One of the main reasons that people want to learn about WordPress is to manage their own site so that they can make money online. Since 2008, the economy has really hit people hard and finding alternate sources of income is first in everyone’s mind. I started my entrepreneurial life at the start of our recession and I’ve learned a thing or two about what to do and more importantly, what not to do to be a success and have your financial life back.

First, get your head on straight about money

This may sound like an obvious “duh”, but many people start off a home-based business with the wrong mindset. An example of this is “money isn’t important”, “rich people are snooty”, “rich people don’t deserve to have all their money” and so forth. If these (and other ‘poor’ thoughts) are running around in the noggin’, what’s the point in starting a business? Trust me, your actions WILL follow your perceptions about wealth and you will lose your money to fit a “poor man’s paradigm”. Here’s a book I wrote that explains more about getting into a money-making mindset.

Find out about your passion and your area of expertise

Is passion (ferver) and expertise the same?…NO WAY! Believe it or not, my passion and expertise involved music AND teaching. It’s the “teaching” part of the equation that allows me to run this area of my businesses (yes, I do have more than one). Make a list of the things you are passionate about, then make another list (side-by-side) and write down the things you are an expert in. Now, here’s the tricky part…many people don’t know what they’re good at simply because we are taught to focus on our faults instead of our strengths. The things that come easy to you, that require little effort, that you do so much better than many others will be the things you are an expert in. Now, cross-check your “passion” list and your “expert” list and see if you have any common items. When you find them, that will be your “sweet spot”, and that’s where you want to focus.

Plan…plan…plan

Many “newbies” build the website first, then plan their business. Yes, even after all these years of advice from the experts, there are those that still leap before they look. Make your business model first, do research on your target market, find out your competitions strengths, weaknesses, how much will it take to start up and a million other little important things before you bring these things to life on the digital frontier. You may find out that your business is not needed, or there is over saturation. Look at it this way, if you’re not willing to take the time and plan, you’ll pay for it later.

Sacrifice and be open minded

One month, I had to find a part-time job so I could make ends meet. My job, working at an animal shelter scooping dog shit! Did I want to be there…HELL NO, but I knew that I needed money. All the months I worked there, I planned out each paycheck…where it would go…what it would cover and never lost site that this was temporary and needed for my businesses. Sacrifice and an open mind are necessary in this game. If you say “no” to extra cash when you need it, you’re letting pride get the best of you and your wallet in the short / long term.

Outsource your talent

No one likes to think about additional cost, but it will be necessary and it will come sooner than you think. On my music side of my businesses, I created graphics for my site that looked….well…awful. I decided that I was going to hire a good friend of mine that was a professional graphic designer to do all my logos. His work was far and away better than my Publisher-like designs. Outsourcing your areas of weakness to others will allow you to focus on the big picture…making money.

Utilize affiliates…….but be careful!

I’ve had so many clients talk about setting up a site that had nothing but affiliate banners, links and the like. Yes, affiliate and Adsense can be an effective source of extra revenue, but you must be careful about what to add to your website. You want to make sure that any and all affiliates you add to your site compliment your products / services. Example…you have a weight-loss site with a new product you created and you want to run a Google Adsense banner on your site. You don’t want the banner to display advertisements about buying a car; instead, find advertisements about exercise or health equipment. The ad must compliment the content of your website….and yes,..you must add content. Sites that just have banners and nothing else don’t make money.

Patience

You won’t make cash overnight…not by a long shot. Be cautious about people / groups that offer “something” that promise to make things easy. When I first started out, I was duped many times before I wised up and I want to save you months of frustration. One of my revenue streams is Google Adsense. I make about $325 every month, but it took me about a year or so to do it. Marketing, good marketing takes time. Creating campaigns takes time. Getting your website to the top of the search results takes time. Here’s a book I wrote that explains how to avoid people that want to steal your money.

My first year of business for myself was a mess. It was after I navigated through the torrential river of crap that I found a financially peaceful shore where I started to make money.

My final bit of advice…stay focused on your goal, don’t doubt yourself and look at EVERYTHING with a realistic lens.