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Startup Execution Note: Making First 1000 dollar online stories

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

The following is a list of responses from Reddit describing how people got their first 1000 dollars online.

Some additional links. Online money for students.

My online store made that in the first few hours we were open. It's not dropshipping, it's a real (online) store with about 60 products, which I keep in boxes in my living room. I hyped it up for about 2 months before we opened, and collected email addresses. All my traffic came from facebook, instagram and word of mouth.

It's not about having "an idea" that takes off. There's nothing novel about what I sell, you can buy it all in other places. It's about hard work and building a brand that people can identify with, where they can say "this store is made for people exactly like me".

Edit: Ok to all the people who are PMing me asking what products I sell - I sell pet supplies (described in more detail in a comment below). I do not manufacture my own products and I do not private label. I sell established brands. Since most of you probably don't know pet supplies brands, imagine a shoe store. I don't make the shoes, I just sell shoes by Nike, Adidas, Doc Marten, etc. I am obsessed with shoes (pet supplies) and I found all the best shoes (pet supplies) for my own feet (dog) and now I share that passion with others by selling them online! :)

I sell pet supplies (see below for details) and my dog already had an Instagram account with about 1000 followers of other dog owners in my (small) country. So the business already had a loyal customer base from the very start. I was also already active in Facebook groups relative to my niche. In other words, I was already authenticity part of the community I sell to. I paired that with great marketing images (from my suppliers) and lots of teasers and sneak peaks about what we would sell. It lasted 2 months because I had no idea how long it would take to get the website ready and kept having to shift the date back (warning: everything takes much longer than you expect!). I got everyone in the community to follow on insta or Facebook, and drove traffic to a landing page to get email addresses in exchange for a free gift with their first order. At launch i had 400 people on my email list. I live in a tiny country so these numbers are not necessarily comparable to yours! I also ran a Facebook ad getting people to like our page.


I dropped out of school to apprentice with entrepreneurs. These were all smaller business guys. Some trying to make it big. One thing I I learned is that a lot of people who are small business entrepreneurs are the people that just went for it, whether they knew what was going on or not. What you’re talking about is a high growth endeavor in my opinion, that’s not what every entrepreneur is looking for.


So you need to find a product you know can sell, and market. Quality and ideas go along with it m, but if you can market a sellable product and you know how to do internet you can just make money? Seems too easy haha, but the hard part must be figuring out the product, how to make it, the cost to make it, and how to mass produce it right?

No, that’s backwards. Figure out who your customers are and then figure out what they want to buy. It’s not hard. The hard part is not the ideas. Ideas are nearly worthless. The hard part is doing the work of building a great site, staying on brand, doing the market research, talking to customers, sourcing the products, making deals with suppliers, buying in the products, packing the orders, doing the accounting, paying the bills, providing the best shipping times and customer service. You can buy everything I sell in other stores. There’s no such thing as a unique product.


I'm currently building a muscle car clothing brand. Could you drop any tips for brand building. Currently going to send products to influencers and get pics

Building a brand isn't about the exposure you capture. It's about the story you create. The one weaved into everything your "brand" does. It's the story your customer is sold on, the one they align with. Yes, this will show up in ads and hopefully with influencers but it's not created there. It's created with a pen, paper, and your brain.


Put an ad on Craigslist for building custom websites. Made over 3 grand doing it in the next 30 days. This is before wordpress, before wix, before all the other stuff that made it really easy. Early 2000s. Still do web stuff now, but not on craigslist. I also don't do websites anymore, only webapps.

Think CRUD -- allowing users to Create, Read, Update, and Destroy their data. Facebook, Instagram, reddit, Hacker News, really any website that has a database that will save data (information) entered from users.


During the first great recession I bought a warehouse full of industrial surplus and started listing it on a eBay store. Sold about $7k/mo till all the cherries were gone. Shipped all over the world.


I built a Windows desktop app for someone years ago. No contract. I gave him the app first, then he paid after test driving it. He still is one of the best clients I have today as far as trust and being easy to work with.


I can’t tell you what it is but I sold items with a 5000% margin by just changing their packaging. That's how I made my first $1000.Know what item people want, and change the packaging to sell that for a premium price. I know it sounds simple, and it is, but it works.


