Well now, that is the million dollar question, isn’t it?

Actually, that might really be the million dollar question. For many years now, I have been mildly interested in understanding how to “make money on the web,” but I never really did much about it. For a long time, I imagined that making money on the web meant selling things like t-shirts or flamethrowers (well, maybe not flamethrowers, but you get the idea). In fact, I even toyed around with an on-line business like that called Precious On Paper. Those little notepads made a lot of people smile, but probably will never pay for my retirement home in Tahiti.

It is true that lots of people are making money on the internet today shipping valuable products to people. For me, the problem with the physical sales model is that it is “linear” by nature. Let’s say I make widgets, and the widgets cost $2.99 to produce. Let’s also say that I can sell widgets for $5.99. Nifty – a $3 gain. To get the $3, I need to make the widget and ship it. Additionally, let’s say that takes me 5 minutes per widget on average. If I want to make $30, I need to ship 10 widgets. That takes me almost a hour. Pretty soon, in order to make real money, I need lots of time (or employees). The money I can make is “linear” with the work. (Note that I am ignoring drop shipping and other “middle-man” operations for the moment. Maybe we’ll discuss those later.)

This physical product idea is not a great model for me. I have a “real job” and a family with three great kids. Those things are my first priority. My time for working on a “side business” is limited to the wee hours of the night and morning. Stuffing widgits into a box and taking them to UPS is not what I am looking for.

What am I looking for in terms of making money on the web? Most of my friends describe me a a “computer geek.” Some of them actually call me “Gadget Man” at times (not always in a flattering way), referring to my compulsive need to have the latest electronic toys. I am an electrical engineer by training, and a computer hobbiest. I had internet email in the eighties (during the time when the internet was actualy the DARPA-net). It seems to me that a computer geek electronic hobbist engineer should be able to make money on the internet. The key is that I want to do this without shipping widgets. I want to harness the miracle of the internet (which was not invented by Al Gore, by the way) to create a return on investment that is non-linear with the time invested.

It turns out that I am not alone in this quest. If you go to Google right now and search for “making money on the internet,” you get about 160 million hits! Wow. As I started to look a the hits, I found a lot of junk. Basically get-rick-quick schemes and snake oil. There are legitimate resources out there, but it is really hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Based on this, I have decided that I will:

  • Start work immediately trying to make money on the internet
  • Only consider legitimate family friendly internet businesses (things that add some value to the internet. No spam, no fraud, no pronography, etc.
  • Take a part-time approach (keep my real job)
  • Chronicle my experienes here in the MasonWorld Blog.

So, to sum it up, one thing I plan to write about is my journey trying to make money on the internet part time. I’ll probably be writing about more things too (probably in support of the main thing), so stay tuned.

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