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How Halo Helped Me Build A Six Figure Online Income

halo pic

Today is the release date of Halo: Reach – the latest installment in the Halo franchise for the Xbox 360 console and because of this fact I will be taking a few days off to play the game (I love setting my own hours :D). I’ve been playing Halo since the very first one was released on November 15th, 2001 for the Xbox (menu screen pictured right). My birthday is on November 16th, but in 2001 I moved it forward one day so I could have my friends over to have the first Halo party. Flash forward a few years and when I moved to Bellingham, WA to attend WWU Halo 2 was released the first quarter I was in school and subsequently I earned my very first D in a class (at the time I preferred to play Halo 2 as opposed to study). Flash forward a few more years and Halo 3 was released the day after I lost my job at Microsoft as a video game tester so I was able to play for two weeks straight before I moved onto my next job in sales and that brings us to today – Sept 14th, 2010 – the very last Halo to be released by Bungie (the creators of the series). Before you ask, yes I am a video game nerd and love playing Halo – I’m also very good at it (I’ve competed on the professional level through Major League Gaming aka MLG and even been flown out to coach a team). Since today is such a fitting occasion I want to share the story behind the creation of my online business and how I used a video game to help me build a six figure income online.

How Halo helped me start my online business:


If you’ve read my about me page than you may be familiar with this story but I want to tell you how I created an online business off of my passion for playing Halo. While I was attending Western Washington University I learned very little from the classes offered for my marketing degree which has lead to my opinion that college is a waste of time unless you just want to get a “real job” and slowly die through a 9 – 5 existence (no offense). Now because I could tell early on that the only thing my marketing degree would be good for was as a line item on a resume I decided to study less and spend more time playing Halo 2 and doing other fun stuff. While playing too much Halo 2 did lead to my first D in a class my new-found desire to do other fun stuff in school also lead me to the video editing class that started my online business.

How I used one video to launch my first successful website:

The video editing class I took in the fall is where I was offered a chance to make a video on any topic and because of my interest in the recently released Halo 2 I decided to make a video using in game footage of me pwning others that opposed me. I created my first video using a Mini DV camcorder, a VHS player and a wonky set up. This allowed me to capture only 3 hours of game footage, but it was enough to create my first video. I did some research and discovered a new method to capture video using a card installed in a PC. This allowed me to capture an endless supply of footage and after a month or two I released another Halo video in my video editing class. My classmates loved the second video and while my professor wondered if I would ever make a video unrelated to Halo (I wouldn’t) I decided to release this one on the internet. What felt like only a few days later I started to get a non stop flood of random friend requests from people telling me that they saw my video on “insert large Halo website” and wanted to be my friend. So I went to these websites and sure enough my video was racking up the views and was over 100,000 views in less than a couple weeks. This gave me the idea to create another Halo video that was even better that I could use to launch a website. I called the video “Untouchable” and released it online with an advertisement at the beginning promoting my forum GamingVidz.com (not very active now). This video has been watched well over a million times but here it is again for you to watch (along with my other Halo videos):

To prepare for the wave of traffic I created dozens of fake member accounts and posted threads where I was essentially talking to myself in an effort to make the forum appear active. The strategy worked and it helped to build a forum that at it’s peak was generating over half a million page views, but only earning $500 per month (the fact that with that much traffic I was still not even making $1,000 a month is what lead me to eventually build websites that focus on selling physical products and is how I earn over $5,000 per month with Amazon Associates right now and several thousand dollars from other sources as well). In fact, I think it’s safe to say that if it weren’t for my desire to study less and play more Halo I wouldn’t have an online business that is on track to pay me a six figure income this year. Because Halo is what helped launch my business I even named my company with a nod towards my Halo roots – thg WebMedia LLC. The “thg” is short for thehalogod which is my Xbox gamertag and “thg” is what people would call me whenever I played Halo online.

What Can You Learn From My Story?

You can start an online business off of almost any passion and if you’re in school right now simply focused on getting through your classes with good grades you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to start building your own business while your living expenses are still very low. By the end of college I was paying for rent and food with money made from the websites I launched off the back of 1 video. Bottom line – find something you enjoy and parlay your extensive knowledge and experience on the topic into an online business. The worst thing you can do is look back years later and say “I wish I would have created my own company.”

