How to Become Rich and Famous Online So You Can Live Unrestrained

How’s that for a title, eh? (sorry for saying “eh,” I’ve been hanging out with Canadians lately, and yes, I did also just pronounce “sorry” like soree instead of sawree, but I digress)

When I started blogging back in March, 2009, there was a big argument going on about whether anybody could really make money blogging.

For some reason I brushed it off, decided it was worth giving a shot, and dove head first into building a blog-based business.

At the time, I knew NO ONE personally who was earning a living from blogging. I knew several entrepreneurs with successful venture-backed companies, but they all had pretty shitty lifestyles, working 60+ hours a week with very little time off.

I wanted something different. I wanted the freedom to live and work from anywhere in the world, I wanted to earn a very comfortable living without sacrificing my life and free time and I wanted to work only on projects I really believed in and to make a positive difference in the world.


Check, check, check and check.

Think it’s not possible to make money blogging? Think it’s not possible to become relatively rich and famous online while living an extraordinary lifestyle? Think the people who do are either lucky or not telling the whole truth?

Think again.

I now have dozens of friends and peers who I talk to every week or month who are each making a relative killing online, having a blast being “Internet” famous and living exceptionally unrestrained lifestyles. Most of us started blogging around the same time, and some even started less than a year ago.

That’s right, I said dozens of friends and peers. You probably know some of them. Check out who I follow on Twitter for a partial list of the people I’m talking about.

There is nothing particularly unique or special about this group of people either. Some of these people are crazy smart, others are more average. Some people have backgrounds as writers, others had never written much before starting a blog. Some are techies, others couldn’t install WordPress if their lives depended on it.

There are also major differences in the way these people have achieved their success.

Some of these friends and peers have very public personas, others are more behind-the-scenes. Some built businesses around blogs and others don’t blog much, if at all. Some people sell information products, others freelance, others have built and sold applications.

And finally, each of these people have different ideas of how to use all of this freedom and flexibility to live and work where they want and to work on what they feel strongly about.

Some people travel the world extensively. Some live with 100 things or less. Some have started artistic side projects. Others are starting nonprofits to give back. Some just use all the extra time and flexibility to be with their friends and family more.

That’s what I mean by unrestrained.

I’m talking about living the life you were meant to live, doing what you want to do and being the best possible version of you. That’s the real promise of building a small online business doing something you love.

If these new friends of mine don’t have much in common, how did they all become “rich and famous” online, and how do they live these uncommon lifestyles?

More importantly, how can YOU achieve the same or your unique version of this extraordinary 21st century story?

Here are my six keys to becoming rich and famous online (thanks to Naomi Dunford for sharing her five steps a couple of years back).

  1. Stop having the conversation with yourself about whether it’s possible and whether you’re good enough to make it happen.

    I’m going to tell you definitively now, without a doubt, YOU can do this, YOU are good enough, and yes it is 110% possible for anyone who wants it enough.

    Welcome to the 21st century American dream. Anyone who wants to work for himself on meaningful projects and experience the benefits of an exceptionally unrestrained lifestyle can find an audience online.

  2. Commit to winning the war, no matter how many battles you lose.

    Keep your eye on the big picture. It doesn’t matter if your first blog is a failure, or if you start and kill 10 other businesses before you succeed. Failure is merely a starting point for your next success. I’ve failed at dozens of things and succeeded at a few. The key is to keep on keeping on.

  3. Commit to being as helpful as humanly possible to other people.

    Make it your #1 goal that whatever you provide to your customers or followers should be insanely useful. If you nail that, everything else becomes a million times easier.

  4. Only work on projects you believe in 100% with your whole self.

    There are two important reasons for this. One, you’ll have a hell of a lot more fun working on projects you like. Two, you increase your chances of succeeding by 1,328% (or something like that) if you work on something you love. Take it from me, I’ve tried things both ways. Opportunity is overrated. Working on what you’re good at and passionate about is underrated.

  5. Learn from the best people who have gone before you.

    Sometimes this will mean spending money on your education, but that money buys you a shortcut to success. It’s not heroic or cool or American or whatever to try to learn everything on your own. It’s just egotistical and dumb. Learn from people who have already done what you want to do and you’ll have a much bigger chance of making it yourself.

  6. I don’t care how cliché this sounds, for god’s sake please be your damn self. Well, be your best self that is.

    Stop copying other people. Start doing something bold, unique and interesting. Every successful person I know started to succeed at the moment they started walking to their own beat. Think about it from your followers’ perspective. Would you follow a so-called leader if you could tell that person was just a second-rate copy of someone else? Be yourself.

Still not convinced you can do it? Perhaps you’re just not ready. Come back and read this again when you think you are.

If you’re new here, I should tell you what we’ve got going on here.

I’m Corbett and I run this joint. I started this blog less than two years ago and now I run a small independent blog-based business around this and Think Traffic. I earn a living through affiliate marketing, freelancing and by selling my own products.

My wife and I live a part-time location independent lifestyle. We live in San Francisco for most of the spring and fall, Mexico in the winter and spend the rest of the year traveling.

I write this blog to help you real­ize you’re not crazy for want­ing more from life and your career. You can build a suc­cess­ful busi­ness doing some­thing you love if you’re will­ing to work for it. I like to set things straight here and call out the B.S. you’ll find elsewhere about 4-hour work weeks and working online.

If you like what you’re reading here, I’d love for you to subscribe for free email updates. You can also follow me on Twitter. See you around.

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I'm Corbett Barr, co-founder of Fizzle and entrepreneur for a decade. Get my weekly curated email of useful things for independent entrepreneurs »

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