beginners Passive Income Plan Review Rants

An Apology – I Need To Come Clean – A Z-List Blogger Is Born

This stupid MMO blog is a curious thing. It started as my online learning journal/personal diary thing.  But its become something a lot more than that. 

You see, while publicly, calling out the A-List bloggers –  I have somehow become one:  a C-lister anyways, woops  no, now a Z-List Blogger! I am making money from you guys, that’s the truth of it.  Its not what  I set out to do – but over the years – its just kinda happened – and an incident over the weekend really highlighted it to me.

I’m sorry – that’s my dirty little secret, it would have been obvious to some of you for some time, but not to others and its always made me feel apologetic and uncomfortable. 

I have probably been reading way to much personal devlopement stuff recently – but I’m not happy with my record here – so I’m putting that record straight. 

It Started With A Cashflow Crises

My cash flow was ugly in October, and not looking much better for November – HubPages is not playing nicely, and come the new year will be screwing  me out of significant Amazon earnings. Late on Friday night I did the Oct figures – and there were as bad as I thought they would be.

I needed cash, not today, but it was getting borderline as to whether my income covered my living expenses.  A few years ago I would have checked the job sites.

Now that’s not an even an option for me now – instead I looked a minimizing expenses in my business, sent out some over-due invoices, they all paid within hours. Wow that was easy! I felt a bit better – why the heck do I find it hard to ask for money I’m owed?

By 10pm I was surfing Facebook – I noticed that a new backlinking service that I hadn’t been using much, and that I nearly cancelled last month (but missed the date), opened up for affiliates, several days earlier. 

Hmmm – I make $300 or so dollars a month selling Build My Rank – might try promoting the new service a go. By 1am the review was up (including typos in the title and url LMAO – I am too old for late night stuff). I promoted it here, the Pond, Facebook and TKA. Within 48 hours I had signups – by the time the initial offering was sold-out (genuinely – not bullshit false shortage BTW) – I had sold the majority of the memberships available. I had made a lot of money. 

I’m ranked  #1, 2, 3 AND 4 for “seo cobra review” and similar terms in the search engines. I don’t think I’ve had a single visitor or sign-up from that though (yet – SEO is the long game). 

Hmm looks like I’ve turned into one of those scammer A-list bloggers,  ie one who make a living selling  stuff to their followers. Its hard to ignore the fact that if I recommend stuff on this blog – you guys buy it- and thank me for it…  

Shit – I make money from selling make money online services (albeit good ones) to people who follow me online and think that I’m knowledgeable, helpful and probably think I’m successful!  Well two outta three ain’t bad, as the old song says.  

  • Knowledgeable: I’ve been doing this since 2007,  I’ve been making my income entirely online since March 2009, I’ve followed lots of gurus, several of whom no longer post at all (or rarely) – yes I have some knowledge – I’m the personality type that likes finding out stuff – there’s some Myers-Briggs label for it – I call it analysis paralysis; 
  • Helpful: yeah – I am, its innate, happens in real life too, having found all that information, I like sharing it, I quite like writing  too -hence the blog keeps on getting updated (but don’t hold me to a schedule!). 
  • Successful: – now that’s the bit I’m not sure on – that’s what I want to fix up 

Is Lis Successful At Online Marketing?

I made a profit of  NZ$37,900  in the last 12 months, in the same time the US/NZ exchange rate varied from 74c to 88c in those same 12 months – so in US$ that’s an income of : US$28,000 or US$33,300 depending on the rate on the day (you understand the nightmare then?). 

That’s not gross sales – its income less expenses – I claim all the obvious expenses – hosting, domains, memberships, but also my home office (power, rates, ISP) – this is the real money I earn – its what I have to pay tax on. 

Is this a successful income? For me its a start – my aim has always been around US$5000/month. At my current earnings level I can pay 1/2 our household expenses, but we own our home (no mortgage), and I only doing minimal retirement savings, we do do a lot of travel and dancing, but we have no children to support, nor an expensive shopping habit; your mileage may vary.  

For comparison purposes: 

  •  NZ average wage March 2011 NZ$49,00;
  •  US Average Wage 20101 was  US$41,000 .  
Picture of this C-List Blogger Living The High Life, Chaweng Beach, Ko Samui, Thailand

So if you thought I was making 6-figures and throwing the cash around – if you didn’t realise that rather nice lunch we had just after that photo was taken, cost about $10 and we took a $2 tuk-tuk to get there, not a $25 taxi ride – sorry. Genuinely.  

