. That’s not relevant to us since we’re talking about something you can by yourself from the ground up.
You should get the point by now. If you build a local business – focused on a local audience – the best-case scenario is a potential audience of millions.
Potential for online markets
Here’s where people have trouble understanding what over 3 billion internet users means for their potential audience.
When compared to a local business, you can still get several times the amount of people as a potential audience than if you build one on the most-densely populated city. If you consider building a local store on the city you live in right now, you probably have well over 10 or even 100 times the size of your potential audience.
Now, consider none of these people need to move anywhere to access your offers. They just need to look at their phones and go through a few steps to buy from you.
Let’s go back to our local business. Imagine you sell a non-consumable product: cars, computers, electronics, furniture, books, etc.– it has to be something you don’t need to buy often like food or cleaning materials.
Now, imagine everyone in your town buys from your store. Let’s dwindle the numbers to 100,000. If someone buys from you every minute, you’d run out of customers in just a couple of months and a few days.
The numbers are staggering
Now, let’s dwindle the billions of online users to just one. It would take you roughly 1,900 years before your run out of buyers.
It’s easy to think about over 3 billion people as “a lot of people”. However, we fail miserably at truly grasping what it means. You can use another example if you want; let’s go with money spending.
Imagine you have $100,000 and spend $1 for each second. It would take you a couple of days at most to run out of money, and that’s depending on the time of the day you start spending your money. You have just a bit over 24 hours to run out of cash.
Now, if you raise that budget to a billion, you’d need briefly over 31 years to deplete your reserves.
The internet is powerful
You should understand why the internet is such a big business opportunity by now. Now, add to that how much it’s projected to grow. We can safely assume that growth to be about a billion users in the following year – even considering there are largest estimates.
It gets more interesting when you consider the role played by giants like Google and Facebook, who also make up a significant portion of the money made by thousands on the web.
Therefore, yes, the competition will definitely grow with time, but so will the chances of making money. Even if more competitors enter the niche you’re focusing, they simply can’t surpass the amount of traffic and potential customers that will do the same.
Of course, it depends on the niche as well. Some might not meet the offer with equal or superior demand, but that’s why we already told you how you needed to research your market before diving in.
Similar to the amounts of web traffic, the amount of online purchases are already going to grow. It’s no secret that a lot of people prefer to buy on the internet than walking or driving to a store. In fact, it online shopping now makes up over half of sales in general – both retail and on the internet.
It’s far from slowing down as well. The online industry will only grow as developing countries start to catch up and their populations start to introduce themselves to the internet industry. That means larger companies and store will need to move to the internet if they want to remain relevant.
Giants like Blockbuster have nearly disappeared because they failed to migrate as their audiences did. Now, we might even spend more money on the same market – only now it’s collected by Netflix and similar platforms.
And following that same trend, there’s only more money spent on local businesses that will move to the internet.
What opportunities do you have?
People like to think there’s nothing more we can invent that’s actually new. That’s a lot more tied to our own skepticism than cold, hard reality. We tend to see things in a negative way while trying to disguise it as being realistic.
The result is people thinking they don’t have opportunities, that the ones that existed once have already been taken, and there’s no room for them.
It’s easy to think there won’t be new inventions similar to the mobile phone, the computer, artificial intelligence, the smartphone, etc. Do you see where the problem lies? Technology always reinvents itself; just when we thought everything had been invented, in comes the blockchain.
There’s a lot of innovation and breakthroughs to come our way, and the internet is one of the best examples of that possibility.
It depends on how you look at it
Starting the 20th century, hundreds of companies manufactured cars. It only took a few decades until that number decreased to the giants we know now: Ford, Toyota, Chrysler, and a few others.
Think of how many manufacturers missed that train. They couldn’t catch the opportunity, and the golden age of car manufacture came and went “before they had a chance”. Surely, many entrepreneurs gave up on their hopes during the last years of that period.
Some thought they couldn’t make any more money from the automobile industry. Then, why is it still such a huge sector that makes billions each year?
The huge abundance in cars coming from the large companies that remained opened more industries than the ones it closed. You now have drive-in theaters, insurance, sports racing, customization, and more.
