I have been wanting to write this post since I first joined this forum at the end of 2010. I kept reading about everyone else making it big in such a short amount time. I was baffled as to why I couldn't seem to get anything going. I have a 4-year degree at a state school in the USA. Bachelors in Advertising. Minor in Marketing. And still, I couldn't seem to figure out how to make money on the Internet. Well, here I am, 6 years later, 3 failed business, and I've finally made it. BHW didn't spoon feed me the path, but it completely changed my mindset on the Internet and the world. Here is my story. Journey 1: nutmeghigh.com I made this site way back in 2011. I read a ton of BHW back then and learned about taking advantage of Google trends and EMD. I saw "nutmeg high" as a Google trend with 8,000 searches per month and snatched up nutmeghigh.com. I had no idea what I was doing. I did the keyword research and wrote a bunch of articles about getting high on nutmeg. lol. The whole thing was ridiculous, but I was learning. I didn't really put much effort in to the articles and just wrote them off the cuff with a funny angle to them. Warned people about the dangers of getting high on nutmeg. Back then everyone was talking about blog commenting, so I did some Scrapebox and got some blog comments. This worked ok, but it wasn't until I started doing some manual outreach that I got some traction. Got 1 link on this druggy site and it boosted me up to #1 for "nutmeg high". Once there I was getting 600 visits a day. Got some more links naturally once people started reading my funny articles. I would get links just because people thought my site funny haha. I put some adsense and CPA offers on the site and would make $50 per month. I was excited! I was making a profit! Eventually, I got bored and let the site go. It was fun, but I'm here to make money. This was a great intro into Internet Marketing though. I told this story to a few jobs I was applying to and it impressed them. Eventually, it helped me land a job at a big advertising agency doing SEO for clients. Journey 2: refinishingfurniture.net Started this one in 2011 after getting the job at the ad agency. EMDs were all the rage back then and I was excited to snatch up this domain because "refinishing furniture" had 5,000 searches per month. I thought it was a good informational type of keyword too so it would be good for SEO. I knew nothing about refinishing furniture. Hired some writers on odesk from the Philippians and filled the site with about 100 articles. Things were going good. I wrote maybe 4-6 guest posts and did some directory links and the site ranked #1 after about 6 months. I was making $5 per day with adsense and I was ecstatic! That's a whole $150 per month people! Well, I got greedy and took advantage of some guy on BHW who was offering free xrummer blasts. I took the offer and sent the xrummer blasts straight to my homepage. Big mistake. Things were great for a little while, but then penguin came in April of 2012 and everything tanked. I was devastated. How could I be so foolish? Long story short, I got really pissed off and decided to sell the site for a measly $500 on Flippa shortly after being penalized. Just owning it made me mad. The person who bought it from me stuck it out for 4 years and after the latest release of Penguin it looks like they got most of the rankings back (according to ahrefs). Don't rank anywhere near page one for "refinishing furniture" though. I'm a little sad that I sold it, but holding on to it for 4 years after being penalized would not have been good for my mental health. After this site tanked it destroyed me. I didn't try anything else for about 2 years. And then... Journey 3: differencegenie.com My biggest failure. This was to be a comparison site that compared and contrasted everything imaginable. I learned through my very whitehat agency experience that "this vs that" keywords were easy to rank without backlinks, so I thought I was on to something. The idea of backlinks still baffled me at this point. How was I supposed to build backlinks without paying for them and risk being penalized again? Seemed like a good idea at the time. Paid my Filipino writers to write about 200 articles and did 0 backlinks. Moz said not to pay for backlinks and by golly I was going whitehat this time! Nothing sketchy! No penalties! What a joke. The site never did anything. No adsense revenue. Nothing. Let the domain expire and never looked back. Again, I let my failure consume me for another year or so. Journey 4: canttellyouthisone.com After 4-5 years or so in ad agency life I became a manager of a team of 6 SEO specialists. It was all well in good, but I found myself pitching SEO to potential clients rather than actually doing SEO. I realized that for every client I landed, some dumbass account manager got the commission on the deal. If you're unfamiliar with ad agencies, an account manager is someone with zero skills, but can talk bullshit for hours on end. You know, the attractive guy/girl with a lot of confidence that doesn't give a fuck about what they're saying as long as someone is listening. They smile a lot and make clients awkwardly smile in return. They introduce client meetings with discussions about their dogs and the weather, and then let the specialists talk. Fuck those guys. I was bringing in massive business to this agency and wasn't getting any commissions in return. They were straight fucking me. I got so pissed off that one day I abruptly walked straight up to the HR manager and asked for a 10k raise in front of several other account managers. HR dude didn't even think about it. Got the raise straight away. If you don't ask the answer is always no. Lesson learned. After this whole ordeal I realized I could no longer be an agency bitch. Account managers make all of the money at agencies and I didn't ever want to be a fucking idiot account manager. So, I spent the next year applying to different companies around the U.S. 130 applications, 14 phone interviews, 4 in-person interviews and finally I landed an in-house job (non agency) at a smallish company in beautiful Florida that relied on Internet Marketing for all of its revenue. This is where I learned real SEO. Not that whitehat bullshit I had been pushing on clients for the past 5 years. At this new company I quickly learned that these guys were on a whole different level. I thought I was hot shit working with Fortune 500 brands, managing a team etc. I had no idea what was in store for me. These guys had been doing SEO since 2000. You won't hear about them on BHW. You won't read about them on Moz. But they know their shit. They did it all. Fake reviews. Paid links without disclosure. You name it. Republican to the core. This rocked my world. I come from a very liberal, poor, northwestern city. People just didn't think the way these guys did. The way they thought was, "who cares if it's illegal. If it's a civil crime and penalty is X and we make X, who cares? We make a profit. " This company changed my mindset... and my life. After working with these guys for 1 1/2 years I took what I learned and built my next site. My new site has 5 articles and 12 backlinks. That's all it needed to get me to $300 per day. Sorry, I can 't tell you my site, but I will say that lead generation and a high CPC niche are what led me to these riches. I make all of my money by selling leads and getting Adsense clicks. This is something I didn't consider before. I thought going after the low competition keywords was the key to riches. Turns out that the key to riches is finding websites that will give you a backlink on their homepage or other high page authority pages. Once you find these backlinks, you can go after the super competitive keywords with ease. High page authority backlinks are the key. Forget the rest. Don't listen to Moz! My advice if you're still reading Passive income is the biggest lie in Internet Marketing. Work smart. Work hard. Things will eventually come your way. Don't give up. You will fail. Manage your risk accordingly. Focus on quality of quantity. A 5 page website can produce more income than a 200 page website. Remember that. Buy links. My god. Buy links. Don't be idiot about it. Don't buy some service that is going to put you on a bunch of private blog networks. Buy links from reputable websites. Do the research. Do the manual outreach. It's worth it. I can't stress this enough. BUY LINKS! Lots of them. Only good links. Don't waste money on design. My $300 per day website is using a free Wordpress theme, a free Google Voice phone number, and a $14/per month live chat service (Zopim). My hosting through Namecheap is about $50 per year with anonymous domain hosting and SSL. My overhead is like $100/year. If you're doing lead gen, set up your contacts early. Figure out who you're going to sell leads to early on. If no one is going to buy your leads, you better figure out a way to monetize the site yourself. Adsense will never be enough. Pay your taxes. Set up an LLC and write off as much as you can. Figure out what you're good at. If you're not a writer, don't write. If you're not a people person (like me), don't try and run an agency. Stories about your dog and the weather keep clients. Not results. I wrote this post because if I was to read it 5 years ago I might have made some different decisions. I hope it helps someone. Good luck!