Monday, 4th March 2013
THE ILLUSION OF DOTCOM WEALTH – There are many internet multi-millionaires and billionaires around the world and sometimes it appears as if the internet is one of the easiest ways to become wealthy.
Let’s take Mark Zuckerburg who started Facebook from his dorm room at Harvard University and within 7 years became one of the planets wealthiest people, with billions to his name. Then there’s Larry Page and Sergi Brin who started Google and now effectively control the web and yes they are both billionaires.
The truth of the matter is that while there are many multi-millionaires and even billionaires that have made their fortune from a website, the majority of web owners barely scratch a living and yet this seems lost on most people I meet.
Just the other day I was invited to a small gathering for dinner. I dressed for the occasion, smart but casual, jumped on my 150cc Honda CBR and arrived just in time for drinks before dinner.
There was a mixture of people and mostly with different careers and I knew it wasn’t going to be long before I was asked the question; “What do you do for a living?”
What do I say? I’m a journalist? Well that would be a lie and while I am the Founder and Editor of Meebal.com I cannot with any clear conscience tell anyone I am a journalist. Yes I write and I write a lot, but any trained journalist would quickly discover that I am not a trained journalist – I simply write about the news and report it as I see it; and so do my contributors.
So what can I tell them? The truth is the only thing and so I simply say I own a News Website. This is the fatal move as eyebrows are quickly raised in anticipation of how many millions or indeed billions in the bank.
The usual response, and on this occasion it was no different, was ‘You must make a pretty good living, how many millions of visitors do you get each day?’ Again I have to be honest and therefore simply reply, “It’s a start-up.”; which in fact Meebal.com, but they can never seem to leave it at that. Why can’t people understand that not all start-ups have Venture Capitalists kicking down your door offering you vast sums of seed capital – it just doesn’t work that way.
When I tell people how I arrived they are almost in cardiac shock, most just find the idea of a dotcom that isn’t making millions to be unconceivable.
The truth of running a website is that it takes work, and I mean real work. I actually sit in a bedroom / office and I work 14 hours a day writing and managing Meebal.com.
One person asked me how much I earned from my efforts each month and my reply again was with complete honesty …. $3.17. Yes, I know most people don’t believe it, but it is true. In February 2013, the second month into starting Meebal.com, I raked in the massive amount of $3.17 which was from Google AdSense.
I often see an excited look in people’s eyes when I tell them I own a dotcom business as they perceive the vast wealth that is obtainable, but again this is pure fantasy for most dotcom business owners.
Opening a website or blog is relatively easy and cheap; in fact it cost me less than $200.00 to get Meebal.com fully operational. The real difficulty is making money from your dotcom and if you go the route of writing articles then this can be even more difficult as normally this involved advertisement placements, most of which your visitors will despise you for.
Getting people to visit your website or blog is also another time consuming chore and often takes up most of the time, time that could be spent producing great content.
Running a dotcom is about balancing you time and realizing that it could take years before it starts to generate sufficient cash to be able to award even the meekest of salaries. It is due to this very realization that many website and blogs go to the wall in a year or less.
Why do I do it? The truth is Meebal.com for me is a passion. It allows me to air my views and indeed it is set up to allow my visitors to do the same if they choose to. For me this is goes beyond simply making cash, although it would be nice, but rather a way to fully express my views openly – whether people agree with these views or not are entirely the point, as this in turn opens up dialogue for ideology and healthy debate.
While Meebal.com is a start-up I have been involved in the building and marketing of websites for over 15 years, so I do know what it takes but when it comes to attracting visitors to your website or blog you must realize that the methods of doing so are changing all the time which is why so many dotcom’s fail – the owners simply cannot keep up with pace.
Next time you come across someone who tells you he or she owns a website or blog try to realize that this person is probably one of the millions who work all the hours under the sun and still don’t make enough to buy a couple of beers on a monthly basis.
Would I change what I do? No, I love it and I love writing and expressing my views.
Quick Note: If you have a Start-Up and you would like to tell people about what you do, then feel free to submit an article, we can post it in the Business – Start Up section and I really do love to give others a helping hand up the ladder – just ensure you provide great information and not just a simple sales pitch.