2010: A New Economy, A New Marketplace And A Need For A Presence Online

I think we can all agree that 2009 pretty much SUCKED in terms of economic development.  We were expecting it, no doubt, as the end of 2008 brought us a world wide financial crash of sorts and the wind was effectively sucked out of our sails, yet I think the reality of these tight times still really blind sided us as this past year drudged on.  It wasn’t this way for all of us as businesses that profited off of things like repossessing property, flourished, but I believe we all felt it in one way or another.

I remember, early in ’09, listening to all the financial forecasters prophesying potential disaster for many years to come.  A kind of dollar dooms day set the tone for continued Wall Street woes.  But it seemed that the agreed upon perspective was that 2009 would deal us the worst hand and by 2010 we should start seeing a lining of silver streak across those gray clouds above.  So we’ll have to wait and see what 2010 provides in terms of consumer confidence, but regardless of the degree of upswing we must first understand these irreversible adjustments that have already taken place.

A New Kind Of Economy Starts With A New Media

new-mediaEven before the crash, the term New Media had been effectively created and dispersed among the masses.  FaceBook was stepping on the face of MySpace on its way to competing with Google and Yahoo in terms of all out Internet traffic, while out of our blind spot rose a 140 character powerhouse that tweeted its way to the top of social networking simplicity.  News was no longer preceding Paper as the idea of waiting until morning for the latest had become an archaic activity, and advertisers couldn’t jump ship fast enough for our old way of consuming information to effectively adjust.  We were moving at light speed and only those who saw this change coming well before the term New Media was even coined, flourished as a result.

2009 brought us a year where the masses frantically made their way online.  From that computer guy next door to John and Jane Real Estate Agent down the street to Grandma and Grandpa, we saw new domains flying off the shelves of GoDaddy like never before.  From Life Coaches, to Web Designers to bloggers of every size, shape and color, the shift from big business website domination to that of a growing community of mom and pop online shops was drastic to say the least.  It had been going on for a few years leading up to this exodus to the Cloud, but falling stock prices and political turmoil had become that straw that broke the Camel’s back.

A Common Misconception Of Global Proportions

global-proportionsSomething I’ve noticed throughout 2009 is a common misconception that somehow this economic crisis has reshaped the way we do business.  On the surface this would seem to be an accurate assessment, but if we dig a little deeper we will see that the only thing it did was speed up the process that was already set in motion well before this monetary mess.

Common sense would show us that it was only a matter of time that the Internet reshaped our livelihoods and leveled the playing field for both consumers and Entrepreneurs alike.  The false bottom of our economy was only acting as a temporary deterrent for the majority to get on board.  Once the rug was pulled out from under us we had no other choice but to leap forward.

It’s kind of like getting out of bed in the morning (bare with me as I break out an analogy :-) .  We look at the red lit numbers of our bedside alarm clock as they tick well past their initial warning to wake.  We know we need to get up, but our bodies convince us to remain cloaked in our horizontal cloud of warmth just a few minutes longer.  Then, from out of nowhere we hear screaming in the other room.  It’s our 6 month old laying in their crib with an empty stomach and a poopy diaper (can you tell I’m a new dad? :-) .  So what do we do?  Turn off the baby monitor and go back to sleep…just kidding…sometimes. ;-)   We pull off those covers, baring the brunt of the cold morning air, and go in the other room to tend to the task at hand.  That source of outside stimulation gave us no choice but to act and our crappy economy is what finally yanked us out of bed to tend to the inevitable shift that was already taking place for much of the rest of the world.

The Forrest Fire Effect

forest-fire-effectOther than waking us up and pushing us out of bed, our ’09 economy had a kind of forest fire effect that needed to take place.

Too many people were making money hand over fist for no other reason than the fact that there was money to be had.  Business sense or not, you could earn a strong living regardless of the quality of your work.  I personally witnessed all kinds of ‘professionals’ and consumers alike, just throwing money at everything in their path as it seemed to burn a whole in the pockets of their Calvin Klein kackys.  Shows like ‘Flip That House’ were popping up everywhere so we could watch as people like us made way too much money buying and selling property.

