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  • Writer's pictureGracia Maureen Setyabudhi

Don't Be Like Me - Online Money Making Lies

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase from the link, at no extra added cost to you.

The Great Lies of Online Money Making/Easy Side Hustle

Did you actually believe all the Online Money Making or Easy Side Hustle contents that are currently all over the Internet and social media?? If you're here, I think the answer is yes. Worry not, you are not alone, me included!

In this blog post, I will reveal to you all the facts based on my own personal experience, and I can tell you one thing, those contents are seriously a bunch of lies!!! First, let me introduce myself 😊.

Hi, my name is Maureen Setyabudhi, I currently lives in Jakarta, Indonesia. I am a mother of two sons, one of them is an Autistic boy, which I'm very proud of. This is my first blog, so please bare with me 😬. I will write about my personal life journey as a mom mostly; Autism: the highs & lows, our personal strugles as a Special Needs Family, as well as my work, and passions on travelling & food. I will try my best to upload new post at least once a week.

This blog was born because of the very naive and stupid me believing those social media contents about easy online money making. I mean, how could you not right? The explanation makes sense, and who wouldn't be interested in getting thousands of dollars a week, with zero investment, zero inventory, zero expertise and experience needed, and plus very little working hours are needed??? In this current economy, it'll be like finding an oasis in the middle of the desert.

My Personal Story In Online Money Making

So here is my story. I was very very excited to start my own online shop. I have an Etsy account for years, but never try to sell anything there. So with little research, thinking how easy it is setting the Etsy shop, and later on opening Shopify, eBay, and Amazon Shop too, I can make loads of money posting in all these marketplace at the same time, just posting on demand products from Printify or Printful or do drop shipping. All I needed to do is downloading images from free stock images website, upload them in Printify or Printful, then post it in all my online shops, promoted in Pinterest and done!!! Top it up with affiliate marketing, perfect combination!! Money will come rolling in, and I will start to earn passive income.

Boy, how I wish those were true! Now having said that, however, those contents DO have a few valid and true points. We can indeed make money online, BUT IT SURE AIN'T EASY, and it does need a certain amount of investment (though not huge), and MOST DEFINITELY required a certain level of expertise, and A TON of working hours!! The details will be discussed below.

This Was Never Mentioned In Any Social Media Content or The Great Big Internet

Well, at least based on my researched for days, and all the videos that keeps on popping in my Instagram reels, none of them ever mention this. Affiliate Marketing Programs from the big and most profitable channels such as Amazon, and Ebay needed to approve you first before you can become their affiliate. Many of them will ask for your website address, and if you don't have one, either you can't apply, or it will have some significant impact on your approval. Unless maybe if you have a huge amount of followers in the tenth of thousands or more, they would consider it. I'm not exactly sure though. They also ask about your social media, and I'm guessing at least they will look up on it to see how many followers you have. Plus a lot of the big affiliate companies only offer the programs to few countries. Residents out side of those countries can't apply.

Bottom line is, if you don't have a blog or website, or if your social media doesn't have a certain amount of followers, you will not be approved, so bye bye affiliate marketing. FYI, I just got rejected from both Amazon & Ebay because of my residential location 😞. Residents of US have the most access to these programs, whilst Asian countries have the most limited options. And this was never mentioned before, making people believe that everyone can do it.

A note for those residing in Indonesia: There are some companies that offer affiliate marketing. Two big ones are Tokopedia and Shoppe. Tokopedia will give you instant approval, however, with Shoppe you need to apply first just like with Amazon and Ebay. I did both and I promote it on my personal Instagram account. However, since my followers are not yet huge, and I rarely make a posting on it, I haven't seen an incredible amount. But it's very much legit & you can definitely earn a side income from this, you just need to frequently promote it to keep a nice stream of commission.

Zero Investment and Zero Expertise/Experience Lies

Seriously people, there's no such thing as free lunch! I was way to naïve.

