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|Career choice, anyone been here?|
Make first websites this summer and starve or postpone and be safe
I just don't know where to ask but I'll try here. My situation is this: I'm in college and summer vacation is coming. Last month I decided I would use the summer to set up 1-3 websites whose idea of I've carried around for a couple of years.
I struck a deal with my current employee that I would only work weekends this summer so I could focus on my thing rest of the week. Now however I've got an offer to work part time at something directly related to my study, if I take the job I might get higher pay after graduation and be able to pay off debt faster, one requirement of becoming independant websites auteur like my goal is.
I'm conflicted because if I don't take the job it will be extremely tight moneywise, perhaps ends will not meet and I'll miss out on the work experience. But I'm afraid that if I work half day plus weekends I will not have any energy left for the websites and would be better off just working full time at a regular job.
I know it must be very difficult giving advice without knowing my details but perhaps someone has stood at similar crossroads?
There are lots of people who work full-time jobs AND do web sites outside of that. And they're a lot older than you. Take advantage of your youth and push yourslef to take advantage of this opportunity to earn money AND work in a job related to your field AND work on web sites to develop your skills further. If you are going to be an independent worker, you should plan for a LOT of 12+ hour days and weekends, so this will be good practice. :)
That said, DO make sure you get some kind of break before school starts again in the summer, otherwise you may find yourself burned out for the next year.
Thanks LiA, I've heard about those people and I envy them of their drive. I've had these ideas and not carried them out even though I could timewise have done so alongside school. I was thinking that a full working day was what I needed to get started. But perhaps that is a misconception, perhaps having money for food other than noodles is more important.
If you've been carrying around some website ideas for a couple of years, pick one of those ideas and do something about it!
It's nothing special to have a good idea. It's ACTION that separates the winners from the wannabe's.
>It's ACTION that separates the winners from the wannabe's.
Read that 100's of times.....say it to yourself in the mirror thousands of times!
Success is not easy....you will need huge amounts of energy, commitment, sacrifice, and then some more!
Think smart......hours can often be wasted, look and think before plunging in!
I learned a lot by working for someone else for 15 years....but, I now also see them as 15 years where I didn't learn enough!
Asking a 20 year old to "go-it-alone" is a very high bar to set, so maybe you have to spend 15 years understanding why?
Maybe you can jump the bar in your early 20's.....only time will tell!
I couldn't jump the bar in my early 20's........I needed to learn first.......today I really don't understand why it took so long to learn........
It is an odd thing.....those that know how see it as simple, those that don't, see it as impossible.......maybe the time element is the solution?
Thanks for the reply's, I'm actually in my early 30's. Being in college at this age shows how long it takes for me to decide on things.
Without being too negative, ask yourself this question:
If you don't have the drive to create the sites in your spare time when you're at college, are you going to have the drive to create them when you've got a whole day free?
Note, I didn't mention the time, I'm talking about drive. That's much more important than time, as without the drive to make it happen, it won't happen no matter how much time you have! Worst case scenario, you could not take this job offer, have every day off and still not have created the sites. Also, how likely is it that the sites will make money? Be realistic with yourself, there's no point in creating a great website if there's not going to be any revenue stream.
Don't mean this post to be negative at all, but this is a big step that you need to consider carefully!
What I was thinking was putting my self in a do or die situation. I know that if I take the job I will constantly be using that as excuse for procrastinating in regards to webmastering. If I decide to do my own thing exclusively this summer full time and yet it has not happened come fall then I'd know I just don't have what it takes and can resign my self to become a regular employee in future.
I think the ideas them selfes are solid, they're for a huge market and unique.
I hit the "reply to post" button on this one without really knowing what I'm going to say, just because I can empathize with a lot of it.