Pay per click ad at the time paying 25 cents. I was 16 years old. Made $156 my first month, I couldn't believe it. Banner ads were fairly new at the time. I placed the ad, got a few clicks. Then put "Click here first" above the banner, got more clicks. Took the banner down and just had "Please click here first to support the site". Quickly got to $1000/month. Then saw another site doing subscription memberships for information, so I copied that, then quickly hit $10,000/month and beyond. This was a long long time ago so doesn't help much. The only thing I can say that is still relevant today is 1) Content is king, I was one of the biggest sites in my niche at the time. 2) Think outside the box. 3) Content is King but be creative to give reasons why people want to link to you. I didn't realize at the time but I created a page like no one else had, it was updated every few days where people would constantly come to check it and link to it. Another example from a recent business is I created a "how to guide" in my niche that wasn't really done in high quality before. I created a detailed guide with art from an amazing redditor that I paid, and I get so much traffic from this page because of the links it generates. It's top five in Google for numerous popular keywords in my niche. So popular that it out ranks my homepage for my main keyword, which is also in top five in google and gets 75,000+ searches per month.

Beware: asking people to click on ads on your site is an extremely easy way to get your ad account banned. Don’t follow this example. This was when they first came out and young me took advantage of it.


freelance web app development, although recently I released my first product and that's been 1000x more rewarding. My customers for my product have been awesome, but dealing with clients in web dev , can sometimes.. not be so awesome haha


Bought a painting for $70 and sold for $1650. Then starting buying all kinds of art and reselling at higher prices. Turned into a hobby. Profitable one.


Adsense. Would not recommend it.

It took about 3 years, and A LOT of traffic to make a living from Adsense. And the earnings weren’t great. There are faster ways to earn a living online, but only by about half that time.


Youtube :) I was in my dorm room and made a video about the science of godzilla. it ended up making thousands and getting over a million views i think (2014?). I ended up making a different channel and youtube has been a key part of my career ever since. Also...this is assuming you dont count stocks or real estate as 'online'.

On that science channel, it was purely ads. i think my take home ad rate was $5/1000 views which was very good. it got 880k views apparently so that was a few thousand dollars. I started a business channel afterwards called 'jack chapple' and started out monetizing with ads and e-products. made a few thousand dollars a month for awhile. Then it blew up about 4-5 months ago and have been making waaaaaay more ad revenue some months over $40k. I am looking for potential sponsorships now for if the ad revenue goes away in the future.


Made a Wordpress website for a business


It took about two weeks, but I sold puzzles during the height of the pandemic when everyone was cooped up at home. Advertising was minimal (posted in a local home based businesses group), website was made in an hour. Puzzles were sourced from a couple distributors. I am still selling about $1000 a week right now, even though we’re in stage three here. My inventory has grown a lot now. I have a 10 by 12 room of just puzzles now.


Handyman services online. Broke $1000 this month, started late last month. The kicker? I knew nothing about being a handyman last month, made a LOT of mistakes over the past month, but have become known as a reliable handyman because of my attention to quality and non-negotiable quality guarantee. I will return to fix mistakes until everything is complete, days after the job's done. That reassures people. Not to mention it teaches a hell of a lot more. My services are far from unique. My services are far from hard. Everything I know is entirely self-learned, on youtube, and easily learned because most homeowners have done SOME amount of service on their homes and are eager to teach you some tricks for their specific house. All I did was register with Google Business, and comment on NextDoor. My "marketing" was responding to posts asking for help, with my contact info and email readily available. I got the OP's attention, and the attention of other readers. Simplified: I'm a house repairman in a website for homeowners. A resource in a community that yearns for it. I'm not leaving the house while the covid spike is still hot, but I still get regular calls asking for help. Haven't touched any postings or google entries in two weeks. I'm...actually shocked how well this hobby of mine is working.


e-commerce dropshipping apparel Wasn’t difficult but time consuming. It topped out ~$2k and took more ad money then feasible to keep it going

Our conversation rate was incredibly low, it was a high school project. Our shirts and bags were memes (classics) like dat boi and what not. We wrote our URL with no context on every whiteboard in the school and got orders the next day. very grassroots, very guerilla, very very high school, but was very fun EDIT: Once that dried up, we used display ads which are quite expensive and that was when the CAC was higher than the rough LTV we had


I created a petition website about a big change in the tax system in our country. Threw a Google ad banner on the top and had to upgrade my hosting plan several times to handle the load. The most common ad that ran was about credit scores so naturally, people were clicking on it. I made just over $2000 on that site.