So What the Heck Is Lis’s Problem? That’s Not a Bad Income and She Never Said She Drove a Porsche! 

I make about half my income from this site. That’s my issue. I do make money from other sites as well – but this one site is my solid month in, month out,  pay-the-bills website.   Over the years, through a bit of luck, some great friends, and the fact that I didn’t give up on it, Passive Income Online  now makes me half of my income, and the stable 1/2 at that. 

I make half  of my money from selling stuff to others who are trying for the same lifestyle as I am.  Inadvertantly I’m doing what the A-Listers do all too deliberately.  

There’s another reason why I have been coy about putting out my detailed income figures recently. I don’t want to encourage the rest of you, particularly the beginners into thinking that THIS is the way to make money, particularly not short-term. 

It doesn’t work like that. I’ve developed an online reputation over four years, for longer even than I’ve had this blog. Most of the time I wasn’t doing it deliberately, its sure as hell evolved.  In fact until very recently (hmm like this month) – this site has been deliberately only focussed on search traffic, because I was so bloody uncomfortable about the fact that some of you think I know something useful, and I was selling to you

What’s happened – well basically I’ve playing the old – go with your strengths card – I didn’t expect to make serious money with a MMO blog,  its happened despite me.  So now I’m going to develop it – it appears this personal relationship stuff works – and I want to develop that – so I can apply it to my other, non-MMO, niches. 

But you guys don’t go away – you keep emailing me with nice comments and intelligent questions, you seem to appreciate what I am doing!  So really in short – my readers have driven me to it and its not my fault – you asked for it and now:

That’s Me Out in the Open – Welcome to Lissie: the World’s Only C-List Blogger! 

 Lis Is Embracing Her Spammy C-List Blogger Status – Passive Income Has An E-Mail List!

See you can sign up just below. I’ve always resisted email lists – its the A-listers weapon of choice – but a list will allow me to do what I can’t do with just the blog. 

I will use the list to publish my regular monthly income reports. The monthly reports will NOT go on this site . To see them  – you will need to sign up, plain up and simple.  The WHY – that’s for the list too LOL. 

Also the list will allow me to give you heads up on stuff that is happening – but is not worth a post.

Hey I might even throw in a summary of posts – but if that’s all you want – then the feedburner service already does that (email or RSS reader options).

So yeah that’s more than enough soul searching for the day I think!  Leave a comment, sign up, or unsubscribe, sorry if you feel pissed off or misled by my little corner of the Interwebs – feel free to leave – and apologies I annoyed. 

For the rest of you – well – normal service (or lack thereof) is probably going to be resumed. 

And the question on the form? I’m curious as to whether I should be reusing some of my basic stuff and putting it out onto the list on a regular basis? 

39 replies on “An Apology – I Need To Come Clean – A Z-List Blogger Is Born”

Do you mean that all this time I thought you were just this nice ball room dancer who gave out information for free because she was such a wonderful person and instead she was scamming me? Maybe you should be dancing Hip Hop.

For shame.

Actually, I found this post kind of strange because who wouldn’t think you were making money off of affiliates. If people don’t understand how the Internet works then it is not your fault. You have made money off of me every month since you guaranteed the $1 needed to sign up to the Keyword Academy. You helped me make that decision and since then I have made thousands of dollars from what I learned there. I think you deserve that money.

If people are saying something otherwise then I wouldn’t listen to them. You provide a service that I appreciate. You shouldn’t do that for free.

I signed up for your email list because I haven’t had a good spam blast for a while. I hope you do your C-list blogger title justice.

Seriously – I do have people ask me on a regular basis – somehow people undertand that the ugly little Adsense ads will make someone money – but they just don’t get affiliate marketing.

Nah no one was specifically having a go – well nothing more than you’d expect in this niche – its just my underlying securities bubbling to the surface LOL

Oh and no hip-hop is not for me – way too much isolation required – I’ve tried Jazz – it was funny (not in a good way) – more in a funny “God this is dying far too slowly” kinda way!

Lissie, stop complaining 🙂

Seriously, though, I make less than half of what you make online, but if I combine it with my mostly tax-free government pension (federal doesn’t tax it but my home state only allows me to deduct $2500 – damn state thieves), I make about what you do. I just don’t work as hard as you do. 🙂

Yeah but RT you’ve been in the tropics too long – got used the “relaxed” pace of life LOL! I still reserve the right to complain about the weather OK?