First of all, if you're only in your 30s and don't have enough energy for both a job and working on your sites, and if you haven't had a full medical exam for awhile - have one. Seriously. Low thyroid activity, a chronic low-grade infection, atypical depression, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and lots of other medical conditions can sap energy level for a long enough time that you can think it's "Just the way I am." Most importantly, there's something you can do about all the ones I listed and most of the others.
|Now however I've got an offer to work part time at something directly related to my study, if I take the job I might get higher pay after graduation and be able to pay off debt faster, one requirement of becoming independant websites auteur like my goal is. |
Do I detect a glimmer of interest in the subject you're studying? If so, this is a perfect opportunity to find out if it's something you really want to throw yourself into - or not. And anything you have a real interest in will help you out in the future, even if you decide you want to work on your own - you'll have more knowledge in a field than you would have otherwise and it's something you're interested in, both of which are bonuses for websites. (If you're really going to spend your life working on your own websites, those ideas you've been carrying around the last couple of years will just be enough to get you started - you'll need to keep generating ideas and interests.)
Whatever you decide about the job, start immediately to treat your website work as a business. If the ideas you've been carrying around are too "big" to start without having 60 hours/week to spend on them, get something smaller up and running so you can get the feel of the business part of things. Keep records of expenses and income, as well as the time you spend on it and what you're doing with that time. Assuming you're in the U.S., look into what you can and can't do with Schedule C: it can be especially useful if you're holding a job and working on your own business at the same time - but you have to keep those records.
ETA: Don't "resign yourself" to anything. The worst thing you can do to yourself is decide you're in a trap (and the only way you can be in a trap is if you decide you're in one). If you need a regular job to keep things going at this point, find one you enjoy - some of the most miserable people I've known are ones who've put themselves into jobs they hate so they'll have the incentive to do something else. Believe it or not, you can quit a job you enjoy - if you want to - and be a lot happier in the meantime. (BTW, a job you hate is one of the biggest energy sappers out there. A good job should invigorate you.)
[edited by: Beagle at 1:27 pm (utc) on April 23, 2007]
|There are lots of people who work full-time jobs AND do web sites outside of that. And they're a lot older than you. |
And many have homes, spouses and kids. If you want to be really successful it usually takes work and more work than the average person is willing to put in.
Studies show many people in the U.S. spend 20 - 30 hours a week watching TV. So by just replacing that time many people could start the part-time business they've always thought about or accomplish other major goals, yet most people will never do it.
My hair stylist has pointed out that I'm the only client she has who takes work with me while I get my hair done. I just can't see sitting there for 2 hours flipping through fashion magazines. When you are self employed you quickly learn the value of an hour or two of your time.
Take the job.
If you're really passionate about the websites, then they'll become like an itch that you just can't scratch. You'll start planning ways to make time to do them.
On the other hand, if they were just the dream of the moment, they'll fade, and you'll be glad you didn't throw your financial wellbeing away.
Also, take the job because you need the money. You need to play it smart. It's one thing to follow your dreams. Its another thing to become lost in them.
One other thing. Don't willingly put yourself in a "do or die" situation. That's not a nice thing to do to anybody, especially yourself.
You would never know if you dont do it. So, get started. I started on my own in 2002. Learnt alot, made quite a few mistakes but I did learn from my mistakes. Life is real when you do your own business and you pay for every mistake but then you get paid for everything good you do as well.
take the job.
start building the sites, especially if you like the topics they are supposed to cover. if you don't need to make leaving money off them during the first year they will be of much higher quality than those designed strictly to make money :)
Take the job and gain the experience. The INTERNET will
still be here when your ready! Good Luck!
Take the job, pick one of your website ideas and start working on that in your spare time. Write up a plan of action for yourself for the website and set your own (reasonable) deadlines for when you want things done. It may take a bit longer to do, but knowing you have money coming in will make it easier for you to concentrate on the creative side of the business. Having a part time job is usually the perfect balance between having time to yourself and giving you a reason to structure your time.
The sad fact is that if you want to establish yourself as something you are not yet established as (a webmaster, a businesswoman, a writer, whatever) you have to put in 200% for a while so you can both eat *and* do what you want.
Prepare to not have much of a life for a while, but do give yourself some free time. Agree on a work quota for yourself and let yourself relax and go out when you've hit it. That was the thing that saved me when I was working full time and writing a book last year (and I am totally *not* one of those people who effortlessly juggle so many things, I am still at a loss as to how I did it!)
