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

  • February 2, 2011 by Corbett Barr
  • 32 Comments

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.

And as always, if you liked this article, please tweet it out or share it on Facebook using the buttons below. Cheers!

Written by . Corbett is cofounder of Fizzle, a place for creative entrepreneurs, writers, makers, coders and artists, all working to support themselves doing what they love independently on the Internet. Follow Corbett on on Twitter.


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wilson usman February 2, 2011 at 9:16 am

I’m working on it brother, I’m getting there. Don’t have such a nice office view yet, but hey it takes a lot of work and a little patience right?

Corbett February 2, 2011 at 1:13 pm

More than a little patience ;)

Clayton February 2, 2011 at 9:26 am

Hi Corbett, how the beach in Mexico treating you?

Anyway, great points. I especially like #2. Indeed it can definitely feel like a “war” when you’re first getting started and you have no idea where to begin. But the one thing I’ve noticed in the people that actually start to see some success is that they keep their eye on the big picture and never give up.

That is definitely what got me over the hump last year. Granted, I’m not rich or famous (not even internet famous), but I feel like I’m on my way.

Take Care,
Clayton

Corbett February 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Cool Clayton, thanks for your perspective. You’re right, too many people throw in the towel after one small defeat. It’s only a defeat if you let it stop you.

Jeff February 2, 2011 at 9:53 am

When I first got into internet marketing, I tried selling all these crappy affiliate products and it was sooooo difficult to stay motivated and to actually sell them.

I learned that I needed to work on projects that I believe in. It makes it so much easier and fun.

Great list.

Corbett February 2, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Absolutely Jeff. There are sooo many reasons why it’s better to work on what you believe in. It’s so surprising how few people actually do it.

Moon Hussain February 2, 2011 at 10:34 am

Perfect post for today, Corbett, much needed… Thanks.

Randy Johnson February 2, 2011 at 11:15 am

Very inspirational man! Especially #2 talking about failure being the start of your success. I’ve been reading both of your blogs for a month or two now, and it’s some of the best content I read! Almost on a daily basis! Keep it up, and I hope to join you in the clouds some day soon!

Corbett February 2, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Hey Randy, glad this has all been helpful. Cheers!

Lydia February 2, 2011 at 11:24 am

Thank you for this. There’s been so much negativity floating around the web recently.

Corbett February 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Ugh, tell me about it. Who needs negativity anyway?

Lonnie @ My Income Lab February 2, 2011 at 11:46 am

Thanks for writing this. I am just starting out and lately am starting to second-guess myself. Your post reminds me that if I want to be successful I have to keep at it. So, I trudge onwards…

Corbett February 2, 2011 at 1:21 pm

The second-guessing is natural, but you definitely need to stay vigilant about it.

John February 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Corbett, your list of 6 things is so right-on-the-money that I’m printing them out. #3 resonates so much with me personally because it has literally been my business plan over the past 6 years and it’s so damn powerful.

One of the best things I’ve read was something Chris Sacca said on his formspring.
Someone asked him: What is the purpose of life in your opinion? And how does one become truly happy?
His answer was:1) To be helpful. 2) See #1.

I’m really honored to be one of the people you’re following on Twitter (rock on!), especially because I’m not internet-famous, not a blogger (yet), but I have been successful and do live unrestrained. A lot of the people I work with ask me how I manage to travel abroad for a month every year, why I seem to have a constant stream of new clients. What is the secret to my (quiet) success?

The answer is simple; and it’s my mantra and business plan:
Be insanely helpful to everyone I cross paths with. Being helpful makes you valuable. Being valuable makes you successful.

Not everyone realizes that the shortcut to success is to help others be successful.

PS: I’m loving how honest your posts have been lately. Keep it up man. You’re killing it.

Corbett February 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Hey John, I love the mantra. Being helpful always keeps me on the right path. When I start thinking about serving myself first, that’s when I go astray. Cheers, thanks for the comment. Glad you’ve been enjoying the recent posts!

Elias February 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm

“oth­ers couldn’t install Word­Press if their lives depended on it” That’s funny; it reminds me of myself hehe!

Thank you Corbett, I totally agree with you ;)

Corbett February 2, 2011 at 4:09 pm

“There is no right way” is how I like to put it. Everyone can be successful in their own unique way. That’s what is so great about the Internet (and life).

