My Digital Journey – Episode #3

My Digital Journey - Episode #3

Introduction

My digital journey actually began on February 24th, 2011 with my first blog post.

As I look back at that time period, I came to a very sad conclusion:

I had been chasing this elusive dream of being financially independent for almost three decades.

Of course, if I was truly serious about that goal, I would have tried a little harder than a silly attempt at real estate and a few weak ventures into network marketing.

I did way more dreaming about my goal than doing that’s for sure. But that’s what kept bugging me.

Here I was, in my mid-40s, in a successful career as a professor working overseas, great wife and kids, and I was still sniffing around for something else. I still longed to escape the traditional 9 to 5 with its limitations on my income.

The Internet Was The Turning Point

I could say that my blog turned things around for me, but rather, it was the Internet and everything that came along with it.

Between Amazon, Google, Facebook, YouTube and the iPhone, it was a short 13 years, but boy did they change everything. Suddenly, I had access to a worldwide market, cheap advertising costs and the tools to create digital content that people wanted to consume.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. For me, the start was that little blog back when blogging was more like a hobby and not a real way to build a business.

My First Blog

I started my blog when I began to write a dissertation.

The adventures of a boring graduate student.

It wasn’t glamorous nor all that interesting except to other boring grad students like myself, but it was my journey.

Interestingly enough, one of today’s top entrepreneurs Gary Vaynerchuk tells his audience that they should document NOT create. When you document, you have a lot of ready material to share, you can be more authentic and you don’t have to be a guru or an expert.

So there you go, I though of document vs. create before the great Gary Vee did! 🙂 Not that it helped me become wealthy or anything.

Pitiful Stats (or Were They?)

By today’s standards, I was in little league when it came to blogging. Maybe peewee league.

In it’s best moments, my blog attracted a whopping 70 visitors per day.

“Ah but Daniel-San, you must neva despise small beginneen. Look stats over time!”

And Mr. Miagi was right. The stats over time told a different story:

  • 2,100 hits per month
  • 25,000 hits per year
  • 121,449 hits all-time (even today the site still gets visitors)

Reaping the Benefits

That little loser of a blog taught me so much about the powerful leverage of the Internet.

  1. I met people from all over the world
  2. I received a ton of comments and engagement on my blog – People were very thankful for the information I was providing.
  3. I received my first consulting gig – One of my readers contacted me and paid me to guide her through applying to a PhD program
  4. I received my first commissions as an Amazon affiliate from recommending books that I found useful in my studies (which I continue to receive to this day)
  5. Last but not least, I realized that there was an audience for almost any topic and that this audience was willing to pay me for my expertise in various ways.

The wheels began to turn with the possibilities.

Consider I Knew Nothing

But equally important was this…

I had absolutely no idea of what I was doing. I didn’t know my elbow from a blog post.

And you want to know something else?

Nothing in the Internet marketing world was as developed as it is now: not SEO, not e-mail marketing, not video marketing, not content marketing, not social media, zip, zero, nada.

And yet despite all of that, I was able to turn a very small audience into a nice and tidy little profit. (P.S. That blog is still churning out Amazon affiliate sales from books I reviewed three years ago. How awesome is that?)

Conclusion

Starting a digital journey involves just that…starting.

My start was modest, but I learned a great deal that I was able to apply to my next project (a story for my next post).

What was the start of your digital journey like? What did you learn that you are now applying? If you haven’t yet begun, ask yourself why.

To your success!

Gustavo