When I ran my computer business here in my hometown I worked with a lot of Real Estate Agents.  During that time I watched as more and more new agents popped up (many of which had no place selling homes or working with people for that matter) and continued to make money hand over fist.  The job market was in a kind of free-for-all state where you could pretty much take your pick of profession and enjoy a pretty paycheck as a result.  Whether you were feeling this false economic high from a direct connection to the hot spots like Real Estate or, like me, enjoying the run off as their prosperity poured into other businesses as they pushed ahead, you were most likely enjoying a powerful financial peace of mind.

Yet as the smoke began to settle and reveal the true state of our financial system our hearts sank along with our stocks.  And so began the process of weeding out the weak and forcing us all to re-adjust our ways.  Just like a forest fire clears out the over grown vegetation, this crisis has taken away the ease at which we made a living and pushed us to a new land of promise and hopefully with wiser ways to guide us.

A New Way Of Livelihood

new-livelihoodNow that we’re all out of bed and dealing with the day ahead it’s time we effectively adjust our perspectives or risk being trampled by the coming stampede.  2009 brought us a kind of 49er gold rush where we all picked up our shovels and headed online.  Yet I believe it will be during the year of 2010 that we truly stake our claims effectively.

Because so much of this was new to us we were flying by the seat of our pants.  Decisions were made by guesstimation as there was no historical data to guide us.  Yet now that we have a year’s worth of success and failure to analyze we can start educating our decisions and securing our steps.  Inevitably we’ll start seeing the shelves of Barnes and Noble and the server space of Amazon overflowing with books on how to make it online.  Just keep in mind that by the time the ‘teachers’ make their way to their podiums, much of the opportunity has already passed by.

This new way of making a living hasn’t necessarily stripped the worth of our initial skill-set, but instead given us incentive to make some adjustments.  I, for example, moved from working on computers in my local community, to developing website software for the World Wide community.  Some may have sold items by means of brick and mortar and now find the Internet to be a better venue.  Maybe you counseled individuals face-to-face and now use your LCD screen as a window into the minds of your patients.  Whatever the specific situation, there’s most definitely a WWW at the beginning of your new way of livelihood.

Even those who either can’t or don’t fully need to move online, will be required to have a presence in the Cloud.  From social media to online advertising, the Internet is only going to become more prevalent in our daily business dealings.  Those who resist will inevitably fail and even the dragging of feet will provide a passing lane for our competition.

A Crowded Cloud Makes For Stiff Competition

competitionJust like the gold rush, too many shovels in the stream makes for a lot of disappointed dreamers.  The blogging craze of the past few years has brought about this allusion that a catchy domain name and few well versed posts will position yourself for a future filled with fat Adsense checks from Google.  The result has been a few miners striking it rich and many weary writers with nothing to show but some calloused finger tips.

But those with their eyes open and a willingness to adapt have found great opportunity to profit.  As the masses continue to make their way to our online marketplace we will continue to see the need for skills of all kinds.  Just like our pre-’09 business world, this Cloud Community will continue to open doors of opportunity for each of us.  We just need to position ourselves so we can walk though them.

Let’s say you’ve just moved to Hollywood in hopes of becoming a big star.  You’re waiting tables in a diner right next to a big production studio and practice your lines while serving food, nervously awaiting your next audition.  There’s nothing wrong with this picture, but the harsh reality is that you’re probably not going to find your face on more than a low budget TV commercial and even if you ever DO make it big you could be looking at years before this takes shape.  So the question is, “What are you doing in the mean time?”

