Anybody who knows anything about me or has been reading any of my websites for even a short time knows that I make my living on the Internet. I encourage others to earn money on the Internet, even to make their entire living through the Internet as I do. I think it’s a great life.
A lot of people, though, tell me that they are scared of the Internet. They don’t know how to use the Internet. They generally are more comfortable in the “real world,” rather than the Internet world. I can certainly understand that. Believe it or not, I am not a techie. I don’t know a lot of the technical details of how to do this or that with computers.
Think of it like this, the computer is nothing but a device you are using to communicate with people, customers. It’s nothing more.
Let’s look at a more traditional means of making a living. It’s all a fictional example, but it’s the real world. I’ll call our person in the example by the name of Joe. Joe is 52 years old, he owns a plumbing business. He has a crew that goes around to houses in his area and fixes toilets, sinks, drainage pipes, etc. Anything where water flows through a pipe, either clean water or wastewater, that’s right up Joe’s alley. Joe has a mid-sized business, employing 10 plumbers to work for him and keep his customers happy.
Joe has a big half-page advertisement in the Yellow Pages, which costs him $1,800 per month, so he has to be very active in taking on clients and fixing their problems to pay for his Yellow Pages ad. Joe has a secretary at the office who answers the phones and dispatches plumbers out to where the clients are calling from. When the secretary is out, or when things get a little busy, Joe also helps out with answering phones and dispatching his plumbers to get the job done.
One day, the phones went dead. When you picked up the hand-piece there was no dial tone. The phones were not ringing. OMG! What would they do? Joe did not know anything about the internal workings of telephones. He did not know how to go out and work on the phone lines. He knew nothing about troubleshooting to find where the problem was. It’s OK, though, Joe just used his cellular phone to call the phone company and they sent a repairman right out. The phones were fixed in a matter of 45 minutes or so. Joe really did not know what the repairman did, exactly, but he just knew that things were working now, and he was back to business as usual.
That all sounds pretty normal, right? Nothing unusual. The phones stopped working, the phone company fixed it. Back to business.
Hold on! You mean that Joe can operate a business using the phone to communicate with customers without knowing how to fix a phone? He can make it even though he doesn’t know how to go down the street, climb the telephone pole and repair the cables? Amazing.
Guess what, friends… if you are doing business on the Internet, the computer is your phone! It’s that simple. Instead of sitting down and picking up a hand-piece and talking to people, you just sit down with a keyboard and type in your communications! If you don’t know how to fix a problem with a video card, that’s OK, there are repairmen to take care of that. If your internet connection stops working you call your Internet Service Provider and they will fix it. Instead of having an ad in the Yellow Pages that cost you thousands of dollars every month, you have a webpage that costs you a few hundred dollars to design, and $20 a month to maintain! It’s that easy. You use your webpage to sell your product or service. Instead of people calling you on the telephone, as they do with Joe, they send you an e-mail, or they fill out a form on your website. It’s not rocket science.
If I were to tell you that you should start up a plumbing business, hire some plumbers and set up an office with a telephone, I doubt that any of you would be scared, or feel nervous about it. Nobody would say, “but Bob, I don’t know how the phone system works, how can I make a call?” Why get all worked up about the Internet? It’s nothing but a communication method. Doing business is the same whether you use a telephone, have a store where people can walk in and talk to you, or use the Internet.
Want to know what is ironic? These people who tell me that they can’t earn money on the Internet because they don’t know how the Internet works…. they tell mine via e-mail. So, obviously, they know how to use e-mail, thus they know how to use the Internet. Apply the same methods that you would do in that plumbing business. Instead of a Yellow Pages ad, put up a website. Instead of picking up that telephone receiver, type on that keyboard. Oh, hold it… you say you don’t know how to make a website? If you want to put an ad in the Yellow Pages, do you go print up the book yourself? Do you do the layout of the book? NO. You hire somebody to do it by paying monthly for your Yellow Pages ad. You can do the same with a website, just hire somebody who knows how to build a good site, and you are 99% there.
You don’t know how to make money on the Internet? I’m sorry, I say that’s not true.
Come on Bob building a website does not get you 99% there. Building the website is easy getting traffic to it is the real challenge.
Hi Ray – I have a question for you. If you re-read my article, can you point to anywhere in the article where I said that all you have to do is build a website? No, I said no such thing. It’s just like the plumber in my example… he can just get a phone number and have business roll in. He has to promote himself. He has to provide good services. He has to provide quality and value. That’s what you have to do on the net too.
But, to say that “all you have to do” is build a website, as you imply I said, would be asinine. That’s why I never said any such thing.
You did say build the website and you are 99% there.
Ray, I said no such thing! I said that regarding the technical aspect, hire somebody to build a good website and you are 99% there. What I said was not that you are 99% to making a living with a website! You misinterpreted what I said.
The article was not about how to make a living. It was about people who are scared to death to even try to make money on the Internet. So, I was trying to show people that the internet is like a modern day telephone, and by having a decent website 99% of your technical challenges are done. It’s then about marketing, providing quality and value, etc.
You have really misinterpreted what I tried to get across. I guess I did a terrible job in putting my thoughts down in writing.
Another thought… “building a website is easy” you said. I am sorry, but the vast majority of websites are very crappy. For the vast majority of people building a website is not easy, or I should say building a good website is not easy.
While it’s true that having a website alone does not get you ‘99%’ there, not having a website gets a person ‘0%’ there. The phone book is a dying dinosaur. People use Yelp!, Google, MerchantCircle and so many other apps for finding business these days that it’s almost insane to NOT have a website.
I’ve been building sites since 1992 and I can agree with you Ray.. in that having the site built means nothing.. as in, no traffic. No traffic means no dollars in. But once that website is properly SEO’d (optimized for search-engines) and the owner makes a practice of getting the word out (note one of my websites listed in this post for ebooks, audiobooks and more.. hint, hint).. marketing a website so that there IS traffic allows the owner to service people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with automated sales all across the globe. Traditional marketing can’t even begin to touch that.. and definitely not at the price of a $9/year domain plus maybe $15/month in hosting fees.
For those unfamiliar with building a site, places like Homestead.com, GoDaddy’s Website Tonight and others make it easy to use a Template (pre-made site) and the new owner just changes the text, adds their own graphics, some sales code from an Affiliate and bamm.. the ball is rolling.
Getting traffic is a challenge, I agree. But so is anything else in life that is worthwhile. 🙂
Hi Henry – Exactly, not having a website gets you 0% of the way! Of course, you have to do a lot of work after you get a website, which is why I have always said that making money on the Internet is hard work. I worked for years with little reward before I was able to make my living on the Internet. For those who are unwilling to put in the hours of hard work, they will never make it.
I personally feel that SEO is only a small part of the game. It is providing value. It is providing interesting content. Traffic does not always mean money. I have one website that makes about $500 per month, and gets only around 10 visitors per day. The key is that I am using that site to offer a service a limited number of people want and need, and the service is a quality offering. Also a service that they can’t get from many others. I also have websites that get lots more traffic, but make very little money (this site for example). So, it’s not always about the amount of traffic.
p.s. (click on my name, above, for my e-bookstore) — H.