  • Hardware: You need a computer/laptop or at least a smart phone to begin with. Let's just assumed everyone own one or have access to it somehow.

  • Expertise and Skills: You need to know how to use it too, as well as some software or application skills, and this is just for setting up your shop, and post products or promotional contents. On top of that, you need to have at least basic knowledge about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Without implementing SEO in every post you make, it will just be drowned in the sea of other people's postings. The chance of your post being seen by your audience is next to 0, especially if you just started a new blog. I haven't even discussed about Algorithm 😬. If you're like me, who's pretty much new to all this, you will need to invest a great deal amount of time to study all this, from YouTube or Google articles, or you might have to fork out some money to get some more detailed E-courses. Those ain't cheap!

  • Softwares & Applications: To make good quality of contents, be it product or promotional, you need to have some applications to help you. Some of these are free, but with a catch. It comes with limited features, and to do this professionally that can replace your full time job income, you need the full paid version! Plus, you will need several of them. The ones I'm using now is Canva $12.99/month, Adobe Acrobat $19.99/month, and Tailwind for Pinterest (I still use the free version, but it only allows 30 postings/month which is not enough to increase traffic). I would say these 3 are the most basic ones you need, and you will need the paid version.

  • Marketplaces/Website Host/Product on Demand Companies: Whilst opening an account with Etsy is free, but listing items in your shop is not. They charge for every item: 6.5% transaction fee to the final price (after any discounts), including shipping, product customisations and gift wrapping. Shopify doesn't charge fee, but you need to pay for subscription, as well as domain fee if you buy from them. They give 7 days free trials, but after that you need to pay. Website Hosts such as Blue Host and Word Press have fees as well. Products On Demand Companies such as Printify and Printiful will charge you upfront cost for every order before making and ship them including the shipping fee. These are only a few examples, for other companies make sure you do a proper research first.

So basically zero investment is a lie, you do need to have a certain amount of investment to cover all the above cost, even before you could see any profit in your bank account.

A Ton of Working Hours Needed To Make It Work

After all the explanation above, I'm sure you have a pretty good idea on how many hours needed just to set things up. I spent almost a week in front of the computer non stop with only 3-4hours of sleep, just to get my Shopify shop open, with just 1 product listing 😬. Yes, I ate while I work. I designed my own digital products, please check them out here:

There are only 4 products so far, and in 1 day I can only make maximum of 2 products. The planner printable took me 12 hours to make 🤦🤦. I'm not a graphic designer, so it will take sometime for me to get used to things, but I enjoy it and would highly recommend Canva. It is the easiest and best design software I have ever used. Lots of templates, graphics, stickers, and more to choose from. If you have children, they can use it as well, it's excellent for doing school projects. Lots of schools have starting to use Canva.

So Is It Possible To Make Money Online?

My answer will be yes. In fact, I think E-commerce and affiliate marketing will grow even stronger in the future. But it's not an easy one to do, and definitely not an instant solution if you urgently needed an extra income. A lot of work and focus needed to be put in, plenty of working hours are needed. Based on the my research so far, the most important key to succeed in this industry is by being consistent.

Is it worth it to try? Absolutely!! Especially with affiliate marketing, and selling digital products, it can give you a passive income. Once posted, it will run by itself. It will need time to roll out though. The average digital product online sellers can only start to see the first sale in 3-4 months, and a blog website normally can start to be monetized or become a traffic driver for products listing in average of 12 months. The same with Pinterest, it will take a few months at the soonest. "To lose patience is to lose the battle" -Mahatma Gandhi-.

Will you start this new journey together with me? I will regularly update my progress in this blog, and please join me if you can. Give me updates on your progress too in the comment box :). We can do this!! PS: I will soon be travelling Internationally for the first time in almost 3 years (thanks to Covid). I will be posting on that too, giving information on what is like to travel internationally now. For those who will be travelling their first time too this year end holiday, especially if you're going to Hanoi and Singapore, please stay tune for my upcoming blog posts. See yaaaaa!!

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