How Pros Make Money Online

Income Diary

How I Made $5000 in The First Month With a Brand New Blog

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Making Money Online – With Your Blog

Another video post today along with an enhanced video transcript (make sure to read). Today I cover the exact strategy I used in March 2009 to generate $5000 in my first month with this blog in.

I am enjoying creating these videos. I was just looking at some videos I made a year or so ago. Wow, I have come a long way in the last 12 / 18 months – from my original stumbling and nervousness.

Using the whiteboard as an aid has been a huge help to me – I strongly recommend it to anyone who is just starting making videos or even if you are an established YouTuber.

Some People Don’t Want To Get It

But before I go on I wanted to go back to a post I did a little while ago called Are You Too Clever For Success?. Readers may remember how some ‘sad people’ seem to only be able to feel good about themselves by putting other people down and I like most bloggers get the occasional negative and even offensive email.

These sort of comments ‘amuse’ me for want of a better word and usually I just delete them but I know from the feedback that some of you have sent me that it is an issue – so I just thought I would highlight that even pro-bloggers like me get negative comments such as this one about my last video.

Amusing Blog Comments

Amusing Blog Comments

This person really doesn’t like me. I did think to myself could I be missing something and is this sincere feedback but considering they provided a false email and web address I must assume it is not.

The first part of their comment is somewhat valid – because British people pronounce NICHE differently to American people and in my videos I used the American pronunciation – mainly because most of my readers are outside the UK. So this commenter was really just showing their ignorance on this point.

However the remainder of their comment was a lot more personal. I have no issue with people taking a personal dislike to my mannerisms, I think that is a common enough thing – not everyone relates to everyone but I subscribe to my Irish Grandmothers view that if you cannot say something good about someone then say nothing at all.

I have a friend of mine who says:

If you are not getting up someones nose, you are not trying hard enough

Not sure I 100% agree, but you get the point. Some people (often so called well meaning people) will always try to steal your dreams – accept that, get over it and move on. I also think the more successful you become the more comments like this you receive.

By the way – note I said ‘negative email’ — this is quite different from a critical email that is genuinely sent from the heart in an effort to help / assist.

There is a lot of information in this video and the transcript includes even more. I have several more videos planned but you can help me by Contacting Me with suggestions for future video topics or commenting below.

Also because of the Title of this video “How I Made $5000 in The First Month With a Brand New Blog” I would just draw you attention to my Earnings Disclaimer. It is a bit sad that we have to do this but my Lawyer says it is best to always point out that just because a dyslexic college drop out like me did it – it doesn’t mean other people can do it! Duh!

Finally I encourage you to check out the IncomeDiary YouTube Channel. You can also Friend me and Subscribe to my channel there.

To All Our Successes

Michael Dunlop

PS: If you enjoyed the video you will also enjoy:

The True Story Of My Overnight Success
My Personal Story, How I Created

Video Transcript – with additional links and resources

Today I want to talk to you about something really cool – how I made $5,000 in my first month (March 2009) with

Now the concept behind it is really simple, and something you can all do. I started with an idea. People wanted to know how I was doing what I was doing with They wanted to know how I got it up, how I was making money, how I was getting traffic and everything.

I listened to them, I provided the solution, and pretty much monetized it, which is what I’m going to teach you here.

The first step is taking action.

You need to do something about it, you’ve got to get the site up. Everyone has these ideas, but many just don’t act. So the first thing I did was, once I got the blog up, I bought a theme from, and I uploaded it.

After that, I built momentum, which is hugely important. Because a lot of people don’t build momentum. By the way, I should stop for a second and tell you that I did everything I needed in pretty much three or four days, so don’t think I had this huge planned launch.

I was very busy with my Twitter accounts.

At that time I was adding up to a thousand people to each account per day. I had one for my Michael Dunlop, I had for Retire at 21, I had one for Income Diary.

I was just blitzing it. I was adding as many people from the accounts that I knew I wanted to follow. For example following people in my niche such as pro-blogger John Chow – anyone like that. I got their followers and followed them. If they followed me back – Wicked! If they didn’t, I un-followed them.

