Over the past week, this subject has come up in a number of different ways with several bloggers asking me to help them, but the central theme has been “Is it really possible to make money on the Internet?” and “How can I make money on the Internet?” I’m a perfect example that it can be done because if I can do it, anyone can.
The reason I know this is because I possess no special skills and I’m no more talented than the next person. I’m not especially computer literate and although I know a lot about the subject matter I write about, it has for the most part all been self taught. So why is it that I have been able to make blogging and websites a full time job when many who have better skills and talent than I haven’t been able to do so?
I think a lot of it has to to with attitude. While it helps to have superior writing skills, that in itself isn’t enough to succeed. Here are the skills I think made it possible for me to make money on the Internet. I don’t believe that making money is easy or simple (yes, some people get lucky and it is for them, just like there are lottery winners, but far more people that are making money simply appear to have been lucky. In reality, they worked their butts off for many long hours to get where they are). While this is probably not a typical list of traits and skills that are associated with making money, I don’t think I would be where I am today without them:
Stubbornness: Being stubborn has helped me to keep going even when it seemed that nobody knew that we existed on the Internet. I think most people quit because the success doesn’t come quickly or easy enough for them. It isn’t easy money. It takes a lot of work and dedication just as it would take to make any business successful. Being stubborn and refusing to give up has helped me clear many hurdles that could have stopped me dead in my tracks.
Passion: I love what I do. Since creating something that makes money on the Internet is difficult, if I didn’t love doing what I’m doing, I would never have had the stamina to keep going. Passion let me spend long hours working on the sites without realizing how much time I was actually spending because even with all those long hours, I still liked what I was doing above all the other choices I had.
Creativity: Working on the Internet will always pose some unexpected problems, so creativity has helped us to solve the numerous problems that have arisen along the way. The solution to problems often doesn’t reveal itself right away. We have had to be willing to try new ideas and multiple failures until we hit on something that worked for what we were trying to accomplish. Being able to be creative and adapt has helped a lot in making everything work.
Self Motivation: Since I’m working for myself, being able to motivate myself to keep writing and putting effort into the project when it didn’t always seem to be worthwhile to do so was essential. If I hadn’t been able to find ways to keep myself motivated at all stages of growing the sites, these would not exist today. It wasn’t always easy to keep going when it seemed there was no reward for the effort, but even during those times I found a way to motivate myself to keep producing material.
Vision: I don’t think we ever had a grand vision of where this would all lead, but we have always had a vision of where we want to go. Instead of being at the bottom of a mountain and looking at the top and saying we wanted to get there, we were at the bottom and saw a step in front of us and formed a vision of how to climb up to the next step. As we grow I think we are beginning to look a wider, but that concentrated vision in the beginning was extremely helpful.
Time: We new we were in this for the long haul from the beginning. In fact, when we started there wasn’t any platform out there for people to make money from content alone (adsense still didn’t exist). It never entered our mind that we would make a lot of money quickly. We felt that if we could produce good quality content and information for people that eventually it would be of value for advertisers and figured it was going to be years down the road. Had we assumed that we were going to make money in a short period of time, we would have been highly disappointed and probably quit long ago.
Voice: I have brought my own voice into what I’m writing. While this may sound obvious, it has been hard. I’m not the best writer in the world and I would even dare to say that a good description of my writing style is “common” When I see other writers that put the words down so much more eloquently than I am able to do, I want to change my style. In the few attempts I’ve made, it has been disastrous because it simply isn’t me. That is not to say that I don’t incorporate things that I see other writers doing that I like, but when I do this I do it in my own style instead of trying to change mine to theirs.
Faith: Not faith in the spiritual sense, but that what we’re creating is helpful to others. Although for a long time we weren’t getting any feedback that this was the case, we had faith that what I was writing and Nate was building could help people positively in their lives. We had the faith that if I could accomplish this, then our time and effort would be rewarded in some way.
Help: We wouldn’t be where we are today without a lot of help along the way. When we first started out, it was brutal trying to get the word out that we existed. Over time, however, we were able to find other people that were in the same situation as we were and we banded together to help each other sites as best we could. There were also some slightly bigger sites that could see our potential and drive and thankfully were willing to take a chance on us. We could have never done it on our own.
No Life: This is Nate’s contribution to the list and to a great degree it is true. We gave up a lot of other things we could have been doing to place our effort into creating the sites. When I was working full time at another job, it was literally like doing two full time jobs at the same time. So in a sense, I did have no outside life for a period of time there.
As you can see, my list of what you need to be successful on the Internet doesn’t match up well with most of the others you have probably read, but I think it is a realistic list of what got us to where we are today. For those that are looking for easy money, I’m sorry if my list disappoints. What I can say is that the skills listed above are ones that every person has within them and so it can be done if that is what you want to do. It’s also a wonderful experience along the way and makes it that much more satisfying when you can say that it is your full time job.