Warning – Read This Before Starting An Online Business

Warning – Read This Before Starting An Online Business

Posted by on Oct 10, 2010 in Financial Freedom

When I started my own Internet journey in 2005, I wasn’t really thinking about financial freedom or earning lots of money.

I thought about sharing my knowledge of tennis with the world – and have more people benefit from what I have learned.

Therefore, I did not have a set amount of how much I want to earn. I just wanted to publish my brain.

So there was not this “catch” in my mind: if I invest this much time and effort into this, then I would expect such and such reward (money).

I kept writing my tennis articles without any expectations of a special reward. I eventually wrote so many articles and was in touch with so many other tennis websites that I started to receive lots of daily visitors.

I began receiving around 300-400 daily unique visitors each day. Eventually, I learned more about earning money with an online business, wrote my first ebook and earned my first passive dollars.

All of this became extremely exciting and very motivating. That drive and determination resulted in me becoming free in December 2007.

Since then, I have recommended Site Build It and simply the Way of the Internet to many friends – in Slovenia and online.

I’ve helped many start their websites and helped them along.

But…

They either don’t earn even a dollar per day or they earn some really insignificant amount.

Why?

Here’s what I think (at this moment): I think that almost all these people started their websites looking for a set outcome.

They painted a picture in their mind of earning $500 per month or maybe even much more.

Then they started their SBI journey (or WordPress or something else). They learned how to build pages, how to optimize them and spent LOTS of time reading the Action Guide and the forums and other stuff about Internet Marketing.

They invested a lot of time.

Then they started writing articles. If they had NEVER written any articles (except in school for homework), never done any type of report writing or some other form or writing, they realized that writing articles TAKES A LOT OF TIME.

Especially if you have to do a lot of online research for your topic, in order to complete your article.  It can take from 2 to 5 hours to come up with a single article of about 500 words.

And if you combine that with commuting to work, being stuck in a job from 9 to 5, picking up kids, taking them to tennis training, cooking, washing, ironing, cleaning and then getting the kids to bed, by the time you finally have some time to work at 9PM, you are exhausted and simply want to relax and watch some TV.

“I’ll do the Internet thing tomorrow; I cannot imagine writing an article for the next 3 hours…”

And the next day is no different than the day before.

The amount of work that has to be put into creating just a few pages is quite a lot – AFTER the whole day.

In reality, it’s not that much. If your boss asked you to write articles on something and research the web on tennis racquets, you could have written at least 3 reviews in one single morning.

You’d have a 60 page website in a month and a 180 page website in 3 months. That would bring in some serious traffic even with minimal link building.

My point here is that writing these articles is not that much work – you do a lot more work at your job.

But it is difficult at 9PM in the evening.

Or you may decide to outsource your article writing and pay a couple of hundred dollars extra to get some articles for your site and of course, you still don’t earn anything.

But here’s the catch and the crux of the problem: you’ve decided to start an online business so that you earn money. Perhaps as some extra cash to have at the end of the month or perhaps to really become financially free.

The problem begins when you invest tens of hours of work (and money) and NOTHING happens.

Or in reality, you get 17 daily visitors. You may even try some Google Adsense and then you find out that you’re about to earn $6.72 for the whole month.

The unfortunate conclusion that you make is that those tens of hours of work (and money invested) resulted ONLY in $6.72 and that this is simply not worth it.

The amount of work and money invested does not result in something satisfying and motivating. This is simply not worth doing.

And so you stop working on your site and the game is over.

The other possibility that also leads to “game over” is if you just try this online business thing.

“Trying” actually means this in your mind: “I will invest a little bit of time and energy so that I won’t waste it too much if this doesn’t show any results.”

Of course, you already failed the second you decided to invest a “little bit” of time and effort. It’s game over already.

In some sense, most of us earning decent money with our websites are quite happy that this is so. There is a LOT LESS competition. 95% of the people will not make it through – or so it seems.

95% of the people will not last 100 pages and 50 built links which would probably earn at least $5 to $10 per day – resulting in $150 to $300 which is a nice sum – and it shows you that it’s possible.

