South African Internet success story
"A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts."
The Site Build It! story of faith, fun and contentment
Ever since I started working as a government employee at the age of 23, I've kept my eyes and ears wide open for any genuine opportunities for self employment - full time or part time. I had some idea of what I wanted to do with my life - or my time rather, but I had difficulty narrowing down to one thing.
I was "full of ideas" and confused - working with children, writing, property trading, advertising, internet marketing (which I thought was for incurable geeks), fashion & jewellery design, running a magazine...the list goes on and on.
And then one day I was watching TV when a young man was interviewed. He was talking about his web site, which he'd started at age 14! I started to get more interested and more curious - seriously wanted to know how people create web sites.
I was a web addict (as a surfer) and I always envied the ladies who religiously sent me and hundreds of people, their inspiring and informative e-newsletters daily, weekly and monthly. I wrote the question in my diary and started searching for information. The question was: "how do people create websites and how do they earn a living from them?" In the quest to get some answers, I came accross a lot of free web sites or $1 ones -which all looked & sounded scamy and too good to be true.
South African Internet success story: This is how I finally found the perfect product - SBI! or Site Build It!
I liked looking at the ads in Coffee News Newsletter, which was/is distributed in restaurants. One ad in particular appeared way too often and started demanding some attention. It said something like "earn R3000/mth part-time." Now I've seen a lot of those, but still I decided to jot down the URL. At the office, I hit the net and started looking at the 'case-studies' that appeared. I was re-directed to these case-studies and I thought that it was a mistake. I tried it several times and finally gave up.
One day I returned and started reading and printing the case studies. "These look like real, normal people," I thought to myself. "And this product sounds and looks very genuine!" Goosebumps, goosebumps. I could do this in my spare time. After weighing my options and consulting my gut feeling (which I trust very much), I decided to invest my $299 or R2000 in the business. I was totally trusting my gut feeling and I was even willing to risk losing my investment - afterall, "nothing ventured, nothing gained!".
I'd never owned a credit card before and was not willing to get one just for the sake of ordering a website from some Canadian ciompany - afterall, there is a lot of fraud on the net, I thought in my net-weary mind. So I ordered the old-fashioned way - snail-mailed my bank-guaranteed cheque after a lot of cross-examination from my bank.
The Site Build It! Action Guide
About two weeks later, I received an e-mail from Sitesell and was relieved to see they were for real. When I received the guide/manual, I just left it there for several days because I thought the real guide was yet to come - in the post (lol). One day when I didn't have a lot to do at the office, I decided to go through the e-mail again. My, my! This is it! I started reading - more goosebumps - and I couldn't put the guide down. It was so enjoyable, so user-friendly. I started carrying out the actions as per manual instructions.
On the 5th of October 2005, about 2 weeks after receiving the guide, I registered my first website - www.relationship-affairs.com.
The fulfillment, satisfaction, joy and pride I got from this step alone has been the highlight of my journey. Watching your site live on the internet for the first time is really wonderful, awesome stuff. I always hear that for musicians, hearing your song on the radio for the first time is really awesome - I think I got the same feeling. Yes, it was like 'hearing your song for the first time on radio or watching it on TV'.
Let the writing begin
I love writing, I just couldn't wait to get here
I was so in a hurry to write and post articles... I wrote a few articles very quickly and posted them. It took a lot of trial and error at first and a lot of visits to the forums (the SBI! community really pays it forward & takes newbies by the hand), but it doesn't take long to grasp the process of writing and posting articles. I couldn't wait to 'monetize' - I quickly put up google adsense on my site.
At the time, I had a pc but no internet at home, so I only used my spare time at work and internet cafes to do the job. The nice thing about my business is that you can access your site (you can build pages) from any computer in the world.
I broke the rule that said to wait until you have 30 pages and averaging 20 visitors before you put any income generators. I was in a hurry. Guess I couldn't believe that my site could also show google ads like those fancy sites I always visited?? Google accepted me and I put up adsense ads on my site.
Now SBI!, show me the money!
To tell the truth, at first I was more interested in seeing Google ads on my site than I was in the money (don't get me wrong, I did want to make money). Needless to say, my trying to dodge the process didn't work very well as far as income was concerned. 10 months later, I had nothing to show of my efforts except a content, fulfilled spirit. Eight months after I started, I decided to get internet at home. Now I could work freely and my income started climbing a bit.
Faith in the process and in God - every effort will be rewarded, eventually
I had not received a single pay check 10 months on, my subscription was due to be renewed in 2 months, and there I was, adding another website - www.public-speaking-solutions.com - to my business. Was I crazy? Yes, I was crazy, and still am. I am still crazy about Solo Build It! By this time, it had really given me little in monetary terms, but had given me a lot of peace, fun, experience,contentment and an overwhelming sense of achievement. I kept reminding myself that 'building a stable, sustainable business takes time and effort- this is, afterall, no get-rich-quick scheme.'
I added www.public-speaking-solutions.com to the load, without having had any income from relationship-affairs.com. I knew that the process worked and that it will certainly work for me. By the time relationship-affairs.com was due to be renewed, I had made some money from selling SBI! offline to friends and my first google check also arrived.
My income for my first year, made in two months, was therefore:
$250 + R700 = R2300. At the end, my site really renewed itself, but I was not breaking even since there were other costs - like Internet connection and my time - to be factored in. But I was really pleased. Four months later I received my second google check and received my third 2 months after that. The two-month target was a challenge but I kept aiming for a good check every month. I finally have arrived there, I only need to push it higher & higher.
My first site's traffic is reasonably good - with everyday visitors between a hundred and two hundred. With this traffic, I should be making a killing, but my topic is very broad and not very profitable. I would strongly advise anyone starting a website with SBI! to really check the profitability of their concept. SBI! provides all the tools. I didn't care much for profitability because at the end, I believe, passion wins. The plus side of a broader topic is the amount of pages you can build...!
I currently have close to 100 subscribers on this site and many of them are South African. I would like to make an appeal to you, fellow South Africans, to wake up to the vast opportunity that the internet has to offer. The internet is not American, it is the world-wide-web - it is cosmopolitan and more and more South Africans are really making it work for themselves. Many people, through persistence and faith, have reached their wildest dreams this way and all of us, who followed the almost magical SBI! process, are having fun and will certainly make it big financially in due course. Watch this space...
This is the Solo Build It! I am talking about~