I had been following Glens blog when it suddenly became awefully quiet. Then it appeared I was still following him but on another blog, one where I should have known or remembered that this was his site but well, you know how the mind operates sometimes, dont you? Recently he popped back up on not just mine but everybodys radar; Glen is well liked all around.
This series of Q&A's started when the economic situation was worse than it is now. Making money online seems like *the* answer for a lot of people who no doubt have it really hard at the moment.
You're the "make money online" message personified. Quit the UK when you were 18, moved to South Africa and now, at 20, you're about to move to Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Without going into details we can say you have earned and still do earn your own money — clearly.
So here's my question… If you're 28 instead of 18 … and are married with children … would going for it online still make sense to you?
My short answer to this is simply: yes and no.
If what I feel I can offer to the world can be shared online and what I love doing is internet based then yes, I would go for it. If I don't want to do anything in the internet space specifically then I wouldn't.
It's all well and great seeing thousands of people making their living online and wanting to do the same, but if you don't love what you're doing then the money is not going to make you any happier.
Many members of my family, for example, know that I make a very good living online. Despite this, they have no desire to build websites themselves or try to do the same. I know many people who love their jobs (such as my mother, who is a carer) and would probably even do them for free.
I think most people can take their offline passions into the online world and still enjoy it though so if that is the case for you reading this, then go for it.
Someone emailed me saying they had quit their job and needed to make $3,000 per month within 2 months and asked me how to do it. It's possible, but don't be like that person. If you want to make a go of making a living online then gradually spend more and more time researching and building in this space before making any drastic changes.
When I picture the typical "let's try this" online publisher I imagine someone frantically churning out content, Adsense never making more than 2 cents a day and affilate sales never going over the minimum payout level.
Contrasting with that I see you working with Leo Babauta Zen-like focus. Growing income.
What or where is the difference between earning a buck online and earning money online?
The difference between a site of mine making $100 a month and one that is regularly making me $5,000 is nothing more than the traffic they receive. There are tons of factors that come into play such as how the site is earning money (adsense, affiliate sales, ad sales, selling text links) and pricing (eBook cost, services, etc) but generally, traffic is the number one factor.
If you can buid a site that is making you just $50 per month, you "just" have to grow what you're doing by 10x to start making a decent income online.
Getting this traffic, of course, depends on how hard you are willing to work to establish yourself in the niche – if you're blogging or something of that nature – or how hard you are working at building links to get more search engine visitors.
Earning more money online is not just about the technical stuff, but how hard you're willing to work, whether you're willing to fail, and how quickly you get back up when that first hurdle knocks you down. Everything you need to succeed in this area is already available out there, you just need to put it into practice.
Once you have started your site and you work on it consistently, give it … how much time before saying "this is or isn't working"?
I'm a very impatient person so if I have an idea for a website, I want it created yesterday. In the event of being unable to travel back in time, I'll quickly purchase a domain and whip up a site or contact my programmer immediately if it's out of my technical capabilities. The things that work or don't work for me don't tend to be so much the markets I pick, but how passionate I am about the project.
After doing this for a few years you just get to a stage where you know whether something has potential or not. Whether, with enough work, something can make a substantial income. I tend to rush through my site building so I know the ones I should keep working on are the ones that I still want to continue with 2 weeks from now.
I have an embarrassingly large number of websites just sitting there that had tons of content put on them in a few days or a cool script that I was going to promote heavily. If my passion wanes for the project, I will just decide that it's not meant to be. I see no point in working on things I don't love.
I do have one exception to this rule which is a games website I'm working on. It's only focused around one game so it could completely tank, even though I still love the idea. If I've used up as much of my resources that I feel is necessary and the site isn't gaining any traction, then I'll know it's time to move on to something else.
Gary Player once said "the harder I work the luckier I get" and I can completely relate to this. I do not think anything on my path has been 'lucky' as such but putting in enough hours to mean that opportunities simply have to appear. I'm a strong advocate for the simple truth that if you take action, life will not hold anything back from you.
For example, if you go the gym 5 days per week for the next 6 months, you are going to see changes. Your body will not look exactly the same as it was 6 months prior. If you take action in any area of your life, things will begin the happen.
Success online is no different. If you also realize that your current life situation is nothing more than the actions you've taken (this even includes your job, your social circle, your relationships) then you realize that with enough effort in the right direction, you can succeed at anything you set your mind to.
I hope to prove that action-equals-results over and over again in my lifetime to help other people realize that they can do the same.
You know social media, you know social networking. It's part of who you are and part of what you used to do for clients.
What's the technical future of social media and social networks? Are we looking at a future where platforms like Facebook and Twitter are the de facto methods to "do" social stuff the way Microsoft Windows is the de facto way to "do" computer stuff?
For most questions I get asked I can answer them easily. Predicting the future in this space, however, is certainly not one of my strong points.
I have no doubt that slowly, but surely, people will start to move away from the traditional desktop and operating system setup. The cloud is becoming a quick and secure way to hold everything you need and the internet is getting quicker and more reliable to enable that to happen.
I had my hard drive fail recently (which I did not back up) but did not lose anything important to me. All that I have in terms of photos can be found on the likes of Facebook and the majority of documents I work with are on Google Docs. I do tend to backup things offline just incase, but this need is becoming less important.
However, there are still millions (billions?) of people who would not move away from the traditional operating system setup unless it seemed very familiar to what they're already used to. No matter how many awesome social sites and networks there are out there, people still have to get work done to keep the world going around so these networks are not going to be an 'online home' anytime soon in my opinion.
If I was Microsoft, I would be worried.
The 5 tools you love to use and suspect readers don't know?
1. Self Control – If you work online, it's very easy to get distracted. Something that helps with this is a Mac application that allows you to block websites for up to 12 hours. The really neat thing about this is that restarting your computer or closing the application will not turn it off. The websites will still be blocked; so use with caution. This is really effective for helping me get things done though. If you block Twitter.com this will also block Tweetdeck which I find is one of my biggest productivity drains.
2. InFormEnter – This is a firefox plugin that allows me to quickly fill in forms online whether I'm paying for something or leaving my information for a blog comment. I have been informed that RoboForm will do this automatically (you have to click for each field with IFE) so I'm going to look into that as well.
3. Go Nutshell – GoNutshell.com is my homepage and serves as both a to do list and a note taker. I had been looking for something like this forever and only found it about 6 weeks ago but totally love it.
4. BLVDStatus – This analytics tool was created by the guys from 97thFloor SEO and is just fantastic. They recently turned the site into a premium based model but that didn't stop me from using them. This is a live analytics program that shows you how much traffic your websites are getting in a very nice overview. They also have a great section to show you the rankings for your keywords and how many visitors you're getting from each.
I think I'm out of uniqueness I'm afraid. Most people will know the other tools I use such as Skype, Tweetdeck, Firefox and Screenflow.
What do you wish you could send yourself as a message to when you were 12?
Whatever you have the urge to do, please do it.
Luckily, I think my 12 year old self already heard that messsage as that's exactly what he did and that's how I ended up where I am now.
It's slightly against the norm but my advice for anyone is to follow whatever interests you right now instead of waiting around for some 'life purpose' or 'main passion' to appear in your life.
If you follow your biggest interest right now, the path will lead you down lots of turns and many doors will ope