Not only that, but you keep earning that money now EVEN if you don’t do anything. You’re now on the passive income train. And it feels really good. In fact, it feels unbelievable.

You’re not working and yet you’re earning money. That’s incredibly cool. That gives you the energy to keep building those pages and those darn links.

And page by page and link by link you get more and more traffic and more and more money. Yihaaaa!

You’re now unstoppable and it’s only a matter of time when you earn enough to free yourself.

That’s the happy end version.

The sad end version most likely started the SECOND you set an outcome in your mind and started to calculate (maybe even subconsciously) whether the amount of work and money you put into the site is worth the outcome.

There’s only a certain period of time and only a certain amount of work and money you’re willing to put in based only on hope before you want something in return (income) – or you will simply stop. It makes no sense to keep working and getting nothing in return.

Day by day you invest less and less time into your site and there are of course no increases of traffic. More and more you’re convinced that this isn’t working and that it’s not worth it.

Eventually you give up and think that this is not for you or that you’re too clumsy with computers and that there’s simply no other way than to simply grind it out until retirement.

That’s the sad version of the Internet journey.

And so far, almost everyone whom I know and who has started their websites ended up in the sad version of the story.

My intention with this post is to warn all those considering SBI or any other tool to start their online business to really be careful when thinking about the outcome and the reward they want.

The reality is this: the reward you’re looking for – even if that’s just $5 per day will take about 10-20 times more effort than you think it will take right now.

And if you’re not almost obsessed with breaking free from your job, you most likely won’t make it. You’ll give up before you’ll get to a point where the income will start to motivate you.

Starting an online business is like starting to work for someone for 4 hours per day for 6 months before getting paid. And even when you get paid after 6 months, you’ll be paid $5 for the whole day of work.

And it will take 6 more months before you’ll get paid proportionally to the amount of work you’ll put in that day.

If you can stick to it and last that long, you’ll be a success in the online business world. If not, you’ll give up much, much sooner.

So what’s really the right mindset to succeed?

One of the keys, often recommended by Ken Evoy too, is that you build your site about your passion. That’s great – but unfortunately most of the people don’t know what their passion is. They lost it many years ago when they tried to fit in with their peers.

In case you have a passion, start your site on it – even if the demand is not that great. The passion will take you over the tough stage of starting an online business and you will get to a point where you’ll earn some money and see that this IS possible.

But if you don’t know what your passion is, then you have to be 100% sure that this works (by reading blogs like mine and convincing yourself that is impossible that ALL of us are making this up).

You have to have almost obsessive determination that you want to earn more money or break free from your job.

And you must have NO EXPECTATIONS in the first year of working on your site – and at the same time work really, really, really hard on it.

You need to build at least 100 pages in the first year – that’s less than 2 per week. If you don’t build 100 pages and get some quality links, nothing much will happen.  (Yes, there are exceptions but let’s not count on them, right?)

As soon as you set some expectations about how much you want to earn, you’ll start weighing the invested effort and whether the current outcome is worth it.

If you do that, it’s game over. Sooner or later you’ll start feeling the invested effort is not worth it.

So have no expectations. Fool yourself if you need to.

Think about your life and whether there is any other realistic option to get out of slavery. I don’t think there are any real ones.

So you must realize that this is the ONLY way out and the ONLY way where you actually become really free – as opposed to being stuck in a job or EVEN having your own offline business.

Even in your OWN offline business, you WILL have to work to earn money – no matter what you do. Sure, you’ll be able to choose when but you’ll still need to work.

And in almost all cases, you’ll have to work where your business is situated. So in reality you won’t be free. You’ll be free from having a boss but now you’ll be slave to your own business.

But it’s not like that with an online business.

Once it starts earning, it keeps earning money, whether you work at it or not. And all you need is a laptop and an internet connection and you can work from anywhere – if you want to.

That is real freedom and it’s only possible with an online business.

This concept must be crystal clear in your head so that in your mind there are no other options of escape from the rat race.

If you can achieve this mindset, you’ll simply work on this stuff UNTIL it works and you won’t be weighing your invested effort and money with the current outcome.