Tiani February 2, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I really want to give this a shot, but I need some help focusing my ideas. Can I still reach you at the same number?

Corbett February 2, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Feel free to email me anytime. My cell is out of service when we’re out of the country.

Matt February 3, 2011 at 10:06 am

Over the past few years I’ve started and stopped a few businesses, yet I find myself trying again. I’ve never really put it into words, but I think you said it best:

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

This may be my new motto.

Thanks for the post Corbett!

Michel J. Gagnon February 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

Hi Corbett,
I really like #3. We usually tend to ask “what’s in it for me,” but forget to ask “how can I serve.” And I believe that when you find an answer to the second question, you automatically answer the first.

Vic Dorfman February 3, 2011 at 11:33 am

“Com­mit to win­ning the war, no mat­ter how many bat­tles you lose.” <— me gusta eso ;-)

It seems like a lot of success online, whether with blogging or affiliate marketing or whatevs, is about working really hard for a while.

I went from no sales to 3 sales last month with my muse just by (presumably) tweaking the copy on my mailing list.

Then after some nose to the grindstonage, you can be chillin' on the beach like Corbett. Eh?

Good Vibes
Vic

Corbett February 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Or, working your ass off at the beach like Corbett ;) You’ll probably be better at planning your “nose to the grindstonage” time than I am.

MD February 3, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Thanks for the motivation once again.

I’ve held myself back with such minor and stupid excuses. From worrying about how to design an eBook to losing focus on my focus. I really need to get it together and release my own product like you have.

Nick Lyons February 4, 2011 at 6:16 am

How many times have you heard that you have perfect timing? It still holds true. Awesome post, especially considering I finally bought my domain, made it through my first post (meaning a launch will actually happen!!), and finally convinced my fianceé that this is possible, with determination and faith. I may be dropping you an email soon about site design, because I’ve seen all the great work you’ve already done.

Thanks for everything. If I were in Mexico, I’d buy you a drink… or 5. :-)

marianney | A Life Set Free February 4, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Thanks for this list Corbett. #2 really resonates with me because we’ve already had 2 failed businesses and are just starting out on a third. the good thing is, we keep learning from our mistakes and using that to move forward with our goals. We haven’t given up yet and in addition to our 3rd business, I also decided to try my hand at blogging. While I am still finding my voice, I am enjoying it a lot and as I sort things out, I have no doubts I will find the next idea that supports our dream of being location independent.

Again thanks for the keys, they are all very powerful and true keys to live by. We can all do this, we just have to believe in ourselves and keep working towards those dreams.

Lee Cole--Home Based Freelancer February 6, 2011 at 7:06 am

Wow! Hi Corbett! I really feel like you wrote this post for me. Thanks! I was just on another website. This one by a very successful affiliate marketer. I struggled with affiliate marketing for about three years. Made some money (+/- $1000 per month, on average, which is not bad), but generally always had the feeling like there had to be more, there had to be something besides just manipulating the Internet via SEO to get traffic and reviewing products I never even owned. Now, I learned a ton doing this. I actually run a freelance business helping local companies with Internet marketing. But I’ve always felt like my own passions and my real self was somehow missing from the picture. Recently, I started a new blog, Home Based Freelancer. It addresses my passions, which are lifestyle design, financial control, and living out the destiny that God put into your DNA. I’ve put very little work into it, since I haven’t had a lot of time. But I’m shocked at how fast it’s taking off. The 6 points in your post are more or less the values that are guiding me now. Thanks for affirming this for me!

tracey February 11, 2011 at 6:30 am

Thanks for the inspiration this morning. I have just started in the blogosphere and looking forward to seeing what I can make of it. I have been doing what I am writing about for a year, just thought I could help more people and make a real business out of it.

I know I can’t give up and have been told by numerous people there is a need for what I am doing. Start small and dream BIG is my motto.

Points #5 and #6 are dead on! — Being yourself will win more hearts than being a fakester, people see right through that!

RobM February 13, 2011 at 11:33 am

Corbett, great post. Truly motivational and inspirational. And this isn’t just an American dream but now a global dream. Thanks.

Andrew R. November 11, 2011 at 4:01 am

Dude, probably the most influential thing I’ve read all year. Great post!!!!

Ray January 1, 2013 at 9:36 am

Great tips! Thank Corbett.

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