December 11

No hacks needed: How to earn money online in Singapore


I’ve earned all of $209 from online sales over the past year.

Why should you listen to me? Not because I’m great. But because I will tell you the secret that most online gurus don’t tell you.


Starting an online business is incredibly hard.


If you read online gurus, they will tell you about how there’s the next big thing in ‘drop shipping’, ‘Facebook ads’, and ‘online courses’.

They won’t tell you how hard it is. This article hopes to share the real struggles, but also what I’ve seen happen.

The back story

In 2020, I launched my first ever product, a series of postcards with inspirational messages designed to motivate people.

“I’m here to thrive, not just survive.” is a reminder to all of us that we can do more than just survive in the current situation. We can truly flourish, if we want to.

Despite spending $1050 on designing it with a local calligrapher, and another $1500 to print it, we got all of $100 of sales.

Then I tried again.

This time, we took a product from Scotland, and tried to market it in Singapore. We even came to a point where we were giving it out for free just to get people to use it.

But no one wanted it.

At the end of the day, 2 years later, we are still struggling to sell the thing.

Then in 2021, I thought: this time I will try with a beautifully designed book!

We spent $5850 this time and got 2 sales. For $19.80.

how to earn money online in Singapore
We thought beautiful products could work. It didn’t

You can tell that we are not the best with selling online.

Here’s the lessons, we’ve learnt, so you can do better in your own online business.


Own the product

We ultimately believe that the best businesses build their own products. As a product creator, creating your own product gives you the ability to refine, learn, and adjust along the way.

Building your own products gives you the ability to learn how to solve customer problems. How do you solve it?

You listen, empathise, and walk with them through their journey. Without customer understanding, you will never make it as an entrepreneur.

But making an online business demands that you also create your own products, because if you’re taking someone else’s products and selling it as your own, you’re on the losing end.

You are competing with multiple other distributors, who may have more clout and visibility than you.

That’s why if you’re just starting out, retailing your own products, made by you, is a better idea.

Own the platform

There will be many gurus who tell you the latest Amazon listing trick. But we think a bit different.

If you don’t own the platform, you will constantly be subject to people’s rules.

If you’ve ever gotten a Facebook ad stopped, then you will realise why it doesn’t make sense that you’re directing more and more traffic to other people’s sites, rather than your own.

Owning the platform is about building your own site. If your barrier is that building a site is hard work, it is.

Learn how to do it.

If you’re going to make an online business, you need to learn how to monitor the traffic to your site, how many people are staying there, how many people are bouncing off, and what each action is doing for your site.

That’s why you need to build your own.

Own yourself

By far the most important thing, after 3 years of starting our own company, is that you need to improve yourself.

Learning how to deal with your own insecurities and fears is key. When you first start, you will look at your product, and think that it’s the best. After you publish or ship it, then you will realise,


No one wants it.

Then you either decide to quit, or you decide to do something else.

That’s the point where you need to learn how to deal with your own mindset, so you carry on.

Because it’s unlikely (not impossible) that you would succeed in a business on the first try.

But I’m not telling you that you should keep trying stupidly.

‘Try, try again; or maybe not’, was a classic Harvard Business Review article that showed that the success of entrepreneurs didn’t necessarily improve with each business they started. You would have thought so, right?

But it doesn’t work that way.

That’s because some entrepreneurs don’t learn from their failures. Learning is about taking each product, as an experiment.

Run the experiment, have an hypothesis on what you think will happen, and if it doesn’t happen your way, then adjust from there.

Do it only if you’re willing to suffer

For months, I couldn’t eat out.

how to earn money online in Singapore
Are you sure you don’t want a better life as a salaried employee?

The saddest thing was sitting on the bus each night, and then watching people queue up at restaurants.

I would always wonder when I could have the time to splurge on a restaurant meal.

There were other times when I would look at my lonely can of tuna, or baked beans, and wonder when I could stop eating them.

Starting an online business isn’t for the faint hearted.

Do it only if you have the balls to suffer.


You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Get in touch

0 of 350