Is it too late to start building a full time income online?

A question we do hear a LOT on various forums and by email is the one many a webmaster or entrepreneur deliberates over.  Is it too late to start? the answer to that question could be as simple as No, it is not to late, however that doesn’t really answer the main concerns and reasons for the question and I have managed to get a few other opinions on this for you today.

Many people feel that all the good ideas are taken or that they are earning just a fraction of what is needed to make a full time income online and it is natural to look inwards at times and question your own commitment and ability to come out the other side of a long road, and it is a long road. Granted there are large success stories that have surged in a short period of time but aside from them, the majority of webmasters should be prepared for a 12-24 month investment before seeing good financial rewards from their website or blog.

Al covered the point yesterday that monetising, worrying about Adsense CTR/blending is something for when your site or blog is successful and I have to agree. Worry about monetization when you have something to monetise, till then its all about investing time and effort for free. Few people want to link to a well monetised site anyway, so do your link building early on when you don’t have adverts.

For as much as Google have helped make the internet accessible and webmasters earn they have also stunted natural growth in my opinion, 3 years ago it was normal for webmasters to swap reciprocal links, link to others sites of interest and a common belief among webmasters was that linking was all about sharing traffic and that was a very positive thing to do, therefore in the early stages of development a webmaster of a good site could send out 20 emails and get 3 or 4 links. Changed days and unfortunately today emails starting with the a compliment and quickly leading to an offer to swap link or 3 way links are binned. Sending out 200 emails may get a link or two or it may not so I’d say to get your site linked is not so easy today however social networking has added new options. Furthermore Adsense means that webmasters would rather visitors left their site through an ad than a link to another website of interest so there are a whole different set of obstacles to overcome today.

It is not impossible, it is just different today as the internet evolves we now have many more ways to generate links and traffic but at times it takes thinking outside of the box, having an angle or a hook and a good reason for people to notice you. So working on the assumption you have an idea or your in the early stages of building your site or promoting it, can you still turn it into a full time income?

I have to say, chances are you are going to need one big website, with one large and successful website you can build off it feeding traffic and trying out different ideas in that niche, it is no coincidence that most successful people that you know of have one large successful website and that website probably took at least 12 months working everyday on it before it offered signs of being a full time income so you need to be prepared for that kind of investment in my opinion.

I also took this same question and put it to a few people that have either done it themselves or work very actively in promoting websites starting with our very own Al Carlton.
Is it too late to start building a full time income online?

I get asked this soooo many times and no it’s never too late provided you’re willing to put the time and effort in and come up with an idea not necessarily unique but sufficiently different. I totally agree with the time-scales of 12-24 months before a site can become decently profitable and if you’re not prepared to work for a year on a site with no serious return of revenue then building a big site probably isn’t for you.
Al -  Coolest Gadgets


No! In my opinion if you have the mental and physical capacity, then  now is as good as ever. A prime example of this was a boy who was ‘getting on’ but wanted to spend more time with his kids. His skills were in woodworking where he was a keen hobbyist. I thought about something I wanted and that I know there is a market for, and it was bespoke dolls houses, that is dolls houses built individually from photographs people supplied. Imagine Grandmother watching her granddaughter playing in a replica of the house she herself grew up in. This is a solid business idea, would take minimum investment, and would allow the guy to work from home as he wanted.

Is it ever too late to start a business? Well if it were 10pm, then I would advise having a good nights sleep before starting one 😉
OWG - Internet Marketing


In my opinion, it is most certainly not too late to start making your full time income online. I would, however, say that if you intend to start with no previous experience, you should do it along-side a full-time office based job until you have built up a deeper understanding of the web and how to earn money. Quitting your job with no experience of earning money on the web is a foolish thing to do. Better is to start a website, figuring things out, and grow it to the point where it can sustain your lifestyle before quitting your day job.
Kieran  - Funny Videos


“Yes & No, based on what niche you enter in terms of your online business, either the money in that sector has fully dried out because every dollar coming into that sector already has a pocket waiting for it Or you yourself have pioneered a whole new niche and thus their is a whole pile of money to be made. Like Youtube or Myspace, these are recent niche phenomena’s. Self made markets. This is your best bet, find a niche on the internet and go for it….or just create one…

Khayam Iftikhar
CEO Free Online Games


There are literally millions of opportunities to engage the web and earn an exceptional income. I work with companies new to the web and those who haven’t been taking advantage of all that it has to offer for years and now is possibly one of the most exciting times for single-person or very small startups. The costs of entry are exceptionally low - take the time to learn basic knowledge about writing compelling content, online marketing, SEO and web development and you can launch a site that will earn you income in a matter of months. The key is to find something you’re passionate about, something that you can comfortably spend 80 hours a week diving into without getting burned out or turned off. From there, it’s about finding a good way to monetize (I’m personally a big fan of the freemium model) - AdSense is not an answer for the long run - and building an equally passionate community around your site.
Rand Fishkin - SEOmoz

So there you have it, sorry it’s a bit long today but always nice to get a few opinions on the subject, not everyone is here to make a full time income granted and I do hope our blog can still be of great interest to hobby webmasters and entrepreneurs alike, have a good weekend!

