Crossing the great divide

MergeMaking money online certainly isn’t as easy as some would like to make out, in fact at times it can be pretty damn tough going but there are opportunities online for most kinds of people and having a closer look at those main 4 groups of current earners shows new opportunities ripe for stepping into by a new breed.

The idea’s person
It has historically been the ‘ideas person’ that strikes big money and separates his/her self from the rest by striding forward with innovative ideas and new thinking, if you couldn’t come up with ideas and new concepts you were generally a foot soldier in the offline world and the early online days. Being able to create and conceive a great product or service is not something you can teach yourself. Ultimately an ideas person cannot succeed by themselves though, they need……….

The backend coder or programmer
Being able to actually construct, code and physically create websites and applications is an art that you can learn. The balance of power over the last few years has certainly swung in favour of the coders in my opinion, people like Shawn at Digital Point, our very own Al of Coolest Gadgets, Jeremy of Shoemoney, Markus from Plenty of Fish all have a background in computer programming. No longer needing a bankroll or a boss, programmers can invest their own time and create websites and apps that can make other people’s lives easier or more enjoyable and that gives them an advantage of the ideas people in that ideas people still need to find talented programmers, talented programmers are getting better at thinking up their own ideas and going it alone!

The Marketer
The marketer would be someone who doesn’t have the creative vision to invent a concept, nor the coding ability to create it however they do understand people and the social aspects of the internet better than the other groups and can see and realise what people want and how to give it to them. A traditional search engine marketer can take any site or concept and give it an angle to boost it’s chance of success an immeasurable amount. It isn’t enough to have a good idea, nor to have and create a good idea into a website, that website needs basic SEO advice and great marketing to succeed, leaving it to magically work itself after creation often leaves it dead in the water.

The opportunist
The opportunist can see things other’s cannot with more entrepreneurial vision for the long game, more than just an ideas person the opportunist can see a way to make both quick and long term profits where others struggle to understand. A good example of an opportunist would be a domainer that can register a domain for £6 and then sell it a few weeks, months or years later for £1000. It can be an art in itself doing research and study to watch for emerging markets and seize on them, another good example would be an affiliate marketer or someone who does arbitrage buying traffic from the likes of Adwords and converting it through affiliate programs for profit. Usually the opportunist doesn’t want the hassle of customers, full blown websites and hosting. Instead doing something in bulk for profit & gain without the headaches that website owners traditionally suffer.

I think the above covers the main traditional types of people earning online, each of the above have long since had their own communities and forums and have for the last few years been quite insular to each other, I think the barriers are coming down as the internet evolves and a new breed will emerge that I’ll explore in a later post , so if you don’t see yourself as any of the above then fear not there is still plenty of room!

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 guess the difficult thing for me is that I’m trying to pull off being all four rolled into one. It’s rather hectic, and I’m trying to find the balance of where I need to be focusing my time. I know I can make a steady income with programming for an hourly fee. But I also know that if I take some time out from that to dedicate to the marketing side and learn to do some affiliate marketing, then I could potentially make much more money. Sigh…

    • I’ve finally managed to be all four in a way that pays well and after initial time invested can give long term stable income for very low maintenance so I’ll revisit this very soon and explain what I did, and as usual if I can do it anyone can :)

      • Well, I’d be extremely interested in any insights you have to offer there. I’m really struggling with the whole Affiliate Marketing piece. I have the building blocks to do it, I just haven’t been able to find the formula to make more money than I invest.

  2. LOL! I wonder which is more challenging? Being an Idea person without the technical skills to execute it? Or being a programmer and trying to come up with the next big idea!

    • Being the idea guy can be a difficult role, but in my experience as a developer, trying to get the ‘idea guy’ to convey their thought into something tangible to execute can be a difficult process.

  3. You have to pull all your talents together and at the same time expand on each individually. If you have ideas but no programming, then learn some programming or find someone who you can partner to do that side of things. If you’re a great programmer but have no ideas, then, again, partner up with someone who needs a brilliant programmer.


  4. Nice article.

    Do you mean SEO marketer?

    I think you would upset a lot of regular advertising marketers by saying they are “someone who doesn’t have the creative vision to invent a concept”.


  5. This is a topic I have thought much about & talked with friends about, on opening the thread I thought “I’m probably all of them”

    In truth though I do not excel at all of them
    Marketing is my strength & coding is what I enjoy the ideas are normaly just add ons or improvements been an opportunist is something I have done since a kid allways wheelin & dealin so this does not come hard even though I have never hit the motherload so to speak $6 to $1000 about sums up my best efforts.

    Did you not forget the Designer ?

    even though you elude to the coder or programmer been one of the stronger attributes I have found in general these people lack any type of design skills just take a look at plentyoffish its a ugly site
    obviously a huge success but ugly luckily though i think coders pick up SEO basics pretty quick & can globalise them unlike others.

  6. Nice short consciece list there scott.

    I wonder which one I fall in? I do all of them and not getting much 😀

    Maybe I should team up with somebody and just be one. :S


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