This is the second post in a series on quitting your day job in order to live and work from anywhere. The first post was on the challenge of preparing to quit your job.

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Last week I wrote a long article on how to prepare to quit your day job. If you missed that post, I definitely suggest going back and reading it.

In that post, I mentioned that it was useful to develop income on the side using the Internet, in order to quit you day job. I glossed over the details of how to do this, in that post.

A number of people emailed me asking for more information, so I decided to write this post in order to help more people start to make a small amount of side income in order to quit their jobs more effectively.

I’ve been working online for most of my adult life — I was part of the professional blogging team at New York Magazine, and Gawker before that. I’ve been a student of the income potential of the Internet for over ten years now.

Recently I began to earn my entire living from this blog and from my e-book The Art of Being Minimalist.

I hope that this article will help you gain independence.

Many people haven’t realized the unlimited selling potential of the Internet.

They’re stuck back in 1982, calling people 1-on-1 on the phone and hoping to make a sale. It doesn’t have to be that way.

You’re much more likely to succeed if you embrace the power of the Internet.

This was made clear to me a few days ago — I was at a bar in Brooklyn, wishing a good friend farewell the night before she crossed the Atlantic for adventures in London.

I found myself in conversations about what I do, with two people. One an old friend, another a random stranger.

1st person, who is on unemployment for 6 months after being fired from his job:

Him: “So, how did you land that job, being a blogger?”

Me: “Well, I didn’t land it, I built it.”

Him: “You can make your own job?”

2nd person, who is working as a temp after not finding much luck getting jobs five years after graduating from college:

Her: “Well, I’m a temp, and I just sit around all day on Facebook.”

Me: “Why don’t you use that time to build an empire and start making $1000 a week on the Internet?”

Her: “You can do that?”

Both of these people got blank looks on their faces and walked away from me when I suggested that they could actually change their lives. This illustrated to me just how unconventional the idea of selling a digital product online really is.

There are only a handful of people actually making the jump to digital sales, the rest of the planet is still stuck back in 1982.

I imagine some of you are already thinking of clicking off this page. You think I’m just trying to sell you something, but I’m not.

I want you to realize how simple it is to embrace the Internet as your job.

If you’re interested in the above statement, I suggest you read this blog post thoroughly. Do not skim it. Do not jump around. Read each word, bookmark this, and then try each step separately until you’ve done everything here.

You can live and work from anywhere, –if you put in the work.

It will take you at most half a day to complete the first 3 of these steps and start making money online. It’ll take you a little longer for the last step, creating your own product, but you’ll get there eventually. Trust me!

The changing reality of Internet communication.

The reality is, you can change your life, and you can make a decent living working online — if you put in the work. I’ve done it. It’s far easier than you might think. I’m starting to believe that one of the biggest barriers to people making money online is their willingness to admit to themselves that it’s possible.

We’re a society that trains people in school to work in factories, and then they get out and their wonder where all of the factories went.

You’re on your own, the only person who’s going to give you permission to work online is you.

The true dynamics of the Internet.

Twenty years ago, the only way you could establish a brand and market a product was:

  1. By spending a ton of money on ads on the television or other media.
  2. By opening a brick and mortar storefront.
  3. By pimping yourself and your friends to a mid-level marketing scheme.
  4. By calling random people on the telephone and crossing your fingers.

All of these options still exist, but the internet bypasses all of the inadequacies of these systems. This means you can skip them, and go straight to the Internet.

On the internet, instead of your relationship being 1 to 1 with a buyer. The relationship is 1 to whoever you can get to come to your website and contact through social media. This can be 1 or it can be infinite.

The power of the digital product.

The internet has revolutionized how products are produced.

The cost of broadcasting on the web has fallen to zero –see Chris Anderson’s Free: The Future of a Radical Price for specifics. This creates a situation of complete selling democracy, and infinite potential, because:

  1. Anyone can create a product.
  2. Anyone can sell a product.
  3. To anyone in the world.
  4. At any time of day.

This creates amazing situations for independent professionals, such asmaking money in your sleep.

The way I see it, if you have something to offer people, you should product a digital product and sell it. You can’t lose money, because the distribution is free.

What’s the worst that can happen? You create a product and no one buys it. This means that no one needs it. If no one needs what you offer, you probably need to reevaluate what you’re offering.

The minimum you need to start.

write about being minimalist, so I’m not going to go overboard recommending what you need to use in order to make money online.

Some people will tell you that you need to invest in all sorts of infrastructure in order to sell online. This is absurd.

Everything you need to sell online can be yours for free. Don’t spend any money until you’ve made money, it’s just absurd to be buying expensive software when there are free alternatives.

That’s not to say that you don’t want to upgrade eventually when you need more advanced technology, but don’t do this until you’re making at least $50,000 a year off your website. Then you can actually afford the expensive stuff.

That being said, I’ve recommended a few products below, that I believe in and I’m an affiliate for, that will help you learn. If after reading this you’re still scratching your head as to how to begin to earn money online, these educational products can go a long way towards filling the gap in your knowledge.

These products aren’t requirements, they’re simply options if you need additional learning in order to be able to take this path towards success.

It’s not necessary to dish out a lot of money in order to find success online. You can learn everything you need to for free by reading blogs and experimenting on your own.

The minimalist tools for making money online.

1. Why you need a blog.

Your blog is your home on the Internet, you need to make one now if you don’t have one already. Go to WordPress.com to sign up for a free WordPress blog to get started.

Eventually you’ll want to get your own domain name and hosting, but don’t worry about that until you start to find some success online.

  1. Start blogging at least twice a week.
  2. Set a schedule and stick to it.
  3. Write content that is extremely useful to people.
  4. Pick a niche market as your focus.
  5. Make it easy to subscribe to your blog via RSS and email.