About Scott Jones

Scott hails from the north east of Scotland and started earning online at the end of 2000 building websites for local businesses during which time he won an award from Lord Alan Sugar for Excellence in Enterprise. After having quite a bit of success with domaining Scott mainly runs educational evergreen websites which generate over 3 million visitors per month but is always on the lookout for a fresh thinking out of the box way to turn a buck. Follow on Twitter.


  1. I like the way Scott is now getting other people to write half his posts :)

    Great answers and advice off everybody quoted, especially the first guy.

    Okay I’m mainly leaving this comment to see if the nested thread plugin works correctly, so if anybody fancies replying to this comment that would be great.

  2. Don’t worry, it’s not too long. Me and my friend launched a gadget website this year and found some answers to our problems trough your blog.

    We’re watching it closely :) Maybe you can make fonts a little bigger and bold some words, to spice things up, but that’s just my opinion, as I don’t like reading small text.

  3. I’d say the answer is “definitely no”. The world is full of people telling others they can’t make it, and that all the good ideas are taken. The only people who believe “all the good ideas are taken” are people without the foresight to visualize innovations, or even truly understand the concept. If you believe in something, go for it! Don’t let anyone else make your decisions.

  4. Nope, it is definitely not. Internet marketing is still just getting started.

  5. It is not late and it will never be late to earn on ideas will come ..and the net will go on ..
    this is second time i m writing comment the first time
    it didn;t display…

    • Hi shashank, I totally agree with you. The reason your first comment didn’t appear immediately is because we need to manually approve the first comment of people to prevent the spam bits. Thanks for commenting.

  6. I have to say that your website is interesting. I was just wondering if your website was the only one of it’s kind on the web or is there anymore like it. Just curious, seeing that there are millions of websites on the net.

    I use to build tons of website and even built a few for people for money. But haven’t done so in awhile. alot of people like to use free templates or programs to build websites now, so you definitely have to do something innovative these days. But coming up with ideas is incredibly difficult. Too bad there isn’t a site around that lets people brainstorm ideas.
    My website even though it’s outdated is at

  7. i don’t feel it is too late. I started blogging in year 2006 until now. I couldn’t get good job after graduated because those company want have experience workers. So i decied to build a full time income online. It take a 6 month for me to get my first cheque from google. But i don’t have any loan. So, i only do part time job in the restaurant. Work full time for my blogs. So far, my earning for this year is better than last year. I would like to try for another one more year to see how is it going. If the earning is increasing, i will continue it. :)

  8. Al said: “I like the way Scott is now getting other people to write half his posts :)”

    Yeah, that’s okay, if you can swing it. But remember to explain those other contributors’ opinions a little.

    Rand Fishkin said something about freemium something or another, without any explanation. I ran it through a couple of Machine Translation scripts, couldn’t understand, and eventually Googled and came up with the link above.

    It might be interesting to come up with a name for a business model where you combine freemium and subscription. It is done all over, but who knows what to call it?

    I would suggest the term “Subskeamium”, but doubt if anyone would use it. It reminds me of those timeshare “free” dinners…

    BTW Al, the threading is cool (would appreciate the link, once again), but on FF, when you roll your mouse into this textarea, you trigger a kind of roll-over effect that displays a content slider on the right. This causes the page to shake and shudder.

    This comment might actually be causing it, because of the long url I entered. (Nope, broke it up with spaces and the thing still shudders.) Don’t know if you figure it worth fixing, but just thought I’d mention it.

    Oh, and for some reason, this comment was not submitted properly. Don’t know why.

  9. Bizenez: I have a large website which although not totally innovative it does offer products & services and free areas that meet the demand and I did plug a hole in the market with translations on my site so you always need an angle if your site is going to stand out from the rest.

    Jack: Congrats, thats the beauty of starting online, low costs and the ability to build large returns, sometimes it takes a year or two, it did for me and Al.

    Nafi: Freemium is offering free products and services to build your user base while charging a fee for advanced or special features. It can be applied to subscriptions, for example free forum membership but adding a subscription based upgrade for extra privileges, that model already works well for a lot of people.

