First, some personal history for context…
At present day, after about 20 years of working online and never having a 9-5 job, I am in the privileged position of being able to live a comfortable life while working less than four hours a week.
That’s all great, but let’s see how I got here…
When I first started out designing websites, doing affiliate marketing, and myriad other little enterprises one can do online, I was overjoyed to see some money pouring in. Soon enough, instead of just pocket money, I was making a full-time living from my online work, and I was euphoric about the whole thing.
Coming from a tiny island where working online was unheard of at the time (and thus a very risky thing for me to try out) I was so happy to have my ideas and dreams validated.
Prior to embarking on my online journey, I had followed the path that all parents in my country want their children to follow; study hard and obtain a university degree. In fact, I had obtained not only one but 3 University degrees by the age of 23. At that point, however, after having spent thousands of dollars on my education, I flew off on a tangent and instead of getting a job at a local company, I decided that I’d rather do my own thing.
For a long time, my parents and friends thought I was crazy for doing so. In the end, however, it all paid off and I am where I am today only because I had the courage to take that decision back then.
Is it so easy to make money online?
As soon as I started seeing some success with my online ventures, the basic human instinct of sharing knowledge made me start trying to persuade everyone around me to do the same thing that I was doing. I couldn’t believe why my friends complained about their low salaries, terrible bosses, etc, but then wouldn’t even consider putting in some effort to try and earn some money online with the hope of leaving that dreaded job they complained so much about. Heck, they didn’t even seem one bit interested in how I made money online.
This doomed exercise of evangelization continued for several years. I thought that everyone could make money online, that it’s simple and so much better than working a 9-5 job for someone else.
In retrospect though, and after having met many other successful online workers and entrepreneurs, I’ve realized that making money online is not for everyone. It’s just as difficult (if not more so) than getting any other skilled job. It is one of the most accessible ways to generate money, as it doesn’t matter where you are, who you know, etc. All you need is your own knowledge and an internet connection. While it is definitely a very accessible path, it is not easier than the alternatives.
There are so many factors that come into play and affect whether you are successful or not in making money online. I estimate that more than 90% of those who actually try to make a living through any type of online venture actually fail. Of those who do manage to earn some money, only a fraction eventually get to the point that they can earn enough to justify doing that full-time instead of having a 9-5 job.
You see, as I came to realize, the vast majority of successful online workers, far from being the average Joe, are highly talented people. Building an online business requires an entrepreneurial spirit, lots of patience, an incredible amount of motivation, support from the people closest to you, and a fair amount of luck to boot. That’s only mentioning the few first factors that come to mind. There are many more.
Most people don’t and won’t ever have the right combination that enables them to go down this route in life. Clearly, for many people, their job is their vocation, and although they complain about their workplace, salary or colleagues, in the end, that’s what they are most suitable for and that’s how they can best give service to the rest of society.
So I’ve stopped trying to persuade everyone and their dog to start an online business and live the life of their dreams. Of course, if someone I know is really motivated to do so and asks me for help and advice, I’d more than gladly share all I know about it, but it’s not for everyone.
At the start of this post, I said that I am lucky enough to have to work very little to make a living. I am by no means rich and don’t own any real estate, but I can live anywhere I want in the world and have the liberty of doing what I want with my time while having enough income to support myself and my family from month to month.
The truth however is that I work way more than 4 hours a week. I do that because I love what I do, I don’t consider it to be work but play.
Think about your typical kid, what would he like to do on a perfect day. Play video games, or soccer with friends?
That’s the way I feel about working online most days. I wake up with a lot of energy to chase a new idea, or fine-tune an existing business. And all the successful online workers I know have that same feeling about the work they do. They’re definitely not lazing about on a beach for the rest of their lives while their websites deposit money into their accounts as they sleep.
So that doubt in me remains, are these Internet marketing blogs promoting a big lie? Are they making a ton of money off people who can never really make a living online? Are we online workers really being truthful when we say that anyone can earn money on the web? Is it time for a more mature breed of Internet marketing blog, targeted at people who already have established online businesses? What do you think?
Here are some blogs that speak the truth about making money online and don’t try to sell dreams:
- A Reality Check about Blogging for Money – Problogger.net
- Is Blogging a Good Way to Make Money? – ChrisG.com
- The Truth About Making Money While You Sleep – Copyblogger.com
- Reality check: You’re not going to make money from your blog – PenelopeTrunk.com
- The History of My First Online Business – SmartPassiveIncome.com
What any serious online marketer or blogger will tell you, is that it takes a lot of work and commitment to succeed online. No one can give you a shortcut to earning thousands or millions without any knowledge, simply because there is no shortcut to online success.
Online success = Hard work and commitment + Constant learning + Right timing + Networking
That success is the result of hard work and commitment is probably common knowledge, but I also like to add in the other three less-mentioned factors. Dedicating a lot of hours to something does not equal success unless you know what you are doing, are doing it at the right time and you’re making the effort to network with your peers.