So I was thinking a little about my journey in the internet marketing industry that began back in 2006 and thought I would share some of my travels so that others can see how easy and how hard it is to make a living online. Back when I started in the industry I had just sold a business and was looking for something to do but had plenty of time to figure it out since I was sitting on a couple of dollars from a few good years and thought to see how people made a living working on the internet. I knew there was money to be made there but had no idea how it was done so where did I go? Youtube. Like a total Noob I went to Youtube and searched ?making money online?? yup I was one of those guys. I would typically start looking at videos later in the evening after my wife and dog were asleep. I was living in Clearwater, Florida at the time in a beautiful gated condo community and we had a screened in balcony that looked over a lake and the working environment was very peaceful, tranquil and serene. I?d take my laptop and a drink and sit out there watching video after video and had a real hard time finding anyone that was even remotely making real money as you could tell from the background in their videos that they were living in moderate income housing (not a darn thing wrong with that but that did not exude riches to me) and they were all trying to sell me some 19.97 program that guaranteed me thousands daily. Sure, they were believable! I found a few guys that looked like they made some cash but they were a little ?hokey? and I was looking for a legitimate successful and sustainable business model to fashion my efforts around. Somewhere along the line I came across a fellow that said you could make 100.00 a day in 100 days by writing content for a web site on a daily basis. Now 100.00 a day was well below what I was looking for as to a business but thought that if he could make 100.00 a day I could probably triple that with more effort and I am all about more effort. In fact I often tell people that the only reason I am successful is because I have always outworked the other guy. Well, I gave that a run? I figured out how to buy a domain (a real challenge for me), worked diligently to learn the process to buy hosting and install a content management system (now that was a REAL challenge for me at the time!) on it and started writing. No keyword research, no knowledge as to setting up a site with Google analytics, no clue as to how to set up the dashboard on wordpress for best practices, no knowledge as to backlinking? nothing but adding content (I now call that content ?conversational content? and recommend it for almost all web site owners) on a daily basis in a niche (all 41 of my personal sites are business related) that I knew would hold water over the long term. Well, the 100.00 a day over 100 days did not come although I was seeing some cash from adsense; my first check (yeah, I wanted a paper check to say I had a check from Google ? TOTAL NOOB!) was for a little over 750.00 USD. The 750.00 was enough for me to say that this might be something to pursue as I made that money in just a little over a month with no knowledge at all. All I was doing was just banging away at a keyboard writing what I considered relevant content for my sites. Anyway I continued to write and continued to look at other methods of generating income and found a few ways to generate a fair amount of cash using my websites and had a real nice run with a bunch of them. One of my methods, totally legal but which I no longer use, was a nice 17K ? 20K a month and lasted about 2 years or so for me. All the while I was using that method (don?t ask as I won?t tell) I was still working on my sites to build a sustainable passive income (I had 4 or 5 at this point) and learning a little about SEO but I was still as dumb as a block of rocks. I was doing everything manually and that included adding links to all kinds of places, keeping those links in excel files, writing articles for article directories (I have over 9,000 on Ezine alone), setting up social bookmarking accounts and getting links that way, buying lists of blogs that would allow me to drop a link and then posting some silly ridiculous comment to get that link to stick? every crazy, wacky, noobish way to get links for all my sites and EVERY ONE going to the root page on the sites? like I said, I had no knowledge at all, just a little bit of a work ethic? remember, I just outworked the other guy. So, I finally get a little knowledge and come up with some strategies, learn a little SEO, figure out how to do some keyword research, get some minor innocuous skills and start to make some decent change from my sites with targeted organic visitors sent to me from Google. I saw something and went at it full bore and started building a small network of websites that all covered different aspects of business and felt pretty good about how things were progressing? we had a nice little 6 figure income, steady revenue from a variety of sources from our sites and yes, I was still doing everything MANUALLY. After a while I found the original ?linkwheel? system that was touted by the young fellow from Finland or Sweden (His online name was lemonarian or something close) who was a sharp guy and had a nice SEO process. I used that system on a lot of my sites and my sites were ranking nicely but after a while Google saw the footprint and then killed it?s value. I actually woke up to all my keywords no longer ranking, no traffic to my sites and no money in my accounts. I admit I panicked but I still stayed at working on my sites? I had no job, no real need for an income but was a workaholic and driven by the challenge for success and not the dollar and eventually came up with the linkpush process and my sites started to rank again. I would not have discovered the process unless I kept the mindset of outworking the other guy. Well, I put together a small PDF on the process and gave it out to a bunch of people? now that publication has been downloaded close to 20,000 times? and one of those people that go the PDF was this Irishman from outside of Dublin. This fellow and I conversed back and forth some about SEO as he had a handful of sites that were based on the original John XFactor method? 