How’d you get your start online and if you haven’t started please tell us why. See you in the comments below. ;)

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68 comments… add one

  1. Thanks for your story, Chris. I wish I had figured out that working 9-5 is a “slow death” while I was in college; I’ve been out of college for 9 years now and I’m finally catching on. I haven’t yet started my own online business, but I’m taking steps in that direction. Studying your Niche Profit Course now – so far I’m loving it!

    Reply
    1. Hey Kasi,

      That’s great and of course feel free to ask questions inside. I like to use both the video content and the comments as an additional resource for readers. :)

      Reply
  2. Hi Chris, cool story. Still I wonder how 5000 Dollars add up monthly to 6 figures a year :-) I assume, you are getting ahead of yourself ;-)?

    Anyways, keep up the good work and looking forward to the income report for August (because of the NicheProfitCourse portion)

    Reply
    1. Amazon is just my biggest earner. I have a few other income sources that I don’t discuss because of the high competition nature (and because I’m partnering with a friend on them so I don’t want to disclose income we’re earning on that)

      Reply
  3. Hey Chris:

    Good report! You should be a inspiration for every high school and college kid. Not to mention their parents. Teach your kids Internet Marketing and save your self 1 hundred thousand on a degree they probably will not use, because they hate their major. This is the voice of experience speaking on that topic. Yeah for you! Forget the ney sayers that question how much you make on line. When you buy the castle I bet they will believe you then. I plan to buy your new product soon, and I can’t wait. Please continue with all the hard work you do to make our lives easier.

    Respectfully,

    Peggy

    Reply
    1. Thanks for the support Peggy :)

      Reply
    2. There are marketers making millions on the web. We all have to start somewhere and it looks like Chris has a good basis for potentially massive future revenue. The key is how we reinvest our money back into marketing.

      Chris – I stopped a degree in Physics to do more interesting stuff so I know where you’re coming from.

      Reply
  4. Awesome Post! :) I enjoyed the video and the story. See you in a few days… or weeks. haha

    Reply
    1. Hah hah thanks – yes I played way too much Halo yesterday, but it was a lot of fun.

      Reply
  5. Chris,

    Awesome Story dude. I started my blogging journey this year only and i’m really happy with the results i’m getting.

    Thanks for sharing your awesome Story chris.

    Reply
  6. Hi Chris,

    Great story, thanks for sharing it. While there are some aspects of college I think could be made better, I still believe it’s a helpful maturing bridge into the “real world”. Most people don’t use the knowledge they learn in class, but rather they learn how to “think”. End of my “go to college” speech.

    As for my story, like Kasi above, I wish I had figured that the 9-5 was a slow death earlier. I did 5 years in the cube. Last October, I quit to travel for a year. Originally, I was planning on just finding another cube job after my travels, but I’ve now realized how wrong the 9-5 cube world is. So, while traveling I’ve been trying to build a couple businesses as well. Best decision I’ve made in my life. Still working towards not needing a cube job again.

    Thanks for the continuous inspiration and great advice Chris.

    Jason

    Reply
    1. Hey Jason,

      I meant to reply to your comment earlier but Halo: Reach came along and slowed me down lol…

      In any case. Yes, college did get me the day job that I had for 2 years in sales and you could argue that without that I wouldn’t have had the money to spend on trying to make money etc. so I do think there is some value. I guess I just don’t like the process of:

      Go to School > Go to More School > Get a Job > Work for 30 – 40 years > Retire and Finally Have Time To Do Stuff When Your Body Is Already Worn Out

      Traveling for a year? That’s awesome! I’m still sort of stuck in the rut of wanting to keep working. I have a ton of projects that I’m working on and I’d like to get my income up to about $25k per month before I start traveling like 3 months a year.

      Reply
  7. I learn that hard work really pays off.

    Reply
  8. That’s a freaking great story man. It’s all about following your passion for me. No matter how hard u think it is to make money, just the fact u’re passionate about it will lead you to a path that will generate income for you… For you gaming led you into sharing videos, then eventually internet marketing. Even if u can’t afford to quit ur job, I recommend to ppl to work on your hobby/passion part-time. Just curious, what products do u usually sell thru Amazon? I am making peanuts with Amazon Associates, but maybe my niche sucks

    Reply
  9. Chris, I like my video games as well. Ah, those days, when all I wanted to do was play but had tests and programming assignments to finish…!

