Creating your first online income system

What’s the first step you need to take when setting up an online business?

Many experts will say that the first thing to do is choose a niche. I disagree.

In my Internet Professionals Master Agenda  I define a seven-stage process that people need to go through, and choosing a niche is a relatively minor part of one of the later stages.

My thinking on the order of those stages has changed since I set that up, and today I would recommend that almost the very first thing you need to do is …


That’s right. Roll your sleeves up and get stuck in to some online income system.

But don’t go in thinking that what you start doing today is going to be your major money-earner one year from now. It may be, but it might not be. Don’t assume that your choice of online income system today is your “final answer”.

The point is, if you’re just starting out online (or if you’ve been online for some time and never lined up all the ducks that give you a regular income) – you really do not know enough to make a proper assessment of what the best business model is for you.

Even if you have years of online experience, and can install WordPress, do FTP, configure an autoresponder, have mastered HTML, CSS and Javascript, know your way around the Facebooks Ad Editor…. etc. etc. … no matter what technical skills you may or may not have – until you have faced and overcome all the barriers to setting up something  that generates some sort of regular income – you’re not in a position to know what sort of business model is best for you.

(Those barriers, by the way, include technical challenges, setbacks, slow progress, boredom, doubts, lack of focus, “life” getting in the way….)

That’s the dilemma.

You need to have built some sort of an income-creating system  – even if it’s not really right for you, before you can know what is the right system for you. And you need to prove to yourself that you CAN make it all work.

Many people get stuck deciding what they want to do. The sorts of issue they have when looking at a business model are:

  • Will this system actually work? I’m concerned about putting in many months of effort, only to find that it doesn’t work.
  • Can I afford the upfront cost? And what about the ongoing costs?
  • Will I feel comfortable doing this? Would I feel embarrassed telling my friends or my grandma  what I’m doing? Is it “me”?
  • Can I even DO this? Do I have skills needed? Would I be able to learn them?
  • Will I encounter setbacks that I’ll find it hard to overcome emotionally?
  • Even if it’s obvious I can make some money from this – will it be enough for me to …pay some bills? …buy a new car? …quit my job? …go on vacations for 9 months of the year? (whatever your goal is).

The thing is – you can’t answer most of those questions – so ignore them and take action instead.

The advice I give in the Internet Professionals Master Agenda program is:

  • Pick a simple business model where there are many people who are already succeeding and there is good guidance and support available. (All those factors are important.)
  • Start with the mindset that you are making a “trial” choice: you don’t need to commit to doing this for 5-10 years, so you don’t need to agonize about it
  • DO commit to working on this ONE business model for at least 6 months as a trial. Anything less is just a whim and you won’t learn enough. (One thing you need to learn is persistence – which in my book means sticking at something for at least 6 months).
  • Whatever happens at the end of 6 months – know that your success is guaranteed provided you work consistently. Your success is very likely to include an income of some sorts (maybe a significant one) – but it will definitely include skill and experience and the ability to make better judgments. Such practical experience is worth many thousands of dollars.

What you decide to do depends on what skills you have already, your own preferences, the costs involved and your current finances.

In future posts, I will give some specific options for business models that should fit the bill for most people.

If you have questions or comments about this – let me know below. I’d be very pleased to get your feedback.


Alex Goodall

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