Everyone’s heard the stories passed around at dinner parties and luncheons, of that person who started their own business and made it big. Few of us can say we know those people, but many of us stand the chance to BE one of those people.


Internet Marketing is not an easy business to break into, but if you find your niche and provide a solid marketing strategy, combined with hard work and dedication, you can become your own boss and set your own hours! The business today is nothing like marketing used to be when one thought of networking. To sell things from home, one used to have to sell vacuum cleaners, or beauty products, candles, and even cleaning products. Everyone knows how these pyramid marketers work, because we’ve all known someone who has attended one of their “conferences” where they put their best-sellers on stage and flash fancy clothes, lifestyles and earnings in your face. This whole song and dance is meant to dazzle you and convince you that you too, can go through your entire list of friends and acquaintances to try and sell to them…until you run out of people who want to be bothered.

The ‘ol Pyramid Scheme

This was the earliest form of affiliate marketing and took great advantage of the lowest person on the ladder; the affiliate trying to get their start. Few people made big money from these schemes, and people began to associate the companies known for selling in this manner, with being dubious and shady. Enter today’s world, and people no longer need to go door-to-door trying to sell something to be their own boss.

Here are some real-life success stories of people just like you, who beat the system and are using the internet to pave their future in gold.

The Larrew Family

Jessica and Cliff Larrew started a business when Jessica had to leave her job thanks to the decline in the housing market. She began going to discount stores, and buying up clearance items to sell on Amazon using their FBA system. FBA is “fulfillment by Amazon” which means they’ll handle the shipping, handling and customer care, you just ship the items to Amazon and they take care of the rest.  The Larrew family is now making in excess of $100,000 a year. Jessica uses an app called Profit Bandit which scans the barcodes of products to see if Amazon recognizes it.  The app tells her the current selling price so that profit on the product can be easily determined.  It will even show the best selling items which can help her buy things that she knows are in high demand.

This just goes to show that you don’t have to have a product you’ve created, or your own site, or brand to make money online. If you can think of it, then it’s possible.

Ethan Nicholas

Back in August of 2008, necessity made Ethan think outside the box. They were having a hard time paying their bond, and their mounting medical bills from their youngest son. Ethan was a programmer but not of the mobile app variety.  He worked on a game called iShoot, based on artillery style games. He set the price at $4.99 and made $1000 just on the first release day, and $2000 the second day. Day three was only $50 where it stood for a few weeks. He then released a free version in January with fewer features to encourage people to buy the cost version.  iShoot Lite has had more than 2 million downloads, and people have upgraded to the now $2.99 price tag. On its best selling day, Ethan earned $35,000… in one day.

You don’t have to be an app developer to have a great idea, and mobile apps can sell quite well.

Ashley Qualls

At only 17 years old, this girl dropped out of high school and bought a 250k house, to run her business. She turned down offers for 1.5 million dollars and even a car to run her site whateverlife.com, which offers MySpace layouts for free. Yes! People do still go to MySpace, who knew? She has made over a million in Google AdSense advertising revenue and takes in about $70,000 every month. Google’s Analytics show that her site attracts over 7 million people and 60 million page views every month. Don’t forget the power of advertisers!

You could be offering nearly anything but there is a lot of white space out there to sell too!

Jacquie Lawson

This grandmother from West Sussex, England is the name behind JacquieLawson.com, home of the world’s most popular online greeting cards. She had 22.7 million visitors in December according to Nielsen Ratings, which was over double what AmericanGreetings.com took in, and they are a corporate giant! Her website has 530,000+ members who each pay an annual subscription fee of $6.80 which brings in $3.6 million a year. Her site alone is worth nearly 23 million dollars should she wish to sell it. She played around with Macromedia Flash in 2000 as a start, having been trained as a freelance artist from St. Martin’s School of Art in London.  She spent 6 weeks messing about with Flash to create her first e-card, a Christmas card she sent to 30 friends. She had 1,600 messages thereafter, from people all over the world who got her card. This is the power of networking. Everyone loved her new cards, and there is a lesson here too!

Don’t be greedy and put out a price point that is much too high, and will drive sales away. Even if you offer a low price point, you’ll gain a lot more business, and that adds up.

Markus Frind

Anyone heard of the popular dating site, plentyoffish.com? It was begun by this man as a pet project while trying to learn how to use ASP.net (a new programming language at the time) but the site became massively popular with very little advertising. His site had 1.4 million visitors in the USA alone in November 2007, and has 600,000 registered customers. The site makes money from banner ads, Google AdSense and even affiliate marketing links. He even posed with a photo of a Google AdSense check, which Google confirmed as being authentic. Today, the site still gets 50,000 new photos every day, and business is good.

This is yet another example of filling a need, where a physical product doesn’t need to be the focus of the marketing.

Yun Ye

This Chinese-American, in 2004 made internet history. He sold a portfolio of 100,000 domain names to Marchex for $164 million. He had been collected them after graduating from the University of Maryland in 1998. He bought cheap expired domains with solid names, and in 2000 paid searching began to boom. Advertisers began to pay for every visitor using pay per click and companies like Overture (Now Yahoo! Search Marketing) paid domainers for the placement of their ads on the domains. His portfolio was bringing him $20 million a year in profits alone. Since Yun Ye was incredibly private and shy, his story can only be found via CNN Money in a special called “Masters of their Domains” where he’s written about like Keyser Soze. He’s a ghost in the field of domainers, and everyone knows his name; few have ever met him. He refuses to meet, speak or deal with anyone, but especially the press.

So your niche can even be buying up old domains, but you have to be good at it.

Herman Tumurcuoglu

This may be the earliest story we have for you of online marketing success. Mamma.com was launched in July of 1996 as “the mother of all search engines”.  He developed it for his master’s thesis at Ottawa’s Carleton University and it was one of the Web’s very first search engines to use meta-searching technology. Through word of mouth alone, he ended up needing help running the site and it quickly became easy to monetize it through banner ads and licensing the tech to other sites. A meta search is the ability to utilize many different search engines all at once to come up with a comprehensive list of returned hits that are closest to what you are looking for. It eliminates duplicates, sorts by relevance, and provides a lot more information than just one search engine alone. His ranking algorithm is the secret behind his success.  It is called rSort, and works like a voting system. This makes it next to impossible to get false hits or sites from a spammer or fraud to come up.

What to Take From These Examples

You can do whatever you put your mind to, and often a good idea is a matter of convenience. You can sell your knowledge, an actual product, or if you have programming skills – your own software! You can sell other people’s products, software, etc as an affiliate, or you can start a blog and rake in advertising revenue from there.  You can sell domains, or even information you can teach people with – selling courses. You can become an online tutor, or open your own dating site just for techies like yourself! If you can think of it, you can do it.

As we mentioned before in our post “How to Start Internet Marketing” be sure you’re passionate about whatever you want to sell, or you will be stuck with what feels like a grind, or you’ll be unhappy with it. You might give up on it early, or just go at the attempt halfheartedly. Sell something you believe in, and you can become your own boss and someday – someone like me might write that success story about YOU.