Has The Internet Gold Rush Blinded You?

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Every day I receive emails and or see promotions for posts that promise to teach you how to make money online. More than a few of them praise the benefits of passive income and the benefits of working in your pajamas.

And every day I shake my head and wonder how many of the authors are really making money online. I am not talking about nickels and dimes because it is not real hard to make a couple of bucks online but the real money, the big money, that doesn’t just happen.

There may be some of you who are shaking your heads because you disagree and I am ok with that because there will always be a few exceptions to the rule but most of you won’t be that. You won’t be the person who earns enough to retire or who doesn’t have to work real hard to make a buck and that is ok too.

The Internet Gold Rush Is Real

If you aren’t hanging out in cyberspace you may not be aware that the Internet Gold Rush is a real thing and that there are millions of people trying to to take advantage of it. You might not see all the posts about how Content Marketing is the tool your company needs to make millions and the posts from people who offer to teach you how to do it for a nominal rate.

And if you do see those posts you probably w0n’t see many that break down the costs. They won’t talk to you about how much it costs to buy a domain name, purchase a theme, get web hosting and they rarely talk about time.

Because your time is worth something and if you are spending hours writing, commenting and working on your blog you need to account for that. I have read some posts where people refer to this as the cost of doing business and I refer to them as the unemployed.

That is because if you are running a successful business you have to do better than say ‘it is the cost of doing business.” You have to know what those costs are because if you don’t know how much it costs to run your operation your chances of staying in business go down dramatically.

It is hard to figure out if you are turning a profit if you don’t know what it costs to run things and if you don’t know what it costs than you don’t know if you are doing well or poorly.

This is not particularly profound nor insightful but it is something you should be thinking about.


One of the reasons I run a self hosted blog is because it provides me with more control than one that isn’t. I control and own the data and have more latitude to do what I will with it.

If you aren’t self hosted you risk losing everything. What happens if the company that owns your blog decides to shut you down? You might lose everything.

Self hosting helps protect you but it is not free and you often get what you pay for. Sometimes when you try to keep your costs down with hosting it bites you in other ways.

For example, yesterday I had a hosting issue and the blog went down for about 8 hours. It is hard to put a dollar figure on what you lose in potential business when people try to visit your site but can’t.

It took hours to get the situation sorted out and during that time not only was the blog down but much of my time was devoted to working with support to restore it.

The Gold Rush proponents tend not to talk about that. They often skimp on the tales of how much work it takes and what kinds of hurdles you encounter.

I have seen a few address it by suggesting that it is unlikely that you’ll experience any real downtime or say that if you do it will be ok because it will be minimal.

That is sort of like saying you shouldn’t get automobile insurance because you probably won’t have an accident but if you do you have a bumper and who cares if the  bumper gets scraped.

It is all well and good until you get hit by a truck that is big enough to miss your bumper and heavy enough to turn a small bump into a trip to the hospital.

 What Is The Point?

The point isn’t to throw cold water on your face and say that you are chasing a fantasy. It is possible to do all those things but it is smarter and safer to pay attention to your costs and to be aware what it takes to successful.

What do you think?

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  1. Craig McBreen January 16, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    The only way I make real money is through services, but I already had a business and was doing that anyway. The blog is an extension of the business, but it’s also laying the groundwork for some other ventures … and another blog! This is all taking a lot of time, but I keep thinking realistically of this as a 2-5 year plan. There is no such thing as passive income … people always use Pat Flynn as a model, but the guy does nothing but work 😉

    • Joshua January 16, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      I laugh when people talk about Pat Flynn because who else do you hear about? There are very names out there and we all know why that is.

      Sometimes I wonder about how many bloggers have experience running their own business prior to getting into blogging. I think there are some benefits to understanding the value of your time and why it is important to manage it.

      Makes perfect sense to me to use the blog as an extension or tool to compliment a business, it is the passive income myth that gets me going.

  2. Frank Strong January 16, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    The “make money online” posts drive me bonkers. Such a scam.

  3. Tim Bonner January 16, 2014 at 6:49 am

    I started making some money with a niche site Josh but only about $250 per month at the moment.

    I’m in a unique position in that my blogging doesn’t have to keep me from going under.

    However, I also want to make a business out of blogging and offering some help to others via my main blog.

    I’ve always been registered as self-employed with the UK government.

    It’s a requirement if you earn money from affiliate sales or even take a few surveys for cash.

    It’s a pain to have to keep accounts but it also means I know exactly where I am with the money side of things!

    I actually made a loss the past few years but last year I made a small profit and this year I’m on target to increase that by quite a bit.

    It’s not the big money you speak about but I’m pleased to be finally getting somewhere!

    • Joshua January 16, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      Hi Tim,

      I think it is great that you are seeing some results from all of your hard work and I think it is awesome that you know both sides of the money fence.

      A while back I had a conversation with someone who was spending $50 a month for hosting, backup and security. It never occurred to them that the time they spend writing, commenting and researching should be accounted for.

      There is nothing wrong with spending money on a hobby that you take pleasure in, especially if you have the cash to do it. But I have to be honest and say I was surprised to hear her tell me that she considered herself a professional blogger but hadn’t thought through what her time was worth and averaged it in.

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