My first recurring income online was made the other month and not from an expected source.
I’ve been tinkering with building websites for making money online for about a year and all I end up writing about is creating websites and techniques for making money online.
Sound familiar to you?
Code My Own Road started as a way for me to chronicle my efforts, sort of diarizing what I was doing as I found success (a big assumption on which to base a blog in hindsight). The problem was that I hadn’t found success so I was writing from an odd perspective.
This is me coming clean.
I’m not an expert. I’m learning stuff all the time.
In fact, by web standards, I’m still quite new to making money online. I have been so paralyzed with the fear of it all – the fear of beginning and taking that leap – that before this I’d only make a few dollars in advertising. Barely enough to cover my hosting.
I kept writing.
I’ve received encouragement from people I don’t even know to keep going – to keep producing the good stuff I was producing. And slowly I’ve built a small (real small) following. If you’re reading this you’re probably one of these select individuals.
So how did I make my first bit of recurring income online?
Oddly enough, I made it offline.
It started mid last year – I was out fishing on a boat with a high school buddy of mine, Nick.
Nick is a house painter who was just branching out on his own – starting his own painting services business. He’d had a bit of success and his business was already flourishing here in our home city of Brisbane, Australia with plenty of work in his pipeline. Time for a website he thought!
Well, you wouldn’t hear of it.. low and behold I was the one person he knew that was a coder.
I told Nick that I would definitely be interested in doing his website for him and I was in fact thinking of starting a business doing that sort of thing. Freelancing around my current job as a way to earn extra money.
I gave him an option of either paying for it up front (mates rates of course) or letting me manage it for him for a monthly cost with no up front charge.
Obviously having to put money down on the table straight up was a bit of a gamble for Nick. Because he didn’t know if having a website would pay off for him it wasn’t really an attractive proposition. He quickly agreed to my monthly plan idea.
This was the first time I’d ever done anything like this in a professional manner and because he was a friend I wanted to do a good job.
What came to me was an idea to host several websites on my own hosting account and be able to control them all easily. I wanted to do it cheap so I could offer it to other family and friends with business’, many of whom I knew would be needing a website in the next year or so.
Together with Nick we designed a website that he was really happy with. I hosted it on my account using WordPress MU and pointed a new aussie domain name to it. Now we’re going to work together to make his site rise in the rankings and bring in more business for him.
How much is this costing him? I won’t name the exact figure, but it’s very affordable and gives me some income to funnel into my new projects.
Nick doesn’t need to do anything except email me the odd instruction. Essentially, I’m charging him to make the whole process – something that can be quite convoluded and involved when doing it yourself for the first time – a lot easier.
He’s buying simplicity.
In exchange, Nick has allowed me to use his site as an example to show other clients and also give me more business (I’ve already had a couple of people asking about my services just by the link at the bottom of his page).
Facing reality, the whole experience with Nick so far has shown me that there isn’t an easy way to do this – you have to work with people and the first regular drops of money probably won’t come from sticking ads on your blog or trying to monetize it before it’s ready.
This is me facing reality.
Code My Own Road’s Future
What I want to do here on Code My Own Road is turn this into a place where I can pull apart the projects I’m working on instead of turning this site into a project itself. Does that make sense?
I’m not going to deliberately strive to monetize this site. But, that’s not to say you won’t see ads, or product recommendations. I’m just not going to work on this site as a project in itself.
In doing that I’ll be able to work on actual projects I’ve been wanting to do for a long time (just ask my wife about my constant stream of crazy ideas I want to try). These things I’m wanting to do – for whatever reason, and however depressing – I had in my head that I didn’t have the time for.
This does mean I’m sacrificing some of the projects I had planned for Code My Own Road but it’s for the sake of it’s longer term success. I’m sort of stepping back from it a bit so I don’t kill it with too much love (and just like in blogging smothering with attention and love is also what happens whenever I try to plant a garden).
For the time being, the USP (unique selling proposition) will be largely personal and informational. A place people can come and ask questions, read about things that I’ve just done (or am actively doing) and read about these projects from start to finish with all the little details. There will be series, no one project will be covered in just one short article. I want to inspire conversation.
The first project I’m going to cover (as you might have guessed by now) will be what I’m doing with my friends and family’s websites. I’ll talk more about Nick’s website here in the coming weeks including how I went about working with him, how I setup the site to benefit us both, and what I think about the technologies etc.
I’m not apologising for the decision to make this – what I consider important – change to this site. But I will say sorry to those who were led here expecting whatever it is what I was offering before this shift (and if you know what that was, let me know!).
So obviously the posting frequency is going to be a little different because of this – I can’t be held accountable for regular posting. I’ll post when I’ve got something to say. I don’t wanna waste my time or, more importantly, your time. In return I hope you’ll leave my RSS feed lingering on in your feed reader for a little while to see what I come up with.
The plus side is that with more time to do other things, I’ll likely have more to say. But it might be in audio form or even video if that’s easier and quicker for me. I appreciate this won’t be to everyone’s tastes (Heck, I don’t even like the sound of my nasally weasal voice!) but I guess delivery will – and should – be in whatever form is suitable for the post. For the record though, I do still prefer the written word!
In “payment” for not posting so regularly, I’m going to be looking for more cool blogs to read and visit. Let me know about your blog in the comments below and I’ll swing by and leave you a comment. In fact feel free to do that on any of my posts (past and present) – I’d love for you to leave a comment about anything that you’ve written along the same thoughts. Please link spam me, just make it nice link spam.
Jeez, this is the longest friggen post I’ve ever written on here I think!
I’ll finish by saying welcome to 2010. The start of a new decade, the start of a new way of thinking – for me at least – and hopefully the beginning of a relationship between you and I.kekremsi