You must see in your mind that there is no other way. So then you simply follow this road.

And if you hate your slavery enough and dream about your freedom often enough, you’ll create enough motivation to keep working on your site(s).

And this long term perseverance and lots of invested work (building lots of pages and links) will INEVITABLY create a positive outcome.

You will earn money. Now it’s just a matter of refining your approach, learning from mistakes and becoming more efficient.

You simply go from a beginner to an advanced stage and eventually become an expert. Stick with this for a few years, expect nothing but give it everything and you WILL make it.

If thousands of people are living from building successful online businesses, so can you.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Plus

    27 Comments

  1. Excellent writing.

    This is what every serious Internet Marketer should know.

    Good work ethic counts a lot in the long term.

    Your thoughts could not have been clearer in this article, Tomaz.

    [Reply]

  2. I really agree we all have to work hard by not expecting much but giving much more, especially when starting out.

    [Reply]

  3. Amazing, amazing post, great work! I agree entirely and it’s good reading this since I always seem to have periods where I’m productive, then slumps where I’m too unproductive etc. I need to learn that success doesn’t happen overnight.

    I was browsing the Google.com support forums yesterday and came across a slightly snarky post from a top contributor there called squibble: he/she was pretty annoyed at the gray/black hat tools out there and came out with a great quote:

    “There is a class of people who feel that millionaire status is just a metatag or new seo plugin away, in reality building a website worthy of prime status is the same as building an offline business – it takes time and dedication and there are no short-cuts to achieve these.”

    Whilst I think that tools and all can be helpful, it definitely is true that there’s no short-cut towards financial freedom. Freedom can only be achieved via hard work.

    [Reply]

  4. I am inspired by this post. I have worked on my site for about two years now. I have no intention of giving up!

    I think that many people expect instant results and get very impatient with the process. Finding a way to enjoy the process can help to endure the long haul.

    I also think that you have to keep your eye on the prize. You have to continue everyday to think about your reasons for building a website business.

    Thanks, Tomaz, for your thoughts and encouragement.

    [Reply]

  5. Inspiring post, Tomaz. I guess we all go through that stage: not feeling like writing articles, procrastinating.

    The way I deal with it is that I say to myself “I HAVE to make this work, because I can’t see myself behind an office desk for the rest of my life. Making money through SBI the ONLY option for me in the long term.”

    I purposely chose to take a parttime job, working in the afternoons, and writing early in the morning when my mind is still fresh and all is quiet around me. That’s how I get the most work done.

    While you say there are no shortcuts to becoming financially free, I do think that by focusing on quality rather than quantity when it comes to spending your time, you can make faster progress. For example, instead of spending hours and hours figuring things out for yourself, try surrounding yourself with people who’ve been there before. People such as Tomaz who have proven that it IS all possible. I could learn more in one hour of talking to Tomaz than I could do researching for a whole day on the Internet. Now that’s 80/20 for you! :-p

    I’ve become quite addicted to Freedomideas, because it covers just about every topic you can get stuck on. From mindsets to link building to writing articles to monetizing your site, it’s all here. If I want to read up on something, it’s only a few clicks away!

    Thanks for making my SBI journey a lot easier Tomaz, not just for the information you provide on this site, but also by showing that becoming financially free is perfectly possible if you put the work in. That’s all the motivation one should ever need.

    [Reply]

  6. Wow Tomaz! You should be a psychologist or at least a small business counselor. I’ve experienced many of these same feelings and thoughts over the last year but keep telling myself to push through with the eventual goal in mind of financial freedom.

    You’re exactly right too about the increase in money derived from your site as a motivational factor. You work for nothing but a dream initially, then you work for a pizza each month. But it’s that pizza and the hope that the next month maybe your business will pay for a nice dinner with the wife, and eventually even pay for your mortgage that keep you going and motivated.

    When I first started an online business I thought that the most difficult thing would be learning about programming and all of the technology. In reality that stuff is really not that difficult and there are a lot of tools out there to help. The most difficult part has been staying motivated, focused, and having the right mentality and drive to be successful.

