My little (pre-IM) success story

7 replies

For the motivation, self-belief and in order to achieve personal success, I believe there's nothing like hearing of other peoples success stories, no matter how small or obscure, or in this case unrelated to IM in the way it is discussed on this forum. My story is however related to earning online.

It started when I was 15 (8 years ago) and still in high school. One of my internet "buddies" was boasting about how he was earning some good money online and being totally unaware about the potential for earning online but having an interest in computers, the internet, and the possibility of earning money without leaving my house (I was very introverted ), my curiosity was immediately sparked and I began to question him about what he was doing and how.

It turned out what he was running was a web hosting business using a reseller account.

I knew what hosting was as I'd dabbled in setting up small hobby websites before, but I didn't know it was possible for a small one-man band to be able to provide such a service, as I didn't really understand how it worked. Turns out he was using a reseller account.

Being totally naive, I figured "if he can do it, so can I", and so I sourced out a cheap but good reseller hosting service in the US and nagged my dad to shell out the $25-30/month convinced that I'd soon be able to pay him back. Bear in mind I knew nothing about marketing, selling, dealing with customers or anything like that.

I basically more or less copied his service plans since I figured there was a reason for why he was provisioning them in the way he was. I just basically followed his lead, but set up my own website (the template for which was from Template Monster and customized).

Anyway, long story short, and without boring you with all the nitty gritty details I set about trying to figure out how to get customers since I knew if I didn't make this work soon my dad wouldn't continue to fork out my expenses for more than a couple of months.

So, I hit some forums looking for people who were having problems with any aspects of their websites.

Again, long story short, after building a somewhat respected presence on this forum over a period of a few days and offering to provide free help and advice to those with problems/questions which their web hosts refuse to help them with (due to it being "beyond their scope of support"), I managed to sway 2 guys into leaving their web hosts and joining mine - for a cheaper monthly fee - in the understanding that I'd personally help them with any issues they had with their sites.

Not having to worry about server management (since I was only on a reseller plan), I quickly learned all I needed to know to be able to efficiently and successfully help these 2 guys overcome their website issues and even went so far as helping them develop their websites with them.

Being ecstatic, they voluntarily posted recommendations of my service on forums they frequented, and provided me with good testimonials.

2 customers quickly increased into 4 and before I knew it I had 8 customers paying me monthly to an amount which easily covered my expenses and I was able to start paying my father each month for my expenses, plus a little extra to say "thanks" for letting me put it on his credit card.

Time went on and I managed to attract more customers purely from referrals from the links these guys had posted for me on hobby forums and the like. But I was reaching a time when I had to study for my final exams (GCSE's over here) and so my focus quickly shifted to that. A part of me wondered however if I couldn't take this further somewhat, but I had no knowledge of SEO or indeed how to attract customers beyond relying on the referrals provided as a result of my existing customers satisfaction.

For unrelated reasons, upon leaving school I decided I didn't wish to pursue college despite having secured a place. So literally on the day I was supposed to begin college I phoned and told them I wouldn't be attending.

Then off I popped upstairs to surf the 'net and see about how I could attract more customers.

Mostly sticking to my original idea of helping others and hoping they'd switch to me off their own free will, I managed to build up to about 25 customers! By now I was earning well over a few hundred dollars per month but it still wasn't really enough to live on as far as my parents were concerned, and so pressured into doing something "real" I found myself thrust into some business administration / IT course, which consisted of 4 1/2 days working in the order processing department for some company in my city, and the other 1/2 day studying at a training center.

Needless to say I wasn't thrilled with the whole thing and since I'd already tasted some success I had the urge to branch out on my own full-time. I simply couldn't ignore that nagging feeling that for all the advice my parents and peers were giving me about getting a good job, building up a career, I'd do better and be happier in the long term if I could just learn about the "art" of making money for myself and being my own boss. I always liked the idea of being somewhat more "self-sufficient".

So about 4 months and a few additional customers went by and I bit the bullet - much to my parents disapproval - and packed my job in.

So there I was sat at home thinking once more about how I could progress with my little online business, and I realized I needed to make my service offerings more attractive. Unfortunately my little reseller account just wasn't powerful enough and I realized if I needed to meet the demands of my customers and provide the sort of flexibility they needed I'd have to buy a dedicated server. Servers weren't as cheap or readily available as they are now and in renting one I'd be eating into a huge chunk of my monthly profits. But I'd build what I had up from scratch and $25-30 USD/month so I was sure I could do the same even if it took a while.

