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|Want to leave corporate America for a content site career|
I've followed this and many other forums for several years. I recently have become much more active in them because I am interested in leaving the corporate world and entering the online word permanently.
Like the agent in the matrix talking to Morpheus; "I must get out of this place"
I have several sites and have tested many ideas. Including, seo, directories, online marketing. I have enough programming and business background to get it done. I do however understand the value of a good team and community. Thats where this forum comes in.
I'm thinking a how to type of site with constant fresh content that will be complimented by a network of relevant supporting sites.
Any advice from anyone who has made this leap? Or anyone who has not is very welcome. Thanks.
Agreed. There is time for all 3 if you are good at managing your time. Take for instance my scenario (when I was doing all three):
1. Woke up at 6am, about 1 hour before everyone else. Got some work done on my website. (about 5 hours/week)
2. Spent my lunch hour at Panera (free wifi) working on my website (about 4 hours/week total)
3. 2-3 nights a week I would stay up late after everyone went to bed (10-midnight) for a total of about 5 hours/week.
4. Weekends you can find a few hours here and there (2-3 hours).
This is roughly 15-16 hours/week of work that is only sacrificing my own time, with almost no family time being sacrificed.
Heck, I don't even work a full 15 hrs/week anymore... so that is plenty of time to get a website going... =)
Telling someone who has a family and is the bread winner for that family to quit their day job before they have something working in place is careless in my opinion. We all know the success rates for online businesses/websites is low, just as they are for a brick and mortar business.
If 10 newbies reading this thread go out and quit their day job tomorrow to start a website... 9 of them will fail within a few years. This may not be the exact statistic, but you know it is close... If you ever spend a few minutes on DP, you will find hordes of newbies trying to make a living off websites and only able to scrape up a few dollars a day...
Getting to the point where you can support your family from a web venture is no easy task for a newbie... and please don't take this the wrong way, but 2 years experience is still a newbie in my opinion... In a field where most of us have been building websites for 15 years...
[edited by: maximillianos at 1:06 am (utc) on Aug. 31, 2009]
|Agreed. There is time for all 3 if you are good at managing your time. |
My hairdresser told me I was the only client she has that brought in work while having her hair done. But for me in those two hours a month I can have notes made for three or four articles instead of just wasting time skimming through fashion and gossip magazines.
I second leadegroot, DO SOMETHING! Don't wait to quit for that. I did that mistake, I'm back working and now I'm building up from my part time.
If you think one job and a part time self work is too much, then you might want to re-consider starting your own business.
I got some advice once:
Always be doing something. Never sit back, or relax checking your analytics all day or patting yourself on the back. Just keep doing.
|Agreed. There is time for all 3 if you are good at managing your time. |
Oh please, something's going to suffer somewhere.
Lack of sleep, lack of friends, lack of personal time, you can't burn the candle at both ends and still have all the things that really matter.
I know because I burned the candle at both ends and even in the middle for almost 10 years with startup companies, fast tracked career, several side projects, rolling in the money hand over fist and eventually you just burn out.
I don't care how good your time management is something will suffer.
Say for instance you're sitting at work and your site alarm goes off on your mobile telling you your site has gone belly up. Now your side-project is suddenly losing lots of money being down and AdWords is wasting cash for clicks to nowhere while your customer confidence with your new site is flushing itself down the toilet.
What do you do?
a) bail out on your day job to go run and rescue your part-time project or,
b) sit tight at your day job totally stressed out and unable to concentrate until you can get out of the office to get your server back online
Don't think glibly answering 'shared hosting' will be any less stressful, they blow up as well, and quite often the host tinkering with or upgrading the server used to bring down my site(s) which is another reason why I'm on a dedicated server.
An entrepreneur I used to work with as a subcontractor for several projects was also playing this same game and they found him face down on his desk late one night in a diabetic coma and he had never been diagnosed with any diabetes symptoms before! The doctor claims a couple of years of all the stress and lack of sleep pushed him physically over the edge.
I'm not saying time management doesn't help but set your goals realistically and don't kill yourself.
Lot of great advice here. I will add my two cents.
1) Take the plunge. Businesses become successful because somebody, somewhere took the risk. Unfortunately 90% of the public can never take that step. If you don't try, you never know.
2) Start small, but think big.
3) Make sure you have family support, because when you are down, worried and hungry, you will need a hug from your family.
