This is another topic that is close to my heart: Earning Money to Achieve Your Life Goals. Maki has brought up another important issue that we should all consider as we chase that elusive blogging goal of making a significant amount of money on the internet. Why are we doing this?
Maki has written this article in response to a post by famed SEO guy, Jim Westergren, who has shut down a successful web business in order to pursue his dream of creative writing. Why did he do it?
Jim was making a ton of money online, the kind of money we all dream of. At it’s peak earlier this year, he was bringing in tens of thousands of dollars per month. Amazing, huh? A lot of those who follow his blog were shocked and saddened that he would leave the world of SEO and just drop his whole business. It does seem shocking, given the amount of income and the success of the business.
The reasons he is doing this are many. The primary reason, however, is because he wants to write fiction. He didn’t start out in SEO for the sake of the business, he started doing it because it held the promise of making him enough money to write. It seems that the business then took over his life. At some point in the last couple of months, he decided to throw in the towel.
This is a great story and provides some valuable lessons for us. One is that it’s possible to be incredibly successful in internet business with very little investment other than your time and energy. This has been proven over and over again and will be demonstrated many times more in the future.
Another lesson is more of a cautionary warning: it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the demands of a business that you create. Like traditional offline small businesses, online businesses tend to expand in such a way that they can easily take over your life and run you rather than the other way around. It sounds like this is what happened to Jim.
His business began consuming more and more of his time until it just burned him out. He knew that this wasn’t what he wanted to be doing with his life. In the end, the only solution he found tenable was to divest himself of the entire thing by shutting down the business completely.
Several commenters on his blog suggested he outsource the day to day business. This would allow him more time to pursue his own interests. This sounds like a good idea on the surface. Unfortunately, things had gotten to a point where he found this to not be a workable solution. Maybe if he’d tried this earlier on it would have worked out.
That lesson is an important one for us to remember. Yes, there are a bunch of success stories out there where people have created one man internet empires. There are many more stories, though, of people who experienced some early success, but then burned out before really hitting their stride.
So, what do we learn from this? The lesson I take away is that we should be keeping our life goals in mind as we continue our efforts to be successful in our online endeavors. We should be thinking about what we really want out of life, how we want to live. That should be the goal rather than some arbitrary dollar amount. The monthly income goal that we establish is only to allow us to have that lifestyle, right?