You don’t want to make money online

This is a guest post by Drew Kime of Cook Like Your Grandmother. It’s probably time I had a post from Drew because not only does he constantly snipe dry wit at me, but I also keep mentioning him various places as an example of someone who isn’t simply selling into the self-perpetuating internet marketing arena. I’ll be like, “Well, what if you wanted to be an affiliate for… um… not internet marketing information but… um… I don’t know… cookware?” And then I’ll remember that I actually know a guy who that would work for, which reduces the amount that I look like a bullshiter. Slightly.

Anyway, enjoy this post. It’s a good one.


The third-grade teacher asks the class, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” She gets the standard answers: cowboy, princess, firefighter, doctor. But Billy says, “I want to be rich.” Everyone laughs, then the teacher asks, “But what do you want to do?” Billy answers, “I want to make lots of money.”

Fast-forward about twenty years. Who from that class do you think has the highest net worth?

Gut check

Right now, you’re either thinking, “Yeah, that sounds like me,” or “Sure he’s rich, but I’ll bet he’s a shallow, self-important prick.” But aren’t you reading online marketing blogs because you want to be rich now? Why is it wrong for a 9-year-old to want to be rich, but okay for an adult? When did money as a primary goal become acceptable?

Those aren’t abstract philosophical questions. You really need to answer them for yourself to understand what you’re willing to do. Because unless you really, deep down, believe in putting the money first, you must be putting something else first.

Do you know what that “something else” is?

Online marketing … of what?

Look at all the courses that teach you how to do AdWords campaigns. How to identify niche markets and exploit them. How to optimize your landing pages to convert the long-tail keywords. PPC arbitrage … Affiliate marketing … ClickBank … Yeah, I speak marketing. I also know what all that stuff means and how to do it. But I don’t want to. It’s soul-crushing boredom.

I might discover there’s an untapped market for wombat grooming. Do some research and write an ebook. Start an AdWords campaign and start selling like crazy. Woo-hoo! But I really don’t give a shit about wombats, no matter how many rich people there are looking for a book on cleaning them.

If I want to spend all day doing work that I don’t care about, I’ll just stick with a job. You know, let someone else figure out the business plan, do what I’m told for eight to nine hours a day, and do what I want nights and weekends.

Money makes anything interesting, right?

Lots of jobs pay well not because they’re hard, but because they’re distasteful. Ask Mike Rowe, the Dirty Jobs guy. Or check this list of 10 High Paying Dirty Jobs. Number 1 on the list? Crime scene cleaner: “With a little experience under your belt and flexibility with your work hours, you can easily make about $75,000 a year with this job.”

So there are jobs out there that you could apply for today and start making a decent living. But you won’t apply for them, because you aren’t interested in the work. So why do you think pay-per-click arbitrage is going to do it for you? The money? Look at that list of dirty jobs again. Still think it’s all about the money?

Self-employed, but still just a job

The mythical salesman who can sell ice cubes to Eskimos, do you think that’s because he likes ice cubes? Or is it because he likes closing the sale? It’s the rush and the money. And if you’re doing it online instead of face-to-face, you don’t even get the rush.

What you get is research, analysis, number crunching and, if you do it all really really well: money. Are you okay with that, or does that sound like a “job”?

Follow most online marketing advice and you know to follow the data. It’s easier to find the desire than to create the desire, so it’s more profitable to sell to an under-served market than to create a whole new market. It’s not about what you want to sell, it’s about what they want to buy. To make big money online, you can’t focus on what interests you.

That’s the forumula for success I keep seeing. Ignore my own interests. Sell what other people want. Build the sites other people want. Discuss the products other people want. Study hard, work harder, and after about a year you, too could make $111.

Screw that

If you have interests other than money, there are plenty of free resources to show you how to effectively sell what you’ve got. And you’ll care about it because you’re learning how to more effectively talk about what interests you.

Unless … well … are you the exception? Are you the one who, back at the start of this article, thought, “Yeah, I was just like little Billy”? Then you probably could sell the wombat grooming book, and smile all the way to the bank. If that’s you, I’ve got a couple of cook books that could use some good affiliates.

Drew Kime teaches people how to cook like Grandma at How To Cook Like Your Grandmother. He has published the book of the same name, and Starting From Scratch: The Owner’s Manual for Your Kitchen.


  1. Ken Siew says:

    Nice post Drew! I truly believe you have to live your passion and work hard, way more hours than your day job right now. But you’re having fun because you get to live and breathe the stuffs that interest you the most out of all the things in the world.

    I have another question that should be answered: do you want to work 80 hours for your own biz or do you want to work 40 hours for someone else’s biz? Either answer is valid, but you need to decide on one (or choose a mix of two).