    I played Halo for a while and it was good. I remember standing in line for the Xbox, haha. I’m more of a PS3 girl now, with Uncharted 1 & 2, God of War 3 and RE 5 being my faves.

    …and no I didn’t miss the point of this post :)

    Reply
  10. So Halo 2 helped you flunk a class and Halo 3 got you fired?

    Glad it all turned out right in the end!

    Reply
    1. Hey Andy, no you misread. Halo 2 helped me get my first D. Halo 3 came out the day after I lost my job as a game tester at Microsoft (It’s a 1 yr contract job).

      Reply
  11. Chris, this is Doug aka Strangepurple (went to all the MLG events back in the day). My buddy at work sent me this a second ago and I am amazed you were able to do this. I wish I had done the same thing…..at least I know its possible now so perhaps I will try to do it with something else, like golf ; )

    Reply
    1. Hey Doug, I vaguely recognize the name but I’ve been out of the scene for the most part since Halo 3. The last event I competed at was MLG Dallas 06 (Halo 2) and then I coached an event in Columbus OH in 07 (perhaps 08 – I can’t recall).

      I’m a firm believer that you can turn your passion into a business and it’s even better if that passion happens to be in a profitable niche ;)

      Reply
  12. Hey Chris great story, I work with “StrangePurple” Doug.F We are trying to escape the 9 to 5 and your story is very inspiring,

    Thank you

    Marios

    Reply
    1. Thanks for stopping by I’m glad you enjoyed it :D

      Reply
  13. Chris, the halo god –
    Great story; hadn’t seen the Untouchable video before – very cool. Kind funny – almost selected that song for J&K’s wedding! hahahahaha

    Reply
  14. That’s an awesome story! I have to send this article to my brother. He is 15 and loves playing these games!

    Reply
  15. Amazing how you stumble into things :) Thats how life is for everyone… I’m more of a Team Fortress 2 player though!

    Reply
    1. Team Fortress 2 is good I hear. Never played it but just about anything from Valve is good (same thing like Blizzard).

      Reply
  16. Nice story Chris. It’s interesting to see how your hobby really lead you to the Internet.
    I guess the thing I’ve learned through being online and trying to make money is that it’s not easy at all. No matter what people claim you won’t be able to make money easily. It took me well over two years to start to make money.

    Reply
  17. This story is some of the coolest stuff i have read in months. My eyes were like glued to the screen. The vid is very cool too, i play Battlefield2 and can say you are fast shooter.. :-) Many thanks for writing that down and that in such a entertaining way. much appreciated !

    Greetings

    Sam

    Switzerland

    Reply
  18. This is a great success story !

    Reply
  19. Anything is possible you know? I’m a hardcore gamer since I was a teenager, and one of my favorites is Halo. But since I don’t have XBox 360 right now, I still have my own PC playing Defense of the Ancients online (DOTA) through Garena client and Crossfire (FPS game). I was really touched about your story man, really. We really thought that we cannot make money while playing games, but you have made a good example for me man to prove that my parents were wrong about me. This motivates me a lot and I think I can use this as resource for motivation in making a difference with internet marketing.

    Cheers!

    Jeff Caceres

    Reply
    1. Yeah it goes to show any niche so long as you are passionate about it, you can make, and gaming just like most other including health and technology niche are always a big industy, and no doubt you can make, you just need to focus on a niche inside a niche, and you will be good to go!

      Reply
  20. Great story chris. It’s really important to get into something that you’re passionate about. I believe people can sense the passion you have for your projects and are more likely to follow along.

    Reply
  21. great story chris, i agree 9-5 day jobs suck!

    Reply
  22. Ha, I know nothing about Halo (I can barely play PacMan) but I found that video to be insanely entertaining and your tips to be true to the core. I agree with them — and I’m in real estate investing.

    Reply
  23. This is a great story! I also have bought a few forums before, but after seeing that they generate so little revenue, as the ctr is horrendous, I also switched to sites that are more commercial. Nowadays, my sites get less traffic, but so much more revenue per visitor!

    Reply
  24. I enjoyed reading how you got your start in making money online.

