How to Make Your First Dollar Online

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 04/26/16 •  6 min read

ways to earn money onlineHow’s that for a generic title, huh?

There are literally thousands of blog posts on the internet about this topic. And I get asked all the time about the various ways to earn money online.

The truth is, there are a million ways to do it.

But, I wanted to share what would personally do if I had to make a hundred bucks in a week, with no prior skills, experiences, or connections.

It’s really not nearly as hard as you might think – but it does take a little bit of work to setup.

The good news, is once you’ve done the basics, depending on the size of your network, you can repeat over and over again and continue to bring in revenue.

You ready for this?


If you’d rather watch a video than read through this post, I’ve got you covered. Watch away, and don’t forget to subscribe!

What are the best ways to earn money online?

So how exactly are we going to help you make your first dollar?

With a little strategy known as affiliate marketing.

There’s a good chance you already know what this is, but just in case you don’t – let me give you the quick rundown.

In it’s simplest form, affiliate marketing works like this:

Simple is that.

Sure, it can get much more complicated, but for what we’re going to teach you today – that’s all you need to know.

So what product are we going to be an affiliate for?

Web hosting accounts.

You see, web hosting companies know that the average lifetime value of a customer is extremely high (once you join, it’s a huge pain to switch). Because of this, they’re able to pay anywhere from $65 to $200 per referral.

What makes this even more crazy, is that often during a promotion, a first time buyer can get a year of shared web hosting and a domain name for under $5o bucks.

So to make your first few bucks online, we’re going to leverage that and try and create a win win situation for you and a friend.

Sound good?

Awesome, let’s jump into this four step process for making your first dollars online!

Step 1) Create a Website

One of the only requirements usually necessary to get approved for the affiliate account is that you have a website – they just want to make sure you actually have a way to market their company.

So, if you have a website – great! Move onto step #2.

If you don’t, then don’t stress too much about what your site is going to be about.

This will actually be a great exercise for you that will be your first step to having an online business, while also helping you build some important skills in the process.

Rather than list out all of the steps to starting this site here, just go read this post.

It’s literally a step by step guide to creating your first website.

If you lack any other specific ideas, just make it a personal blog.

Step 2) Sign up for a hosting affiliate account

There are literally hundreds of different web hosts out there, so trying to decide which one is the best can be an overwhelming process.

If it’s your first site, I generally recommend Bluehost.

If you don’t have something else in mind – I’d just start there. They pay $65 for those just starting out in their affiliate program.

If you want something with a slightly higher commission, try Dreamhost – as they pay out $97 per referral.

I also put together this comprehensive review post of some of the different options out there, if you want more information on options.

But if you already have a website, the easiest thing to do is just join the affiliate program for your current host!

This only works on actual hosting plans, as opposed to services like or Blogger.

So all you need to do now is sign up, it only takes a few minutes.

It might be a day or two before you get approved. And if for some reason you don’t get approved, just sign up for another program.

Also if for some reason you can’t find the information for a specific affiliate program, just Google “[Host Name] Affiliate Program” and it should pop up.

Step 3) Recruit a friend or family member

So here’s the part that will take a little bit of work on your part.

I feel like most of the people I know have talked at some point about their interest in starting a blog or website.

Maybe your mom wants to share all of her recipes with the world.

Perhaps your best friend wants to show off his photography from his travels.

Maybe your sister just wants a place to write about her thoughts on the world.

Whatever it is, my guess is there are people in your network that would be really interested in starting a website – especially if you help them take all of the hassle out of it.

Start asking around and seeing who may or may not be interested.

Facebook is a fantastic place to do this. Just post something like:

“Anyone interested in creating a website? Let me know, I’d love to help for free.”

And then see who responds. Twitter, and other social media platforms can work for this as well.

Here’s the general pitch to them:

“I’ll help you setup your site free of charge, all you have to do is pay for the hosting fees.”

The cost to them will be around $50 for an all new website, and you’ll make $100 and hone your skills in website development.


Step 4) Have them sign up through your affiliate link, and help them setup their site.

In order to make sure this works, they’ll need to click your affiliate link when they sign up.

From there, you can help them install WordPress, select a theme and take care of the basics.

Again, if you aren’t totally sure how to do this. See this post:

Step by Step: How to Setup Your First Blog

If they’re willing to pay a little bit more, I’d definitely recommend you have them get a premium theme – as it will be easier to customize and generally look better in the end.

Also, this is another opportunity for you to earn a commission if you join the theme company’s affiliate program.

For new bloggers, I love Theme Forest and get a ton of my themes there.

That’s It!

So there you have it, I think this is one of the best, and easiest ways to make your first dollar online.

Let me know what questions you have in the comments, and if you got value out of this post I’d love it if you could share!

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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7 comments on "How to Make Your First Dollar Online"

  1. dhovis says:

    er, except where do you make the $100?

  2. Sean,

    I was expecting something along the lines of SEO writing, but you shocked me when you said affiliate marketing!

    I’m already signed up for the program and I just offered to help people start their website over social media. This was very simple and very actionable, so thank you!

  3. heasy Mo says:

    You said “no prior skills, experiences, or connections.” and then you sell to friends??

    1. Rozanne says:


      I think what Sean meant to say was that you won’t need any fancy connections. You won’t need to know any big name bloggers, for instance. Surely, everyone has friends. The only problem would be if your friends really aren’t the kind of people who want to start websites. Anyway, you just understood what he meant a little wrong.

      The important thing to keep in mind is that there really is no super easy way to do something worthwhile. Everything worth doing will need at least some investment. This idea might not even work for everyone, but it’s something that is more likely to work for everyone than just about anything else I can think of.

  4. barry says:

    I have never made an easy $100.

  5. Julie says:

    Great idea Sean! I just recently got an affiliate link for my web host but I hadn’t given much thought to leveraging it. My site is new and I’ve been focusing on content, but I should spend a little effort to do this, too. Like you said, there are a lot of posts out there on this topic, but I’ve never seen one focused on affiliate marketing – love it!

  6. Great Video Sean! Thanks for sharing!

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