3 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Building My Own Website

Many people are starting to build their own websites as a way of generating a passive side income. Many have actually been able to make this a full time income (myself included). Running a website has allowed thousands to escape their 9 to 5, write about their passions, travel the world, and share their experiences with readers like you.

I know this sounds like the ideal life. However, there are a few key things that I wish I had known before building my own website that I want to fill all of you folks in on before you dive head first into the online landscape.

There are thousands of people just like you and I that have managed to become extremely successful online. Many of those people are my colleagues and community members at Wealthy Affiliate. The issue is that most of us have had to start with little to no training. We have spent countless hours using trial and error and researching different techniques before we found the best one stop shop for Affiliate Marketing training on the internet.

With that being said… I want to share three major things I have learned in my 3 years as an affiliate marketer so that you can avoid making the mistakes that I did first starting out.

1. Money Doesn’t Come Overnight

This seems like an obvious fact but to so many it’s not. In fact, it wasn’t obvious to me when I first started this journey.

I thought I was pretty smart, and so I thought that I could just jump into any space (it all seemed so easy) and start generating income immediately. Boy was I wrong…

Before I discovered Wealthy Affiliate I was watching hours of YouTube videos, trying to write my own HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code. My hosting was through GoDaddy (I definitely don’t recommend this) and I thought I was going to be able to place a bunch of Google Ads on my website and that I would make a killing in no time.

I had no idea how much work you have to put into building a solid foundation of a website before you see a single cent. Granted I could have sped this up a bit if only I had known what I know now… but that’ll be discussed later.

Money should not be the primary concern when starting your own website. Developing unique and interesting content should be at the forefront of your web development career. Write first for passion and advertise products second.

If you aren’t patient and you aren’t interested in what you are writing about your enthusiasm will quickly fizzle out and you will become one of the 90% of websites that fail within the first three months.

Luckily I am persistent to no end and didn’t fall fate to this statistic. The reality is… I worked on my websites for over a full year before I saw a steady income. Sure I had a couple sales or referral commissions funnel in… but it wasn’t what I had anticipated.

Any so called “guru” out there is full of it. If they are promising you thousands of dollars flowing in overnight then they are just suckering you into another get rich quick scheme. The only people that this happens for are lucky. That’s it.

If they aren’t just lucky then they have an absurd amount of money to spend on advertisement and the ability to test unlimited ads on all platforms until they find one that allows for a net positive return.

I know that when I started developing my own site I didn’t have a spare dime to spend… and you probably aren’t made of money either. Which I later learned is totally fine.

Be prepared for long hours, a bit less sleep than you normally get, and to actually WORK at this. The work you put in now leads to WAY MORE PROFIT in the future.

Would I have guessed 3 years ago that I would see the kind of results I’m getting now? No way.

If I wasn’t patient I would have never had the vast number of opportunities that I have today. If I wouldn’t have persevered I would have never discovered Wealthy Affiliate and would not be writing this article write now.

2. You Shouldn’t Have To Pay To Market A Product

This one is key.

I think when I first became interested in any sort of entrepreneurship the easiest money maker seemed like this energy drink that I could buy and then market to my friends. If they signed up then I got commission.

The only catch was… if I stopped buying that product then I stopped getting my commissions. This was a textbook pyramid scheme in my (now wiser) eyes. But I was young and I knew nothing about this stuff. I had never heard of the lives ruined by Herbalife and all the other Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) schemes out there.

So I bought a few hundred of these stupid energy drinks… I think they shipped me around 24 a month… I didn’t drink that many energy drinks in a month so I couldn’t keep up. None of my friends wanted to buy them or start up their own membership because let’s face it… Monster’s were like $1.99 at your local gas station or on campus store which turned out to be way cheaper than the $75/month membership.

Even the promise of a shiny new silver BMW for platinum sellers wasn’t enough. First lesson learned… don’t buy energy drinks…don’t pass them all out to your friends… and don’t try and sucker your friends into buying them just so you can make money on your down line.

Anywho… fast forward to my online experiences.

Unfortunately, more of the same… I kept looking around for platforms that would allow me to market their product on the terribly low converting websites I had built up to that point.

I stumbled upon an MLM once again that wanted me to purchase their digital coursework that would “teach me everything I needed to know about affiliate marketing, setting up a sales funnel, and converting leads to sales.”

If I wanted to be at the top tier and receive commission for the top selling product I would only need a small investment of $35,000. Their model was based on selling top tier-high ticket items. I did not fall victim to this thank goodness. At this point I remembered my energy drink days and I knew better than to go down that road…

Luckily while searching for more information on this MLM company I came across a review that marketed it as a total scam. Thanks to this review I learned a valuable lesson. You should never have to pay for a product to market it.

Yes, try products out and review them honestly… but if I tried out the newest pair of Nikes for a week and had enough experience with them to share that experience… and if that experience resulted in someone else buying them… then I should still get my commission!

So is there a platform that exists that actually allows you to market products without purchasing? Actually… there are hundreds. I am personally a member of multiple affiliate programs. This is exactly how I make money whenever you click almost any link on my website, and exactly how you can do the same on your own site.