    My sons are really hardcore Halo players and my middle son is very good at it. I try to encourage them to use their natural talents and interests as a way to make money (in their future).

    I totally agree about the 9-5 slow death.. my thinking exactly.

    Have a great week!

    Reply
  25. Lets play some halo! I want to put your skills to the test!! lmao, im more of a COD player though… add me: CroatianThunder

    Reply
    1. I’m an FPS player in both Halo and CoD now lately. Feel free to message me. My gamertag is thehalogod

      Reply
      1. Well i was going to add you as a friend, but your friends list is full!!! lol delete some!

        Reply
        1. You should still be able to send me a message even if my list is full. Then I can add once I see you on or something.

          Reply
  26. Hey Chris,

    I went through your Niche Profit Course…I must say it really has great and useful contents! Looking forward to make money with it.

    Can I ask you about a case study here? The website is http://www.starcraft2review.com. I thought the blog is well done and have some backlinks, but why is it not even on the first page of google?

    Dan

    Reply
    1. Hey Daniel,

      The tough thing is that you’re competing against every single major video game website for a high competition keyword. If you ask me, I’d dump it and put my efforts into another less competitive niche.

      Chris

      Reply
  27. Hey Chris,

    Thanks for your time and replying me :)

    I have sent you some questions through this blog’s contact using my email that you are seeing now. I know you are very busy but I hope to get my doubts cleared. Thank you Chris.

    Dan

    Reply
  28. Inspiring stuff!

    Bookmarked this site and signed up for that FREE e-book. I’ll come here often for more great advice. I’m gonna need it!

    Mahalo,
    Ray

    Reply
  29. I’m not a big Halo player because i’ve never been able to use console controllers very well but i’m really good on the PC with the mouse & keyboard controls. My big game is Team Fortress 2 (tf2) and i’ve played almost 1,000 hours over the past 3 years.

    Sometimes i think, “wow, if only i put that kind of time into building an online income instead of playing video games”!

    It’s success stories like yours that motivate me to keep trying.

    Reply
  30. Looks like you did a great job with your school class activity! Unexpected success on your part that gave you a wonderful break!

    Reply
  31. That is amazing – playing games just to make money. I think you have to be good too though, not just some guy off the street.

    Reply
  32. Hey Chris great topic! I am a very passionate Halo nut as well and I am taking advantage of being back at home right now and just studying how to monetize blogs. I’ve been playing the Halo series since 2001. Drop me a line “Mozzy is God” look forward to gaming with you!

    Cheers,

    Eric M

    Reply
    1. Just sent you a friend request.

      Reply
      1. Received it yesterday, we’ll have to game soon. I’ll probably pop on this afternoon sometime. Cheers mate!

        Reply
  33. Hi Chris,

    Wow – your story sounds a lot similar to mine. I went to college for two years and majored in English (at the time, I had considered becoming an English teacher, though my heart wasn’t really into it).

    I was also a major gamer. I adored MMORPGs, and ended up growing a massively popular guild on a game called Dofus (former Dofus players may remember me on the Rosal server as SweetAngel; my guild was Dark Elites). Our guild also had its own online forums where we’d discuss going ons with the guild, alliances, and so on – and we were allies with some of the most powerful guilds in the game (we weren’t the most powerful, but we were pretty high up there).

    In the second year of college however, I discovered a new passion. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t until my second year that I realized that I could actually make a decent income online with my writing. I had stumbled across various content sites like eHow and Demand Studios and started building up that income until I was making around $400 a month (though not much, it was definitely a good start). I also had launched a health/lifestyle blog then, though it now sits abandoned.

    Flash forward to now, and I’m writing about something I’m passionate about on a blog that’s a little over a year old (Cash Campfire), I’m making money with my writing (though, I’ve slowed gaming a bit), and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. I also have multiple niche sites that I’m working on, which I hope will help generate a steady monthly income as well.

    In college, I was confused – not really sure what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. Since becoming self employed, I feel like I just lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders – I now know what I want to do with my life (write), and I couldn’t be happier.

    It’s really amazing, and while I haven’t tried earning money with my love for online gaming, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my decision to quit college and start working for myself.

    Inspiring read – thanks for sharing!