4) There is no shame in failing first few times, as long as you know when to quit and learn from your mistake.
5) Have backup plan, part time job, working spouse, extended family and friends to support you long term. You will need time, to see sunshine. This is the luxury of privileged class. If you have that, you are already rich and its a matter of time before you find your fortune.
6) It takes long time to make a idea into success. Learn to be patient. Specially with your wallet and lifestyle.
7) Specialize in what you know and love and not on what glitters most.
8) Run with the crowd, and you will be the crowd. Be different and you will go where most cannot even dream.
9) At first, people will laugh at you, ridicule you and look down on you. But believe in yourself and you will have the last laugh.
10) Learn to believe in something. There are many rich or atheist but very few rich and atheist. Sooner or later you will need to pray for a miracle.
Thats the basics.
[edited by: xalex at 4:45 am (utc) on Aug. 31, 2009]
|I'm not saying time management doesn't help but set your goals realistically and don't kill yourself. |
Amen to that!
You make a very good point Incredibill, and that is that many think an internet business is going to solve all their problems and save them from the daily grind.
The reality is that starting a business on the internet takes just as much work as starting a brick and mortar business or any business for that matter, it is a hell of a lot of work... and going into business for yourself is going to mean sacrifices at first until you get things going... and even then you might fail 10 times before you get something that works.
If you want a cushy 9-5 job, keep your day job... not many folks can get from A to B without making a few sacrifices along the way...
The trick is to know when you have enough, and to ease back and remember to live life and enjoy your family with your new found freedoms... Don't just keep piling on the projects and new sites and new this and new that... Know when to slow down and let your business take a back seat to your life.
"The most important trait when it comes to a successful business is usually luck. "
Absolutely not true whatsoever.
The biggest advice I could give is to find a niche and develop a strong USP (unique selling proposition)
The internet is overbaked, and good ideas are almost always welcome. Good ideas are easier to promote both virally and link-wise and often more brandable.
There will be tons of people along the way who tell you your dream is not possible. My best advice for this is:
Prepare. Move With. Act as if, in advance.
Hope this helps!
|If 10 newbies reading this thread go out and quit their day job tomorrow to start a website... 9 of them will fail within a few years. This may not be the exact statistic, but you know it is close... If you ever spend a few minutes on DP, you will find hordes of newbies trying to make a living off websites and only able to scrape up a few dollars a day... |
I've made the same observations on DP lol! However, I'm less than surprised that so many of those people on there are NOT successful. Most of the threads I've read over there are about someone who looks for an affiliate product he thinks might be worth promoting, then creates a website for it, writes a few 'articles' (on a topic they are not knowledgeable about), and then wonder why they fail. And then want to start a site in a new hot niche.
I would be REALLY interested in the statistics on how many people that are serious about it, end up making it. E.g. experienced online marketers/SEOs who take the plunge and try to run their own sites (or have been doing so in their free-time already). Anyone happen to have those kind of stats (or at least observations)?:-)
Put together a balanced diet that involves, daily exercise, research, project development and family/friends time.
If you sit for 12 hours a day behind a computer screen trying to build your empire your will implode, go stale and fade out.
If sitting in from of the computer for 12 hours a day is the only way you can see yourself making money, don't quit your day job, you're not ready for it.
|If sitting in from of the computer for 12 hours a day is the only way you can see yourself making money, don't quit your day job, you're not ready for it. |
Don't think working at a job has less hours as I used to sit 12+ hours in front of the computer at WORK for 6 days a week for months at a time - a few times we pulled 24-36 hours straight to make trade show demos and shipping dates.
At least working from home I don't have the 2 hours of daily commute ;)
Yes, that's fine for when your "employed", but I think one of the key features of Freelance needs to be readjusting the work/life balance.
My point is that if you hope that by flogging a computer to death for 12/24/36 hours a day will mean that you are guaranteed success, you're quitting for the wrong reasons :)
Working from home is nice, but I think you need to keep active, and get a good diet/mix for long term success.
|My point is that if you hope that by flogging a computer to death for 12/24/36 hours a day will mean that you are guaranteed success, you're quitting for the wrong reasons :) |
LOL..The you've put it is funny, but I don't agree with that. Definitely working smart is better than working hard. But then, working smart for 12-14 hours a day (when you can afford it, of course..) is better than working smart for 8 hours..
