5 Myths About Making Money Online That You Should Never Believe

Joel Lee 15-02-2016

It’s the ultimate dream: make tons of money from your living room, staying dressed in your pajamas all day, working according to your own schedule, with no one telling you what to do. Sounds great, doesn’t it?


But if that’s what you think “making money online” is all about, you’re in for a rude awakening. On the other hand, if you’re skeptical and think there’s no way anyone could possibly make “real” money online, then you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

The truth is, the Internet is full of misconceptions and misinformation. And as someone who’s built an online-only career over the past five years, I’d like to help debunk some of the worst myths floating around. It’s far from what you think it is.

1. “Don’t Waste Your Time, It’s All a Scam”

There are many skeptics out there who think the only way to make money online is by stealing the hard-earned cash of others — whether by peddling useless books, selling ineffective webinar courses, or running referral-based programs that resemble pyramid schemes.

And to be fair, yes, work-at-home scams do exist Are You In A Rush To Make Money From Home? Spot 7 Work At Home Scams Wealth, speed, ethics -- when it comes to money, you can only pick two. When it comes to working from home, it's very likely that you won't get a chance to even pick one of... Read More and you should be aware of them. Warning signs include: paying a fee before you can start making money, doing any amount of work for free to prove your abilities, and being paid through unconventional services.



Not only that, but out of all the legitimate job offers on the Internet, most of them are crap. For example, a lot of content mills will only pay $5 or $10 per article, while some freelance coding jobs will end up paying $100 for 20 hours of work. It’s terrible but common.

However, if you know where to look and what to avoid, you really can find legitimate forms of online employment 5 Legitimate Online Self-Employment Opportunities Read More . You’ll have to sift through a lot of crap to find the opportunities worth pursuing, but with a bit of perseverance and motivation, the gems will eventually present themselves.

2. “Anyone Can Make Money Online”

After all we’ve said above, you have to be careful that you don’t make an unsound logical leap. Just because it’s possible for people to make money online doesn’t necessarily mean it’s possible for you to make money online. There’s a subtle but important difference there.

A lot of people like to say that anyone can do this as long as they have the dream and the ambition to make it happen, but here’s the truth: a lot of people who try to make money online end up making zero dollars.


In a sense, everyone has the potential to do it, but not everyone can realize that potential. Making money online is neither easy nor simple. Not only does it require a lot of work and effort, but it can be very demoralizing. You need a certain level of self-driven stubbornness to succeed.


Moreover, you need skills. Not that you have to be an expert, per se, but you need to be able to deliver something that someone will be willing to pay for. Your skill might be writing, photography, coding, teaching, troubleshooting, or whatever else — but you can’t make money if you have nothing to offer.

Well, let me back up a bit. There are ways you can make money even if you have no special skills. (Opinion surveys are one option You Actually Can Earn Money by Taking Online Surveys Read More and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is another Make Extra Cash During Your Zen Time With Amazon Mechanical Turk Read More .) However, even after you’ve mastered these, you’ll have trouble earning more than a few hundred dollars a month.


So what I really mean is, if you want to make a living online, you’ll need at least one marketable skill 5 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Technical Skills Without Spending a Dime People argue that training costs money - but for technical skills that just isn't true. You can improve your technical skills without paying - assuming you already have internet access that is, which is a... Read More . Fortunately, if you don’t think you’re good enough, you can always train by enrolling in free self-improvement courses. It’s never too late for that! And don’t forget to take advantage of LinkedIn Working Remotely Is The Future! This Is How LinkedIn Can Help You A remote or telecommute job is the holy grail of job searching. Leverage the resources on LinkedIn to find your dream job. Read More as a way to find potential gigs that fit your skills.

3. “It’s All Fun, Games, and Lattés”

When someone says they work from home, it’s easy to judge them as a lazy slob who plays games and watches Netflix all day and never does any real work. They can relax whenever they want, they can skip any amount of days, and they don’t even have to shower. Right?

Not quite. While it’s true that people who make money online have a degree of flexibility that they wouldn’t have if they worked a typical office job, but that flexibility can be a huge liability. In fact, most people who make money online spend as many — if not more — hours working than a “normal” employee.



So if your job is too stressful and unsatisfying Is Your Job Too Stressful? Here's Your Way Out It's never too early to move on from a stressful job. Becoming a freelancer can increase your satisfaction, creative freedom, and productivity. And it can be safer to be an independent contractor. Read More and you think the solution is to start making money online instead, think again! It may actually be more stressful and you probably won’t be earning much for many years.

