Five years ago when I found out you could create a whole career for yourself online I was wide-mouthed and amazed for about a whole year at this “underground world”. Ha !
Five years into it and I am still excited about the growing opportunities to create multiple streams of income online.
If you are in a place where you would like to create a career for yourself online using content creation – via a blog, vlog or podcast – and social media then this blog post is for you.
This post is part 1 in a series of 3 in the Building A Profitable Online Career Series.
How I Built A Money-Making Career Online – Part 1 (Self-Education)
Everything I know about freelancing, creating and selling online courses , video creation and social media marketing is all self-taught.
The number one key to building a profitable online career is to become a master learner.
I have read a lot of books, taken a lot of courses, attended webinars and more recently have started attending conferences.
With each of these learning opportunities, I am always looking for that one thing or one process that can help me become a better version of myself so I can serve myself and my clients even better.
It has paid off.
These days when someone calls me an “expert”, I chuckle a little bit to myself because everything I know has been a result of me just putting in the work to study and then implement what I have studied.
Here’s what self-education has looked like for me practically.
To be completely honest, I don’t listen to as many podcasts these days mainly because I am continually knee-deep in creating content for myself and my clients or working on a new concept I want to test out.
However, in the early days, I listened to A LOT of podcasts. Some of my favorite Podcasts include :
I listened on my commute.
I listened at the gym.
I listened while I folded laundry and did house chores.
I was always listening. But more than that, I would always take notes (mentally and literally) of what people were doing and then would try that thing with my blog or with my pitches for freelance jobs.
Sometimes what they recommended to do would work and sometimes it would not.
But usually it was not their fault – sometimes I would find that what was being described in the podcast would work if you already had a large audience and would not be as effective with a smaller audience.
And so by simply listening, implementing, failing and then fixing my strategy I was able to get my business off the ground.
#2 Online Courses
I have bought and taken a LOT of online courses.
Now, I do have to say this 3 things about online courses.
1.Online courses are not a magic bullet.
I think by virtue of how they are marketed, the influencers who promote it and the testimonials given, people assume that when they buy and most likely peruse an online course, they will automatically have the same success as the people in the testimonial.
I know I used to think so !
It took me a while to realize that taking the course alone was never enough.
In fact, I realized that most of the time I would simply read and watch the videos casually and then make a mental note of what was taught but hardly would put it into practice.
Thankfully, I got sense knocked into me and began to not only take the content I was learning seriously but in fact implement things I learned in the course with all seriousness and immediacy.
2) The knowledge you acquire from an online course will not always deliver immediate results but as you stay consistent with practicing the knowledge, you will eventually win.
For instance, in October last year, I bought Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
I absolutely love the course and began implementing immediately. While I saw the results the first month, it was not much.
I however went on implementing the knowledge I gleaned and honestly, in the last few months have been pleasantly surprised some months to wake up and find I just had affiliate money deposited into my account ! I am now earning a respectable affiliate income each month and it is all thanks to the course.
3) Yes. Money will have to be invested if you want access to quality information.
But why don’t they give it all away for free ?
Do doctors give their knowledge away for free on a regular basis ?
Not after they have spent 8+ years in school plus 3-6 years in post-medical school training, they won’t. I have a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology. I don’t do scientific research for free.
There will be times when they kindly volunteer their time but they went to school so they could take care of sick people and be compensated well.
In the same vein, people have invested money, time and sweat into their expertise.
They are taking what took them 2, 3, 5 or 10 years to learn and packaging it as a course for you to cut through that time trajectory for learning they went through.
So while there is some truly amazing free content out there, there is a reason why consuming all the free content will not get to the online business goals you desire.
If you are serious about growing, be willing to invest in your learning.
Some websites I recommend for online courses if you are starting out :
A pivotal book I read at the beginning of my online journey was Carrie Wilkerson’s Barefoot Executive (very much worth the read) and since she was a woman with a husband and kids, I identified with her and opened up myself to the possibilities of online business.
Some of my personal favorites since then have been :
- Expert Secrets
- Dotcom Secrets
- The Slight Edge
- The One Thing
- Buy Buttons
- Think and Grow Rich
- How To Blog For Profit
Every book had something to teach me and has made me a richer person. It is said that Zig Ziglar would read for 3 hours every single day just to find that one thing that would put him over the edge and make his business grow even more.
And since I am not at his level yet, you better bet I will be reading until I do.
Last word about books : if you are part of the generation of people who hate sitting with a book or electronic device in their hands, that is okay. This is the reason why Audible was created.
You have taken the online courses, read the books and listened to the podcasts.
Now what ?
It is time for you to invest in what is known as a mastermind. This is a whole other blog post but since we were talking about self-education, I wanted to mention the power of a mastermind when it comes to self-educating and succeeding in life in general.
The idea of a “mastermind” was first mentioned in the book Think and Grow Rich although it is something that has been around for centuries.
Napoleon Hill interviewed a number of entrepreneurs over a long period of time and found that what was common to all of them was this idea of like-minded people getting together, brainstorming each other’s problems and coming up with solutions that one person would otherwise not come up with.
Amazing isn’t it ?
I have been part of masterminds since the beginning of 2015 and they indeed have been pivotal to my growth as a solopreneur.
The ONE caution I have when it comes to self-education
While I am all for it when it comes to self-education, I have also come across people who want to be perpetual students and have EVERYTHING lined up before they take action on what they have learned.
Don’t be this person.
I very much a “learn it and use it immediately” sort of person. Don’t sit on information you have learned waiting for the “perfect moment”. No such thing exists.
So friend , this is the first step to building a profitable career online.
No college degree needed.
Just time, a bit of money and the willingness to implement, test and re-test what you have learned until it works for you.
I will come your way with part 2 of this series shortly !
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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