Hers my 2c for a low risk strategy to success.
1. Treat your job or current small business as a cash cow and keep milking it for as long as possible.
2. Don't have a unique idea that no one has succeeded with before and think that you have a good chance of success.
3. Find all of your potential competitors and study in detail what they have done to get successful. I mean in minute detail.
4. Learn from/copy what others have done for success.
5. If you think you can do something better than the competitors don't try and be too clever all at once. Just be a bit better at first then incrementally improve.
6. Leave your day job/sell your small business when you are making much more from your business and not before. Make a graph and wait until the net profits from your online business have exceeded your salary for at least 6 months.
I started my current business following the above 10 years ago and now turn over in excess of $5 million, about the same size as the competitors I learned from and now there are several businesses that I know have started by learning from me.
There was a good article in the Yahoo! business center [smallbusinessanswers.yahoo.com] this week about the 7 most overrated businesses. A lot of well respected professionals chipped in on the discussion about why people flock to the business types most likely to fail.
Ironically at #3 on the list is online retail
|3. Online Retail. By far, one of the easiest businesses to start is selling items through online marketplaces such as eBay or Amazon. But as online commerce ages and these sites fill up with more established retailers, it's much harder for new, small sellers to compete for attention and generate a viable income. |
"A lot of people are thinking it's the Web of five or 10 years ago and you stand out simply because you're on the Web," says Rieva Lesonsky, chief executive of a Media company.
Instead, successful online retailers today must have a handle on sourcing their products at a low enough price, then layering on clever online marketing and fine-tuned logistics. These businesses won't generate much income if they can't be easily found in searches, maintain a good reputation among buyers or add enough value so that sellers can build profit margins high enough to take on bigger players and physical stores.
To that I say don't take advice about online activities from a CEO any more than you would take financial advice from an SEO. In fact, avoid paying a CEO at all if your in house SEO knows his/her stuff. Traditional business fundamentals don't always work very well online and you can indeed earn an excellent income without any product at all (and that won't change until CEO's can do it better than SEO's.)
[edited by: JS_Harris at 10:42 am (utc) on Aug. 31, 2009]
[edited by: phranque at 8:33 am (utc) on Sep. 1, 2009]
[edit reason] added link to quote source [/edit]
My opinion on this matter is there is no perfect time to do it but now. When I was still employed I was scared as hell thinking if I loose my job, what will happen to me and my family with just making a living online? I endured ten years with a bully manager and after ten long years I was retrenched. (Like a rag doll, abused, thrown here and there and afterwards thrown into a trash can). I thought I wasn't ready but looking back three years after being self-employed, I was thankful someone "pushed me in the water to swim or drown" for me to find out that I can do it.
"The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy." – Malcolm S. Forbes (1919-1990)
I'm a web developer. I don't do much buy only create free software (gnu/gpl). All I earn is through AdSense. I didn't think much. I kept making a handsome for over two years and then took the plunge not knowing better.
I still can't call myself successful but I know that thinking it over and over can weaken your will/desires (whatever). So as a tagline of a famous company "Just do it".
FYI- I'm the only guy earning for my family. I love programming and if I fail I'll go back to the corporate world. Things are pretty simple. YMMV
|"The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy." – Malcolm S. Forbes (1919-1990) |
I think you need to find a good balance between something you enjoy and something that actually pays.
I'm 6'3-6'4 tall, was always pretty good at sports, and I'm extremely passionate about basketball, but I still doubt it was a mistake not trying to make it to the NBA....:P
As I have just reached 'work age', I am in the fortunate position of being able to apply for a part-time day job (i.e. I'm not 'needed' by my boss yet). This way I can use the 'free' time to expand my busines, slowly and carefully supplanting 'boss time' with 'me time'.
WW is good for tossing general ideas around and getting help with tech issues. But, as you said, having a good team is important.
It's been said that the two kinds of ships you do not want to be on is a sinking ship and a partnership. I have had some awful experiences with partners. A good, legal contract is vital, but you'll still have problems. All of that said, in today's world it is getting tough to go it alone.
If you do not have a partner, get someone involved in your thinking. If you are only trusting yourself on every decision, it will be tough. Form an advisory panel of customers or vendors, perhaps. And listen to them.