5 page sites about one keyword and get that site ranked and bank from adsense. The conversations went from a variety of SEO methods, how they should be balanced to rank sites, keyword research and all manner of ?web sites to make money? talk. Eventually we talked a little about our personal lives and situations and he shared that he was a coder for a company that built software platforms for the airline industry. His coding background gave him the thought to go ahead and automate the linkpushing process which was very rudimentary at the time and he offered to give me the application for my own personal use. I suggested we start a service and his words were ?You mean a JV??.. I remember that email from close to 4 years ago. We did exactly that? I purchased a domain, he built the platform and we started letting people know we had this automated backlinking system that could help rank your site. Our business agreement was all done via email with nothing in writing aside from our conversations via email, no signed contracts, no corporate agreements. In fact we did not even meet face to face until about 8 months after we started the service and have only seen each other 3 or 4 times since we began Linkpushing.net. We had a very high level of trust (still do) and just went with the flow working together across the Atlantic to provide a quality SEO service with decent customer service. This little JV turned into a serious legitimate business enterprise that has helped tens of thousands of people rank hundreds of thousands of websites including our own personal sites. Not too shabby from a couple of web site owners sharing with one another ideas and methods. Of course, over the years there have been hundreds of changes and upgrades and we both work diligently to stay abreast of the changes in the algorithms of the search engines and we communicate with one another almost daily on changes/upgrades to Linkpushing as well as other SEO that we see out there and also have our R&D team work with to stay current and ahead of the dynamic changes in the search engine algorithms. We went on to purchase SerpBuddy.com, a rank tracking service, together and offer that to clients the world over as well and I have my hand in a few other ventures as well that seem to be working out nicely. We still have our sites which generate a strong passive income for both of us? mine are all huge sites centered around business and business principles and concepts with lots of pages ranking for thousands of keywords and we probably always will have our sites. I?m a big fan of passive online income and those sites give me that comfort and my household an opportunity to live a nice lifestyle. I still work hard and not for the money so much as I do it for the thrill of the success and I imagine I will always work in such a way as to outwork the other guy? that is in me from childhood and will probably always be with me. I know some very wealthy people and I am not one? I?ve done OK and have a few dollars in my wallet and will never want for anything; I am not sitting on riches but my rags are a little nicer than they were 7 years ago. So can you make a living on the internet in a completely moral way? Absolutely, a full time income working online is within the reach of almost anyone and it can be done if you do what I do: Work hard AND work smart. Try things that others are currently doing in your own personal way. Try things that nobody at all does anywhere. Find those that are smarter than you, trust them, learn from them and work with them. Be open-minded, objective and humble. Be fair and honest with those you encounter online whether clients, partners or just people taking some of the same roads as you. Remember that the internet marketing industry is not a get rich quick business. Build your business model around sustainable products (websites, apps, etc) and services. Never talk badly about the competition; it makes you look petty and hurts the entire industry. If I have not mentioned it, outwork the other guy. Get up earlier, work longer, do things he would not do and keep your mind on the vision of doing your best. There is no such thing as a ?bad? job whether online or offline. A janitor is a noble position as is the head of a large CEO. A manual linkbuilder is as important as a a man that owns many websites. The guy that can code in his sleep is as important as the guy that can write circles around anyone. There are very few people that I can out think and I know that and accept that limitation in my life but there are also very few that can outwork me and that has served me well and can do the same for you.