Success Stories: People Like You Who Earn an Income on the Internet

In my last post, Basic Training for Online Entrepreneurs, I shared resources for getting started. One of the hardest things is staying motivated. Maybe you run into technical problems, or sometimes get so discouraged that you want to give up.

As a follow-up, I thought it would helpful to share inspiring stories of online entrepreneurs. Many of them weren’t natural-born techies who were programming in preschool. Instead, they took their expertise and transferred it onto the Internet. Or even re-invented themselves doing something different online.

I’ve gathered success case studies across a wide variety of niches. I’m hoping that you’ll relate with at least one person who is doing something similar to what you want to be doing. So you think, “Wow, they pulled that off?! I can DO THIS!

How a Martial Artist Built an Online Fitness Business

Andy Fossett helped a friend develop an online fitness course, which later grew into a business. Watch his video interview here.

Andy Fossett: Lessons from a fitness entrepreneur

How a Software Engineer Started a Second Career as a Professional Blogger

Sid Savara is a software engineer who took his passion for testing and analysis and applied it to personal development. He shares his story in this podcast interview.

Blogger interview with Sid Savara

How a Doctor Launched an Information Product Business While Working a Full-Time Job

Dr. Ashish Goyal is board-certified in both Pediatrics and Internal Medicine. Despite working insane hours at a hospital, he created a successful pediatric board review business with digital information products. Find out more in this podcast interview he did on Internet Business Mastery.

IBM 170 | Internet Business Success Story with Ashish Goyal

(P.S. Andy, Sid and Ashish are members of Oahu Online Entrepreneurs, the meetup group I’m in. We’re lucky to have them. I vouch for their awesomeness.)

How a Food Blogger Makes Thousands of Dollars per Month

I know loads of women interested in writing, photography, food and online business. So I thought it would be cool to share the Pinch of Yum Income Reports. A food blogger shares how she makes money from her blog.

How a Woman Created an E-mail Newsletter about Shopping, Fashion and Lifestyle Worth $125 Million

E-mail gets forgotten a lot, but it’s still a powerful (and profitable!) channel to reach people.

DailyCandy – How a Simple Viral Newsletter Has Blown Away the Consumer Lifestyle Publishing World

How a Local Business Owner with a Pool Company Boosted His Sales with How-To Videos and Blogs

If you’re running a local business, then this is what you should read. You don’t have to be a start-up to take advantage of the Internet.

A Revolutionary Marketing Strategy: Answering Customers’ Questions

How a Guy Started a Diet Website That Only Needs Four Hours of Work a Week

This the best example I’ve seen of someone who’s achieved the fabled “four-hour workweek.” Better yet, it’s a video: Running a Membership/Subscription Site with WordPress.

Even if you’re not interested in WordPress or the health niche, I highly recommend watching this. His thinking about crazy customers, overcoming tech problems, and other things are common issues with all entrepreneurs.

How an Architect Who Got Laid Off Bounced Back with an Internet Business

In this podcast, Pat Flynn of talks about how he lost his job in the 2008 economic crisis, and recovered by starting an online business.

How Pat Flynn Lost His Job Then Made $203,219.04 in His First Year Online

How a Real Estate Agent Left the Industry to Become an International Online Entrepreneur

A good story for anyone who’s become disillusioned with real estate and wants to transition to Internet business.

32 Business and Life Lessons: What I Learned Running Companies on 4 Different Continents

How a Writer Marketed Her Self-Published Book to #1 on Amazon Kindle

Here’s an inspiring story about a writer who got her self-published book to being a bestseller on Amazon.

PW Select July 2012: Rachel Abbot: My Bestselling Story

How an Author Promoted His Own Book on the Internet

Authors have to do more of the marketing for their books, they don’t get much help from publishing companies. Here are two resources by Jonathan Fields.

The Truth About Book Marketing (PDF) — In this e-book, Fields says what’s wrong with book marketing today.

Social Media Marketing Case Study: Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields — Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how Fields launched one of his books.

