All right, it’s day two of the Legendary Marketer Bootcamp challenge. Today I want to share my story on why to start an online business.
I’ve written about this topic before on my about page but I thought this would be a great chance to share my background and motivation for creating IHW and other sites of my online business.
I thought I’d begin by talking a bit about my background so you can get an idea about my skills and interests. This is important for me because when I first learned about online business it was very eye-opening to realize that people from all walks of life were doing this.
I’ve seen plenty of young people without formal education create successful online businesses and the same goes for experienced professionals from different industries and also retirees.
Realizing this gave me the confidence to start with my online business. If all these people were succeeding, why wouldn’t I? I’ve always had a bad habit of undermining myself and not trusting my skills. So this was the push I needed.
The great thing about online business is that you can get all the education you need online, your background doesn’t really matter. People of all ages, sexes, and backgrounds are creating successful online businesses as we speak.
Of course, having English as your first language helps a lot as does the ability to read and write fast. But these are all skills you can learn.
English is not my first language, but I’ve had the luxury of learning and using English from a young age so I can make due. I want to share this in case you are someone who can read English, but is unsure if you can succeed, not being a native speaker. You most definitely can. Trust yourself.
You can create a successful online business in pretty much any language, so all it really takes is the ability to learn the necessary skills, which are mostly taught in English. But I’m sure these days you can find the same information in almost any language.
But enough about the language barrier, time to get on with my story!
So, as I told you already, I’m not a native English speaker. I’m from Finland and have lived there most of my life. If you are not very familiar with Finland, here’s the scoop:
- We live up north so the winters are long and dark, summers are short and bright (and beautiful)
- There’s only around 5 million of us Finns, we have plenty of countryside and forest and only a few larger cities.
- We have a very good educational system, for which I can partly thank my skills for.
- We are not a socialist/communist satellite state of Russia like some Americans seem to think. We lean towards the Scandinavian countries of Sweden, Norway and Denmark
- All in all, we are a relatively wealthy and technologically advanced small country.
I just wanted to share this so you know where I’m coming from. All the points I brought up are somehow related to how I ended up starting an online business.
Growing up I was always interested in understanding how things worked. I was also very interested in computers. I had the privilege of having parents that supported my interests and were very modern for the times.
Growing up in the 80s we already had a PC with a modem that my father was using for banking and connecting to the university’s server. This was before the internet may I remind you.
I actually learned English by learning to use computers and by watching American TV which we, fortunately, don’t overdub but have subtitles instead. I basically learned English by accident and were pretty proficient with it by third grade when the formal teaching of English began in our school. This is actually pretty common in Finland I guess.
Without going too much into details of my school years, I eventually ended up going to high school and after that to a university of applied sciences and eventually got a bachelor’s degree.
While studying I did all sorts of odd jobs from construction to driving a forklift in a warehouse. For the past years, I’ve been working in a specialist position, a comfortable office job. I make a decent living but I often find myself thinking of options.
During my whole career, one thing has been very clear to me. I was not going to do full-time work for someone else for my whole career. I’ve always wanted to become an entrepreneur eventually.
We are living in uncertain times (like they ever were certain?). It’s only wise to diversify your income sources and not be dependent on a single paycheck. If you create your life around that monthly paycheck, you become financially dependent on your employer.
This is the reason I got interested in online business. I don’t want to position myself so that I’m completely dependent on my monthly paycheck. It’s simply too risky, you never know when the economy tanks and budget cuts make your job obsolete.
My background and skills gave me the confidence I could make it in the online world as I learned that people with much less education and experience had succeeded in the online world.
But how did I learn that you can make money online?
When I learned about making money online
I can’t say exactly when I heard about making money online for the first time but I remember when I started looking for the information actively for the first time.
I was doing a research project in 2011 for the university and I was sitting in front of this dust generator (yes, that’s a thing), grinding dust to a ventilation pipe that was set up for the research experiment. We were researching cleaning construction dust from ventilation if you are wondering.
