Warning! If you think this online business stuff may not interest you, you are probably right – why not go and read about Spanish Presidential Candidates’ sex lives or browse our forum instead!
Still here? OK, as mentioned recently, I want to write occasionally about running an on-line business in Spain… or beyond. But some people may wonder what on earth I know about that?! (I often do!)
I built my first website in 2004, a site called booksonspain.com, which reviewed, wait for it, books on Spain. Every book had an affiliate link to Amazon, and I thought I’d soon be a very rich man as everyone jumped from my new site to Amazon, spending loads of money there and giving me the resulting affiliate commissions. I think I made about 100 dollars in the year or two the site was running.
Next I started blogspain.com, where I tried to build a directory of, wait for it, blogs about Spain! At the same time, I started this blog, Notes from Spain, to write about the genesis of the new blogspain.com site (confusing, I know). I soon stopped updating blogspain.com as well, to concentrate on Notes from Spain, and this new-fangled podcasting malarkey.
Getting in early on the podcasting scene put notesfromspain.com on the map. Notes from Spain led to Notes in Spanish, and Notes in Spanish (to our continuing surprise) turned into a business that has allowed Marina and I to give up our old day jobs, earning more (but not vastly more) than we used to, and having a lot more flexibility and free time. And, of course, no commute or boss.
So, based on the above, what are the fundamental things I think can tell you about starting out with an on-line business?
1. It takes a long time – 3 years of tinkering in our case before we could really think about this as a viable income and lifestyle possibility.
2. It takes hours and hours and hours of work every week. Be prepared to put in 12+ hour days to start with. I did for at least a couple of those years, and often still do.
3. If you are not passionately interested in what you are doing (in your on-line experiments, or your “niche”), then you probably will not succeed – and the passion should be more important to you than the money at first. But passion, patience, and a bit of luck, should pay off eventually. The internet is a meritocracy, and if you are dedicated and good enough, you will eventually gain people’s attention.
I heard a great interview today on a podcast that has given me some very useful information recently – Internet Business Mastery. The interview is with Yanik Silver, who knows a lot about making a lot of money on-line, and has some great tips about starting out. Listen here.
Finally, one more podcast recommendation: if you are any type of creative person (and in particular a musician), and want to know about making money for (and from) yourself via the net, listen to the Jonathan Coulton interview on Episode 133 of This Week in Tech – it’s slow to get going but stick with it, there is a lot to be gleaned once Jonathan starts talking about his own experiences of making money from what he does online.
Less about me in future, and more interviews and reading/listening recommendations. Please tell me, is this content interesting/useful?