Creating a Dream Lifestyle: My True (Although Slightly Boring) Story Of Trying to Make A Living Online

(Side note: I wrote this post in 2010, and it’s long due for update, which is coming soon…)
Many people enjoy reading stories of other people’s journey online – I know I do. They often provide words of wisdom, words of warning, and inspiration that help me keep going.

So here is my story for anyone who cares to read it…

I’m originally from Warsaw, Poland. I was born still in the communist era. I witnessed the rise of the Solidarity, the strikes, the marshal law, and the Round Table talks, and the first semi-free elections in 1989.

I arrived into the US in the summer of 1991 – just for a three-month vacation, but was offered a job, and decided to stay, for “just a little while.”

Almost twenty years later, I’m still here.

I lived in New York, Florida, and now live in New Jersey (but I’m still looking for “my place on earth“).

I had worked for small software companies (two of them were Polish-owned), doing everything from answering the phones, doing administrative work, writing step-by-step user guides and tutorials, testing the software, doing translations, creating PowerPoint presentations, and doing whatever else was necessary. (I have a degree in Linguistics from the Warsaw University, so when I came here, my knowledge of the English language was well above that of an average immigrant).

All these jobs were OK, definitely much better than what most immigrants start with when they arrive into a new country, but after a while I felt a strong desire for change...

Unfortunately, although I wanted – I could not look for something else, as I was on a worker’s (H1-b) visa, not having the green card that would give me real freedom to do what I wanted.

Alas, at that time I was not aware of all the possibilities that existed on the Internet…

I had been thinking the whole time about going back to Poland – at the time when I left it was a true “land of opportunities” for young people with my type of education and experience…but once I started the process of applying for the green card, I did not want to lose that…I wanted to wait just a year or two longer… Finally, I got the green card, but at that time I already had other things on my mind…

My son was born on November 23rd, 2004 and since that time I have been mostly a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom). After the birth of my son I worked on some projects at home, writing user guides for one of my previous employers, but it was only sporadic work and income was negligible.

I began thinking about what to do with the “rest of my life” … even before the birth of my son, I knew I wanted to MAKE A CHANGE… and yet for a long time my “destiny” eluded me …I could not see what was right in front of me….

I wanted a job where with the potential to make real money on my terms.

**Real money** means being able to support a family of three, in case my husband loses his job, or wishes to quit his job and take a year off sailing around the world (his dream). I have to admit I’m not there yet (especially, with our lifestyle – we both love to travel to exotic places, skiing, and doing other things that can be costly), but I keep working on it!

**My terms** means I could set my own hours and work wherever I wanted. I would not have to commute to work every day to stay in the office from 9-5. My son was still a baby, and leaving him for a full day at a daycare center just wasn’t something I even considered. I wanted to be able to work from home, or whatever place we travel to or choose to travel or relocate. I wanted a “portable” career, something that I could take with me wherever I went. If I happen to be on a beach :-), I could take my computer with me and just type away. I could set my own hours, working at night or during the day, without the 9-5 office routine.

In addition to that, the job of my dreams would be interesting, challenging, rewarding and really useful.

I have thought long and hard about what I could do with my life. Here are some things I considered:

  • I thought about getting a job doing translations, documentation writing, or teaching – but in all these cases you sell your time, and there is only so much time in a day. When you stop, the money stops coming in… Besides, these are not the highest paying jobs, so if you do it part time (as I wanted to do it, at least initially), it might not be worth paying for the daycare, etc.
  • I thought I would love to work for a web design company…but I did not feel I had sufficient qualifications (I’m not a designer or programmer), and it’s very competitive. Besides, I didn’t think anyone would hire me to work part time….
  • I thought about real estate appraisal and even completed the certification course while I was still pregnant. Appraisal seemed attractive, because the money is good and work schedule can be flexible, but let’s be honest here – it’s not the most exciting subject, and it turned out it’s pretty hard to get into (you need to spend two years working as an apprentice).
  • Then I thought about real estate sales (I completed the study course, too). It’s definitely easier to get into and income potential is there, but …I don’t really have the personality for this job, it often requires you to work evenings and weekends, plus you really have to work hard to establish yourself in a neighborhood, so I would be binding yourself to a place, and if we moved, I would be back to square one.

I felt stuck. I did not want to have a job where I would have to spend most of the time away from home (and send my son to daycare). I did not want to trade my time for hourly (or yearly) wage.

I wanted something where I could set the rules…where I could LEVERAGE my time…

When it finally occurred to me that I could CREATE MY OWN DREAM JOB ONLINE…it was like a revelation,… suddenly a light bulb finally went on in my head…

and more than that…I realized I could LEVERAGE my work to create a BUSINESS and a LIFESTYLE that I wanted…

I just wish I thought about it sooner – like ten years ago!

One day, I read a book (a real paper book, not an e-book) about making money online, and I was hooked.

Sure I knew many people were getting rich online, but it all seemed TOO COMPLICATED, TOO TECHNICAL and so OUT OF REACH.

