Since Liz’s blog has been the source of inspiration for me to start doing “real work” on the internet and not just playing around on twitter and facebook, I decided to ask here a few questions on her recent success at making money online.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on the success you have been having with your websites. I remember when you started and were struggling and thinking about giving up. What was the closest you came to giving up and what was the turning point that made you want to continue?

Which time? Seriously I think I got to the point of giving up at least three times. The last and worst was late February – my part-time “real” job had disappeared in the Global Financial Crises about a month earlier – and I was still making very little. Basically I took a long hard look at myself, had a huge argument on a private forum and finally decided to believe that I could make money, before I actually achieved it – my income has gone up every month since then! I think finally I got the key skill that an entrepreneur has – and this is the same for an off-line business as well, you need some self-belief as well as a lot of hard work.

I remember reading your post on the Site Build It! (TM) controversy and how much attention it drew to your blog, how much did that help the traffic and income to your blog?

It gave me a huge kick in reader and subscribers – and that is the basis of making money online – getting the traffic is key. And the post refuses to die because 5 months later I still get regular comments on it – up to nearly 500 now. At the time I wrote it I didn’t have a way to monetize the traffic – but have been doing OK from it since.

The post on how you made $2000 online has attracted a lot of comments on your blog and I am sure it will be an inspiration to many. If there any so called secrets to making money online, I guess the answer is just “a lot of hard work”, do you agree?

Hard work sure, but not giving up is a big one – as I said above – I could easily have given up a few months earlier. Its about being smart too -diversification is critical making all your money from one site or one main affiliate is just to risky for me.

I started off on Hubpages around the same time as you, but I didn’t continue there for very long. I just went back to the site recently and it looks like it has really grown in usefulness and as a community. How much of a role did Hubpages play in your rise in income?

I remember you telling me I would never make real money on a revenue-sharing site 🙂

At one level hubpages kept me going – I like the community there – I managed to consistently make a few 10’s of dollars each month – it was better than nothing. I never saw it as a serious player though until Court at the KeyWordAcademy issued the 100 hubs challenge. As part of that I started a new author there and focused on niches where people really wanted an answer and wanted it now. Well much to my surprise I tripled my income from the site inside 100 hubs and a few weeks work.

You mentioned you have been outsourcing content creation, where do you find people to do your writing and do you think you will be increasing the amount of outsourcing you do in the future?

Yes I will – I haven’t yet figured out what percentage of my income I should be reinvesting. I am currently best pleased with results from I should probably try and get some regular writers from elance or odesk – but I’m not yet at that level of orgainsation.

I believe your partner isn’t interested in Internet Marketing and I think one of the hardest things about making money online is that generally you don’t make much, if any money in the beginning. What advice would you give to people who are interested in making money online and just starting out, but their partner is convinced it is a scam/waste of time?

Its a very personal thing. Personally if my partner hadn’t been prepared to bankroll our lifestyle with his job I would have cashed in some investments I have to pay the bills. My partner knew it wasn’t a scam – he’s in IT – he understood the concept of what I was attempting – he just didn’t believe that I could pull it off. That was fair enough neither did I! Fortunately once I started making it happened he has no problem understanding the dollars in my PayPal account 🙂 At the end of the day the only way to prove working online is not a waste of time or a scam is to have the pay checks right?

You mentioned a keyword building tool that you use, which I imagine you have to pay to use, how do you decide on which services/tools to use to make money online?

I’ll generally only buy something if its recommended by someone I trust. Though I do try the odd other thing – but only if there is a money back period – which is very common in the field. I don’t hesitate to return the crap! I generally go on recommendations from a few marketers whom I trust. I know them well enough. You can actually do all of this without any paid tools and without buying any ebooks. But I use tools which save me time – because time is the one thing you can’t get back and buy the odd e-book because a good one is a short cut to knowledge.

Many people teaching making money online seem to follow a similar method, find keywords that have a high search volume and low competition and then set up a mini-site based on that topic. Do you think that is a good way to make money?

Well mini-sites work for me 🙂 As I said above I prefer diversification and that’s what mini-sites provide me with. That said people get hung up on the search vol – all of the tools – including google’s are only wild estimates, and I rather have 10 desperate buyers rather than 1000 window shoppers! A small focused site can provide the searcher with the answer they are looking for – and I get paid – seems like a win/win to me.

What are your goals and plans for the rest of 2009?

We are planning on returning to New Zealand in the first quarter fof 2010 – I hope to have a full-time income of around US$4000/month by then – giving my partner the luxury of retiring if he wants to. So the rest of 2009 is going to be an awful lot of work setting up a whole lot of new sites!

Thanks for interview, Lis. I wish you all the best for the rest of 2009.

Make sure you check out Lis’s blog and some of her articles on Hubpages.