From the day that I created my first website, to the day that I decided to dedicate myself wholeheartedly to building up an online income, approximately 22 months passed.
Throughout those first twenty-two months, I did generate small amounts of residual income from my websites and it did grow, month after month.
However the majority of what I accomplished in those first months was not to generate income.
If you are wondering what this has to do with you, I don’t blame you. But if you are still interested in reading more, here we go.
Lets have a look at those first months:
1. My online enterprise was experimental, even recreational. I was working long days and long hours at another profession and what I did online was more of an entertaining distraction from day-to-day life. On some occasions, weeks would go by when I didn’t have time to even check my email, let along update a website or learn any code.
2. Several projects I worked on were intentionally not monetized, and I had no intention of monetizing them for a long time to come.
3. Several of the projects I worked on were done for educational purposes – in other words, to practice and learn. And learn I did.
4. Biggest time consumer: Dumb Mistakes. If there’s one thing which can eat up more time than anything I know, it might be this one. Dumb Mistakes. The mistakes I made during those first 22 months might have easily cost me at least 12. And yes, I mean 12 months worth of mistakes.
Examples of Dumb Mistakes? Well, lets look at some things a new marketer can do wrong:
- Thinking that I would have to buy a new hosting account for every site I had. And thus, creating most of my sites as free Blogger Blogs in order to avoid paying extra hosting costs. In fact, for a full year I had two “real” websites and I paid hosting for both separately. Embarrassing, but true. One day I realized that Blogger is great but it’s not where to put your website if you’re in it for the long haul. Too late! And this is how my one Page Rank 4 site happens to be a Blogger Blog. If I had known better, I would have simply registered a domain name and placed my blog there. It could even have been WordPress. Oh well, sigh. That blog is http://freepoemsonline.blogspot.com by the way, in case you are curious.
- Oh it gets better. At one point I decided that my first website wasn’t going to make it and that I should transfer its content to a Blogger Blog so that I wouldn’t have to pay for hosting. Not only did I waste incredible amounts of time creating a Blogger Blog and transferring my content (as well as hours searching for other free web hosting oppurtinities), but I even went to other websites which were linking (sometimes quite naturally) to my sites, and I asked them to change the links to the Blogger Blog! Which they did. Somewhere along the line while I was preparing to nuke my site, I noticed all of a sudden that it had Page Rank 3. Oops. I decided not to get rid of it. I still have that site, and it now makes a few hundred dollars a month. But boy, was that a waste of time (and links).
- Needless to say, I
spentwasted time on several other free blogs, which could have been great start-up websites if I had known that all I had to pay for was a domain name. Some of them built up Page Rank. But down the line when I realized I needed to have self-hosted WordPress Blogs, my poor little freebies faded into the back burner. So in the long run, yeah, it was a waste of time.
But I DID learn a lot in the process, and maybe that’s what counts the most at this stage of the game.
I could list out plenty more of these, but I will spare you the pain.
Now here is another thing we spend a lot of time on when we are first starting out – learning how to do some things, and learning how not to do some things.
We buy a software or product and spend time using it and experimenting with it. Sometimes in the end we realize that that software is useless. Sometimes we are so glad we got it. But in the long run, I can’t say I regret trying these things when I did. If I hadn’t been willing to learn about new tools, I also would not have found the tools which are invaluable time-savers me and which have opened up whole new possibilities.
But all in all, its true that a lot of time goes into that. Especially in the beginning I think.
What did I gain, more than anything, in these first 22 months?
Primarily I gained what I learned.
Keeping in mind that when I started out I knew less about the Internet in general than the average person. Like “what’s a hyperlink?” Domain name? URL? Server? All new to me. As far as HTML code was concerned, forget it. I had not a clue. I couldn’t make text bold in html. FaceBook? Never heard of it. Blogs? I had never blogged, nor commented on a blog. I did not know what a blog was.
So what did I learn in these twenty-two months?
- Well, all the basics of Internet Marketing. Keyword Research, Affiliate Marketing, Social Networking, Web 2.0, Advertising, Article Marketing, Blogging, Payment Processing, Online Sales, and ya … you know. It goes from there.
- Oh – well I learned what a blog was. Big first step! And how to blog, how to work with WordPress. Installation, optimization, and the works. It doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but it did then!
- Basic HTML and Dreamweaver.
- Lots of “don’ts.” Don’t do this, don’t do that. Learned some of those the hard way. Oops.
- SEO, and More SEO. Onsite SEO. Offsite SEO. Siloing. Latent Semantic indexing (LSI).
- Software, more software, and other software. Oh yes and how to program this software or install that software. Software I learned and kept using, software I learned and never used again. But lots of software.
It looks pretty simple when I list it out here. But when you think about all of the details, ramifications, eBooks, Google Searches, Free Reports, and Blog Reading … the truth is, we spend a lot of time just figuring out what we are doing!
I think the most valuable thing I gained in those 22 months was what I learned, the experience I got, the experimentation, the friends I made, the mistakes I learned not to make again, the tools and techniques I learned to use, the tools and techiniques I learned not to use, and the increased familiarity with the whole ruddy field of Internet Marketing.
My point? Well, its up to you to determine what my point is. Maybe to remind you that even for those rare souls who are not yet making a million dollars a minute, try to remember that this doesn’t mean you are wasting your time. It also doesn’t mean you aren’t wasting your time. You could be wasting your time. I don’t know.
What have you learned? Have you gained ground or gone nowhere? Have you learned as much as you could? Do you use what you learn and practice with it, or do you just spin around in circles going nowhere all the time?
There is also a point in time when its time to shift – from spending a large percentage of our time “learning” to spending a larger percent of our time “producing.” Ie, getting something done.
Its important to recognize when its time to make that shift. Too early or too late could slow you down.