Bear in mind I knew nothing, nada, absolutely squat about server management, but a company offering them (not the company I went with) had a brilliant customer forum where I was able to read tutorials and ask questions pertaining to any aspect of what I was doing.

It really was a case of "learning on the job". So there I was, spending my days posting on forums, helping out what customers I had, whilst trying to learn about server security hardening, the ins and outs of administering a server through SSH and all that lovely stuff. Before I knew it, I'd become quite the expert at being able to all of what I needed, and what I didn't know I could always get an answer to quickly from the guys on the forum.

Fast forward a few months and unfortunately since I was spending a lot of my time learning about how to maintain things, not to mention taking care of my customers (my #1 priority), I wasn't able to delve into SEO, advertising, etc, and so relied largely on word of mouth customer referrals to bring me new custom. It worked.

Over the next year or so I was able to build my little hosting company into 200+ customers and 2 dedicated servers. Not a huge operation, but I was earning a very nice monthly income and some customers even wanted to pay yearly. My little under 18s bank account was bulging at the seams, I was walking to the bank on a weekly basis cashing US checks for hundreds of dollars much to the amazement of my local bank clerk and everything was hunky dory.

Cutting to the end, I eventually got rid of that business and delved into the world of SEO, internet marketing, adsense, etc. That is where I focus my time now.

But for a kid of 16/17 years old who'd built up the whole darn thing from scratch, made a whole lot of useful and intriguing contacts and personal friendships with my customers, I was over the moon with my achievements.

It instilled within me a level of self-confidence, immense motivation and this idea that whatever I wanted to turn my hand to I could darn well make a success of regardless of what anyone else told me or advised me. I followed my own path and it paid off greatly.

I know some of you are probably thinking... "so what - what's that got to do with internet marketing??", but the lesson I want to reinforce into peoples minds is that everyone can be successful if you believe in yourself.

In my case, the fact I was unknowledgable and somewhat naive allowed me to jump right in and learn as I went and made progress, rather than sitting about reading constantly and repetitively about other what works, what doesn't, why I should or shouldn't do this, "what if it doesn't work", "will I die?" and so much of the other stuff that saps away peoples ability to remain focused, motivated and more importantly the correct mindset of "I can and will be successful" (whilst actually taking action), which I believe to be of paramount importance and attribute my success to.

So I will to anyone out there who has yet to see success in their online ventures: No more self-doubt, no more constantly chasing your own tail, no more being put off by the negative "advice" or scare-mongering tactics of others. You will be successful if you put in the work. You might fall over a few hurdles, you might fail the first time at a few things, but there little better advice I can give other than to just DO, DO, DO, learn as you go, learn from your experience, and keep on keeping on.

You will succeed -- period.

Sorry that this post isn't very well structured, but I felt it might be useful and empowering to some people and so here it is.
#preim #story #success
  • Profile picture of the author luckystepho
    Hi, thanks for this, very motivational- I think the key message is- believe in yourself and take action! I think when you are 16 you are probably less likely to start thinking of everything that could go wrong and look for reasons it won't work as anything seems possible when you are that age!
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    • Profile picture of the author ucajack
      Thanks for this wonderful motivational story of yours!I needed some thing like this to boost some body ,whom i know.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cabinfever25
    Thanks for sharing!
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  • Profile picture of the author JF911
    Nice! Always good to hear "real" stories of "real" success.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Lindsay
    Lovely post!
    I love motivational stories because they always give an individual hope about the future. In a society where so much negativity is heard it is so nice to hear a positive story. I sincerely hope that you have a great future
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  • Profile picture of the author JeffreyW
    Great story, Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author DireStraits
    LOL. Flippin' 'eck - I barely remember ever posting this.

    I'm a little bit (read: very) ashamed of how poorly written it is, to be honest: you could fill a space-rocket fuel tank with the volume of spelling and punctuation errors in that post.

    But never mind (I'll just say I was probably drunk, or half-asleep, when I wrote it). :rolleyes:

    True story, either way ... so there you go.

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