I quite often get people emailing me because they saw my semi-illiterate ramblings somewhere on the Interwebs. I had another one recently which asked – “are my efforts going to be worth it?” – or in other words – is worth trying to make an income online?
What I wrote back was – in part:
I can’t tell you whether your efforts are worth it? What are your income goals/what’s your time frames/ do you have financial support on the learning curve? What are your cost of living? To be honest I would never have made this a full-time income if I was doing it part-time – the motivation wouldn’t have been there and I would be too burnt out after working for someone else all day.
Full-time though has its issues though – I now tell people they should have enough savings for 2 years living expenses if they are contemplating doing this full-time. Then there is the isolation of doing this alone (that’s driven more than one person I know back to employment), the sheer frustration of seeing a site take up to a year to settle down and be a consistent earner.
For me going back to a well paid professional job would be purgatory – but that’s just me! I’m 47 and my partner is 57 so I am looking for something that will support us both in “retirement” – and pretty much and am at that level now. I’m not satisfied with that – but I am sure this is what I will be doing for some time to come. As recently as 6 months ago I was only semi-seriously saying “I was playing on the interwebs” when asked what I did. I still don’t know what to call what I do online to friends – but I do know its definitely worth it for me – your mileage may vary though 🙂
I had a particularly good freelance payment into my Paypal overnight – and when I logging in to transfer the money (don’t ever leave large sums in Paypal BTW people) – it occurred to me to check and yes since the start of the tax year, 1 July in Australia, I had now earned enough to start making sure I make some provision for paying tax – that made me smile quite broadly and caught my partner’s attention (probably because his contract finishes in 6 weeks). Oh and don’t bother dropping a comment about how paying tax is awful – paying tax means you are making money what’s bad about that?
Yeah I look like a success right – but as recently as March I made a grand total of $141 from Adsense and affiliate sales – Iwas pissed off, frustrated and guilty for living of my partner’s income. I thought long and hard about what I could do instead of this game of trying to make an income online. I came up with two:
- I could get a job in IT or geology;
- I could retrain – probably at university – but I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do
and I didn’t want a job. Fuck it – I’d just have to make this work. And oddly enough from the day on I have made more and more money 🙂 Not every month do I make more than the previous month, sometimes Adsense is up, sometimes affiliates are down, sometimes freelancing pays really well. Swings and roundabouts – but they don’t make me question what I will be doing in 6 months or 6 years.
I will still be making an online income – because its basically the single best option for me. Here’s why:
- its location independent. I’ve always lived to travel, now so long as the country has a reliable power supply and Internet (and that removes surprisingly little of the world) I can live there an earn an income;
- I don’t answer to a boss. I really have a problem with authority, particularly with stupid authority – my definition of stupid can be a little too broad for many bosses to handle;
- Its not boring – the whole game of working out how to persuade the search engines I am the best – that’s an ever changing game complete with deliberate obfuscation and an ever changing landscape of competitors and (unseen) rules – I find it fascinating. No real world job has held my attention for more than 18 months – after that I generally know all I care to know about that particular organisation!
- I hate to have my life down to organised 1/2 hour intervals. I hate having to plan my lunch hours so I have the time to go to dentist or meet someone for lunch;
- I don’t have to get dressed in the mornings, when I get dressed its neither business casual, or even smart casual – its down right comfortable and scruffy.;
- In short working online gives me freedom to be who and what I am – without having to conform to some truely irritating social norms!
On the downside there are negatives but I for me they are far outweighed by the positives:
- Income goes down as well as up. I finally started to make some decent dollars with eBay – the month they changed their program and threw me back to the cents/day level 🙂 I used to have a salary – I knew what I would be earning – to the cent months in advance. Now I can be up or down 20% a month just like that;
- The work you do today will see you paid months or even years down the line- there is a complete disconnect between this month’s work and this month’s earnings – of course this can be good too – if you are on holiday!
- I don’t make as much as I used to – true my expenses have gone down – but still I want to make more – its taking longer than the 3 months I thought it would when I started over 2 years ago – but it will happen.
- Working from home is isolating. Now I never thought I was such a loser that I went to work to make friends and meet people – but I did miss it, a little.
- Working from home can be a disaster in terms of weight loss if you are not careful you will put on a lot of weight – thought you had a sedentary desk job before – at least you had to leave the house walk to the car, and then walk from the car to the office at the other end! I seriously suggest that if you are doing this full-time that you take some dancing classes or something else to keep your body working!
- I have absolutely no idea to describe what I do for a living – my current line is “I work for Google” – I’ll see how that goes!
So is it worth it trying to make an online income? For me – absolutely! But for you – I don’t know. Its certainly been the single most frustrating and annoying few years of my life. I’ve given up twice, but third time lucky – I figure. How about you – what drives your dream to making money online?