I had built some websites before for my one of my previous employers, but it was years ago and at that time it was a laborious process (even though I used a wysiwyg editor, FrontPage)… I certainly did not believe the claims that you could make six figure income working three hours a week!

Besides there seemed to be so many ways to do it.

How do I know which one to choose?

Somehow, I stumbled upon information about how easy it is to build websites in WordPress, and decided to give it a try. I purchased a domain, setup hosting, and installed my first WordPress site. It took me a couple of days – I did not use one-click installation, but setup the database myself, copied and edited the config files. I read Yaro Starak’s ebook about how to make money blogging and started writing posts.

After a month or two, I felt I needed to learn more things. I started to create niche websites, writing articles, building hubpages, squidoo pages, and I don’t know what else… hundreds and hundreds of pages…and I can tell you this…

Whatever it is you want to achieve – IT CAN BE DONE ONLINE.

You can choose what you want to do – it may be your profession or business-related, it may be about passion, desire to change the world, making lots of money, or just creating some passive income on the side.

Anybody with simple computer skills, persistence, and guidance, can build a business online, leverage their expertise and make money.

Is it easy? I don’t want to lie to you. The honest truth is that in the beginning it’s NOT easy. It’s confusing. You need to learn a lot of things. You don’t know where to begin.

The possibilities are endless, but to weed through all the information – and misinformation – that is out there and figuring out HOW to make it work, takes time and effort. And then to actually IMPLEMENT it and start making real income – it’s really neither fast, nor easy.

There are many “gurus” that promise to reveal their best way to ‘fast and easy money’ – there are plenty of HOT and GUARANTEED schemes to make money online, such as “How To Earn A Six Figure Income Working Three Hours A Day” and such. But guess what? This stuff doesn’t work. There are NO shortcuts to success.

BUT…

…the good news is it’s really not that hard either ;-)…

…if you start taking action.

I’ve tried many Internet marketing and “make money online” products, read many blogs and ebooks, but – most importantly – I created hundreds and hundreds of pages, and learned from experience what works – for me – and what does NOT.

Even though initially I was not sure what my dream job would be exactly, with time it became more and more clear. Initially, I created a lot of affiliate-type of pages, and niche sites built for specific keywords. After a while, I began focusing on my passions and true expertise. I also started creating websites for small businesses in my area, and providing Internet marketing consulting services.

This website is my newest projects built on my passion for Internet marketing and making money online. I want to help people build their web presence, but, more importantly….I want to LEVERAGE YOUR TIME AND TALENT to create a business and lifestyle YOU want.

I want to show you how ANYONE – self-employed professional, stay-at-home-mom, small business owner, or simply an individual with a passion – can use the Internet, email, information products, free online and offline promotion – to LEVERAGE your expertise…earn extra money online…and create lifestyle YOU want!

Whatever your skills- real estate, finance,law, parenting, arts and crafts, or dog training – you can make money on the Internet by building relationships, creating value and helping others, who are looking for just the thing that you offer.

My advice for everyone who is still reading this long post,
but does not have a website or blog:

1. Don’t wait until you have it all figured out. While it’s important to have a plan, expect it you change as you learn more and do more.

2. Start taking action! Read a good WordPress site setup tutorial and set up your website or blog TODAY! You will learn much more by doing, than reading other people’s stories or how-to guides.

3. Don’t try to do it all. There are many ways to profit from online presence. Define your initial strategy, focus on it, and do the things that work best for you. Skip the rest for now, or outsource it if you can afford it.

4. Expect success, but don’t be discouraged by lack of quick results. Building a business online takes time. Just keep taking action and keep learn what works and what doesn’t.

Of course, now it’s easy for me to say: just make a plan and stick to it, but if you don’t know the basic things – how are you going to make it work???

When I was just starting out it I did not know where to start either. There were so many things I needed to learn: building websites, bringing visitors to my pages, article marketing, keyword research, search engine optimization, different ways to monetize your websites, using free web 2.0 properties, building email lists, setting up autoresponder sequence, and on and on…

At BuildAWebsiteAcademy.com, I want to make it easier for you by outlining the steps you need to take to be successful online.

Don’t wait another year, don’t wait another day.

Start building something online TODAY.

1. Find a market
2. Build a website
3. Offer value
4. Build a community
5. Ask and listen to what your audience wants
6. Find ways to profit from that

Remember, nothing will happen, until you take action!

So, what’s your story online?

I would love to hear from you. Some of the things I’m curious about are:

  1. What are your goals online? Is it to make money, promote yourself, your services, your business, interaction with other people, etc?
  2. Do you have a website? If yes, what describe it (is it an HTML site, a free blog on Blogger.com or WordPress.com, a self-hosted blog, etc.).
  3. Does the website help you achieve your goals?
  4. What information/tutorials are you looking for? What type of articles, e-books, or e-courses would you like to see on this website.
  5. What do you feel your greatest obstacles are to succeeding online?
  6. What do YOU need to become successful online?

…I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you!

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