It Takes Money to Make Money…Sort Of

| August 22, 2011

Piggy BankIt actually takes currency to make money. It’s up to you to determine your currency.

I sometimes roam around the Internet reading how some bloggers/writers built their online empire (well not empire, but you know what I mean). Some people create sites, hire writers and earn money. Others purchase memberships to sites that help them learn and earn. In such cases it takes cash money to earn money.

A Different Route

I chose a different route to earning money. Instead of cash money, I used a different currency. I used time. Time is a valuable commodity and in my opinion worth more than money any day. Having all the money in the world is pretty useless if you’re out of time.

Anyway, instead of purchasing programs, I spent a lot of time learning, writing and building. I chose time as my currency for two reasons.

  1. I’m cheap
  2. I love what I do, so what better way to spend my time than doing something I enjoy.

My Results

Because I enjoy what I do and use time as my currency, I spend very little cash to earn money online. I’m finding that I’m spending less time too. 🙂

Inspired by a post by Michelle over at Passive Income Online  I decided to look at my last 12 months of earnings and compare my earnings with my cash expenditures. Not to bore you with the monthly details, my earnings from August 1, 2010 to July 31, 2011 totaled $24,976.84 (excluding my eHow buy out). My business related expenses totaled $691. Okay, you can toss in an additional $378 because I bought a netbook to make traveling easier, but the netbook wasn’t absolutely necessary.

The majority of my expenses pay for my Aweber membership, annual hosting fees and domain name renewals. I bought the Aweber membership because “having a list” is important, but I barely use it. If you have signed up for my newsletter, you’ll quickly realize that I infrequently send out newsletters. I’m on the fence as to whether or not I’ll keep the membership (costs about $250 annually).

Don’t get me wrong. There are other things I’ve purchased for my home office, but those items are things that make my life easier such as a new couch, book shelves, wireless headset, computer speakers and such. These items are nice to have but if I didn’t buy them it would not affect my ability to earn money. Domain names and annual hosting on the other hand are must haves in our line of business.

Back to the Title

It does take money to make money, but it’s up to you to determine your currency.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Earning Money

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a freelance writer and blogger. She spends the majority of her time with her family and writing. If she's not writing or commenting on NJFM, she's either outside smelling the roses or writing articles for one of her other sites.

Comments (13)

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  1. Jackie says:

    Thanks, Felicia!
    It makes sense that the content of a site is more important than the domain name.
    I ended up keeping the original domain name. It’s a good name and I think it will work just fine. Plus, in hindsight, it’s just not a great idea to look for better domains for the sites I’ve already started. 🙂
    Thanks again!

  2. Jackie says:

    Hi Felicia, thanks for another helpful post!

    I was wondering how much stock you put into domain names? Are they important, like keywords?
    I just found a domain name that’s way better than the one I bought two weeks ago. I’d rather not spend any more money (even thought it’s not much, as you pointed out), but this new domain could bring in more views in the long run, if it functions like a keyword.
    In your experience, are domain names critical to driving traffic to a site?

    • Felicia says:

      Jackie, domain names help, but in my opinion the content is more important. Additionally, once you add content to your site, the title of your content (and the associated URL) will help to attract traffic.

  3. abril says:

    For the longest time that I have browse the internet you are the only one that broke down their earnings and truly provide the best realization of the benefit of blogging and internet business. This really inspire me to do more. Thanks alot.
    abril recently posted…senior datingMy Profile

  4. Prerna says:

    Lovely post as always Felicia. Stopping by after a long time. Life had gotten busier. But I’m so glad to see that everything here is still the same – awesome content, practical advice and a great community!

    I agree, it does take some money to make money but one has to be smart about it. I’m in the process of setting up a new, business website and I’m learning that expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better:-)

    Also, I try to restrict my expenses by not signing up for too many paid forums and memberships, buy too many eBooks and instead, do a bit of digging and go the free route.
    Prerna recently posted…The Social Blogger: Using Networks and Forums to Learn, Grow and ShareMy Profile

  5. Very nice post. You’re absolutely right that you have the choice of throwing time or throwing money at a project.

    I’m not successful as an online writer yet, but I’ve run other businesses that were successful for years with no initial investment except hours and hours of time. When I started my bookselling business, for example, I had no money and plenty of time.

