How Long Does It Take to Go from $0 to $3,000+/Month Online?

Going from $0 to $3000/month

For me it took about 2-3 years. It started by failing a lot, but I kept going, and I slowly started getting those small victories.

Persistence was key. I wasted a lot of money and time, but it was all worth it.

The reason I write this post is because a few of you guys asked me how long it took to get to a full-time living online.

Some say that it’s counter-productive to reveal how long it took for someone else to get somewhere, but I figure the more information you have, the better, right?

Early 2007 – Burned $8,000 on 1-on-1 Coaching

In early 2007, I was still playing poker for a living, but the urge to do something else was growing. I wanted to start creating websites, and get out of what I was doing.

I wanted to help people, make passive income, and feel even better about what I was doing. Poker had treated me well, but I was growing weary of it.

I jumped on a coaching program. I got a website up. I wrote a short ebook that in hindsight was pretty horrible, but it was my first one, so I forgive myself. I knew nothing about search engine optimization, and in general felt like I was doing everything wrong.

It all turned out to be no good, partly because of an incompatible match with the coach, and the fact that I didn’t believe in myself at the time.

Late 2007 – Started Another Website

After the coaching program, I felt like crap, but I was determined, so I kept going. That’s when I joined SBI, and started a website there.

I butchered the keyword research, I didn’t build links, and in general, it didn’t go as planned. I did manage to save the site later and get it to $300-500/month, so all was not lost.

It was a learning experience, and it wasn’t until early 2009 that I finally had the guts to get feedback on what I was doing wrong.

(Note: I’m talking about niche websites here. If you’re blogging, it definitely pays to do your research, or at least see that there’s a market in what you want to do.)

Early 2009 – Started One of My Most Successful Websites to Date

When I took that dive into getting feedback in the SBI forums, it hurt my ego, but I still thank Norbert (if I remember the name correctly) for giving me honest feedback on my butchered research.

I walked away from that experience and felt down for a few days, but I bounced back, and started from scratch.

I now had more experience than ever before when it came to building a successful website. That’s also when I met Tomaz, who helped nudge me in the right direction.

What I realized was that I didn’t really need anyone’s help; I was just asking for permission all the time, and once I realized that, I started taking even more action, because my confidence grew.

I did my keyword research, I wrote content, I built links, and I did this full-time for about three months. I then left the site, and over a year later, it has grown on its own in both traffic and income.

Mid 2009 – Enter Article Marketing

People tell me I should stick to one thing, but that’s not really who I am. I do what I am interested in, but I believe in doing one thing at a time, which means not jumping around from thing to thing and chasing the shiny, which is why most people fail online.

After I had finished my second SBI site (the successful one), I bumped into article marketing, and I read a story of someone who went from living in a caravan to a very comfortable life. That alone got me interested, and I knew that if I applied myself, I would be successful.

So I joined a training program, I learned the ropes, and took massive action. For the next 6 months I did article marketing full-time. I wrote and submitted thousands of articles, and I outsourced a bunch, too.

Late 2009 – The Wake Up Cloud is Born

At the end of 2009, I was probably making close to $2,000/month. My memory fails me, but it should be somewhere around there.

That’s when I started feeling like I wanted to start blogging. It seemed hugely rewarding, and I loved the interaction I was seeing in the blogging community.

To this date, blogging has been one of the hardest ways to make money, but then again, I came into it not having money as my sole priority, but to do what I love.

I’ve connected with people I never thought I would, and many opportunities have fallen into my lap.

A Few Years Later…

As you can see, it took me a few years to learn everything. It can seem daunting to think that it takes 2-3 years, but the first time I tried this in late 2006, I failed, and I failed again, and after that I really didn’t do much in 2008.

It wasn’t until I got serious in 2009, and started listening to how it is really done, and not making up my own rules, that I started succeeding.

I sincerely believe you can succeed within one year (or less), if you follow what works, don’t try to come up with your own stuff, and this is one of the main reasons why I recommend training programs, because they guide you step-by-step to where you want to be.

When you only have one source of information (the training program), you do not get overwhelmed, and if you do, you can always get help.

And remember, I’m still learning and bumping into challenges. Whenever I learn something new, I run into resistance. It’s a part of developing new skills.

If you want my full story with all my lessons and mistakes, I recommend you check out my book: How I Made Over $100,000 Online Doing What I Love.

