What It Really Takes to Make Your First $50,000 Online (with real figures and actionable insights)

Work from home

Work from home


I was pretty skeptical about making money online when I first started out. It sounded too good to be true really. Work from your laptop anywhere; wear your pajamas to work, no boss. I mean if it was that easy, why wasn’t everyone doing it?

The answer of course is that it’s not quick and it’s not easy. It’s actually a steep, frustrating learning curve where at times you feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall, other times you are ecstatic about the fact that you get to work from home.

We have all heard the stories of the people that became overnight internet success stories and made millions of dollars.

I’m not one of them – but I did earn over $50,000 in my first official year of online business.  My hope is that by reading this I’m offering hope to those of you who are just starting out or have started but aren’t having the success you were chasing.


The Idea

Basically as a bit of background I’d been employed as an Employment Consultant for a large chunk of my career. My job was to assist the long term unemployed gain sustainable employment by writing their resume and preparing them for interviews .Around the time I decided I needed a bridge job the next door neighbor needed his resume done. With my background I was able to do up his resume and get him a job within a week which gave me the idea of writing resumes online.

Testing Phase

Of course I wanted to test the idea prior to pumping tons of money and time into it so I set up a basic website using Webs which consisted of a sales page and not much else. It was a pretty generic website which goes to show you don’t need to freak out about getting your site perfect straight up because my clunky DIY job started converting sales straight away. 

I tested my resume service idea using Google Adwords which is how I got all my first clients. During the one month testing phase I priced my resumes at $50 and offered an unbeatable guarantee which was that the client paid nothing until they had received the resume and were 100 per cent satisfied. Obviously this helped me convert sales because I absorbed all the buying risk for the client and I was the cheapest resume service on the market (I don’t recommend this as a long term strategy but it got my confidence up and was how I got my first reviews).

Three of my first 4 clients were great. They paid immediately and gave me great reviews. The fourth client was a jerk. He wasn’t happy with the first draft and requested that he wanted me to make up some dodgy stats to make him look better. When I told him I didn’t recommend lying on a resume he refused to pay me which kind of sucked.


The First Three Months


I stuck with the testing phase for one month before I added some more pages to my website and tweaked my sales copy. I also added a FAQ page and testimonial page. I increased my resume price to $99 and tweaked my adwords campaign. Increasing my prices didn’t affect how many clients I got (I think my $50 price scared some off actually). I kept the ‘no risk’ guarantee of my clients not paying anything until they received the resume and were totally happy with it.

The ‘No Risk’ Guarantee

Now the ‘no risk’ guarantee didn’t cause me as many headaches as you might anticipate. I had about a 90% success rate with people paying. The main issue was that with the non-payments 90% of the time they went MIA and I could never work out if they weren’t paying because they weren’t happy or if they were just ripping me. On all my email correspondence and my sales page it stated that in order to be eligible for a non-payment they needed to actually let me know what the issue was and provide feedback via email, a survey or the phone but 90% of them just disappeared and refused to answer the phone or respond to my emails or texts.

Since I didn’t have an actual contract there was no way for me to enforce the ‘feedback’ rule so the not knowing kind of sucked.

Occasionally I’d actually manage to catch a MIA customer on the phone and usually their reasons were flat out cray cray. One guy told me he wasn’t going to pay me because I’d used his real sales statistics (which were good) instead of making up fake sales statistics to make him look better.

One thing I did learn from the non-payers who actually provided feedback was that the issue always came down to miscommunication. Most of the time the client had wanted a ‘designer resume’ and thought that’s what they were ordering. In order to resolve this I made changes to my sales copy so customers knew the difference.

I always sent out a customer feedback form to both paying and non-paying clients and got great results (note that a non-paying customer has never ever taken the time to fill in a feedback form which makes me think they never intended to pay me in the first place).


Basically I was flat out with orders straight from the start thanks to adwords and had to turn people away. I worked on my astrology for the first half of the morning and the employment services in the evening and managed to make $5093 for my first month, $6563 for my second month and $6762 for my third month.


I had a few headaches in the first couple of months, mainly to do with outsourcing. I was turning down so many orders that I decided to hire a resume assistant to work remotely. This was a disaster as I hired a guy from Elance who had an excellent portfolio of work but it turned out the work wasn’t his and he had no idea what he was doing. After this I hired one of my old co-workers who I knew could do the job. We did this for about 4 months but in the end by the time I paid her and did all the admin for the job myself I was only making about $10 a resume so it wasn’t worth it.

