Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Setting Online Challenges

One of the big issues with working online is that a lot of the time you'll find yourself working by yourself, with no boss hovering over you with a carrot or a stick.

The problem with that, of course, is that there are plenty of times you have to be motivated/focused/disciplined and so on. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to do. It's not easy unless you have in place a system or process that makes you accountable, allows you to measure how well (or not) you're doing and challenges you to be more motivated/focused/disciplined and so on.

And so to my challenge for October. I've decided that the path of least resistance is all too easy for me and some of the microjobs I've been investing in, while reasonably enjoyable (e.g. Postloop), aren't moving the dial much in terms of challenging myself or incrementally changing my financial situation.

So my goal for the month is to pause on some of my easier, lower-value opportunities and invest that time in some of the tougher to monetize but more rewarding options. Although I'm not guaranteed to see the fruits of labor manifest in October, I've decided to set myself a financial target of $500 for the month.

Bearing in mind I have other ventures on the go and I've only ever got close to $100 in a week once before, it's going to be a stretch. But unless I push myself (and publicly) I'm going to default back to the false economy of some of the easier options.

As Tony Robbins likes to say: "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

So I'm excited to see what I can learn about the online space over the month. And what I can learn about myself. 

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Online Progress Report

So my journey into the online earnings space continues.

This week has been fairly mixed in terms of successes. Having signed up for the writing site Scripted a few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to have been accepted for a couple of writing streams there. I’ll review the site here in due course, but essentially if you have a ‘specialist’ skill or knowledge you can sign up for work streams aligned with those talents.

The interesting thing about earning money online is that there’s plenty of trial and error involved. You can plant the seeds weeks, months or maybe even years earlier and only now start to see the fruits of your labor. Such is life.

And that’s how it’s been with some of my Fiverr gigs. A couple of them that have been on the site for much of the year and have barely attracted any interest, and yet one gig (unsurprisingly connected with ways in which to make money) has attracted a disproportionate amount of interest. The lesson here is to find what works and what people are interested in, and invest the time in those areas.

I’ve also learned that you’ve got to be quick. That doesn’t mean putting together a haphazard, sub-standard offering, but you’ve got to appreciate that other people may work along different time horizons to yourself.

This reared its head this week when I bid for a job on PeoplePerHour. Essentially, it was for reviewing and re-writing a CV and the accompanying cover letters. Two days after putting my bid in I received a request from the buyer requesting a bit more information on me. 

Foolishly I decided to sleep on it and respond in the morning. It wasn’t as if I was rushed off my feet or anything, it was simply that I didn’t prioritize things correctly. I woke up this morning to find out that the job had been given to someone else even before I had responded. You snooze, you lose.

So for now I’m going to work on the various existing online opportunities I have, plus see what traction I can get from Scripted. And I’ll also apply a bit more urgency to situations as well…

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Making Money Online - My Journey

It only just occurred to me that I’ve been at this online earnings game for a little over a year now. So how has it gone? Not brilliantly…

To be honest, one of my biggest issues has been a lack of structure and focus. In addition to being distracted by offline job hunting and business endeavors, I also find myself jumping from one shiny new thing to the next:
  • “Earn $50 in a day” – great, I’ll try that.
  • “Affiliate marketing made easy” – cool, let me read up on that.
  • “How to make money blogging” – fantastic, I need to put some of these ideas in place.

And so it’s played out. A diffusion of time, energy and focus. To be honest, I still haven’t sussed what strategy works best for me. There are so many interesting, challenging, empowering and exciting ways to earn an income online I feel I’ve only scraped the surface.

I have a feeling it will be a long time before you’ll see me writing about working online from a beach in Bali. But on my journey, I guess there are a handful of things that I’ve already learned:

It is possible to make money online. This might seem obvious to a lot of people, but when I first decided to try I honestly didn’t have a clue. I didn’t know the process at all, whether it was going to be too difficult, whether I had the right skills and so on. I started reading books on the topic about two years ago but only got round to trying a year ago. In fact, my first goal was to find a way to earn $1 online. One single dollar.  Looking back I think, “Wow - only $1?”, but it was a whole new world for me, like it will be for some of you.

You’ll find scam artists out there. I haven’t come across many and the vast majority of opportunities have been genuine. But the few I have fallen upon have disappointed me. Disappointed me in terms of: “Why would you do that?” Too many people out there are looking to cut corners at the expense of other people. Not nice. My due diligence process now is simply to put the name of the site into Goggle followed by the word “scam”. That way you get to read other people’s experiences.

The more value you can offer, the more you can earn. This applies both online and offline. In the online space I noticed that many of the better-paid freelance writing opportunities, for example, were for those that had a specific skill or knowledge. If you are able to add value to someone’s life you’re likely to be able to earn more. “Value” itself can be subjective but very loosely those able to create wealth or improve someone’s health are likely to offer more than someone that writes on celebrity gossip.

If you know more than someone else, you have something to offer. As a continuation of the previous point, those that can be defined as “experts” can earn more. What is an expert? Well, in the context of online, to me it’s someone that knows more than the individual reading it, or at the very least has access to information to give the impression they know more. Maybe that sounds a bit crass. But how often have you Googled a topic, read a well-written article and taken it as a truth? Online you can be a genius.

Race to the bottom – you choose. There are a lot of marketplace sites that have sellers offering services for rock-bottom prices. That’s the charm and curse of the internet. Service providers are all over the world, some of whom live in low-cost countries. It’s great if you’re a buyer but can be a challenge if you live in, for example, the US where the cost of living is higher. So if you do see a freelance role or microjob you are capable of doing, it’s really up to you whether you’re willing to work for lower fees. Not everyone is willing to write a 500-word article for $2. Some people will be.

Believe you can make money. This isn’t meant to be a call for positive thinking (though I really do love that space). No, it’s more a very basic statement that links back to my first point. I didn’t have a clue how to make money online when I first started out. But there really are some very basic, simple ways to make money. If you have the ability to read this article (and hence read instructions provided on the relevant sites) you can certainly make money online.

I will continue to do reviews on those sites with which I have found success (or not). But I also want to record my journey here as well, noting down what I’ve learned, what I've messed up, the frustrations and the knock backs. 

I’m anything but perfect in this world. But I’m guessing that most of those that have got to the end of this article are in a similar space as well.

Let the games begin!