And then I start following more people again, regular Tweeting. People came to my profile to see my site, see that I had something coming, and they got excited. I’d Tweet that “I just interviewed this person” or “I just put up this top list” or “Watch out for this….” etc.

Once I did that, obviously I had to get the content. I was doing interviews and I was doing top lists.

TOP TIP: Interview people who have a significant following.

So for example, I interviewed John Chow. John has a great following. If you do a good interview, he’s likely to Tweet about it – bringing you more followers in return.

I also interviewed Joel Comm. He’s got a huge following and he Tweeted it out. That got me even more followers. That’s the huge benefit of social media such as Twitter and Facebook – you can get to a huge audience really quickly. It never has been easier to become an Online Celebrity or Authority in your Niche than it is right now.

So after that I did some top lists with I asked them to do a top list on the top 30 bloggers, the top 30 webmasters, the top 30 anything. Whatever came to my mind, they did for me. We got those up. And pretty much after that I started building my eCourse.

Here’s what I did different than everyone else.

A lot of people say: “Hey, check out my free report or Check out my free ebook.”

Great ideas, but I wanted to offer something different and better to get them to join my list. I also needed to make sure people really took action. I didn’t want to just get them on my list, I wanted them to take action.

So what I did is offer a seven day free eCourse . An eCourse that frankly was better than some products people were paying good money for.

I got myself an AWeber Email Marketing account and set up my eCourse to be delivered via an autoresponder.

Once people opted in / joined my eCourse the auto-responder would start sending them an email every day for a week. The course was very much step by step – “Day One, installing your blog” – “Day Two, adding a theme, doing some changes,” – Day Three: monetizing” etc

Every day subscribers would look forward to the next addition. I did this over a year ago, and even today I get emails from people saying, “Hey, Michael, is there any chance I can get Day Two now, rather than wait to tomorrow?” Subscribers took action straightaway. Because I was like, “Look, take action on this today, and then you’ll be ready to do tomorrow’s assignment tomorrow.”

An Important Point

When I started my eCourse I did not have all 7 days ready – indeed any of you who were taking my Blogging eCourse a year or so ago will know that the ‘daily additions’ did not come Daily to start with. The point here and one I think that trips up a lot of well meaning people is that I did not wait for PERFECTION before getting started. So what, the course was not finished – but the most important thing was to get started. Someone told me recently that this is called the “Good enough is good enough principle‘ or the ‘Ready, Fire, Aim‘ principle. I somewhat embarrassingly have to admit this is usually the way I do things.

Of course if it is a physical product and people are paying money for it you have to deliver but in my case and in most start up bloggers cases the most important thing is to get started – TAKE ACTION (My first point in the video)

By the way – working with AWeber is probably one of my best business investments ever. AWeber makes life easy for anyone who wants to manage an email list.

When people opted in for the eCourse on of the first things they saw was this page: – which included links to Website Hosting Comparisons.

People immediately got a chance to take action on their Dream of being a Blogger.

If you visit my Thank You Page you will see I am promoting domain registration, website hosting and blog themes. But you can’t just assume people are going to take your word on these suggestions – which is why I include comparisons – to allow my subscribers a chance to ‘shop around’. Of course I make a clear recommendation but there are other options also.

Fortunately just about every supplier of domains, hosting and blog themes have an affiliate program – so even if the subscriber does not go with my recommendation there is a good chance I will earn a commission.

Now getting people on the list is one of the most important things. So what I did was I actually got a separate page. I made a page in WordPress and I called it “Creating a Profitable Blog” (A rather long Squeeze Page is what I would call it)

This was an Alternative Optin Page for the eCourse – but the difference here was that visitors got a chance to take action – buy domains, hosting themes etc – before they even signed up for the eCourse.

I also emailed all my other lists (eg RetireAt21 list) about this page. I would explain that “You may have to spend some money if you want to make some money” – not a lot of money just a little if you really wanted to be serious about blogging. (Less than $100). I included special offers on domain names and offers on hosting such as get your first months hosting for 1 cent and coupon codes. (People love coupon codes)

This worked amazingly well.

