You wake up and realize you’ve slept through your alarm again. What do you do?

A.) Call your boss and apologize and hope they don’t fire you?

B.) Jump out of bed in a panic, toss on whatever is lying about, slap on some deodorant, and speed to work?

I do neither. I just sleep another few minutes until my brain wakes up. I also don’t get fired for this because I don’t have a boss. Not in the traditional sense, anyway.

Sure, I’m emboldened to particular people. That will never go away until I retire. But my schedule is my own to make as I please.

You see, I’ve joined the ranks of a growing sector of the world population. The remote worker. I’m not tied down to a particular location. I can take my laptop and work where I please. It’s the new American Dream.

But how do you break away from the 9-5 grind? How do you stick it to “The Man” and say adios to the office and water coolers and crummy coffee in styrofoam cups?

It’s absolutely possible to make the jump (don’t look down) and make money online. And if you keep reading, I’ll tell you how.

1. To Make Money Online: Downsize Your Expectations

I used to teach social workers how to deal with crisis situations. The program we used was called Mandt. And the whole philosophy centered around recognizing a situation before it happens.

To curb a budding bad situation, I taught that you were to “offer options and set expectations.” Those expectations needed to be realistic. When someone is escalating, setting the bar too high on either end will cause failure.

Online marketing gurus like to talk up the online money making game. They tell you “here’s a simple way to make millions.”

Problem is, millions don’t just drop on your doorstep one day. Those people had to put a lot of effort up front to get their millions.

Sure, the ultimate goal is to MAKE MONEY online. But at first, you’re just going to make money. And it’s going to take a bit of work.

Humans want to avoid pain. Most human behavior stems from our desire to avoid pain. And we expect that by avoiding pain we will gain pleasure.

This isn’t always true. Sometimes avoiding pain causes more pain. In the case of jumping into freelancing or online marketing, avoiding pain or work as some of us call it will have you sitting on the curb begging for money really fast.

2. The Passion of the Freelancer

The root word of “passion” isn’t pleasure. It’s pain. The lover in medieval romances often received some sort of wound to denote romantic or sexual desire.

Only recently has the meaning changed and society equated passion and pleasure. But true passion is at once pain and pleasure.

Why do you think the “writer stereotype” involves drink and despair? Because a truly brilliant writer is passionate about their work. The inner drive to create isn’t always comforting.

If you want to find work online as a freelancer (whether that be writing, video, editing, voice work, etc.) you have to be passionate. And the initial struggle should be a part of your set expectations.

3. The Importance of a Portfolio (Real or Imagined)

When I was in the “real world of work” I hated seeing job posts like this: “Entry Level Position: Requires 4 years experience in field.” The oxymoron hurt my mind.

How is a college grad, just moved out of their parent’s house, supposed to get work?

The funny thing is, most online jobs aren’t much different. You do need “experience” to get a gig.

The biggest difference, however, is that your experience no longer has to be tied to a specific job or a particular degree anymore. Yes, those things help. But a great portfolio of work will always say more than a CV or a resume.

If you’re going the freelance route to make money online, then make sure you’ve got a portfolio of work ready to show. Don’t have one? Welp, sucks to be you!

Wait. That wasn’t very nice.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: You don’t have to use published or posted examples in your portfolio.

While it helps to have a publishing record or existing projects you can point to, some jobs require anonymity. And you won’t always be able to use your work in your portfolio.

Instead, do your own creative work. If you are a web designer, build a few sample websites. If you are a writer, write a few sample articles. Your portfolio will prove you can get the job done.

4. The Wide World Affiliates and Other Marketing Opportunities

If you can write marginally well or make decent videos, you can make money online. Again, it will take some effort up front. And you have to see any online marketing gig as a business.

But with enough elbow grease and a little bit of luck, you too can make a decent income online.

Here are the first steps you should take:

  • Choose a niche you’re passionate about
  • Build a blog or website
  • Find an affiliate (Amazon is the most popular and easiest)
  • Write long form content about your niche (sell the products in your niche here)
  • Create an email list and be faithful
  • Always be honest

Too simple? You’re kinda right. There are loads of steps in-between each of those. One thing you should do is hire an SEO company like WebSuitable a little later down the road to optimize your site.

Google is pretty strict in what they let sit at the top of each search page. Unless you pay. And paying for a spot is always a good idea.

Network, garner what we call “backlinks,” and get that traffic flowing to your site.

Other ways to make money online include eBooks (nonfiction), an eBay business and shipping fulfillment businesses. The opportunities are endless. But you have to be passionate or you will eventually burn out and fail.

Making Money Online: The New American Dream

If you do end up making money online or working remotely, you will join over 3.3 million full-time professionals. You’ll save money and feel less stress.

While not everyone can handle the lack of outward structure, I still consider it a worthy endeavor.

Now that you’ve heard from me about making money online, check out Shoemoney’s story. His is an amazing rags-to-riches tale you can’t miss out on.


By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.