One of the big issues I had was that my phone rang non-stop with client enquiries. At the end of month two I outsourced this to Laura from Red Apple Receptionwhich was brilliant. I would divert my calls to her and she would act as a receptionist and answer any FAQ’s, take orders etc. This freed up a lot of my time and even after paying her and taking a week’s holiday I was still making more money because I had more time to divert to tasks that were actually making me money.


Want help to get your own online business up and running? I’ve got just the thing for you – a complete program which will show you exactly how to set up your online business in 7 days and get your first customers.

The best part? If you use this voucher – you get 50% off.  (Hint: That makes it the same price as the t-shirt I brought last week).


Months Four, Five and Six



I ended up pregnant and with severe morning sickness for months four, five and most of six. As a result I completely stopped working on Astrology With Nic and only managed to get 2-3 hours of resume work in a day which had a significant impact on my earnings. It ended up looking like this:


Month Four: $3916

Month Five: $4522

Month Six: $2512 (included a two week holiday)


One thing that saved my arse during this time was doing Denise DT’S free pricing workshop. As a result of this I increased my resume price to $149 which meant I didn’t have to work as many hours. My profits would have been significantly less if I hadn’t done this.

During this time I also experimented with removing my “no risk’ guarantee and making clients pay up front with an automatic check out on my website. I trialed this for a week before I totally freaked out about the fact that I didn’t get a single order and added the ‘no risk’ thing back again.


Another thing that became a big issue during this time was professional/personal boundaries. My email went straight to my IPhone and I had no set office hours (since I worked remotely via phone and email) so I would respond to client calls and emails at night and on the weekend (when my phone wasn’t diverted to Laura). It started driving me a bit nuts because sometimes I’d get calls for orders at 1am because of the different time zones.

I also felt the need to respond to emails straight away so I started to feel really burnt out. In the end I stopped getting emails to my phone and put an auto responder on my email during the weekends letting clients know I’d be back on board Monday. I also stopped answering the phone outside of set hours.

I thought this was going to be a hassle for my clients but no one has ever questioned it so I wish I’d implemented it earlier. I didn’t really do anything else during this period because I was sooooo sick.


Get The Job You Love

Get The Job You Love

Months Seven, Eight and Nine

Ideal Clients

I probably should have mentioned this a little earlier but my ideal client actually changed as I went along. When I first started out I thought my ideal client would be male, aged 20-45 and in a blue collar job. I imagined he wouldn’t have a great deal of computer literacy which is why he would need my help.

This completely changed as I went along because 90% of my MIA customers were from this demographic. This demographic seemed more inclined to just vanish into midair as soon as they had received their resume so although a lot of these guys were great in the end I just stopped taking the risk and referred them on to another service.

Resume Development

During this time I also started to research my competitors for the first time. I wanted to know what their resumes looked like for what they charged etc. The only thing I learnt from this was that every single resume writer has a totally different idea as to what a resume should look like. I did my resume training through ITEC Employment and have pretty much stuck with their model the entire time but every resume writer had a million different ideas. Not necessarily better or worse, but always something different. I stopped doing this because it was basically just really confusing but it did boost my confidence.

Client from hell

It was in month nine that I reached the tipping point of my ‘no risk’ guarantee. Basically the short story was that I had my first and last non-paying criteria client (it’s an Australian term so don’t worry if you don’t know what that means. He took the work I had done and told me that he was really happy with it but had found a competitor that charged less and that unless I could match their price he wasn’t going to pay me.

This was a big kick in the teeth and finally motivated me to implement client contracts that stated a few main points including that feedback had to given to be eligible for a non-payment and that there had to be something actually wrong with the work for this to be valid.

Honestly it was a pain in the bum sending out the contract every time but worth it for my own protection.


New Website

This was also the period that I created a new website using WordPress hosted through Bluehost. I also created a new sales page using lead pages and had a brilliant result once I’d launched. It was still a DIY job and WordPress gave me a headache to navigate but my conversions skyrocketed (note that this was thanks to the Leadpage – not my actual wordpress site). Honestly the whole Word Press thing was a massive nightmare to set up and I won’t be using it on any future sites unless I have a developer/designer to do all the technical stuff for me. My sales page with Lead Pages  was one of the main things that gave me the confidence to try ‘payment upfront’ again – which I will get to soon.