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  1. “I was just asking for permission all the time…” One of the biggest problems by far if you ask me. (I know you didn’t ask, but I though I should put in the screen again so people will read it twice)

    It what stops people from actually doing something about their own life, they keep wanting others to support them. But it’s very unlikely that people around you will support what they don’t understand. Creating an income online is something that only a few people know how to do, and even less know how to do well.
    It might not seem that way if you look in the online world. But have a look in your daily life, ask people in the streets, your friends, classmates, coworkers. I myself am an undergrad student in information science and I am the only one! there who is trying to make a living online. Even a staple book like “the four hour workweek” or huge blogs like “problogger” means nothing to them.

    It’s a small world even though it looks huge, and although you might get discouraged often because things don’t go your way fast enough. Do not give up (Henri clearly didn’t and look at where he is now)

    As for myself, I’m still not making more than $50 a month, most months even less and I’ve been blogging since 2008. Am I a success? You could say no, but you would be wrong. My success can’t be measured with income numbers or subscriber numbers. It’s a personal journey that’s different for each of us. You will learn a lot along the way, pick up skills, meet new people and see new and exciting possibilities.

    …and every once in a while, a nutcase comes along and plants a huge comment on your blog…

    Thanks Henri 😉

    • Haha. Thanks for the great comment, Christiaan!

      Success is completely relative, I agree! Don’t use a definition of success that is not yours. Think about what you really want from life, and go after it.

      It might take you two years, five years, or five months to get to where you want to be. You’ll never know if you never start.

    • Ireti Paul says:

      I love you response so much. Believe me you’re going places. Not sticking to other’s definition of success is what i like most in your comment. We are all different. We all need to move at our own individual pace so that we don’t get frustrated. The world out there is really small when it comes to people making a real living online. Keep at it. Learn what works like henri said. Be persistent, determined and above all keep your head straight.

      Christiaan, I admire your courage.

  2. Hey Henri,
    Nice to hear your story about online marketing.

    I can tell you that I have times where I feel so stupid because I just can’t seem to make big money online. The problem with hearing success stories of people making a living online is that you never really hear how long it took them to get there. Ask most successful internet marketers and they will tell you it took them 2-6 years to get to where they are.

    It took me a year to understand the concepts of websites, coding, blogs and affiliate marketing, and since then it’s been about 14 months that I’ve been taking it serious. Upgrade Reality is on 2400 readers and I’m just about to release my second product (which will also be listed on Clickbank).

    Like you say, it’s about not giving up and following proven business models without trying to invent new stuff. Everything’s already been tried, so stick to what works.


    • Yeah, it definitely doesn’t happen overnight. It also depends on your background, and how much you have to learn.

      I have always been somewhat technical, and I made my first website when I was 14 years old, which got hundreds of daily visitors at its best.

      Keep going dude!

  3. Thanks for the great post Henri! I think this is a great because it helps to set realistic expectations for people wanting take on Internet Marketing (it not going to happen overnight) and helps people to know it ok to learn once you learn from your mistakes.

    • Yup. I personally like reading other people’s stories, because like you said, it allows me to set realistic expectations.

  4. Hey there Henri,

    I know over the last year I’ve failed a lot and probably did everything completely wrong. I’ve mostly been lazy and that didn’t help me much either. You make a good point here about not giving up and taking some kind of course to lead the way so that you’re not reinventing the wheel.

    With NPC that’s what I’m doing is learning the trade and following what is taught versus what I think should be because obviously what I know isn’t going to make me any money, yet. 🙂

    Always a good read here. Keep ’em coming!

  5. Hi Henri,

    Hearing your story is always so inspiring to me…. it’s re-assuring to know that you’ve shared some of the same struggles I do daily.


  6. Frederick says:

    Hey Henri,

    what’s your impression of SBI?
    I use a wordpress blog + thesis but i was always fascinated by the fact that sbi sites ranks very high in the engines.

    • I personally think SBI is a great way to build profitable websites, but it’s just a platform. In the end, what determines your success is you.

  7. Henri,
    Thanks for sharing your story. I am just starting a blog and am concerned about the fail rate. I know persistence is key and it gives me inspiration to see that you were able to rebound from failure and build a successful blog.

    • The fail rate can be a deceiving number, because there are so many people that start, but give up almost instantly. If you know what you want, seek out the information, and take relentless action, you will go far.

  8. Yes Henri… success inevitably requires experiencing some “oopses” along the way. Our failures are short-lived when we understand that exhilarating experiences of triumph are always preceded by temporary defeats pre-paving the way. Without defeat there is no drive to find newness of mind. I love that you share your past mistakes so we all may learn… it is a great gift for all.

