I started in the online marketing world back in 2000 and back then many of the things we're accustomed to like Youtube, Facebook, and even Wordpress hadn't even been conceived yet.
Back then I don't think I even knew that you could make a full time income online. The opportunity wasn't as widespread as it is today.
I'd just dropped out of University and I wasn't at the top of any companies "hire" list and my skill set was, for the lack of another word, limited.
I was job hunting and every job I came across just felt like I would have to spend my days unhappy and completely uninspired. So I decided to focus on setting up my own business (even though I had no prior experience). Initially it was out of desperation because i needed to make some money and couldn't get a job, but later I realised how working for myself had been the best decision I could have made for my life and the only way to make the income I needed to live the life I enjoy today. Very few jobs offer a matching salary, time freedom or fulfilment!
Getting back to my first paycheck. My first ever income related to online marketing was for building a website for a small local business. Not the most glamorous, definitely not passive income and not easily scalable, but we all start somewhere, don't forget that!
Now, back in 2000, websites had to be hand coded in html and I was no coding expert. But I could see that I had the opportunity to build someone a website and they would pay me for it, and all I needed to do was learn how to build a website (something I had control over!).
So, after a few weeks in the local university library (luckily my ID pass still worked even after I'd left), I read books and practiced on the University computers and learnt how to put together a very very basic 5 page website in html (no need for this tech stuff nowadays!)
I approached several business owners, most of whom, at the time, didn't know what a website was or how it could help them and I spent most of my time try to explain and convince them that they needed one. (Thankfully nowadays the tables have turned and you'll be hard pressed to find a business owner who doesn't understand that they need a website, so much easier to sell to them now.)
However, I finally found one business owner that was prepared to give me a shot and be ahead of the herd. I had to build the website first and then I'd get paid. It was my first deal, so that didn't bother me so much. It was more important to me to prove I could do this, because if I could, I could do it over and over again and get more clients and get paid whenever I wanted!
I charged the business owner a small fee of £200 (approx $300) and built a 5 page website using a trial version of Adobe's Dreamweaver (that's a web editing program)
It took me about 2 days to build that first website, lots of trial and error but after I'd finished it, I got paid.
I couldn't believe it. I'd just made £200 (approx $300) myself, with my knowledge, and my ability. It was all me!
I'd finally caught the Entrepreneurial bug! I was hooked. It was that moment that I realised I wanted to be my own boss and never work for someone else. It was that first sale that gave me the confidence to say, I can do this or at least figure out how to do this!
Little did I know back then, how amazing this entrepreneurial journey was going to get and over a decade and a half later I'm still as excited as ever to be helping individuals and small business owners build an income for themselves in the online world.
Looking back now, I realise that I was no-one special, I was not from a wealthy background, I had not been born with any special skills, resources, connections or idea of what my life was going to turn out like, but that did not matter. And it doesn't matter about what you've done until now (your past doesn't determine your future), you can turn your life around with an online income.
My biggest piece of advice from my experience is that ONLY YOU can decide whether you will be successful or not. It's not about your circumstances (you can work around them), its not about your financial situation (you don't need to be rich to getting going), its not about your level of experience or inexperience (you can learn absolutely anything you need to learn thanks to the internet).
What you need is a little faith in yourself and the best way to get that is by FOCUSING on one first goal, that first paycheck. Whether its from providing a web design service, or selling information products or affiliate marketing or even something else online. The method isn't as important, as your ability to FOCUS on ONE thing until you get that paycheck.
That first paycheck, will change your life, because it changes our mindset from "this internet thing may work" to "This internet things works!" and that's all it take to be motivated enough to give it 100% and succeed online!
Here's some lessons from my paycheck that may help you.
1. Decide what you want
more income? more time? to do more inspiring work? quit your job? or all of them?
2. Find an opportunity to provide something of value & pick one to focus on until you get that 1st paycheck.
Don't just limit your choices to things you have experience with. I recommend offering services to local businesses, if you have limited online experience, but I am biased here from my own experience
3. Get the experience
You may not have the experience to do what you need to do to make money online, but you can learn it right? You went to school, learnt English, basic math, and other stuff, you can definitely learn this and from the comfort of your own home!
4. Provide the value
This depends on what business model you'll choose to achieve your first paycheck. If it's to provide services to local businesses, go get a local client and deliver what you promised, remember the first one's always the hardest, so push through it, you one need ONE to get your first paycheck!
5. Get paid
Collect your 1st paycheck. Take a photo of it. Celebrate that small success. It will change your life. It may only be your first paycheck and maybe not even a lot of money, but you've just proven you can take control of your financial future. Well done!
6. Build you business one step at a step
Now is the exciting journey. It's time to build your business. You managed to get your first paycheck, you can get more. You can learn new skills, offer new services, start other online income streams, and most important you now know that just because you don't have experience in something when you start, shouldn't stop you! So just build your business one step at a time.
7. Help others by giving back
There is nothing more fulfilling then helping someone else with your experience. So give back to others. Along the journey to your success, you'll probably learn a lot, from article, videos, coaches, mentors, courses, ebooks, podcasts etc... If it wasn't for those who put that material together and share their experiences, you may never have reached that 1st paycheck. Now its your turn and duty to share your experience with the world, because there is a someone who is 2 steps behind you and looking for your story to inspire them to change their life.
I started my online journey providing a service, and along the way, I've done everything from affiliate marketing, information product creation, real estate lead generation, group coaching and software development, all things that at one point I never knew how to do. But that didn't stop me!
You too can do anything you want. Make the decision and change your life.
Don't try to compare yourself to someone else who is already established!
You are on your own journey, so take it at your own pace, no-one's judging!
I'd love to know what your first online income was, why you chose that business model, your level of experience and how your mindset changed after reaching that first paycheck?
Please share below, as your story will inspire others.