    Live your passion, and serve the market you truly care about.


  2. Ed Gaile says:

    Why you gotta hate on the Wombats? Personally I would have thrown the Bandicoot under the bus.

    Great post. One that really hits home for me. Like you, I know how to do all the Internet Marketing deal – affiliate marketing, niche markets, keyword research, landing page designs etc.. I even help others and friends do it effectively, but I can not seem to get myself cranking on it. I think I am still trying to “find my desire” in the right area.

  3. Ed Gaile says:

    Holy shit! That is ridiculous – I stand corrected. Good call on the Wombat.

  4. Johnny says:
  5. I like this. If you don’t truly love what you do go get a Job.

    Sounds all too much like hardwork to me. I’d rather do stuff that interests me.

  6. Amber says:

    I think I love wombats now. And could probably build a website on them. Nah.

    Yeah, the online marketing advice is all backwards. Don’t find a random untapped niche and then learn about it an bullshit your way through it. Instead, figure out what things you are passionate about and then research if those things could be good niches. If so, fantastic! If not, keep looking for the right angle, you’ll probably find it.

    No, I wasn’t Billy. But I do love me some niche websites, but the ones I’ve built have been 100% based on my interests and I was having fun doing them.

    Wait, am I riding that “do what you love and the money will follow” bandwagon? Guess so.

  7. Ken Siew says:

    Okay, after seeing the pics, I’m convinced that I’m not passionate about wombats either!

  8. thor says:

    Ah, that post let me sigh with contentment.


    Now I go train Johnny so watch out 🙂

    How’s Ktav Maga going mate? Cannae wait tae hear aboot that min! (That’s Scottish btw)

  9. Sanford says:

    Funny. I was just thinking about this this morning.
    I’m setting up a new blog. And, though I know I could use affiliate links effectively on it, that’s not why I want to blog.
    I’ve spent 40+ years chasing money and freedom (neither very successfully). I’m going to do what I love and say what I think. If the $ come then so be it.
    Loved the post! Thank you, Drew. And thank you Johnny.

  10. Sanford, I think you’re reading my position as a little stronger than I intended. If you’ve already got a topic you want to write about, the internet marketing people can help you make the most from it.

    The part I have a problem with is the idea of deciding what to write about *not* based on your interest, but on what research shows will be profitable. If you like research, and you like money, and you don’t really have anything you want to write about, go for it.

    But it sounds like you’re more like me. You already know what you want to write about. Doing something else just for the money turns it into a job.

  11. Sanford says:

    Yes! That’s what I meant. It’s pursuit of passion that interests me more than money. But I’m not saying no to an income.

  12. Johnny says:

    Drew really hit the spot perfectly with this post from where I’m standing because this has been a very present topic for me recently. Sonia Simone told me in an interview ( quoting someone I don’t remember and hence can’t credit), “An internet marketer is someone who will work 18 hours a day so he can make money while he sleeps.” If you do the math, you may figure out that your efforts to “make money online” aren’t much better an hourly wage than working at McDonald’s, which would be less stressful and you could have fun throwing fries at people.

    THOR: Haven’t gone to a class yet, but either this week or next I will. And you are WAY more Scottish than some Scotts I met this weekend.

  13. Great post Drew! Reading the story of Billy, I don’t think that there is necessarily anything wrong with him saying that he wants to be rich when he grows up. I think the teacher should have asked him why he wants to be rich when he grows up.

    Maybe the reason he wants to be rich isn’t just shallow (cars, babes, mansion, etc…). Maybe he wants to be rich so he can help the bums he sees sleeping on the park benches on his ride to school, or because his mom has to work 3 jobs to put food on the table and he never gets to see her.

    Maybe he just knows he wants to be able to make the world a better place but just isn’t sure how he can make that happen yet.

    I do believe that the best way to make a lot of money is to do what you are good at and what you enjoy doing. Of course you can always do other things to make money and do very well, even if you don’t love what you are doing. What good does that money do though if you have been miserable every day of your life! There is definitely more to life than just money!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I find your honesty very refreshing.

  14. Refreshing honesty … right. If I were really being honest I’d have admitted that I’ve tried to do the niche research / targeted blog thing and couldn’t stick to it even long enough to get the first blog launched.

    I prefer to think that means I’m following the advice to fail faster.

  15. Nicely put Drew. There’s an old saying- Money can’t but happiness. It’s usually quoted by people without any. Who was it who said “Greed is good”
    Keep up the good work


  1. […] Drew’s other guest post got a pretty good response, and 2. I think it’s hilarious to have a guest post on business […]