    Gip
    Gip @ So Much More Life recently posted…Toward A Simpler Replacement For QuickenMy Profile

  6. Michelle says:

    Great post, Felicia – and you are absolutely right that time is a valuable currency! When I started my business, I knew that I would have 20 hours maximum a week that I could devote to the business (as a full time caretaker of a toddler and an aging mom) – and in all honesty, that is often closer to only 10 hours when all is said and done. So for me, outsourcing was really the best route to go.

    One thing a lot of people tell you to do is to figure in what your own time is worth when building a business – to keep yourself honest about your expenses. I know, for example, that for my SEO work I can charge upwards of $30 an hour. Is my time worth that for every task I do? No, but I certain would value it more than what I’m paying to many of my outsourcers (although productivity is also an issue – I might be paying someone $5 an hour, but it also might take them three times as long as me to do the task!).

    Of course, a lot of us do this kind of work because we also find it enjoyable, even if it isn’t paying us a living wage. 🙂 And I have to admit I have a lot of jealousy for those who can work “full time” on their IM business. I often wonder where I would be today if I could do that myself!

    Still, even if I had 40+ hours to devote to my business, outsourcing many tasks would still be the best choice from a financial vantage (but not always). Thanks again for the thoughtful post.

    – Michelle

    • Felicia says:

      Michelle, you’re doing extremely well with your business and have tailored it to fit your needs and the needs of your family. That’s what I love about the Internet. There are so many ways to become successful and unlike a 9-5 job you have the flexibility to build it around your needs and not the needs of an employer.

      One of the qualities I like about your journey and your blog is your honesty and transparency. You share your successes and mistakes in such a fashion that encourages us all to stick with it. I also like the fact that you’re willing to experiment.

      We are both heading in the same direction but are taking slightly different routes. Routes to online success vary as widely as personalities and living arrangements. You are such an inspiration (you inspired this post among other things).

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment. I don’t always comment on all blogs that I visit, but I’m a fan of the Passive Income Online blog. Keep up the great work!

  7. Michael says:

    This is a great post! It’s a unique look at the idea of paying for what you get. I think those who spend money all too often think that will be enough, and that it will take the place of hard work and dedication. It takes a lot of work to make any business run well no matter how much $$ you throw after it.

    I also appreciated the bit about Aweber as I am debating going that route as well. Does that $250 annually mean you can include it on all of your websites and create different newsletters for each, or do you have to only use it for one? I recently found out about Mail Chimp, which lets you have a free newsletter if you don’t have too many subscribers. I’m going to look into that a bit more. Anyway, again, good post as usual.
    Michael recently posted…A Fired Demand Studios Writer Reports on Life in the Demand Studios Writer Development ProgramMy Profile

    • Felicia says:

      Michael, you can use your AWeber account to set up newsletters for several different sites. AWeber offers a lot of options that I haven’t explored.

      I probably should have gone the free route before AWeber. They’re a class act, but I’m not utilizing the service properly.

      • Michael says:

        Thanks, Felicia. I sometimes have the same problem, buying something and only using a fraction of its capability. Especially with blogging I think it just gets easy to get overwhelmed sometimes with all the options out there.

        I think I will try to do the free thing at first and see how that goes, but it’s good to know that Aweber is a stand up company in case my needs change and I need something more involved.
        Michael recently posted…AOL Seed & Break Studios Showing No Assignments: Are They Dead?My Profile

  8. kidgas says:

    Like you, I have elected to use time as my currency and resolved not to put any of my own money into building an online income. I have held to this and so have been “profitable” from the very first AdSense click since I started with eHow and HubPages. Since then the money I have put in for hosting and domain names have come out of earnings. I, too, am incredibly cheap in this endeavor.
    kidgas recently posted…Carrying Its Own WeightMy Profile

  9. Loretta says:

    Felicia, another great post. I can certainly relate to your idea of theoretical currency. My currency is time and freedom. Granted I cannot deposit it in my bank account, but it still pays dividends, because I spend it when and where I want, while doing what I enjoy – writing at home. Earning cold cash is certainly at the top of my “to do” list, and when it begins to flow it will be a definite asset, but the satisfaction of being free from the stress of the corporate world makes it worth the wait. In the meantime, I continue to count those imaginary dollars while working at a job that I enjoy and investing in my future. And, as I have often said, NJFM keeps me motivated.
    Loretta recently posted…A Wake-Up Call for Boomer GrandchildrenMy Profile