True Bill Paying Income Can Be Found Online, But At A Cost

I’ve found over the past year and a half or so online that it has been the many small steps of small success that have continued my forward motion.  I’ve seen a great number of individuals come and go as they seek a quick buck.  I myself have failed over and over again and found great discouragement as reality hit too close to home.  Yet each time I’ve fallen down I’ve somehow found my way back onto both feet and just a bit more sure footed as a result.  I’ve tried many different avenues for revenue and found many things I don’t enjoy as well as those I do.  But it only takes one properly fitting online profession to make a living and once you achieve that goal you’ve just bought yourself more time to gain even greater Internet success.

online-entrepreneurLet’s face it. The idea of making a living purely online is a pretty awesome concept to consider!  No longer are you bound by location as you can work from anywhere that connects you to the Cloud (and these days that’s just about anywhere).  Your flexibility to enjoy your family and friends expands exponentially and, assuming you’re working for yourself, the word Boss is now just a dated piece of slang from the ’60s.

When I set out to achieve this goal back in July of 2008 I really had no idea how I was going to completely replace my computer business income through a website.  Initially I attempted to profit from writing, writing and more writing.  This blog was new, but growing, yet my bank account was still unaware.  I then worked on writing that I would actually sell directly (as apposed to making money off advertising).  Still no go.  It wasn’t until about 6 months later that I found a way to profit from my Internet connection.

I realized that though I didn’t really want to delve back into services I needed to temporarily adapt my abilities to do just that.  This is when I began building WordPress websites for individuals.  With the right advertising connections I found more work than I knew what to do with and finally had a full time income online.

BUT, and this is the big but, this was only the beginning and by no means even close to my intended destination.  Though I enjoyed much of this design work, it just wasn’t what I wanted to do.  I had already spent 5 years in services and I was looking more in the direction of products so I could try my hand at development, marketing and sales.  This would come my way very soon, but keep in mind that I had to sacrifice some of my perfectly pictured online presence so I could find a spot to start my journey.  It was this crucial step that gave me the platform to stand on so I could see stage two.

So my WordPress Web Design business morphed a WordPress Theme development and sales business.  This was something that was quite new to me but much more suited to my personality and idea of success online.

Securing An Online Income Requires Diversification

income-diversificationThose who make a living online probably have a main source that pays their bills.  Yet there’s just as good a chance that they also enjoy multiple streams that they’ve picked up along the way.  My WordPress Theme business is certainly my main source of income, but in all the time I’ve been online I’ve managed to keep my eyes open to the opportunity for other income sources as well.

I mentioned my failed attempt at earning a living by selling written content.  It is true that making a full time living from ebook sales or even advertising from your blog is quite a challenge to say the least, but making an extra bit of cash each month from these pursuits is not out of the reach of most.  Every month I bring home the bacon with my WordPress Theme business, but I also enjoy income from book sales and ad revenue.  We could survive without it, but it offers a bit more peace of mind, knowing that not all our financial security is tied into a single source.

This also offers greater flexibility as I continue to push ahead to scale the looming peaks on the horizon.  My family is growing and therefore I must do the same for my online presence.  Each step of the way I broaden my horizons and strengthen my resolve to keep moving forward.

May Your 2010 Be Everything You Planned For

2010-new-yearThe potential for success and prosperity in 2010 is great, but will only find its way to those who are willing to be flexible and yet steadfast in their ways.  The rush to stake our online claim is still in the early stages, but the competition is already fierce.  For many of us technology can feel like a double edge sword (filled with opportunity yet constantly growing more complicated), but it’s crucial for us to tackle none the less.

As the dust begins to settle and our economy rebounds we will certainly see a new marketplace in the Cloud.  Fortunes will be made and lost, but more importantly livings will be earned. What makes this year of 2010 so crucial is that much or our online presence will be established during this time.  Whether we like it or not our ‘profiles’ are already being formed.  So it is up to us to either effectively form them ourselves or let it be done for us.  The former will provide great online opportunity and the latter will put us in our place as another part of the herd.

