This post is geared towards newbies, but even experienced web entrepreneurs may get a spark of inspiration. And while the forum thread that I am referencing is targeted towards making money via Adsense, the wisdom can be applied throughout the broader spectrum of Internet business, or business in general.
The thread I am referring to is entitled, "You too can make $5.35/hour with AdSense?". It is an attempt by ronburk to "to counterbalance the many avidly read posts about people who are making big bucks" and encourage newbies to embark upon their new venture with a sense of realism.
Although I strongly encourage you to read the entire thread, I think some of the remarks made by various people should be highlighted, as the wisdom in their words bears repeating. Note: I did not seek permission from each person to reprint their quotes, so if any of you "own" these quotes, and wish me to remove them from the post, please let me know.
"I fear for all the newbies who may get skewed expectations (OK, even worsely skewed than they walked in with) by reading this forum. People everywhere seem to be making thousands of dollars a month, Markus makes millions per year, and... so you must be an utter dolt if you're sitting there staring at your $105 check for last month."
"Like most web distributions of everything, there's a power law effect for people going after AdSense income. In other words, a few people (and you can bet they post to let us know who they are!) are going to make the lion's share of the money, some larger number of people are going to make OK money, and a whole lot of us are going to make, well, not really very good money at all."
"Am I telling people not to try to make AdSense? No. But I'm telling people to not do AdSense instead of getting an education, to not quit their job to do AdSense, to not forego relationships to work more on AdSense. And if you're here to tell me that you did all those things and you're now the NBA star equivalent of AdSense, well, just remember that one bad injury can take you out of the game forever."
"Produce well-written, interesting and helpful content which real human beings need or want and the traffic and income should follow."
"Markus had a "possible experience" but it's not the experience the average newbie should expect to have."
"Get out from the average. Ronburk's hypothesis is a good guesstimate of what will happen if you do everything the average way. It can be done different, sure. You just need to be a not-in-the-average person with some not-in-the-average ideas."
"Exponential growth occurs when you leverage time, money, and energy and stacking that leverage over and over. If a person makes $500 per month on adsense revenue they can leverage their time - other peoples time - their income or other peoples income. They also can leverage their energy and other people's energy. The goal of leverage is to create GROWTH.
"Those who are on the bottom who remain on the bottom do not know how to leverage these forces. Those who create content over and over making a pittance at first are actually leveraging. Each time they create a page of useful content they create another way to generate revenue while increasing the scope of the website."
"AdSense will never be easy; like any job in the real world, you get paid in relation to value."
"Success is great, I know that first hand, but everyone here needs to be careful about making it sound too easy when discussing the rewards, and omitting the years of hard work building up to that success, the long nights, the years without weekend breaks, the nerve wrecking struggle to get ahead and earn visitors, remembering to mention some of that would do the newbs here a service."
"what do you think about my little "gold-rush" reminder: Everybody runs to California, Alaska, Australia, leaves his family - to become rich. fast. In the end some hit it big time (Scrooge Mc Duck), but most spent their humble earnings for food and some drinks. But who made the real money? Not the diggers, for sure."
"For whatever reason, in virtually every area of life a relative handful of people enjoy more success than they'll ever really need, a bunch will barely get by (if they're lucky). Work ethic, work skills, knowlege, experience and planning along with plain dumb luck make things the turn out the way they do."
"You need to have a good grasp of how to drive traffic to the pages in order to succeed."
"Business is a game...no matter if it's websites or commercial real estate...some of the details change but the underlying principles remain the same."
"Advertising as a business model only works if you have two things, lots of eyeballs and lots of pages."
"There's nothing wrong with having big goals--or in trying to achieve those goals--but don't assume that you're going to get rich"
"this thread is about taking a hard look at reality, not about dreams. I'm telling myself that I've got to do something seriously different this year than I did the previous two, or else I'm wasting my time."
"if you don't want to end up like most AdSense sites, you better figure out what you're going to do differently (higher traffic? better-paying keywords? lots of content in little time? etc.) What area are you going to be able to beat the averages in? if you don't devote some conscious thought to how you're going to avoid that fate and take some measurements along the way to see if you're succeeding, you may be setting yourself up for failure."
"where there is money, there is always going to be growing competition."
"Those who wish to create a fortune from adsense defy all odds and learn to leverage their abilities."
"Only through leverage can you gain exponential growth. If you don't you will continue the game as with any other job and that is you will continuously "WORK" for your money rather than accumulate wealth."
"UP UNTIL the point of diminishing returns is where the PROFIT LIES!"
"Entreprenuers know this fact. This is why most entreprenuers tend to start a business and work it until it hits the tail end of the exponential grown cycle and sell it off or a huge percentage - leaving other to manage it while they seek new businesses and branches."
As I said, the entire thread is worth reading, and I encourage you to do so. So many web entrepreneurs, whether they are SEOs, site owners, or others looking to make money via the web, fail to realize that this business is a business. Yes, some may get lucky and make a fortune without ever understanding that basic premise. There are lucky people in the "brick and mortar" world as well. But the average joe should consider the realities that are involved with making money online, rather than believing all of the "get rich quick" schemes that permeate the 'net.
I began my online ventures a few years ago after I'd just been laid off from a job. (Yes, that brick and mortar business did not understand the concepts involved in keeping its business open). The job market in my area had dried up, so I decided to try to make some money from home while I looked for a job. I spent several grueling months of 24/7 work creating my first product - a ColdFusion application that I believed would be useful to other ColdFusion developers. I quickly realized that it would be quite useful if people actually knew the product existed, so I began the journey of search engine optimization self-discovery.
Because this was a niche product, it didn't take much work to rank #1 in the search engines. I was getting good traffic and because I'd priced the product low, I was making enough money to pay for groceries each month. I couldn't pay the bills, but I was eating!
This led me to the thought that maybe I could create more products. Over the next year, I made several more applications, following the same prescription to get traffic to them, and made a bit more money. I was still not paying all the bills. But now I was eating and paying SOME of the bills.
For two years, I did my time. I never did find a "real" job, and the two years I spent juggling bills and avoiding creditors was not fun. However, I also wasn't sitting on my butt, watching soap operas all day. I wasn't making much money, but I was learning HOW to make money, and I was working hard to achieve success.
Eventually, I branched out. I'd learned much more about SEO than I'd ever thought possible, and I began to take on clients. I also began creating websites that didn't involve writing ColdFusion applications. At that point, I tried every idea that crossed my brain, and trust me, I had a LOT of ideas. The thought was that I'd throw all the ideas at the wall, and whichever ones "stuck" would be the keepers. The rest would die on the vine.
Over the years, I've made many mistakes. Luckily, most of them didn't cost much for the lessons learned. But I've learned incredible lessons both from my mistakes, as well as from those of others. I've also absorbed tons of valuable information from people I have grown to respect via their "words of wisdom" posted on blogs and forums.
The words of wisdom posted in the "You too can make $5.35/hour with AdSense?" are just snippets of wisdom that I hope everyone learns a little bit from. I have, and I know that I'll continue to learn as time goes on.
It has taken me years to get to the point where I no longer have to even think about bills or creditors. I know I have the skills and knowledge to make a living without ever having to leave my house again. Part of that came from trial and error. Part of it came from learning from others. Hopefully, everyone - newbie or savvy - will continue to try, continue to experiment, continue to learn from mistakes, continue to learn from others, and continue to succeed.