Pretty much one of the reasons it worked so well was because I showed my readers exactly what I’m doing. I was not asking them to do anything that I had not done myself.

Another huge benefit of having a squeeze page, or a separate page on WordPress, is people have a link they can share with friends if they wish to recommend your eCourse. It is great when people Tweet things like “Check Out Michael Dunlop’s Free Blooging eCourse” and link to this page.

I also mentioned this page in my blog posts – for example if I did a Top 30 Bloggers list I would finish it with a link says:

“Follow in their footsteps, check out my free course”

Then of course, once they’ve opted in, there’s a thank you page saying, “Thank you for joining. Make sure you check your email. Oh, by the way, check these products out.”

Then there is the all important NO LEAKAGE RULE.

A lot of bloggers have a blog roll – that links out to other blogs. We don’t have that on

Or they have links to the Top Commenters in the sidebar – again not available on

Links like this represent Leakage. If I compare my two biggest sites – and – has much more leakage with advertisers etc but actually produces much less income for me despite having 3 times the traffic.

People get distracted – click on ‘competitors’ links and you lose an opportunity to earn commission. Yes, of course it is nice to have regular advertisers and it is a lazy way to make money but it is not really the best way to make money and as I have proved with the less LEAKAGE the more you earn.

Income Diary outperforms hugely, and Retire at 21 has like three times the traffic.

The reason there is LEAKAGE with most blogs is because people get distracted. If you have advertisers – they will naturally check them out. That is Your ‘competition’ that they’re going to. They will also check out your blog roll. Yet again, mostly ‘competition’, you are directing them to. And then again top commenters are often your competition.

So you don’t really want to have all that stuff because they’re going to get distracted and start going in different directions. For the money that you get, it’s not worth it. So I got rid of that and I made sure that they either went to my opt-in page, or if they didn’t, then they left the site. That was all I wanted.

I have to admit, I wasn’t the best blogger when I started this, and for me to create all this with just a few days of work to start with is quite amazing.

I really think anyone could follow in my footsteps and do the exact same thing or better if they would just be prepared to take ACTION

Good luck to everyone – let me have you comments and in particular your suggestions for future videos.


  1. It really is a simple process! I actually copied your method of doing things and it did start to work for me, but I think it is important for people to find what works well for them.

  2. A Sitting Duck says:

    I’m actually thinking of swapping adsense for clickbank affiliates now… Just need to work on getting the e-mail list figures up!…

    Thanks Michael.

    David :]

  3. Aaron Darko says:

    Take Action is a MUST. Many people just talk about it!
    Extremely valuable video Mike!

    Building Momentum is the key to making this all work, being proactive is important. Also the start up content you mentioned and making sure you offer something of great value that people want and tell them to act.

    The fact that you were already using the hosting etc, it made people more relaxed and more willing to buy – comparison pages is what I’m working on!

    Your separate squeeze page was the big lightbulb moment for me because that means people can tweet the link to your page – that means more optins. Excellent strategy!

    Got a lot of work to do!

    Thanks for providing so much value, keep up these videos man!

  4. Chris Peacock says:

    Michael, great post and great results in such a short time frame. Got some good stuff to go an get busy with.


  5. gedet basumatary says:

    Hi Michael, This is really a great post I ever read. Thanks for publishing such a great article. I really learned many points that I need to take although I won’t be able to take action like you. Constant hardworking.

  6. Clive at says:

    I very much agree that developing the ‘free line’ method of offering great content for free , really try to help solve peoples problems and answer their questions is the way to go for long term respect and success. Well done!

  7. Nick Tart says:

    Perfect, Michael! This is exactly what I wanted to know and you laid it out crystal clear. I’m looking forward to seeing the re-design in action.

  8. The real deal Michael.. i like it and your tips are amazing; if followed correctly, can bring positive changes 🙂 , thanks for sharing mate, i have to bookmark this for future reference, take it easy

  9. Tracey Rissik says:

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for sharing all this great info & insight – but especially showing the “human” side of your journey, admitting you weren’t perfect & sharing the negative comments – very useful!

