Six Lessons Learned from my First Money-making Venture

Blogging is sometimes boring, when you have 4 projects to handle at work, one dance and a drama rehearsal to attend to every week, coupled with car breakdown, leaking roof, non working AC. Finding time to write for others becomes second priority. In order to induce some fun in to blogging, bloggers come up with fun ideas. One of which is ‘Blog Swap’. Where two bloggers swap their posts on same topic, on same day.

Extra Income

As part of our latest blog swap, I got a chance to swap blog post with a veteran blogger John Wedding, who blogs at Mighty Bargain Hunter and loves helping people to recognize life’s good deals. My guest post on this same topic is up at his blog so, please check it out! Today’s swap topic is “lessons from extra money making ventures“. Enjoy the post!

If you’re a regular reader of One Cent At A Time, you have a desire to get ahead. From SB’s about page it’s clear that this blog is his money-making venture.

I’ve kicked around a few gigs here and there — mainly musical and tutoring gigs — but the first venture that I really rolled up my sleeves on was my blog, Mighty Bargain Hunter. A friend showed me the wonders of rebate websites, and I saw how other websites were making names for themselves talking about deals. When I found out about WordPress, man — that was awesome! It was so easy to put up content on the web, I had to give it a shot.

I’ve been blogging there for over eight years now. While some people start a lot earlier than I did, I started when I was 33 years old. It’s been the primary money-making venture in my life since then.

The income has ebbed and flowed, but what hasn’t been lost is all of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Here are a few that I hope will assist you in your own money-making ventures:

  • Start younger. There may be nothing that you can do about this, of course, and later is better than never. If you try a money-making venture young, you have more opportunities to try and fail. Also, you can afford to risk more if you don’t have a family depending on you. (I started pretty old.)
  • Investigate the venture before investing in it. Starting a blog incurs minimal expense, but other ventures might involve purchasing equipment. Make sure that you understand as much of what you’re getting into as you can, so that you aren’t surprised by unexpected expenses before you turn out your first product. (I’ve bought things that I really didn’t need.)
  • Mind your business. No one else is going to mind it for you. Someone may be kind enough to tell you that your website is down, but it will be fixed more quickly if you are the one watching it. (Sometimes I’ve been caught unaware when things were going wrong with my blog.)
  • Promote your business. There’s a lot to be said for being a nice guy and for being generous, but watch out for people who will take advantage of you. Your competitors may be pleasant enough, but they have their own empires to build, and may use your nice-guyness to their advantage and to your disadvantage. (I look out more for my own interests now.)
  • Don’t get distracted. Stay the course. There are always bright shinys that try to command your attention. Doing a couple of things really well is probably more effective than trying to do a whole bunch of things at the same time. None really take off, then. (I’ve overloaded myself at times with projects, and it’s been to the detriment of my main blog.)
  • Don’t slack off. Your venture requires your consistent effort. People will go elsewhere if they perceive that you’re not serious about what you’re doing. Someone else probably is. (This is probably the biggest lesson I’ve learned.)

Thanks for reading! What lessons have you learned from your money-making ventures?

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  1. says

    Thanks for the tips. I will surely take note of those because I’m also a blogger and it’s my first money making venture I have ever taken.
    Well, I also think that I’m lucky enough because I started young, I hope I could succeed on this one. Wish me luck. Kudos!

    • says

      At least I can say about myself, I shied away because I had to earn my living first. I wasn’t from a very wealthy background so getting a steady income was my first priority.

  2. says

    Excellent tips. Short, memorable and packing a punch :)
    Couldn’t agree more, if your business is to pick up, you’ve got to get down to networking and promotion, no way around that. At the end of the day, its hard, hard work but the benefits and rewards are sweet.
    One other thing: Patience, success won’t be overnight….especially in blogging. You have to work constently hard for it.

  3. says

    I totally agree with you, it’s better to start younger, and to do it before marriage, because you can afford to take more risks, since you only need to worry about yourself and not the future of your family.

  4. says

    Well, I have one thing down pat, starting early. I started my blog 9 months ago, and I just turned 18 last week, so im off to a good start. The one thing I struggle with most is making time to blog. It is sometimes hard to think of GOOD topics to write about. Any tips for finding topics or getting motivated?

    • says

      You can logon to Reddit personal finance. You will see lots of questions posted by readers. All those questions may lead to topic ideas. This works very well for me.

      Other idea I can give is to seek out ideas from your readers. Ask them what they like to know more in one of your weekend posts, may be.

  5. says

    That looks like a great idea by the way (swapping posts). Well, I like the idea of starting early. Unfortunately I was a fool in early years and wasted my time and money. Now I have to speed up as much as possible to catch that train which left the station many years ago. And do it safely.
    At least now I am trying to teach my kids to start early and not to repeat my mistakes.

  6. says

    Very good at getting an early start.

    Making the time to blog is always a challenge. Look in your schedule to see where you have discretionary activities that you don’t really enjoy that much anymore. Get rid of them and blog instead. Or, get rid of time-wasters. TV and video games are big ones. Count the cost. What are you willing to give up to make time to blog?

    As for topics, here are a few ideas for finding them. Look at other blogs, and the times when you’d write a comment, write a post instead. Or take your existing list posts and expound on one of the list items in some way. Let’s look at your 5 Expensive Bad Habits post. Maybe comparing the cost of smoking to saving an equivalent amount in a 3% CD. Or a post on alternatives to eating out.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. says

    Great tips. When you start early, you often get distracted by number of things. You try to implement couple of things simultaneously instead of focusing one at a time. One must focus on his/her goals to get successful at an early stage.

  8. says

    Distractions are my biggest problem from a blogging perspective.

    Being a tech guy, it’s very easy for me to get distracted with the technology behind blogging – latest wordpress plugins, pingdom, performance tweaking, etc.

    And lately, I’ve been working on my writing technique – that’s a whole family of distractions in itself.

    Ultimately, it leads to less time spent on the meat and potatoes of the business – writing compelling content. Ideas are easy – I have thousands of them. But making the time to sit down and write them out, aye, there’s the rub.

    Thanks for the kick in the pants to get back to the editor and start writing again.

  9. Anton Ivanov says

    As a fellow blogger, I can’t emphasize the importance of promoting your website enough. There are thousands of similar websites out there and no matter how good you write, nobody will read your blog if you don’t go out and make it noticeable for prospective readers.

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