This thread kind of backfired on me because I was really hoping for motivation to go solo ;)
|if you haven't had a full medical exam for awhile - have one. ... atypical depression, ... can sap energy level for a long enough time that you can think it's "Just the way I am." |
Spot on, depression is the word and since last I've decided to plan for weekly therapy this summer.
|a job you hate is one of the biggest energy sappers out there. A good job should invigorate you |
To clarify my work and study is in the field of library and information science. I work part time at a library and some day's I love it, helping people find info especially. But the pay is lousy and it does become a stuffy and hot workplace in summer. The job offer was to move into records management, that's the high paying end of this field. The only reason it tempted me was higher salary but when I though more about it I already felt like I was trapped.
|It's ACTION that separates the winners from the wannabe's. |
|If you've been carrying around some website ideas for a couple of years, pick one of those ideas and do something about it! |
|You would never know if you dont do it. So, get started. |
This is what keeps nagging me. I've heard many places that getting fired was the best thing that happened to many people because it forced them to act on their ideas.
|Don't willingly put yourself in a "do or die" situation. That's not a nice thing to do to anybody, especially yourself. |
You are right I've been there although not voluntarily. That time I actually did not have anything to eat some day's but now the sacrifice is more abstract, i.e. not getting work experience for high paying job plus perhaps some discomfort from not being able to buy some stuff, eating out etc.
|Having a part time job is usually the perfect balance between having time to yourself and giving you a reason to structure your time. |
That's what I've decided to do this summer, keep my old part time job at the library and only work weekends. The rest of the week I'm going to work on three website ideas, consecutively or simultaneously (perhaps you can advice me on which is better).
I'm now working out a financial plan for the months of May through August. When I've taken into account my fixed montly expenses such as rent, internet/phone, loan interests, therapy and bus fare, plus estimated www startup cost of hosting and domain names it now comes down to aprox $12 for food, clothes and entertainment per day.
|... start immediately to treat your website work as a business |
That's an advice I'm going to follow, right now I'm reading Getting things Done by David Allen and I think it will be great help in doing just what the title say's.
Thank's again for the replys I really appreciated all of them.
|if you don't need to make money off them during the first year they will be of much higher quality than those designed strictly to make money |
I don't intend try moneytising the websites for at least a year. First when I've started recieving a critical amount of traffic so that the host will have started to charge me for extra bandwith will I start experimenting with ads and affiliateships. I'm planning for the long term and totally o.k. with not making any money of the sites for a few years.
Realistically, the day's of making a website and instantly be earning money are long gone don't you think?
But the money is not the only reason I'm going to do this, it can also be viewed as ego gratification for lack of better term. I want to be able to go online and admire my sites that I made, similar perhaps to a writer that would get a kick out of seeing his/her book on sale at the local bookstore.
|But the money is not the only reason I'm going to do this, it can also be viewed as ego gratification for lack of better term. I want to be able to go online and admire my sites that I made, similar perhaps to a writer that would get a kick out of seeing his/her book on sale at the local bookstore. |
Sounds to me like you should take some time this summer to sort out your thinking..
If you want to build web sites (the ideas that have been "floating" around in your head)...the reasons you give are simply wrong..
Get your ego out of the way...!
The web, as a technology, is about solving a problem, harvesting a process that is not identified or disrupting established sectors with a new approach (interface/functionality)..
If you can find your "passion" in doing this...then nothing will stop you...
If monetary security is your concern...then you may have to take that position you mention for the summer and work on your own time on your web projects..
Either way...you will need to multi-task to push your process forward....it's totally up to you...
|a writer that would get a kick out of seeing his/her book on sale at the local bookstore. |
The thrill of that wears thin pretty quick unless the writer starts seeing their books in the hands of people who bought them at said bookstore.
|Realistically, the day's of making a website and instantly be earning money are long gone don't you think |
No. Profit of a sort that allows you to live on the income may take time, that allows you to live very comfortably, longer.