Your 2010 Toolbox For Building An Online Business, Blog, Community And Presence

business-building-toolboxAs a second part of this post I have created a kind of text based toolbox to help you build that business, blog and/or community as well as effectively form a powerful presence online.  So be sure to click the above title if you’re interested in learning more.

I hope you have an absolutely AMAZING and PROSPEROUS 2010 and may it be the beginning of even greater success in the future! :-)

Eric Hamm

Comments

  1. says

    Great post Eric. The part that most struck home with me was the part about failing and finding a way to stand back up.

    If you take a look at the most successful people in the world you will find that they have failed more times than the average person. It was the drive to stand back up, to push forward that earned them the success they enjoy.

    To you and to everybody lucky enough to read this post I wish you the courage to keep pushing forward despite be knocked down a time or two.

    Happy 2010!

    • says

      Exactly! I know it sounds so cliche, but it really is all about how many times to get up, not how few times you fall down. Well said on your part and thanks for sharing. Happy 2010 to you too! :-) Eric

  2. says

    I thought I would just let you know that I think your clean professional theme is exactly what I wanted. As you point out above there is no get rich scheme without hard work. Since 2001 I have created many income streams none of which would support me completely but collectively I have an excellent small business which I continue to grow and with your WordPress theme I have opened up another potential income stream.
    Thank you… Happy New year

    • says

      Hey Tony, I really appreciate you sharing that with me and I’m so glad you’re finding frugal to be a real asset to your online endeavors. May your income streams increase in both number and volume in this new decade of the 21st century! :-) Eric

  3. says

    Thanks for the great post Eric…there truly is a revolution happening and in addition to business opportunity we are also changing the way we communicate and provide goods and services which I believe will continue to scale as more online entrepreneurs and consumers find each other.

    The challenge is not to be afraid to fail and to differentiate yourself from the masses by keeping your integrity and providing a top quality, professional website that offers valuable content.

    There is going to be a lot of new “poopy diaper” websites and less than ethical businesses showing up ;) so it will be more important than ever to set a higher standard and be around for the long term.

    • says

      Hey Sean, you make some great points. I meant to get more into the point you raised about the communication revolution and how more consumers and online entrepreneurs will find each other in the coming months and years. You hit the nail on the head.

      You’re right about the “poopy diaper” websites and this is nothing but good news for us because it makes it that much easier to stand out with quality. It’s kind of like when you have an old white sock (bare with me) that you think is still white. But when you put it up to a brand new bleach white one you realize that it’s much more an old gray piece of cloth.

      So let our websites stand out in 2010 and reveal what’s truly quality and what just needs to be thrown in the hamper! :-) Eric

  4. says

    Hi Eric,

    Happy New Year!

    I just discovered your blog and am enjoying your thought-provoking articles.

    It’s great to hear stories like yours about how you’ve failed again and again, but have managed to pick yourself up and learn from your mistakes. Wasn’t it Colin Powell who said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.”

    Looks to me like you’ve certainly learned from your failures and by all accounts have succeeded remarkably. :-)

    Karen

    • says

      Hey Karen, Happy 2010! I’m glad you’re enjoying the content of Motivate Thyself.

      I hope this new year brings you great success as well as new found wisdom. I know that sounds like a fortune cookie, but I really do hope the best! :-) Eric

  5. says

    Great post Eric! I love the “forest fire” effect you mentioned. I think going online before the fire was really interesting for those of us who were there ahead of the “need” for it.

    Like you, my online ventures have gone from trying to earn passive income from a blog to really building a business. I think everything shifted when I started looking at things from a business perspective instead of from a monetization model.

    This was a great post, and I can definitely relate to a lot of it! :)

    Happy 2010!

    • says

      Hey Nathalie, I just barely made it early enough to see both sides. In the summer of ’08 we sere still on the tail end of our inflated economy so my reasoning was more of finding new freedom, not escaping the coming crash. So yes, it’s definitely a unique perspective that provides, I think, some advantages. But either way we’re still so much in the early stages of the push to the Cloud that there is still so much opportunity out there.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I appreciate you stopping by to read and share your thoughts. :-) Eric

  6. says

    Eric,

    I admire the way you’ve developed multiple income streams and customized your “job” to make the most of your different skills and interests. Very smart, and fun too. No doubt 2010 will be a prosperous year for you.