That said, you have to keep control and be responsible yourself.
|I was wondering if that bad reputation (of 'affiliate marketing usually not working' so-to-speak) had some truth to it...or if the amount of failures in affiliate marketing was ridiculously inflated because of so many get-rich-quick'ers being attracted to it (and thus affiliate marketing being a good monetization model, 'if done right'). |
Affiliate programs were conceived as a form of advertising. If you had a site about Scottish clan tartans, you'd display Amazon affiliate boxes that featured books about Scottish tartans, history, and culture. And if your audience was sufficiently motivated, some of your readers would buy.
Somewhere along the line, the get-rich-quick crowd jumped into the picture (with the encouragement of affiliate managers) and decided to build SEO-driven junk sites around affiliate links. That model became tough to sustain when every wannabe Web entrepreneur and his brother jumped on the bandwagon, and it became even harder to sustain when the leading search engines (and especially Google) became smarter about identifying and filtering "thin affiliate sites."
However, affiliate programs can still generate significant revenue for sites of intrinsic value whose readers are researching ways to spend their money. You just need the right topic and audience, and the patience to learn--through trial and error--which affiliate programs work or don't work on a given site.
I just see this article today:
The 7 Most Overrated Businesses -> 2 of the 7 are web based.
A lot of people think working for oneself is more stable than working for an employer - as it is the single income source. That is not necessarily true. If your business fails, your all income is gone. However, if your employer fails, you can find another employer - as long as you have the marketable skills.
A lot of people said they make double or triple more working for oneself than previously working for an employer. Well, it all depends on how much s/he was making for a previous employer = it could be $10,000 or 100,000. We all know double 10,000 is easier than double 100,000.
Also I read somewhere, going from working for an employer to working for yourself is easy - you jut need make up your mind. Going from working for yourself to working for employer is hard - you may not have the updated skill for getting a job.
This is great feedback. Since this thread is taking on a life of its own, I'll throw as many @'s in as possible.
|Brett (owner of this site I think) has a great one year plan to make your website(s) successfull somewhere on this site and it still applies to this day (for me). |
I have it bookmarked from 2002,Thanks.
|Two years is too long to just "plan" a website business plan. You have to keep up on daily search engine changes as part of your business plan in action. |
Ive gotten the "2 years is too long response" a couple of times. Its important to understand that Ive used this time to trial the idea, research platform solutions, creating processes,learning from the competition, and a few other things, and not just creating a traditional business plan.
|There is no looking back now. kmb40 (and me too) have taken the plunge when time was probably not ripe enough, and there is no gainsaying in telling us that we were probably wrong or something. |
I'm still in the matrix. I have not left the corporate gig yet.
@man in poland
|kmb40 - with all due respect, are you sure you are ready for this? The change of life from a 'corporate' to an 'entrepreneurial' one is totally dependant on your character. |
Im sure of it. This is not even a question. In earlier threads that you may not have seen, I explained that I run a consultation business with clients and have for the last 10 years. At this point, I am an entrepreneur acting as a corporate employee. I might add, Id planned on separating from the day I joined once I'd acquired the business experiences. Now ive acquired those skills. I am truthful with myself which is exactly why I feel its time for me to move on. Thanks for the feedback.
|Just a thought - regarding quitting the day job. For some people there is a satisfactory intermediate step. Approaching the boss about working part time, or working as a freelancer/consultant. Obviously depends on your current job! |
I agree and your right it depends on the gig and for my role today, part time would equate to full time hours of 40 per week, versus the 60 or so im doing today.
Absolutely agree. Been there done that and still dealing with that hurdle today to be honest. I don't expect that to change but I one has to go.
|Oh please, something's going to suffer somewhere. |
|Put together a balanced diet that involves, daily exercise, research, project development and family/friends time. |
This is really really important. Im not doing as well as I should here but have in the past and it made a huge difference.
|As I have just reached 'work age', I am in the fortunate position of being able to apply for a part-time day job (i.e. I'm not 'needed' by my boss yet). |
Congrats, my advice to you is that If you've got something you can do well and enjoy, build on it now. It will be yours and not some companies. Save yourself from the scenario that I'm working through now. Dont get me wrong, Im successful, healthy and have had the opportunity to do and see a lot but id much rather be doing something that im passionate about.
I think thats it. Again people, this is priceless feedback for me. I appreciate it.