Here are some things that you should consider before thinking about making money online.

In many cases, making money online requires 24/7 attention. There are tools and resources that can help ease this burden 5 Resources Every Online Solopreneur Needs -- Do You Have Them? For a solopreneur, the Web is a fun place from which to run a business. But to ensure that your online business runs smoothly, you need to arm yourself with certain basic resources. Read More , but no matter which way you spin it, it’s a lot more work than simply being someone else’s employee.

4. “You’ll Be Rich in No Time”

Except in extremely rare cases, if you want to make a living online, it’s going to be a slow and gradual climb. The only way to shortcut through this is if you have a lot of social clout and recognition that you can leverage to jumpstart the path you want to take.

Consider the path of a web programmer. No reputable client will take you on unless you can show that you have experience and prove that you can deliver a quality product. This means practicing your skills, building up experience through smaller gigs, and compiling a portfolio.

Or consider the path of a blogger. No matter how well you write, it simply takes time to build an audience. If you’re really good at producing viral posts, the process may takes months instead of years, but every blogger who became an overnight success actually had years of effort behind them.


Or consider the path of an online merchant. Whether you’re flipping phones on eBay or selling hand-made scarves on Etsy, it takes time to build a reputation as a quality and trustworthy seller.

All of these paths — among others — can be successfully turned into full-time careers, but you should expect to put in years of effort before you get there. Maybe it won’t take that long, but most likely it’ll take far longer than you predict. That’s just how it goes.

Anyone who tells you that you can get rich quick online is either delusional, inexperienced, or trying to scam you in one way or another. You can definitely get rich online, but you’ll have to pour out a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get there.

Still want to give it a go? Make your life a bit easier by following these tips for working from home Self-Employment Works: 6 Tips To Set Up Your First Online Business From Home With the explosion of digital technology and fast Internet speeds, more and more people are looking for a way out of the drudge of the commute and the threat of short-term contracts to work from... Read More and using Xero to help with taxes and expenses 5 Ways Xero Can Help With Your Finances Accounting can be confusing, time-consuming, and (if you have to pay a professional accountant) expensive. Read More .

5. “Only One Way to Make Money Online”

Anyone who tells you that you have to do this or have to do that in order to make money online is leading you into falsehoods. Potentially speaking, you could make money doing anything as long as you have people who are willing to pay you for it.

Here are a few ideas for you:

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can start your own business or find clients who will hire you, but either way, the key is to determine what problems you can solve and then convince people to pay you to solve those problems for them.

One more thing to note: there are a lot of people who claim that passive income is the only kind of income worth pursuing. (This means doing work that will keep earning you money even after you stop working.) While passive income is nice, it’s not the only way to go.

Passive income is high-risk and high-reward. You could pour years of work into your blog and earn thousands of dollars every month from ad revenue — or you might earn nothing at all. On the other hand, if you write for someone else and they pay you $100 for an article, that’s money in your pocket.

Only you can decide which way is better for you.

Do You Want to Make Money Online?

At the end of the day, the whole concept of making money online is a complex mixture of good and bad. It’s a viable career path if you’re willing to accept the risks, and even though it isn’t easy, it can certainly be fulfilling.

Want to get started? There are plenty of ideas that you can explore, including these ways for teenagers to make money online Best Websites for Teens to Earn Money Online How can a high school and college students make some easy money during summer break, or even during the school year? You will be surprised at the opportunities available on the web for teens. Read More (not that adults can’t try them too). Other opportunities include teaching online Knowledge To Bank: How To Make Money On The Web By Teaching What You Know These days, with declining job markets in different industries, there are a lot of people looking to change jobs, and sometimes changing a job means learning a whole new skill set. If you are a... Read More , selling ebooks online How to Actually Make Money Selling eBooks Read More , and these micro jobs that are good for part-time income 20 Micro Jobs to Help You Make Money in Your Free Time Online opportunities to earn additional income are everywhere. It can be difficult to sniff out the legit companies from the scams. Below are 20 legit opportunities to easily make some extra income in your free... Read More .

What are the worst misconceptions and myths you’ve heard? Are you currently making money online? If so, how? If not, why not? Share your thoughts with us below in the comments!

Image Credits: Office Desk Money by Dooder via Shutterstock, Stressful Job by OnBlast via Shutterstock, Ecommerce Laptop by Pranch via Shutterstock

Related topics: Debunking Myths, Job Searching, Make Money Online.

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