I had been running the experiment for several weeks at this point and it involved a lot of waiting. There was literally nothing to do while waiting for the test run to finish. I was bored out of my mind. I had just gotten my first smartphone and just decided to Google “earn money online” or something along those lines.
Just like that, a new world opened before my eyes. I started reading about the first page hits and was soon researching and consuming huge amounts of information on my free time. I soon became convinced people were actually making money with honest work online. I just had to learn how to do it myself.
I soon learned about affiliate marketing and passive income and all these intriguing ideas of making big bucks on autopilot while you were sleeping.
How it turned out
Well, my enthusiasm was short-lived. It did not turn out so well, unfortunately. In 2011 I built my first niche website without any real training.
I used stuff I found on Google and YouTube as guidance. I got a cheap hosting service, a domain and did some keyword research with Google keyword planner.
I think I posted around 5 to 10 posts before giving up because I wasn’t ranking in Google or getting any traffic. Had I known what I know now, I would have kept pushing for much longer. Back then it would’ve been much easier to rank for many niches.
Maybe a year later I gave it another go while abandoning the first site completely. I was having an exceptionally bad situation at a temp job and I wrote “I hate working” to Google.
Right at that moment, a lightbulb turned on my head. I realized there must be thousands of people like me, frustrated with their jobs and looking for a way out online. Maybe I could show the world of options out there and offer some hope? To make things clear, I don’t hate working, not most of the time at least. I actually work hard and enjoy seeing results. But I bet most you reading this can sympathize with the feeling.
I checked out free domains and found IHateWorking.net. That’s how this site got started. Originally I simply shared tips on how to make money online, without really having the experience to back up my advice.
Not so surprisingly, after a year or so I had no results with IHW and gave up on it as well. My online dream seemed to perish. I got busy with work and life.
I forgot about online business for over five years after the early failures. I focused on my actual career and accepted that this is the way it’s going to be until retirement. For a while.
In 2018 I started researching online business again and stumbled upon Wealthy Affiliate. After doing some serious research I decided to take the plunge and became a premium member.
I actually built several sites in the beginning as I was lacking direction. A couple of them were new, but I Hate Working was actually a domain that I had kept all these years on a cheap hosting service.
At first I wasn’t seeing any real success and that was partly because I wasn’t giving my 100 %. I was building small niche websites and documenting my progress at IHW. I was simply spread out too thin and didn’t understand the process well enough.
At new years eve 2018 I made a promise to myself. I will build a successful site in 2019. To me, this meant building a site that gets consistent traffic and actually produces an income. It didn’t have to produce a fulltime income, just some consistent income.
If I didn’t achieve that in 2019 I was ready to give up on online business. But I wouldn’t do it without giving it my everything first. I had to know if I had it in me. So since the beginning of this year, I’ve been creating content almost daily.
I created a completely new niche website on a niche I was enthusiastic about, I focused all my effort on that site for most of the year. And guess what? Right around 3 months I started to produce traffic and made my first affiliate sale soon after. The traffic has been growing consistently and I made almost $ 100 last month. I know it’s not much, but it’s a start. Above else it’s proof of concept. I’m not going to give up.
Now I’m looking at some new opportunities while working on the site. That’s how I ended up participating in the Legendary Marketer Bootcamp challenge. Let’s see how it goes for the next 30 days!
Phew! This became much longer than I originally intended. I think I overdid the first part and had to compress the last part because of time constraints. I’ll leave it as it is for the time being as I finished my goal for the daily challenge.
I love sharing this type of homespun, completely transparent content, so please leave a comment if you enjoy reading it. I like it how I kinda have to make this up as I go, as I don’t have time to really hone everything.
While this might make the reading experience a bit fickle, I bet there are people who like reading honest and not overly edited text.
On the other hand, I don’t actually care that much about what other people think, It’s my personal blog after all! That said I do value my readers, so I do have my standards and I am open to feedback.
Time to wrap this up. I hope you found reading my story interesting and useful! I also hope it gave you the courage to move forward with your online endeavors.
Just remember this when you are doubting yourself: The only true failure is not taking action!
See you tomorrow.