Some people will tell you that you need all sorts of other things for your blog. Don’t worry about those things now. Just write good content. If you’re trying to escape your day job, you don’t have time to spend hours messing around with little blog widgets.

Writing good content is 80% of your blogging career, the rest is just extra. If you find yourself spending 20% of your time on content and the rest of the time checking your stats or otherwise wasting your time, stop!

Focus on content, and you’ll find blogging success.

Read Problogger and Viperchill to learn more about how to blog successfully.

If you need additional education, I highly recommend Darren Rowse’s e-book 31 Days to a Better Blog.

2. Social networking.

Sign up for two social networking services. If you have a pulse, you’re probably already on Facebook. If you’re not, join.

The second service I want you to join, if you haven’t already, is Twitter.

Why only two? Because you need to focus. If you’re on 10 social networks, you’ll never have time to be good at any one of them. If you pick only two, you will be able to be effective on at least two platforms and start to develop a significant amount of traffic to your blog from these sources.

Install tweetmeme and Facebook share buttons on your blog, and start pushing your content out to these services every time you post.

Next, start social networking with other bloggers who interest you.

The best way to do this is to retweet their posts every single time they post, this will show that you respect and admire them.

You can follow me on Twitter here.

  1. Ask bloggers questions.
  2. Start conversations.
  3. Interview bloggers for your blog.
  4. Be helpful.

Don’t spend too much time on social networking. 30 minutes a day is just enough. Social networking is 20% of your traffic, so don’t spend 80% of your time there — believe me, you will be tempted to do so. Social networking can become an infinite feedback loop — you need to do it, just don’t spend all of your time doing it.

Focus on content for your blog, and let the social networking happen naturally.

To learn more about social networking, read Chris Brogan’s blog and read Trust Agents the book wrote with Julien Smith.

Also check out Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Guide to the Social Web for some more in-depth learning if necessary.

3. Create a movement.

Once you create a blog, the next step is creating a movement — read this free e-book by me next.

Then come back to this page in order to learn the power of selling digital products.

4. Sell someone’s product first.

Before you invest all of the hours in creating your own product, try selling someone else’s product on your blog first.

When I first started my blog, I was an affiliate for Leo Babauta’s A Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life. Selling for Leo provided a small amount of income for me while I built my business, and helped me learn how to effectively sell online. I chose this e-book because it was a huge inspiration for me. It made me think how to apply minimalism to my own life, and how to write about minimalism so that others could accomplish their ambitions in order to live happier.

Many bloggers will let you affiliate market their products for 50% commission. You can earn anywhere from $5-$200 per sale.

I only sell products on my blog that I support, and I think you should too.

Don’t sell anything you don’t believe in.

It’s much harder to sell a product when you don’t believe in it’s benefits. It may take you some time to locate your idea product, and that’s okay. Take your time and pick something you believe in.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Guide to Working for Yourself (51% commission)

Adam Baker’s Unautomate Your Finances (50% commission)

Glen Allsopp’s Cloud Living (51% commission)

Also, you can become an affiliate for my e-book, The Art of Being Minimalist (50% commission).

5. Create your own product.

Once you’ve sold a few copies of other people’s products, it’s time to create your own.

What is a digital product?

  1. An e-book that helps people.
  2. An audio recording that helps people.
  3. A software program that helps people.
  4. A video series that helps people.

I say ‘helps people’, because that’s one of the biggest questions you need to ask yourself when you create a product. Who is this helping? If the answer is “everyone!” your product is probably way too broad and not interesting enough for anyone to buy it.

Go niche or go broke. You need to create a product for a specific group of people. Scratch your own itch, fix your own problems, and you have a good chance of creating such a product.

Creating a product is different for everyone.

When I wrote The Art of Being Minimalist, I created the product over two weeks of intense writing. I combined this with writing I’d been working on over the last couple of months, and suddenly I had a product. This process is different for everyone.

The truth is that this was a book idea that had been floating around my head since before I’d even started my blog. It was a book idea that was set into motion from the moment that I quit my job in July of last year and jumped on a plane to Portland Oregon.

Everyone has a product idea in them, you just have to find it. A good idea will come to you naturally through the work that you do on your blog.

For more on creating digital products, check out Chris Guillebeau’sUnconventional Guide to Working for Yourself.

Another good resource is Dave Navarro’s How to Launch The **** Out of Your E-Book.

6. Let people affiliate market for you.

Once you’ve finished your product, sign up for a sellers account at e-junkie for only $5 a month –this is free for the first week. This will handle all of your payments and distribution automatically, and allow your community to earn money selling your newly created product on their own blogs.

This is the moment when the real magic happens. If you offer your product for 50% commission, suddenly you can harness the power of others to sell your product. By offering 50% (or more) commission, people will spread your product far and wide across the Internet. Some people will sell 5 copies, others will sell 500.

Imagine if you get 500 people to sell 500 copies each of your product over the course of a year? Even if you’re only charging $10… …well, you do the math, because you won’t believe me if I just tell you.

The infinite potential of reaching people via the Internet makes this possible.

Best of luck in your endeavors!

Now you have the skills to create a small to sizable side income while you’re at your day job. With any luck, you should be able to grow this income to replace your day job, or start a new income stream from the ground up.

Then you can leave your job and start living and working from anywhere! Congratulations, you’re almost free!

This is the second post in a series on quitting your day job in order to live and work from anywhere. The first post was on the challenge of preparing to quit your job.

Don’t miss out! Sign up for free updates via RSS or EMAIL.

This article helped you, I’d love if you could share it with anyone you know who wants to quit their job.

Hit the retweet button, or email this to your friends, this only takes 10 seconds and it’s the single best way for people to discover my writing.

Thank you.

 

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