Lol, Lis, I also signed up to your list 😉 I am with Agrande on this one, what is wrong with it if you use a product / service, be happy with it, recommend it to your readers and then make a commission. It is FAR away from promoting rubbish just because of the commission, without even having used the product / service. That is the difference that is important. SY

Thanks SY! Yeah I guess its just such a weird approach to take to product reviews in this niche!

I agree with what the other posters say about affiliate marketing and don’t understand why you feel the need to be such an apologist!! There are a few people in the MMO space that I actually idolise, but you are right up there with the ones I trust and respect. There are some fantastic products and one of THE best is the Keyword Academy.

I first came across your blog when reading the sitebuildit review thread. The contributions were worthy of reading several times over. You add so much value Lissie and are credible and real.

I know I will always get a balanced review and find your candour refreshing in this space where everyone seems to be looking to want to make a quick buck.

Please keep on doing what you do.

LOL thanks PaceLegal – I remember you from the SBI days – its been a while so thanks for being a long-time reader!

Sounds to me Lissie like all you have done is take the approach that most people don’t really want to hear about.

You know, the one that involves building up a brand name for years and slowly gathering trust.

The approach that involves writing good content and being helpful to others.

The approach that means you have a long term business based on a brand (you), rather than a business based solely on the whims of an algo. It may not be quick but it is sustainable. Maybe you really have now hit the “passive income” part squarely on the head.

And you know Dave not a month ago I was having a big arguement with Mark over at TKA saying that this whole branding thing was just beyond me and wouldn’t really work, well not for me LOL. Its funny just how fucking limiting the voice inside our own head can be somedays. The more I think about this game -the more I conclude there are really 3 things you need to get right:
– don’t give up
– don’t convince yourself you can’t do it
– backlinks

Darn you, you are saying that you took advantage of me by selling me on to that cobra whatever fully automatic linking tool that spits out quality links left and right without me doing any work? Well, just see it as my way of buying you a drink then, you´re too far away to do so in person 😛

Seriously though, I believe you are too straight forward to be called a scammer and for all I know, you do care about your readers, your dignity and ethics, so I wouldn´t beat yourself up if I were you.

Personally, I have had many issues with this whole ethics internal debate, I actually have a MMO blog myself but never felt of actually branding it as mine, because of the internal debate and not wanting to make money “off of that list”. Or maybe I wanted to but the list never got big enough for it to become the largest part of the income LOL (probably the last 😉 )

Now, as far as the cobra service. I did sign up, through your link, and I did sign up because I think you are believable and would not recommend a crap service. Will it totally serve my needs, probably not, as you know, but hopefully they will allow links to foreign sites soon. I´d really beat myself up though if I hadn´t signed up now at $75 and then would find out in a month or 2 that links to a foreign site were allowed finally, having to get in at $150 then. We´ll see how it works out though, if I am not using it enough now to justify the cost, it will be out after the first month.

So… what I wanted to say … I am not your follower as such, but I do take your opinion seriously. serious enough to check out the cobra seo service and serious enough to spend the $75. But at the end of the day, I feel that is my responsability and mine alone. If it works out for me, fine, if not, then I have at least tried it.

Don´t beat yourself up, questioning yourself, like you are doing here, will make you stay on track, more importantly though is that you will be able to keep looking yourself in the eyes and be proud of what you see 😉

Yeah Mirjam – I’m not crazy – I’m glad you get it too! Oh I have to say I feel no responsibility for those people who don’t know where the “cancel” button is on Paypal subs – that’s all up to user as far as I am concerned – now get out there and start building links!

Lis, keep doing what you’re doing. No apologies needed!

BTW, you gave me an idea of what to do with my email list. I’ve had one for a year or so and do very little with it. Now that I’m slowly transitioning away from my old writing online habits, I think the email list will be a great tool to keep folks up to date. I just added my name to your list.

Well, given how you openly described selling cheap Kindle ebooks for measly income, it was pretty obvious you weren’t raking in massive bucks. I still find your thoughts on the subject interesting and useful. Sleep easy.