If you are building websites full time (or near full time) and earning income and then growing it isn't an integral part of the plan, from the get go, then you have no plan. You have to earn a living. Otherwise what you are planning is a vanity site or a hobby site and building sites like that is a part time activity done outside of making a living.
I don't know you, and I don't mean to be harsh - just realistic - but just take a look at what you have told us in this topic: you are in your 30's, have carried these ideas for years and done nothing about them, talk about being a "websites auteur" and being "able to go online and admire my sites ". You are practically planning to earn nothing for years and are reading a book about getting things done instead of getting things done and you somehow believe that having all day to do it in will make the difference. It's all quite worrying.
Take the job, take any job. Create at least one site at the same time. At the end of the summer you will know this is something you are cut out for or not.
And good luck with it, if you pull off one success that way you will know that you can do it again and you will be starting on a much surer footing.
|you are in your 30's, have carried these ideas for years and done nothing about them, talk about being a "websites auteur" and being "able to go online and admire my sites ". You are practically planning to earn nothing for years and are reading a book about getting things done instead of getting things done and you somehow believe that having all day to do it in will make the difference. It's all quite worrying. |
Reson I'd like to do something outside of the braindead affiliate merry go round is I'd like something to be proud off. I appreciate if you have tried something similar, failed and want to warn me, in that case thank you, if this is just your pessimistic guess I suggest you grow an imagination.
Listen to abbyvet. It is good, free advice even though it isn't what you want to hear.
um, I don't think those comments were out of pessimism. To hit a blunt nail with a sledgehammer, I will rephrase:
* you've told us enough to get a pretty good idea of the situation.
* the situation is that you are, and have for years been, an unmotivated dreamer;
* therefore, having all day with nothing to do will not solve all your problems, it's likely to make them worse;
* your "do or die" predicament is more likely to make you anxious, depressed and self-hating than turn you the next Sergey Brin;
* the only thing that's going to give you more structure and direction is something that looks vaguely like a career path, and setting yourself VERY concrete goals.
As an ex-unmotivated dreamer myself (I still attend "unmotivated dreamers anonymous" every other week) it took an industrial grade crisis to change this mindset. This isn't a self-help forum so I won't elaborate, but I do believe that having more time on your hands is not a solution.
Also your contempt for people who make affiliate sites is unwarranted.
|if you have tried something similar, failed and want to warn me |
No, I've done something similar, succeeded and tried to advise you.
Earning money from your work isn't some dirty polluting aside that spoils your art. It's essential. You HAVE to make a living. I don't, as it happens, do anything much in the affiliate sense, not because I have any contempt for it, I am just not good at it - I have the greatest admiration and not a little envy for those who are, it isn't anything like as easy as it looks.
There are many ways to earn income from sites, many, many, many. And I say it again, you HAVE to earn a living. If your sites are not doing it, or you don't have a realistic and fairly short-term plan as to how and when they will, then you need some other way to earn a living in the meantime. It's just that simple.
I applogize, both about the affiliate sites comment (what I meant was copycat/cloned affiliate sites) and for snapping at Abbeyvet, I guess he described my situation too accurately for my comfort.
|I don't intend try moneytising the websites for at least a year. |
Is that because you think the site(s) will grow faster without advertising?
The only reason I don't try to maximize income from a website is because I have limited time and have too many more important (more money for the time spent) things to work on.
You don't want to spend a year growing a website, only to find that there's no money there. Not only that, but if you have some motivational issues, you might eventually see your internet work as a big drain. With no income for a year, it pretty much will be a big drain.
Here's what I suggest you do and don't do. Don't put yourself in a crazy situation. Don't try to build the next peer to peer payment processor or the next webmasterworld.
1.) In your spare time, come up with 5-10 ideas, and/or write down the ones you already have.
2.) Go look at everyone who is doing something similar, and look at how they're making money from it.
3.) Pick the most viable idea.
4.) Plan to spend a lot of time and effort without making much money.
5.) Don't build a website. Build an income stream. Plan to monetize the site right away, without turning it into banner farm.
If you do this right, here's what will happen. Several months out, you'll realize that your site is making $50 per month whether you work on it or not. At that point, you have an income stream and the website is paying for your phone bill. You'll have a choice. Build another site that will make $50 or more per month, or continue to work on the first site and increase the revenue.
