I’ve been working in the IT/Internet field since the pre-Google era, so it’s been a number of years now. It’s been a rough ride of ups and downs, but a great one. Being constantly on the internet, I’ve always wanted to do something extra, apart from my full time job.
I’ve tried a million different things and had truckloads of ideas on how to make money online. Forums this, blog that, advert here and advert there, but they all failed. I’ve read gazillions of documentations, watched hours and hours of presentations about how to make money online — how easy it is to work from home and make over $10,000 a month. Really? Well you want my opinion? Screw all that and do it your own way because YOU LIKE WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
Look at the history of most companies, giant corporations of today, especially the online ones such as Google, Twitter, Facebook and many others. They all started as a hobby, as a project, and never specifically to make money out of the idea. All the founders of the above mentioned companies, believed so much in their idea, that they dedicated their life to building it. It is not a matter of luck that they are who they are today, but it is sheer determination and good ideas. Money is a secondary thing; it’s the result of what you’ve done. I never used to believe this but now I do believe it, been there, done that.
As I specified above, I’ve tried a million types of online ideas and website, but they all failed because I specifically wanted to make extra money. Thought there was only one thing that I really liked and loved, and never gave it a shot, music! It was always my dream to have the time to discover new bands, to have all their original CDs and albums, and if possible get in touch with them.
So I decided to start my own blog about music and here I am today, one and a half years later, still going stronger than ever before. I started writing some blog posts about well known bands, because back then those were the only bands I knew of. First couple of months? Disaster. No visitors, no emails, nothing. But isn’t every project like that? No pain no gain. I started taking ideas from other blogs, sharing links, submitting my blog to blog directories and off it went, slowly but stable. Visitors started increasing every day.
Joys of joys and after nine months of hard work, I received my first real email, which was not spam. It was from a band asking me to write a review about their album. Fast forward another nine months, and I receive at least five to ten emails a day, from different bands asking me to review their music.
I admit it, I don’t make much money from the blog’s adverts, barely enough to get an extra beer a week. Not even enough to pay for the hosting! So maybe there is no profit (yet), but I reached my aim; I don’t get to buy CDs myself and I am in contact directly with the bands, the musicians themselves. The blog is really growing now. As a matter of fact I would like to find someone who is willing to collaborate, because I already have a back log of CDs that I need to listen to, and write reviews about them. So, thinking about it, yes it is a real success for me to be out there and have bands asking me to review their music. Even though I need to learn more and more each day about music reviews and interviews, I feel I already established myself out there!
So here is my secret formula that will always work when trying to set up something online. Although I use real life examples from my experience setting up a music blog, these “rules” could be applied to anything else:
- Do something which you really love, because it is the only thing that you will really do well and give everything you can for it.
- Never give up. The start is always difficult and there is a lot of work waiting for you. I’ve spent endless nights trying to come up with some catchy phrases, or good blog posts because they don’t come around so easily.
- Knowing a bit of marketing and how the Internet works is never a bad idea. Behind every successful company/corporation, there is always a strong marketing team.
- Never ignore anyone. You will meet those bands that will try to fool you by not sending you a promised CD, but simply move on and make new contacts. Yes you will be upset, because you try your best to give them what you can do best for free, and free promotion, so you’d expect a small insignificant (to them) gift from their end. Also, I frequently receive emails from artists, bands and labels which I don’t typically feature on my blog. Simply dropping them an email and telling them the truth instead of ignoring them always helps in keeping up a good reputation.
- Learn as much as you can from others. There is nothing wrong in studying others strategies and tricks and applying them yourself. There is no need to re-invent the wheel!
- Work, work, work. Yes it is a lot of hard work to succeed. Nothing comes around for free and be prepared to spend good amount of hours frustrating around trying to get things to work the way you want them.