    [Reply]

  7. Tomaz,

    This post has made me pop my head out of lurking on your blog to actually make a comment. This is so true, and very inspiring.

    When I started my Internet journey about two years ago I was so excited. Finally, the way out of the 9 – 5 (or in my case, 9 – 7 or 8) slavery in which I felt so trapped. I would be free in no time. This wouldn’t be too hard for me. I’d been rapidly promoted at every job I’ve ever had. I graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Applied Mathematics. People have always told me I was a good writer. I was a smart cookie so this should be easy, right?

    Wrong. After one year I had about 12 pages and was rocking probably 19 people a day, struggling with the motivation to work on the site. Oops. Looks like I didn’t know so much what I was doing after all.

    So I took a good, hard look at my attitudes and goals, and told myself I was going to work harder and adopt the attitude you describe in this post. For someone who had always been a “commitmentphobe”, it wasn’t easy.

    Now another year later, I have 125 pages, traffic between 800 and 1200 ppl/day for the past 6 weeks, and last month I made about $300 from my various income streams. Certainly not enough to get naked and roll around in, but enough to send an excited tingle down my spine with the new heart-slamming realization that “look, it’s really working” and “oh my god, maybe I CAN really get there”.

    A little success can beget a lot of motivation. I’m now working on a second site and struggling to start a third. I purchased the 2 for 1 SBI deal from you last December (hope you got credit for it), so I’m running out of time to decide whether to use the niche I brainstormed in BI or another one of Andy’s blueprints. Perhaps I can get your advice on that when I send you a vacuum review this week. 😉

    Writing this post makes me realize how ungrateful I feel to have learned so much from you (I’ve lurked your blog and your posts on the forums for a while now), and never thanked you. So thank you, Tomaz. Preliminary gratitude of course. On the day I quit my job, the thank you I send will be much more intense.

    Amy 🙂

    [Reply]

    Tomaz Reply:

    @Amy: Thanks showing yourself Amy and sharing your story. Looking forward to the review!

    @Jo: Yes, writing early in the morning works for me too. Thanks for all the kind words.

    @Will: I talked to a friend recently and he also mentioned that even earning $1 per day motivates him a lot. I didn’t really start in that way but I might advise my friends and people who start with the Internet journey to monetize quite early. That may really help them get going even though getting links may be harder…

    @Dave: You absolutely must keep your eyes in the big prize – that really motivates one to keep going.

    @Tristan: The cool thing about this Internet business is that you really need to work as hard as in the offline world – but only for a period of time. Sure, this can take even 3-5 years but then you should be doing really well. In the offline world you need to keep working even if it’s going well…

    @Calfred: Thanks!

    [Reply]

  8. Hi Tomaz,

    I have been reading your website for months but have not posted a comment until now.

    As with most of your posts, this one is great and makes a real difference to me.

    I have been working on my site for a few months now, on and off. With a limited number of pages and links, traffic is almost non-existent.

    Your comments in this post about not having enough energy at the end of long day to sit and write for 3 hours made me smile. It is where I find myself almost every night.

    Some nights I can muster the discipline to create some valuable content, other nights the fatigue wins out!

    Articles like this (from someone who has done it), strengthen my belief in the process and help me persevere.

    Thanks again for a great article.

    Quan.

    [Reply]

  9. Hi there Tomaz,

    By an incredible coincidence, shortly after reading your excellent post here I was browsing the SBI Monetization Head Quarters and stumbled upon an old post of yours. It sounds like you had only just started SBI a few months prior to writing it.

    Your closing words are remarkably apt to read today…

    “I started in November and I don’t expect to be earning $1000/month in 30 days. Actually I don’t expect anything.

    What I do know is that if I work on my site and business every day for two years, I’ll be pretty good at what I do. And if I work on my business for 5 years motivated, learning from my mistakes, and seeing my successes too… I’ll be a master.

    That will be a pretty cool day.”

    Well, I hope you’re enjoying this “pretty cool day” Tomaz, and that this blast from the past shows people you are not speaking from an ivory tower 😉

    Cheers

    Derek

    [Reply]

  10. Hi Tomaz,

    Its true that whether online or offline we all have to work hard to achieve great results. But I believe that if you follow your true passion and create great value for others, you can also pretty much retire after few years of work.