While one market “died”, many were born around it.
Local economies around these companies also flourished. Now, people had more money and opportunities than they had a few years earlier. This impact on society is noticeable and remains even today, and there are many other examples just like that one – yes, the internet is one.
People planning to build their own companies mostly gave up and decided to conform with what they already had. Entrepreneurs with ambition and an eye for business realized the new opportunities created while the rest moaned about missing their chance, and they made more money than their pessimistic peers.
Of course, it didn’t happen in a nutshell or a couple of years. It took a long time before people even realized they could do something, but the message is the same. There’s no reason to think that a door closes to take away the opportunity from us, and more often than not, it usually means a couple more opened.
Besides, with the rate at which we’re innovating right now, it takes a lot less than years for new opportunities to come.
There’s still a lot of ground to cover
We still don’t know how far the internet can go, and many of the innovations the future will bring can’t even be fathomed by us. However, you definitely want to be around the net by the time they come our way.
Yes, the internet has come a very long way from its birth, yet it’s still in its teens. Furthermore, the online industry is far from what it can actually be – even by today’s societal standards.
In other words, there’s still a lot of ground to cover.
This creates a great opportunity for anyone to make money regardless of their location. If you live in a developing country, you can make a solid living out of writing online articles for content marketing, work as a virtual assistant, or simply manage a company’s social media profiles.
People in lower income regions can make more money than they would with a traditional job with less effort. These people make up a large portion of the internet industry, and while they could make less than a regular, developed-country salary, they make way above the average than their neighbors.
Writing an eBook and selling a few hundred copies for a single dollar can change lives depending on where they live. This is something no one could’ve imagined not too long ago.
They’re also more than entrepreneurs themselves. Making more money means they then become consumers on the internet. If you want to reach this growing buyer population, you need to take up an online presence.
And no, it doesn’t mean exporting products for international trading.
It doesn’t need to be super complex
Imagine someone in a developing country makes a solid living as a virtual assistant. However, their real goal is to build their own online business, so they’re looking for someone that can teach them how to do it.
If you’ve already done that yourself, you could make money out of your already-existing knowledge. You could condense your knowledge into a course on the internet, charge people for attending a webinar, or offer personalized coaching.
There are countless people taking advantage of opportunities like this one.
However, when I say it’s not complex, I don’t mean it doesn’t take work. Yes, anyone can do it, but only if they’re willing to invest their time, knowledge, and effort into creating something. It’s simply not exclusive to giant companies or experts.
Many people say that the e-learning industry is already saturated – or quickly becoming so. They only consider the amount of people selling courses, not the larger numbers of consumers flocking in.
Competition can benefit you
Even if you own the largest business in your city, venturing into the internet puts you up against the largest businesses in other cities. It levels – to varying degrees – the playing field for any industry.
That’s why nobodies can change the entire landscape, just like Facebook came from an “nobody” and now is the largest platform on the internet.
That doesn’t mean you won’t be at a disadvantage against larger corporations, but it does mean that disadvantage isn’t as prominent.
The market evolves
As large companies like Google increase the costs of their ads to adapt to the demands from huge companies, small ventures tend to be pushed out of these marketing platforms. It becomes a problem for the channels themselves since these smaller ventures are mostly the ones innovating and offering creativity on their platforms.
As they’re driven away, new channels become necessary. These channels will likely be created by these innovators as well. Just like we’ve discussed, the possibilities of what these channels might be are seemingly endless.
Maybe we’ll see a “new Facebook” being born.
Once people face needs, they start to think outside the box just to survive, and these is how most world-changing inventions have been created. Just because advertising on Facebook becomes too expensive doesn’t mean entrepreneurs will just give up.
And again, you’re not in the same conditions as huge corporations, but you do have a lot more chances.
It’s easy to see the internet as something that’s been around since the dawn of time. We forget it’s only been around for a few decades, and it’s still has grown exponentially.
As we realize what we can do with it, more business opportunities will come. Similarly, as more people flock into the net, the ones already around will become more profitable despite the increasing competition.
But, if you want to get a slice of that pie, you need to be there when it happens.
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