Matt Forney
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Confessions of an Online Hustler

Last week, Danger & Play had a good post on making money online:

If you are broke, you do not have the right to do things that feel good.

Besides, having money feels better than talking about social problems.

Write about something that makes you money, not something that gives you a short-term dopamine rush. Basing your actions on a short-term “feelings of goodness” is feminine and makes you no different from the women you criticize.

Just about everything in his post is dead-on. I know this for a fact; as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been blogging in some form or another since I was a teenager. I’ve tried just about every hustle since then, with most crashing and burning on me. Here are some examples of the things I’ve done:

  • In my last year of high school, I had a short-lived Blogger blog focusing on New York state politics. At its peak it had about 150 unique visitors a week. I pulled the plug on it after five months due to boredom.
  • One year later, after discovering MRA and MGTOW writings, I tried again, creating a blog that fused political commentary and anti-feminism. I lasted three months.
  • In my senior year of college, I had another blog, which was semi-successful. I ran Google AdSense ads on it for a year and ended up making $214.42, over three-quarters of my online income for that year. After accounting for my hosting costs, I was left with an end-year profit of $142.94. That may sound like a lot, but when you factor in the 10-20 hours a week I spent on the blog (not just writing, but reading other peoples’ posts, responding to emails/comments, dealing with technical issues etc.), that only works out to about $0.13 per hour. I persisted with this blog for some time but eventually quit after tiring of it.
  • Two years ago, I launched an affiliate marketing blog hocking subscriptions to “art nude” erotica sites like Met-Art and DOMAI. It got good traffic—at one point it had around 10,000 hits a day and 1,500 unique visitors a week—but I shut it down because the number of subscriptions I sold was pitifully low. There’s too much free porn on the Internet to entice people to buy any.
  • A year ago, I started up another affiliate marketing blog hocking fitness DVDs. I wrote reviews of various products and used an unorthodox method of getting traffic: leaving well-thought comments on fitness/health blogs and forums linking back to the blog. I spent an hour a day doing this, but shut the site down after a month because I was pinched for time and I wasn’t getting enough of a return.

That’s stuff I’ve done in the past and failed at. Here’s what I’m doing now:

  • I spent the better part of December working on creating an info product to sell online. It’s currently earned me just shy of $500 for the month of January, and anywhere from $250-500 per month in the future, possibly more. The only expense in making it was the time it took me to put it together (and the Full Throttles I quaffed to stay awake at night working on it).
  • I recently created another affiliate marketing site based off of a concept I had worked on three years ago and unexpectedly earned me about $100 per month then. The site’s getting good traffic despite only being up for a couple weeks and I anticipate it putting another $100-200 in my bank account per month.
  • I’ve established a little side project to give my blog—and the manosphere at large—some publicity. Some of you have already found it. There is a better than 50 percent chance that it will go viral in the next month.
  • Finally, this blog is the most visible and biggest hustle I have going on right now: being the Hunter S. Thompson of the manosphere, doing absurd and crazy things and writing about them. I make no bones about accepting donations (I don’t like it, but it works), I’m planning to release two books in the next six months, I write frequent book reviews with affiliate links, and I’ve started doing YouTube videos. My goal is to be able to live solely off my online income by this time next year, at least in a second world country like Brazil or Thailand.

There are people who think hustling is somehow antisocial or wrong. We call these people “fags.” The reality is that unless you want to be stuck flipping burgers or pushing paper for the rest of your life, you have to hustle. You have to start sooner rather than later, because statistically your first few hustles are likely to fail; the earlier you begin, the earlier you can learn the tricks of the trade and find a hustle that you can succeed at.

I’m living proof of this.

I’ve failed and failed again, and only now am I starting to see some success. What’s my secret? I have several:

1. Pick something that you’re good at and saleable.

The fitness and erotica blogs failed both because I wasn’t interested in the topic material, didn’t know much about it, and in the case of the latter, there’s too much of the content online anyway. With my existing hustles, I can speak with credibility and authority because I’ve spent years studying and practicing what I talk about. More importantly, my hustles provide people with something they can’t obtain easily on their own (or in the case of this blog, can’t obtain at all).

2. Network, network, network.

Being an expert in a particular subject or providing an exclusive service doesn’t mean shit if nobody knows about it. Like in real life, success online is determined by who you know just as much as what you know. My other ventures went nowhere because I thought I could go it alone; my current ones are succeeding because I pitch my products to like-minded hustlers, who give me a leg-up in terms of linkage and support. In the case of this blog, I frequently plug other manospherians on my Twitter/Facebook feeds, and I reference their writings in my own posts, which gets them to notice me and reciprocate. No hustler is an island.

3. Provide value.

This ties into point number one. Contrary to what the Tim Ferrisses of the world argue, scamming people or abusing loopholes is not a recipe for long-term profitability. If you want a hustle to last beyond the length of time it takes you to think it up, you have to create something that has lasting value for people. My existing hustles are working precisely because I provide value; I like to think that this blog is somewhat different from the usual “go to foreign countries and get laid” pussy-hound sites.

4. Shut your mouth and do the work.

As Danger & Play points out, if you write based on what makes you feel good, you’ll never make any money. People who meet me assume that I’m on some kind of permanent vacation from reality. “You write a blog! How hard can that be?”

Curiously, none of them have ever attempted to write anything of their own.

I don’t enjoy writing at all. Frankly, logging into my site and writing a new post fills me with as much joy as a crack whore sucking off another dirtbag behind the club dumpster. Some days I enjoy it, but not many. I’ve been writing so long that any mirth I might have gotten from the act itself is completely gone; there’s only the pursuit of another bit of rock, a temporary satiation of a permanent addiction.

To me, writing isn’t a hobby, it’s a second job.

If you don’t view your hustle as a second job, it’s not going to go anywhere. You get off of your crappy 9 to 5 shift and start a 5 to 11 one. You work constant overtime, you skip going out to the bars, you work split shifts, you don’t go to bed until your deadlines are met and the paperwork’s been filed. At this particular moment, I spend anywhere from four to seven hours a day on my hustles. I get maybe five hours of sleep a night. Even when I’m off the “job,” I’m constantly thinking about how to tweak my current projects for maximum exposure. While I ultimately took the trip for myself, there were a number of things that I didn’t particularly want to do (like getting blackout wasted in Des Moines or trying to get an autograph from David Byrne in Minneapolis) but did anyway because my audience would be interested in reading about them.

Once you’ve crossed that Rubicon, there’s no going back. You are a true hustler.

It took me nearly ten years—and countless failures—before I learned these lessons. Take my advice and save yourself a whole lot of frustration, and good luck. You’re going to need it.

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