    Christina

    Reply
    1. Hey Christina,

      Yah us gamers have to work harder and making sure we actually get work done lol. Some days I think I should just quite gaming entirely but it’s too much fun and I don’t know what other hobby I’d fill the extra time with lol.

      Chris

      Reply
  34. Dude great website! Ha ha I have seen that Halo video before on some website, now I stumble upon the site of the owner :) – I found your site after reading the interview on Income Diary. I am going to try out your wordpress amazon plugin, it should help save me some time as I launch my full scale online business within the next month.

    Good Luck THG!


    ()__()
    (=’.’=)
    (“)_(“)

    -Aaron-

    Reply
    1. Hey Aaron,

      Yah I have a few readers that remember my old Halo videos lol :D Best of luck with the business!

      Chris

      Reply
  35. Im starting to look at videos as a way of driving relevant traffic to my sites now and this has really gave me the confidence to actually get up and do something.

    Reply
  36. what a great story! this post give me a different point of view. thanks!

    Reply
  37. A truly inspiring story, it proves that you don’t need to go to college or buy some guru’s crappy marketing courses to earn a living online. All you need is passion and hard work :)

    Reply
  38. My folks got really busy with Halo: Reach and WOW and even if I joined I’d never have won but I’m not short of hard work :) It was interesting to read how you reached six figures with the help of Halo. The next time a great game gets released I’ll certainly recall this post.

    Reply
  39. I make Halo videos like you, you guys should check out my website/youtube :) It would mean a lot to me.

    Reply
  40. You should think about putting out another article…”How drugs helped me build a 6 figure online income”. I’ve played halo forever and I can guarantee you that it’s an addiction and not passion that drives you. If you haven’t already, work on quitting, for 2 reasons. 1) It’s an unhealthy habit. I’m sure you know all the health implications that go into playing a lot of video games by now. And 2) Do something that can better the world, not make it worth. You are a little ant in this world, as am I, make your mark with something that helps people or saves lives. If you’ve ever had a halo girlfriend, you should def go cold turkey.

    Reply
    1. Hah James – I still game these days because I enjoy it. But I don’t play any FPS to rank up or just to get a different color gun or whatever the new call of duty series is all about.

      Reply
  41. Hey Chris! Great article, I loved reading it. I also used to to play Halo quite a bit! I actually remember your videos when they were being released, back when The Halo 2 Forum was big. Your montage was actually one of the first good montages I had ever seen. Anyways, glad to see you are doing so well! Take care!

    TJ

    Reply
    1. Hey TJ hah thanks for stopping by. Yah I had a ton of fun with Halo over the years and although I’m excited about my life moving in a new direction I’ll always look back on that time with fond memories. I still play Halo but not nearly as much as before hah!

      Reply
  42. Great story…..I had heard you speak on a podcast discussing your gaming site and Amazon affiliate income at a high level, but forgot to read your article on this gaming forum you started up.

    Reply
    1. Hey Jeff, yah I’m still a gamer (although a little less so now that I have kids) but that is how I got my start so I’m still grateful for those early gaming sites getting me to where I am today.

      Reply
  43. I can’t stand this guy. He is a real dick. I remember signing up for lessons in H3 when I first started out and he took forever to give me lessons. When I messaged him he was like, I don’t take in game messages. What a joke. It wasn’t long until I singed up with another MLG Pro teacher, who btw ended up beating halocrap, or sorry halogod in h3 made me realize he wasn’t all that. Sorry kid your a jerk and hope people don’t waste there money on you.

    Reply
    1. lol Jake I have no recollection of any of this occurring. I’m also not a kid. I’m 30. Which in this case perhaps is embarrassing that I still play video games. I haven’t taught halo lessons in half a decade though at least…

      Reply
  44. This is so crazy, but I remember you from my time playing Halo back in the beginning of the H3 release! I didn’t go to any events, but I used the forum a fair amount and your thehalogod moniker just blew me away. Talk about nostalgia.

    Reply
    1. Hey Tyson, yah I was laid off from my video game testing job at Microsoft (they only let you work a 1 year contract then take three months off) and so for one week I was laid off Halo 3 was out and I just played a ton of that lol. My friends and I were some of the first level 50’s and then the next week I started my “real” sales job. 2 years later I was fired and went on to do this.

      Reply

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