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How Changing My Intentions Made Me Money

This guest post is by Roman from how this website makes money.

Two years ago I stumbled across the concept of blogging for money.  Instantly it hit me as the perfect thing: sit behind a computer, design a site, write, be my own boss, work from home, what could be better? I knew nothing about traffic, SEO, backlinks, Pagerank, or keywords.  I knew nothing about how to make money with a website.  So what did I do next?  I registered the domain name howthiswebsitemakesmoney.

Looking back all I can do is laugh at my arrogance.  Like thousands before me and thousands who will come after me, my first attempt at blogging was a site about making money online.

Two years later, I know how to start a site, I know how to write content, I know about SEO, I know about backlinks, I know how to add advertisements … but I still do not know how to make good money online.  The site makes dimes a day, not dollars.

The site has been two years of disappointment.  Two  years of waking up in the morning and seeing the same green egg in AdSense.  Two years of waiting for a four-digit affiliate check with my name on it.  Two years of working without pay.  Two years of scratching my head.

So I asked for advice, and every time the reply was the same: create a site about something else. Create a site about what you know and what you enjoy.  Do not create a site with the intent to make money, create a site with the intent to help people by doing something you enjoy doing.

What happened when I changed my intent

Six months ago I created a new site.  This time my intent was pure pleasure.

I live in Prague and I love it here.  So I made a little site about how great Prague is and what people should do when they come for a visit.  It was built in a month.  In a gust of activity I designed the site and wrote the content.

It was so easy.   I did not agonize over what to write about.  The content flowed effortlessly from my head to the keyboard.  I did not have to take long walks with the dog or waste water standing dazed in the shower coming up with new ideas.  I just sat down at the computer and wrote about what I know.  It was so easy I actually looked forward to it.

As an afterthought, I created a simple page where people can order a real postcard from Prague.  Visitors select a picture of Prague and fill out a form indicating what they want written on the postcard.  After they hit the Submit button I get the request by email.  I grab a postcard and, like an ancient scribe long before computers, lick the tip of the pen and write.  After pounding a Prague stamp on the postcard I toss it into the mailbox on my way to work. I charge $4.00 for this five minutes of work.

I created this site with no aspirations of becoming rich, no day dreams of shaking hands with Oprah, no imagined scenes of telling my employer to find some other donkey to kick around. I created the website because it was easy for me to do and I enjoyed it. I made it because I needed a break from my ‘real’ website. I expected nothing to happen.

Again, I was wrong.

My hand is ink blue from all the postcards I have written.

I wrote a postcard from a son playing a trick on his mother: “Hi, Mom!  Sorry for not calling in last few days.  But I am in Prague with friends.  Having a great time and the beer is sooo cheap.  Say hi to Dad.”

I have written postcards to countries all over the world.  Some of them in languages other then English—I have no idea what I am writing. Fortunately, the order form does not allow Chinese characters!

I get emails from people thanking me for the information they found on the site, thanking me for the postcard, asking for more information.

I feel like I am making the world a better place.  I made a website about something I know about and am interested in and people are thanking me. Emotionally it is a soft, warm, fuzzy ball.

And yes, I am making money.

Intend to enjoy and you might make money

I learned a lot about making money online not from my site about making money, but from licking postage stamps.

New arrivals to the make-money-online scene go through the same initiation—they start out with the intent to make money, then fail to make more then a pile of pennies.  For some it means the end and they quit, but for others this brutal introduction teaches them that their intent needs to change.

Of course, making money is about traffic, clicks, affiliates, backlinks SEO, but it’s also about finding something you enjoy doing.  If your intent is only to make money the odds are stacked against you: you will probably quit.  But if your intent is to do something you enjoy then you will keep moving forward until one day, you will be surprised to find that you are making money.

What’s your intent?

Roman intends to figure out how this website makes money.  He has been trying to do that for two long years, so when he needs a break and do something fun he goes onto his other website to send a real postcard to his mother who misses him very much.

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Comments

  1. Gregg Hawes says:

    Love your postcard idea, you should open it up as a worldwide thing and keep a percentage of other peoples work for yourself. I’m an Englishmen living in Malaysia and wouldn’t mind writing a few cards. You would have your own affiliate program before you know it!.

  2. MoneyTalks says:

    Seldom I write comment but I really have fun reading you article especially on the following sentences:

    1. Two years of waking up in the morning and seeing the same green egg in AdSense.
    2. Two years of scratching my head.
    3. I feel like I am making the world a better place.

    Isn’t it funny? hahaha.

  3. Thank you so much for writing this article!! You’ve just induced an epiphany for me. I’ve been trying to make money as a blogger for years now, with absolutely no luck.

    Now I see why. And I kind of hate myself for it.

    Thanks again. You’ve definitely changed my perspective on things.

  4. This is a very realistic and optimistic post. Thanks!

    I created my site for personal branding, which I believe has value in of itself. Do you think your post is relevant to that view or does it just apply to making money?

    Thanks for your insights! I appreciate advice form people further along than I am in the blogging world

    • Roman says:

      My post is about doing something for the right reasons (like you enjoy doing it) so that you can keep doing it until it succeeds.

  5. Kajunk says:

    God that article was like a breath of fresh air. Thank you just what I needed to hear today.

  6. David says:

    I like the point on keeping things close to one’s interest and forget about making money (which may come). For the most part, I am enjoying building my site. I am doing link building (SEO) and social networking (Facebook and Twitter). I am learning. I am trying. I am executing (not just sitting around thinking about things). Ironically, I spend quite a bit of time comment on things (here, Facebook, Twitter). I realize that making genuine comments will earn me trust and relationships. The “two years no money” is a little discouraging.

  7. AstroFix says:

    What a great idea – I love it. It’s so fun and unique. I feel inspired…now I’m thinking how I can do something like that with my own content.

  8. Thanks for your Post,

    I like the expression

    ‘Easy Does It’

    I do think that changing your intentions can make it easier especially when you enjoy doing it.
    Your Post actually looks like the Perfect ‘Sales Pitch’ for an (Easy) Book that I (pre) sell as Recommended Travel Reading on my Travel Blog. It’s a Book titled: ‘The Lazy Way to Success’. It’s my experience that when you enjoy something, and when your are inspired things go flow fairly easy. (BTW I actually bought that book myself (ebook version) so I can really recommend it.) For example it talks about the importance of being Relaxed.

    ‘Especially when I am Relaxed I usually come up
    with all kinds of new fresh ideas…,’.

    Nowaday’s I also am also focussing more and more on finding way’s to help people by doing things I enjoy doing. Like for example Travel, on my Travel Blog I accidently I discoverd that practical things like ‘Travel Power Plug Adapters’ – that can convert to the right electrical current – are products that People actually find helpful on their Travels.

    ‘I already told about how I come up with
    new Ideas when I am Relaxed….,’

    Well a few day’s ago I discoverd a new product for my Writing Blog that way, since I enjoy to frequently take Coffee Breaks – to Relax – when I am writing, I came up with the idea to put up Coffee and Espresso Machines on that Blog.

    Although I might have a little to much Blogs right now to really be totally focussed, because I enjoy writing on them – and because I frequently take breaks – (or go Jogging) It somehow doesn’t
    really feel like work when you are Inspired.

    ‘Recently I am also actually beginning to get
    a little more feedback on several of my Blogs
    that gives even more motivation and inspiration’,

    All the Best,
    To your Happy – Blogging – Inspiration,
    HP