    I had someone unsubscribe from my list last week (after signing up for a free report, and receiving one follow-up email & one blog broadcast in about a week) – and they commented that they’d unsubscribed because they’d received “too many emails” …!!!
    At first I took it personally (big mistake, of course 🙂 but then I thought about my reaction & realised that, just like with your experience, you’re never going to please everyone – and someone who has that sort of energy is better off NOT being on my list actually!

    Here’s to Sloppy Success…. not Perfect Procrastination 🙂

    Best wishes

    • Hello Tracey,

      I actually turned off the email notification for when people unsubscribe, it doesn’t happen often but when it does, it does sometimes get to me. Just got to realize that not everyone is in the right place in life.


      • Tracey Rissik says:


        thanks for that tip – I use Aweber too but hadn’t done that, so I’ll have a go at switching of Unsubscribe notices right now! You’re right , it’s not worth letting things out of our control impact us.

        All the best

  10. Arron Godark says:

    It just seems all your posts are filled with affiliate links going over the same stuff, over and over again.

    • I don’t think that’s quite fair to say Arron, all I promoted was AWeber and Woothemes, both I am using on my site and definitely made a huge in pact in my business.

      I can’t just leave these products out and on the other hand, if I do include them, there is no reason why I shouldn’t use an affiliate link, after all I have just provided you with a blueprint to how I made $5000.


    • Nick Tart says:

      Hi Arron! I always used to be frustrated with affiliate links as well, but it would be hypocritical and completely contradictory to what he is teaching if he didn’t use as many affiliate links as possible. It’s not like his readers are losing anything by him gaining a referral fee. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons that he can continue to give this advice for free.

      It’s the same way in the real world. Salespeople get commissions when they refer a customer. Business owners get finder’s fees when they refer customers to a complimentary business. Gas station attendants should get referral fees when they direct people to another business.

      • Luke Etheridge says:

        Nick…as I read Arron’s comment I was thinking exactly the same thing and you hit the nail on the head – couldn’t have put it better myself.

        Thanks Michael for publishing that comment – shows you are human and that not everyone quite gets it. At the end of the day this Arron guy is really missing a trick if he can’t happily use affiliate links.

        Anyways, is that not the whole subject of the blog post??


    • That’s how bloggers makes money!

  11. Michael Davies says:

    Well said Michael,

    I like the part about “no leakage rule”. I never really gave it any thought about having people get distracted.

    Come to think of it, I have found myself clicking on links in the blogroll and get really distracted. LOL

    One of the reasons I follow you is because you stay on point, something that I continue to work on.


  12. Marshall Haas says:

    Great stuff dude. Cool to see you switch it up with the video format.

  13. The “No Leakage Rule” was new to me. It absolutely makes sense. Thanx for this video.

  14. Michael,
    Thanks for all the great info. Your 7 day ecourse was instrumental in me transferring my website to a wordpress blog. It is now much easier to update and add new content which also increases traffic.

  15. Anass Farah says:

    Yeah, great video michael, taking action is really important.I spent a lot time to understand i was just going from ebook to ebook searching for the way who can make me money online, I’ve also spent a lot of money in courses, but I didn’t understand that the secret was taking action it’s really the secret to realise dreams!

  16. Are Morch says:

    Great info here Michael.

    Like others comments here I had a period where I though some of the affiliate info I got was a bit annoying. But I know a lot of the affiliate programs is what keeps a lot of blogs going. So it is about finding the right balance that works for you.

    Most of the affiliate updates I now get from John Chow.

    Have bookmarked your blog here. And will subscribe to your RSS and take the 7 day ecourse. So will come back and review the info more in dept here.

    Cheers.. Are

  17. Syed Balkhi says:

    You gave plenty of great advices. I think one of the reasons why you made $5000 in a month was because you knew what you were doing. You had experience running sites ( and others).

    It is very hard for people to do this in the first month, but nonetheless the fundamentals will always remain the same.

    Its the execution style that evolves.