All you need? A quality education that teaches you exactly how to be successful.

3. Quality Training & Education Is Priceless

One thing you should never underestimate is the power of knowledge. When you think you have learned everything there is to know about building a website, becoming an affiliate marketer, or turning that website into a money making machine… think twice.

The online landscape is always changing. You need a platform that teaches you. You need continuous learning that keeps you up to date with what works right now. There have been so many times in just my short online career that I have needed to switch up my entire marketing scheme.

I never would have known that I was doing something wrong, or that I could do something even just a little bit better if it weren’t for the amazing education platform that Wealthy Affiliate has offered to me.

Before I discovered Wealthy Affiliate I had tried so many different resources but I could not piece is all together for the life of me. This is where Wealthy Affiliate changed my entire perspective. I no longer needed to piece together the information I was absorbing as it was all available to me in one convenient place for free.

I highly suggest you check out this platform for yourself. You should have to struggle and you shouldn’t have to waste the time that I did trying to learn from YouTube videos and E-Books when you can go step by step with Kyle and Carson and learn exactly how over 1 million members have been able to build their very own site and how so many of those members have been able to successfully turn them into online income generating systems.

When it comes down to it, quality training and education cannot be beat. In my experience, Wealthy Affiliate offers something that no other platform does. Want to learn more about what exactly Wealthy Affiliate offers?

Click Here to Learn More!


Sign Up For a Free Wealthy Affiliate Account!

Feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments. If you have your own experience with MLMs, web development, or Wealthy Affiliate please throw those experiences in the comments as well. I love hearing about people’s online journeys and how they have achieved or are achieving success.

Thanks for reading!

How Hard Is It To Set Up A Shopify Store?

Oh Shopify, the magic E-Commerce platform that allows any average Joe like you or me to setup a store in a matter of minutes. Have you ever seen all of these gurus out there marketing their massively successful Shopify stores that seem to make them millionaires in a matter of months?

Me too.

Unfortunately for most, these kind of results are not a reality. Yes, I generate an income from Shopify. I am net positive in revenue across the few months I’ve been running a Shopify store, but it has not been a walk in the park for me at all.

While it may not be hard to set up a Shopify store it may be a bit harder to actually make sales. Whether you’re planning to source and sell your own products, or you have stumbled upon this article searching for information on drop shipping and e-commerce on a more general level, I am going to provide you with the exact steps needed to set up your very own Shopify store. Let’s begin…

The Basics

First, let’s outline what E-Commerce and Drop Shipping mean.


E-Commerce is simply a way of describing a store that is primarily run online. E-Commerce sites provide a marketplace for customers to peruse different items, usually either a very general store or one within a particular niche. Take one of my E-Commerce sites for example: Wide Brim World.

If you check out that site, you’ll quickly realize that the niche I’ve selected is wide brimmed hats. This can range from fedoras all the way to Panama style hats, but nonetheless my niche is wide brimmed hats specifically.

E-Commerce stores can accompany brick and mortar businesses, or can be a stand alone entity that only sells products online. Many E-Commerce stores are run by folks who have a product that they themselves have created and now sell online. They handle all of their own packaging, shipping, essentially all fulfillment services.

The benefit when you are your own supplier is you have 100% control over the quality of your product, shipping times, customer service issues, etc.

This is a huge pro of having your own products but can require a lot of up front capital and a unique, exciting design that captivates the attention of your customers.

Many people prefer the next method and more specific subcategory of E-Commerce which is…

Drop Shipping:

Drop shipping refers to a type of E-Commerce website that doesn’t actually handle the product in house.

That concept can be confusing at first, and I totally understand how it can seem sketchy. However, I want to explain to you what goes on with drop shipping so that you aren’t scared of the idea of building this type of E-Commerce store.

With drop shipping you, the owner of the E-Commerce site, pick products from suppliers. These suppliers can be suppliers in the USA, or as most drop shippers prefer, China or Asian Countries (you simply cannot beat the cost of wholesale goods in those countries).

You then list those products on your site, where customers can view and purchase them. If a customer were to purchase an item through your store (marked up of course), you would then go directly to the supplier you’ve chosen and purchase that item at wholesale prices, but ship the item directly to the customer.

Keep in mind the customer has already paid so you are not coming out of pocket for the item, and there are many automatic fulfillment services out there that keep you from even having to manually fulfill orders. I’ll get to those later though… for now… let’s stick to the main concept.

Drop shipping is unique, because you essentially are just playing middle man. It is the same as if you were ordering a ton of product, storing it in a warehouse, and then selling those items. However, with the age of the internet upon us, you no longer need to purchase the items from your supplier until someone purchases from you.

Sounds like magic, right? Well it’s not. It may sound easy to get your Shopify store off the ground and bringing in huge stacks of cash, but it requires a lot of time and hard work.

I don’t want that to discourage you, as you very well know everything that offers any sort of lucrative return on investment (ROI) takes some time and effort. If you are looking for a get rich quick scheme I hate to burst your bubble but we don’t believe in those at Incite Wealth.