    Example of this would be someone like who founded a technology company and sold it for millions after few years or building it. (ex. Bob Parsons from GoDaddy.com, or Patrick who sold Text Link Ads).

    But then, I guess what’s the point of living without working? At least for me it doesn’t make sense. The way I see it is “Live to Work” and not vise versa.

    The only reason most people hate going to work, that is most likely because they aren’t doing what they love, or haven’t yet realize their purpose in life.

    I still remember back when I just started working in the Fashion industry – it was really tiring at 60hr/week. But for the first 6 months, I totally enjoyed it – because I thought it was fun. Now I don’t work in that industry anymore, and can’t really see myself doing that again. But then again, nothing really changed… except for my own perspective about it.

    [Reply]

  11. Excellent post, Tomaz.

    I was obsessed with ROI when I started building my websites, and I was afraid to spend any money at all.

    Now, I outsource everything I can and have a very long term approach. It is a very cool feeling when something you did 2 months ago starts paying you – again & again

    [Reply]

  12. Tomaz, thank you for anothe excellent post!!

    [Reply]

  13. Hello Tomaz,

    Thank you for this informative post. Everday for the last 4 years I have obsessed about this and the more I work the smarter I get and closer I get to finally doing things right.

    I must credit your great information and inspiring posts on your blog and the SBI forums for my improvements thus far.

    I will keep moving forward without expectations until I am finely able to live the life I have always wanted to live.

    [Reply]

  14. Hi Tomaz,

    Reading this post made me realize why you are successful and at least 95% of the others are not: You see and understand clearly what most everyone else finds very confusing – or don’t think about at all.

    There is one point I would add. Many people want to be financially free but most people lack the mindset to be their own boss. The school system has taught them to be obedient workers, not entrepreneurs.

    Notice the questions you get – they want to be told exactly what to do. They lack the independent mind with the burning desire to be really free. They don’t want to figure things out or do stuff on their own.

    The biggest struggle for me was breaking out of the “obedient employee” mode and getting into the “financially free entrepreneur” mode.
    This is a huge hurdle anyone for anyone beginning an online business and one of the reasons why most people fail.

    [Reply]

  15. It’s 8:08pm. I had a hard day at work, came home, cooked dinner, did the dishes and just put my son to bed and read him a nighttime store 3 times! I was just about to resign for the day, say I’m too tired to build another page on my site until I read this post. My website is only 42 page. I better get building!!

    [Reply]

  16. I found myself nodding in agreement at your article. I’m at the point where I cannot go back to the slavery of an office – I want to call the shots in my life and at the same time not be a slave to my own business (good outsourcing thread going on in the SBI forums at the moment in the Why Some Fail category).

    I’m into this journey almost a year and a half with site #2 progressing nicely. I’m obsessed. It’s a distinctively different feeling from being excited about where you work or impressed with the company you are employed with. My obsession has become my passion – doing this and succeeding no matter what. I’ve given myself no choice and it is exhilarating the motivation I feel to make it happen.

    The richest business people in the world set out and created something of VALUE with no expectation in their minds the wealth they would later accumulate. They created because they HAD to. I feel like I have finally broken free of the employee mentality and am well into my entrepreneurial side because it’s all I ever think about.

    Tomaz, between you and the SBI forums, I don’t go anywhere else to learn more (mostly cause I’m busy working on my website). You are a jewel and a mentor to so many. 🙂

    [Reply]

  17. Reading this was like being woken up by someone throwing a bucket of ice water on you.

    I needed it.

    During the last couple of weeks I’ve been researching new niches. And getting ready to sell my first, which has good niche numbers, but doesn’t have much traffic. Usual reasons; not enough pages, not enough links.

    I definitely started out with the ‘what can I get out of this’ mindset. I was one of those people who started their SBI site not out of a passion for the niche, but out of a desire to escape being a serf tied to a declining industry.

    Then life’s pressures got to me. I could list them all, but Tomaz summarized the situation well. I forgot what had motivated me in the first place.