Almost forgot. Thanks for the link. Interesting perspective. Item number seven on the list was really interesting but Im not sure I agree with it and not because I want to go that route but because I dont have any plans to but I think the cost are way off and I also think this happens every 2 years or so. Today its Facebook and Twitter. I remeber when myspace was the media darling. Before that it was ebay and amazon, and google.
My point is all of these sites are still around and still receive large amounts of traffic. I do agree that people are not likely to switch once they found something they are happy with but people also have multiple accounts to multiple services and platforms for a reason. Not sure that Zwilling is all that plugged in to be honest based on that statement.
1. Read at least 4 biz/marketing books a month.
2. Don't work more. Automate more. (Are you building a business or a job? Big difference.)
3. Actually, work less. Keep an eye on making the business function independently of you. (Except for accounting/ROI tracking/depositing checks.)
Great point Boplicity. Many of us work very hard up front to work very little in the long run. I've spent years automating my sites to the point where I can leave for weeks at a time and things won't fall apart. Depending on the type of site you have, you can leverage your power users for all sorts of things. We have a full team of volunteer mods, and more on a waiting list if we need them.
Involve them as much as you can. Many folks find it very rewarding to help out on a site they like. And you get to free up time for yourself.
|Don't work more. Automate more. |
boplicity has a good point but I would phrase it "Don't work more, work smarter."
There are lots of ways to work smarter beyond simply automating everything.
Sometimes I put off certain projects for days while I think about them on the "back burner" and when I finally implement the project I spend less time with a more elegant solution to the problem.
When I look back to day one, it seems every plan I made became useless. As the world changed, the internet evolved, there was no way to stay on my original track.
It was reacting and changing with the shifts I saw in the world that made the difference. Had I stuck firmly on my original vision, I'd be nowhere today.
I choose to take a contrarian path. When something's hot, I'll have nothing to do with it. I like the opportunity that the lemons in life can offer.
|I'm not saying time management doesn't help but set your goals realistically and don't kill yourself. |
Well you know the age-old saying:
"Make it as a web-entrepreneur, or die trying..."
I guess I got lucky. My friend had a computer and he told me that I should buy one. It was 1993 and we found one for $1.000 and I bought it. We played games on it and then came the internet. Since my work was one that we thought could use it, we decided to try the internet. I think their was about 3,000 web sites in the entire world (taken from wikipedia.org) so I bought one. My domain cost me $580.00 and it took me 3 weeks to find out if I could have that domain name or not. I still have that domain and I still have that web site. At first I knew absolutely nothing about putting up a site. I wrote (and still do) by note pad and read about HTML. At first I was consumed by it and then it got kind of old. Yes, I made a great deal of money at first and then came the copy cats. More and more of them until now their are hundreds of thousands. So many of them that after all these years I have just about quit with it. I know everyone has these luck stories about all the money you make with one, let me tell you from experience, keep your day job.
|I know everyone has these luck stories about all the money you make with one, let me tell you from experience, keep your day job. |
I hear you. It sounds like anyone attempting this today would need to be looking at something that requires a lot of hard work then folks would be less likely to duplicate it.
I did not want to deflate your balloon at all. That was not my attempt but I read and re read lots of people on here giving you advise and I rarely put in my 2 cents worth but this was something that I knew almost no one in this entire thread had the experience I have, and to me, that makes me a expert, at least in my book. Don't let me stop you, in fact if you do try something I would love to see it. My story is long and kind of fun to think about today. My family told me that I was crazy in the Christmas of 1994 when I told them what I was doing. I went to Wal-Mart that year and purchased a computer for my nieces and nephew's simply because I knew they needed to learn about computer's. My family agreed but when I told them I was going to pay to have a modem (14.4) installed in it and I was going to pay for 6 months of dial up for them my brother declined the offer of the modem because it was going to cost long distance charges to dial up a provider in downtown Chicago to log onto and yet, I was paying the fee and thought nothing about it because I was getting 50,000 visitors a month to my site and my counter was just going crazy each month. I actually hated it when Microsoft rolled out Windows 98. It forced me to completely re write my entire web site. I was so angry I refused to up grade to it until Windows 98 SE came out and I was forced to.
Today everyone tells you about what to do, how to do it and I get daily emails telling me about their guarantee of making money with their way. Not a 1 is telling the truth, if they were, then they would never give up their secret.
I keep my domain going today (I think sometimes to brag) because I was one of the first) and I still update it but it does not make me much $$ any longer. I do wish you the best and hope it works out for you.
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