    Excellent video.

  18. Luke Etheridge says:


    What can I say! – you did warn me that it was good, and that it was! – Great video and great post.

    Must admit I’m a little shakey when it comes to videos but I’m pretty sure I will improve over time – you nailed it bud. Clear and to the point explaination with absolutely no ramblings.

    I’m loving all of the concepts that you outlined – many of them I knew about and am currently in the process of doing but others are new to me and have really given me something to think about.

    Sometimes it’s just nice to hear someone who has been in your shoes before confirming some ideas that you have thought about – leaving no grey areas or uncertainties.

    Thanks again mate.


    • Thanks Luke,

      I use to be really bad on video, you get better over time. The key is to know your stuff + a white board and it get’s real easy.

      Glad you enjoyed it and hopefully this will help you a lot.


  19. Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey says:

    I commend you on having such success in your first month of blogging, Michael! This is very inspiration, I think I need to take more action. You’re right, we can list ideas all day long but it’s very important to take action on those ideas and gain momentum. Thanks for sharing!!

  20. Hey Michael,

    Three questions

    1. What cam are you using to record your video’s? Is a FLIP Ultra HD worth the investment in your opinion?

    2. How do you edit your youtube video to include your websites – like the way you displayed it?

    3. Do you have your cam placed on a tripod or do you have someone shooting for you?

  21. wow! u rock man!

  22. Michael, great post and education. I look forward to your cut to the chase approach. One way I like to look at such a share like this is that THIS IS FREE advice. If that negative, anonymous person above had to say that then they haven’t a clue what a gem these clips are!

    And, what is also helpful is reading these posts…we can all learn a lot from each other and your return comments as well.


  23. Hi Michael…appreciate you taking the time to give me the feedback…giong to check out the cam features right away…

  24. ummm…i really want to try this “blogging to make money” thing but i really dont get it…like who pays you?anyways…i dont know if it is possible but i want to know if you can email me so i could ask some questions and so you can maybe guide me through it.i know you have the “7-day” thing but i would rather take help from someone directly in case i dont understand something…by the way…nice accent.

  25. Valentina says:


    This is amazing stuff – simple, but every step is strategically thought out and executed. Brilliant. Currently finishing up some projects on the go, this is next!

    Continued success to you!

  26. Hi Michael,

    I have been following your blogs for about a couple of months already. I reside in the Philippines and one of your many fans in this part of the world. I just have a question for you, what is the best software for making videos I can post on the net that would also capture my voice… I hope you can provide some suggestions, thanks a lot!

  27. There will always be haters in the world that tear other people down to try to bring others who have something going for them down to their level. I’m glad you decided to take the high road. Don’t engage them. And btw, I think your smile is wonderful and you should do it much more often. Keep bloggin brotha. 🙂

  28. Thanks for this article michael, i will put it into action right away.

  29. James Jung says:

    Michael! This is James Jung in South Korea.
    I need to learn a lot from you. Thanks for your guide.


  30. Aries Satriyo says:

    Dear Michael .,
    I am a newbie in internet marketing . With this pages you have , I followed you in every time your mail was sent to my inbox.
    Thank Michael for teaching me in a simple way.

  31. Kate Kutny says:

    Great post! I’m going to create more list’s. I heard before they are great and people enjoy reading them. Thanks again for the great share.

  32. Joshu Thomas says:

    Great article – Infact you are true – some small actions or comments from your visitors show what impact you are making and how people are noticing you.


  33. When I go through the article, I do feel that I can copy your success, but when I put it into action, I feel a bit worried and nervous – kinda thoughts you know, “this is not going to happen” or “don’t waste your time” etc..

    Any tips?

  34. Christen says:

    I originally found the world of online income back when eHow was actually eHow, and not Demand Studios. This was years ago though.

    But since then, I have learned a LOT about what it takes to actually generate a steady source of passive income.

    So much in fact, that I have launched my own website explaining all of the best ways to start earning money with the internet – Starting TODAY.

    Don’t worry about the sloppy design on some of the pages, it is still under construction but all of the information you need is there.

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