    Best wishes,

    Susan

  7. says

    Hi Eric -
    Great post and inspiration. I love being part of the group who are working at succeeding online. Who don’t have the “quick fix”, yet still knowing that we are working in the medium of now and the future.
    I used another theme on my main site, but can’t wait to use yours and become an affiliate on the next site I build.
    Happy 2010 – and great success to all!~

    • says

      Hey Cary, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I’m even more happy to hear you’re a part of some good things online. Happy New Year and by all means, become a part of the frugal theme community! :-) Eric

  8. says

    Eric,

    Thanks for always striving to be the best. I can’t believe how far you’ve come on the Frugal theme. You must never sleep.

    Happy New Year, I Can’t Wait to See Where You’ll Take Themes in 2010,

    Glen

  9. says

    Eric,

    I learned about your blog through an interview I did with Sid Savara. I think that diversifying income streams is really key. I also think that one myth that has pervaded the internet is this idea that blogging is a way to get rich quick. It’s only after the first 6 months I realized that many people lingered in obscurity for quite some time and were persistent about getting to their goals. One thing I realized that my blog might not directly provide income, but the skills I’ve developed from my blog will. Happy New Year.

    • says

      Hey Srinivas, I think Sid mentioned you. Glad to finally meet you! :-)

      Totally agree about the Get Rich Quick scam. Online endeavors, just like those offline, require smart, hard work, time and persistence to pan out. This myth is why we have such a big rush of new bloggers and such a high ‘drop-out’ rate.

      Eric

  10. says

    Hey great post here. Nice to meet you. I resonate with the overall message here, and I am building up my presences online as well. Diversifying income streams is very important, and I’m beginning now to implement that into my blog.

  11. says

    Here’s the stand out line of the post:
    “our bodies convince us to remain cloaked in our horizontal cloud of warmth”
    !!

    Nice writing style, eric… has a contemporary newsy researcher kind of feel to it…

    stay cool

  12. says

    For the first time, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to make more money. It’s really a skill that’s not taught. I’m so glad I live at a time when the Internet can translate my thoughts and ideas into a real business.

    • says

      You and me both! :-) I love the time we live in, the opportunity that abounds!

      You’re definitely correct in saying that making money is not a taught skill. Good resolution! :-) Eric

  13. says

    Hi Eric. This is the first time I visited your post and I’m glad I did. There’s much to learn from you. You have stated of diversification and I agree with you on this. The internet is full of commonality. :-)

    • says

      Hey Walter, I appreciate you dropping by and sharing your thoughts. You’re not the first to mention diversification as a point that stuck out. It sounds like that’s really hitting a cord with people. I’ve definitely found that to be so important. Eric

  14. says

    Happy New Year Eric,

    I’m just dropping by to say “hello” and glad to hear everything is coming together for you.

    I wish you well on all of your endeavors.

    Happiness to you, Liz and the family. :)

  15. Aïdah says

    Thanks for taking the time to share all of this great information/advice! And congrats on becoming a new parent, what a blessing!

  16. says

    Hi Eric-

    I am a new follower and am so glad I stumbled upon your work. I am a new blogger and wondered if there are other successful bloggers out there such as yourself and Leo who give suggestions to use newbees in this online world? I listened to your interview with Leo which was excellent.

    How do I grow my readership? How does that help me? Sorry if I seem ignorant but want to surround myself with successful people such as yourself.

    Wonderful work,
    Erica

  17. says

    You you should make changes to the page subject title 2010: A New Economy, A New Marketplace And A Need For A Presence Online | Motivate Thyself to something more generic for your webpage you create. I liked the the writing yet.

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