I also tried Facebook advertising during this time but it didn’t really work for me so I went back to using Adwords.

Marie Forleo

I invested in Marie Forleo’s B School during this time as well and wish I’d done it at the start because it would have saved me so much time learning from trial and error. I’m going to write a complete review about this at a later stage but one of the awesome things about it was the B School Group. I went from being totally alone and not knowing anyone else with an internet business to this group of 11000+ people who were all in the same boat. Fantastic investment!



During this time I was ready to hit the ground running after recovering from my morning sickness but a few things did get in the way. The first thing was a huge error on my part when I mistakenly thought most of my profit came from resume writing instead of the cover letter service and focused on this area instead. I’m going to talk more about that later but it was a massive error – I just didn’t realize it till a few months later.

The other two things that caused a drop in profits were:


  • My husband started to crack it about how much time I spent at work. He is mostly supportive but I was letting work get in the way of family time so he was right to pull me up on it. My two year old also became more demanding so in the end I started working less hours
  •  I took three weeks off between February and March to go to Bali and didn’t work the entire time I was over there because I wanted it to be a real holiday.

As a result my earnings were:

Month 7 – $4850

Month 8 – $3730

Month 9- $4838


Want help to get your own online business up and running? I’ve got just the thing for you – a complete program which will show you exactly how to set up your online business in 7 days and get your first customers.

The best part? If you use this voucher – you get 50% off.  (Hint: That makes it the same price as the t-shirt I brought last week).


Months Ten, Eleven and Twelve

Mailing List

One of the best things to come out of B School was that I implemented a mailing list for the first time. This was a crazy success and I got tones of referrals from past clients this way because they could always remember/find my details to refer me to their friends. These referrals meant I could decrease my advertising spend with Google which saved me lots of money. I send them job hunting tips and tricks or my latest blog post once per week.


Upfront Payments

During this time I got sick of emailing the client contracts because I wanted to save administration time so I started upfront payments instead. The difference was that this time I actually completed the phone interview with the clients first before invoicing them so they knew I wasn’t some internet scam (as opposed to the first time I tried it which was a Pay Now button on my site).

This wasn’t an issue and didn’t affect my conversions and the one or two people that didn’t pay the invoice probably would have been trouble under the old method anyway. I still offered a 100% refund but this meant they actually had to contact me to get their money back. I had a zero refund rate so that made me really happy!


STATS – If you read one thing in this post – read this

This was the big mistake that I referred to earlier when I focused my efforts on writing resumes instead of cover letters because I thought that was where most of the profit came in. In month 10 I read an article about the importance of knowing exactly where you spent most of your time and so for the entire month I tracked every single minute I spent on my business down to a 30 second email using my IPhone.

My husband said I was crazy because it was taking me so much actual time to track this but it was only one month out of my life and the results were astounding. I discovered that that I actually made 60% more on cover letters than resumes. I’d been turning down the letters for months because I had this stupid idea in my head that resumes made more, but you can’t argue with statistics. I probably could have doubled my income just be focusing on the right product.



It was going to be my best month ever and then it wasn’t

In month 11 I was on track to making it my most profitable month ever (actually it was my most profitable month ever before I had to refund a whole bunch of payments because I went into labor early). I was focusing primarily on cover letters and the results were in the profits. I’d just beat my previous best of around the $6700 mark with 8 days still to go when I went into labor early and had to refund a whole bunch of orders because of it. 

Luckily I had mentioned the possibility to all the clients I took on and had refused any orders that had a short deadline so they were all really nice about it.

I’d arranged to take four months maternity leave and other than taking on one order for a close friend in month 12, I didn’t do any paid work at all. When I first found out I was pregnant I had entertained the idea of not taking maternity leave but I’m glad I did because baby Nebraska proved to be quite high maintenance in the first few months and sometimes I didn’t get to my laptop for four or five days straight. As a result my earnings for this quarter looked like this:

Month 10: $5525

Month 11: $4178

Month 12: $250



In summery I’m pretty happy with my business. I’ve started implementing passive income strategies into it now (My Get The Job You Love Boot-Camp and Get the Job You Love Workbook).

Want help to get your own online business up and running? I’ve got just the thing for you – a complete program which will show you exactly how to set up your online business in 7 days and get your first customers.

The best part? If you use this voucher – you get 50% off.  (Hint: That makes it the same price as the t-shirt I brought last week).

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