    After reading this I realized that any ‘profitable’ niche I chose would probably be just as much work as the one I’ve started already. And I still wouldn’t have the motivation to create pages just because I loved the topic.

    My motivation is to escape from serfdom, the sooner, the better. I’m going to stick with the niche that I’ve started. Get back to writing pages. And I’ll get to my goal sooner. And that will be better.

    I’m putting this page as a link to a recurring appointment on my smartphone so that I read regularly and often.

    “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” Ben Franklin

    [Reply]

  18. Wow, Tomaz. You really nailed this one. My brother is thinking of starting a web business and I insisted he read your post first.

    Your pointing out that 95% of people will quit before succeeding is actually very motivating to me. It has reinforced for me to look inward and face the hard reality that web-surfing, getting ready to work, doing it “tomorrow” is self-delusion. I have had a mental reset recently in realizing I am more motivated by truth than positive affirmations.

    I do have a burning desire to lose the shackles of an employee. To me the key is to quit playing these mind games. “I’m going to have this rich dessert now but tomorrow I’ll start watching what I eat. I’ll exercise starting tomorrow morning. I’ll work hard on my site this weekend”. If I hear myself saying these things inwardly or outwardly I self-correct.

    No, you won’t. If you’re serious you’ll start now. (Actually I use much stronger words 😉

    Between my wife and I we have 3 web sites with over 100 pages of content and one brand new site. We earn about $100/month in Adsense combined and are committed to thinking more long term based on your insight.

    [Reply]

  19. Tomaz,

    This article is another great example that shows why you are one of the elite performers in this business.

    Having the right mindset of “obsessive determination” is the key.

    We will meet in person someday and I will shake your hand. As always thank you for providing us with inspiration.

    Best wishes,
    Bruce

    [Reply]

  20. This is a fantastic article. I was one of the lucky few that found the perfect niche from a passion perspective and a profitability perspective. However, I didnt know squat about IM and experienced IMers quickly overtook my industry. Now that I have had a taste of the freedom I’m learning everything there is to learn about IM. None the less – I’m in the give-up/is it worth the work phase on the surface right now. Thank you for putting this together. It’s really put the fire back into me. I’m bookmarking this so I can re-read when I need another dose of encouragement!

    [Reply]

  21. Tomaz,

    You’re the coolest guy ever.

    🙂 Elizabeth

    [Reply]

  22. Thank you so much, Tomaz. I love ‘reading you’ because you touch the subjects that are important for me. I remember posting here that I have 35-40 visitors a day (that was like 4 and a half months ago). Today I am getting 200-220 unique visitors a day! I don’t earn much at all. In fact, most of Adsense clicks are very very cheap, but I am absolutely excited that I still earn something while I sleep or have fun on the beach! It is an incredible feeling. The best thing, no matter how small the amount is now, it definitely grows every month. The life is getting more and more exciting, especially that I AM PLAYING TENNIS NOW!!!! 🙂

    [Reply]

  23. Brilliant, Brilliant post!
    I just started earning money with my SBI site, almost two years after I started. You touched so many points in the exact way. I couldn’t agree more with many of the observations.

    Additional way to look at SBI and SBI alike is comparing it to some on-line masters degree. One should think of SBI as a year or two years long degree, with lots of homework. Like in real life, only after you finish learning, you get a job that pays you something.

    Keep on writing!

    Edgar

    [Reply]

  24. Great post Tomaz! I’m following your blog on a regular basis. Also started to read your older posts to get more info.

    Btw, was meaning to ask you. How are you now doing your website articles outsourcing? Are you still using needanarticle.com or you’re using Elance at this point? I’ve read your older post on from 0 to $9000 and I saw that you recommended this guys at needanarticle.com. But that was a while ago, so I’m curious of your latest strategies – if any.

    Marika

    [Reply]

  25. One of the best tips I ever heard was something like, “to succeed online, you have to build a real business.” So many people get sucked up in the whole online business thing as a get-rich-quick scheme; then they realize to succeed at this it actually requires real work. The sad thing is, most internet marketers sell to this get-rich-quick mindset 😉

    [Reply]

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *