My success story: I figured I would share a little bit about what has worked for me and things I've learned over the past year. I've only been in IM for one year, but it's been going really well so far and I've been full time with it for 6 months now. It was a post on the Warrior forum that got me started, so this is my way of paying it forward to those who are new to the game and struggling to figure out what to make of all of this IM stuff. One year ago: I was recently graduated from law school but knew I didn't want to be a lawyer. You would think it's all roses and wiping your ass with hundred dollar bills, but the reality is that being a lawyer kinda sucks. It's long hours and tedious paperwork. Unfortunately I figured this out after I was already in law school and had too much invested to drop out. I can't even count the number of my friends from there who either ended up not practicing law or hating their job. Anyway, I tried instead to work with my father who owns a home building business. 2008 was probably the shittiest year ever for that type of business, and so I tried to help by building him a better website and figuring out how to get it ranked higher. I already knew how to create websites and work with photoshop, so this helped, but I knew nothing about SEO. I remember thinking that websites got ranked according to how popular and "big" the business was. I started doing more and more research until I eventually stumbled upon the Warrior Forum. Jackpot! People were talking about making money and all of this cool stuff I was interested in. I was very lucky to come across this thread: http://www.warriorforum.com/main-in...ultimate-virtual-real-estate-added-links.html I thought that idea was brilliant, and so made it my own and ran with it. Since then (November 2010), I've gone on to make a full time income with this, moved to Colorado to enjoy skiing this season and being outdoors, and my income grows every month. Right now I would say I'm "living the dream." I make my own hours (which are around 40hrs a week now, but will be less during ski season), I can take vacation time whenever I want, and I can afford the things I like while doing what I enjoy. I actually enjoy my work (for the most part), and don't feel that dread I had when I was working a lot of other jobs--that feeling you get when you know you have to be at work in an hour and it's going to suck. What I do: My income comes from 3 things: 1) Affiliate marketing with my own product review websites for physical products on Amazon and independent businesses w/their own aff program; 2) SEO services on forums; 3) Offline SEO for a local web design company that outsources to me. If you can afford to work your job and do IM part time, then building up your affiliate sites is the least headaches and best way to build a long term income stream and build assets that are worth a lot. For me, I wanted to be full time IM as fast as possible, and so it made sense to diversify in order to weather any ranking problems with my affiliate sites. Once I understood how to rank sites well, I felt comfortable offering my services to others. That provided the stable platform to feel comfortable doing things like signing leases and making car payments, etc... My top 10 tips (or at least, 10 good ones): 1) Learn how to create websites. If there's one thing I've learned in running SEO services, there are a lot of people with shitty sites out there who will spend a lot of money to rank them highly, but almost nothing on making them look nice and giving good information. If any of you read the leaked Giggle quality ranking manual from last week, you'll notice that a GOOD affiliate site is generally not going to be penalized by a manual review. But a 5 page slapped up default install with no graphics and a shit article is going to be hammered if it ever ranks well and gets a manual review. Learn how to use photoshop (youtube tutorials). Buy a custom WP them ($35 on themeforest). With just those 2 things you will be able to create sites that are better than 90% of the junk people spend months trying to rank well and clutter up the Internet with ugliness and garbage information. There's no law that says you can't make a great looking professional affiliate site AND make money. It's not all a scam/hussle. 2) If you don't understand how the idea works, don't waste time doing it. I've seen tons of posts on the forums from people who say stuff like, "I've been in IM for 9 years, had to start over." Or, "I've been doing IM for 2 years, making $1/day now." If that's you, you're doing it wrong. When I read the thread posted above, I immediately knew it was a brilliant idea and could make a ton of money doing it. I was right. Similarly, I wouldn't try some weird idea that I have no idea how to execute or if it has potential to make money. 3) Specialize. In order to make a lot of money, you really need to specialize in one thing and do it really well. If that's building a list, build a list. If that's offline, do offline. But trying one thing for a few months and then going to another thing is a recipe for failure. Luckily, I've been able to cut bait when I've tried something that isn't working. An example is offline--I hate selling, and trying to explain to a business owner why spending $1,000/mo for SEO for his law practice is worth 10 times that in value just annoys me when they don't get it. Now, I can pretty much guarantee that if I spent a few more months refining my sales pitch and other aspects that I could succeed, but in the month or so that I tried it, it was way harder than I thought it would be. Which leads me to: 4) Write down your goal and make sure whatever you try has the potential to get you there. One of the things I realized with offline is that it was leading me down a path I didn't like. I don't want to answer support calls and deal with clients on a daily basis. I don't want to "sell" people on something that they should be knocking down my door to get from me. I want to be able to travel any time I want and not worry that I have to get back to the office soon. So that led me to the realization that even though offline would supply me with another source of income, I didn't want it. Don't trap yourself into a job you don't want if it moves you away from your goal, whatever that is. 5) Stalk people online. And by stalk, I mean once you find people that are clearly making a ton of money online, check up on their posts every once in a while to see what they are doing or what they share. I've found tons of good information by checking up on people I know on WF who really know their stuff. This saves time from sorting through the shit posts that clutter most forums. 6) Know how to do everything your pay someone else to do. This is especially true when it comes to building links. One my first mistakes was completely relying on a provider on WF to rank my sites, and when they couldn't do it I was out a few hundred and a couple of months. You need to understand what it is that the person is doing so that you can have realistic expectations of what your sites will do with their service, and how to continue boosting your site when they are done. 7) Word hard AND smart. At the beginning, you will be forced to do everything yourself. Eventually you will be able to outsource the things that are tedious and take no skill. But at the start, you better be willing to work hard. None of this "press a button and make $10,000!" That's a pipe dream for suckers to buy WSO's. If you aren't willing to work hard, you don't deserve to succeed, and probably won't. 8) Take the time to really learn about the product you are offering to people. Is it really a good product, or is it just a piece of shit with a high commission that you want to get? If you really do the research for people to find exactly what they're looking for, and you're honest with them, you will see conversions increase. 9) Learn to write good reviews. A good product review will start off with a bullet point list of the features and specifications of the product, followed by a detailed review and perhaps a comparison to a competing product if applicable. Learn the difference between pre-selling and selling. Pre-selling you will point out some of the weaknesses of the product (but said in a way that makes it not that bad) to make your review more credible and not sound like a sales pitch. For example, if you are selling a high end microwave, a negative might be that it's expensive, BUT that's not really a negative if it has features that make it worth it. 10) Start in a niche you know something about. It will be easier to write good articles and you might even know of suppliers with their own affiliate program. For example, you will generally be around 6-7% with amazon, but some small businesses that are tech savvy might have affiliate programs paying out 15-20% for physical products. Hope this helps some of you out there.