A Simple Way To Build A List And Make Your First $100 Online

One of the hardest things about making money on the internet when you are first getting started is finding one thing to focus on – a goal to work towards.

Even if you do manage to pick an area to focus on, it can be next to impossible to stay focused and see it through to the point of making money.

I’d like to describe to you a simple plan to both build an email list and make some money at the same time.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that “the money is in the list” right?

The first time I heard this saying – I had no idea what that even meant.

Essentially, when somebody is willing to give you their email address and you provide them with valuable content in their inbox – you have the beginning of a strong relationship.

People buy from those whom they know, like and trust.

When someone arrives at your site for the first time, the chances of them making a purchase are very slim indeed. If you manage to get them on your email list however, you can now build that trust and put yourself in a much better position to have them buy from you.

Even if you’re familiar with the basic concept of list building, it can be tough to figure out how to actually get started.

Let me walk you through a simple system for building a list quickly and profiting at the same time.


People are becoming much more reluctant nowadays to freely give away their email address online. They know that you are likely to be trying to sell them something so you have to be clever right out of the gate.

You need to offer them what’s called “an ethical bribe”.

I know, it sounds dodgy – slightly shady.

Well, it isn’t.

If it’s something of high perceived value that they are getting for free, there’s nothing dodgy about it at all.

There was a time when you could offer a free “report” or small ebook but even this is not quite enough now to get a reasonable response.

You need something much better…




You need to do expert interviews.

They don’t even need to be audio-based. A simple email interview will suffice.

Let’s walk through an example.

I have a blog all about the gluten-free diet so I write up 4-6 questions that I can email experts and have them answer.

  • Can you please tell me what made you want to go gluten-free?
  • What are the health benefits of a gluten-free diet?
  • Where can I find a good source of gluten-free recipes?
  • Is the gluten-free diet safe?
  • I love my pasta and bread! What are my options on this diet?
  • Can you talk about the cost of trying to switch to a completely gluten-free diet?

To find experts to interview you can visit forums, other blogs in your niche or even put a post up on Craigslist.

The key is that you find experts that have products of their own with an affiliate program.


Because this is how you’re going to make some money directly from your interview.

You simply mention to the expert that they can promote their own product at the end of the interview. You then include your affiliate link to their product.

Do you see how simple that is?

The visitor to your site is getting highly valuable content in the form of an interview with an expert on a niche they’re interested in and you are getting the chance to do 2 things:

  1. Start building a relationship with your visitor
  2. Make some affiliate commissions on highly-targeted products

One of the reasons I really like this method is that you are getting the chance to associate yourself with experts in your chosen niche. This automatically puts you in a position of authority with your readers.

This is particularly powerful if you are venturing into a niche where you aren’t necessarily an expert yourself.

The beautiful thing is that even if your visitor doesn’t end up purchasing one of the suggested products at the end of the interview – they are still on your list and you can continue to build your relationship with them.

You’ll then be in a position to offer them your own products after proving that you’re a person they can trust.

So give this a try in your niche and see how well it works for you.

Don’t do it someday. Do it today.

Do it while it’s fresh in your mind.

The interview model for making money online is very real and is a proven winner. You can easily take it to the next level and start to do audio-based or even video but try getting your feet wet first with simple email-based interviews.

What about you? Have you ever tried building your list by offering your visitors an interview with an expert from your niche? How did it work for you? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Chris says:

    Jon, you’re post are right on point. I feel like you’re a “brother from another mother” in this internet world. Most of the stuff you’ve written have been my personal thoughts and findings as of lately. Keep it up man…

    • Jon says:

      Hey Chris – thanks man, it’s good to met a kindred spirit online now and again! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  2. This 100%: “Even if you do manage to pick an area to focus on, it can be next to impossible to stay focused and see it through to the point of making money.”

    If I had seven dollars for every product idea I ever had that I wasn’t able to stay focused on then I’d be a millionaire. You remind me very of another writer I worked with. The man was a genius of a writer who is much more talented than I will ever be. Damn you, and your awesome ideas!

    • Jon says:

      Hey Courtney,

      Thanks for the kind words man – I appreciate it.

      I would say that lack of focus is probably one of the biggest reasons people fail to see any significant level of success online. Unlike a “cubicle job”, when you are running your own business and don’t have someone pushing you to meet deadlines, it can be much easier to jump about from idea to idea and never get anything done.

      Once you do knuckle down and ship a product and start to see some sales coming in however, everything changes.

      It’s a lot of work and can be frustrating at times (especially in the beginning) but I think it’s well worth it in the long run.


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