One minor quibble I have with some of the old guard is when I hear this "blah blah":
"If you don't treat your IM activities as a 'super serious business', then you'll fail".
IM can be a (very) profitable *hobby* as well.
It sure is for me.
I'm no captain of industry. I'm not the next Zuckerberg. I have no desire to employ an assistant (virtual or otherwise). I don't want an affiliate manager...
...and I'm perfectly happy with my lot. It pays for luxury goods and holidays.
I'm just a programmer. You might be a writer. Or have Social Networking skills. People skills. Organizational skills. Graphical skills.
Anyone can make a buck in this world, if you put your mind to it.
I totally applaud those of you with the ambition to be the next Kern, Filsaime, Walker. You're awesome. More than awesome...you're the future of this industry (in my day it way Cheney, Silver, and Lok...and they're still going strong!)
I think though, it's important to recognise that we don't all need to be the equal of those guys in order to succeed. Don't apply unnecessary pressure. Concentrate on earning your first/next buck...if that's all you want to do.
Us hobbyists can still make a pretty darn cool living. I'm proof.
So, set your ambition as high as you feel comfortable with, and recognise that you *already* know a thousand times more about making money than the next guy...just by visiting this forum.
..and don't feel you *have* to mix it with the big guns.