  9. Glad you wrote this, Henri.

    I finally launched my muse after about 8 months of preparation, research and getting ‘er done. I fired up an AdWords campaign and fully expected to wake up the next morning with a slew of PayPal notifications in my inbox.

    Instead, I found that google website optimizer wasn’t collecting data (after paying my designer to set it up) and that my autoresponder was sending things out nilly-willy.

    Crap. Anyway, it’s a journey.

    It’ll take time and we’re a stubborn bunch. 😉

    Thanks for the assuring words of “it’ll happen”.

    Good Vibes~

    p.s. If you guys have any critiques of my muse site ( I’d appreciate constructive feedback.

    • Hey Vic!

      Yeah that stuff happens in the beginning. You learn stuff as you fix the broken stuff. As for critique for your site, you know your audience best, since you seem to rock the whole opera thing, so keep tweaking, testing, and seeing what works!

      One thing that does come to mind is that in order to get more people to sign-up to your e-mail list, you could give them a free video, or report. Maybe something like “The 7 Mistakes New Opera Singers Make.”

  10. Hi Henry, thanks for the read, its good to know someone else has been through it when your trying to find your way in this business. Helps to set realistic goals and keep heading forward,
    thanks again,

  11. Ireti Paul says:

    Henri, have always admired your content cos you’re so true in everything you do. Personally i started late and even still played around a little bit jumping from one model to the other. I got caught up with the huge to make money fast but nothing was forth coming. I slowed down and re-evaluated myself to figure out what was not working. Thank God i did.

    I have come to value learning what works and sticking to it. Persistence is so so key and vital in this journey of online business. Focus and hard work is the watch word.

    Thanks henri.

  12. Hi Henry,

    Thanks for sharing your story. For me, I’ve been blogging about 6 months. Overall, I’m getting more traffic, my rank is improving (it is around 86,000 in the US, 400,000 globally) right now, and I do make some sales from my first ebook. I’m still not even close to where I want to be, but as everyone says, everything takes time. Thanks for sharing

    • Don’t worry too much about it, Dia. You have already come a long way and no doubt learned a lot. Keep going!

  13. Archan Mehta says:


    There is a link between your personal story and your professional success. You make that connection, time and again, via your blog posts. That is an inspiring journey.

    I am happy that your struggles have led you to a new stage of your life. It seems like you are dedicated to self-improvement and life-long learning.

    Your ability to show your vulnerability endears you to your readers, leading to empathy. Your blog has added value to the lives of so many of us groping in the darkness and searching for solutions. In that sense, you are a good teacher. Keep up the good work.


  14. Really cool post Henri, i am tackling the angle of affiliate marketing right now. I have to date after only one month (0) sales hehe. I appreciated the advice on being persistent I am going to focus hardcore on getting my first affiliate sale then trying to double that each month. I dont have to do this for income perhaps that is why I am lazy with my site. I dont feel rushed to monetize I am really enjoying just breaking into the community. Hopefully one day I will be able to be an “A” list blogger like yourself and cruise the world.

    • Hey Justin,

      Not having to make a living can be both good and bad. No pressure, but it can also lead to laziness, as you said.

      As long as you’re enjoying yourself, all is well 😉

  15. 75 Day Journey says:

    Thanks Henri for doing an interview for my site! This is a great post. I really like it when people are open and transparent like you. Hopefully I can be making money by the end of the 75 day journey!

  16. I’ve been doing article marketing for a couple of years now for other people. I guess it’s time for me to do this for myself and see if I can stop being other people’s assistant.

    Do you think it would be better if I do this as a part-time thing first? I’m a bit worried to lose a steady flow of income while trying to establish my personal projects. Also, if you don’t mind me asking, how do you think I should go about it, setup a blog or make a niche site first?

    Thanks for another great and inspiring post!

    • There’s nothing wrong with doing it part time if it gets rid of the worry.

      Whether you setup a blog or niche site doesn’t really matter, because they can both do the same things, so I’d say to pick the one you have most experience with, because it’ll eliminate obstacles.

      In essence, take the route where taking action is the most effortless.

      • Thanks, Henri! I’m actually starting to take the necessary steps in taking charge of my own career. I’ve started reading different resources on making a website and related stuff. Reading your e-book on finding one’s passion as well as posts here has helped me a lot.

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