I first became interested in making a living online in January 2011, at the age of 14. Now it’s the end of December 2015, which means I’ve been online 5 years.

Did I make some good decisions in those 5 years? Yes. But for every one good decision I made, I would have made about 5 mistakes (if not more).

If I mentioned all of my mistakes we would be here all day, so I would like to talk about just 5 of the biggest mistakes I made in my first 5 years online.

1. Mistaking a Website for a Business

I used to spend a lot of time creating websites without any thought for how they would make money. The usual ‘solution’ that I would turn to was advertising. But it just isn’t a business model. If the likes of News Corp struggle to make it work, how can you or I expect to make a living from it?

The fact is, websites don’t make money. Products make money. Unless you have a proper product that you sell, you don’t have a business.

These days, my focus is on products. Not just any products either, but high priced and high margin products. If you’d like to be pointed in the direction of the best products to sell, click here.

2. Doing Something No One Else Was Doing

I fell into the trap of thinking that the key to success was a great idea that would ‘stand out’ because there was no competition.

The truth is, if no one is already doing it, it’s probably because there’s no demand. This is why most inventions fail, and mine were no exceptions. Franchisees, on the other hand, have a high probability of success because they’re using a proven system.

These days, my business is one of thousands built on the same proven system and I make a lot more money than I ever had a hope of making when I was relying on my own ideas. If you’re interested in learning more about this system, click here.

3. Mistaking Activity for Achievement

When I look back at my first 5 years online, I realise that only 2 of those years were spent building up an asset that I earned income from. What was I doing the other 3 years? Was I taking a long extended break from my business?

Not really. I was doing some activity nearly every day, but it was either going towards a website with no real business model or an inventive idea that never had a hope of success, or it was simply not the kind of activity that makes a difference to the bottom line.

What I should have asked myself before jumping into each activity was whether I could realistically see it leading to an increase in income. If not, was there really any point in doing it? To learn more about the activities you should be doing to produce income, click here.

4. Thinking I Knew it All

I used to think I knew how money was made online. I didn’t pay attention to what the industry leaders were teaching, even if they were making a lot more money than I was. I assumed whatever they were teaching was information I already knew.

The truth is, there are three categories of knowledge. What you know you know, what you know you don’t know and what you don’t know you don’t know. For most people, the vast majority of the knowledge out there falls under what you don’t know you don’t know, and I was no exception.

These days, I recognise that I don’t know it all. I’m willing to listen to people who are at the level I want to be at and do what they tell me to do. When you’re ready to do the same, click here.

5. Mistaking Information for Education

My preferred way of learning used to be searching the Internet and reading free articles. Whenever I needed to know something, I would just do a search and find the information I was looking for (when I didn’t think I already knew it, that is). That would be sufficient, right?

Wrong. Information is no substitute for proper education. A good education doesn’t just show you how to do things. It changes the way you think.

Once I decided to stop being a know it all and start tuning in, I realised I was not just getting information but education. To find out what education I recommend, click here.