Have you started building an online income stream yet? If the answer is yes, congratulations. Now you need to make sure you are persistent and chip in a little bit every day, every week, every month – at least for the next few months. Making money online takes focus. Focus is the ultimate shortcut.
If you haven’t started yet, ask yourself why not. What is holding you back? If you have been contemplating doing something online for a while now and still haven’t started, I’ll tell you why. It’s probably out of fear. Either on a conscious level or subconsciously you are afraid of something. You might be afraid that you may not be good enough and that you may fail. That you will have lost a year and will have nothing to show for it. That your partner or your friends will say “I told you so”…
The late Jim Rohn, one of my heroes, used to say: “In five years time you will surely arrive. The question is where?” He called those doubts and fears “errors of judgement”.
So what if the opposite turns out to be true for you? What if you do succeed? What if it does work for you? Not only will you be better off financially a year from now, but your friends will probably call you “lucky” (because they will still be holding on to their own fears). Never mind, but just imagine how it will make you feel!
Now, the level of success that would have taken five to ten years to accomplish before the internet, can often be shortened to a year, two years, three years online. This is certainly true when using the main proven streams of income such as blogging, building niche sites, affiliate marketing, freelancing and several more.
It’s been already proven by many before us that it’s possible to start earning six figures online within a year (if that’s your goal). It’s been done by all sorts of people, from all walks of life. Most of them probably not any smarter than you and I. You don’t even need to reinvent the wheel. Just learn from them and do what they are doing.
So ask yourself. Where will you be a year from now if you don’t make a start today? Will you be still in the same spot (financially and emotionally speaking) or perhaps even worse?
When fear grips us, it often comes in disguise, as a seemingly rational explanation, or a perfect excuse. If you find yourself too tired after work to do anything about your online income stream and instead pacify yourself with a couple of hours of watching somebody else’s problems on TV, this is fear in disguise. If you spend countless hours per week watching Youtube videos about other people’s success, instead of working on your own, this is fear in disguise. If you try to convince yourself you are too old for this, too young, too whatever, this is fear in disguise. If your friends say that this online thing is only for computer geeks and you agree with them, this is fear in disguise.
In order to succeed, all you need to do is three things. The first thing is to make a decision. Once you say to yourself “the hell with it, I’m going to do it” and really mean it, then the second thing is to get started. And the third one is to do a little bit every day, every week, consistently for a year.
It might be writing 500 words of content every day. It might be publishing a blog post every week. It might be something else. Just make sure it’s easily measurable and that you do it regularly.
If a year of doing the same thing day after day seems like a daunting task, then how about challenging yourself for 180 days, or even 90 days? Just do something. When you get to the end of a 90 day challenge, you may well discover that you can easily follow with another 90 day challenge.
Last year I challenged myself to write 500 words of raw content per day, for over 180 consecutive days. Some days were easier, some more difficult. I still have a day job, so the writing was done in the evenings after work and on the weekends.
Of course sometimes I felt tired, or just didn’t feel like doing it. But you know what, I stuck with the routine and I’m so happy I did. It’s a great feeling of setting yourself a goal and achieving it.
Between April and October last year, I have written over 100,000 words of content and already have enough material to keep publishing for many more months.
Below is a sample photo of a single month on my wall calendar, where I was keeping score of my daily activity.
Thirty one green dots and not a single red dot. I’m not telling you this to brag, only to inspire you.
If you are thinking “Yes it seems to be working for you, that’s great, but… (substitute your favourite excuse here)” then know this: I’m not some kind of a genius. I’m one of the biggest procrastinators I know. I have been contemplating doing this for a long time (too long to admit it publicly). And I’m not even a good writer. So I totally get it. But you don’t need to procrastinate as long as I have. Learn from my mistakes.
All I’m saying is try blogging, or building niche sites, or affiliate marketing (or whatever you have been contemplating doing for a while), do it for a year and see what difference it will make to your happiness level, to your self-esteem, to your finances. Yes, it may take two or three years, depending on how fast you work and how much time you have available, so what? If you don’t do it, the chances are that in three years time you will be in exactly the same spot you are today financially and perhaps in a much worse spot than you are today emotionally.
Henry Ford’s famous quote is “if you think you can or you think you can’t you’re right”. However, what is not widely known is what Ford told Napoleon Hill during an interview.
When Napoleon Hill (the author of Think and Grow Rich) interviewed Henry Ford, he asked Ford a question (paraphrasing): “Aren’t you ever afraid you might fail?”
“I used to, but not anymore” said Ford. And then he added: “I first always focus on things I can do something about. And by the time I’m done with those, the things that I didn’t know what to do about have usually gone away”.
What a great advice. When you work on a project or a goal, first start by doing the things that you can. By the time you come to the things you thought you couldn’t do, they probably won’t be an issue any longer.
It’s a bit like driving at night with your headlights on. You only see a few hundred meters in front of you. But as you keep on driving, more and more of the road will reveal itself as you go.
That’s a total opposite of what an average person does, who waits until they have everything figured out and consequently never start on any project, because they will always find some difficulties and obstacles that need to be figured out before they can make a start. If every inventor, every scientist, every engineer, every successful business person, always waited until they had everything figured out, there would be no progress and we would be still living in caves and trading fur.
The way to make progress in your own life is to make a start, whether you are ready or not and figure things out as you go. It all starts with a decision.
Napoleon Hill said that it’s not terribly important that your plan is 100% correct, as it can always be adapted and modified. What is vitally important however, is that you do have a plan.