I did affiliate marketing and made $600 and documented the same journey and created an ebook. I still selling the ebook at


I pre-sold annual subscriptions to a membership site I wanted to create (to validate the idea) and made $2k in a week! But this was after many many flops :P I attribute the success to having a 6 month old Facebook group filled w. 500 or so colleagues in my industry.


Online fitness/nutrition coaching and consulting. I've since closed up my physical studio space (why pay rent right now?), and brought it all online exclusively. So far, so VERY good! :)


Sold spices. I was using Shopify backend, while hand blending monthly subscription packages of culinary spice mixes. Made about 15000, but lost about 20000. So yeah, I stopped that after about a year.


During COVID lock down, I had some more time. I but Twitter Bot that acts like a fan page for influencers and I developed an affiliate structure that clicks on the links. The original influencer retweet, and they can use the retweet as an engagement opportunity to sell their courses.

Why does this sounds like scam? Marketing is 95% scam.


I've never been able to focus for long periods of time how other people do. I'm not really a marathon type of worker, more like spring, relax, sprint, relax. I'll usually type one paragraph for a blog post and have to take a twitter break before I start the next.

Since we've been working from home these past few months, I've had a lot more extra time saved because I'm not commuting 1.5 hours each way. To take advantage of it, I started not one but two side hustles apart from my full-time job (which now only requires about 4 hours/day of work)

ai is your friend

My first side hustle was building twitter bots of influencers who were selling courses. It's not too hard with python and I got started after reading this

What the bot does is repost the most tweets I found were most helpful as well as ones that got the highest engagement. One benefit of the influencer bot is that the feed is a lot cleaner because these influencers usually RT other people's tweets and praise as well as react with gifs and memes that don't bring much value and also crowd the timeline.

win-win-win situation for the influencer, their fans and I.

  • The influencer has a "fan page" that promotes their past tweets which helps them build social proof even more. I would post the link to their courses in the bio, so as the page grows, it becomes another marketing channel for them.

  • The bot's posts the influencers most helpful and highest engagement tweets. This is good for new followers of the influencer who may have missed their past tweets after it gets lost in their feed without the memes and RT's that clutter the page.

  • By connecting with the influencer to leverage affiliate marketing, I get a percentage of all the sales from the link in the bot's bio.

truly passive income

I never really believed in passive income until I built these twitter bots. But the way I set up these bots makes it where I build it in the beginning and it takes off and does the daily work and marketing by itself.

All I did was set up the bot and put the link in bio for affiliate marketing. As the bot tweeted more, the influencer would RT, and the page would grow little by little every day.

I have done this for 3 influencers, with the most having 100k followers on twitter. There's thousands of influencers to choose from, so you can easily make your own and get some passive income if you like.

Summary of how this works in plain language:

you built a bot that basically scrapes the influencer's feed for past tweets that had a lot of likes, retweets, etc. and that bot account has the influencer's course website in their bio.

Once the bot retweets something, the influencer retweets your bot's retweet and their followers will then check out your bot and you gain followers that way, increasing the probability of new followers to check out their courses (because they see it in your bot's bio) and you get a percentage of the ones that they buy. Is that right?

Build the bot to tweet, tag the influencer, they RT, their followers see it, they click on the bot’s page, scroll through feed, if they get enough value they click the link in the bot’s bio that sells the original influencers course, I get a percentage through affiliate

The idea that people get paid based on clicks etc is just so foreign to me. I know I'm way behind the curve, I've been resistant, I just think it's dumb. There's no product, and I feel that internet advertising is overvalued, and overpayed because of the economics of VC and second wave investors. I'm probably wrong, but I've never seen the actual ROI with shotgun internet advertising. Obviously targeted ads, especially selling something people want to buy makes more sense to me. I get that these bots are directing people towards courses etc, I just wonder why they go to those boys instead of to the source. I get that people click the first link and don't look for the source... Sorry... Just working through all these things as I type. Like I said, I get how it works, it's just so foreign to me, and I wish it was more native so I might capitalize on it.

I’ll show you the bots I got the idea from. @navalbot and @butchersbot

That's awesome! How did you arrange the affiliate structure?

Just reached out to them and they gave a link

Good to sell courses on building side hustles, growing twitter followers, and stocks.

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