    • Thanks. :) I will try to develop more mini sites and give a try. If one mini site can earn $20 per month. better than no, right? no need to update it. :Dthen i will buidl 50 of mini site. 😀

      • True. I think with the right formula and a little work this can be achieved.

        The only problem i see if there was an algo change, for example if sites with only 1 page got penalised….

        • i have some mini sites. i update them at least one or two times a month. I do update at least 3 to 5 blogs post everytime. So, i continue to update them month to month. There are more than 10 posts in my mini sites. Some of them over 20 posts. :)

  10. Online or off, business is tough. Most don’t make it.

    An online business is not a lottery ticket. It takes as much diligence and savvy as any other business.

  11. Quite true, as long as you have the right business plan, dedication and willingness to adopt and learn.

    • Not to be negative but over and over I keep hearing the same thing. Find a niche. That’s possible if you are working in a feild that allows you to network or learn a great trade. But what about the people who aren’t as lucky and work just regular jobs? Being an entrepreneur is more about luck than innovation and being a genius. I think its’ about time that the experts step up and actually give more insight on how to start a business than just vague responses such as find a niche. If they truly know how to start a business they will actually know how to conduct real research and also tell you some things that you should be looking out for in order to get a start. I’ve listened to the experts advice and got nowhere. What’s that telling you?

      • Fair point biznez, where do you start? What is the motivation for the next great idea, I can list 5 good ideas of my head that I have not attempted and one that I did which was a success and 1 I tried that was a failure. I find inspiration from the most random of events in my life, I’ll take that on board and do a post on how I found/find my niche’s. I would not say being an entrepreneur is more luck than innovation but a mixture of the two, you still need to add value to any topic you stumble/choose to succeed in, that is not luck, doing the same thing as everyone else is a nail in the coffin, taking something out there and doing it better is innovation.

        • But innovation is being able to get the information about an industry in order to create a new idea. This is why I stopped buying books and magazines. The experts just state the obvious.
          I’m all for the small guy who has nothing and beats all odds. Those are the real heroes of business. Not the ones who have tons of capital or resources at their helms. When they come out with a magazine or website for the small guy then I’ll pay attention.

      • “Find a niche” doesn’t mean “go out there and find a narrow subject that can be dominated and monetized”. It means that you should identify some topic of interest with which you have personal experience and insight that others will find valuable. What is your day job? What hobbies to you have? Do you know anything about sports? What captures your interest?

        The point of all this is that if you want to be an entrepreneur for the sake of being an entrepreneur, then you have a very steep uphill battle ahead of you. Too many people buzzing around this field are looking for the quick fix, which is virtually inexistant.

        Success takes hard work, passion and dedication. Quick fixes require all the luck in the world.

  12. Hi everybody,

    If your sole purpose for creating a blog is just for money, then even though you get a heavy traffic after 12- 24 months of work then the purpose for which the blogs are made defeats itself.

    If you think in the way, that even though if you get a low traffic but it is helping some really needy guy with the kind of information you are proving in your blog then I feel that you are the winner.

    Traffic will come eventually and you will also be making some money out of it but if you are sincere in your effort you will be remembered in the hearts of millions.

    Sounds philosophical! our motto should be “do your work sincerely, you will surely get rewarded”.

    I am a new entrant in the Blogging field and my blog is getting less then 300 hits per day and although the earning is negligible but I am satisfied that the information is helping some needy person.

    Blogging should be a passion.

    Tushar Lal


  13. I don’t think it’s ever to late. I’m retired and am enjoying my online business. You have to be patient and steady. You can’t jump around from one thing to the other. Find a good opportunity and stay the course. The secrect is to have multiple streams of income. Lots of little streams end up into a river.I agree it takes time to build a successful business. There is a lot of information to digest, so take it at your own pace.

  14. Even 4 years on, I dont think its too late! Obviously depends on how much work your willing to put in, what your skills are and how much you want to earn. But its definately not too late!


  1. […] covered yet is the possibility of actually earning your entire income purely from working online. Self Made Minds have written a great post that goes into a lot more detail about the pro’s / cons & the […]

  2. […] As long as you’re here, let me direct you to a nice post over on Self Made Minds, in which Scott discusses the question, “Is it too late to start building a full time income online?” […]

  3. […] Is it too late to start building a full time income online? (bolding mine) Many people feel that all the good ideas are taken or that they are earning just a fraction of what is needed to make a full time income online and it is natural to look inwards at times and question your own commitment and ability to come out the other side of a long road, and it is a long road. Granted there are large success stories that have surged in a short period of time but aside from them, the majority of webmasters should be prepared for a 12-24 month investment before seeing good financial rewards from their website or blog. […]

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