How a Guy Recovered from a Car Accident and Built a Mobile App Business

If you dream about creating the next blockbuster app, this is required reading.

How to Build an App Empire

How a Minimum-Wage Retail Worker Became a Lord of the Internet

This will appeal to anyone who’s worked a crappy retail job or service job.

My Journey from Clothes Shop Worker to Making a Living Online


I wasn’t making that much money with the site, since we wanted to grow the community rather than overly monetise it, so I had to get a job in a clothes store making about $7 per hour if I wanted a steady income. For two years I would work there every single weekend, Saturday and Sunday, and dreaded each time another weekend approached.

My job consisted of putting clothes on rails, working on the fitting rooms, and scanning literally thousands of items with some nifty device to see if the price of it needed to be reduced. If it did, I would put a little red label over the price tag. I can’t put into words how much enthusiasm for life the job took out of me. If I think about it now I just feel depressed. Every single shift was spent dreaming of the day when I didn’t have to work there anymore.

How an Investment Banker Quit His Job to Start an E-commerce Site

Andrew from shared his experience in My Corporate Escape Story.


It’s amazing how a total lack of income motivates you to action. After exploring a number of potential ideas, I quickly settled on e-commerce as a business model that fit all my criteria. I opened up a bank account with $1,500, created an LLC and picked a niche: CB radios.

It’s about this time I think my mother lost total faith in me. Already somewhat distraught that I’d quit my job, she now had to let friends and family know her son had left the finance world to hawk CB radios via the internet!

End excerpt.

What I like about this story is that you don’t need to have the most high-tech product to make money. CB radios is about as far from smartphones as you can get.

How a Guy Went from Being $50,000 in Credit Card Debt, Unemployed and Homeless to Building an Online Empire

Shoemoney started out with so many disadvantages, it’s amazing that he overcame all that to succeed. He actually had even more problems than I listed above.

Website Monetization for Newbies (Video)

If you prefer to read, parts of the story are on his About page: Shoemoney biography.

How a Teacher Became a Millionaire Online

Teachers are a down-trodden bunch, here’s a story about one who succeeded anyway: Going for the Extra Credit.

How a Disabled Guy Became a Pro Blogger

Rather than give anything away, I’ll just share the links:

On Mothers, Dying and Fighting for Your Ideas

How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Change the World

How a Traveler Created an Industry Around Frequent Flyer Miles

This is a cool one since I’m interested in this niche. Randy Petersen is the mastermind behind the most popular websites for frequent flyer miles.

Successful Petersen Helps Others Take Off


He wrestled his way out of his steady job with the idea to make a newsletter. He had no writing experience and had never touched a computer. But he had seen an Apple commercial advertising the power of desktop publishing.

“I woke up Monday morning and thought, ‘What the hell did I just do to myself?’”

He had to make it work. So he cut out pieces of information from different travel programs and pasted them to some blank pages, photocopied them and folded them up like a newsletter.

“It looked like a bad ransom note,” he said.

How an Information Technology Worker Makes Money with Content Websites

I am a guy who owns a website publishing business, works from home, and earns $600,000 – $900,000 per year. Ask me almost anything about online business.

This one is different from the other pieces I’ve shared. The guy doesn’t reveal his name or websites, so there’s no verification. This is also a Q&A-style session, not a straight article.

However, the high quality of his answers ring true to me. Just be aware that the same questions got asked over and over, so some parts are repetitive.

How an Engineer Became a Master Of Internet Advertising

If you’ve ever wondered how the pros generate web traffic, check this out.

How to Make $1 Million Per Month with Digital Products

How a Guy Started a Multimillion-Dollar Business with Meditation, Health and Wellness Products

There are lots of articles about people who make money in finance and technology, but less about businesses like this. So I thought it was a cool story.

7 Lessons from Building a $15-million-a-year Lifestyle Business with No Loans, Venture Capitalists or Angel Money

photo credit: striatic via photopin cc

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