In my (rough) estimate, based on the works of others before me, that in the long run every word published on a niche site could be worth a minimum of fifty cents to a dollar per year in advertising or affiliate income alone (such as Adsense or Amazon). And I believe this is a conservative figure. You may want to read this great case study by Doug Cunnington called Project Go White Hat – Selling a Niche Site For Over $500,000.
This particular site with just 45 pages was making $10,000 per month to begin with, which was already fantastic, before Doug massaged it and made it pull even more money before it got sold for a very nice profit. This is just one of many studies, there are plenty more examples that can be found both via Google and on Youtube as well.
So you think you can’t write 500 words per day? Think again. 500 words per day times 365 that’s over 180,000 words in a single year. If each word can be worth a minimum of just 50 cent per year, this would translate into an income of $90,000 per year (even if not in the first year). That’s better than the average income in any country on Earth right now. When you look at it like this it gives you different perspective on things, doesn’t it? Do you still believe you can’t write 500 words per day? With the right incentive almost anybody can.
When you break your projects down to the basic level like that, you will discover two things. One, that the project seems so much easier to handle, so much more doable all of a sudden. And two, that it becomes easily measurable. For example, 500 words per day is very easy to measure. Any word processor will tell you how many words you have written. So there is no ifs and buts. Either you have written the 500 words for the day or you haven’t.
If I can write 500 words each day after a long day at work, I believe anybody can. That means you can too. I believe in you. And if you practice for a few days or weeks, it won’t even take you as long. Just try it.
Just remember: each 500 words written can translate into an additional $250 – $500 in income per year (and I think it could be actually much more, depending on a niche and how you monetise your content).
Okay I get it: write content. But don’t I need time to build the traffic as well?
I will dedicate at least one future post towards this subject, but what I will say now is that natural link building (the kind Google loves to see) for free search engine traffic is not nearly as time consuming or difficult as people make it out to be.
This can easily be done in a few hours each weekend (depending on how fast you work of course), by reaching out to other bloggers and webmasters – you just have to know how.
In fact, there is a growing group of niche site creators that believe, and are also proving through their own projects, that it is possible to rank a site in the search engines without proactively building any links to it and even without doing any outreach whatsoever. In other words, all the links they have pointing to their sites are just natural links that happen over time. Just the way Google likes it. Quite a fascinating topic actually. I will have more to say on this topic in a future post.
For now, let’s just focus on writing the content.
Not just any content though
Not any old, boring, low quality content though. That will simply not work, either with the visitors to your site or the search engines.
There are a couple of keys when it comes to writing content. One is that your content must be very useful to your readers. Write the best quality, most useful content you are capable of. You want your content to be helpful to your visitors. Otherwise, what reason will they have to stick around or come back?
The second key is, your content should be as long as necessary to explain your topics well. It goes hand in hand with the first point, of course. The most useful content naturally tends to be longer, as it covers a topic more thoroughly.
Your visitors will love long posts, but so will Google. The general consensus these days is that a well researched, useful page of content should be at least around 1,800 to 2,000 words long for a blog (and perhaps a bit less for niche sites). Usually the more the better, of course this will depend on a topic you cover. If you publish a cake recipe, 400-500 words will probably cover it in depth. On the other hand, I have also written some posts that have over 7,000 words. In fact it was over 15,000 words initially so I decided to split the post into two parts.
Use it to overcome the biggest obstacles to your online success
Not long ago, Spencer Haws conducted a survey with his email subscribers who were interested in either building a blog or a niche site. The responses he got back were quite revealing.
The second biggest obstacle according to the survey respondents was writing content. Time and productivity were a close third. One of top five concerns was also maintaining focus and staying on track.
These were also some of my own concerns for a long time, so I’m guessing that some of it must also resonate with you.
You can easily overcome all of these obstacles by just being focused and consistent. And how to stay focused? We will come back to that shortly.
For now let’s look at some of those main concerns.
Writing content: Remember the old question how you eat an elephant? The answer was one bite at a time. We can paraphrase this and say: How do you write a blog or a niche site? Five hundred words at a time. Literally. It’s as simple as that. If you have a niche you are passionate about, this is not even going to be hard, once you get started.
I’m sure you understand it on an intellectual level, but once you finally get started, you will then REALLY understand it. When I finally got the courage to start writing, after about a month of sticking the green dots on the wall calendar it suddenly dawned on me: This is so simple. How could I not see it before?
Time and productivity: Once I started writing 500 words per day, time was no longer an issue. I was no longer thinking in terms of “do I have the time and energy to do it today”. I started thinking in terms of “I can see this thing actually going somewhere in the future”. After about a month I couldn’t wait to get back to my desk and earn another green dot by writing another 500 words.
Maintaining focus and staying on track: The green dot technique easily took care of this for me as well. By writing 500 words a day for an extended period of time you will acquire a habit of doing this every day. Not only that, your writing can only improve by the process of writing. And it will.
Use it on any project or goal
The same simple technique can be used for any project in your life, including your personal goals. You just need to break your goal, your project, down to the very basic daily activity level, like I did above. For your project it may be 500 words or it may be something else. For a personal goal it could be something as simple as not eating any food after 8pm. Okay, I said simple, not necessarily easy. This is one of the things still on my own to do list (LOL).
Once you have that basic building block worked out, you are now on your way to success as you can tick a box each day (or stick a green dot on your wall calendar).
Last but not least, focus on one project (or goal) at a time. If you attempt more, you are likely to fail. Focus is the name of the game.
If you haven’t read about my green dot technique experiment yet, I really recommend you so so now, as it ties perfectly with the subject of this post.
Now, make it happen. I know you can, I believe in you.
Until next time. Stay focused.