I know that you are a dedicated individual though, and that you are interested in pursuing this opportunity and at least giving it an honest initial effort.

You’re different than most.

You’re willing to put in a bit of elbow grease.

You’re willing to put in the leg work and make sure you build a social media presence.

You’re going to reach out to influencers and have them market your products.

You’re going to spend time on your SEO and really work to make sure Google recognizes your existence.

You will do all of these things, because you want to succeed.

You want the income that will allow you to travel whenever you feel like it.

You want to work from anywhere like so many of my affiliate friends at Wealthy Affiliate and so many of those before you who have built successful Shopify stores.

Are you ready to learn how this is done? Good. Let’s talk details.

How To Setup Your First Shopify Store:

Got a valid email address? Awesome… let’s get started.

First you’ll want to head over to Shopify and click the “Get Started”
 button to sign up for an account. 

It’s quite simple to get rolling. Currently, Shopify is offering a 14 day free trial so you will not have to have a plan to set up your store. After you click the “Get Started” button you will see a screen that looks like this:

Here you will want to enter the information outlined in the graphic above. Throw your primary business email address in their, generate a password (something unique and hard to crack), and come up with a store name.

I suggest choosing a Shopify store name that pertains to your niche or something that will likely be an open domain when you go purchase one.

Shopify will then ask you a series of questions related to your history with E-Commerce and selling online.

You can answer these however you see fit. I am pretty sure this just tells Shopify the types of cards and apps to market to you once you have your own store setup and are looking to expand.

Just a quick note… I’ve found that Shopify struggles with Safari on my Macbook and that it may be best to work through Chrome while you’re setting everything up.

Shopify offers a lot of great tools and educational resources to get started with your site. Many of which I cover in other articles. I just want to touch on the basics of getting started right now.

Okay, you’re all signed up and have an account…so what’s next?

Next Steps:

First, I suggest inputting all of the information asked for in your settings. You cannot make a sale until you have all of your payment information enabled, and verify your identity.

Go ahead and click on “Settings” and you’ll see this dashboard:

Shopify does a pretty good job with their default settings so you really don’t need to change much when you are just getting started. In the coming months you will want to add some social sales channels, maybe incorporate Amazon, and dive a little further into images, videos, and docs for advertising purposes, etc.

One thing I do want to make sure you get done immediately is dealing with Payment Providers. Shopify requires you complete your account setup before you can accept payment on your store. Click “Payment Providers” in “Settings”and then navigate to where it says “Complete Account Setup” as shown below.

Complete the account setup and fill in the information asked for and choose your credit card plans. Everything should be good to go after that and you’ll be ready to build out your theme and start searching products.

There is one main thing that I want you to do before you get too deep into Theme Editing and searching for products…that’s install the key three apps I’ve outlined below.

Key Apps to Install Immediately:

To install an app, click on Apps within your Shopify dashboard. You will then be able to search any of my favorite three apps that are necessary for any starter or established Shopify store. These key apps are:

  1. Oberlo – Allows you to add products, purchase those products for customers, and fulfill ordered items directly. There’s even an awesome Chrome extension that can help with the process for products that are not yet imported into Oberlo.
  2. MailChimp – Allows you to send automated and prescriptive emails to customers. You can start an emailing list with an automated pop-up form that allows customers to opt in to marketing emails and then follow up when a customer abandons a cart or you feel like offering a discount for first time buyers.
  3. Hurrify – Creates a sense of urgency using count down timers. This can be for a “New Site Sale” or something of that sort that ends at a particular time. This app counts down so customers feel like the deal you are offering is limited time only and if they wait to purchase they may lose the deal all together and have to pay full price (which should be true).

Here are the icons so that you don’t get them confused:

Okay… got those installed? Cool. Let’s keep going.

Theme Installation:

Now that you have Apps installed and all your settings are ready to go we can focus on actually installing a theme on your site.

Hit the “Online Store” drop down in your left hand column under “Sales Channels” and then click “Themes”.

Your current theme selection will be outlined on the right and you will have the ability to Customize your theme:

Click “Customize” and you’ll see an entirely new screen that will allow you to edit all of your settings, insert photos for headers, and write up some catchy mission statement or slogan.


I don’t really have any specific instructions here except BE CREATIVE.

So many Shopify stores choose the most basic theme. Then they just grab the first stock photo they see that has nothing to do with their niche. Make sure that everything you incorporate into your theme, even the colors, match your overall site. A high quality site converts much better than a low quality, slapped together, untrustworthy looking site.

Now that you’ve got your store setup. You’re ready to start adding products. Whether you use Oberlo, upload your own products, or whatever route you choose to take, you are well on your way to becoming a Drop Shipping or E-Commerce success.

If you want more information on adding products to your Shopify store check out my next article that deals with AliExpress and Oberlo. I’ll also explain just how the Google Chrome Oberlo extension works and why it’s helpful.

Unanswered questions?

Want to learn more about Shopify and drop shipping?

No problem! Drop a comment below or feel free to head over to my profile at Wealthy Affiliate and drop me a Personal Message. I’m happy to help you out in any way I can.