My little tale of woes about attempting to generate an income on the Internet:

Following is our story of trying to come up with an internet business, warts and all. I must say that we have a history of buying advice from gurus, having invested quite a few thousand dollars especially in the past few years. By we I mean my wife and I. we are investors and have a history of winning in things like real estate and shares.

Just to set the scene, I have been online for about 10 to 11 years. I must say that I have done a lot of good things in this time, from getting a doctorate from an American university, to studying philosophy at Oxford, to shopping for books and running shoes etc. In addition, I have travelled to many parts of the world to meet people face to face whom I had initially met online. My friends are for sure the best thing I've gained online. But this is about talking about mine and my wife's ''misadventures'' on trying to make a dollar online.

Well, about this time last year I was home on holidays and my wife decided to take us to one of those financial seminars, with lots of gurus promising that if you do what they say, and more particularly, buy their (quite often amazingly overpriced) products, you will do well on the net.

Truth be told, if I had taken responsibility for my actions, by now I should have had a reasonable presence online and possibly even be making a dollar or two, except that I let my wife talk me out of buying something which would have let me start on the net in about 5 or so years ago. My fault entirely, I had the vision but not the plan to make it into reality. Here is a free lesson to anyone: have goals, definite one and act on them.

October 2008 and something was presented to me which I thought was a good thing, because even after discounting for obvious exaggerations, the product presented appeared something I could make something of. Out came my credit card and next thing you know I had spend $ 3 grand in a piece of software which would help us get online in no time, with products that people were sure to be queuing up for. Yes. Including the pigs flying around to get some too, I might add with the benefit of hindsight.

Just to add to this and take some more money off our bottom line, my wife decided that she was going to be ''selling stuff on e-bay'' and signed up for another ''sure thing'' which also took $ 4 thousand for the experience.

Getting back to the title of this note, of why am NOT making money on the net, I am trying to seriously analyse this for two reasons:

  1. I want to get back on track
  2. I want to give others the opportunity to learn from my mistakes;

What have we done right?

  1. Attended the training provided. My wife did our behalf as I have a ''day time job'' as I am a Director of a tiny accounting firm, auditing information technology for businesses of all sizes.
  2. Acquired the domains, set up the sites as taught by the service provider (not sure if I should say who they were, but it was rip2it. I am happy to be edited on this is not appropriate).
  3. set up an account with pepperjam or something, plus Amazon to monetise our products (which I now realise are only information sites)
  4. Paid the US$97 a month for ''support'' from Rip2it.

How much have we spent so far on Rip2it alone? Acquisition $3.2 thousand Australian dollars; 13 x 120 (average) = 1560. That is a whopping $5.7 thousand Australian dollars, because the return on investment to this point in time is exactly ZERO dollars.

Now, I like a joke, but that is way too much even for me. Also, I committed a sin that I would not let my clients commit, and I will talk about it a little further down.

Meanwhile, my wife's e-bay business offering didn't fare much better. Exactly as above, she went over and had live training and went through the various CDs and books of training and truth be told she did make a few dollars. She is over there doing her nails now so asked how much she made. In terms of profit in the few transactions she had, the amount made was about $200. Not zero, but not much at all. That means we are still down about $3 thousand on this line alone. Being officially a philosopher, I am putting it down to experience. What is money for if not for changing hands and producing economic activity? What is has bought us is awareness of where we went wrong but also where we could possibly go right.

But that is not all. About 3 months ago someone spammed me with the idea of a business based on a membership card whereby you sign up for an initial little fee of $65 dollars (or less) a monthly membership of $20 bucks, and get the opportunity to obtain discounts on shopping in thousands of outlets around the world, from fast food to top good clothes and car parts.

The idea is to win by saving, by getting back more every month than the membership feel. The business side is that by introducing people to the system one would benefit from their joining and future spending. I have a site address whereby people may choose to take a tour and learn about it in more detail. I am happy to say that I am in front on this one, as I shopped for things I needed and saved about 3 times my membership fee so far. As well, there is a little commission money accumulating for me. I believe that people who can market will succeed with this.

As well, we have invested about $3 thousand dollars in a reverse auction site, which has been successful in Europe for the past 2 or 3 years, where it has taken the market by storm. The premise there is to win by saving money by shopping at beautifully discounted prices and by getting people to join one's team and therefore making money on their commissions. I like this one as well because there are actual products and they are things people would choose to buy in their normal course of living. It is also not something one would be ashamed of introducing to friends or family. Quite the opposite. This is an investment and the potential for upside is really good, we hope.

So what have we done wrong?

  1. we didn't have a plan, which included what we wanted to achieve in terms of dollars and when to achieve them by;
  2. We didn't play to our strengths. We ''bought on emotion'' which is a cardinal sin, but we all do it more often than we care to admit; the thing to do would be to do what we know and let other people do the rest for us; instead we thought we understood what we were supposed to be doing, as in the case of rip2it,
  3. we didn't MONITOR progress, waiting for the best, only to find out that absolutely NOTHING was happening.

What will we do instead?

  1. get someone who understands who could review what we have got involved with, in the case of rip2it and e-bay. If we have got it all wrong we will just shut it down and move on, put the losses down to experience and learn from it;
  2. for the other two little businesses, the membership card and reverse auction, we will talk, discuss and learn from people who have already be successful at it, than apply it to what we want to do.
  3. given that this is the end of the year, there is no better time to have a good look at what has gone on and plan for the future. I will do a balance sheet so that I have an accurate picture and make appropriate plans for the year ahead;
  4. LEARN more. I have a little danger sign ahead though, as I have been getting involved with guru training products again! If you want to learn from me, PLEASE pick ONE of them and stick with them for the foreseeable future, say a year or so. A guy I respect a lot, Tony Robbins, calls that ''concentration of power''. It's like having a definite purpose and concentrating on it.
  5. most importantly, WORK for it. To a plan and with dedication and you will succeed. I have in many other areas of my life thanks to a strong work ethic, and even though I have been PLAYING with the net, I know that it is there for everyone to succeed at. There are NO LIMITS.