I know everyone isn't motivated by money, but when you realize your website is paying for your phone bill, you'll be wondering how to make it pay for your car payment, and then make it pay for your rent.
Things will get easier as time goes on. Once you know what you are doing, you only need to keep up with current developments. Much of what you read on message boards will be filtered out as noise. You'll spend less time learning and more time doing.
|First when I've started recieving a critical amount of traffic so that the host will have started to charge me for extra bandwith will I start experimenting with ads and affiliateships. |
Bandwidth is cheap, so don't worry about that.
|The rest of the week I'm going to work on three website ideas, consecutively or simultaneously (perhaps you can advice me on which is better). |
Since you're fairly new, spend the majority of your time on one. Work on the others a little if you get bored. I think you want to focus on one so you can make it work or fail in a shorter period of time. It's ok to get them all started. One reason to work on one is so you can apply everything you learn on the first one to the other two. If you go the same speed with all three, you'll probably be making the same mistakes three times instead of once. That's three times the work wasted initially, and three more times the work wasted when you have to fix things.
You can also expect some things to fail. I can't count the number of times I had a great new idea for a website that went nowhere. I worked hard on some of them, and I abandoned some of them very early - as soon as I could tell that it was too much work for not enough money. If one of your first three sites makes some money, you've started. You want to keep building on the small successes. You'll eventually have a much better feel for what will work and what won't.
Is that because you think the site(s) will grow faster without advertising?
I'm assuming that in the starting phase, webmasters and others in position to send traffic my way, will be more inclined to do so if it's ad free. But you're right, I need somehow to figure out if the visitors I'll attract are of the paying customer kind.
|If you go the same speed with all three, you'll probably be making the same mistakes three times instead of once. |
That's a good point, and well taken.
I have been going through steps 1-3 in the past couple of years, out of 30 or so registered domain names, each with its own idea I've narrowed it down to 3. The idea I like the best is allso the one that is riskiest. Time will tell. Step 4 is something I expect and 5 is an excellen advice, thanks.
Not to bump this post (itīs at top right now so no need), I'd just like to add that I too realize this is not a self help forum, and though the reality checks recieved have been a tad harsher than I'd prefer I brought them on myself and they have made me think again. I haven't changed my mind completely, of working only part time this summer but I'm giving it more consideration now and am following up a lead on a job offer far more interesting than the first one. Sorry if I sounded like an ungrateful brat and thanks for taking the time to reply.
Not everyone is cut out for working on their own. It's not a character flaw. It is just a trait. Some people just do better having defined jobs with set tasks and work hours. I have probably tried to teach 10 - 20 friends over the years how to make a living like I do and none has pursued it, even though they all would like to work from home and some could really use some extra money. But many have successful careers in more structured and more social job environments. It seems like you might be better suited to having a regular job as well. You can always give web site making a try in your spare time.
Well (sigh) one reason I've been so interested in doing my own thing rather than spending my life as an employee is that I have witnessed people going on pension where I work a few times.
A week after the retirement cermony it's like they never existed, they have become a fleeting shadow in the memory of the institution.
It just makes me sad, when I reach retirement age I'd rather like to have something I built still standing rather than being so casually dismissed.
Have you checked up on any of those people who've retired from your institution? You might be surprised what some of them are doing - maybe even what they were doing while working there, and now are putting more time into. Being remembered at your old job isn't the only way to build something you can be proud of. On the other side of the coin, remember that the web can be pretty transient, too.
Your last few posts have also gotten me a bit concerned. It's not a sin to build websites that don't make much money if it's something you do for the joy of it, but if you're planning to live on the income from them, they have to be approached in the same way you'd approach starting any business. If you've made your business plan and don't think you'll be making a profit for a year, for example, you have to be sure you have enough savings to live on for a year (at least).
If you start building your "dream" sites and enjoy it, you might even be happier if you don't have to live from their income, because then you could turn them into the kinds of sites you want instead of needing to make decisions based on how much money they'll bring in.
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