I had to explain my business to my accountant recently having finally made some online income to declare! Its been a while since I tried to explain my business to someone who, although they had their own website and is very computer literate, really had no idea what I was talking about. The thing is that people think because the Internet has only be around for 40 years and Google for less than 10 years, maybe making money online is all different and there has never been a moment like this in history before – well I beg to differ – there is nothing new under the sun and understanding history is certainly useful in avoiding the mistakes others have made.
The Internet Marketing is like a gold rush people – Klondike, Otago, Victoria, doesn’t matter which country: gold is found, some people make money, many don’t, some companies are made others die, and society changes forever.
For those of you are not familiar with history: gold rushes brought incredible wealth it a few and incredible hard work and death to many more – and I am a firm believer that understanding history can sometimes stop you repeating it. Your average or typical gold rush goes something like this:
- Gold is found – the early prospectors try to keep it quiet but news comes out and the rush is on. Men abandon their families and start walking to the gold fields. Well at least you only have to walk to your nearest broadband connection these days! But try explaining to your spouse that your “playing online” is a serious business – they will think you mad or worse. My partner asked me the other day how many people make a living full-time online – I really have no answer but I suspect very, very few do, doing what I do.
- Many start digging the fields – backbreaking work, they go broke, the get sick, they die. Many of those diggers on the fields had been professionals they had never panned for gold in their lives – its hard and dangerous work. There is more skill than is apparent at first glance but basically its hard work, the tough survive. 95% of Internet Marketers give up before they make a $100 – I just made that statistic up, but its probably accurate. There is more skill required than is apparent at first glance but basically its hard work, sluicing a few pans of gold won’t make you a fortune, nor will your first website. Fortunately you don’t generally die working online though many people do seem to have issues with weight gain and loneliness.
- Some of the people who nearly made a strike or made a small strike but didn’t make enough to retire they move sideways and start to make a comfortable living by selling booze, picks and pans to the miners. A lot of booze was watered-down and some of the picks were of poor quality… The entire “A-list” blogger phenomenon are the the publicans and the suppliers of the gold fields – they sound like they have useful stuff to sell but there’s is not the business model you want to follow if you want to be the one to strike it rich. How many pubs can one town support (well quite a few from the Australian gold rush towns I may be pushing the analogy a bit here!)
- A very, very few of the miners found wealth beyond belief, they built a fine house (a long way from the gold fields), had a family and lived happily ever after. Most of them did not publish a book on how to make money on the goldfields. The people who make serious money online you never heard of -they don’t run blogs for sure!
Well most of them don’t write blogs – but one or two do… So if you really want to know how to make money blogging follow this link on how not to be a better blogger.
The gold rushes were a huge social disruption – they turned society upside down, they substantially changed the way society was forever. They created new towns, the Victorian gold rush stopped deportation to Australia forever. The wealth of Melbourne gave it some of the first municipal public transport and electric light in the world.
They were a huge chance for people to make money – people who had never had a chance before. Most people didn’t take the chance – they sat on the side-lines and worried about whether the gold fields were really a way to make money. Once the gold field became established they figured that they had missed the opportunity and stayed home. There are gold mines in Bendigo to this day – 140 years after the initial rush.
A lot of companies disappeared – they failed to realize the opportunity that the gold rush offered – some banks went broke because they didn’t open a branch in the new towns springing up to support the gold fields. I think that many of today’s newspapers are the equivalent of those short-sighted banks – will newspapers survive? How will they compete with new citizen journalism websites?
Some people dug for a day or two but they didn’t strike it rich and so they packed up and left – or got a job at the pub – selling the watered-down beer. They told everyone who would listen that you couldn’t really make money with this new fangled gold thingy!
Some people got burned – they bought the poor-quality shovels, they noticed they couldn’t move as much dirt as their competitors down the road – the smart ones reinvested in their business and bought better shovels.
Some people dug for gold in the wrong place – they dug and dug and found nothing – until one day! Some people made money on day one, some took 6 months or 6 years, the ones that stuck at it generally did make at least a living at it.
I’m a geologist – I’ve worked in exploration – I can tell you there is nothing quite like the thrill of finding gold or whatever mineral you are looking for. Even today where its all automated, GPSed and computerised there is still a thrill of the chase.
I used to find looking for keywords boring and frustrating – but then I started making money from those same keywords – now I find them absolutely fascinating – mostly the topics I write about are really boring – but I never get bored with watching the money come in…Gold panning is still back-breaking work I prefer the online alternative…