I started an online business company called Dimension Five Marketing, LLC, back in October of 2015. I had done some research leading up to the official start of that company, while engaged as an online search engine evaluator for Lionbridge (a company that crowdsources such services for clients like Google and Bing). This was a part-time job I held for about three years, from 2013 through the end of 2015, while still working full-time in my current day job as a software developer.
It was during my time with Lionbridge that I was exposed to a huge number of websites that offered all manner of products and services online. I became intrigued by the whole prospect of making money online.
I obviously knew that there were countless businesses operating online, but my Lionbridge experience offered some insights into how companies position their products and services via the Web, particularly through search engine advertising and social media marketing. I started seriously thinking about having my own online business during the summer of 2015. Once I decided to take the plunge, I formulated a plan (way too ambitious a plan, in hindsight) to:
- Create information products like ebooks and online courses. This seemed a good fit for my background in training and technical writing.
- Open an Amazon Seller account and sell physical (eCommerce) products (initially used books, but ultimately anything that might be suitable for retail arbitrage (i.e. buying retail locally and shipping to Amazon to re-sell).
- Become an affiliate for Amazon.com and make commissions by driving customer traffic to that website. This would require marketing and advertising to capture those “eye-balls.”
- Create blogs and websites to use to make money through Google Ad Sense (Google automatically places the ads on the web-page and pays when visitors click through).
- Become an affiliate for any products and services that offered targets of opportunity, which also included CPA (Cost-per-Action) marketing.
Needless to say, almost four years later, and after spending a lot of money (I’ll get the numbers together for a future post), I have had no real success. Success as measured in making a consistent income that would allow me to give up that “day job” and go full-time. Nope. Not even close. In fact, instead, I find myself sitting on a mountain of debt, in the middle of an IRS audit and with little in the way of actual income from those efforts. In fact, I’ve made less than $2000 dollars, spread out over those years.
It’s a pitiful, embarrassingly paltry result. And I am ashamed of that.
I’ve only managed to dabble in things:
- Affiliate marketing
- Email marketing
- Selling used books on Amazon
- Selling tee shirts on Amazon
All of my efforts in the above areas have resulted in very limited results. And I can’t honestly claim that I tried hard, that I gave it my all, but just couldn’t make them work. That might suggest that I think circumstances conspired against me, or that the problem was the particular systems and programs that I tried.
There is a psychology, a mind-frame associated with my failures, and I plan to get into that in future posts. Suffice it to say that the tools and systems and programs I purchased didn’t fail me, so much as I failed myself.
- By not committing.
- By not following through.
- By being distracted.
So, after wallowing in self-pity, after going through the automatic process of blaming that system I purchased, or blaming some guru, or even blaming fate itself, I usually find that I can take responsibility. I can own my mistakes. I can blame myself.
And I try to press on. Try to learn something from my mistake.
For some reason, I feel that I can still realize my dream. That I can succeed. Despite having made so many mistakes. Screwing up. So, while I will talk about those mistakes here (and there have been plenty, and no doubt I’ll make many more), I’m continuing to push forward. Sometimes I amaze myself, thinking how foolish I must be to imagine I can still make it, despite everything.
Whenever my heart is (often) gripped with fear and my mind is (often) spinning with all the repercussions of my latest mistakes, I hear my inner voice telling me, “Don’t give up.”
So, here I am, not giving up.
The featured image is from Pixabay and is used with permission.