You Need To Aim Higher
Since I graduated from university years ago and decided not to get a job, I’ve spent a lot of time learning about two things in parallel. One was “online income”, with things such as PPC, affiliate marketing, and blogging. The other was a service business. My lifetime online income amounts to less than $10 (not counting a website that a bought for $1000 and barely made back the cost of purchase before it stopped earning an income). I decided years ago that the best use of my time was my other business which has provided a good income for my family and now employs several other people.
This might lead you to conclude that online income is just a pipe-dream promoted by hustlers who are looking for an easy audience to scam. While that’s certainly true in some cases I believe that the opposite applies to many others. Witness the many articles that talk about reaching 6 figures in online income like this is some kind of mythical unicorn that no one has seen.
The truth is that whatever you create, whether it’s a new blog with 1 post and 2 affiliate links or an empire of 50 sites that get 1m visitors per month, you are building a business. That business can do one or both of two things: sell your time to the highest bidder, wherever they are in the world, or sell something that doesn’t depend on your time. In both cases there is a lot of potential. Whatever you are selling there is someone, somewhere, who can make a lot of money from it and can pay you well.
The mistake most people make is that they compare this to income from a job. In that context someone who is young and earning $60-100,000/year might think they have reached the limit because that seems like a lot for a job. But when you realize that they are starting a business and not just a job numbers like that are too low to even be on the charts. A couple of years ago I went to visit a prospective client in the US, which was a company of 100 people. On my return a friend commented “over there, they call that a tiny startup”. Turn your thinking in this direction and the possibilities become much larger.
I don’t want to diminish anyone’s accomplishments. It is a great step to show that you can create something yourself and not rely on a narrowly-defined job. I’m cheering for anyone who does this since I’ve never been able to live by someone else’s rules. For some people that is enough, and a good place to stop. But thinking that there is some kind of inherent limit in numbers like that is a big mistake. There are always people who are willing to pay more for what you sell and many others who want to buy it if you can find a way to scale up.
Whether you know it or not, when you create something where you don’t have a boss you are creating a business. It could be a marketing businesses, a trading businesses, a retail businesses, a trend-following businesses, a service businesses, or a business-to-business business. And in the world of business, bringing in $100,00/year is the table stakes. Unless your business is so big that your name is printed in the newspaper every day there are many ways you could grow your income by 10x.
Of course that’s before expenses which are everywhere in business and frequently overlooked when people talk about online income. You need to make sure you are establishing a sustainable profit margin in your business. Otherwise you are just giving away your work. At times you may accept a lower profit margin to grow faster but you need to know that it will be worth it in the long run.
I’m not someone who needs a $1m income just to get by. In fact that that rate I expect I would need to work less than a year in my life. But if such a need comes up I know the pathways to get there. Learn the ways of business and you will have no limits.