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I built my first website at 15 years old. I built my first website with the intention of making money at 16. Based on what I’m about to tell you, you could say it took me either 3 years to “make it online,” or 4. Three as at 18 my blog managed to get me a lucrative job in the internet marketing field or four as I managed to quit my job and start working for myself.
Either way, I am successful online but my success took a very long time. Time that has obviously taught me some lessons along the way. You can find people promising you overnight riches online or success in two weeks, but that’s not what you’ll read from me. I think these things are possible, but they’re the exception. They’re not easy to make happen. Instead, I believe that a genuine, ethical, liveable income can be generated online within 6-12 months. Perhaps more importantly is that I believe this online income can be achieved by someone of any experience, gender, or age. That means you.
Looking at my own learning curve, however, you could work out that it took me around 36-48 months to do what I have now proven I can do in 12. And, while I believe the learning curve is important, I still want to teach you all how to avoid the pitfalls and bad habits that I did on this journey so you don’t have to go through them yourself.
Got that? Awesome.
Sometimes I feel kind of obvious when writing blog posts as I have to give advice you’ve probably heard one hundred times before. Although that may be the case, I still feel it is very relevant to bring up this point. After all, it did save me a lot of time and that’s what I’m teaching you here.
The first website I ever built was about computer tips. Computers were something my younger, geeky-self was into at the time, so that’s what I decided to write about. I spent weeks working day and night on the website and absolutely loved it. I didn’t care that my time investment hadn’t made me a fair return. Instead, I was just enjoying the process of learning new things and talking about things on which I was knowledgeable.
My next website was about DJ’ing. At the time, I had owned turntables for 6 months and was improving my skills in the area. In the online space, MySpace were dominating with their idea for a social network online and were quickly becoming the website that everybody had to be a part of. Because of this, we decided to create a MySpace with a ‘DJ twist’ which we called: MyDJSpace.
This site was actually very successful: we quickly grew to 10,000 members, we ranked highly in Google for DJ related terms and we were even highlighted in the book DJ’ing for Dummies. I don’t work on the site now and I’ll spare you the long story of how that happened, but it is another example of a site that I loved working on and became successful.
After this however, I wanted money. I had worked hard for over a year and didn’t have much to show for it. I started returning to the webmaster forums where I used to spend so much time and see what worked for other people. I started about five websites that I quickly hated: a celebrity gossip blog and four proxies (?).
I made around $5,000 through my websites over the next year and over $20,000 through coaching about internet marketing. I was starting to get somewhere, but I really wasn’t enjoying what I did.
It took me a full three years to start another website that I actually passionately cared about (PluginID) and once again, the site turned out to become a massive success. Take something from the obvious fact that you should not only do what you love, but the three times I have, a lot of things have gone my way.
As I mentioned earlier, my belief is that to make a solid income online, you need to dedicate about 6-12 months in pursuit of the results you want. Things may happen earlier and some people may land on a goldmine, but generally, I think that is a good timeline to use. Because of this, you not only need to work on something you love in order to have the energy to keep going, but you also need to make sure you don’t stop once you get started.
Looking back, the amount of websites I have started and then gave up on is embarrassing. Thinking about all of the money I wasted on domains I let expire, scripts I didn’t use and work I hired for projects I no longer care about isn’t nice. But it did happen, and it happened a lot, so I want you to avoid it.
Can you promise me that?
Can you promise me that the next website you start or the one you care about most right now will get your consistent attention? Note how I don’t recommend you give all of your attention, just what is necessary for a long period of time. A lot of people will disagree with me here, but websites in pretty much any niche will make money. If you’re going to work hard on any site for at least 6 months, there will be the potential to make at least a few hundred dollars per month.
It may not allow you to quit your job, but now you have the foundations to take what you’ve learned and boost your income up to the next level. Do what you love, and don’t stop doing it.
Unless, of course, you have a genuine, no-bullshit excuse for quitting.
It’s probably very stupid of me to say this as I’m a blogger who would like a bigger audience, but I am still referring to myself in this section title. For the most part, once you have your first website up and you’re starting to take action, ignore pretty much the entire internet marketing industry.
I do say most people here, and not everyone. If there are blogs like Problogger, Copyblogger or even this one which you find provide a lot of value you can’t miss (or can’t get elsewhere) then keep reading them. However, if you’re just reading and following instructions blindly for the sake of doing something, then please stop now.
The number one hindrance to my success online was constantly building new websites or trying new ideas I thought would make me money quicker than doing what I love. I was at the stage where I would constantly build new websites in industries that I knew were making money, rather than ones I cared about. To see how stupid this is, ask yourself whether you would keep quitting your job and moving to new industries because your friends get paid more money than you.
For me, of course, this is a total learning process, but it doesn’t have to be for you. I imagine that it is still very exciting to get into the internet marketing world now with thousands of people promising you easy success. I really don’t want to take that excitement away from you, but I do want you to be realistic. Let’s just put it like this: the numbers that get thrown around as figures you can make online are possible to make. The timescales in which these are promised are generally not.
Anyone that has built a website worth owning has created it in months or years. Not weeks. Only focus on things like my $1m case study if you’re actually trying your own methods to make money. Otherwise, you’re just a sheep like I was and I’ll congratulate you in three years.
Although I would love it to be one.
|If you’re looking for some of my personal recommendations for people to follow that are going to be much ‘bigger’ in the next year then I point you in the direction of: Adam, Adam, Sean, Bud, Nathalie, Pat, Ram, Jade and Ivan.|