It took me 12 years to make my first $100 and then…

The headline of this post is a title I used for a Warrior Forum thread.  The thread has been deleted because I got temporary banned; not really sure why that happened, but before it got deleted it had over 800 views and 49 comments.  The interesting thing to me was the responses I got to my simple post.

The post went something like this

“It took me 12 years to make my first $100  and then I started making money by building things that other people wanted.  Previously I had been building large data driven websites, believing that if I threw more pages at the search engines, I would make more money.  Then I realized that was not the right way.

Now I build things that people want and need and I make money.  So, are you building things that people want?”

The point I was trying to make was that we will continue to fail if we don’t identify a customer with a need that wants to solve that need with a solution that we can offer them.  First, yes it really did take me 12 years to make $100 on my own website, but I did not only make $100 in 12 years.

Many  people in the forum were sympathetic toward me and thankful that I had finally broken past the failure.  Some suggested that I should have stopped trying and gotten a real job at McDonald’s.  They even did some kind of calculation showing how I could have made over $200,000 at McDonald’s instead of letting all that time slip away.

I guess it was partly my fault that many people felt that I had only made $100 in 12 years.  The truth is that I had jobs and owned businesses during those 12 years and even had a little bit of success with Ebay.  I agree with them that if I had only made $100 and not done anything else, then I would have wasted a lot of time.

The other type of comment I saw in the thread often, was the “at a boy” and “way to persevere” comment.  These comments had a tone of “we are behind you” and “thank you for carrying the torch.”  I felt like people connected with my struggle; like it gave them hope to continue on.  Some of these commenters mentioned that they took a year to make money and couldn’t imagine how I would work for so long to get to my first $100.

Lessons learned

What I learned from the discussion thread is people are looking for a story.  They want to either offer advice, help, or identify their own struggles in other’s stories.  We all are this way.  It gives us a sense of belonging and of being needed.  I suppose that this is one of the underlying concepts that makes social networks so appealing.

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