Carl – when I am the non-fiction Kindle queen of publishing raking in millions of passive income – I’ll remind you of this comment LOL

You’re just talking about products you use and giving honest opinions about them, which is a good thing. I was always under the impression from your earlier posts that your income is roughly as you’ve described here, so I don’t think you’ve ever been misleading. ~$30k in a year is way more than most people who enter this game ever make too. As for making half of it from this site – you’re still making half from practising what you preach in other areas. It’s not like being one of those ppl on the Warrior Forum who make all their money from flogging rehashed garbage WSOs without ever having made a penny outside the IM niche. I like your honesty, but don’t think you have anything to apologise for.

yeah that’s that half I’m working on hard at the moment Cat – Dave is right – I need to sort out the “passive” bit of “passive income” LOL

embarrassing typos …”there are a few people in the MMO space I actually idolise” …read “there are FEW people …I idolise” scrap the whole idolise thing. Past my bedtime. Respect and trust are the appropriate words to use when referring to a blogger whose opinions you keep coming back to read.

Hey Lis,

I signed up too!

Interesting that one of the sites where you were just yourself, genuine and authentic, ends up being a stable and regular earner. Almost makes a person think Darren, Yaro and Brian had it right all along. 🙂

Best of luck as you continue to reap the rewards of what you have worked so hard to earn: trust.

Take care,


Brian is an authentic arsehole – see the comments here – if you are going to be transparent and authentic online its a really good idea to actually be a nice person. Unfortunately most nice people leave the self-promotion crap to the “experts” like Clark.

Stop beating yourself up!!!! If you make money from this blog, HOORAY!!! good for you. You provide alot of information that is valuable. You don’t pull any punches. You aren’t trying to sell $5 worth of info for $5000 like some of the syndicate

what you should say is “I am not a member of the syndicate, but I know alot about IM. I make a living at it. I won’t take advantage of you because I am just not that kinda gal”

We need more of your kind to destroy the awful reputation IM has – which is a real shame because it is a worthy business opportunity if done right. Having ethics is good thing!!! don’t be ashamed of it

I’m signing up, but I’m gonna need some serious money ideas! 🙂 And I’m guessing your first email isn’t going to be pushing HubPages…

btw, your email said a-list, the Permalink for this article says c-list, but the blog title says z-list. Make up your mind! lol

Yeah I know I! – C-list evolved to Z-list over a couple of days – and A list is a typo! Typos are a bitch with newsletters!

Lis, you already have the qualities needed to gain trust and respect. The way you have always put yourself out there, regardless of the feedback, Has made you a huge trust agent in my book. It doesn’t mean that you are always right or that others have to agree. Being true to yourself and sharing your vision is what sets you ahead of other people.

I for one love your candor.

Funny thing is I just canceled my Aweber account this week as I wasn’t using it. Just I should re-evaluate!

Thanks Lis for just being you!

Hey Denise – yes I’d just paid another 3 months for Aweber in October – I was thinking about cancelling it as well! Ah Trust Agents – that was the day!

“But you guys don’t go away – you keep emailing me with nice comments and intelligent questions, you seem to appreciate what I am doing!”

*lol* I remember when Griz said about the same thing.

LOL eek here we go again “I am NOT Griz” – he speaks funny plays with small innocent white balls!

So I got the newsletter and the October report, and the first thing I wanted to do was to ‘comment’ on it. Hard to do on an email list! So I guess I’ll comment here:

1 – loved the links – kept me reading for 30 minutes before I got back to your email!
2 – Definitely surprised at the TKA and niche site numbers

And here are my questions:

1 – Was your recent ‘crisis’ related to any sort of Panda update?
2 – Since Hubpages isn’t what it used to be, what is your new focus for income going to be? Still article marketing or maybe affiliate sales?

No it wasn’t Panda it was a combo of firing an annoying client and TKA renewals dropping off steeply.

HP hasn’t been my focus for a while – but not I have to invest sometime in setting up suitable sites to move stuff off to. So yeah a bit more focus on Amazon rather than Adsense. Oh and the eBooks, and making lots of $$ as a Z-List blogger!

Signed up because I’m nosey about the earnings (posts I tend to like the most about people making money online). I thought you’d be earning a bit more actually when I did a currency conversion, I guess I’m overestimating the US $ more than anything else though.

I’ve not actually tracked what I’ve earnt since I started making money, although it was enough last year to buy a Macbook Pro, an iPhone early this year, and now enroll in university for a year. As well as help fund 2 years of travel. So I can’t be doing that badly! I’m going to put a quarter of my earnings in a savings account so I can calculate it in the future, something I should have done from the start really.

Hi Lis,

This site of yours is indeed a great help of me. I’m really learning things from here. I hope I will become successful like you in the future. I already live your site. Thank God for google because I found you 🙂

I just came across your site this week and have been very impress with what I’ve seen.

I’m just getting started in the online world and I think I can learn a lot from you.

Only a sincere person could write the way you do.

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